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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid