Nov 16, 2017 | By Julia

Some 30 3D printing companies have joined forces to create the ‘Family of the Future,’ a conceptual additive manufacturing project featuring a 3D printed mother, father, and child. Just unveiled at Frankfurt tech conference formnext, the Family of the Future serves to demonstrate the power of collaboration and co-creation, as well as sparking the public’s imagination as to what can be achieved with the power of 3D printing. Between the three ‘family members’, 15 different 3D printing techniques and over 90 3D printed parts are showcased, ranging from printed electronics to metals and ceramics.

According to Fried Vancraen, founder and CEO of Materialise and a lead partner on the project, the Family of the Future proves that meaningful applications are essential to the success of 3D printing technology. Despite the additive manufacturing industry’s utopian claims, “3D printing is not as successful as expected,” Vancraen told press. “We invested in technology because of the technology. That is the wrong approach,” the Materialise CEO said, speaking on behalf of the Flemish 3D printing landscape. By taking into account what applications are actually meaningful, Vancraen stressed, the industry can make a difference, rather than focusing merely on technology that can easily be copied.

As a state-of-the-art nuclear family, the Family of the Future aims to demonstrate just how far meaningful applications can go. Information and inspiration are key here, as 3D printing begins to take on forms that are no longer purely technological, but impactful and familiar – or in this case, familial. The three mannequin-esque figures are comprised of plain carbon tubes, joined together by a series of 3D printed connector pieces, and adorned with an array of 3D printed prosthetics, fashion accessories, and medical devices. The message is clear: 3D printing has the capability to influence all facets of life, from personal to professional.

As Kris Binon of umbrella organization Flam3D notes, meaning comes through in another way as well: co-creation. "A collaboration between thirty players in 3D printing is already unique in any case", Binon said, "but this project has actually also led to new products." Among other items, a new watch and glasses were designed and 3D printed for the Family of the Future.

Spearheaded by Flemish 3D printing company Flam3D, the conceptual project represents the joint efforts of 30 leading companies and research institutes in the Belgian 3D printing landscape, including: 3iD, AMT-Titastar, Aqtor !, Arteveldehogeschool, Bodycote HIP nv, CADskills, Centexbel, DeltaRocket, DSM Somos, ESMA, Formando, GC Europe, Howest, KU Leuven, LCV, Materialize, Raytech, Renishaw, Ricoh, RS Print, Seido Systems, Sirris, Tenco DDM, Thomas More, Twikit, UGent, UHasselt IMO-IMOMEC, Velleman, VUB, and Vives.

Currently on display at the Flam3D booth at formnext, the Family of the Future will spend the next year travelling to trade fairs and events abroad.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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