“Where is it all going? The unimagined, the unintended, the unleashed,” said Avi Reichental, delivering the keynote address at the Inside 3D Printing conference. Reichental, president and CEO of 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD), a global leader in content-to-print solutions, described a world of hybrid manufacturing where 3D printing is integrated into traditional manufacturing; a world where complexity that is otherwise unachievable, is free and provides opportunities to do things that have not yet been imagined.
While this incited excitement in the room, it was no great shock to the hundreds of designers, developers, innovators and 3D printing enthusiasts that came from around the world to attend the first ever 3D printing conference. Among the crowd, the bigger question was how to make the technology more consumer friendly. The companies in attendance were tackling this from a variety of angles, from software and hardware to design and execution. Some of these included, 3D Nation, which focuses on providing customers design assistance; Sculpteo, which offers customers the opportunity to transform 3D files into 3D objects; and Mcor, whose printers use paper as its material at a fraction of the cost.
These innovations and products are a step towards the “accessibility and democratization of 3D printing,” that Reichental spoke of in his keynote address. In addition to the solutions the many attending companies are offering, the price point of printers at the exhibit hall, ranging from $400-$100,000+, speak to accessibility as well. This can also be seen by the 3D printed creations on display, which included belts, shoes and purses from 3D Systems, bracelets from Makerbot, and rings and home design from Sculpteo.
“The future is here – we just don’t know it yet,” said Brian Evans, of Metropolitan State University of Denver, during his presentation on desktop printing. We at Printing Dress have never believed this to be more true.