How to 3D print your gifts in Honolulu

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How to 3D Print Your Gifts in Honolulu

Want to create a custom ornament or phone case? Need an expensive car part or a piece of home decor that's no longer available? How about creating a Star Wars crossguard lightsaber before it even hits stores? Believe it or not, producing these items as 3D printed products in Honolulu is not as difficult a process as you might think and, depending on what it is, can be completed in one day.

3D printing, or additive manufactering, has been around for many years and is a process by which three dimensional solid objects are made from a digital computer-aided design (CAD) file. Within the last few years, the prices for 3D printers has dropped significantly to a point that hobbyists and designers have been able to start producing products with this technology—even 3D printing their own 3D printers.

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In Honolulu, there are a few businesses in town that offer 3D printing, including 3D Innovations, Oahu Makerspace and a newly introduced 3D printer at the UPS Store in Kahala. The prices for their services vary depending on the amount of printing material used. Oahu Makerspace says it charges 25 cents per gram per printed part, which may not sound like much but can add up. The Kahala UPS Store gives example prices of $60 for an iPhone case and $23 for a salt and pepper shaker (both pictured below). Because of the higher-than-market price for these sorts of items, all three companies suggest using 3D printers to create objects that are not available elsewhere. Otherwise, the price may not be justified.

Once you have an idea for a 3D printed object, you'll need to have a digital CAD file of it created. If you are not a CAD designer, there are options for you. The simpler route is to visit websites like Thingiverse, where you can download free 3D designs of products. The other route would be to find a CAD designer to create the design for you. The Kahala UPS Store suggests using elance.com or you can talk with designers at 3D Innovations to get a quote.

After your CAD designs are created, choose a store and watch its 3D printer bring your product to life right before your eyes.

The UPS Store - Kahala, 4348 Waialae Ave., Honolulu, 733-0800. Hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

3D Innovations, 3900 Woodlawn Dr., Suite 101, Honolulu, 722-8667. Hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., 3d-innovations.com

Oahu Makerspace, 2004 Kahai St., Honolulu, 845-6253. Hours are Monday through Wednesday, and Friday, from 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., oahumakerspace.com

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