Stratasys Acquires Solid Concepts and Harvest Technologies

The business world of additive manufacturing (AM) is still taking shape. The technology is still new enough that market leaders haven’t quite yet managed the level of global saturation as older tech companies, such as Apple or Microsoft. Part of the process of market maturation is acquisitions.

Stratasys has announced the acquisition of Solid Concepts and Harvest Technologies. Both companies are AM service bureaus, with Solid Concepts having a global presences and Harvest Technologies as mainly an US entity. Both companies will assist Stratasys with future growth, and provide additional resources for its in-house service bureau, RedEye. Continue reading

Rapid Ready Roundup: Patent News, KamerMaker, Dell, Valentine’s Day

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 some patent news. Royal DSM has won a patent dispute in Europe concerning the development of materials for stereolithography. The patent in question, EP1232198, titled, UV Curable Compositions, was held by 3D Systems. The successful challenge allows DSM to expand its Somos brand of stereolithography materials, and opens the door for other companies to do the same. Continue reading

Photoshop Adds Support for 3D Printing

It could be said that one way to measure how much a new technology has caught on is by the amount of support offered. Additive manufacturing (AM) might not be exactly new, but it has been propelled into the spotlight fairly recently. Companies like Autodesk have offered support for 3D printing for years, but only recently have companies immediately recognizable to the general public, such as Microsoft, begun to offer similar support intended for a more general audience.

Now Adobe, provider of the most well-known image and design software on the planet, has added 3D printing support to Photoshop Creative Cloud (CC). Not only does Photoshop now allow users to work with 3D images, it also directly supports a number of 3D printers, including the MakerBot Replicator and 3D Systems’ Cube, along with built-in service bureau access in the form of Shapeways. Continue reading

MakerBot Announces 2014 Lineup

The pace of 3D printer releases looks to be speeding up. Companies used to release information about one system at a time, slowly rolling out each new product. 3D Systems broke the trend at Euromold, and again at CES by announcing multiple systems simultaneously. Not to be outdone, MakerBot has announced its 2014 lineup of additive manufacturing (AM) systems and accompanying products.

On display at CES were promotions for three new AM systems from MakerBot; the next generation Replicator, Replicator Mini, and Replicator Z18. Alongside the new 3D printers comes an expansion of what MakerBot calls its “Ecosystem.” Adding to the library of downloadable objects at Thingiverse is MakerBot Printshop, the company’s first stab at simplified 3D design. Continue reading

A Look Back at Additive Manufacturing in 2013

This year was an interesting one for additive manufacturing (AM), with plenty of big moves inside the industry and hints of upcoming changes to the landscape from without. Medical uses for 3D printing really started to gather steam, with prosthetics being one of the largest areas of development. In 2013, we also saw a general shift in AM from a pure prototyping tool to an increase in end-use production.

Stratasys moved into the home 3D printer arena with its acquisition of MakerBot in June. That particular move, along with the merger with Objet in 2012, helped Stratasys to diversify its portfolio, branching out into areas of AM in which the company previously had little or no presence.  Continue reading