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back to article Buy a household 3D printer, it'll pay for itself in MONTHS!

Install a 3D printer in your house and it could pay for itself in just four months, a group of university engineers have claimed. This is according the Michigan Tech "Open Sustainability Technology Group" (also home to "3D Printers for Peace"). Dr Joshua Pearce and his acolytes say that anyone who uses an open source "self- …

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Terrible waste of resources

If we (ie the Human Race) were actually serious about lasting any decent length of time on this mud ball, there are good reasons why we should not have normal paper printers in a persons house, let alone a snot-sticker

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FAIL

Re: Terrible waste of resources

Yes because the world is being deforested because of demand for paper. Get Real.

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Boffin

Re: Terrible waste of resources

Yes because the world is being deforested because of demand for paper. Get Real.

Even if the trees to produce the paper are grown sustainably (and many are), paper production is far from good for the environment, with many impacts, including waste from the pulping and bleaching process (hint: wood pulp is not white), and the environmental impact of inks, toners, and coatings commonly in use.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_paper

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Pint

Re: Terrible waste of resources

"because the world is being deforested because of demand for paper."

That isn't true. It's being deforested because of the demand for agricultural land. Paper is just one of the many crops we humans need.

The best thing we humans could have done was not to stop using paper, but to start using more bits of rubber on the ends of our willies.

Ideally, we should have done this before we got to a billion. It's not that long ago that this was the world's population. Some of us are likely to see that rise to 25 billion.

So please. If you care about the planet, stop breeding!

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Re: Terrible waste of resources

@ Loyal Commenter

Not to change the subject but go check out what waste products result from Greek Yogurt - the latest fad

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Re: Terrible waste of resources

I care not a jot for this miserable ball of shite.

tho fortunately for your argument i care rather a lot about my disposable income....

so ok then :-)

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Re: Terrible waste of resources

its not that simple. i'm all for saving and not wasting resources.

but you could also argue that a long term effect of huge population = more brains = more ideas = more advanced technology = less resources needed = and possibly also best case scenario, invention of practically free energy source and/or achieving technological singularity much faster than a limited population = endless resources

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Anonymous Coward

And this ladies and gentlemen....

...is an example why the business world despairs at the ability of graduates when they arrive in the real world.

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Re: And this ladies and gentlemen....

You just try and tell Steve Bong that...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Print/2012/12/26/3d_printing_xmas_gift_catalog/

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A modern day laser

In the early 1960's LASERs were touted as a solution looking for a problem. It appears that whoever came up with this advertisement article has created a problem, or a whole set of problems to fit the solution. (And to be fair to 3D printing, maybe in 20 - 30 years it will evolve into something worth doing, too)

There are a few issues however. You don't need to buy this printer to get the tat it produces - you just need someone in the neighbourhood to sell this junk at a car boot sale. Second is that once you've produced your ration of cheap, plasticky garbage you don't need the printer any more - so off it goes to eBay, or FREEGLE if it still works. So the second hand market for these things should be quite bouyant (provided you can wait the few months for these to trickle through).

Finally, if you're producing all these things yourself, what is little Jonny going to bring home from his/her/its woodworking class? Maybe schools need to adapt and move with the times.

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Re: A modern day laser

I'm sure if I had a megawatt laser, I'd view it as the solution to every problem too.

The only really interesting thing I've ever seen 3D printers being used for is to produce D&D miniatures and scenery cheaper than you'd pay in a gaming store.

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Re: A modern day laser

@JeevesMkII

Printing D&D miniatures and scenery (or any other such models) is one of the most interesting applications I've seen for these printers. IMO it's not the slight savings you might get, but being able to customise things more. No need for the same repetitive scenery, you could change it up a bit! And that long scar your dwarf warrior got fighting that orc, well it's not just painted on (depending on the size of the miniature). Same goes for other games -- I have need of replacement pips for Iron Dragon, as my young daughters a few years ago lost them all (as well as a few of the cargo tokens), and making different robot models for RoboRally would be fun.

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Does this use the same plastic that everything seems to be made of these days?

You know - the stuff that breaks easily and seems to be impossible to glue or repair in anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does this use the same plastic that everything seems to be made of these days?

