Lets face it – desktop 3D printers are far from meeting the standards of the average consumer. They are too complex for most non-technologically-minded people, and worst of all, they can only print small, hard objects from limited types of plastic. What on earth can be so useful about printing small, hard objects?
As it turns out, quite a lot.
Just 2% of the cost
An office supplies company in Townsville, Australia called Delta Office Solutions recently experienced firsthand just how handy it can be to own a 3D printer. The company’s office dishwasher broke, due to a small part that snapped and caused the loading tray to detach from its wheels. Office managers at the company looked into ordering new parts and found that it would cost $45 and take four days. Instead of waiting, they decided on a more efficient solution that would dually save money.
Two of the company’s employees Brian Worley and Adrian Smith took on the challenge of using the office’s desktop 3D printer to make the dishwasher piece themselves. They used Google’s free Sketchup design app to make 3D model files of the part, and they put their printer to the test. Within three hours, the pair had a brand new, 3D printed exact replica of the piece in their hands.
Worley said it cost them just $1.60 for the cost of materials – about two percent of the retail price. “It can take up to four days to get missing parts and other stuff from Sydney but now people can make things on their own,” said Worley.
Saving money while making a little extra on the side, too
This team of Australians is far from being the first to take advantage of the handy convenience of a desktop 3D printer. In May, we spoke to an entrepreneur by the name of Christopher Sweeney who used his MakerBot desktop printer to solve “at home fix-its” in his Hawaii home and had even turned his endeavors into a company, selling bespoke objects to people around the US.
“The options for what I can make are limitless. I can make anything as simple as an office desk accessory such as a pen or card holder, to something as complex as a custom art piece,” said Chris. “It has also been convenient to solve ‘at home fix-it’s’. If something breaks, instead of having to go to the hardware store hoping they have the part I need in specific dimensions, I can create the broken piece in a matter of hours.”
So if you have ever found yourself rushing to Home Depot to overpay for a specific part, tool or gadget, or if you have ever had to wait more than a few hours for the arrival of a part that is absolutely pivotal to the functionality of your showerhead, dishwasher or TV stand, then perhaps it is about time you looked into investing in a desktop 3D printer.