Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Arc Hub sees 3D printing take on new shape

Arc Hub sees 3D printing take on new shape

A photo of a printing head of a Felix 3D printer in action.
A photo of a printing head of a Felix 3D printer in action. Creative commons

Arc Hub sees 3D printing take on new shape

When Arc Hub first introduced 3D printing into the Kingdom in 2013, the company hoped that the technology would not only inspire creative minds, but also provide manufacturers the ability to mass produce on a cheaper budget.

Now, four years later, it appears that the company’s vision of widespread 3D printing remains far ahead of its time as the firm subsists on education and training seminars.

“The market for 3D printing is very small in Cambodia, [and] 3D printing is usually used for one-off projects,” said Ki How Tran, co-founder of Arc Hub. “It’s not as sustainable as we thought it would be before.”

Arc Hub has had to alter its business expectations to stay afloat financially. While originally hiring three designers to create 3D projects and intending to hire more as business picked up, the company now has only one designer on staff.

“When we first started the company, we thought designing would be the main service we would offer. But most of the companies in Cambodia have their own designers on staff already,” said Ki How. “Now we’re moving more into education, because it’s more sustainable as a business model.”

With its focus now on teaching, Arc Hub has started working with more than 10 local schools to provide classes on design and technology. Students pay for the classes and the materials, and in turn they are taught how to design products and are encouraged to forge into new industries.

Em Chanrithykol, an entrepreneur who launched DoyDoy, a toy company that uses 3D printing to create connectors for plastic straw erector sets, said that Arc Hub’s education was pivotal in giving him the tools to run his business.

“Before the entrepreneurship class I took [at Arc Hub], I had the idea for my business but it wasn’t really clear,” he said. “I learned about 3D printing and I learned the business model, and those skills allowed me to start my own.”

Still, despite DoyDoy’s success in the toy market, there remain stumbling blocks to 3D printing being widely accepted in Cambodia.

“It can be costly to use 3D printing, and it is a bit slow in comparison to mass production,” explained Chanrithykol. “But 3D printing is accessible here now and you don’t have to go far for it. People should learn that.”

Arc Hub, which previously operated out of a small room at the Royal University of Fine Arts, has moved on to a new, spacious location near Central Market that allows for “makerspace” operations.

“This is Cambodia’s first public makerspace, which means people come here, pay a membership, and have access to our tools and machines,” explained Ki How, adding that all paying members must attend a free workshop to learn how to use the machines and tools the company has to offer.

“We’re trying to put Cambodia first,” said Ki How, “And the best way to do that is by teaching skills to the young people in this country.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The