From Metro News’ Wanyee Li: Two local entrepreneurs say their new 3D printing store, a first for Vancouver, will bring a technology that was previously only accessible online to the everyday customer.
“A lot of times people read about it or they see videos online but they’ve never been able to see how it works in real life,” said Chris Choi, co-owner of 3DSmith.
Choi is a business school graduate and opened the store with his brother, Steve, an engineer, two months ago. The 20-somethings started their business on 3D Hubs, a crowdsourcing 3D printing website, but soon realized they could attract more customers if they had a retail storefront.
“For me and my brother, it is our job to show [customers] around and show them how 3D printing can fix a problem in their daily life.”
They make a point of 3D printing their own office supplies and equipment.
“We try to print out as many things as we can from our printers for the store. That can trigger ideas for them for their home or offices,” he said.
The downtown store quickly attracted new repeat customers – eight jewellery companies contacted them within several week of 3DSmith opening, said Choi.
The jewellers were especially interested in the resin printers, which use light to cure liquid resin into solid designs, he said. It turns out the companies wanted to use those designs as moulds to make their jewellery.
“Now we have a diverse reach to some of the markets we didn’t think about,” said Choi.
About 70 per cent of 3DSmith’s sales come from engineers, architects, or companies, he said. The rest are walk-in customers. Overall, the Chois get much more traffic now compared to when they operated out of their homes on 3D Hub.
A 3D Hubs spokesperson told Metro in October that part-time hubs, such as Steve Choi’s hub, make about $1,200 a month by printing an order every other day.