The history of additive technologies started about three decades ago when Charles Hull, the founder of 3D Systems, created the first stereolithography apparatus that could build up various objects by layers.
In 1990, Scott Crump invented a method of fused deposition modeling and founded his own Stratasys company, and five years later the MIT students decided to modify the company's inkjet printer Solidscape so that it could make three-dimensional images not on the paper but in a special container. They also introduced the concept of 3D printer and 3D printing.
3D printers have acquired a wide commercial distribution only in the early 2010s, when manufacturers realized that they can use it for the small-scale customized production. Around the same time, the development of additive technology started in Russia. In particular, local companies have started to develop the first FMD printers.
Many experts say that 3D printing is able to make a real industrial revolution. Particularly, the Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said that during next 20 years additive manufacturing will replace some methods of mass production. Therefore, Russia is actively involved in the 3D technologies development.
As for today, Russia accounts for a bit more than 2% of 3D machines installed in the world. Among the local companies that produce high-quality 3D printing equipment you can mark out Picaso 3D, 3Dquality, Magnum, Imprint. They try to follow the policy of import substitution by assembling printers using components manufactured in Russia.
Apart from that, the 3D equipment is created by Russian scientists and engineers. For example, the first 3D printer for metal powder printing was assembled in the Central Research Institute of Machine Building. The Stankoprom holding and the Center of Additive Technologies have joined their forces to establish a joint mass production of five industrial 3D printers that can work with heat-resistant, petrol-and-oil resistant and durable plastic. In addition to this, Roskosmos creates its own 3D printing machine.
Russia works not only with 3D printing equipment, but also develops the related software and consumables. In particular, the employees of the Skoltech Center for Advanced Structures have developed a unique material the strength of which exceeds 400 MPa. It will allow the reliable and functional construction elements to be printed.
3D printing development in Russia through the examples
The achievements in many fields such as medicine, industry, construction and other can be considered as the main proof of the active development of the industry.
In the medical field specialists use 3D technologies for growing artificial organs that can be used for testing of a variety of drugs, and in the future, with the technology perfection, 3D printed organs will be used for transplantation.
A significant progress in this field has been achieved by the scientists from 3D Bioprinting Solutions, who managed to print and successfully transplant a thyroid in mice and by the specialists of the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Biophysics, Russian Academy of Sciences, who created the specific biopaper for viable organs growing. It is also worthwhile to recall the researchers of the Siberian Federal University who have learnt to print the biocompatible implants.
3D printing made it possible to provide people who have injuries of upper extremities with free prostheses. Thus, the Motorika company manufactures highly functional pulling prostheses considering personal characteristics and preferences of the customers. A resident of Norilsk Maxim Lyashko created a bionic prosthesis Max Bionic that cost significantly lower than the world market analogs.
Besides, 3D modeling and printing is already used for surgeries planning and training of less experienced medical staff. Innovations are widely used in dentistry where doctors can create perfect dentures with a help of 3D scanners and printers.
In the industrial sector Russian companies are using the additive technologies mainly for prototyping. However, today other innovations and special raw materials are being created in order to launch a full cycle of digital production - from prototype to final product. Particularly, the employees of the Central Research Institute of Machine Building are actively working on that. All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Aviation Materials produces metal powders for 3D printing. By the way, they are being used already by Perm Aviadvigatel enterprise and by All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Aviation Materials for the creation of PD-14 engine parts.
The global trend of the 3D printing construction has not bypassed Russia. On the territory of the Yekaterinburg Cement Plant the power of modern additive technologies has been shown: the company employees used a 3D printer to create the exact copy of a watchtower from the popular Game of Thrones series. And Kollaboracia 3D created a 3D printer that can construct small architectural objects.
3D Print Expo - a catalyst for the development and implementation of 3D printing in Russia
One of the most powerful catalysts for the development and introduction of 3D innovations in Russia is the 3D Print Expo conference-exhibition which is yearly organized by the Smile-Expo company.
Photos of 3D Print Expo 2015
The first event of the international level has been held in Moscow in 2014. That exhibition presented unique devices for 3D printing and scanning: desktop 3D printers of local and foreign production, 3Doodler 3D pen, portable and stationary scanners, various consumables, first 3D food printer. It is thanks to this event that many people in Russia could become acquainted with the best Russian and foreign developments and test them. Since then, every year at the 3D Print Expo conference the world achievements in the field of the 3D printing are presented, and that allows local producers to adopt the experience of western colleagues, as well as to present their own unique ideas.
Besides Moscow, Smile-Expo organizes conferences on 3D printing in other cities as well: 3D Print Conference has taken place in St. Petersburg, Kiev, Almaty and Baku.
The goal of the 3D Print Expo and other similar events is to promote the innovative 3D technologies with the help of educational programs, latest research presentations, workshops and so on. The task of the exhibition is to create a highly effective platform for the developers and entrepreneurs meetings and others who are interested in the development of the industry. 3D Print Expo provides the opportunity to explore the latest trends in 3D printing and get acquainted with the advanced technologies that can be implemented in your own business.
IV 3D Print Expo annual exhibition will be held in Sokolniki ECC on November 17-18.
To learn more about the event agenda and to register you can use the following link: http://3d-expo.ru.