Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Additive Manufacturing Americas Event Report

Posted by Editor On December - 12 - 2017

The future of healthcare, aerospace, and automotives brought to life in Pasadena

By Gregory van Zuyen

Additive Manufacturing Americas Event Report

The Additive Manufacturing Americas 2017 Conference brought a lot of talent and innovation to the Pasadena Convention Center on Dec.6-8

Additive Manufacturing Americas Event Report

Moderator Chris Young takes a question from the audience during the Dec. 7 panel discussion on aerospace. Seated from left to right: Dr. Steven Schmid of the National Science Foundation, Dr. Raymond “Corky” Clinton of NASA, Dr. Youping Gao with Aerojet Rocketdyne, Gregory Hilbert with Dassault Falcon Jet, followed by Young.

The Additive Manufacturing Americas Conference held Dec. 6-8 in Pasadena was a stellar opportunity to meet a host of dignitaries and a display of new inventive technologies. Hosted at the Pasadena Conference Center, the conference offered three days of talks and exhibitions centered on the industries of healthcare, aerospace, and automotives. The talks were revelatory and provided key insights in how these industries will be changing in the future.

Additive Manufacturing Americas Event Report

Gregory Hilbert of Dassault Falcon Jet describes additive manufacturing on a massive scale to compete in the military jet market with China

Speakers included Daniel Hale Williams Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Surgery for Northwestern University, Dr. Guillermo Ameer, Mayo Clinic’s Professor of Plastic Surgery Dr. Samir Mardini, the Edward R. Clark Chair of Advanced Manufacturing for the Dept. of Industrial Engineering for the University of Louisville Dr. Kevin Chou, Program Director for Manufacturing Machines and Equipment for the National Science Foundation Dr. Steven R. Schmid, Associate Director for the Technical Science and Technology Office of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center Dr. Raymond “Corky” Clinton, Aerojet Rocketdyne’s Technical Fellow and Discipline Chief Dr. Youping Gao, Dassault Falcon Jet’s Gregory Hilbert, Co-Founder of Hack Rod Felix Holst, Stratasys Senior Applications Engineer Chas Sullivan, BRCHN Design House Founder Sam Birchenough, Scott Martin from Boeing, GE Healthcare’s Bill Whitford, and Jordan Noone of Relativity; all leaders of industry and research.

Additive Manufacturing Americas Event Report

Sam Birchenough of BRCHN Design House speaking at the Additive Manufacturing Americas Conference on the use of Autodesk Fusion 360’s sculptural and parabolic qualities for the use in designing ergonomic equipment

Additive Manufacturing Americas Event Report

A highlight of the show was hearing Felix Holst of HackRod discuss how they were using VR, AI, and additive manufacturing to produce a lightweight yet incredibly durable chassis for their car called La Bandita

Additive Manufacturing Americas Event Report

The LUMEX System using both selective metal sintering and CNC finishing in a layer-by-layer process to produce high-precision metal tooling

LUMEX Systems
Technologies revealed at the event included the LUMEX System by Matsuura USA. LUMEX uses both CNC and powder bed fusion – selective laser melting additive manufacturing functions together in the same machine, comfortably creating a print bed space operating at a warm 50c. The result is a finished metal product with the capacity for finished deep pockets and cavities like water cooling systems and heat venting. In some cases, no post production because the hybrid metal 3D printers finish the print with a CNC process every ten layers. The Avance-60 is their biggest machine with a 600 X 600 X 500mm build space and retails for approximately $1.6m.

Worldwide, Matsuura has sold 40 plus of the Avance-60 and Avance-25 models, four in the U.S. including two to the University of Nebraska where researchers are working with exciting new metal powder formations. Matsuura is also particularly proud of introducing the LUMEX System to Gillette. Tom Houle, Director for Matsuura USA, showed us the math for another customer application. Because of a ten-second savings on an 18-second production cycle, the superiority of the LUMEX System additive manufacturing technology is saving Gillette upwards of $5,000,000 annually. “That guy is going to get a raise for buying this machine,” smiled Houle.

Houle was also proud of the service centers and distributors of the LUMEX System across the U.S. ready to promptly respond to client requests. He is looking forward to being at the AMUG Conference in St. Louis and at RAPID in Fort Worth next year for those interested in seeing the machines in operation and examining samples. They can be found at

Additive Manufacturing Americas Event Report

ACEO has been able to achieve the hitherto impossible with the 3D printing of silicone, samples of which are shown here

Additive Manufacturing Americas Event Report

The ACEO team members present at the Additive Manufacturing Americas 2017 event are from left to right: Judith Distalrath, Johanna Judas, and Dr. Florian Liesener


Another key discovery unveiled in the Americas event was the 3D printing of silicone. Not silicone-like. Silicone, pure and made simple by ACEO, the 3D printing brand division of Germany’s 103-year-old chemical company Wacker Chemie AG.

A hitherto impossible feat (silicone prints like toothpaste), ACEO has formulated a method via super-secret water-soluable support material that makes the most complex of silicone prints as easy as CAD.

“We have the most amazing team, all brought together by being really good at what we do. That is why we are able to do this,” said Dr. Florian Liesener, materials engineer for ACEO. He described how all members of ACEO have used their diverse expertise to produce the software and engineering in combination with the material to make this break-through in additive manufacturing. “It was unbelievable to see it happen; it was like being in a movie.”

Additive Manufacturing Americas Event Report

Narine Tigranyan of Junction3D displays the unique operating system of the Solus 3D printer

Additive Manufacturing Americas Event Report

The resolution and detail maintained by the Solus — at the micro scale — had to be seen to be believed


Solus is a new way of looking at DLP, no doubt about it. In a system already establishing a base in Latin America, the Solus 3D printer uses convention overhead projection systems as the light-source for the layer-by-layer scripting of the print. A solution to difficult to repair light systems, the Solus goes a step further. It has unbelievable resolution. The booth display for Solus, sponsored by Junction 3D, had step-by-step samples of the same model descending in size, with the smallest of their prints, the size of a pencil lead, had all the detail of the original. The Solus produced truly remarkable results, worthy of attention. See more at

Additive Manufacturing Americas Event Report

An example of what a full-size WASP 3D printer can do

Loren Boburg, industrial designer for Impresión3D, is doing research and development of additive manufacturing for low-income housing in Guatemala. As far as difficult terrains and environmental dangers go (read volcanos), Guatemala presents the impossible. Also, there’s the spotty electrical component, adding one more problem to implementing this great idea that would bring low cost structures with maximum safety to thousands of people. So Ms. Boburg was in Pasadena primarily to interface with a company uniquely qualified to provide Guatemala with an answer. Enter WASP.

World’s Advanced Saving Project (WASP) makes large-scale 3D printers, on the magnitude of being able to print furniture. They have also revolutionized architectural additive manufacturing techniques, capable of 3D printing cement with 1.5 kilowatts of power. With a business consciousness devoted to helping the planet through all manners of environmental concern, WASP is proving to be a welcome member of the 3D printing community.

WASP was not the only large-scale 3D printer on display at the Additive Manufacturing Americas event. 3D Platform was there with the 3DP Workbench featuring a meter by meter by meter build-envelope, and the Titan from was also on display.

Additive Manufacturing Americas Event Report

The Additive Manufacturing Americas 2017 Conference included on site display of Titan Robotics by Chemson

Additive Manufacturing Americas Event Report

Dan McFarlane of 3D Platforms demonstrates the versatility of the 3DP Workbench

Additive Manufacturing Americas Event Report

Brent Reisender of Choice Technical Services, a licensed MarkForged distributor

Service bureaus such as Choice Technical Services (CTS) and Hawk Ridge Systems were in attendance demonstrating MarkForged and 3DEO was on hand to provide low-cost metal 3D printing options.

Raise3D, a San Diego-based 3D printer, presented a new development by their software engineers to allow a stop-start feature for 3D printing. Marc Franz of Raise3D was so delighted that at the end of the day when the convention center had to shut down power, his 3D printer was ready to resume the previous night’s print the next morning as soon as power was restored. They will have more to say at CES.

Stratasys, a principal supporter of the Additive Manufacturing event was on hand to promote the successful use of the J750. Their 3D printer received praise from a number of panelists, whose challenging use of the technology impressed attendees. One of these attendees, Merrick Campbell, an engineer for Tanner Research in Monrovia, Calif., commented, “I came away from the show with a few things that were useful.”

LEGO Considering 3D Printing at Home

Posted by Editor On December - 5 - 2017

LEGO Considering 3D Printing at Home

LEGO considers 3D printing at home by releasing blueprint designs

According to a report published Dec. 1 by World Intellectual Property Review LEGO is open to the selling of official LEGO blueprints.

This information comes from a address made by Mette Andersen, corporate counsel for LEGO System, LEGO’s main division of building models and figurines on Nov. 30 at INTA’s (International Trademark Association) Brand Authenticity Conference in Berlin. Denmark’s LEGO company is currently celebrating its 85th anniversary. The company is listed by Forbes as the most powerful brand of 2017.

According to World Intellectual Property Review, “The Washington Post described 3D printing as potentially Lego’s ‘biggest test ever,’ but Andersen disagreed, adding that Lego welcomes free competition as long as rivals don’t use any of LEGO’s trademarks, copyright and patents.”

Andersen mused on the questions over whether people print their own bricks at home, and whether other companies may pick up special projects including military models. Andersen concluded her statement by saying, “As long as they do it fairly, we [LEGO] accept it.”

John Hornick, a partner at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, was also addressing the conference.

“Business models will be forced to evolve… It has the ability to take us back to being makers again, and not buying,” said Hornick. “As democratization increases, the ability to make things away from control increases and IP eventually becomes irrelevant.”

For more on what others at the conference had to say about 3D printing and intellectual property rights, read the full story at World Intellectual Property Review.

