Environmental Leadership in Closed-loop 3D Printing in Moldova

by Alexandr Iscenco (ELP 2013), Moldova

We all have heard about the additive manufacturing technology called 3D printing. This is the process of producing a three-dimensional object from a digital design. This process includes the deposition of successive layers of material (plastic, steel, aluminum, silver, gold, etc.), extrusion of material from a basin of liquid and its solidification when it passes through a laser beam, and solidification of the powder when again it meets the laser ray.

Image iconIMG_2969-300x225_2.jpg 3D printer of the model Arduino Materia 101 at 3D Magic Makers.

Such a technology promises to deliver great value in terms of sustainable development. For example, as its name suggests, the additive manufacturing technology “adds” material where it is necessary, in comparison to the traditional subtractive manufacturing, where the material is removed from a block of plastic / wood / steel / etc. where it is not needed. Such an approach keeps the amount of waste generated to a minimum. Of course, there can be some amount of waste created from “failed prints”. However, with such devices as Filabot, one can recycle such “failed prints” and other plastic waste into the filament for a 3D printer, thus creating a closed-loop manufacturing system at home / garages / offices / etc.

And this is exactly what the startup called 3D Magic Makers, initiated by a Beahrs ELP 2013 alumnus, Alexandr Iscenco, and his 3 friends, Vergiliu, Ghena, and Marina, are currently doing. During the ELP, Alexandr learned about different approaches to environmental management and sustainable development, including the 3D printing technology, as well as received some valuable advice from entrepreneurs during his visit to Palo Alto, also known as Silicon Valley, in California, USA. And now he puts his knowledge into practice, as well as shares it with his colleagues.

Image icon11112703_905790492818067_5123028017462319688_n-300x200_2.jpg Beahrs ELP 2013 alumnus Alexandr Iscenco presenting “Vasea,” the 3D printer.

Ever since 3D Magic Makers was established, the startup has become the leader in offering environmentally friendly 3D printing services in Moldova. Not only do they offer printing only in PLA (polylactide), a biodegradable and biocompatible material derived from corn starch or sugarcane, but they also collect all failed prints and other possible plastic waste to recycle them into filament that then can be used to 3D print new objects. Thus, 3D Magic Makers has established a closed-loop 3D printing service, where a customer can bring his/her previously 3D-printed objects or PET bottles to recycle them into new creations for half the price of the original print. The company and their 3D printer of the model Arduino Materia 101 (lovingly named “Vasea” by the team, which is a male name from the clip “DJ Vasile” performed by a well-known Moldovan band Zdob si Zdub) have already been recognized by a number of Moldovan mass-media agencies, such as Timpul and Publika.

Image icon11152689_1573023086303387_3186903915344492686_n-252x300_2.jpg 3D-printed Technovation Challenge badges

3D Magic Makers offer their eco-friendly 3D printing service for a broad range of customers: from individual innovators to international organizations and companies. The most recent prints were badges for participants within the Technovation Challenge, which originated in the US and nowadays runs on the international scale, including in Moldova. The company’s further plans includes getting a “girlfriend” for “Vasea” that could print faster and in higher quality, as well as delivering courses and workshops on 3D design and eco-friendly 3D printing for young innovators and product makers in Moldova. In this way, 3D Magic Makers wants to promote 3D printing as a leading technology for environmentally friendly manufacturing of the future that will soon become the present in Moldova.