Bengaluru’s 3D printing service providers are looking to usher into a future where custom designed products are just a few clicks from reality.
3dfication Printing Services, a 3D printing service company, through their brand CloneMe, lets people purchase customised figurines of themselves, that have been scanned and printed by a 3D printer.
“I had some experience in prototyping from my engineering days, but saw 3D printers being used in the gifting industry for figurines and the medical sector when I went abroad. After coming back to India, we decided that creating awareness about the technology among people was important, so we stared a business-to-consumer initiative in CloneMe,” says Siddharth Rathod, CEO, 3dfication Printing Services.
The company is not the only one in India. While his company helps corporate clients with design prototypes, another company, Brahma3, is manufacturing a 3D printer called Anvil. Arvind Nadig, the co-founder and CEO, and team went ahead and put India on the map as a maker of 3D printing hardware.
Arvind, says that the company started with the dream of buying a 3D printer. “We were toying with the idea of getting one for ourselves, but the import duties and customs fees were a constraint. Then it occurred to us, why not build one?”
Brahma3 now makes and sells the Anvil printer and, like 3dfication Printing Services, they help companies with design and prototyping their products. Both Brahma3 and 3dficaton also accept requests to custom make products.
The rise of 3D printing has given rise to many forums online where 3D models of objects are put up for download (usually in a file format called STL). A 3D printer can then use this model to print out a physical replica of this file. While the major potential for this technology lies in medicine, the sheer number of materials these machines are now compatible with means they can print everything from spare parts for that long-discontinued household item you keep for sentimental value to, incredible as it seems, food.
“There are over 240 materials that have been used in printers, and going by the way things stand, in another four to five years, it is possible that most households will have a basic printer for their essential needs,” says Siddharth.
Brhama3 has been focusing on working with open source communities and NGOs to help make custom-designed prosthetic limbs, an initiative. It is also being extended for strays and pets. “The need of the hour is to bridge the huge gap that exists in the market, and we’re seeing strong traction from hobbyists like jewellery designers and makers of toys and accessories.”
Siddharth is of the opinion that as the technology becomes more widely available, people will come up with new uses for it. “Surprisingly, we’re getting a lot of requests from the funeral sector, as people want to have likenesses made of departed loved ones.”
Some time ago, NASA revealed exploring 3D printed food as an option for astronauts, and even displayed the pizza that was printed by the startup commissioned to work on the project.