Oct.28, 2011

3D printing will change the world. Along with more material variations (including metals) and falling prices, 3D printing will cover more and more areas. It will affect the manufacturing industry, affect the way products are created and distributed, create new business models, and change the social and economic area. 

On 25 October 3D Printing Event is held in Eindhoven, The Netherlands during the Dutch Design Week. There are around 300 participants at the seminar. Pieter Hermans, CEO Jakajima, Organiser of the 3D Printing Event said that if they had had 100 more seats, which would also have been occupied. He expected that 3D printer will be at consumer's home within 5~10 years.

At one side of the hall there were major hardware and software companies, who stand top in the technology. At another side there were rapidly growing open source community, with cheap 3D printers. Dutch printer manufacturer Ultimaker built a printer wall from 15 printers. Darrin Dickinson, Sales Manager at Z Corporation brought the famous 3D-printed Clarks shoes. 

Everybody was convinced that the 3D printing techology is about to break through. Erik de Bruin, CEO of the Dutch printer manufacturer Ultimaker, thought that we were still standing at the top of the iceberg. People are interested but only a small group of them are active. 

I think the problem lies in develop skills that people need to use 3D software to work. To most people the design tools for 3D printed products are too complex. The ability to design and print your own creations in 3D has required expert knowledge in 3D CAD software. If you are not a professional artist or designer you have not a clue how to use it. Recently My Robot Nation made the first browser-based creation platform that lets the consumer create objects. A step makes 3D printers close to the everyday consumers. 

Joris Peels, formerly employed by Materialise, now co-founder of Origo, wanted to make a 3D printer for children for less than $800. He thinks a 3D printer should be as easy as a microwave oven. 

Martin Stevens, CEO of the English A1 Technologies, agreed that in future children can also design their own toy and print, for example Lego bricks. He thought that time was not far away, around 3~5 years. 

Wouter Brand from Cad2M added another argument: confidentiality. A 3D printer at home is especially useful for designers. When they have an idea or design a new stuff, it is important that they can print themselves. 

René Groothedde, Director of RMCenter in in Enschede, The Netherlands, despite his faith in the technology, doubted about whether the breakthrough comes from the consumer. He thinks the drivers behind 3D printing come from aerospace and defense industry area, along with the medical industry. He is not so optimistic about big changes in the short term. Groothedde wanted to lower the expectations, he thinks that 3D printing is fairly high on the hype cycle. And there are still issues about liability, intellectual property, distribution of CAD files etc.  


Watch below the youtube videos about the event:

Source: Made in Europe

Posted in 3D Printing Events

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