3D Print Conference Kyiv, 2016

3D Print Conference Kyiv, 2016

Highlights from the event

Staying on track with my professional development, I visited the 3D Print Conference (Kyiv, Ukraine, September 16).

Last time I came to a local 3D Print Confrerence conference was a year ago. And I should say that by now I have learnt a lot more about the technologies, innovations and trends (thanks, the University of Illinois!). So, Ukrainian projects, start-ups and the local market were of main interest for me.

Once more, the venue consisted of four main zones. Apart from the exhibition, there was a 3D printing and 3D scanning workshop. The conference hall hosted the presentations, and my child spent time in the kids’ workshop zone.

The organisers assure that the third Conference welcomed more guests and exhibiting companies. But it seems to me that by now it somewhat lacks the level and drive it deserves. I hope we will see alternatives and new formats offered by Ukrainian and European expo companies.

This year, the presentation program included 10 talks with some last-minute changes. Some of them were quite inspiring.

3D Printing for Development in Ukraine

Brennan Purtzer, the Founder of Blue Continent Eco-Trade Alliance, is currently volunteering for the US Peace Corps in Ivano-Frankivsk, Western Ukraine.

To his opinion, 3D printing for development can have a much more important impact on society that creating art or jewellery pieces. 3D technologies are already being used for the development of Africa, Philippines, Pakistan, etc.

Brennan relies on his experiences with Micronesia, one of the most isolated regions. The supply chain there is long, slow, and expensive. And the national GPD depends on import to a great extent.

Brennan Purtzer 3D Printing for Development of Ukraine

Here 3D printing could shorten the supply chain offering limited on-island production. Among other benefit are better-paying jobs, technical training, better import and export balance. Moreover, the reduced shipping volume means positive environmental impact. With 3D printing, small communities can use recycled plastics to build new items they need.

According to Brennan Purtzer, the same process could be used in Ukraine. But the best solutions for Ukraine are the ones we have yet to invent to solve specific, local issues.

Brennan is planning to open a 3D print learning centre in Kalush near Ivano-Frankivsk. A nation-wide network might follow later.

Printed houses: autonomous and self-learning

Maxim Gerbut, founder and CEO of Ukrainian PassivDom, presented an interesting concept of a printed modular PassivHause.

The startup claims to have created the world’s warmest passive houses. The structure is carbon and glass fibre combined with patented warm windows. An extremely low heat loss makes self-sufficiency easy and cost-effective to implement.

PassivDom. 3D Print Conference Kyiv, 2016

Basic structures, including walls, roofing, and basement platform, are produced with 3D printing by “7D” robotic arms. The dimensions of a basic transportable PassivDom module are 4 m x 9 m (12 tonnes). If case you need a larger building, you are free to combine two modules.

Unlike concrete 3D printing, the original houses are promising full off-grid autonomy. It seems like you do not need any traditional heating system even for cold regions. The thermal characteristics allow using 20 times less energy than usual. Obviously, they outperform the new energy efficiency standards that come into effect in 2030 in the USA and Europe.


The modular houses use solar panels and batteries to produce energy and store it. Even with heavy clouding, the energy supply is enough to keep self-efficiency for up to two weeks. All house appliances are integrated into the Internet of Things. A self-learning system monitors the quality of air inside. Actually, you can control the house from anywhere with the help of your smartphone.

Made in Ukraine: high-quality 3D printing filament

Oleg Kireev, a representative of Extrusion in Motion, told about methods of quality control and testing of ABS and PLA filaments.

A pioneer Ukrainian manufacturer of 3D filament produces excellent-quality materials for 3D printers. Launched in 2016, the manufacturing site is equipped with advanced quality measurement systems and production lines. For their 3D filament, the company exports 100% fresh raw materials from North America.

EIM has already tested its 3D filament in German laboratories. The results were good enough to launch the export of the product made in Ukraine to the market of Germany. Currently, EIM is undergoing certification procedures to comply with the TÜV and European RoHS directive 2002/95/EC.

The R&D department continues to develop new materials in close cooperation with leading suppliers of 3D printers and 3D scanners. Wood, metal, carbon filaments, Flex, and rubber are currently at work. ‘Run by engineers for engineers’, EIM is also planning to offer 3D printing and 3D scanning services, measurement systems, industrial 3D printing technologies, and recycling.

Extrusin in Motion. 3D Print Conference Kyiv, 2016

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Just after the 3D Print Conference in Kyiv, Kwambio announced the launch of its first European 3D printing factory based in Ukraine. The company is ready to compete with Materialise and Shapeways using its own ceramic powder (80 colours!).

“Our goal is to offer high-quality products at affordable prices. Thanks to our incredible team and a perfect eco-friendly location in Ukraine, Kwambio cuts prices and lead time in half,” said Vlad Usov, CEO and co-founder of Kwambio.

Kwambio processes online and third-party orders accepting all kinds of sketches. Your product will be ready from scratch in just two weeks. The price is $0.07 for one cubic centimetre.