For more on 3D printing of LEGOs, see our 3D Printr Magazine’s story on Matt Denton and oversized LEGOS published in August.

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Posted by Editor On November - 7 - 2017

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Ford dominated the SEMA show with an upstage venue of classic and future cars

SEMA gives 3D printing industry a nitro boost

By Gregory van Zuyen

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Chevrolet displayed a Corvette on its side to allow close-up views

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Beautiful productions of nearly every car imaginable were on display

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Hypertech ran a slot car track for scholarship fund donations

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

A lucky few were able to put brand new Camaros through their paces on nearby race tracks

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

A beautiful example that all is not shiny and gloss, as in this popular ratrod.

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Serenaded by a nonstop chorus of revving motors and squealing tires, the megalithic SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) car show overtook Las Vegas the week of Oct. 31 through Nov. 3 with a vengence. Packed with new car accessories and manufacturing developments in automotives, SEMA remains the largest, most well-known car show in the world. Joined by Thai Editor Ratthakorn Niramitmahapanya, 3D Printr Magazine was on hand to witness the innovations 3D printing has made to the automotive industry.

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Some cars were entirely handmade, like this 32-ish Dodge-ish creation by Phil Endicott of LizardSkin, a producer of sound control and heat insulation linings for cars

With more than 2,400 booths, and hundreds of thousands of attendees, and representing a $41.2 billion automotive aftermarket industry, the SEMA show is impossible to imagine for the uninitiated. The conference overtakes every single square inch of the massive Las Vegas Convention Center with thousands of cars, spilling out across numerous parking lots turned into test tracks and pop-up tent communities, where various television shows interview impressive arrays of race car drivers, custom car designers, and celebrity car buffs like Jay Leno. It’s a sprawl. If there were a large city purely devoted to all things that go vroom and move fast, SEMA is what it would look like and Leno would likely be mayor.

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Lexus ran a booth offering visitors a chance to drive on a virtual reality track

The takeaway of our experience of the SEMA show this year was customize, customize, customize. Consumers don’t want the same old thing anyone else can buy. They want a signature brand, a vehicular statement worthy of respect. Take the “3D-Printed Hellcat Project,” a 2016 Dodge Challenger SRT customized with 3D-printed modifications and presented at the show by Airwolf 3D.

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Airwolf3D Sales Manager Tyler Caros getting behind the wheel of a Hellcat while Airwolf 3D Art Director Ruben Zeledón looks on

The brainchild of Airwolf 3D‘s president Erick Wolf and fashioned by his innovative team in Fountain Valley, California, the “World’s Most 3D-Printed Hellcat” is a customized car with 3D-printed features that make it a one-of-a-kind show piece highlighting what 3D-printed customization can do for the aftermarket industry. In addition to a number of interior modifications like customized rear speaker covers, safety handles, coat hooks, and a redesigned center shift console, Airwolf 3D also 3D-printed a full-size spoiler to show off what the company often heralds as its claim to fame: large-volume desktop 3D-printers capable of printing in high-temperature engineering grade materials like ABS and polycarbonate.

The spoiler was printed in four parts on the Axiom 20, the largest desktop 3D printer in its class with a 12x12x20-inch build volume. To drive home the point that 3D printing represents true cost savings for an automotive shop, all custom parts on the car were printed for less than $250.

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Close up of the Hellcat 3D-printed hood vents

“This is the first time real, functional parts can be made in large format for minimal cost,” explained Wolf. “We 3D-printed a full-size spoiler and functional engine vents in ABS. That’s obviously something you can’t do with PLA, which can’t be used near heat — PLA also can’t be sanded or drilled to produce these parts.”

There’s a history to the 3D-printed Hellcat and its inception. Wolf got involved in 3D printing because of automotive design. Back in 2011, while still working as a patent trial attorney in Los Angeles, Wolf spent his free time pursuing his true passion: cars.

As a lifelong car lover with a degree in mechanical engineering and over 20 years of hands-on automotive experience, Wolf had a vision of the car he always wanted to design. Frustrated with using everything from clay and wood to build his prototype, Erick decided to try an inexpensive 3D printer. As the story goes, the printer failed miserably and Wolf decided to build his own. Wolf and his wife, Eva, eventually listed the 3D printer on Craigslist and got responses in minutes. The pair continued to sell their 3D-printers on Craigslist and, realizing there was a true demand for the machines, the two decided to start their own company and Airwolf 3D was born.

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Details of the Hellcat’s 3D-printed customization

According to Airwolf 3D, the SEMA Show is simply the first “heat” in what the company is describing as its “Race to Innovation.” The Southern California company promises an even bigger reveal at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, NV.

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Industrial Designer Nick Maffey and his custom BMW motorcycle for Ultimaker

3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker, a first-time attendee to SEMA, also showed off automotive customization in a big way at SEMA. Ultimaker impressed the crowd with a customized BMW motorcycle made to order in 30 days by master craftsman Nick Maffey. Maffey customized the bike in a streamed-down minimalist approach, featuring uniquely designed parts made of nylon, ABS, and PLA, that screamed “Bladerunner” in style and grace.

