Now, rent your own 3D printer

Now, rent your own 3D printer

CHENNAI: From space rocket components to human ears; from guns to pizzas, you can print almost anything on a 3D printer these days. And with so many mindblowing applications, of course you want one, at least to print your own mobile case. That’s exactly where Chennai startup Rent&Make comes in.

A chance meet at a tech get together in Chennai brought two 20-something engineers Prashanth Ragothaman R and N Srinivas Parikshith together. Ideas were shared, and soon, the startup for startups, hobbyists and students took shape and launched this February.

Hardly six months old, the fledgling venture was inspired by ‘makerspaces’ — where ‘makers’ get together and use hardware tools — and we’re not talking only about saws or hammers but new age tools like Computer Numeric Control machines that can cut materials layer by layer to produce different items.

“A hardware start-up requires infrastructure to build prototypes. Instead of investing a large amount of money, they can rent out the same machine at about 10% of the cost,” explains Prashanth.

For instance, certain phases like testing are temporary and the equipment for it could mean shelling out thousands. But renting it comes at a fraction of the cost, and it can be returned once the phase is over, explains Prashanth.

Srinivas says there’s personal experience behind this too. “As a student about four years back, I was into robotics and other technical projects. We used to roam the streets of Ambattur and Nehru Market to get second-hand parts,” he explains.

With startups like this, helping out students is much easier - in fact, they can print or cut out their own components!

“Recently, a batch of college students used our tools for an aeromodelling project,” says Srinivas. Adds Prashant, “The IT crowd is very interested in experimenting with such technology. They can rent our tools too. In fact, two companies have requested us to host workshops,” he says.

For now, the duo has been renting their machines only to expert users. But they have started off on a workshop model so that any user can attend their sessions, get a hands-on tutorial and rent the tools later. An option to hire a consultant is also in the pipeline.

“The main theme is to bring your ideas to life. We are planning to expand into a makerspace soon,” says Prashanth.

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