Throughout the last 12 months, we’ve been following growth in every aspect of the 3D printing industry, from hardware introductions to software developments to new materials set to bring new ideas into reality. A huge part of my year has entailed packing up and heading out to different locations to share with you directly the latest developments right from the ground. As we close out 2016, let’s take a look back at what we’ve seen this year and shared first-hand!
Starting with one of my favorite cities around the world, in early March I found myself in London, where I attended the iMakr Desktop 3D Printing Show at their storefront location. With plenty of upcoming and increasingly popular desktop 3D printers to see, this eventshowcased the ‘permanent tradeshow’ aesthetic of the shop, as well as highlighting some technologies and business plans to keep an eye on.
In early April, I headed next to sunny Colorado to see the unveiling of the new Stratasys J750 3D printer, set to “reinvent 3D printing.” From the OtterBox HQ, I was able to share with you a look at full-color 3D printed phone cases ready right off this innovative new multi-material machine. This 3D printer has seen its first year on the market met with some impressive use cases, and we look forward to continuing to see what Stratasys does next.
It would have been silly to keep my feet on the ground for 3DPrint.com without being properly attired, so early this year I suited up with my own custom-made pair of 3D printed shoes from Feetz. We’d already had the opportunity to check out a sample pair, and I put my own shoes to good use walking around the Big Apple for Inside 3D Printing New York City in April. This event certainly kept writer Mike Parker and me busy that week, as we learned of new partnerships and business activity, as well as engaging presentations from MakerBot, Shapeways, Carbon, D-Shape, and more.
From New York, I headed next to beautiful Barcelona in early May, where HP introduced its highly-anticipated 3D printing system. The MultiJet Fusion 3D printing system from HP was officially unveiled a short time later, at RAPID in Orlando. With such a major system finally unveiled, it was no surprise for me as I continued to run into the team from HP over the rest of the year, as well, including in Chicago, Birmingham, and Frankfurt — but I’m getting ahead of myself!
Also in May, and the home of the official announcement of HP’s MJF technology, RAPID kept writer Clare Scott and me on the run through Orlando as we followed some great announcements and updates, as well as a beautiful fashion show featuring 3D printed ensembles. This busy show had a lot going on in 3D printing, proving that the industry’s biggest shows are drawing crowds and exhibiting remarkable growth.
[Photo: Eddie Krassenstein for 3DPrint.com]
Amsterdam was the next stop on 3DPrint.com’s map, and while I unfortunately was not present at Additive Manufacturing Europe this year, our co-founder and head of advertising Eddie Krassenstein and contributor Davide Sher were on the ground to keep us up to date there! It was at this show that we first met the Zortrax M300 3D printer, too.
In September, I headed to Chicago to catch the massive International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) — along with more than one hundred thousand other interested individuals. Eddie and I were both on the floor for this busy show. From 3D Systems’ announcement to take 3D printing from prototyping to production to catching up with HP, Stratasys, and more, IMTS was busy with a packed floor, company announcements, and a notably increased 3D printing presence since the last IMTS was held in 2014.
Later in September, I headed back to NYC to catch up on the latest from MakerBot, along with Mike. The company announced at their Brooklyn HQ their new focus on educational and professional users, introducing two new 3D printers, as well as materials and software to go along with them. They showed off the prowess of their new tech through a case study with Canary, which Mike followed up on more in depth.
[Photo: Matthew Fiedler from re:3D]
Right after returning from Brooklyn, I got in my car and drove down to Akron, Ohio, where I spoke at TPE TopCon next. This event for plastics manufacturers brought together many who were somewhat new to 3D printing, though there were several experienced users as well as a few 3D printing companies in attendance. I was part of a segment of the conference dedicated to 3D printing, and spoke on 16 of the top 3D printing stories from ’16, and chatted afterwards with several attendees who were interested in learning more about this industry and how it relates to the larger plastics industry.
Continuing on in September travels, I grabbed my passport and headed back to the UK late in the month for TCT Show in Birmingham where there was a lot to see. This event has been showing so much growth due to rising interest that it was announced early on that the 2017 event would be even larger and longer — and it was easy to see why, as announcements and introductions kept Marilyn Reed from our marketing team and me busy for the two days of this year’s show. With partnerships a running theme and expert views on the industry at hand, this show was a valuable resource for gaining insights right from the makers’ mouths.
Come November, I headed back to Europe, landing in Frankfurt for the marvelously busy formnext 2016. This massive show, dedicated wholly to additive manufacturing, certainly kept me running from interviews to press conferences to just trying to make a full circuit of the exhibit hall floor. With so much to see at formnext, it’s clear this show is well on its way to becoming the premiere event in Europe for 3D printing. This year’s event saw big news in business, hardware, and software — and served to bring some other important issues to light, as well.
While it seemed that December might be a nice time to quietly celebrate an extremely busy year in 3D printing, this month was not made for coffee and contemplation. Two weeks ago, I found myself in Colorado as part of a very small media contingent joining investors at 3D Systems’ Littleton Healthcare Technology Center, where I again had the opportunity to talk with their CEO and their team to learn more about the company’s work in bringing 3D technologies to healthcare, as well as try out some of their technology myself.
From Denver, I headed directly to California for Inside 3D Printing San Diego for the rest of the week. The final I3DP event for 2016, San Diego showcased exhibitors as well as knowledgeable speakers across three tracks in 3D printing, as well as being co-located with RoboUniverse and Virtual Reality Summit in the Frontier Tech Forum. From discussions on the state of the industry from Terry Wohlers, Hod Lipson, and Scott Dunham to panels about diversity and an exciting double win for the Frontier Tech Showdown startup competition to potentially game-changing Collider emerging from stealth, the event may not have had the footprint of larger events, but certainly held the excitement.
In 2016, our team sought to bring all the latest news right from the ground — and we’re showing no signs of slowing down! From media events at company HQs and labs to tradeshows around the globe to local conferences, you can count on 3DPrint.com to be your voice on the ground to continue finding out all the latest in 3D printing and related technologies. This year has been an exciting and dynamic one in shaping the industry, and 2017 only looks to build upon the ever-stronger foundation that has been in the works since the 1908s.
I’ll be heading off again next week (already!) for CES 2017 in Las Vegas, and look forward to continuing to report on all the latest tech announcements first-hand. Keep an eye out at 3DPrint.com for news from Vegas and beyond, as 2017 kicks off strong. I’ll keep looking out for the best in conferences and for invitations from companies to catch their introductions and announcements to bring them directly to you.