You can print in nylon, ABS or PLA, and a few folk have used less convenient things like polycarbonate and various flavours of polyethylene. None of these will have any mould-release chemicals in them so they should be a little more amenabe to gluing, and stuff like nylon and ABS is pretty standard stuff and there'll be lots of adhesives available. PLA (the classic 'hammered snot' look ) has a glass transition point comfortably below that of boiling water, so it is pretty straightfoward to heat it up to do some sorts of repairs.

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Re: Does this use the same plastic that everything seems to be made of these days?

Does this make PLA a candidate for not bothering with the printer and just modeling the hot plastic by hand?

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Re: Does this use the same plastic that everything seems to be made of these days?

Have a look at PolyMorph, plastic granules that you can melt down in warm/hot water then form by hand. Tough as Nylon when it's done, but can be melted and resued many times.

Places like Maplins sell it in the UK.

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Re: Does this use the same plastic that everything seems to be made of these days?

If you're not going to use the printer then why not use Milliput instead of the plastic.

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Headmaster

Re: Places like Maplins sell it in the UK.

Why would a Holiday Camp sell it?

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Re: Does this use the same plastic that everything seems to be made of these days?

Can I put in a good word for Sugru too (pity about its short shelf life tho'). And there's always used chewing gum...

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Re: Does this use the same plastic that everything seems to be made of these days?

What is needed is a means to bond glass, carbon, etc. fiber layers, or better still, metal layers. The ability to print composite materials would make it far more useful.

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Re: Does this use the same plastic that everything seems to be made of these days?

There are 3-D printers that will do metal (laser sintering). Not at the home hobbyist level though.

http://www.3ders.org/articles/20130529-china-shows-off-world-largest-3d-printed-titanium-fighter-component.html

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Spoon holder...

My wife has a spoon holder. A nasty cheap plastic affair. I know this as I melted one side of it by leaving the thing too near the hob. The smell of burning plastic ruined the glorious smell of fried bacon.....

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Re: Spoon holder...

My wife has a spoon holder. A nasty cheap plastic affair.

I have a spoon holder. It's made of hand.

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Re: Spoon holder...

At least burning PLA has a pleasant milky stench.

The problem with PLA for household goods is that it melts at about 50C; if you stick a 3D-printed thing in the dishwasher it comes out a bit Dali, if you try to 3D-print coasters you find you have made expensive and attractive stick-on bottoms for your coffee cups.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Spoon holder...

Get an induction hob, they don't emit so much heat around the cooking area.

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Re: Spoon holder...

I have a high-tech ceramic monocoque spoon holder; it's very resistant to heat and features a handle as well.

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Re: Spoon holder...

@Tom - not sure where you got those numbers from. The two common 3D printed materials (PLA and ABS) have melting points well above 100C (160-170C for PLA and 200-220 for ABS), through PLA softens at between 60-65C and ABS at 105-110C.

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Re: Spoon holder...

Hey don't knock spoon rests. I have a nice ceramic one, use it all the time, saves me wiping the kitchen counter AND wipes clean really easily so no dishwashing required. Time saver all round.

No way in hell would I have a cheap plastic one, though, some stuff like tomato sauce stains plastic really easily

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Re: Spoon holder...

I have one as well - it doubles as a used teabag.

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Re: Spoon holder...

A ceramic spoon rest? I think i have a whole set. I call them plates and saucers ....

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Re: Spoon holder...

Only a short comment as I am busy holding a spoon

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Spoon holder...

"I have a spoon holder. It's made of hand."

Dying of laughter over this. Don't know but it's just hilarious.

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Re: Spoon holder...

get a ceramic spoon holder

they are cheaper than a new stove

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Joke

Re: Spoon holder...

Same here - can't help thinking of Private Eye's "Me and My Spoons" feature as I read this...

NEXT WEEK

Trevor Pott: Me and My Pot

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Facepalm

What a lot of rubbish.

I've seen this technology working firsthand - both the plastic and metal versions--I've metal thingies on my desk made this way. Whilst its fascinating, its level of sophistication (and current state of the art), especially in integrating different materials and technologies within printed components, is about as sophisticated as an ancient crystal set is compared to a modern internet TV or smart phone.

Wake me up when the model comes out where I can dial up a glass of wine or a beer followed by an aspirin--or any other drug for that matter. And where the deluxe model can print me out an iPhone or a new laptop.

In the meantime, I'm not interested in novelty roughcast plastic junk.

Like all technology, it'll takes a good 50+ years to be truly useful.

