WINTER GARDEN When he thinks about all the jobs in the world, Patrick Saville thinks his is among the coolest.
He owns Solid Print 3D alongside his brother, Michael Saville. It’s a 3-D printing company that offers printing, prototyping, renderings, reverse engineering and computer design work.
Because of the nature of the business, there’s no set piece the company manufactures and no typical customer.
“Your imagination is the limit,” Patrick said.
Because there are so many possibilities, there are so many different clients and products.
3-D printing can be practical for the everyday person. For example, if a part breaks off of a sewing machine that is no longer manufactured, Solid Print 3D can help.
In a matter of hours, the brothers can design a similar piece and print it.
They’ve replaced broken levers on cars and pieces from riding lawnmowers. Their business can keep people from waiting weeks for pieces to be shipped from overseas.
“The biggest advantage is time,” Patrick said.
The company even can restore collectibles. They replaced a broken lid to an heirloom jar. They remade the decorative legs on a collectible Chinese checkerboard set.
But the company does work for more than just the average person. The brothers also can create prototypes for people looking to pitch an invention or small-scale models of products.
Although 3-D printing has a reputation for being expensive, it sometimes can be more affordable than having a manufacturer do the work. A manufacturer has to produce the product in bulk, but 3-D printing allows the user to test a prototype before getting a large quantity printed. Once the prototype is approved, the customer can decide whether to get the rest 3-D printed or manufactured. 3-D printers have the option to produce something in bulk by creating a mold that cuts down the time it takes to make copies. But 3-D printing is ideal if someone wants only a few copies of a product rather than thousands.
Recently, the company created a prototype of a police cruiser mirror and produced a large number of pins that are no longer being sold or manufactured.
APPEALING TO THE COMMUNITY
The brothers, who have backgrounds in CAD engineering and graphic design, became curious about 3-D printers in 2014. After doing some research, they decided to purchase one.
“One day, we were doing our research on 3-D printers — we kind of always wanted one. We had this idea, let’s buy a printer,” Michael said. “We bought a printer, started with one. We kind of did our thing for a while until we got a client and then after that we got another client. Then we decided, ‘Let’s create a business out of it.'”
Slowly, the business began to grow, and the brothers began adding more printers to their collection. A month ago, they moved into a storefront on Colonial Drive in Winter Garden.
Ultimately, they hope to create an affordable experience for local people. Because they have several printers, they can print different projects at the same time, keeping the cost down for clients. Making 3-D printing affordable for the community is their goal.
“A lot of people have the notion that it’s expensive; they don’t know where to start,” Patrick said.
They help customers who don’t know where to start with design work. They just ask that customers bring a basic drawing or broken part so they have something to work with. The cost of the product is based on hours.
During the design phase, they charge $47.50 an hour. Once the piece is designed, they send the file to the printer and charge $4 per printing hour. People who prepare the design files themselves can use the business as a printing facility.
Once the piece is printed, customers can choose to have Solid Print 3D smooth out the pieces and paint it for $47.50 per hour of work. Many pieces, such as a lawnmower part, don’t need this extra step.
Contact Jennifer Nesslar at [email protected].
What is 3-D Printing?
3-D printing is the process of taking a three-dimensional object from a digital file and printing it in layers to become a real-life object.
3-D printing requires the use of a computer-aided design file, created by using a 3-D modeling program. From there, the 3-D printer takes material — made of different types of plastics — to create the product, often in layers. The higher the resolution, the more detailed the layers will be and the longer the project will take to complete.