While 3D printers may be a bit pricey, they could ultimately end of paying for themselves many times over.

Whether it s to give you an excuse to buy the latest piece of cool tech, genuine financial need, or most likely a combination of the two, you probably had the experience of gazing at some fancy new gadget and wondering whether the money it will save you could make it cost-neutral over time.

This is frequently the claim of smart devices, which regularly advertise the cash they can save customers by cutting down on wasted resources around the house.

At Michigan Technological University, Associate Professor Joshua Pearce recently decided to explore that question using 3D printers.

For years we ve been using 3D printers to print high-end scientific equipment in our lab, he told Digital Trends.

It s very easy to show that if you use an affordable 3D printer, you can make your money back by printing thousands of dollars of scientific equipment over the course of just one weekend.

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