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.
    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

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.