3dprinting Changes Lives

Imagine that you wake up one day and discover that you have the power to bring your ideas to life! You think of something, design it and it appears in front of you. Wouldn’t that be life-changing for you?

If you can imagine it, you can have it

In the sweet monsoons, some 25 years ago, a lot of Indian kids started dreaming of this when the show Shaka Laka Boom Boom went on air. It had a magical pencil that the show’s protagonist Sanju could use to draw anything, and it became a reality. Now, I didn’t really watch the show because I was already in my 20s by then and it felt too childish to me at the time. But the kids around me could not stop singing praises about it and how they wanted to be the lucky Sanju.

But I wasn’t alien to this longing, or feeling. I first had this feeling when I learned to code, another 15 years or so before this. Every Wednesday, I religiously took off my shoes outside the school’s computer lab, lest a smitten of dust bork the machines inside, cranked that key to unlock the CPU, inserted an 8-inch floppy diskette inside it to boot it to start coding those silly programs in BASIC.


I was overjoyed when one day I learned I could draw circles on the screen through my programs. A decade later as I typed HTML in Notepad and saw all kinds of things happen on screen, I felt this is it!! And then as I waded further into programming through college and beyond, it just was as if a vast ocean had been suddenly unlocked for a frog, who had only so far jumped around in a puddle of mud, to swim in.

I always thought this was the high point of my “creation” journey. That nothing could surpass this power that I held beneath my grubby little fingers as they danced around in motions not exceeding a couple of inches max and things happened. A lot of people talk about doing things other than programming. That they programmed so much at work and they needed to do something else to relax. For me, programming was (and in many ways, still is) relaxation. How could someone have a superpower and not always be reveling in joy using it?

And then around 2 years ago, I bought a 3D printer.

This was my Shaka Laka Boom Boom moment. I could now understand why all those kids all those years ago went gaga over a silly pencil. I mean I could even now print a replica of that pencil at home. Since then, I’ve designed and printed nozzles for my Dyson vacuum, fixed and built toys for my little princess when she demanded them, fixes for my guitar, my bathroom door knobs, water alarms for my RO reject water tank when Bangalore suffers through a water crisis, a cover to save my steam deck when I travel, amazing projects for my teenage son, the iPhone nightstand that Apple showed in its keynote but never released, an Airtag case for the apple tv remote so I could never lose it again, tons of gifts for myself and friends. I’m a builder and a tinkerer. When people rush to call for help for any simple thing around the house, I rush towards my tool chest. And here I had a magic wand to now create the parts I needed to fix anything I wanted, whenever I wanted, and even create the tools to fix those parts. I mean I could even print a motha-fuckin’ GODZILLA!!

Since then, I’ve printed all these and many many more things (You can see more on my Twitter and Instagram). That combination of programming and 3d printing gives me a feeling of control over the virtual and parallel world, which is nothing short of feeling like the almighty Brahma, the Lord of Creation.

If this is not life-changing, then what is?