BY LORI BOGHIGIAN
3D printing is a growing industry, and Ashkhen Hovsepyan and Ani Abgaryan have set a goal to make it more accessible. With unique backgrounds in physics and digital design, the duo shares a broad aspiration of fostering various opportunities for 3D printing technology.
Their company, 3D Store, is the exclusive distributor of REC filament–Europe’s most trusted reliable 3D printing material–in the United States. While 3D Store has already been operating in Europe for a few years, they have recently expanded to the United States.
“We believe in the world where people use technology to enhance the quality of life and magnify the technological progress. Our mission is to bring 3D printing to people’s homes and make it more inclusive and accessible,” their mission statement reads.
For the past few years, the company leads in Russian markets, providing 3D printing and scanning technologies with their own unique offline 3D printer stores and prototyping and engineering center.
The company launched their ongoing series of pop-ups in January–the first at Lush Gelato, and the second at the ReLove store–to educate the public about 3D printing and to demonstrate the latest advancements in the field, using a Zortrax M200 3D printer with REC filaments.
Pop-ups to be featured at the San Francisco Public Library and Hack Temple will be announced in the near future.
“Our goal is to demonstrate the accessibility of 3D printing and create a learning environment through live prototyping sessions everywhere,” said Abgaryan. “We want to contribute in growth of thriving community of 3D printers users such as designers, makers, and engineers.”
In March, they plan on launching educational workshops and in-depth learning program on how to prototype and print 3D objects comforts of their home.
“My friends and I would play games with robots and fascinated by the prospects of virtual reality as something almost impossible,” Hovsepyan recalled. After graduating Moscow State University in physics followed by public administration, Ashkhen began living her lifelong dream working with the latest technologies, with a path leading to the inception of 3D Store.
As a component of her international resume, Hovsepyan developed a Scientific Industrial Union (SIU) System in Moscow, providing contemporary solutions to problems necessary to sustain and develop companies with state-of-the-art high-technology equipment. Her SIU System in 2014 provided a ProJet 3500 CPXMax–the most advanced 3D printer for jewelry in the world–to a jewelry business based in Armenia, resulting in a more efficient workflow. Hovsepyan has also given lectures at the British School of Design and participated in New York Couture Fashion week.
Abgaryan received a degree in architecture from Moscow Architectural Institute, and her move to northern California paved her way toward a degree in digital design from San Francisco State University.
Currently based in San Francisco, Abgaryan worked with companies like Proteus Digital Health, working to improve the experience of a “Tesla” for digital health as well as Forio Predictive Analytics, working on simulations for healthcare and educational institutions. Ani and her design agency have also collaborated to Google, Vicinity Commerce, and Waypoint Building in various design projects.
Early stage startup companies face inevitable challenges, “Therefore, the founders have to wear many hats at the same time, constantly switching tasks and priorities, be proactive and complement each other’s skills” said Abgaryan. Although she considers it a challenge, it simultaneously energizes her. “I love having different areas of focus and switching from time to time. Putting on that role makes me actively engaged in the process” she continued.
“One of the many benefits we saw in expanding 3D Store to the U.S. was the openness for new ideas and innovative environment,” said Hovsepyan. “People here have the culture of collaboration, networking, and sharing. I hope one day the whole world will operate the same way.”