It’s sometimes easy to forget that additive manufacturing (AM) isn’t really a brand new technology. 3D printers toiled away in labs and back rooms for years cranking out prototypes and the occasional custom part without receiving much in the way of attention. Only recently, with the rollout of home AM systems, has the technology entered the general consumer’s consciousness.
One expression of increased awareness is the push to move 3D printers from the back of the shop to the front. Staples has been at the forefront of this movement, adding AM systems to store shelves, and offering AM printing services in Europe since last year. Now a new partnership with 3D Systems (3DS) will bring AM services to Staples in the US.
In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing (AM), 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.
Today we’ll start with a couple pieces of news from Stratasys. First up, the company has released a new AM material called Endur. The new material is a simulated polypropylene for use with all Objet EdenV, Objet Connex, Objet500 Connex3 and Objet 30Pro AM systems. According to the company, Endur offers both high impact resistance and elongation at break, and has a heat-deflection temperature up to 129°F / 54°C (HDT @ 0.45MPa per ASTM D-648-06). Continue reading
More than a few eyebrows were raised when 3D Systems (3DS) first embarked on its growth through acquisitions strategy. A number of industry insiders wondered (privately) if the company would be able to successfully incorporate all the businesses the company had been picking up under one umbrella and make them work together. Time has shown the strategy to be sound with 3DS taking a lead position in additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing related properties.
Not even the speculation surrounding HP’s stated intent to enter the AM field has been able to dent 3DS’ push to promote itself as the top AM company, and its announcement of its plans for the Inside 3D Printing NYC Conference showcases its drive. 3DS calls its agenda “3D Printing 2.0,” and it includes the announcement of its newest AM system, the ProJet 1200, along with its full lineup of 2014 3D printers. Continue reading
3D printing is well on its way to revolutionizing manufacturing around the world. Rapid Ready provides near daily examples of breakthroughs in nearly every major manufacturing field, including automotive, aerospace and medical. While the technology has only gained some measure of popular appeal in the last few years, its roots go back 30 years and can be traced to 3D Systems’ founder and CTO, Chuck Hull.
This year Hull’s achievement will be officially recognized as he’s inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Hull’s name and likeness will join luminaries of invention such as Thomas Edison, Eli Whitney, and the Wright Brothers. The formal ceremony will take place May 21, at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, VA.
When I was a kid, we didn’t have the panoply of interactive media that surrounds children today. Sure, we had video game consoles, but I didn’t know any kids that spent more time playing Nintendo than they spent playing with other kids and, particularly, with a broad range of toys. The toys are still around, but it seems to me they frequently take the back seat to technological distractions. Maybe a shake-up is in order.
That could be part of the thinking behind the recent moves on the part of 3D Systems. Signs that the additive manufacturing (AM) giant has been leaning toward 3D printing as entertainment began with the acquisition of Gentle Giant Studios, strengthened with the announcement of a partnership with Hasbro, and became a certainty with 3D Systems’ latest acquisition, Digital PlaySpace. Continue reading