Research shows that the UAE’s 3D printing market size is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 55.3 per cent between 2018 and 2024.
The architecture sector tops the revenue generation for the 3D printing sector in the country.
Binder jetting has been found to be the most widely used technology for architectural modelling.
Though 3D printers have been gaining popularity across the world, the price point has been a deterrent of sorts and more so in developing countries like India.
But Melvin George, 24, from Kannur in north Kerala, the southernmost Indian state, has come up with an innovative and inexpensive way of developing a 3D printer amid the raging Covid-19 pandemic that is evoking widespread enthusiasm in the UAE.
George, a guitar aficionado, who is pursuing a postgraduate degree in commerce, wanted to print out parts of the musical instrument, but found that a 3D printer at Dh7,500 was way too expensive for him to afford. This got his curious mind ticking: why not make a 3D printer all by himself?
“Though I had made a guitar out of wood, I was keen to use original parts of the musical instrument. Initially, I wanted to take a 3D printout, but later because of the prohibitive costs decided to make one on my own that proved to be quite a resounding success,” he told
The Internet proved to be a great leveller as he learnt the tricks of the trade from available online resources.
He has been constantly upgrading his homegrown 3D printer, whose making charge is only Dh1,000 and still a work in progress.
For the uninitiated, 3D printing, or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional objects from a digital file using additive processes.
The maximum print size of a 3D printer is 120 centimetres (cm) x 83cm x 83cm.
So far, he has printed out figurines and showpieces besides parts of a guitar and its amplifier.
“I’m making my own polylactic acid (PLA), one of the key ingredients used in 3D printing, with corn. The PLA, which is industrially produced, uses additives and us ecologically harmful, but the homegrown stuff is 100 per cent biodegradable and safe,” he added.
George is into Western pop music and has fancied himself a lyricist since his high school days. And that’s where his penchant for playing guitar stems from.
His 3D printing innovation received a further boost from his uncle Byju Mathew, who works as an automation consultant in Australia.
“My self-learning skills have emboldened me to build India’s second concrete printed house.
I've even discovered a brand-new 3D printing kinematics, which will change the printing speed drastically. However, building a printer to those specifications will be more complicated, as parts for a printer like that exist. The future hinges on this concrete printer, which is in the works,” he added.
George's homegrown technical skills, passion and a ready demand for 3D printing technology in the UAE and the wider region make him an ideal candidate to leave his native Kerala and make a dash for the Arabian Gulf nation, which is a home-away-home for an estimated over 60 per cent of the Indian expatriates.
Will George bite the bullet and come to the UAE soon on a hop, skip and jump fuelling an archetypal Malayalee's Gulf dream?
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The service is the first of its kind in the region.
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