The top stories from May 2016 are the RAPID TCT conference in Orlando and 3D printing making it into the Venice Biennale, bolstered by a landmark first in Dubai and on the International Space Station.

Scan the World at the Venice Biennale

The Scan the World project who are creating a digital archive of the world’s cultural sculptures and artifacts, were invited to the Venice Biennale by the UK’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).

Busts and art objects 3D printed by Scan the World were exhibited as part of the V&A’s A World of Fragile Parts looking at the challenges to preserving cultural heritage for future generations.

Bust of Nefertiti 3D printed for the 2016 Venice Biennale on a WASP by Scan the World. Photo via: MyMiniFactory

Bust of Nefertiti 3D printed for the 2016 Venice Biennale on a WASP by Scan the World. Photo via: MyMiniFactory

Conservation and preservation through replicas is at the heart of 3D printing in art. Scan the World have continued events in collaboration throughout 2016, and enters the new year with support from Shining 3D scanners, and over 5,000 models in its archive.

RAPID 2016 Conference in Orlando

Arguably the biggest event in the 3D printing calendar, RAPID 2016 was held in Orlando, Florida, and will return in 2017 from the 8th to the 11th May in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The highlights of 2016’s conference included exhibits from Boeing, NASA, Northwestern Univeirsty, who has been pioneering 3D bioprinting this year, and car manufacturers Ford, FIAT, Honda, Hyunda, Toyotai and 3DP favourite Local Motors.

Dr Hans J. Langer, founder of EOS GmbH, was awarded the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award at RAPID 2016 for his outstanding contribution to additive manufacturing having launched EOS in 1989.

Dubai unveils the first 3D printed office

 

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at the Dubai Future Foundation office - the first functional 3D printed offices in Dubai. Photo via: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at the Dubai Future Foundation office – the first functional 3D printed offices in Dubai. Photo via: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Home to the Dubai Future Foundation (also known as Dubai Future Accelerators), Sheikh Mohammed’s 3D printed office is arguably the start of the nation’s path towards a 3D printed future.

The pod buildings were 3D printed in reinforced concrete in collaboration with Chinese construction company WinSun, who are a key partner in the city’s gaol of attaining 25% 3D printed buildings by 2030.

Since May, the Future Accelerators program has taken on-board 19 tech startups and standardized on a buildability index, moving with an boundless momentum toward becoming an international center for new technologies.

First commercial 3D printer in space

Founded in 2010, Made in Space is an American company focussed on launched additive manufacturing out of our atmosphere. The very first 3D printer made it to space in 2014, but in May 2016, 3DPI reported that Made in Space delivered its Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF) 3D printer to the ISS.

As opposed to the first experimental Zero-gravity 3D printer, the AMF is designed to work with a wide range of filaments and fabricate reliable tools for astronauts to work with. Pictured below is the first wrench 3D printed on the AMF in June 2016.

A wrench with ruler and clip 3D printed on the ISS. Photo credit: NASA/Made in Space/Lowe's

A wrench with ruler and clip 3D printed on the ISS. Photo credit: NASA/Made in Space/Lowe’s

Made in Space has now changed tack a little and its next project is sending a machine that makes optical fibers to the ISS, which we should see in the first quarter of 2017.

If any of these events stand out to you as the best of 3D printing in 2016, you can now nominate them for the first 3D Printing Industry Awards that will be held in April 2017. Click here to find out how to send in names for consideration.

Featured image shows the International Space Station floating above Earth. Photo by: an STS-130 crew member on space shuttle Endeavour. Via: NASA.gov

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