The joy of 3D printing for the creative, geeky or curious soul

The next time you feel creative, have an injury or a unique gifting idea, head to Imaginarium

To a creative mind, 3D printing may be the answer to all his prayers.

Bear in mind that 3D printing isn’t making waves now. It’s been around for a few years, only slowly picking up takers across industries. Although desktop 3D printing machines have made it to your local jeweller’s shop as well, what Imaginarium is doing here is opening possibilities for common folk, the local manufacturer for making prototypes, and giving huge hope to medical experts.

What all you can do at Imaginarium

Someone like us is more likely to go berserk if given the freedom to 3D print whatever we wanted to. But then again, given the economy and our salaries, we’d stick to the basics.

Among an ocean of other things, you can print your own jewellery designs at Time to 3D in Mumbai. Rest assured, it will be a more economic and less time consuming process, entailing to lesser wastage and more efficiency as opposed to the traditional ways of jewellery making. The money saved can be used to buy a PS4 perhaps? Food for thought - well even that may be 3D printed in the future.

Need specialised surgery? Your doctor can operate better on you by having a 3D printed model of your kidney, heart, even skull. The technology provided by Imaginarium has, in the past, provided assistance by printing 3D models of different organs so doctors are better prepared for surgery and customise treatments for every patient. It won’t be long before 3D printed organs are used for transplants as well.

It’s no-holds-barred 3D printing, with no strings attached!


Loads to learn here

Want to have some fun of your own? Learn how to 3D print at the Imaginarium Academy in Mumbai. Maybe a miniature model of the Eiffel tower, or if your imagination is capable of making an even more marvellous structure, go right ahead and let those creative juices flow. Put the design on paper and the good folk at Imaginarium will turn it into an object you can touch, feel and display on your shelf.

Here’s a fact – the 59th Filmfare awards (2014) trophy was made, or shall we say ‘printed’ by Imaginarium.

From making breakthroughs with 3D printing across industries like medicine, prototyping automobile parts, researching on making 3D printed human organs fit enough for transplant, customising everyday products to suit individual needs, to training those interested in 3D printing – you name it, Imaginarium is doing it.


The 3D workspace

A dedicated floor for all the printing, the area is divided into two – one where the humans work, and another one designated for the 3D printing machine where all the magic happens. But of course, you need those little elves on the other side to give the finishing touches to the masterpieces the machines brought to life. They have their own version of the North Pole (with no Santa) going on here, with the not-so-little elves working away in separate areas for automobile parts, jewellery and other segments where Imaginarium is the happy service provider.

How it works

Feed a Computer Aided Design (CAD) file to one of these monstrous machines and the digital data is ‘printed’, a layer at a time. Thus giving it a three dimensional structure, as opposed to traditional manufacturing processes which are two dimensional and require hours of cutting, carving, etc.

The 3D machines are capable of printing a wide range of materials including glass, paper and metals, but plastic, nylon and resin are most commonly used.


The cost and time frame

Since the machine costs run into seven to eight digit figures, it’s no surprise then that getting something 3D printed isn’t an economic proposition. Products of mass production are least suited to such production methods. However, for personalised gifting, building prototypes and specialised surgeries, look no further.

Time to 3D can print things for you, starting as low as 1500. We were in awe of the customised mini bobble heads we saw on display at the Imaginarium office. In fact, a 3D printed model of one of our own too turned up at the office doors a few months ago. Spooky, but makes for a thoughtful gift.

Future of 3D printing

Yesterday’s future is today’s reality, so it’s safest to never say never to anything. For all we know, calamity-struck places might be able to provide instant (though temporary) housing solutions by building 3D printed houses in the near future. One shouldn’t be writing off any possibility when it comes to technology. Such technology is bound to have some disruptive effects as well. But for now we can only appreciate Imaginarium’s efforts.