Innovative South African Entrepreneur Uses 3D Printing Technology To Help Save The Planet, One Cup At A Time

3D Printing Technology

As an entrepreneur, hobbyist, 3D printing enthusiast, and inventor, Luvuyo Ndiki (30) is the man behind Red Cup Village, a lifestyle brand dedicated to producing high-quality and innovative products that help its users make a difference in society. Ndiki established Red Cup Village in 2014 with a vision to become a leading disruptive 3D printing and 3D scanning company through innovative concepts and premium products. And this vision is steadily coming to fruition thanks to the hard work and dedication of the talented Ndiki and his creative and forward-thinking team.

Using 3D printing technology, Red Cup Village started by creating biodegradable drinking cups using polylactide (PLA) filament – a biodegradable polyester derived from sugarcane and corn starch. Born in Butterworth and raised in Bathhurst, Ndiki says the idea to start the business struck him while studying Design Foundation at the Cape Penninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in 2010.

3D Printing Technology

“The Design Foundation gave me a wide view of the design disciplines, from architecture, interior design, graphic design, product design, surface design and fashion design. I majored in product design, known as 3D dimensional design, in 2011, but could not complete the course due to financial constraints. However, I was determined to graduate, so I enrolled in Public Relation Management, which I completed in 2014.”

While studying public relations, Ndiki continued to self-teach himself 3D dimensional design and 3D printing technology. “I fell in love with 3D printing and established Red Cup Village with the idea to make world-class 3D printing and scanning accessible to individuals, organisations and start-ups across various sectors.”

He continues, “It has been a long journey to where we are today – specialists in manufacturing on-demand consumer products and medical devices using 3D printing and scanning technology in combination with material science. Our platform allows users to construct personalised functional parts and products in a matter of hours, faster than traditional manufacturing processes, using biodegradable raw material derived from corn-starch, sugarcane and recycled plastics.”

3D Printing Technology

The Red Cup Village 3D printing farm currently holds over 117 high-performance industrial and commercial 3D printers with the capacity for mass volume customisation and personalisation.

Inspired by Africa

Ndiki lovingly recalls how Red Cup Village was inspired by his grandmother’s story about an immensely enlightened African woman in the 13th century. “She united two rival kings by inviting them to a social gathering, where she made them drink from the same wooden cup. The two rival kings ended up not only sharing the cup but, beliefs systems and cultural backgrounds, which created social cohesion and united them and their villages.” As such, the Red Cup Village name is a combination of his grandmother’s story and the disposable red cups popular in the hip hop community. Even the brand’s logo, an upside-down R & V, makes reference to the ancient wooden cup shared by the rival kings, with the V-shaped vessel allowing users to pour their drinks from both sides.

Ndiki shares that his brand story has always been about bringing people from different cultures together. “It’s not just a cup, but a lifestyle. We are building a global lifestyle brand through the best quality products using raw and locally-grown materials and ethical sourcing practices.”

“As a company, we look towards creating sustainable products for the environment and stimulate green economic growth in the country by producing local products from recycled plastics pallets. We also aim to empower young people to a lifestyle of unity, friendship and discovery.”

3D Printing Technology

“We want Red Cup Village to be a hub for innovative people from diverse cultures. We want South Africans to come together and drink from the same cup as one, united nation,” concludes Ndiki.

About Red Cup Village

Red Cup Village is an on-demand consumer products and medical devices manufacturing company, utilizing 3D printing and 3D scanning technology, in combination with material science to help professionals and users make physical products in a matter of hours, faster than traditional manufacturing processes using material derived from corn-starch, sugarcane and recycled plastics.

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