Profile: Just 3D Printing, Suchismita and Jayant Pai
Need to be addressed: Pollution and litter caused by plastic bottles and bags and an inefficient recycling process.
The proposed Project: Just 3D printing will source recycled plastics collected by local waste pickers. Specially designed machines will be used to transform this material into a filament suitable for use in 3D printers, that can either be sold to Just 3D Printing, or to other users of this technology.
Just 3D Printing will also install low cost DIY 3D printers into kiosks at popular locations across India that will be subsidised to give young entrepreneurs and students access to low cost rapid prototyping. The kiosks will be staffed by local employees, who will receive relevant training. Just 3D Printing favours a ‘cradle to grave’ approach – recycling its own products so that the material can be re-used.
Location: Pune, India
Why did you decide to enter the 3D4D Challenge?
Although both of us studied in the US, we kept coming back to India and we’ve always wanted to do something to make a difference. The 3D4D Challenge seemed like an organised way of doing this that would put us in contact with other like minded people.
We have been through the normal company cycle, but post-50 we decided that we wanted to give something back. Social entrepreneurship appealed to us – something that could make a profit, while also being for a good cause.
What motivated you come up with your idea?
In India, there are a lot of issues that we could pick from to work with. From a technology angle, we were already looking at 3D printing broadly as the next cool thing to do over the coming decade. Our son is currently studying at MIT in America and he is very keen on social entrepreneurship. We really liked the idea of providing a service that involves the whole eco-system – the cradle to grave approach – and 3D printing gave us the opportunity to do this. We want to do something that won’t clutter up the Earth.
What excites you about 3D printing?
With 3D printing, manufacturing can be taken down to an individual level. You can make whatever you want to make without having to rely on a huge plant, so students are able to put their own projects into action without getting stuck.
When you’re a student, you have a lot of dreams, but these dreams can only be visualised. 3D printing gives you the chance to actually convert your dreams into a touch and feel reality. With 3D printing, it is possible to produce a rapid prototype of your designs at much lower cost compared to going to if you went to traditional manufacturer.
3D printing technology has been around for a while but it used to be very expensive to use. With our project, we aim to make a low cost 3D printing solution available. Once it becomes available to the masses, we believe there will be a natural increase in the level of innovation – particularly from young people.
How would you use the money to develop your idea if you win?
At the moment, we are only at the 20% in terms of how far along we are with the project. Lots of research still needed. We would use the money to set up trials, find out exactly which types of plastics are right for the purpose and to employ people with expertise in these areas. Although we know that it is feasible to bring our project to the right conclusion, we need help from other people along the way. We will also need to develop a prototype machine.
How would your idea help to improve the lives of those in developing countries?
- Students and researchers – our project will provide more opportunity for young people to innovate.
- Waste pickers – waste plastic will become more valuable, so even unskilled individuals will be able to start small businesses of their own and become entrepreneurs. This will also encourage people to re-use waste, so that there’s less rubbish left to clutter up the environment.
- Filament makers – our project will create a small scale industry. In order to fulfil the requirements of the 3D printing market and to supply enough filament, lots of people will need to be trained to fulfil the process. This will generate much needed employment, innovation and extra revenue.