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Close up of the ABS 3D-printed brake housing on the Maffey Moto BMW for Ultimaker

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Maffey was effusive on the reliability of the Ultimaker3 which features an independently positioning dual-print-head function

They weren’t the only ones there to represent 3D printing to the auto trade. Formlabs was there to display new additions to their service line of rapid prototyping and end-use production. Their new cleaning stations and curing ovens are making DLP happen on an even broader scale. They were also announcing the launch of Fuse, their new SLS 3D printer with a 7x7x12 inch print bed due out in June of 2018.

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Steven Thomas of Formlabs

The staff at Formlabs are always a pleasure to talk to and Steven Thomas was no exception. The conversation came around to Kickstarter and Thomas had some interesting facts to point out. “Did you know,” said Thomas, “collectively, Kickstarter campaigns made possible by the Form2 have raised more than our original Kickstarter promotion. People are using our machines to enable their own technology. We’re very happy about that.”

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

The Vector 3SP 3D printer by EnvisionTec is a new improvement in stereolithography

EnvisionTec was at SEMA to display their new Vector 3SP stereolithography printer capable of a 20 percent speed improvement with a temperature increase to 400 fahrenheit. The print speed improvement is to due to the addition of a second laser and a moving gantry.

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Andrew Toft of FARO demonstrates scanning technology to SEMA attendees

Also making appearances at SEMA were Stratasys and MarkForged, along with 3D-scanning companies Creaform and FARO Technologies.

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Avery Dennison presented vinyl wrap techniques by Wrap Institute’s Justin Pate to packed crowds at their impressive SEMA booth display

Not all customization was in 3D. Longtime paper product supplier Avery Dennison started off only a few years ago at SEMA with a 10×10 ft. booth. Now they command a center ring of a circus of events detailing how easy and rewarding vinyl wrapping can be for companies and individuals alike.

As we have covered in past events, there is always a stand-out discovery. In the case of SEMA 2017, that accolade belongs to Jay Thornton of Vibrant Professionals at

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Jay Thornton (center, in white) fields a host of visitor questions at the Vibrant Performance SEMA booth

Vibrant provides quality aftermarket parts for a variety of top-tier shops in the automotive industry, and sometimes packaged under private label. Working in specialty materials like stainless and titanium, Vibrant makes many of the needed components to help one complete an exhaust system, turbo kit, intake, and much more. As a fabrication components company, they also design and complement other companies in their efforts to bring new products to market.

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

3D Magic Mike’s obsessively diligent CAD work resulting in printed parts

3D Printr Magazine had sought out Vibrant at SEMA because we had received news that they were working with 3D Magic Mike (aka Mike O’Brien from Roadstershop) and his amazing 3D CAD work. In this case, Magic Mike had recently designed an entire car, with every separate part, in 3D model. In our search for Magic Mike and Vibrant, we caught up with Thornton at the SEMA booth and were able to learn more about how Vibrant was incorporating 3D printing into their work stream.

One of the facets of 3D printing Thornton was avid about was the printing of jigs for inspecting production parts. His ability to quickly iterate a soft-surface jig that won’t scratch finished surfaces or a negative of a part to test tolerances has made their production go fluidly.

“We’ve been to SEMA more than ten years now and in the last four to five years we’ve seen more and more people understand the benefits of 3D printing, and how it can benefit the development of new parts” said Thornton, who also commented they use Solidworks for their design work. They have also recently added the flow simulation suite and are extremely happy with its performance. For scanning, they rely on an Artec Eva with translation to Solidworks through a DezignWorks add in9.

Thornton has been pursuing this career path since 1999, where his craftsman skills eventually led him to laying welds in an F1 shop midway in his career. In speaking with Thornton, one becomes engaged in the broad range of expertise he brings to the Toronto-based Vibrant’s design and engineering team. When asked about his educational background, Thornton admits he is essentially self-taught through a hands-on background with everything he does.

“I attended a few years of design in college but found it wasn’t teaching me anything about hands-on automotive fabrication and parts development. I found quickly this is where my true interest lied. I could have gone back to school for engineering, but I was too eager to start learning real life skills and applying them. Looking back on it, now working with a few engineers, I can definitely see the difference in my education versus theirs. My learning curve and success has not suffered though, from not pursuing an engineering degree. I found being hands-on early in my career was the best way to know how to design and execute any sort of part or product,” said Thornton, a senior technical member of Vibrant. The company also employs a team of select fabricators and engineers whose own principled manner of problem-solving complement Thornton’s approach.

It was also clear from the ever-present crowd at Vibrant’s booth that many other people knew about Vibrant’s great product line and their accomplishments in private label manufacturing, but that is the draw and importance of being a part of SEMA. That these companies seek to promote themselves here speaks well of their outreach and forward-looking thinking. How 3D printing will change the auto industry depends on what comes of this show and future ones.

