3D Printing

3D printer advertised at North Korean trade fair

The printer in North Korea (left) and the original MakerBot model (right)

A North Korean university was advertising a 3D printer at the recently concluded trade show in Pyongyang, in footage captured by DPRK 360’s Aram Pam.

3D printing is an emerging technology that can create objects and designs created on computer software. It is currently used in a variety of industries to create prototypes and objects that would be difficult to produce using traditional manufacturing methods.

The booth belonging to the Pyongyang Machinery and Technology Exchange didn’t actually have any 3D printer at the event, and was instead using a brochure to advertise the product. “This equipment divides a 3D digital copy of an object into many different layers and later structures the layers in a designated order to produce three dimensional solid objects. This equipment is used for producing precise casts or molds,” the advert reads.

  • The flyer indicates the printer can use several kinds of plastics to create objects, and has a minimum resolution of 0.1 mm.
  • The company claims it can decrease certain production costs by 30 percent.
  • The advert does not mention where the printer is made, but the pictured device bears an uncanny resemblance to a kind of printer produced by New York-based company MakerBot Industries.

Comparison of images of North Korea’s printer and MakerBot’s first generation Replicator printer. The two devices appear to be the same shape, color and have the same black trim and design.

MakerBot’s three pronged logo is also visible, though the name of the company is absent in the Pyongyang Machinery and Technology Exchange’s model.  Regardless of its origin, the advertised 3D printer is not the only one in North Korea.

“The university listed in the brochure is Pyongyang University of Mechanical Engineering near the Diplomat Compound in Pyongyang. PUST has a 3D printer used in the R&D center to make prototypes such as a solar lamp,” PUST Chancellor Chan-Mo Park told NK News.

During the DPRK 360 video, the staff at the booth also say their technology company is not a joint venture but claim it is a business related to one the mechanical engineering university. Universities creating businesses to sell products derived from their research would be a relatively new development in the DPRK, though university professors are sometimes hired for their technical expertise.

“University professors with relevant expertise love getting pulled over to companies to consult (either on language or something technical) as it is a chance to earn decent money. The Academy of Sciences is trying to set up an incubator to start new companies to develop marketable products – Choson Exchange is trying to support them in that effort,” Andray Abrahamian from Choson Exchange told NK News.

Source: NK News.