Stratasys attended the Inside 3D Printing Conference in its San Jose, California, incarnation. This traveling 3D printing conference hosted many top industry people, including Stratasys chairman Scott Crump, and included speeches, networking events and cool demonstrations of 3D printing technology.
The show drew large crowds, particularly from local Silicon Valley sources and from Latin America where the interest in 3D printing is acute. Main attendees of the conference included representatives from universities, resellers, service bureaus, Google, and the petroleum industry plus bloggers and tech writers, teachers and engineering students. Many were interested in learning to use 3D scanning tools to create digital parts, rather than drawing up a part with CAD software. Other attendees were interested in learning better ways to operate their 3D printers to get the most out of them.
Stratasys’ ability to 3D print in rubber-like materials, courtesy of its inkjet-based PolyJet technology, proved to be a real crowd pleaser, together with our ability to 3D print complex parts in one build and the minimal amount of waste generated during the 3D printing process.
The display room resembled a small “Comic Con,” mixed with a hacker space and LEGOLAND. There were colorful models of every shape, 3D printed action figures, body parts, and gadgets, jewelry and home décor. The eclectic collection, which included kites, gear rings, vases and earrings, blew peoples’ minds as they entered and inspired wonder upon exit.
There were many models that resembled human faces but none were quite as realistic and impressive as the Stratasys model. Made from PolyJet rubber-like TangoPlus material, the 3D printed flexible, painted model even felt like a real face!
Across from the Stratasys booth was a company called Made In Space, looking to make one small extrude for 3D printers, one giant tool path for the 3D printing industry. Funded by a government SBIR grant, they are planning on sending a 3D printer to the International Space Station in 2014 to 3D print in zero gravity. We got to see some of their zero gravity models that they test 3D printed during a zero-gravity flight provided by NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program.
It was great to see what’s going on in the 3D printing world! So much innovation is happening – stay tuned for more progress.