We can expect to hear a lot more from India in the near future. While the country is just making its appearance on the 3D printing world stage, with a population of over 1.2 billion people we can be assured that once it’s well entrenched in the market, it will change the landscape of 3D printing in a big way. On the forefront of this giant’s awakening is Prajnay Rajulu Boddepalli, founder of the Bangalore based REALiz3D.
Boddepalli studied industrial engineering at the University of Wisconsin, and when he graduated in the fall of 2011 he headed back to Bangalore to make his way in the world. While he knew about rapid prototyping, he didn’t realize then that 3D printing was making its way to the desktop. A conversation with a friend, however, got Boddepalli thinking and after some investigation he realized he had an opportunity to help India throw open the door to 3D printing.
In May of 2013, he put his money where his mouth was (so to speak) and with about $5,000 bought a MakerBot Replicator 2 and got his company rolling. In no time, he had orders rolling in.
And it hasn’t slowed down since.
REALiz3D has since added two more printers to its equipment and hired two full-time in-house designers. In an interview with 3Dprint.com Boddepalli described his business:
“We provide the whole ‘Design – Execution’ service where one could walk in to our office with just a concept/idea in their head and walk out with a real, tangible object in their hand, on the very same day. Quick and Quality is our motto and we’re slowly branding ourselves as a premium service provider.”
One of the reasons for REALiz3D’s rapid success lies in their machines. The output of the MakerBot Replicator 2 is a product of sufficiently high quality, making their products very sellable. Most of the 3D services that are in competition for business, offer printing on RepRap models, which are machines better suited for prototyping than for production.
Being aware of the plunge that India is taking into the 3D printing market, Boddepalli isn’t content to just be a service provider. He is also working to develop his own in-house design for a desktop 3D printer that will be significantly more affordable. Working with friends in India and the US, he predicts that a prototype for the new machine should be ready in 2 – 3 months.
The development of this new machine is eased by the pending expiration of 3D printing patents that will expire this coming year. Some of the technologies that Boddepalli was utilizing in the development of his printer could have potentially breached those patents, many involving SLS, and therefore he decided to delay his printer until that is no longer an issue. As when patents have expired in the past, a fruitful period of innovation follows and costs to the consumer decrease in some areas.
Boddepalli is hoping that his new machine will retail for Rs. 50,000 (less than $1,000) instead of the 1.07 lakh (approximately $1,800) that is the current cost for the MakerBot machine he bought. This would put desktop 3D printing within reach of a much larger segment of India’s population – and with such a large population even a small percentage increase translates to a great deal of business. While the impact may not be immediate, it is a step in the right direction, and there is no closing the lid on Pandora’s box once it has been opened.
Boddepalli isn’t just thinking of his own bottom line. His vision for future endeavors is part of bringing India up to speed. His next project involves the creation of India’s first online 3D printing marketplace to bring designers, makers, and hackers together on one platform. He would also like to start and operate a cloud-based 3D printer management system because, he says: “whether you own a printer or not, you should be able to 3D print your models.”
You can keep up with this precocious startup on their website www.realiz3d.in and through Facebook. And you can bet that this won’t be the last we hear of them. Discuss India’s foray into 3D printing in the REALiz3D forum thread on 3DPB.com.
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