Rapid Ready Roundup: Voxeljet IPO, GE, NAMII, and Horseshoes

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.

We’ll start today’s Roundup with money matters. Voxeljet hopes to raise approximately $91 million by offering 6.5 million shares with its IPO. Shares are expected to be offered at a price of between $13 to $15 a share, giving the company a market value of around $309 million. Continue reading

A Look Back at 3D Printing in 2012

All the parties have ended, the ball has dropped, and people have dragged themselves off to bed. 2013 is sure to be an interesting year for additive manufacturing (AM). Before I get started on the new, let’s take a quick look at some of the most important, or most interesting, stories of 2012 from Rapid Ready Tech.

In April, Stratasys (company profile) launched its desktop, professional 3D printer; the Mojo. With a price point of under $10,000, the Mojo offered small businesses a low-cost alternative to using service bureaus for rapid prototyping. This was only the beginning of a year of serious moves by Stratasys. Continue reading

Standardizing Additive Manufacturing Process Terminology

I generally enjoy covering additive manufacturing (AM). One of the few sticky areas is process terminology. Different companies call the same process by wildly different names. For example, what Stratasys calls Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), 3D Systems calls plastic jet printing, and the RepRap community calls fused filament fabrication (FFF).

The processes use an extruder head to lay down layers of thermoplastic to create objects in roughly the same way. More people recognize FDM than plastic jet printing or fused filament fabrication. Stratasys, which developed the technology, has trademarked the phrase Fused Deposition Modeling. As a result, 3D Systems and members of the RepRap project don’t call what is basically the same technology by the same name.

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RAPID 2012: Day Three

The line was even longer by the coffee pots on the last day of RAPID 2012. I manfully shouldered my way through the crowd to get my own cup of wake up, noticing as I did so that there were already two empty containers sitting forlorn and abandoned. Java in hand, I found a seat in the conference room to await the keynote speech by Terry Wohlers. Really, this time.

Wohlers began by informing the crowd that this was the 20th year of RAPID. The industry has changed a lot in more than two decades. According to Wohlers, since 1988, the CAGR of additive manufacturing (AM) has increased by 26.4%. Around 6,500 industrial AM systems were sold in 2011 and material sales to feed those systems added up to $327 million. Continue reading