Editorial

HP Releases More Details About Its 3D Printing Plans

Additive manufacturing (AM) has, so far, been an inside race with the biggest players, 3D Systems and Stratasys, making moves and counter moves, both trying to carve out its own niche in the market. Both competitors have made acquisitions to extend the company’s reach, though 3DS is certainly better known for the tactic. At this point the race is too close to call.

The wildcards in the mix are companies the likes of HP, which have shown interest in 3D printing. These are global entities that already have the resources in place to make a big impact in the AM market with the release of a single product. HP has begun to release more information about its plans for AM, and promises an announcement in June that will illuminate its future in the 3D printing business. Continue reading

Will Lego and Additive Manufacturing Fit Together?

Most of us were lucky enough to have at least one box full of Lego bricks as children. Along as serving as an unintentional caltrop for unsuspecting adults, Lego was an early way of expressing ideas in a physical form. Additive manufacturing (AM) operates in much the same manner. 3D printers can build nearly whatever a designer or engineer can imagine and build in a CAD program.

Lego and 3D printing have been in the news a fair amount recently, following an article in the Financial Times about the potential threat to the toy maker from AM. Both Time and The Washington Post have covered the story, talking with people at Lego and in the AM industry about the potential for later complications. Continue reading

A License to Print Money: Mutual Fund for 3D Printing

Additive manufacturing (AM) has become an integral part of a number of businesses and industries, including aerospace and medical, and the technology’s impact is only likely to increase as time passes. Defense is taking a hard look at AM, automotive is finding ways to leverage 3D printing, and numerous small businesses still find plenty of rapid prototyping value in their AM systems.

Continued growth relies on innovation as much as consumer appeal and, in a capitalist world economy, the monetary forces that drive innovation generally come from outside investments. Alan Meckler has launched the first 3D printing mutual fund, named the “3D Printing and Technology Fund,” to bring more funds to the global business of 3D printing. Continue reading

3D Scanning Tests the Waters at Amazon

Most you probably remember when Amazon was just an online book company and that seemed like a crazy idea. Who wants to buy books online? Most people assumed half the joy of buying a new book lay in going to a bookstore and flipping through the pages of potential buys. Certainly Borders didn’t think this new internet thing was going to challenge it for sales.

It turned out that plenty of people were willing to buy books online, even more so when they received a discount. Customer reviews replaced flipping through pages. Success led to diversification, and now Amazon sells just about everything you can think of while Borders has vanished. More recently, Amazon added a 3D printing section to the site and now 3D scanners have popped up, ready for customer reviews.  Continue reading

Epson Developing Industrial 3D Printers

By this point even the dourest of analysts might be willing to concede that additive manufacturing (AM) is more than just a trend. Big business, defense, and the medical industry have all shown a keen interest in what 3D printing can accomplish, and growing numbers of home users are also experimenting with the technology.

For most of its lifespan, the AM market has been self-contained with companies such as 3D Systems and Stratasys ruling the roost, but that could all change with the emergence of larger companies, the likes of  HP, showing signs they might enter the business. Epson is the latest corporation to talk about moving into AM, and President Minoru Usui recently had some interesting things to say about the 3D printing market. Continue reading