3D Printshow 2012 previews first 3D print exhibition
By Jenny Roper Tuesday, 28 August 2012
Held last week, the preview showcased scanning and printing equipment that will be on show during the 19-21October event.
The show, which plans to "inspire and educate" designers, manufacturers and consumers, used the preview to feature a range of exhibitors that will be present at the upcoming event.
Scanning technology vendors Europac carried out live demos of whole body scanning, explaining that the applications of this in conjunction with 3D printing already included manufacturing prosthetic limbs, jewellery, polystyrene replicas of actors to be blown up in films and mementos of baby’s feet and faces.
"You just start to think, what else can I do with this?" said Andrew Goldstraw, applications engineer at Europac. "There’s work going on now that you would have previously assumed wasn’t possible."
Also providing insight into the commercial applications of 3D print was 3D Systems, who explained that the company’s commercial printer model was already selling well into schools, colleges and engineering and design companies.
"This is a huge enabler for smaller businesses," said Ian Adkins, founder of 3D Systems. "People are now able to cheaply test out prototypes, going through many iterations of a design in a way that would have cost too much before. I think every engineer will soon have one of these on their desk."
Meanwhile machines suitable for consumer applications, such as spare part and figurine printing, were demonstrated by MakerBot and Ultimaker. And architecture student Jordan Hodgson showcased the intricate decorative designs that can be created using 3D printing, while musical director of the show Dave Marks demoed a 3D printed guitar.
Speaking of the October show’s planned spectacles of a 3D print fashion show and the world’s first 3D printed band, founder of 3D Printshow Kerry Hogarth said: "I think it will open the eyes of people to see just what can be done with this technology. It’s going to be an exciting launch as people haven’t really seen this before."
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