3D Printers

INTERVIEW: Nobula, Formnext Start-up Challenge 2021 Winner

This week 3D Printing Industry joins the additive manufacturing world in Frankfurt for the return of one of the major events on the calendar – Formnext. 

A vital component of the expo is the annual start-up challenge, with winners selected for free participation in the trade show including a pitch event on Day One. All week we will be profiling the winners. In this article, Chunxin Liu, CEO and Co-founder of Nobula tells 3D Printing Industry about what to expect from this 3D printed glass company.

3DPI: When was your company founded and where are operations based?

Chunxin Liu: In November 2020, we decided to found Nobula and joined the KTH Innovation pre-incubator program. The company was incorporated in July 2021. Currently, most operations are based in Stockholm, Sweden.

3DPI: Can you tell us more about your team’s background and experience with AM?

CL: The Nobula team has a tech-heavy background. The team is made up of leading scientist Michael Fokine (associate professor at KTH) and his students Chunxin Liu (Ph.D. Candidate) and Taras Oriekhov (Ph.D. Candidate). We have different expertise, together we have more than 35 years of experience in laser processing and glass science.

Co-founders of Nobula, Michael Fokine, Chunxin Liu, Taras Oriekhov.
Co-founders of Nobula, Michael Fokine, Chunxin Liu, Taras Oriekhov.

We have been dedicated to developing glass 3D printing technology since 2016 and Nobula is the fruit of our research. Our printer enables glass 3D printing in small to medium size with micron meter resolution. The process is fast, energy-efficient, and without the need for postprocessing. Two patents were filed for both the printer and the printing materials.

3DPI: What does your company do?

CL: We offer glass 3D printing services to customers to fulfill their needs. Needs from prototype development to small-batch productions.

In 2022, we will launch our glass 3D printing system. Providing both the glass 3D printer and the feedstock to the market. Meanwhile supporting our customer with more versatile solutions, for example, developing process and customized printers for specialty products.

3D printed glass at 100 percent infill. Photo via Nobula.
3D printed glass at 100 percent infill. Photo via Nobula.

3DPI: How does your company fit into the additive manufacturing ecosystem?

CL: Additive manufacturing is growing very rapidly. While in some fields such as metals and plastics AM is becoming more mature. Glass AM is still unviable. As one of the most common material, glass is unique and indispensable in many areas. Glass AM has huge potential and Nobula helps to enable glass to the additive manufacturing ecosystem.

3DPI: How would you describe the roadmap for your enterprise in the coming years?

CL: In the coming year we are planning to finalize the prototype printer and launch the first model before summer 2022. By the end of the year 2022 we are expecting to collect 10 more early orders and keep iterating our technology together with our customers. Meanwhile, supply chain and production lines will be established for scaling up the production to meet the market needs.

3DPI: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?

CL: We are a start-up at a very early stage with limited resources. To fully explore the potential of our unique glass 3D printing, we are looking to expand our team, find relevant customers/partners/investors. People who see the potentials, have the needs, or are interested in glass 3D printing, are welcome to get in touch with us.

Meet the Formnext Start-up Challenge 2021 Winners

If you attending Formnext, make sure you visit the Start-up Area (Hall 12.0, B81). The official award ceremony is to take place on Tuesday, 16 November 2021 from 3:00 p.m. on Formnext’s AM4U stage (Hall 11.0, E72).

The 3D Printing Industry will be in Frankfurt all week, so make sure you say hello if you see us!

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Featured image shows the world’s first 3DBenchy printed in glass. Photo via Nobula.