3D Printers

3D Printing Meets the Maker Masses at SXSW Create 2015

SXSW Create is defiantly not the “cutting edge” of technology innovation at SXSW. It is likely not the hub of activity that will lead “thought-leaders” to the acquisition of that ever-precious grail of VC in the upcoming year. But it has its place and, according to the official website, in many ways “embodies the spirit of the SXSW Interactive Festival.”

I assume many readers of 3D Printing Industry are fairly jaded by certain technological innovations. Attendees of SXSW Create are quite the opposite. There were many families walking around watching their children be mystified by seemingly magical things happening. Of course, 3D printing played quite heavily into this sort of display. The general public is generally enamored by this sort of technology-meeting-tactile-innovation. It is a physically accessible sort of innovations.

Also, SXSW Create seems to be the only part of SXSWi that contains children. Now, not everyone likes children. However, like it or not, they are, literally, the future. If the clever inquisitive children aren’t given chances to learn they won’t be out there inventing good things to make the world better. They might be driven to a life of crime or mediocre poetry. Somebody has to deal with the planet’s slow destruction.

To set them on the right path, a number of 3D printing companies (all of which have been covered on 3DPI at one time or another) gave these kids the opportunity to see and interact with innovations that are not part of their personal day-to-day existences.

Bhold Design

bhold 3D printed amplifier

Bhold designs minimalist 3D printed goods through a continual prototyping and production process. Bhold beta testers can use Bhold products, provide feedback, and new improvements will regularly be made to the product line.  On display at SXSW was their clever, 3D printed sound amplifier. Put your sound making device in their amplifier and the sound is projected via physics.


enable 3D printed prosthetic hand at SXSW

The founder of e-NABLE was out and about at SXSW create. Regular readers of this website are no doubt familiar with e-NABLE. They help make custom prosthetics at a fraction of the cost industrial models. Naturally, a very well-received mission, and they were present in a habitat of 3D printers that drive that mission.

The e-NABLE brochures were located in an area in which a couple of 3D printers were running demos (LulzBot, re:3D, etc.). Again, this sort of embodies the idealist spirit of SXSW Create. People had the chance to see these printers in action, making little trinkets, some of which the general public could take home. While they were admiring the kitsch, people were also given the opportunity to learn about the important ways that this technology is positively affecting the lives of other people: Opening minds. Sharing knowledge. Using human curiosity toward novelty to drive attention in productive directions.

enable founder Jon Schull at SXSW with 3D printed hand

Here is a Nat Geo style photo of e-NABLE founder, Jon Schull of Rochester Institute of Technology, talking to people in the general booth area. No. You are not imagining it. There is a prosthetic hand attached to his badge. That’s just how he rolls. Natural swagger.



Dremel is a Wisconsin-based tool-making company founded in 1932. Now, they are selling their own 3D printer, actually a single-extruder re-branding of the popular FlashForge Dreamer, without a heated bed. It is interesting that they are entering the sphere of 3D printing after such a long history in American tool making. The Dremel representative explained that they have a focus on functionality and a history to live up to, as reliable tool-makers. Their printed samples were solid and cleanly printed, suggesting that, in choosing the FlashForge Dreamer, they may be able to live up to their reputation.

3D Hubs

3D printed Marvin_3D_Hubs_Form1+ 3
Test prints from a Form 1+ 3D printer.

3D Hubs was at Creative promoting their large, distributed 3D printing network.  Via the 3D Hubs community, customers can upload STL files, search the database for the nearest available 3D printer with the specifications needed, and print the file for pick up or delivery.

At their booth, 3D Hubs sought random volunteers willing to be scanned. After the volunteer was scanned, the file was edited some, and, then, at a later point, emailed to the volunteers. With 3D Hubs credit, they were then able to have the file printed via one of 3D Hubs over 14k listed 3D printers.



This company is famous for making the large-scale GigaBot 3D printer, which boasts an impressive build volume of 60 x 60 x 60 cm (24 x 24 x 24 in). An Austin local, they were also a finalist in the 2015 SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards.  re:3D’s activities, however, don’t remain local to the US, as the company has participated in exciting projects around the world, including Chile and several countries in Africa.


self-leveling lulzbot mini 3D printer at CES LulzBot was in action at SXSW with their new LulzBot Mini Desktop Printer. After the release of the TAZ 5 3D printer, the company is currently involved in a couple of massive 3D printer giveaways, including one devoted to hackerspaces and another devoted to schools and libraries. Here is a picture of a lime-green Venus de Milo 3D printed by the mini printer:

lulzbot mini 3D printed venus de milo at sxsw

SXSW Create was quite a crowded expanse of enthusiasm and innovation. There are, of course, many more things that are left undocumented here. I would highly recommend checking out next year’s SXSW Create to anyone who is curious and in the area. Like imagination, this event is free.