2017 SEMA Show Event Report

Paintcolors in mesmerizing display

2017 SEMA Show Event Report
2017 SEMA Show Event Report

The scope of SEMA is unbelievable with products for every vertical of the auto industry, as in these booths for apparel leader Lethal Angel and the classic aftermarket specialty item provider Mooneyes

Early-Bird Registration Now Open for Pacific Design and Manufacturing Expo

The Pacific Design and Manufacturing Expo is the largest of its kind in the western U.S. Teamed along with the Medical Design and Manufacturing West Show at the Anaheim Convention Center on Feb. 6-8, the show promises to be a worthwhile investment of time for people of interest in nearly every manufacturing sector.

Companies from all over will be on hand with impressive displays and trade booths offering the latest in robotics and automation, CNC tools, scanners, new materials, and, of course, 3D printing.

Registration is now open for the show and the expo is free for early registration. Plan your calendar dates now to be in Anaheim on February 6-8 and be prepared to be marveled by new innovations and fantastic networking opportunities with peers in a variety of trades.

Sign-up is at

Early Bird Registration for Inside 3D Printing Ends This Week

Sign up today for this must-see SoCal event

The deadline to save with early bird prices to Inside 3D Printing San Diego, Dec. 4-5 is this Friday, Oct. 20 Registrants can save up to $400 on on-site prices of the show’s seminars and attendee events. Registration to visit the expo show itself is free, but must be done in advance.

The 2016 Inside 3D Printing Show was a stellar event, and a must for 3D printrs in the greater Southern California area. Companies ranging in notoriety in every vertical will be there to provide new developments to consumers and retailers alike and NASA will be on deck with a rocket nozzle demonstration.

Seminar topics include the “The Future of 3D Printing” keynote address featuring Terry Wohlers of Wohlers Associates; “Agility in Motion: Advantaged 3D Printing Innovation;” “A Road Map to 1 Million Unique Bio-Mechanically Enhanced Products;” “Getting Started with 3D Printing in Orthopaedic Surgery;” “Build with Life—Living Structures from 3D Bioprinters” and many more.

Sign up today at

Converge 2017 Event Report

Posted by Editor On September - 23 - 2017

Altair’s award presentation and gallery celebrates the nexus of technology + design

By Gregory van Zuyen

Converge 2017 Event Report

Christine Outram of Veritas Prep speaking at Converge 2017 on five trends to watch

We will start with the name of the guy you want to know most. His name is Chad Zamler. Why? Becaue he’s the guy that will give you a pass to Converge 2018. If you are lucky, he may still get you passes to Converge 2017 in other cities.

Converge? What’s that? you ask. Why, it’s the only thing in the world more brain-blowing, more creativeley inspiring, more idea-intoxicating than TED talks on steroids. It all happened here at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles on Sept. 13. If you were anywhere close to Southern California that day, it was the place to be.

Converge 2017 Event Report

Stuart Fingerhut of The Visionary Group photographs the Airbus Lightrider, a 3D-printed electric motorcycle displayed at Converge 2017

The accomplishments and innovations of the people that spoke at Converge is astounding. Through the Converge award program — presented by Altair‘s entertaining CMO Jeff Brennan — we are introduced to the thinkers and artists that give us license to think more imaginatively and more expansively than we thought possible. These are the brilliant and inspired genii of our generation, worthy of world respect.

Converge 2017 awarded nine people for their contributions to the nexus of design and technology. The awards do not go lightly. The value of thought that the award winners provide our planet are so worthy of contribution, the very small 3D-printed statuette they receive is all that more precious a symbol of meaning. How ever much the cinematic world considers the Oscar, that’s how much more the techno-design world will consider the award of the Converge Chair of Accomplishment.

Converge 2017 Event Report

Tim Prestero’s Firefly incubators for third-world countries has saved babies’ lives already

The Converge 2017 presentation began with Tim Prestero of Design That Matters. It’s hard to condense the feels of his talk into a paragrpah, because he dealt with the construction of infant incubators for third-world countries. He went blow-by-blow through the process he had to go to through to design and create a device that would drastically reduce the greatest cause of infant mortality; lack of warmth combined with the common onset of jaundice.

Prestero explained his search for a solution that solved all the issues coming from doctors, nurses, patients, hospital administrators and repair personnel. His years-long odyssey resulted in the Firefly, a portable basinet that provided life-saving UV rays from both above and below the baby. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this man is personnally responsible for the preservation of thousands of lives.

It gets better from there. Christina Outram of Veritas Prep brought unimaginable insight into the future with her analysis of trends to watch; the tracking of recycled electronics, the death of websites through speech-driven apps, customizing the user experience for keener levels of market share, and more. Again, you wish you were there.

When it comes to industrial design, few hold the authority of Tim Morton. The contribution he and Newell Brands have done for Rubbermaid alone earns him a lifetime achievement award. In his talk he introduced concepts like “plaid,” a mixing of the verticals and horizontals of an industry for conceptualizing better product design.

