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Type Paper
Cite as Citation reference for the source document. Gallup, N.; Pearce, J.M. The Economics of Classroom 3-D Printing of Open-Source Digital Designs of Learning Aids. Designs 2020, 4, 50. ; open access

While schools struggle financially, capital for purchasing physical learning aids is often cut. To determine if costs could be reduced for learning aids, this study analyzed classroom-based distributed digital manufacturing using 3-D printing of open-source learning aid designs. Learning aid designs are analyzed in detail for their economic viability considering printing and assembly costs with purchased components and compared to equivalent or inferior commercial products available on Amazon. The results show current open-source 3-D printers are capable of manufacturing useful learning aids and that doing so provides high economic savings in the classroom. Overall, the average learning aid would save teachers 86% when fabricating it themselves. The results show that the average design evaluated was downloaded over 1,500 times and the average savings per year per open-source learning aid design was USD 11,822. To date, the 38 learning aid designs evaluated in this study saved over USD 45,000 each and the total of all of them saved the international educational community over USD 1.7 million. It is clear that investing in the development of open-source learning aids for students provides a return on investment (ROI) for investors hoping to improve education, on average, of more than 100%.

Keywords[edit | edit source]

learning aid; distributed manufacturing; economics; open source; digital designs; teaching tools; education aid; open-source designs;3-D printing;Open-source hardware;STEM education;Transformative education;RepRap;additive manufacturing;sustainability education;maker movement

See also[edit | edit source]

FA info icon.svgAngle down icon.svgPage data
Authors Joshua M. Pearce
License CC-BY-SA-4.0
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 12 pages link here
Impact 225 page views
Created November 29, 2020 by Joshua M. Pearce
Modified February 23, 2024 by Maintenance script
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