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In this episode of Nairametrics Business Half Hour, we chat with Dr. Ndubuisi Ekwueme, CEO and Founder of Dubz 3D, a 3D company in Nigeria involved in 3D printing.

He is also a licensed doctor who realized after getting his license that he was more into entrepreneurship than being a doctor.

His first business venture in Nigeria was to create an app for doctors to access over 3,000 questions and answers allowing doctors to study for their exams instead of the tedious method of attending physical tutorials like they do. were used to.

What was the inspiration for Dubz 3D?

The founder, fresh out of medical school abroad, came to Nigeria to get his medical license. After getting his license, he practiced medicine for a year, but later realized that medicine was not his area of ​​interest. Shortly after, he discovered 3D printing and used his tuition for his master’s program to buy his first 3D machine and all of its parts.

He described 3D printing in his own words: “It’s innovative; technology is the future, and it is the next way forward for the world; what it does is it allows anyone and everyone to be a maker, all you need is a 3d printer, and you can do just about anything you want “.

On how he got his training to use the 3D machine, he said he taught himself how to use the printer using self-help videos on YouTube.

How can others get into the 3D printing business?

Talking about how other interested people can get into 3D printing, he said 3D printers are on sale in the price range of $300 to $10,000, and interested people can start small. by buying affordable printers.

Who are Dubz 3D’s current customers?

Current customers are mostly from Instagram as the company started marketing on the platform. According to the founder, the invoice of the items produced by Dubz 3D are personalized items made to measure to meet the exact taste of the customer. These include hotels and resorts that want personalized items to be used to render their services. The company makes custom keychains for them. They also make items bearing the name or logo of their customers, such as key chains and pet tags.

Mr. Ekwueme, however, says the business is growing and with more awareness he would be able to print just about anything for customers because 3D printing is more than just personalized items.

The average cost of his work depends on what is printed and how much material would be used up to print it. Keyholders, for example, could print for N3,500 per person and could drop up to 70% if there is a huge order quantity.

The use of 3D printers in medicine

As a doctor, he explained how 3D printing can be used in the medical field, stating that different types of 3D printers are used for various purposes. He had used an FD Fused Depositing modeling printer, but the printer does not have the ability to print organs or body parts.

3D printers, on the other hand, can help make casts for fracture patients, making the cast personalized and fashionable.

What are the challenges?

The main challenge facing 3D printing in Nigeria is electricity. Ekwueme said some print items take up to 10 hours to print, and if the power goes out for as little as 30 seconds, the print would have to be aborted and resumed from the start.

So far, it has been able to keep the business going through the use of battery storage devices like inverters and renewable energy like solar power. He also mentioned the major issue of the unavailability of 3D printer parts. Every piece of hardware needed to keep the printers running is imported and takes up to 3 months to get to them. This can lead to the closure of the business while waiting for the arrival of these products.

What is the solution?

According to him, the first solution for 3D printers on the continent is to look into building their own 3D printers to reduce costs and downtime.

Regarding the unavailability of materials, he also said that one of the main elements necessary for his work is the plastic used which must be melted and converted into material which would be used for 3D printing. The only downside is that there is no production facility that can convert the used plastic into a material that can be 3D printed. In this way, 3D printing also helps recycling.

What is the competitive advantage of Dubz 3D?

Mr. Ekwueme said that with 3D printing, it is easier to create personalized objects in a certain form, not just to mark them. He also states that another way to do it would be to have it done in China, but not only is it more expensive due to shipping costs, but it’s also more tedious. Indeed, first of all, a mold must be created before a design is made, and if it is not to the customer’s taste, another mold must be made, and this can continue until the client yields to one of the designs. or gets what he likes.

Meanwhile, with 3D printing, the production is done in nearby Nigeria, and within an hour, different designs are made according to the customer’s taste. Availability, ease, convenience and speed make Dubz 3D a better option.

What are the plans for the future?

The company is currently working on systems and software that can help them connect their laptop directly to the printer via wifi.

If done correctly, they can connect to as many 3D printers and mass print in any shape they want.

This automation is important for the growth of the business because with it there is not need for so much labor as it would only need a designer and a customer representative.

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