From making figurines as gifts to selling them online

Mr Kong sells 3D-printed household items such as coasters, aromatherapy reed diffusers and decorative owl figurines.
Mr Kong sells 3D-printed household items such as coasters, aromatherapy reed diffusers and decorative owl figurines.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Mr Winson Kong Weng Sang, 30, began dabbling in 3D printing because he wanted to see his virtual creations come to life.

The 3D artist at an animation studio has been in the industry for more than a decade. He said: "I have always been creating things in 3D, but I thought to myself, what if I could turn these 3D models into real things?"

His interest was piqued when he saw a friend's Facebook post about a 3D-printing service. After some research, he bought a Flashforge Dreamer 3D Printer for $1,600 - a price he deems "quite affordable" - and began printing his creations.

At first, he printed only figurines for himself and gifts for friends. But a year ago, he set up an online Etsy shop, deWishlist.

On the site, he sells 3D-printed household items such as coasters, aromatherapy reed diffusers and decorative owl figurines.

Mr Kong said that being able to print on demand and the flexibility that 3D printing provides are some of the pros of the medium.

"It is very easy to tweak and change the models using the software, according to the client's wishes," he said.

"For example, I can add a name or modify the owl's body very easily."

Because of the ease of creating different models, Mr Kong sells five different types of owl figurines in his shop, each with slightly different proportions. Prices range from $8 for a 2cm-tall owl to $55 for a 5cm one.

However, while it is easy to modify an item's design, Mr Kong said that the printing process can be lengthy.

A 5cm-tall owl figurine takes about four to five hours to print, while a deer-shaped reed diffuser takes about 17 hours.

He added: "My 3D-printed objects don't need much touching up, because I spend more time 3D printing. It is possible to print faster, but the surface of the item will be very rough."

He said that while the 3D printing process can be tricky for beginners, skill comes with practice.

"There is a lot of trial and error, and I tried out a lot of settings before getting it close to what I wanted," he added. "But after a while, you'll get the hang of it, then it becomes much easier."

Lisabel Ting

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2016, with the headline 'From making figurines as gifts to selling them online'. Print Edition | Subscribe