Architect Doris Sung of DOSU Studio Architecture was next, speaking about her development of smart materials for an application to architecture. A professor at University of Southern California, Sung turned an academic investigaton into bimetal composition into a solution into autonomously heating and cooling buildings through the natural process of turning otherwise flat, combined pieces of metal into a curled, ventilating, basketweaved surface by the action of solar heat.

Columbia University Professor of Engineering and Data Science Hod Lipson came on stage next and blew our minds with self-learning robots that seek the rewards of self-duplicating. Like humans, only with robots. He even tore the arm off one of the robots to see how it would adapt. Stunning.

The playlist gets better. Bill Washabaugh is sculptor leading a troupe of phenomenal people at Hypersonic. The NYC-based organization develops industrial installations of themed robotics, the result is a three-dimensional spectacle of awe and wonder.

Converge 2017 Event Report

Breaking Wave by Hypersonic is an example of Bill Washabaugh’s contribution to using technology in design

Greg Lynn of Greg Lynn FORM led us into a journey into the future that cannot be forgotten once seen, especially as it is already here. His design of valet robots trained to follow owners is expected to provide pedestrians greater functionality in populated areas. His vision is epic in scope and magnitude by the virtual simplicity of robots that follow you and carry your stuff for you. This development is soon to be literally at your heels in a short time to come.

Converge 2017 Event Report

Guests examining products made possible through the use of Altair’s numerous enterprise solutions

Michael Peng was next. In architectural circles, Peng is the master. Peng was the force behind Gensler’s construction of the 2,073 ft. Shanghai Tower. One of the many notable features of the tower is that its exterior skin twists 120 degrees around the building to shield it from typhoons. Peng took less than thirty minutes to explain how he did it.

Jason Lopes was the show finale. Lopes works for Carbon and he regaled the audience with stories of his days with Stan Winston and Legacy Effects studios. As their lead systems engineer, Lopes oversaw many notable products, and one of them was the construction of a 14-foot animatronic beast for San Diego’s Comic-Con. Operated by four men inside, this one-of-a-kind creation came to life in a record 30 days thanks to Lopes’ use of 3D-printing. The beast went on to wow the crowds for Jimmy Kimmel Live! show — and wowed us as well.

The event concluded with dinner and entertainment by Nick Waterhouse. For the fortunate creatives that were able to attend this uplifting affair, it will never be forgotten. For those that yearn for the keen gleanings of design’s Mt. Olympus, this is the place to be next year.

More on Converge, including how to register, is available at

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

Posted by Editor On September - 16 - 2017

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

There was much to see and discover at this year’s WESTEC Conference

WESTEC 2017, the west coast’s largest manufacturing trade show and expo, delivered an impressive selection of companies on display, with much to see and discover.
Geared toward the milling and fabrication crowd, the show was a cavalcade of robotic devices, cutting tools, software engineers, filtering systems, and, of course, 3D printing manufacturers.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

VP of sales Marc Franz at Raise3D, a new 3D printer manufacturer promising superior resolution and affordable costs

A new appearance this year was 3D printing manufacturer Raise3D. Vice President of sales Marc Franz was there to promote the new company, and he was enthusiastic about the resolution quality of his company’s products, especially when their price tag is approximately $1,000 less than comparable 3D printers.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

UnionTech representative Fred Kaplan, SOMOS’s Kevin Zarkis, and internationally-recognized industry expert Frank Speck at the UnionTech booth

Another company worth mentioning is UnionTech. The Chinese company has only recently begun marketing their products here in the U.S., but they are making a significant impact in the industry with the quality of their stereolithography prints. Jeremy Owen, midwest sales manager for RP America, mentioned that adding UnionTech to their list of companies they represent has given them a tremendous advantage in providing their customers with flawless SLA printing. And since UnionTech is open-source, material availability is unlimited and maintenance on the machines is a breeze.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

Airwolf3D sales representative Paul Gallagher was swamped by WESTEC 2017 attendees at the Airwolf3D booth

Airwolf3D was also there, but it was hard to get a chance to speak to the staff through the student crowd that was three-deep at the booth. With the success of their Hydrofill water-soluable support material and the growing popularity of their Axiom 3D printer, it was easy to understand why they were a conference favorite. Other 3D printers there included 3D Systems, Stratasys, MarkForged, HP, Rize, and Ultimaker.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

Taylor Dawson of Hexagon displays both the ease of use and robust functionality of the Hexagon scanning software

Matterhackers was available for guidance on materials and online rapid prototyping questions, as was Purple Platypus. 3D scanning companies were also present and they included Innovmetric, Zeiss, Creaform, FARO, Capture3D, and Hexagon. As high-end 3D scanning remains an expensive but necessary investment for companies to make, WESTEC proved to be a great venue for comparing scanning products.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

AccuServe General Manager Charles Huang talks about his company’s recent landmark innovation in rotary cutting tools, an adapter that uses ultrasonic vibration for improved CNC performance

Every show has something new to discover, and WESTEC 2017 was no exception. This year’s surprise development in technological innovation goes to AccuServe.
While this product may not be directly related to the practice of 3D printing, the inspired genius of their newly patented device could not escape our attention.
We spoke at length with AccuServe General Manager Charles Huang regarding the creation of their CNC tool adapter and were amazed at what this device can do for milling and drilling operations.

