Open-source, self-replicating 3-D printer factory for small-business manufacturing

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Wanted: Students to make a distributed future with solar-powered open-source RepRap 3-D printing and recyclebot recycling.
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Additive manufacturing with 3-D printers may be a key technology enabler for entrepreneurs seeking to use disruptive innovations such as business models utilizing distributed manufacturing. Unlike centralized manufacturing, distributed manufacturing makes the parts and products (the prints) at (or closer to) the source of the demand, cutting out much of the traditional supply chain. Although many expect 3-D printing to take off at the household level and previous work has shown significant returns for those choosing to do so, there are still significant barriers to entry for typical consumers. Our analysis demonstrates that for an individual to make an abnormally high return on their investments in 3-D printers, they must serve others to achieve high utilization rates. The impetus to do so is created by a service that can undercut traditionally manufactured products due to affordability and customizability. Low-cost, open-source 3-D printers are now priced within range of individual entrepreneurs who can take advantage of the long tail of consumers with highly varied interests. The margin advantage, net present value, and return on investment (ROI) analysis provided herein could form the basis of thousands of new small-business ventures in the coming years.


3-D printing, RepRap, Entrepreneurship, Disruptive innovation, Distributed manufacturing, Business model

See Also

  • [[Multi-material additive and subtractive prosumer digital fabrication with a free and open-source convertible delta RepRap 3-D printer[1]]]
  • [[Global value chains from a 3D printing perspective[2]]]
  • [[Mobile Open-Source Solar-Powered 3-D Printers for Distributed Manufacturing in Off-Grid Communities[3]]]
  • [[Evaluation of Potential Fair Trade Standards for an Ethical 3-D Printing Filament[4]]]
  • [[Reversing the Trend of Large Scale and Centralization in Manufacturing: The Case of Distributed Manufacturing of Customizable 3-D-Printable Self-Adjustable Glasses[5]]]
  • [[Life-cycle economic analysis of distributed manufacturing with open-source 3-D printers[6]]]
  • [[Open source 3-D printing of OSAT[7]]]
  • [[Distributed manufacturing with 3-D printing: a case study of recreational vehicle solar photovoltaic mounting systems[8]]]
  • [[High-Efficiency Solar-Powered 3-D Printers for Sustainable Development[9]]]