Stepping into the third dimension
At the newly-opened Time to 3D cafe, Atit Kothari of Imaginarium shows us a 3D-printed skull of an actual patient with a craniectomy and a titanium implant. Pics/SameerâÂÂMarkande
When Atit Kothari wanted to fashion his wedding bands, he realised he would just have to do it himself. "I wanted sound graphs of my girlfriend and I saying 'I love you' to each other embossed on the rings. Rather than go to a jeweller, I thought it might be better to 3D print them," he says.
An image of the 18K white gold rings, replete with mushy sound waves, are part of the decor of Time to 3D Cafe in Vile Parle (West). An effort by 3D printing pioneers Imaginarium and Time Media, the cafe is the first of its kind in the city, where you can walk in to sculpt anything that you desire, right from a teacup to a ring.
When we visit the cafe on Thursday, Kothari, who is part of the leadership team at Imaginarium, draws a parallel to a photocopier's shop. You hop right in and begin printing, just as you would at a scanning-printing kiosk. There are five 3D printers, a workshop space and a 3D doodler, a pen that helps you draw in the third dimension.
The cafe also has provisions for a 3D doodler, a pen that helps you construct objects using ABSâÂÂor PLS plastic
In a counter are objects meant to give us a teaser of the range of things that can be made from scratch. Lion heads keep company with pendants and earrings; abstract ceramic thingamajigs rub shoulders with miniature replicas of Strandbeests, the famous wind-powered engineering marvels by Theo Jansen. Holding a 3D-printed skull of a patient with a cranioectomy and a titanium implant in his hand, and looking like Hamlet in the process, Kothari says, "The uses of 3D printing are unlimited. You can take it up for fun or for a more serious purpose."
One of the FDM printers at the cafe
The cafe is aimed at individuals, such as the collegian or the medical intern, who will benefit from this walk-in store and its DIY appeal. 3D printing is still a big deal, and, here, it is made more accessible.
The biggest draw, we feel, may be 3D printed selfies, a rather cool and near-accurate representation of the human face and figure. If you are looking to gift a loved one a handy little sculpture, this could be a way. While Kothari recalls the man who 3D printed a figurine of himself saying "I miss you" for his girlfriend, there are plenty of purposes for 3D printing beyond the matters of the heart at this café. Engineering students and architects, who wish to make scale models for their projects, will find these services a boon. "The hottest services will be our workshops, in which participants can learn not just the literature of 3D printing but also the actual step-by-step process," says Kothari.
Get scanned for a 3D figurine of yourself at this cafe
Printing costs should start from Rs 1,000. Workshops can range anywhere between Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 depending on the theme. If you want to print your rings, you may need to make arrangements for an ingot. Or, as Kothari promises, they can do that, too. Will you get coffee and cookies at this cafe? Not yet.
WHERE: Time to 3D cafe, Seva Sadan, DJ Road, Vile Parle (W)
WHEN: 10 AM - 7 PM