From September 11-12, 2015 the 3D Printshow stopped at the Pasadena Convention Centre in sunny California to showcase some of the fastest growing tech in the world. With almost 40 cutting-edge exhibitors and multiple presentations over the two days, the event was touted as “a platform for the hottest tech, the sharpest minds and the most innovative applications that leverage the power of additive technologies.”
With so much to explore, we created the below highlights to show what’s hot in the 3D printing world.
1. Artist, Ryan Buyssens, and his “Resistance”
Crafted from 3D printed, CNC machined and laser-cutter parts, “Resistance” is an interactive sculpture that emulates the articulated flapping of a bird’s wings.
These mechanical birds were mounted on a wall and used an ultrasonic sensor to respond to the viewer’s movements within the space. The birds simultaneously invite and intimidate with their graceful, fluid motion contrasted by the direct reactivity of their activation.
2. Filament (the material)
We saw several filament companies that had unique value propositions in order to stand out. One such company, Feel Color, did just that. With already over 100 colours in their portfolios, they can colour match any specific business colour requirements. Besides PLA, ABS and Polyamide 6 (Nylon), which are already available, they are currently testing and ready to introduce HIPS, PVOH, flexible thermoplastics, high precision compounds, composites containing marble, wood, metal powder… and many others.
3. 3D Printers
And of course we saw several 3D printers exhibited at the show. One in particular stood out among the pack from our new friends at Weistek in China.
Their 3D printer on display was called “IdeaWerk Speed.” And speed is a good name for it because it is touted as the world’s fastest desktop 3D printer!
We saw it in action as it printed 450mm/second, compared to only under 100mm/second for other desktop 3D printers. (Check out the below YouTube video for yourself!)
To give you an idea of printing speed, the IdeaWerk Speed can print the bracelet shown on the right in about 8 minutes compared to 40 minutes with most other desktop 3D printers.
The IdeaWerk Speed will be available in October and is very reasonably priced at $1299 USD.
4. Practical Business Applications
Demonstrating noticeable business solutions, ZEUS by AIO Robotics is an all-in-one Wi-Fi enabled 3D printer. You can scan an object, edit it and 3D print it all from one machine. And since it is Wi-Fi enabled the printer allows for seamless feature updates.
They state that “less than 1% of [the] global population has ever touched or used 3D printers. Our mission is to bring 3D Printers into small businesses, schools, and households by making 3D printing as easy as 2D printing.” A bold mission for this company, with a bold product to match.
5. 3DPrinterOS, an Open Operating System
3DPrinterOS allows you to create a 3D printer network by creating printing and queuing permissions while managing print jobs in real time. They show more examples of practical applications in the real world, like in schools where one admin person can manage multiple print jobs and devices.
Data tracking can monitor success rates, job ID’s, individual filament usage, printing hours and much more. Admins can track every job across all 3D printers, then track trends and control costs.
AssentWorks, Manitoba’s only public fabrication workshop and makerspace, uses this service. Located in Winnipeg’s Innovation Alley in the Exchange District, AssentWorks provides access to a multitude of 3D printing equipment, and they offer tutorials and education on this new tech.
6. Announcement for Small and Medium-Sized Business
The show also provided a platform for Staples to announce their new partnership with the 3D printing company, Sculpteo. Given Staples’ current expertise in 2D printing, a natural expansion was to move into providing 3D printing services. Partnering with Sculpteo provides access to a world-class and fast 3D printing service, and their platform provides an end-to-end simplified solution for small and medium sized businesses who need professional 3D prints.
A business can upload a unique 3D design file or choose an existing design. The company will 3D print the design and ship your prints right to your home or office. This cloud-based service by Staples is currently only available in the U.S. and available through about 1,500 stores. Watch for more of these types of partnerships expanding into other forward-thinking countries as the business market demands.
We noticed many more 3D printing vendors focusing on business solutions this year, moving away from the consumer and personal space. This aligns with industry research earlier in the year from Deloitte’s Annual TMT Predictions. Conferences like this one are evident that 3D printers mean business.
Have you used 3D printing at your business yet? Tell us some of your creative uses or ideas for future uses in the comments below.