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Boffin

Re: What a lot of rubbish.

Oh, and I forgot. Just wait until the copyright and patent police start policing objects made this way. If you think software and AV copyright is bad enough now, home manufacturing of commonplace items will I'll be a bloody nightmare because of potential IP issues.

For starters, every machine will be nobbled for copyright and patent protection--not to mention nobbled from manufacturing items the state considers to be 'nasties' - AK47s for instance. The list will be huge.

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Unhappy

Re: What a lot of rubbish.

This article reminds me of that (thankfully) short lived craze in the 70s when everyone and dog was encapulating stuff in clear resin.

Jewellry? Yes, have a sea horse in a block of stuff (with the obligatory fingerprint). Something to put on the mantlepiece? Yes, have a seahorse and a shell in a clear block with a bit of seaweed.

Car key organiser? Well, it's called a keyfob and, guess what? We can make you one with a sea horse set in an attractive clear block.

Looking for that diamond ring of your late mother? Well, look no further because little Johnny has encapsulated in clear resin along with a sea horse.

I am looking over my desk now to see what I have here that could be printed in white snot. Er, nothing. Could I use my car keys to be organised with white snotted plastic? Well, no, they are all kept on one keyring and they can't get more organised that that. No sorry, a great invention but not there yet.

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Happy

Re: What a lot of rubbish.

I made an ashtray with embedded threepenny bits. Luckily did not include any of my mum's jewelry.

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Coat

Re: What a lot of rubbish.

but it can make spoon holders as well no doubt humanity desperate quest for spoon holder has been fulfilled praise be unto the 3d printers providers of spoon holders!

Yeah I will get my coat it is one full of spoons.

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@BongoJoe - Re: What a lot of rubbish.

Correct. And I wasn't kidding about the copyright and patent issues either (it's not my idea). The fact is the IP police are already mightily concerned about the technology--so are governments. This technology has the potential to manufacture drugs--dial-a-drug--as well as alter/assemble/grow genetic material.

Having it in the hands of the general public is causing much indigestion in administrative circles I can assure you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What a lot of rubbish.

> threepenny bits

thrupenny bits

TFTFY.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What a lot of rubbish.

THREEPENNY BITS! (But pronounced the way you think it is.)

TFTFY

http://www.thrupennybits.co.uk/

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Thumb Up

Re: What a lot of rubbish.

I recommend this for more information on the policing of makers in the near future....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_34_%28novel%29

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What a lot of rubbish.

You forget why this stuff was invented, prototyping.

Yes it will be nice to print out circuits and devices. But even the terminator from T2 couldn't form complex shapes and machines "it doesn't work that way", but the one in T3 could.

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And I wasn't kidding about the copyright and patent issues either

Well, you shouldn't be - it's a serious issue. If I spend money designing something to sell and someone scans it and gives away the specs, this is a problem.

I see 3D printing should work something like sheet music - just because it's the music rather than a recording you still normally pay for it. Likewise if you want to make something I designed, pay me for the blueprints.

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Stop

Re: What a lot of rubbish.

Depends on the version of the technology you are talking about. Laser sintering is good enough to make parts for jet and rocket engines so I wouldn't hurry to write it off. As it happens the patents for that type of manufacture expire next year, so expect to see it get rapidly cheaper.

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Re: What a lot of rubbish.

Plasticraft was awesome.

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Paris Hilton

thrupenny bits

thrupenny bits, isn't that rhyming slang?

I know what I'd print with my 3D printer (see icon), thrupenny bits and all.

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Re: And I wasn't kidding about the copyright and patent issues either

Well, you shouldn't be - it's a serious issue. If I spend money designing something to sell and someone scans it and gives away the specs, this is a problem.

On the other hand, if you buy something, and a cheap plastic part inside it breaks, because it was designed to wear out to fleece you for money for a replacement part, then being able to make your own replacement is the opposite of a problem, n'est-ce-pas?

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Terminator

Re: What a lot of rubbish.

"the terminator from T2 couldn't form complex shapes and machines [...] but the one in T3 could."

*pushes glasses up* Actually, T3's "T-X" is a hybrid of a Series 900 chassis surrounded with the mimetic-polyalloy of the T-1000. The advanced weapons are built into the base chassis and the polyalloy allows it to imitate human appearance for infiltration. (See also: http://terminator.wikia.com/wiki/Series_T-X)

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