“What we have created is the next step in the use of ultrasonic frequencies to improve the cutting tool operation,” said Huang as he held the tool. “Before this, there was UM, ultrasonic manufacturing, which uses sound waves to penetrate materials. This is RUM, rotary ultrasonic manufacturing.”

Huang pointed out that, when dealing with dense, hard materials such as tungsten and high-tempered glass or ceramics, machinists would have to increase their revolutions up to ridiculously high speeds to burrow into the material. Through the use of RUM and the application of ultrasonic frequencies directed to the cutting tool, machinists were able to burrow faster, at lower RPMs, with cleaner, tighter results. “Because the ultrasonic frequencies are able to ‘peck’ at the surface being drilled, the molecular structure of the material is weakened and the build-up of material on the cutting tool is shaken away. With the addition of this adapter, precision is increased dramatically, and the instance of material fracture is greatly reduced.” Huang went on to say that the companies using their product were reporting a 30% to 70% reduction in cutting time and a valued cost savings in their material inventory, thanks to the lessened rate of fracture. The price tag for the adapter is under $12,000 — a comparable savings to the $400,000 CNC machines that can do similar work with similar RUM technology.

To find out more about the RUM cutting adaptor, visit AccuServe at And be sure to sign up now for next year’s WESTEC conference.

The Daily 3D Detail: WESTEC 2017

Posted by Editor On September - 12 - 2017

Westec 2017

Just one of the fun things to see at WESTEC 2017

WESTEC 2017 opens today at the Los Angeles Convention Center (1201 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles) with a wide assortment of booths and vendors all promoting the latest in industrial design. Billed as the west coast’s largest manufacturing trade show, WESTEC provides everyone from aerospace to robotics a chance to showcase their latest developments and innovations. A host of speakers will also be on hand for the three-day event to provide much-anticipated seminar sessions for attendees.

In addition to the keynote speeches by IBM and TITAN America MFG, there will be panel discussions on additive manufacturing and smart manufacturing. A smart manufacturing hub will be on display for businesses to tour, and a machining academy has been set up to help polish skills.

It’s Not Too Late to Register
Attendees can still register for free access to the WESTEC 2017 expo floor through a promo code available thanks to Polymer Molding on their Facebook page.

curve ups free-form objects

A team of Austrian computer scientists has advanced the way of creating 3D objects on a 2D printer, calling it CurveUps. By inserting small tiles between stretched layers of latex, this technique allows for free-form objects featuring curves and round shapes. Formerly, similar objects were limited to sharp edges.

Get the whole article with video here before catching the official release at this year’s SIGGRAPH conference in Los Angeles.

RAPID + TCT 2017 Event Report

Posted by Fred Kaplan On May - 21 - 2017

Confessions of a 3D printing nerd at 3D printing’s biggest show of the year

By Fred Kaplan

RAPID + TCT 2017 Event Report

I admit it, I have an unhealthy obsession with 3D-printer tradeshows but the 2017 Rapid + TCT show, held May 8-11 in Pittsburgh, signaled the next iteration of 3D printing. All right, so what’s the big deal? How about a seemingly endless supply of new functional end-use 3D-printing technologies, and materials that had to be seen to be believed.

Carbon 3D
The best example of 3D-printing end-use parts was at the Carbon 3D booth. Carbon 3D burst onto the 3D-printing scene with a 2015 TED talk that has been viewed more than 700,000 times. After two years of anticipation and speculation during which Kodak announced that it would be providing materials for the printer, Carbon 3D is now leasing printers to end users.

Carbon3D Shoe Lattice

Carbon 3D recently partnered with Adidas to develop the first  3D-printed part that will be mass produced for consumer use; the midsoles of Futurecraft 4D shoes. Midsoles of shoes traditionally can’t be injection or compression molded in one piece with variable flexibility in a single piece. Carbon 3D experimented with a variety of lattices that were printed with a variety of production grade elastomers that don’t require support or excess materials — which reduce the manual post-processing steps of traditional 3D-printing. Adidas will have 5,000 pairs available in the fall/winter of 2017.

Carbon3D Shoe

Desktop Metal
All the buzz at Rapid + TCT 2017 was about the Desktop Metal printers whose booth was at the geographic center of the David L. Lawrence Convention Hall. Desktop Metals used some of the $97 million funding it received from Google, BMW, Saudi Aramico, GE, and others to sponsor the nametag lanyards, the convention hall wireless, and everything else that held still long enough to be branded. The anticipation for a desktop printer capable of printing in metal materials has hit an all-time frenzy.

