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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid