Sri Lanka’s first commercial 3D print-shop has started up. This young company will print almost any design from, say, Thingiverse, customize it, or help you design something of your own. They are also conducting classes on 3D printing.
If you’re unfamiliar, 3D printers print objects by printing layers of plastic on top of each other. The consumer level objects are somewhat basic – toys, spare parts, etc – but they can be as sophisticated as car parts or architectural models.
3D Concept Studio has brought down a few Makerbot printers and customized them, making them available for anyone’s use. Broadly, they can print any design as long as it’s within about 410 cubic inches. That’s a bit bigger than the average human head.
As a test, we got this dog tag printed from Thingiverse. It’s in two pieces that we’re supposed to glue together. The text got blurred and it looks a bit stringy but it’s cool. The dog likes it well enough. It cost. Rs. 1,500 plus 500 for customization (putting the dogs name on it). Some other possible items were this trash bag dispenser for Rs. 3,000 and this dog bowl/water carrier for Rs. 5,000.
Our experience here consisted of emailing them and then being walked through the process. They don’t really have a physical shop per se and everybody seems to be doing it in their spare time, but we did get our order the next day. The main point of interaction seems to be through their Facebook page.
3D printing is an interesting concept, but it’s not quite clear what it’s useful for. Rs. 2,000 for a dog tag doesn’t make sense, especially as he’s just tried to eat it. I mean, he’d be happier with Rs. 2,000 worth of bacon. However, we did just choose that as a test of the service, so we could tell you about. Things 3D printing might be good value for would be printing spare parts for our toy helicopter for example, which we keep flying into walls. I think a lot of their business also comes from design firms and people doing prototyping.
It is also just kinda fun. 3D printing is a new field and who knows what exactly will come of it. We are excited that 3D Concept Studios are bringing the machines and ideas down to Sri Lanka. Try them out and let us know what you create.