Check the inside scoop on 3D printing
T3 magazine got the inside scoop on 3D printing, after being granted the pleasure to share some Q & A with Raidy Doumit, Managing Director at Raidy Printing Group in Lebanon.
T3ME: So you mentioned that you are the exclusive distributor for European machines. Can you tell us a little bit about these machines that you are pioneering into the Lebanese – and Middle Eastern – market?
RD: In 3D printing, you have the industrial side and the desktop side, similar to how in print-on-paper, you have desktop tasks that you can do at home, but you’ll have to consult a printing press for more complicated processes, and similarly machines can range from 2,500 dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
What are some of the prime benefits of 3D printing, in a nutshell?
RD: Prototyping is a very important aspect of this industry. For example, assuming I wanted to launch a new shampoo bottle, sampling involves a lot of fixed costs. If I was Procter and Gamble, I would want to produce a sample. Sampling normally can net you costs of up to 10,000 dollars. But with 3D printing, you can print your own bottle at minimum cost, and minimum quantity. One at a time. In this sense, 3D printing is not for mass production, but much more about prototyping.
Today, in Europe, carpenters are benefitting from 3D printers. They can 3D print any object they need for them to see the proportions, so they can rest assured, before executing their designs. And then you have education, and schools. When you and I were younger, we’d have to fumble with actual animal organs in biology class, during lessons on anatomy, but 3D printing has changed all that. Today, they rely on the 3D print samples instead. And you can produce it down to the fullest intricate details. 3D print can come up with silly day-to-day objects, but objects you can’t find anywhere else. Instead of trying to fish it out, you can find the same object on the internet. That’s part of the convenience.
On the subject of transforming consumers into prototype designers, shooting further into the future, do you think this will become the standard for consumers?
RD: Yes, that’s precisely 3D printing, summarized into a few words. Everyone becomes their own product designer. Let’s say I have a bearing that is broken. I’d normally have to refer to a third party for an industrial solution, or refer to the source to replace that part. But with 3D printing, I can just tap into the world wide web, find it online and download it myself. Voila. We aren’t there yet, but the industry is evolving very, very quickly. One of the companies I represent has a 3D printer that is 12 meters tall, and it prints in real concrete a building that’s up to 2 floors, with 36 square meter each floor, making it a total of 72 square meters.
How would you describe 3D printing, in a few words?
RD: There are four working slogans that we have for our machines. One is print the future today. Another one is be part of the revolution, because they say 3D printing is the second revolution, after the revolution of the internet. There is bring any design to life. And another one is discover what you can create because it’s true: at the end of the day, through the creation of my designs, I have physical proof of my talents as they materialize. Everything you see here or on the table is what I have produced.
Can you give us a brief idea of what you can print?
RD: The smallest machines can print objects up to 12 cm. The bigger one can print objects up to 1 meter. And on a global scale, the same machine is growing exponentially by the year, and I feel that in the near future, we will be 3D printing our own houses. So you could draw your design. Instead of supplying it with plastic, you’d supply it with concrete, and 3D print a house. As you are a consumer-lifestyle tech magazine, I’d like to give extra focus to the hobbyist. Choices are innumerable, as there is a societal input that’s constributing to the growth of the industry. But to give just a few examples, you can 3D print a drone. A cover for your lens. A case. A holder. If you wanna fix the go pro on a case to put all the machines. Virtually anything you want. It’s simple, if someone thought of it, drew it, and printed it out, he would also probably upload the file for re-use.
Do you provide the service as well? Or just the machines?
RD: This is something that we might be considering – offering a 3D printing service center. But for now I’m focusing on the machine. If I see there is enough demand, I’d look into it, in parallel with selling the machines as well. I eventually will be considering re-selling in the nearer future. But for now I’ll be selling directly to the consumer.
Source: T3 magazine