Kwambio 3D printing factory

LaMetric gadget

Print Hi-Tech: March & April

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: the most beautiful book in the world; so long, plastic? a biodegradable algae bottle; Disney files for game-changing 3D printing patents; Red Dot Product Design Award 2016 goes to Ukraine.

A beautiful bookstore story

In March, the most beautiful book in the world was announced in Leipzig, Germany. The annual book design competition has been held since 1963. The international competition welcomes books, which were singled out by expert panels in their countries of origin.

This year judges examined about 600 books from 32 countries: Order: Fangyuan Story published by Guangxi Art won the top prize. Written by Lu Chonghua and designed by Li Jin, it tells the story of a 33-year-old private bookstore.

After graduating from the Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, Lu Chonghua managed a bookstore belonging to his family. On every book order, Lu drew portraits reflecting his feelings. Four years later, he decided to make a book of those memorable portraits, and his best friend, Li Jin, agreed to design the book.

the most beautiful book in the world 2016

the most beautiful book in the world

A really biodegradable bottle

Plastic water bottles became an integral part of our “throw-away” culture. According to onegreenplanet.org, 40 billion plastic bottles end up in our landfills every year. Along with other forms of plastic that totals to 8.8 million tonnes entering the ocean.

“I read that 50 percent of plastic is used once and then thrown away so I feel there is an urgent need to find ways to replace some of the unreal amount of plastic we make, use and throw away each day,” Ari Jónsson, a product design student at the Iceland Academy of the Arts, says. “Why are we using materials that take hundreds of years to break down in nature to drink from once and then throw away?”

Ari Jónsson created a water bottle that’s made out of algae, a material that, unlike plastic, doesn’t leave a near-permanent problem behind after it’s been used. His bottle needs to contain liquid to keep its shape and as soon as it’s empty it will start to decompose. So far, the biodegradable bottle is only a conceptual piece. Jónsson admits that the biggest issue with algae as a packaging material is that it tears easily. Let’s just hope that major manufacturers will take inspiration from this invention.

A really biodegradable bottle

Disney to reinvent 3D printing?

Disney files for a series of patents that could totally change 3D printing industry. The most significant part is a system that offers a new approach to the printing process.

Instead of slowly printing layer by layer, the stereolithography-based system blasts a volumetric image into a print chamber filled with liquid polymer. The light creates a mirror image in the polymer, which reacts to the light and cures effectively. The newly formed object can be picked out of the chamber as the rest of the polymer remains uncured.

The replicator is designed to work with plastics and is meant for mass production of Disney merchandise. Actually, it can be turned into a reliable method for other materials, and then it will be a quantum leap for the whole industry.

Disney 3D printing patent

Bonus: Made in Ukraine

LaMetric gadget created by Smart Atoms startup based in Ukrainian Lviv was awarded the Red Dot Product Design Award 2016.

A multifunctional LED display, LaMetric displays time and useful info including social networks notifications, e-mails, weather forecasts by synchronising with applications like Google Calendar, CrossFit, Apple Store, IFTTT etc. Nazar Bilous, CEO of Smart Atoms, said that the startup intends to increase sales of La Metric Time online and to access premium off-line networks.

LaMetric isn’t the first Ukrainian project with the Red Dot Award. Last year, the prize was awarded to Catherine Sokolova from Kharkiv and her portable AeroTwist speakers, a joint project with Jarre Technologies.

LaMetric gadget created by Ukrainian Smart Atoms

World as Organism 3D

Print Hi-Tech: January & February

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: Pantone’s top 10 colors for spring to make us a little happier; plastic packaging made from thin air; the World-as-Organism 3D philosophy discussed in Davos; interactive 21st-century books created in Ukraine.

Pantone’s Top 10 Colors: Spring 2016

Pantone’s top colors for spring are meant to make us a little happier. Interestingy, this is clearly a unisex palette: spring and summer colors transcend cultural and gender norms.

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute: “Influenced by the world of art, new global doors opening, and the desire to disconnect from technology and unwind, designers this season have gravitated toward a palette that is first and foremost calming.”

Number-one color for women and men is soothing Rose Quartz. “A persuasive yet gentle tone” radiates compassion and a sense of composure during the busy but lighthearted spring and summer months.

More vibrant colors can be attributed to consumers’ appreciation for nature’s influence in urban design continuing to inspire designers. Among other top colors are Peach Echo, Serenity, Limpet Shell, Lilac Gray and Iced Coffee.


Plastic packaging made from thin air

Eco-conscious consumers are interested in packaging that is recyclable, renewable or made from sustainable resources. According to European Bioplastics, the market for bioplastics will increase from around 1.6 million tons in 2013 to approximately 6.7 million tons in 2018.

After more than 10 years of research and development, Newlight Technologies, a California-based company, found a way to convert methane-based greenhouse gas emissions into AirCarbon material.

According to the company, cost-efficient AirCarbon matches the performance of petroleum-based plastics. It can be used in extrusion, blown film, cast film, thermoforming, fiber spinning, and injection molding processes. Newlight is currently working with more than 60 companies, making all sorts of products, from cell phone cases, to plastic chairs, to bottle caps.

