3-D printing in the city, so far limited to sophisticated industries and research facilities, is available to anyone, at a price. Time to 3D, a 3-D printing café, which claims to be the first of its kind in India, opened in Vile Parle on Saturday.
“The idea behind the store is that we want students, faculty, professionals and even housewives to come up with their own designs and problem-solving techniques,” says Amogh Patkar. “We want people to explore and understand what 3-D printing can do for their industry.” Mr. Patkar, is Special Projects Liaison with Imaginarium, the 3-D printing company which is one of the partners behind the store (the Time Group is the other).
On the shelves, one can find superhero action figurines, miniature busts and geometric 3-D casts. “You can also get yourself a 3D selfie here,” Mr. Patkar says. “There’s a scanner that will take your 360° view and the ‘print’ will be ready for you in two or three days, which will cost ₹1,500.” The costs for the other kinds of figures haven’t been decided yet, but he says they will be affordable for college students. The location of the store is to target what Mr. Patkar calls ‘the education hub of Vile Parle,’ where he hopes it will attract college students wanting project prototyping, among other areas.
The store has five printers, and is now operational. The printers use ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and PLA (Polylactic acid) plastics. Mr. Patkar says the company will also have chocolate 3-D printers soon.
The inputs to the printers must be 3-D CADD (Computer-Aided Designing and Drafting) models, which require some specialised knowledge. So the store is planning regular training programmes for 3-D printing enthusiasts.
Some of the customers to the store have big plans too. Like Ronak Jogeshwar, who works with FICE, a social enterprise in the field of education. He says, “I’m here to print a bust of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will gift it to him in person next month. We already have a scan of his face. The store is a good initiative, as the scope of 3-D printing is endless.”