We’ve all had a gadget that could no longer perform its function because one small part broke, a tool that would work better with a minor modification, and a need for a better storage solution.
To us they’re niggling inconveniences we dismiss as part of life, but to Kiama teenager Noah Keenan, they’re opportunities for his burgeoning 3D printing business Printed Success.
Using software called Fusion 360, Noah designs solutions to everyday problems and is printing them out for a growing number of local businesses and individual clients.
It might seem complex work for a 15-year-old, but this is a teen whose hobbies include computer building and competitive Rubiks Cubing, and whose favourite subject is algebra.
“He’s definitely ‘black and white’,” mum Esther says.
Noah first stumbled on 3D printing last year via a YouTube video.
He started printing small “mods” (modifications) for household items, like slide-on clips for kitchen tongs to replace broken ones, a storage solution for a remote control that kept getting misplaced in Esther’s office and a fastener for his brother’s GoPro.
Esther says she sometimes won’t notice a problem until one of Noah’s printed solutions has fixed it.
“It’s very handy having him around,” Esther laughs. “You start to notice the hundreds of little things that could be made better with a small modification.”
Noah had designed and printed all sorts of things for friends and family before deciding to pursue the fascination as a business. One of his favourite jobs so far was for Starfish Store in Shellharbour, which specialises in education and sensory experiences and items for children.
“They used to teach children how to read time using these clocks with a gear on the back you could use to spin the hands, but they were no longer being produced,” Noah says.
“The owner gave me the last one they had left and asked if I could replicate it. I was able to do that and print some for her.”
Noah used the same method to create buzzers for a local pub, but replication is only one way to get your solution designed and printed.
Some customers provide sketches and measurements, others simply explain an idea.
“I work at a dog groomer and my boss had heaps of loose scissors and tools, et cetera. She whipped up a drawing of a storage solution she wanted with some measurements and I was able to design it from there,” Noah says.
“Other people have photographed something next to a ruler and sent me the picture, and I’ve designed it from that.
“There’s usually a way to create anything people want, and I’d definitely have a go.”
For more information contact Noah via Printed Success.