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Design Box 3D takes shape

Melissa Topey • Mar 28, 2014 at 9:21 AM

The ability to print the components of a gun or a car, or even a body part, is no longer the stuff of sci-fi movies.

It’s reality, and it’s ready for a closeup in an East Water Street shop.

Preet Jesrani, owner of DesignBox3D, lives in reality. He sells it, too, in the form of desktop 3D printers.

“This is the first time we have the technology (in which) people can make for themselves the ideas they have in their mind,” Jesrani said.

After years of following 3D printing technology, and then incorporating his business last year, Jesrani set up shop in a downtown Sandusky building last month.

DesignBox3D sells BEETHEFIRST, MakerBot, 3D Systems and CEL desktop 3D printers.

Wednesday afternoon, a Brooklyn-made MakerBot 3D printer sat on the corner of Jesrani’s desk. Inside the machine, a black object slowly took shape, created from a continuous string of black plastic filament. Jesrani was building a part for the actual printer itself.

Nearby, a BEETHEFIRST printer used neon-green plastic to create an artistic bust of a woman, fashioned in a particularly Greek style.

About 30 years ago, only large industrial plants could afford a 3D printer. And back then, they were much larger than today’s designs.

These days, the newest things are desktop 3D printers. The average cost is about $2,000, but the price of some models is more reasonable.

“I am looking at some $600 to $700 printers,” Jesrani said.

As the lower-priced models are smaller, they can only be used to build small items. Even so, the cuttingedge technology can help a small business save money.

Entrepreneurs can use the printers to design and print a machine part, for instance, allowing the company to test the part in-house instead of hiring an outside company to do that work. The part can then be tested for any problems before it’s sent into full-scale producton.

The printers can serve as their own manufacturer — making their own replacement parts — or they can create parts for any variety of machines, such as broken appliances and electronics.

There are thousands of customizable templates available online for someone to download to a 3D printer. There are simple templates for item such as jewelry, and more complex designs for items such as artificial hands.

The possibilities are literally endless.

A dentist, for instance, can use a 3D desktop unit to create a replacement tooth for a patient.

“You can do anything, limited by size,” Jesrani said.

Jesrani specializes in desktop 3D printing because it’s an area that offers much opportunity for growth, although he can still connect a customer with a larger printer for larger jobs.

The supplies for 3D printers have also become more affordable over the years. A plastic filament, which runs about $30 a spool, can last quite a while, Jesrani said. Other materials, such as Nylon or carbon fiber, are also available for someone looking for a stronger product.

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