3D printing is making a splash in the technology world with many people eager to check out the new trend. However, that is often easier said than done. Between purchasing a printer and understanding the software needed to create designs, the market is still somewhat inaccessible.
However one launching local business is trying to break down barriers and open up the market for users.
“Tunuva aims to bring 3D printing to the masses by offering customers the ability to create 3D printed products without knowing how to make designs using CAD software or owning a 3D printer,” says third-year OSU student and company founder, Quentin Bowden.
The company will focus on products in five category areas all available for order through their website. Initial categories include phone cases, home decor, signs and displays, women’s accessories and arts & crafts supplies.
“The five initial products to be made available during our launch are iPhone 5/5s cases, a tea light candle shadow box, geometrically shaped signs and displays, a jewelry tree and custom stencils,” Bowden says. Tunuva will use customer feedback to eventually expand their offerings in each category.
Customers will have the opportunity to customize their product online before ordering. Although not a full-on custom design, consumers still get to experience the customization 3D printing offers.
“Each product will be able to be uniquely customized by each customer by choosing to add text, images or patterns, and changing the color, material and size,” Bowden says. Customization will be based on manufacturing constraints, but Tunuva hopes to keep options similar across products.
Tunuva has one printer they will use to realize customer designs but will also rely on a network of printers found across the city. A network that is extensive according to Bowden, citing that Columbus has the third-largest 3D printing community.
As they prepare for web launch, Tunuva is also in the market for funding.
“Trying to find funding has been somewhat hard,” Bowden says. The company is currently trying to figure out what type of investor will be the best fit with their business concept.
Bowden hopes to use the capital to secure a physical location. A brick-and-mortar location would also expand the company’s offerings with 3D scanning services and on-site product design. Say a customer broke the buckle on their favorite belt, they could use the scanning service to recreate that item. Design services allow for more customization, however customers still don’t need to understand all the ins and outs of 3D software.
As Tunuva moves to launch, they are utilizing several resources for developing businesses in Columbus. They were a January pitch at monthly Sundown Rundown and are working with the Entreprenurial Business Law Clinic at OSU to help with business set-up.
For his first business venture, Bowden is looking to capitalize on a rapidly growing technology. A technology that is not going anywhere. Outside of the custom design services, Bowden knows there is value in the technology for small businesses in being able to prototype and produce a low-volume of items.
Tunuva is aiming for a late spring or early summer launch. For more information, visit shoptunuva.com.