Shweta Thapa: “It Doesn’t Tell You Which Machine Is Best Suited For Your Application”
Shweta Thapa is a mechanical engineer, educator, and co-founder of 3Ducators.
3Ducators is a nationwide nonprofit initiative to encourage the maker community in providing affordable SLA 3D printing solutions (DIY) & applications (art, craft, jewelry, prosthesis) accessible to communities.
Nora Toure: Shweta, could you let us know about your background and what brought you to 3D printing in the first place?
Shweta Thapa: I’m a Mechanical Engineer, graduated with my masters in Mechanical & Aerospace Engg. From Rutgers University. My thesis project involved me in making a biomedical lab 3D printer for fabricating & simulating biopolymers, that’s where it all started!
Nora Toure: Can you tell us more about that very first experience with 3D Printing?
Shweta Thapa: When I made a fully functional bio 3Dprinter, getting it to print something using DLP was a fascinating process. Watching the 3D printer solidify the resin one layer at a time was mind-blowing as it was making a completely new layer with microscopic precision. That drew me into 3D printing & still fascinates me to date.
Nora Toure: Could you explain furthermore what 3Ducators is and the services that you are providing?
Shweta Thapa: 3Ducators is an educational platform for empowering communities with the knowledge & hands-on application of Design thinking with 3D printing technologies. We conduct workshops, training & professional development on 3D printing with different community organizations, also help them with their hardware & software needs.
Nora Toure: How did you come to build the company?
Shweta Thapa: Once I graduated from school, I realized that the power of 3D printing could make a difference in the everyday lives of people from giving them assisted living to usher their dreams in healthcare or fashion. The same year in November 2017, I met a Rutgers’ Marketing Professional by the name of Rahul Anand, really passionate about 3D printing as well.
We were already discussing making, making as a community, making chocolate 3D printers, prosthetics, a huge open source DLP 3D printer that would help makers to 3D print high-quality designs in the most affordable ways. Then, we approached our professors in school for counsel & they gave us an incubation space in Rutgers to start working on our projects & involve more students with this amazing idea. November 2017 we officially formed the company, and the very next month received the regional NSF I Corp grant for building the open source DLP printer.
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