Walking down the isles, there were plenty of fresh entrants in the 3D printing market. You could hear passing comments from some exhibitors, that they are still developing, testing, or optimizing some new material or printing method. The market is moving rapidly. The 3D printing market caught the attention of the design and engineering market some years ago. More and more, it draws the attention of enthusiastic consumers as well.
Walking into the exhibit area, we ran into the MakerBot booth which was next to the Autodesk booth, which was next to the Stratasys booth. Of course since Stratasys purchased MakerBot (check date) last year, Autodesk was actually flanked by Stratasys on both sides.
The design software company has been actively promoting 3D printing for several years and adapting their professional products and developing consumer products to leverage the transition toward 3D printing in the market.
New from Autodesk? Would you believe that they launched their own 3D printer?
It's based on Spark. Spark is Autodesk's open software platform designed to make it easier to use 3D printers with digital, 3D design data. The Spark software platform is open which allows everyone to access it, experiment with it, and even build on it to create new possibilities in 3D printing.
Like the Spark software platform, the Spark-based 3D printer from Autodesk is open. Autodesk is sharing the design files so that anyone can enhance or customize it. The “Spark” name gives away the intention Autodesk has to “jump-start” the democratization of 3D printing.
Stratasys demonstrated the first multi-color, multi-material printer, the Object500 Connex3. Stratasys 3D printed models included a fully 3D-printed commercial drone used for a number of applications from firefighting support to aiding in crime scene investigations. The company continues to work with emerging artists to enable the imagination as well as companies as diverse as footwear to medical manufacturers. Stratasys customer, Aerialtronics provided visitors a look into commercial drone UAV design. The company's unmanned aircraft systems capture and relay video footage across a range of applications, including crowd control, search and rescue, surveillance, mapping and fire-fighting. Aerialtronics design team was able to produce early prototypes in durable ABS materials, as opposed to outsourcing parts from Asia. This enabled the team to evaluate Altura Zenith's fit, form and functionality with fast turn-around for development. Aerialtronics continues to use 3D printing to produce ‘add-on' parts, allowing the company to customize its drones for each customer requirement.
The French company A4 Technologie presented for the first time in France the UP Box from TierTime. The newest version of 3D printer from TierTime has a price under 2000€ and delivers faster printing, greater accuracy, and a larger print envelope. Available at the end of 2014, the Up Box has a print envelope of 205x255x205 and an accuracy greater than 100 microns in 3-axis. Another benefit to users is a fully automatic calibration.
We first met Econolyst last year at the 3D Print Show. The company has been active for over a decade and advises industrial and consumer companies, governments and defense organizations on additive manufacturing technologies and supports these companies to implement additive manufacturing beneficially. With the floor of the show covered with new models of printers, new materials, and a range of costs, it might be a surprise to find a company which is not proposing the latest 3D printing technology.
On the other hand, for visitors at the 3D Print Show, the Econolyst could be a great source of information and expertise as companies navigate the transition to additive manufacturing. Whether you needs are to develop strategies, support implementations, or analyze markets, the experts at the Econolyst could be the right source of experience for your business. The 3D Print Show in Paris is well worth the visit for professionals design and engineering. The transformation of your design to manufacturing workflows will continue as the ability of 3D printing technology expands and as costs lower. These changes can allow your company to reduce costs, be more efficient, and develop products faster.