3D Printers

3DPI Editorial Round-Up: July 2014

Glorious July has closed out, and when I say glorious I am referring, of course, to the weather! It’s a big talking point here in the UK, largely because it’s been quite a few years since we have had a glorious summer. While many things change, the British, talking about the weather, doesn’t! We’re just not usually this happy about it!

There have been some glorious 3D printing highlights around the world this past month too — notably a couple of 3DPI’s writers getting out on the road. Mark has been touring around 3D printing hot spots in South Korea, while Davide spent a fair bit of July making his way across Europe and his pit-stops at some of the biggest and best European 3D printing companies have been enlightening. His original purpose of heading to the Netherlands was to attend a 3D bioprinting event — which opened his eyes to a range of developments and applications in this area.

Davide’s tour of European 3D printing companies included further stops in the Netherlands to find out what was happening at Ultimaker, Leapfrog and ColorFabb as well as the Printed in Space retail outlet in Amsterdam. Moving on through to Belgium, Davide caught up with Vanessa Palsenberg who gave him a tour of Materialise’s HQ – which, if you haven’t been, has to be seen to be believed, particularly the proprietary Mammoth 3D printers. His final stop took him to Germany where he toured the new facilities of metal 3D printer manufacturer, Concept Laser. The overview of his visit will be followed up with the Executive Interview Davide conducted with CEO, Frank Herzog.

I also attended the Nottingham International Conference on Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing, while Angela Daly reported from Melbourne the same week on the inaugural Inside 3D Printing event in that nation. The next in the series will be Hong Kong this month.

Some (literal) big 3D printing news came out of the recent Comic Con event and the collaborative work of Stratasys and Legacy Effects to fully demonstrate the scale and brilliance of 3D printing for the entertainment industry — I’ve dubbed it the Comic Con Beast due to its 14 ft stature. Watch for a more in-depth interview on that in the coming days too.

Shapeways had some more figurative big news this month, with the new branding initiative it is undertaking with Hasbro. It’s baby steps into the realm of how 3D printing and IP can coexist peaceably, but highly significant I think in setting the groundwork and demonstrating how it may be done.

On the home front — the announcement of the new Zinter Home 3D printer from Ion Core demonstrated a new price / performance ratio from the company that builds both genuine and responsive support and great service into its business model — something that other companies should take note of.

This is because all has not been glorious through the month of July when it comes to 3D printing — specifically low-cost 3D printers (and bras, but that’s another issue altogether). Land Grant has been working on an excellent series of articles that explores the not-always mutually beneficial relationship between crowdfunding and low cost 3D printers. All is not well for a growing number of companies operating at this end of the market — many of them, but by no means all, crowdfunded.

Another strong theme to emerge throughout the month was big name retailers getting in on the 3D printing game — announcements came from Home Depot and Dell who have agreed deals with Stratasys; and Ryman who has done a deal with 3D Systems in the UK. These announcements were only trumped by the Amazon news this past week whereby the online retail giant has superseded its initial tentative steps with 3D printing via 3rd parties and is embracing the tech full-on with its own dedicated pages.

My personal favourite for the month was this article by Scott — subtle jokes and all — imagining the 3D printed world of GI Joe.

And don’t forget —back at the beginning of the month we also published the 3DPI Beginner’s Guide to 3D printing in a more accessible, pdf format. Hope you find it useful.

And on that note, I am signing off — for a whole fortnight — for some much needed R&R. I am leaving you in the capable hands of Mr Michael M-H, who will be filling in for me during my leave. Have a great rest of the summer one and all.