3D printing firm makes premium products

Ndiki drinks from cup of sweet success

Luvuyo Ndiki is the proud owner of a 3D printing business.
Luvuyo Ndiki is the proud owner of a 3D printing business.
Image: Vukuzenzele

Motivation and determination ensured that a young entrepreneur achieved success in his career of choice.

Luvuyo Ndiki, the proud owner of a 3D printing business, is proof that setbacks in life should not stand in the way of your dreams.

The 30-year-old from Butterworth, Eastern Cape, applied for a course in interior design in 2010 but was rejected because he didn’t meet the requirements.

He was advised to consider studying design foundation instead, which he did for a year at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

“The course included all the disciplines of design, including fashion, interior design, surface design and three-dimensional (3D) design,” Ndiki said.

During his studies, Ndiki discovered his passion for 3D design and 3D printing technology. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t complete the course due to financial constraints,” he said.

As he was eager to get a qualification, Ndiki enrolled for and completed a qualification in public relations management at the same institution, but still continued to teach himself more about 3D design and printing.

In 2014, while still studying, he established his business, Red Cup Village, which specialises in manufacturing and selling 3D printing prototyping services.

After graduating, Ndiki worked for a PR agency as a media coordinator and account manager. He then decided to focus on his business.

“Our mission is to create innovative concepts and premium products. We manufacture and sell products on our e-commerce platform, while also customising and personalising products per customers’ requests and needs using 3D printers,” Ndiki said. 

Ndiki said a 3D printer makes products by melting plastic and layering it into a 3D shape, the same way cake icing is done.

“You can make and sell any plastic product you dream of. We are using this technology to make plastic products faster than traditional manufacturing, while creating new technology jobs.”

Through this type of technology, the company is able to manufacture a new product within 24 hours, while traditional manufacturing takes from six months to three years. “Our products cost less because they are 100% locally manufactured,” he said.

The business received funding of R50,000 from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) to buy equipment, including a 3D printer and laptop, and has created five jobs and two learnerships to date. 

• This article first appeared in GCIS's Vuk'uzenzele

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