In the 2017-2018 budget speech, mention is made in paragraph 63:
“We are setting up two 3D Printing Service Centres at the National Computer Board to support manufacturing firms, university students and start-ups”
The responsibility to set up these two 3D Centres in the country has been assigned by Government to the National Computer Board based on the preparatory inputs submitted.
In this context, the National Computer Board has set up two 3D Printing Centres for the benefit of a wide range of industries, professions and academia, including SMEs, start-ups, designers and university students. It is worth to note that the services offered by the NCB 3D Printing Centres are free of charge.
One of the greatest things about 3D printing is that it can be beneficial for anyone, regardless of industry or profession. Based on research carried out by the NCB, the 3D printing centers will benefit numerous groups of individuals such as Students (Medical, Engineering and Architecture), Jewellery Sector, SMEs; and Handicraft.
The objectives of the 3D Printing Centers are:
- Provide venue and logistics for Primary and Secondary school children and University students for building prototypes;
- Support local entrepreneurship by offering 3D print services;
- Encourage SMEs to adopt new production lines;
- Produce reduced scale models for designers of various industries;
- Accelerate process of creation of moulds and dyes;
- Guide startups to build their own open source, low-cost 3D printing machines;
- Subsidised and cost effective services, otherwise unaffordable to users; and
- Provide Initiation and Training sessions to targeted users (students, start-ups, SMEs).
About the NCB 3D Printing Centre
The first 3D Printing centre has already been set up at NCB premises in February 2018. Since its operation, 38 university students have sought the services of the NCB and more than 600 objects have been crafted by the 3D printers to print end of year projects. Furthermore, 3D maps of Mauritius was printed for Petite Riviere Government School.
Besides daily activities at the centres, the NCB collaborated with the Ministry of Environment, CIB and the University of Mauritius to print 3D casings for atmospheric sensors. The NCB also collaborated with Sun Resorts and the University of Mauritius for 3D printing of artificial reefs and bases for coral breeding. Recently, 3D braille alphabet and education puzzles are being produced for the benefit of the visually impaired persons at Centre Lois Lagesse (School for the Blind) and Union des Aveugles de L'ile Maurice (Lizie Dans la Main).
In line with providing 3D services to the SME community, the second 3D Printing center has been setup in March 2019 in Coromandel, in collaboration with SME Mauritius. Both 3D Printing Centres are equipped with seven 3D Filaments Printers and a couple of 3D Scanners. We also offer the
The 3D Printing Center will now offer the service of 3D Printing and 3D Scanning, advice, counseling and initiation for 3D designs and modeling.
A next phase for helping SMEs for small production runs would be the setting up of a Digital Fabrication Lab equipped with more robust and complex 3D printing and cutting tools along with associated equipments. This project will be implemented in collaboration with SME Mauritius and would also be located on their premises at Coromandel.
The objective of setting up such a lab is in line with encouraging SMEs to adopt small agile production runs and to reduce their testing/prototyping process through adoption of digital or Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM). With advances in technology, this will be logical stepping stone for SMEs.