Desktop Metals announced two systems the Studio and the Production systems. The Studio printer will be available in the fall of 2017, is designed to print individual metal parts. The Production system, designed for large-scale production, will be available in 2018.

Along with the announcement of the Studio Printer, Desktop Metals has announced an office-friendly sinter oven that reaches a peak temperature of 1400 celsius to post-process printed parts. With a price tag more than $120K, the printers promise to safely and easily print many metal alloys at a fraction of the cost of previous metal 3D printers. Among the advantages, Desktop Metals offers the raw material encased in a rod of metal and binder, instead of powdered metals that are possibly flammable — and definitely dangerous — and the ability to affordably and easily print a wide variety of different alloys. I was excited to see sample parts in all three stages of the process.

The first step in the process is the extrusion of metal and binder that is printed larger than the final product. The next step is the binder is removed, and the third step is the part is sintered in a sintering oven which shrinks the printed part to the expected size. The temperature of the sintering will vary depending on the metal alloy,but the temperature could be as high as 1400 C. Markforged also offers a similar product, the Metal X which has been said will be available in the fall of 2017.

The HP booth featured their Jet Fusion 3200 and 4200 printers which leverage HP’s history of jetting inks and fluids in traditional 2D desktop printers. The build area of the HP printers is 2,440 cubic inches (15″ x 11.2″ x 14.6″) and its ability to print on a voxel by voxel basis (the 3D equivalent of a screen pixel) simultaneously on the X and Y axis which yields high-quality printed parts ten times faster than a traditional FDM 3D-printer. HP have used the advantages of printing in powder (speed plus printing with no attached support structure) to create a profitable return on investment on 3D-printing projects similar to mid-size injection molded runs.

The HP Jet Fusion printers use a new series of processes developed by HP which include thermal control, fusing, and detailing agents printed in the X-Y axis on a layer of the printing material which is currently a low-cost nylon, PA12 powder. Future material developments will include full color parts and a variety of materials including ceramics.

The theme of producing functional end-use part has expanded and the UnionTech booth showed all four of their SLA printers. The largest build size is the RSPro 800 which has a build platform of 31.5″ x 31.5″ x 19.7″.

What I find most interesting about the UnionTech printers is that they offer the highest quality SLA printing with open source materials — which means that there is an almost endless selection of material options, including DSM materials, BASF and any other SLA printing materials on the market. The printers are assembled in China with globally-sourced parts. By increasing their laser power, UnionTech is able to increase the print speed of their 3D printers by 100% over competitive printers.

What makes a trade show like Rapid + TCT 2017 so great is the opportunity to see a technology, and feel the sample part of that technology that hitherto seems to be internet lore. XJET is an Israeli company whose CEO was the CTO of Objet Geometries — the original PolyJET 3D printer. XJET uses the concept of jetting microscopic particles of material to form an object, replacing thermoplastics with solid metal nanoparticles, suspended in a liquid ink, in a process called “NanoParticle Jetting.” The sample parts I felt were completely smooth with no visible or tactile evidence of layer lines on the sample parts.

I was pleased to see technological surprises in every row of vendors at the show. I have been anxious to see the Roboze 3D printer that prints in Ultem/PEI and PEEK, as well as 14 other industrial grade materials with more to come. Printing in PEEK and Utem requires extremely high temperatures which triggered my expectation of seeing a 3D printer reminiscent of a Soviet-era monstrosity, but instead, I found the Robooze printers to be sleek and elegantly designed. They are office-friendly printers that emit no heat on the exterior surface of the printer despite internal temperatures. Roboze is a completely gear-driven FDM printer that is accurate to within 25 microns across the print bed.

Do you think the world of additive manufacturing materials is limited to thermoplastics and metals? Wrong! Admatec, a Dutch company has combined DLP (digital light projection) 3D-printing with ceramics in their new Admaflex 130. The materials that the Amdaflex print are alumina, zirconia and fused silica. The advantages of ceramics include extreme hardness and excellent electrical insulation. They are also lightweight parts that are functional in high temperature, and under high pressures.

After walking the Rapid + TCT 2017 show, my head was exploding with the brilliance of the technological and material options at all price points of 3D printing. The fall of 2017 promises to be an amazing time, in which we will see the amazing new printers hit the streets. The original technology of the SLA system that Chuck Hull developed 30 years ago is being adapted to be perhaps the most functional technology yet.

I left Pittsburgh knowing that rate of innovation is not slowing down and looking forward to next trade show with enthusiasm.

Fred Kaplan is a 3D-printing material specialist, who has worked with SLA, SLS, FDM, ColorJet, ADAM, DLP, LOM, FFF, MultiJet, Polyjet, and SDL 3D printers. Specializing in matching the best technology to a particular 3D printing application, he has also worked with many brands of 3D scanners and many CAD packages.

Prior to his work in additive manufacturing, Fred received a Los Angeles-area Emmy and other awards for documentary filmmaking.