3D Printshow cranks up the coverage

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After all the bombast and build up it didn’t let us down: The 3D Printshow last weekend was a massive success, presenting 3D printing processes and applications brilliantly to the wider public.

The venue in central London had packed exhibition spaces and talks that gave a great vision of the vast amount of uses for the technology.

From Hollywood glamour, African palaeontology, architectural models to jewellery; people outside of the industry got a first-hand look at the capabilities of a fast evolving process.
London’s consumer throngs were the target market, with a heavy focus on the small format, domestic, desktop printers, especially with Christmas on the horizon.

We left hoping those new to the game, buoyed with inspiration from the professionals, were not expecting to print a 1:1 Iron Man suit on a sub £1,000 printer.

FormLabs’ debut hi-res printer drew interested crowds on its UK debut, while the MakerBot Replicator 2 was one of the biggest draws as its CEO Bre Pettis spent his time chatting with users.

The brilliant 3D4D Challenge winner was also announced, bringing this global competition to a fitting conclusion.


The winners, WOOF, collected $100,000 prize money for their project to enable waste plastic to be used as filament for 3D printing machines, helping charity Water for Humans to address water and sanitation problems in Oaxaca, Mexico.

The headlines for the show will be grabbed by the fashion show and the guitars – the novelty schtick that the wider public can grasp to – yet the biggest winners are the industry as a whole (including the super expensive professional machines) and the good folks that continue to pioneer what these machines can achieve.

Stay tuned for our exclusive interview with MakerBot’s Bre Pettis next week, with a special extra announcement to go along with it…

Ol’ big ‘ead: Legacy Effects showed that by scanning and 3D printing they could make super lifelike masks for stuntmen or doubles to wear in front of the cameras

Here are a few of our highlights from the show:

– MakerBot and the slightly rock’n’roll presence of its CEO Bre Pettis, who walked the floor, posed for photos, answered questions, pressed palms, and possibly even kissed babies like someone running for State Governor. If ever there was a 3D printing brand that the big boys should take note of, this is it – built from charm, a sense of fun and purpose.

– The fashion show accompanied by a band playing music on 3D printed/customised instruments seemed to wow a lot of people who were unaware that such delicate parts, or unusual shapes could be produced is such a way.

– 3D4D Challenge – the final presentations and the awards giving all took place at the show, giving the international competition a fitting stage to conclude – more on this later.

– Formlabs could not have brought its product to the UK at a better time – its stand displaying the desktop Form 1 was two-deep at all times.

– Econolyst (and Dr Phil) doing some comparison tests between the array of printers on show.

– Legacy Effects’ Jason Lopes making people’s dreams come true by letting them get up close and personal with parts of Iron Man’s suit, Kristen Stewart’s (printed) face and other Hollywood paraphernalia.

– The wide-ranging reach of how 3D printing was being used – from Hollywood glamour, to African palaeontology; architectural models to jewellery; people outside of the industry got a first-hand look at the capabilities of a fast evolving process.

– The sense of interest as a whole was incredible – companies with industrial sized equipment were inundated with questions – which can have done no harm to the bureau industry, or those that managed to snare the attentions of the few professional-types that showed genuine interest in buying a new machine.

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