News / Science & Technology

3D Printers Arrive in US Stores

3D Printers Appearing in US Stores for Consumersi
X
September 18, 2013 1:24 PM
Imagine having an idea, sketching it on paper, bringing it to a store and seeing that drawing turned into a physical object in a matter of hours. This is now possible for the average consumer with the help of 3D printers. These machines were once only used by universities and big corporations, but now, stores with 3D printing services are popping up around the United States for anyone who wants to see an idea become reality. Elizabeth Lee reports.
Elizabeth Lee
— Imagine having an idea, sketching it on paper, bringing it to a store and seeing that drawing turned into a physical object in a matter of hours.  This is now possible for the average consumer with the help of 3D printers. These machines were once only used by universities and big corporations, but now, stores with 3D printing services are popping up around the United States for anyone who wants to see an idea become reality. 

Bryan Jaycox and his wife love to play with high-tech toys. They opened The Build Shop LLC in Los Angeles two years ago.  It's filled with tools like a laser cutter, an industrial sewing machine and various 3D printers. They offer 3D printing classes and services for anyone who is interested.

“I think 3D printing is going to be huge," said Jaycox. "It’s going to make a huge impact on society as a whole.”

One of the students in his class is KiChong Tran. He plans to open a 3D print shop in Cambodia.

“I envision a place where people can come in with ideas, a drawing -- just anything on a napkin -- and we convert that drawing into a file and 3D print it,” he said.

3D printing services are popping up for consumers all across the United States. The UPS Store, a nationwide retailer that provides services that include shipping and copying, recently installed 3D printers in three of its franchises.  Burke Jones owns one in San Diego.

“The demand has been amazing," he said. "It’s been much more than I would have imagined.”

The UPS Store plans to add 3D printers in three additional stores.  Company executive Mark Denney said customers come from diverse backgrounds.

“Anybody that has a startup any inventors, engineers that have a need to produce something like this,” Denney explained.

For $11, Jonathan Netter used the 3D printer to produce two small plastic parts that would make up an artificial knuckle.  Netter works for a medical device company that is testing finger prosthetics.  He said the same-day or next-day service will speed up the testing phase and get the prosthetic to patients faster.

"I'd say it would save us about a year of testing time," he said.

And -- as with any technology -- experts expect the printing speed and price to improve.  Currently Bryan Jaycox charges $15 an hour to print an object, plus a fee depending on the size of the object and up to $50 an hour for design and labor services. 

At The UPS Store, the cost of the object depends on the amount of materials used.  It charges up to $95 an hour to design the object with software that creates a digital file which allows the printer to produce it.

Jaycox predicts that in five years, 3D printing technology could become more consumer friendly.  But KiChong Tran said even current technology can make a difference in a developing country such as Cambodia.

“With 3D printing you can give them tools, you put it in their hands so they are responsible more for their own development and they learn skills beyond just learning English and becoming a tour guide or something like that or working at a bank you can actually create things that give value to the world,” Tran said.

And he said it’s not just Cambodia.  Anywhere in the world where there is a 3D printer, it can turn a good idea -- into reality.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid