A few years back it was almost unimaginable to digitally design, rapidly prototype and create fully customized products, made from new materials, in variable quantities without any wastage through functional integration or based on new ideas. But this is possible today, thanks to the next generation 3D printing technologies.

Yash, our next pathbreaker, Founder at printOmake mainly works at the intersection of 3D Printing & Industrial Design, merging consumer design science with new-age digital fabrication technologies.

Yash talks to Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal about his industrial design projects, focused on reducing product development time by helping businesses create breakthrough solutions for consumer markets and thus bringing in competitive advantage.

For students, with digital design & manufacturing coming together, there are lots of opportunities for innovation through creativity.

Yash, tell us about Your background?

So I was born & brought up in Bombay. I was in a convent school till the 6th grade, after which I joined an international boarding school on the outskirts of Pune. Here is where I learned to become truly independent. I was born into a family of creative people, who run their own agencies & businesses. My father and elder brother are architects, my mom an interior designer, uncle & aunt run one the biggest UI/UX design agencies in the country & a cousin who is an automotive designer. Throughout my schooling years, I was always surrounded with drawings, sketches of various designs, plans and maps, basically around creativity. So choosing a creative field for my further studies came naturally to me. 

What did you do for graduation/post-graduation?

I have completed an International Masters program in Product Design Management from DSK International School of Design (now ISD Rubika) in Pune. It is a 5-year integrated course which includes 2 semesters of 6 months each for a compulsory internship.

What made you choose such an offbeat, unconventional and uncommon career?

My family, who are architects, designers & interior decorators, had had a big influence on my career choice. The Head of Studies at my design school, Philippe Vahe & Head of Department for Product Design, Guillaume Zaslavsky & my father, are my mentors for life. 

I failed my 11th Grade Science final examinations & was expelled from the college due to very low attendance. This made me even more determined to get myself back on track.

I chose a private college for my 12th grade board exams, passed it, applied to all major design schools in the country and passed their entrance tests. This made me feel very confident about my career choice.

How did you plan the steps to get into the career you wanted? Tell us about your career path

Being born in a Gujarati family, as they say, business comes naturally to us. During my 10th grade vacations, my parents insisted and got me enrolled in a 2-week Summer Camp dealing in Entrepreneurial Stimulation in Children at the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India in Gandhinagar. This was an amazing experience for me as I got to meet people from all over India with diverse backgrounds, we were divided into teams & tasked with interesting challenges. This was the first time I understood the business side of things as well, not only tackling a problem with a creative solution but also making a business out of it.

After joining Design school, my outlook towards life changed. This is where I met even more people, this time from around the world, with their diverse backgrounds and cultures. We were introduced to so many tools and processes that form the basis of product design. From software such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro to 3D Modelling software such as Rhinoceros, Autodesk Alias, Solidworks and more. We were introduced to the history and the legends of design. We had classes that revolved around product photography, manufacturing processes, history of design, business Studies and design communication. We had one of the biggest workshops for making prototypes or models of our designs in various materials. Here is where I first came across a 3D Printer! All this and NEITHER EXAMS NOR TESTS, but loads and loads of submissions throughout the year. 

Every couple of months our institute would invite the design teams of various brands from around the globe to visit our campus for an intensive week long design masterclass. We got to meet and work first hand with industry professionals from some of the best, award-winning design agencies to the biggest brands in the world.

My first internship was at Philips Design India, which was based out of Gurgaon at the time. I was tasked with a project that required me to work on the future of kitchen appliances such as Mixer, Grinder, Stove, Fridge, Chimneys and more. By the end of Year 3, we were equipped with enough knowledge about software and design tools, so I completed the project all by myself and was directly reporting to the Design Director of Philips Design. It was very important for me to learn to present my concepts in an impactful manner as he was a very busy man. I learned what it means to be part of a large team for one of the largest companies in the world. The corporate culture in Philips was my first experience and it really taught me how a huge corporation functions.

My next internship was at Decathlon Sports India at Bengaluru. This time I was part of a very new team as Decathlon had just launched in India. This internship was a completely different experience for me as Decathlon is a Low-Cost Company, which means they keep any & all costs very low so as to make their products accessible to all. Here I was tasked with designing & developing an ultra low-cost Bicycle. I was given complete freedom to work on the project, and once again I was tasked with this project alone. Since it was a bicycle, my manager informed me that they needed real bicycles for the final presentation, so the directors can ride it and test it. This was a huge moment for me as I was tasked alone, in a new city, to make my own bicycle! I took upon this challenge, found the right workshop and voila! Within a matter of 25 days, I was able to present 3 working bicycles to all the directors. After seeing my enthusiasm & resolve they offered a full-time job. But I already had something else in mind.

Throughout my college days, I was always fascinated by manufacturing processes, on how things are made, machines that make the products we use today. This fascination led me to 3D Printing. It was just so magical to me, that what you make with a few clicks in the computer can be made in real within a matter of hours, automatically. When I was in 3rd Year of college one of my closest friends & mentor Nitin Kamath purchased a desktop 3d Printer & called me over to tinker with it. Over time my entrepreneurial instincts kicked in & soon we were on our way to forming what I now run since the past 5 years as printOmake.

How did you get your first break? 

One of our main submissions at design school was a team project, where we were divided into groups and given topics to design products on. Most of the time these projects were given to us by real companies such as Philips, Decathlon or even transportation companies such as BMW,  Ducati, Ferrari and lots more. We used to have weekly Skype meetings with the real designers behind such big companies and they guided us throughout our projects. This is how we started to make real contacts and connections in the design industry. This is how I kept in touch with a few professionals and landed my first internship at Philips Design.

What were the challenges? How did you address them?

Due to the nature of my business, we are faced with new challenges almost every day. Design is still considered a luxury service in India, hence one of the biggest challenges I face is to convince my clients to invest more efforts into design. Since we are a highly populated developing nation, our main priority is always low costs & higher quantities. Due to this attitude, we see very little design development in our markets. As we move into a rapidly evolving and ever-connected world, the need for brands to stand out from their competition is increasing. The only way a brand or a product can stand out is by its design, the way it looks and feels, the colors, the font, the shapes, think about it. It’s important to make a solution that works efficiently, but its equally important now more than ever, that it needs to look good as well.

Where do you work now? 

Currently I am the Managing Director & Product Designer at printOmake 3D Solutions Pvt Ltd (P3SPL) 

printOmake sits on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution, merging consumer design science with new-age digital fabrication. The company extends its capabilities to product evaluation, consulting as well as Lean Manufacturing using various processes like Vacuum Casting, SLA/SLS/MJP 3D Printing & more.

We’re a multi-disciplinary design studio & an official distributor to Flashforge 3D Printers in India. For more information you can log on to www.printomake.com or check out our social media pages.

Here I am switching between the roles of a product designer & a director. This experience is teaching me the business side of things. Whether it is Accounts or  Business Development or Human Resources, this role requires me to multitask not only between design skills but a lot more. I am managing a young team of 10 people that ranges from engineers to designers to accountants along with my business partner Anket Hajare.

What I love about this job, due to the nature of 3D Printing & Industrial Design we come across and are tasked with so many new challenges & ideas. We get to meet so many people who are passionate about making, get to visit so many places from factories to educational institutes all the while keeping one thing in constant, Design.

Tell us about your work

Most of the traditional methods by which a large number of objects & products we use today are created using a Subtractive Manufacturing technique, for example, Drilling, Milling, Lathes, Turning, etc. What it means is that, these processes typically create shapes & objects by subtracting material from bigger basic shapes like a cubes, pyramids, cylinders. Given the nature of most of these processes, they generate wastage. The selection of shapes that can be achieved, the finishes, the materials & most importantly the quantity of production, that can be used is all governed by these basic principles of manufacturing. One of the biggest disadvantages of traditional manufacturing processes is the Minimum Order Quantity, which generally demands a very high investment for production with almost zero scope for testing & prototyping your designs.

At printOmake we are mainly working on & around Digital Tools & Digital Manufacturing. This is a fairly new term to many people. 3D Printing is an Additive Manufacturing method, what this means in simple terms is that it is a Zero-Waste Technology. 3D Printing is like a baker’s hand drawing the icing on his cake. The material is dropped, using an extruder which is guided by a computer. This technology allows us to explore shapes that were never possible before, use materials that weren’t available before, all this with its biggest advantage, no minimum order quantity. So that means we can make 1 to a million pieces with no wastage. 3D Printing is also an On-Demand Manufacturing Method, which means that we start production only once an order is placed. So companies & clients do not have to invest in producing large numbers, so there’s no need for any storage or warehousing, no excess production which if we calculate on a global scale, helps companies in becoming environmentally friendly & sustainable too. These advantages are just the tip of the iceberg. 

To give you an example, we can design & 3D Print a custom Mobile Phone Case as a birthday gift for your mother, with her name, or a special message, using her favorite colors, and more within in a matter of hours. That is one piece, with your choice of colors, your design, made especially for your phone. This is how we differ.

How does your work benefits society? 

We also offer training courses and workshops around Digital Manufacturing, which is where we also train children and people from underprivileged backgrounds, provide them with an exciting new skill & vocation so they can take charge of their careers.

We work with private organizations & businesses on creating ground-breaking solutions for the consumer market. We help their teams to cater to new industrial design projects by reducing time in product development bringing in that competitive advantage. With my experience in Digital Manufacturing techniques such as 3D Printing, Vacuum Casting & more, we strategize a hybrid production plan catering to all kinds of production requirements. This helps a lot in reducing the environmental impact created by excess production.

Additionally, we work on projects with the Indian Navy, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre & various Medical Technology Companies for our government. 

Tell us an example of a specific memorable work you did that is very close to you!

One day we got a call from an Officer of the Indian Navy. His wanted us to replicate one of the Navy warships into scaled models of various sizes and deliver them the next day. They shared with us highly classified detailed drawings and plans of their warships and images. We spent 3d modelling the plans, 3d printing the parts, post processing it, sanding, painting all of this overnight. We were so honored and intrigued that the Indian Navy chose us for this project and continue to maintain relations with them even today.

Your advice to students based on your experience?

Think, because it’s free!

Be independent, make your own decisions. 

Be present, open your senses and understand. 

Be Passionate & Motivated, or else don’t do it.

Be Open-Minded & Curious, Question Everything.

Future Plans?

With the new onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic across the world, it is our duty as designers & makers to produce novel solutions & support humanity to eradicate this virus ensuring a brighter future for the generations to come. We at printOmake have embarked on this journey, of making things, creating solutions so we can continue to wow the world. Don’t Hesitate, Let’s Make.