AirCarbon plastic

The World-as-Organism: 3D printing at Davos Conference

When describing the impact of 3D printing, the phrase “Industry 4.0” is widely used now. The term embraces a number of contemporary automation, data exchange, and manufacturing technologies.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Neri Oxman, an architect and designer, introduced the World-as-Organism 3D philosophy, which is meant to supersede the World as Machine. “Novel technologies emerging from the Digital Age are enabling engineering and production at Mother Nature’s quantum scale, ushering in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: the Biological Age”, her essay says.

The design is no longer constrained by traditional manufacturing technologies. From now on, designers are introduced to ‘Material Ecology’. Computational design, digital fabrication, synthetic biology, the environment, and the material itself become inseparable and harmonized dimensions of design. And that could mean a new age, where products and structures will be able to grow and adapt.

Made in Ukraine: Interactive Books from Gutenbergz

In 2011, Gutenbergz digital publishing project was created in Ukrainian Odessa. Its founder and CEO Volodymyr Usov decided to offer a different concept of storytelling for international readers.

Its first release, Sherlock Holmes, appeared in AppStore in December 2012 and became a top app in China and the U.S. In 2013, Gutenbergz successfully launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Gadgetarium project: a printed version bundled with augmented reality elements and an interactive book app for mobile devices. The immersive story features 23 of the world’s greatest gadgets, from the wheel and up to Google Glass, and comes with 54 fully interactive pages.

In 2014, Gutenbergz together with UNESCO created an interactive version of Blood and Hope by Samuel Pesaro. “For us, the augmented reality, as well as other technologies, is primarily a tool for creating fascinating stories. With the help of technology, we are trying to increase the person involvement in the process of interaction with the content,” says Volodymyr Usov.

3D Printing a Steel Bridge

Print Hi-Tech: June & July

Printing, digital, and marketing convergence

Interesting news and case studies involving printing and digital technologies covered in my regular ‘Hi-Tech’ category.

Today: Pizza and movies with a cardboard projector; a speaker made of recycled paper; 3D printing of a fully functional steel bridge; Ukrainian bank starts to use 3D printing.

Movie Nights Packaging

Pizza Hut Hong Kong offers their customers both pizzas and movies for an iconic night. You can turn a Blockbuster Box from a pizza delivery device into a small film projector in just a few minutes.

Created by Ogilvy & Mather Group, the unique pizza box comes with a ready to remove hole, a lens, and a smartphone stand. Customers are welcome to scan code printed on the side of the box to unlock some exclusive movies and enjoy them together with their pizza.

Pizza lovers can choose one of four boxes depending on the kind of movie they want to watch: horror Slice Night, sci-fi Anchovy Armageddon, romantic Hot and Ready, thrilling Fully Loaded. For now, the box is only available to customers in Hong Kong.


Recycled Paper Speaker

To demonstrate the endless possibilities of paper, Arjowiggins Graphic launches a campaign based on a music speaker created from Cocoon, 100 percent recycled material with the qualities and appearance of virgin fibre paper.

The flat packed speaker box made from cocoon offset 350 gsm is combined with a compact portable speaker system called the Mighty Boomball, which can turn literally any surface into a speaker offering on a new music experience.

All you need to enjoy your music anywhere is simply make up a Cocoon 100% recycled speaker box, pop the Mighty Boomball on top of it, plug it into a headphone socket and watch the box transform into a high volume speaker.

3D Printing a Steel Bridge

MX3D, a company specializing in research and development of robotic 3D print technology, is going to 3D print a fully functional steel bridge with intricate design over water in the center of Amsterdam. The bridge will be designed by Joris Laarman with the help of new Autodesk software, a research project in itself. “I strongly believe in the future of digital production and local production, in ‘the new craft’. This bridge will show how 3D printing finally enters the world of large-scale, functional objects and sustainable materials while allowing unprecedented freedom of form,” Joris says.

According to Tim Geurtjens, CTO MX3D, the difference between their technology and traditional 3D printing methods is the ‘Printing Outside the box’ principle. Using 6-axis industrial robots, the process is no longer limited to a square building box.

From September 2015, the progress of the project can be followed in MX3D visitor center. Project partners: Autodesk, Heijmans, Air Liquide, ABB robotics, STV, Delcam, Within, Lenovo.

Bonus: Made in Ukraine

PrivatBank, the leading commercial bank in Ukraine, started to 3D print gears for its extensive ATM network consisting of more than 8,000 terminals across the country.

According to its IT director, ATM gears for were earlier supplied by third-party manufacturers. Now, a 3D printer makes it possible to produce the necessary batches of gears in-house. The reported price per unit has dropped 20 times. Moreover, the bank does not need inventory any longer as gears are printed as soon as they are needed.

Due to reduced ATM downtime, in-house 3D printing means real benefits both for the bank and for its customers.

3D gear printing