For as long as she can remember, Mitali Shah, a project manager by profession, has always been inclined towards art. Growing up, doodling, fluid art paintings, Mandala art, and building helicopters and cars using Lego, were a crucial part of her life, and this curious child received ample support from her family. Hence, it’s no surprise then that when the nation went into the lockdown in March 2020, Shah found solace in art.
The 26-year-old took to 3D printing, a technology that’s gradually finding its footing in India. “Four years ago, my brother had gifted me a 3D pen to doodle with. However, priorities at the time took over, and it was only during the lockdown that I could get to using it. To begin with, I learnt the basics of 3D printing online, and then went ahead and purchased a printer. A number of failures and practice sessions later, I have finally got the hang of it,” says Shah, who completed her graduation from HEC Paris.
As is the norm with any form of art, one needs to be devoted in order to perfect the skill, and the 26-year-old emphasises that she is learning every day and enjoys this new territory. “It’s not always easy to stay motivated. But the key is the desire to learn something new. This quest of constantly challenging myself to keep learning is important to me,” she adds.
While 3D printing piques curiosity, it is intimidating on certain days because finding solutions to certain roadblocks is difficult, more so, when one is indoors. However, online resources and a few like-minded individuals kept matters going. “You can access a world of information online. And with technology on our side, you can seek help through video calls so that your learning doesn’t stop. So far, I have made – BB8 and R2D2 droids, daft punk robots (currently working on a project to make life sized helmets), animal phone stands, the Manchester United red devil and Lego pieces,” Shah informs.
At the moment, Shah is learning to design on Fusion 360 (a cloud-based tool for collaborative product development), and plans to take it one day at a time. “There is no hurry to convert it into a business. I need to educate myself about every aspect of 3D printing.”
2020 was a difficult year, and, taught Shah a valuable lesson—the importance of a hobby. “Most of us were apprehensive about the circumstances (still are in a few ways), and weren’t accustomed to being confined to the four walls of the house. That’s when hobbies provided us with the necessary outlet to de-stress, realign and refocus, and explore our creativity,” she concludes.