Michigan Tech research in 3D printing was covered by Reason in the article “The 3D Economy.”
The 3D Economy
Forget guns, what happens when everyone prints their own shoes?
Already, according to a study authored by Michigan Technological University engineering professor Joshua Pearce and six others, there are significant economic incentives for consumers to pursue 3D printing. According to Pearce’s calculations, a person who constructs an open-source 3D printer called the RepRap at a cost of around $575 for parts can theoretically avoid paying between $290 and $1,920 a year to retailers simply by using the device to print 20 common items (iPhone case, shower curtain rings, shoe orthotics, etc.).
John Irwin (SoT), Pearce (MSE/ECE) and Jerry Anzalone (MSE) coauthored ”Implementing Self-Replicating Rapid Prototypers (RepRaps) into a Mechanical/Manufacturing Program,” which was published in The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) 2013 Conference Proceedings. pp. 387-406.
In the News
Pearce is quoted in Italy’s Scienze Naturali in an article about the environmental benefits of 3D printing and in 3D Printer World on how recycling milk jugs into 3D printer filament saves money and the environment.
Recycling Milk Jugs into 3D Printer Filament Saves Money and the Environment
The energy savings is only about 3 percent in urban areas, where the plastic has to travel less during the collection and recycling process.
“Where it really shows substantial savings is in smaller towns like Houghton (where Michigan Tech. is located), where you have to transport the plastic to be collected, then again to be recycled, and a third time to be made into products,” Pearce said. The energy savings is as much as 80 percent in small towns and rural areas.