3D Printers

A 3D Printing Moment at G-Star 2014

If you are a serious gamer, you’ve probably already heard about Korea’s G-Star show where all the very latest in video game technology is shown off to the public.  If you don’t know about it, G-Star started in 2005 and has grown into one of the largest global gaming shows in the world.  And on top of everything else, this year’s show marked its 10th anniversary, so the event was…absolutely nuts!  No fooling.  Five days of non-stop video gaming craziness at the BEXCO convention center in downtown Busan, a venue the size of a small international airport.  I’ve been to a lot of trade shows in a lot of different places, and this one was off the scale.  The numbers of people, the size of the events, and the amounts of money spent…off the charts!

But here is the sad part.  In all this activity, all this excitement, all this creativity…there was (as far as I could find) only a single 3D printer at the entire event!  Foolish as I am, I figured that gaming and 3D printing would go together like…well, like you figure they would!  But I guess that’s what I get for not being a gamer.

As disappointed as I was in the scarcity of 3D printers, I was very excited to find the one I did find…a previously unknown one that appeared to be of exceptional quality and style. Needless to say, upon finding this printer, I immediately did a quick web search for any information on the printer or its manufacturer.  I only found a Facebook page and not much else.

Moment 3D Printer G-Star Exhibition

Approaching the booth I began what would eventually become an extended interview with Leonard Lin, CEO of GameNami and Kim Dong-Woo, a sales tech for “Moment” the 3D printer manufacturer. I was curious both about the machine and the game…and how the two came together.

Mr. Lin took the lead and stated that GameNami is a Singaporean based game and platform developer. They originally started out developing Facebook web browser games, but have recently moved into the mobile market with the introduction of their first mobile, 3D, cross-platform game called “Battle Galaxy”.  The game will be available on Facebook, Android and iOS.  It’s a science fiction space fantasy that involves a story that can mutate along different storylines depending on the choices that players make.

According to the company: “Battle Galaxy is a turn-based strategy game with each player bringing a fleet of up to 5 ships into each battle. The battles are rendered in 3D with occasional special cinematic sequences when your battle ships perform special attacks.  There are 5 different ship classes from light fighters to heavy dreadnoughts. Players are able to set the formation of their ships before each battle to try to gain an advantage over the enemy’s formation. Placing dreadnought in front to “tank” for harder hitting but more fragile ships is key to achieving victory.   Ships can be customized with different weapons, parts and crew members. Crew members come with their own unique skills and abilities to enhance the battle abilities of your starships.”

Moment 3D Printer G-Star Exhibition

Mr. Kim then told me about his company and printer. According to him, “Moment” is a relatively new 3D printer maker, but one that has some well-grounded roots.  As it turned out I already had some connections with Moment in that the company’s CEO Park Hee-Wan used to be the head of foreign sales for Rokit, another Korean 3D printing company.  I had actually met Mr. Park back in May of this year at the SIMTOS show in Seoul and he impressed me at the time with his enthusiasm and knowledge, which was remarkable for a sales guy type, as sales guys are usually only interested in “moving product”.  What I did not know at the time was that Mr. Park is also a professional engineer, which explains the expertise he demonstrated during our initial meeting.

Evidentially, as good as the Rokit machines are, Mr. Park thought they could be better, and so set out to create a machine with superior qualities.  The machine I saw looked at first like many other printers, but had some interesting features which I noted.  First of all, the Moment is a FFF gantry-style printer.  It has an aluminum double-walled body and all the interior components are made of aluminum, except the single drive belt (it uses two stepper motors and one continuous belt loop to drove BOTH the X and Y axis), the two cooling fans (which are plastic), and the build plate surface (which is glass).  It uses a single solid metal extruder and hotend and a heated glass build plate for use with either PLA or ABS.  The exterior size of the machine is 380mm x 390mm x 350mm and has an interior build area of 145mm x 150mm x 165mm.  It supports either Windows or Mac OS systems, uses either USB or SD card file loading, and prints at a maximum resolution of 50 microns.

Moment 3D Printing G-Star Exhibition

In addition to all the hardware features, Moment also includes a user’s license for a “Simplify3D” software package for their customers. I have not yet played with this software, but the website does give a lot of information which seems to be a solid “all-in-one” package with a short video explaining the product pretty well.

All of this aside though, what struck me most was how Moment just “popped” into existence without much fanfare or hoopla; no Kickstarter campaign, no “we’re about to release a super new machine” nonsense… just bam!  There it was, printing away at the G-Star…fully complete, fully functional.  And they have already sold well over 100 machines and have a new model about to be released!  Mr. Kim also added that next month, they are planning on opening two retail stores in Korea, one in Seoul and one in Busan…which to my knowledge would be the first dedicated 3D printing retail outlets in Korea.

Moment 3D Printing G-Star Exhibition

SO how did these two diverse companies find each other?  Well as it turned out, one of Mr. Lin’s game playing associates worked for a Singaporean 3D printing company, and introduced Mr. Lin to his Japanese distributor, who introduced him to “Moment” and a relationship was born.  He said that the moment (pun intended) he saw the prints, “the quality just blew me away because I’ve seen other 3D printers and this one is so smooth, it’s so amazing.”   For those in the know, that is no small statement as Singapore is one of the leading hotbeds of 3D printing development in Asia.  This appears to be a company to watch…a real dark horse that may soon be everywhere.  Time will tell.

For those of you who could not attend the G-Star show and are curious about what all the excitement was about, I shot a short highlights video just to give a taste of what was going on.  It doesn’t have much to do with the printer, but is a bit of fun.