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
The story surrounding most desktop additive manufacturing (AM) systems revolves around improvements in the material extrusion process, with strata lines becoming less defined in each new generation. Formlabs altered that story somewhat with the introduction of the FORM 1, a desktop stereolithography system that offered a vast improvement on print quality without a huge hike in price.
While Formlabs might have been the first, it was inevitable that another company would step up to the plate with their own version of desktop stereolithography. Full Spectrum Laser (FSL) is the first to challenge Formlabs with its Pegasus Touch, and much like the FORM 1, FSL’s system owes its existence to Kickstarter. Continue reading
Innovation is just as likely to be found in the garage as in the boardroom. Individual inventors can bring new ideas to the table that big companies might have overlooked, or never even considered. Crowd-funding site Kickstarter is a godsend for inventors and small businesses to find startup capital to bring their ideas to life. Formlabs is a great example of a successful Kickstarter campaign leading to a rapidly growing business.
Rapid Ready initially covered Formlabs and its FORM 1 Kickstarter project all the way back here. Unlike many additive manufacturing (AM) systems found on Kickstarter, the FORM 1 offered something new; stereolithography printing in a desktop package. Tech junkies that follow Kickstarter developments were apparently as interested as we were, and Formlabs destroyed their $100,000 goal with a total of nearly $3 million pledged. Continue reading
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 a quick piece of materials news. Stratasys has released a new material named ABS2 for its line of Object Connex AM systems. According to the company, the new material has been designed to improve rigidity, durability and functionality for 3D printed objects with fine details and thin walls. Stratasys also claims ABS2 is ideal for printing cores and cavities for use in low-volume injection molding applications using thermoplastics.
The design constraints of additive manufacturing (AM) are mainly centered on build space, rather than complexity. People can (and do) design all kinds of crazy geometries to be produced via AM, but larger parts or prototypes require the object be built in multiple parts for later construction, or simply a larger 3D printer. This is one reason why a move toward larger AM systems has been an industry trend for the last few years.
The old maxim says to work smarter, not harder. What if, instead of building larger and larger 3D printers, we could develop a method of building large-scale objects inside the restricted dimensions of existing 3D printers? Researchers at MIT have developed a new method of printing large objects in limited build envelopes that they call Hyperform. Continue reading