Today 3D printing market is developing with advanced speed. According to the IDC company forecast, the volume of the global market for 3D printing will have grown 10 times by 2017. And by 2050, according to DHL experts, every family in the developed world will be using such type of printing at home. That is, it will not be a problem for an ordinary person to print dishes, furniture, or accessories.
The domestic 3D printing market started developing not so long ago. Despite this, there already are several companies that provide dimensional printing services, including the first print shop in Ukraine, 3DGoods. Over half a year of operation, shop employees have fulfilled more than 120 orders and created 324 dimensional models. The main feature of 3DGoods, which distinguishes it from other dimensional printing services, is that a client can not only order a necessary item, but also witness the process of its creation.
The idea of creating such a store belongs to Kyiv-based startuper Ivan Pasichnyk. He organized operation of the print shop jointly with Maksym Yakover, owner of art cafe “Chasopys.” “3D printing business as such does not exist in Ukraine. People make money out of it, but it’s too little. For example, such a printer is almost in every household in Europe, but our people don’t know about it. Engineers can use it to print prototypes of some instruments, for example,” says Kovbasa, technical director of printing shop 3DGoods.
The masterminds’ main goal was to tell and show people how three-dimensional printing is actually working. “A person comes over, they can have a cup of coffee while watching how a printer is creating a necessary item. Unfortunately, people in our country have absolutely no idea what 3D printing is,” he says. Kovbasa joined the project as a technical director in July.
The dimensional printer was assembled in Ukraine. “Oleksandr Mustafaiev is virtually the first person in Ukraine to assemble a 3D printer. He did not just put together an analog to foreign models, but redesigned and improved it,” says the technical director.
Now the shop is being reorganized. “We have transferred to online service, launched a website, which is being finished now. We take orders for 3D modeling and printing in cooperation with Kyiv-based companies. We do not execute the orders ourselves yet, because we are looking for a suitable office,” says Kovbasa.
The most popular order is a developmental prototype. “For example, someone has created a new cellphone model, and they need to show their investors or business partners what it will look like. So, instead of spending time and money and ordering this prototype at a factory, they create a plastic model. We also make small figurines,” technical director of 3DGoods adds.
The main material the 3D printer works with is plastic. There are over 100 kinds of plastic known today. For example, wood-plastic composites. Thanks to this, the product made of this material will look and smell like wood. Also, metal objects can be made with a 3D printer. However, the print shop has not received such orders yet.
Store owners Pasichnyk and Kovbasa plan to create a mini-factory. However, Ukrainian consumers are not quite ready for this type of goods, Kovbasa says. That is why the popularization of new technology in the society should be emphasized, rather than simple importing of dimensional printers. “Using 3D printers for ordinary Ukrainians is more of a whim today. People are not prepared to pay for that. Only a few enthusiasts purchase printers to use them at home. That is why business is mostly dealing with reselling. But we are not interested in that. Everyone can be a reseller, but promoting something new is much more interesting. We believe in what we do. We believe that this is our future. We are gradually promoting our website, speaking at conferences and exhibitions, and moving forward,” the print shop’s technical director explains.
There is a variety of options for using a 3D printer in everyday life. “For example, a small plastic detail in your sewing machine broke. In such cases, you have to buy a large part of the mechanism or a new sewing machine. And this is a waste of money, because you can create this detail with a 3D printer,” Kovbasa explains. Once the print shop already completed a similar order for a car dealership. A small plastic detail broke, and it was impossible to purchase it, because they were not sold separately. So, a whole mechanism should have been bought. And 3DGoods printed the necessary part.
On the other hand, 3D printing is a way to express individuality. “For example, I don’t want to drink from a glass I am offered, I want to use the one I designed myself. I come up with the idea, draw it, or have it drawn for me, and print it. And I have this glass, which is a reflection of my inner self. This is the future where all things will be unique,” says the technical director of 3DGoods.
According to him, Ukrainians will be able to appreciate the new technologies in about five years. “At the moment, people are thinking about completely different things. And you can take a look at the neighboring countries here. This has been present in Europe for a while. Let’s assume that Russia is a few years ahead of us in 3D printing. And we can predict where we will end up by looking at what is happening there now,” he says.
So far, the print shop exists thanks to the efforts of its creators. “If we look into the future, we can see that investments are needed, obviously. But judging by the situation in our country, investors are not ready to give money for new projects,” Kovbasa continues.
However, he admits that it would be simpler to open a similar business somewhere in Europe. “For example, I invented some new technology. I need minimum investments. I start searching for people who can give me the money. Experience shows that people in our country are ready to give money, but most of them want to take more than a half of the profit. This is not profitable at all for developers. And it is vice versa in Europe,” explains the technical director of 3DGoods.
At the same time, there is no necessary support on the state level. “For example, Barack Obama allocated a lot of funds for the development of dimensional printing. And no one does that in Ukraine. Our state and businessmen look only at things that bring almost immediate profits. However, technical companies do not always bring quick returns. First, significant investments must be made, and only then should the result be expected,” adds Kovbasa.