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Rapid Ready Roundup: Materialise, Canalys, Netflix, and Tattoos

In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing, I come across many interesting news items. I’ll gather them up every so often and present them in a Rapid Ready Roundup (like this one). You can find the last Roundup here.

Materialise IPOWe’ll start off today’s Roundup with a bit of an invasion. Materialise, a Belgium-based 3D printing service bureau and clearing house, has announced its US IPO. The company hopes to raise around $125 million from the offering. The company pulled in $94.6 million in 2013, marking a 16% increase in revenue over the previous year. Piper Jaffray and Credit Suisse are underwriting the venture, which would place Materialise on the NASDAQ Global Market.

Moving on, we have yet more optimism from analysts on 3D printing’s future. Canalys, an independent research company, expects 3D printer sales, materials and associated services to increase to $3.8 billion in 2014 and reach $16.2 billion in sales by 2018. This represents an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45.7% from 2013 to 2018.

“This is a market with enormous growth potential now that the main barriers to up-take are being addressed,” said Canalys senior analyst, Tim Shepherd. “Advances in technology are yielding faster print times and enabling objects to be printed in greater combinations of materials, colors and finishes. Crucially, prices are also falling, making the technology an increasingly feasible option for a broad variety of enterprise and consumer uses, restricted only by computer aided design competencies and printer availability – both of which are set to improve significantly.”

Next up, Netflix has secured exclusive rights to the AM documentary, “Print the Legend.” The film takes a look at the struggles and triumphs of AM startups. The film won this year’s SXSW award for special jury recognition for documentary features. “Print the Legend” will be available to Netflix subscribers via streaming service sometime in 2014.

3D Print the Legend

Print the Legend film poster.

Filmmakers Luis Lopez and Clay Tweel had this to say about their creation:

“When we began to film Print the Legend, all we knew was that we were entering the ‘Macintosh Moment’ of an exciting technology, the time when 3D printing was shifting from an industrial process to one you could do at home. We knew this held untold promise for future innovation. We knew we were making a time capsule of a historical moment.”

3D Printer for tattoos

A hacked 3D printer printing a tattoo on a volunteer's arm.

Last for today, if you ever thought about getting a tattoo but just couldn’t find the right artist, how about a 3D printer? French students have hacked a 3D printer to print ink into you. After modifying the AM system to work with a tattoo gun, the students had to overcome the problem of working on a rounded, elastic surface (the skin on their volunteer’s forearm), as most 3D printers really only want to print on flat surfaces.

The students found a solution in the form of wrapping the inner tube from a scooter around their volunteers arm to flatten and stretch his skin. For those interested in making their own 3D printer tattoo gun, the students posted specs and instructions on Instructables.

Below you’ll find the trailer for “Print the Legend.”

Sources: Reuters, CNET, Canalys, Print the Legend, Instructables

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About John Newman

John Newman is a contributing editor to Desktop Engineering magazine. He covers the rapid prototyping and manufacturing beat.

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