3D Printing is spreading across all continents. Unlike other industrialisation processes, 3D printing follows a radically different logic and one of its main strengths is de-localization of production. That means that, much like mobile phones, the countries that can benefit the most from it – and are sometimes most receptive to it – are those that are currently less industrialised.
Apparently this is also reflected in the spread of consumer 3D printing. So, while 3DPrint is the first consumer 3D print shop in the small North African nation of Tunisia, it is not by any means the first in Africa, nor in North Africa. That is both good news and bad news for Imed Belghith, the store’s founder and manager. Bad news because the media attention he would have received might have been even higher if his was the first shop of its kind in the Arab world; good news because it means that the 3D printing culture and consciousness is already growing and people in Tunisia will be more receptive to his offer.
3Dprint’s offering is centered mainly on the sale of entry level 3D printers — 3D Systems’s Cube line of desktop 3D printers as well as the Up! models (UP! Plus 2 and UP! Mini) which complete the current product line up. It makes sense: the UP! models are among the most common worldwide (outside the US), while his authorized 3D Systems re-seller status makes it easier to receive sales and customer assistance support. In fact 3DPrint also sells the Sense 3D scanner by 3D Systems.
Belghith however did not stop there and has already started offering his customers higher level technologies as well, something that many 3D Print shops in the US and Europe have not even tackled yet. As far as 3D printers that means the Miicraft, a small, relatively low-cost high-definition SLA machine, used mainly for jewellery. The higher level 3D scanner offer even includes two David Laser Scanner models, the SLS and the David Laser Scanner Starter-Kit, that are certainly not just “toys”.
3DPrint may be an absolute first for Tunisia but Belgith did not just get into this new business venture blindly. He has been researching the 3D printing market and its dynamics for over two years, also, as he has told us, following industry developments and updates through 3DPI. It is nice to know, as that is more or less exactly why 3dprintingindustry.com exists.