Dentist Andrew Dawood want to share his excitement about the 3D world. “Everything I do has a 3D aspect to it,” he says, “I’ve always delighted in many ways of making things.” Now he has moved his side business, Digits2Widgets, a one-stop 3D-printing shop, to a 1,000m2 workshop space in Campden, north London, where he hopes to create a “collaborative community” of artists, designers, engineers, technicians, enthusiasts and pure hobbyists engaged in what, he says, will be one of the most transforming technologies of the next few years.

Dawood, 51, first used 3D printing in his dental work in 1999: “I needed a way to make a model of a patient’s bone structure to work out how implants would go.” He approached Robin Richards at the Department of Medical Physics and Bioengineering at UCL, and together they persuaded a manufacturer of commercial 3D-printing machinery to make them a model. He invested in his first printers in 2005 to support his implant business. This year, he printed a prosthetic face (see image) for a patient who had had much of his skull and jaw removed during cancer surgery. “I saw how I could take this far beyond dentistry,” he says. “The idea for Digits2Widgets was born.”

Digits2Widgets will offer space for “tenants” to work together to advance the technology. “The 3D printers that will be in our children’s front rooms will make them think in a different way,” says Dawood. “They will train a generation and they will do some amazing things we can’t even imagine now.” David Baker