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“3D printing is a world-changing technology: we want to facilitate access for everyone”

Piotr Lutoslawski was working on volume production of hi-tech samples, used in experiments. Including nano-structured materials, thin films and other advanced structures that needed sophisticated equipment to be obtained. Project i-3d.io was born as a result of professional experience, a 3D-printing hobby and the will to become an entrepreneur. “Over two years I developed an idea in my head for a platform connecting users with research facilities which would help fabricate desired samples.”

It all started when the ambition arose for Piotr to become an entrepreneur. Piotr decided to act on this ambition, boosting his energy and excitement for his work. Now he is CEO and founder of the i-3d.io project with the goal to create a network of skilled users who can respond to global needs for 3D printing services. “It grew up to a size nobody was expecting and became a huge and complex project. Without a bunch of great people who worked on designs, UX and programming it would never see the light!”

Big competition

Because his idea was too specific to implement Lutoslawski started his journey with 3D printing by himself. He was a happy user of a cheap 3D-printer and ready to invest into his 3D-printing passion. “Of course my first investment was to buy a better printer, and then the next one...”, Lutoslawski says. Once started he questioned himself: how do I earn money with the 3D-printing business combined with printing on demand? As it turned out there is a 3D-printing boom and plenty of users. Thus, the competition is also quite big.

World-changing technology

But Lutoslawski realized, if there were more people like him, he could make value of that. It became clear he had to join all those people and create a network of printers around the globe operated by skilled people that already existed and share their passion of 3D-printing. “I think it was 2018 when I decided to pursue this idea and make it available for people. My motivation was much stronger than ‘just making a business’, simply because 3D-printing is a world-changing technology and so worth to educate people. Tell and show them what can be achieved with 3D printing, and that's why and how i-3d.io was born.”

Learning environment

What TMC Employeneur Piotr demonstrates in his platform, the value of cooperation and collaboration, is what Piotr brought to the TMC Entrepreneurial Lab. “Once we heard about Piotr his ambitions, we asked i-3d.io to join the entrepreneurial lab community. Fortunately, Piotr was just as excited as us”, says innovation consultant Esmée Messemaker of the TMC Entrepreneurial Lab. Knowledge sharing between different projects and start-ups benefits the variety of project teams in the lab and the Employeneurs who join the teams. They gain skills by solving issues for the problems they face in developing their endeavors. Esmée: “Doing so together in a community makes it easier.” Employeneurs of TMC are allowed to participate in solving challenges for i-3d.io, other projects in the lab follow the process of Piotr and projects in different phases learn from each other. i-3D.io is a part of the learning environment of the TMC Entrepreneurial Lab.

Bridge capabilities

The very dynamic world we live in is why this platform has been developed. It is designed to tackle some of the nowadays problems. But there are more possibilities with and ideas behind the platform. “For example, decentralized manufacturing and local production of limited number of items, only when they are really needed! This can save energy comparing typical mass production, less storage space is needed and less material will be used. What is also important today is: how fragile the supply chains for production are. Wars, pandemic, materials shortage, expensive transport can affect the development and will slow down many projects. 3D-printing can help keeping up with the speed. Besides that, all can be printed today. Such as prototypes, spare-parts, COVID shields, toys, educational models, tools, decorations, food and houses. We want to bridge these capabilities to people with our platform.”

Esmeé: “TMC will continue to support i3d.io in what they are best at, bridging the need for engineering knowledge by connecting highly skilled engineers with entrepreneurial mindsets. We are excited about the launch of the platform and look forward to continue our collaboration”.

Endless applications

As he created a marketplace for 3D-printing services it is dedicated to makers and designers. People using printers on a daily basis who can monetize their skills and passion by selling and offering 3D-printing and design services. “On the other side we have a sea of needs that can be realized using 3D-printing. Think of adaptive prosthesis for kids where parents cannot afford expensive devices. The same goes for animals; we can save them by creating limbic prosthesis.

But also, creative teachers can prepare fantastic lessons showing 3D-models for better understanding. A dentist can print prototype implants and check the fit before manufacturing, architects can request models building miniatures of their projects and people playing games can order replacements or extra characters or have costumes - based on their favorite games or movies – build. With only a few mechanical parts you can build stands and servers used in photography make your own machine or specialized tool. Basically, applications are endless.”

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