At the 4th annual Inside3D Printing, recently held at NYC’s Javits Center concurrent with RoboUniverse, there were over 60 exhibitors from not only the US, but also from China, South Korea, France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. While a majority tended to promote consumer and prosumer printers and typical polymer filaments, several did indicate their ability and desire to provide industrial quality machines and metallic materials, e.g. titanium wire, stainless steel powder.
While the sizes and prices of “portable” additive manufacturing hardware are getting smaller, the number of printers, materials, applications and their users are all growing.
An example of a small inexpensive printer ($499) was that from Deltaprintr (www.deltaprintr.com), a startup that raised nearly $250,000 via a Kickstarter (crowdfunding) campaign. Similarly, M3D (www.printm3d) offered its product at a special show price of just $399.
Hoganas (www.hoganas.com) displayed a number of small and complex parts that could be printed using metal powders (see below). Very high surface quality was obtained with different finishing techniques.
Although they did not have a booth, Arcam’s (www.arcam.com) CEO was invited to give a keynote presentation which addressed the future of additive manufacturing. He spoke of the “disruptive” uses of 3D printing in industrial markets, citing the production of airplane parts and human (orthopedic) implants.
MakerBot (www.makerbot.com), which is now a division of Stratasys, proclaimed two milestones had been reached.
- They have now shipped a total of over 100,000 units.
- The “content” within their design community known as Thingiverse (www.thingiverse.com) has reached 1 million items.
Using online 3D printing service platforms such as 3DHubs (www.3dhubs.com), makers (designers) can print almost anywhere in the world and have prototypes or finished products available in as little as one day.
Contributed by: Ira Schloss