A Creativity Megahub
Dr. Sunil Deepak, 24 May 2020
Can 3D Printing provide good quality and better fitting prosthesis to persons with disabilities? I was looking for the answers to this question. The problem was that my knowledge about 3D printing was extremely limited and so I had to first understand about 3D printing.
A chance live-telecast on Facebook introduced to me to Megahub, an initiative promoting creativity and technological innovation, which helped me to learn the basics about 3D printing. I will write a separate post on the possible role of 3D printing in making of prosthesis. This post is an introduction to the Megahub initiative.
The Question About 3D Printing
3D printing was supposed to completely transform the world economy and our daily lives. All we needed was a 3D printer and we could have printed in our village everything that we needed, from medicine pills to shoes and clothes, in the designs and colours that we wanted, at almost no or very low cost.
However, after the initial hyperbolic predictions and enthusiasm for a few years, today we do not hear so much about it.
It was in this background that I was asked the question about the role of 3D printing for the production of prosthesis. A prosthesis serves to substitute a missing body-part - for example, an artificial arm for a person with arm-amputation.
My Chance Encounter with Megahub
I live in Schio, a little town in Italy, about 80 km north-west of Venice. About a year ago, I wanted to learn about post-processing of digital photographs. Searching on internet, I had found that Megahub organised such courses, so I had written to them and asked to inform me whenever they had such a course. After that email, nothing had happened and I had forgotten all about it.
Then, a few days ago, while I was trying to learn about 3D printing, I saw an email from Megahub, saying that they were going to do a live telecast about 3D printing on their Facebook page. When I read that email, it was almost the time for that telecast, so I immediately clicked the link. The telecast was an introduction about the technology. After the telecast, I checked the Megahub website and found that they had 3D printers and provided basic training about how to use them. I immediately signed up for an introductory session.
Learning About 3D Printers
Silvano, my teacher for 3D printers, is a great person - simple, unassuming and passionate about the 3D printing technology. I had a half-hour appointment with him, instead we talked for 2 hours and he patiently answered all my questions, explained everything with examples and showed me stuff about different kinds of 3D printers.
At the end of this session, now I have a much better overview and understanding about 3D printing and its possible role in making prosthesis. I will write a separate post about it.
Megahub is one of the activities of a social cooperative of Schio called Samarcanda, which is active in different areas such as support for refugees, homeless persons and women in difficult situations. Their main office is on Via Paraiso, a few kilometres from the city centre. Part of their building is dedicated to Co-Working, where you can rent a working space and have an office with access to a meeting room, internet, printer and a kitchen.
Megahub is one of the activities in that building, and it has a separate space with an open-space layout which is subdivided into two kinds of areas - an area with machines for rent and learning; and, spaces which can be rented by start-ups and artisans.
The Learning & Machine Area includes 3D printing, photography studio, electronic lab, laser cutting, CNC milling machine, welding, woodwork and carpentry. For each of these areas, you can join their training courses as well as, fix individual appointments for learning about the use of a specific machine. You can also book a machine and make things for your personal projects. For all of these, the costs are very reasonable since it is run by a social cooperative. The teachers are all young and passionate persons, who often go beyond their professional roles to try to help you.
The Start-Ups and Artisan spaces can be rented for a small amount by persons who are starting their professional careers. For example, presently one of the spaces is rented by a young ceramic designer while another has a couple making artistic mirrors. In one space, a guy has a green-house setup inside an old cold-drinks' box where he grows orchids - it is completely automated, so he can control it from his mobile phone.
I think that Megahub is a wonderful opportunity for young entrepreneurs to get a supporting environment, where they can work by themselves and yet be surrounded by others, who can become friends and supporters. They can try their ideas without risking a big amount of money in setting it up. They can learn from their failures without wrecking their savings and if they are successful, they can move to their own place.
For more information about Megahub and to use its services, write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or check its website: www.megahub.it
This post is my thank you note to Silvano and his colleagues, Martino and Pietro, for their generosity and helpfulness in teaching me all about 3D printing. I think that the basic idea of Megahub, as a supportive space to help persons to learn about technological innovations and to help young entrepreneurs in converting their ideas into reality, is a wonderful opportunity, which all cities should have if they are serious about nurturing young entrepreneurs.
The image above has Silvano showing a 3D printed guitar with colourful LED lights in it, that they had made in Megahub (the mask is inevitable since these are COVID-19 days!).
If I was not already so busy, I think that I would have loved to learn more about woodwork at Megahub and make wooden objects, which was one of my secret desires when I was young! Who knows, may be, I won't be always so busy and one day, find time to dedicate myself to learning it at Megahub.
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