3D printing can be traced back as early as 1981 when Hideo Kodama was looking for a method to create a system for fast prototyping. He developed a layer-by-layer manufacturing process utilising a photosensitive resin that was hardened by UV light.
Nowadays, there are many industries, such as aerospace & defence, automotive, medical & dental, and others, that rely on 3D printing for prototyping, manufacturing of new parts, or research. 3D printing is definitely the way of the future and one Malaysian is trying to spread this ‘magical’ technology.
In a news report by The Star, Sean Ng, a factory owner who has been in the 3D printing industry for over a decade, is attempting to raise public awareness about “the closest thing to magic in the real world.”
During his time in Taiwan studying industrial design, he began to learn about the industry. He continued by saying that he fell in love with 3D printing since he believed he could make practically anything he could think of and come up with a design for.
It is not a difficult thing to learn and most of the people I know learn it through videos and articles online. In fact, we could even make our own 3D printers based on instructions available online. The first 3D printer I owned was a DIY (do-it-yourself) piece assembled with spare parts I bought online.Sean Ng
The majority of Malaysians, he said, either were not aware of the technology or did not know how to get started. He noted that this is extremely unlike Taiwan, where people are far more aware of the advantages of this technology.
Ng said that in 2015, upon his return to Johor, he created a café in Kulai where he offered not just coffee but also a number of 3D printers for customers to use. In an effort to educate as many people as possible about 3D printing, he also assisted them with printing and educated the customers.
Ng and his business partner created a 3D factory in Senai in 2019 after shutting their café. This facility serves as a distributor for 3D printers and offers training to companies and schools in addition to selling the printers. He said that by creating prototypes of the products they want, they also assist businesses with their research and development.
I notice that there has been an increase in interest in 3D printing since the Covid-19 pandemic as people looking for alternative ways to earn a living at home.
It is a good improvement, but we still have a long way to go. I don’t mind giving free consultations to those interested in learning more about 3D printing, either for business or as a hobby.Sean Ng
He also wishes to see more “makerspaces” in Johor, a place where individuals can utilise their imagination to produce a variety of things, including 3D printed objects.