April Fools! One of the most popular articles this month was Formlabs’ prank launch of Form 2 Breakfast Extensions. However, in the days that followed, the 3D printing industry saw many innovation that would continue to be referenced throughout the year.
This month the 2017 Wholers Report, an annual worldwide progress document of the state of additive manufacturing, was published, and 3D Printing Industry attained exclusive insight from the document’s principal author Terry Wholers.
Markforged co-founder and CEO Greg Mark claimed that the future of metal 3D printing is in print farms, and an interview with MIT professors Wojciech Matusik and Justin Solomon addressing the additive engineering skills shortage went on to be the top most shared article for the month.
“The future is so metal” gif featuring the Metal X 3D printed. Clip via Markforged on YouTube
Big sculptures, big movements, Big Data
The Salone del Mobile Milan Design Week from April 4-9 featured innovative 3D printed sculptures from teams at Zaha Hadid Architects and Neri Oxman’s Mediated Matter lab at MIT. We attended the opening of Shining3D’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Office in Stuttgart, Germany. And, at the UK’s national Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), I shared insights on the relationship between additive manufacturing and Big Data as delivered by Dassault Systèmes and other speakers of the UK Intelligent Engineering Forum (UKIEF).
We have liftoff
3D printing in aerospace received a particularly large boost in April 2017. Stratasys entered into a strategic partnership with SIA Engineering Company Limited.
And, making a potential contender for 3D printing application of the year, Norsk Titanium made the Boeing 787 Dreamliner the “first commercial airplane to fly with certified additive-manufactured titanium parts in structural applications.”
Though not an exclusively aerospace-focused project NextGen AM was also launched this month, a product of collaboration between Premium AEROTEC, EOS and Daimler. It will be interesting to see the first outcomes of this project in 2018.
Featured image shows a bed of additively manufactured titanium components for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Photo via Norsk Titanium