Motorola Mobility, a Google company, is building a 3D printed modular phone, and has partnered with 3D Systems for commercial fulfillment. More »

The Captured Dimensions pop-up studio was located in the Smithsonian Castle and featured approximately 80 digital cameras all connected to 3D software. More »

Microsoft expanded their support for 3D printing by launching a Windows 8 app called 3D Builder. It includes a library of objects you can edit and 3D print. More »

3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) announced the availability of the Sense 3D scanner, the first 3D scanner designed for the consumer and optimized for 3D printing. More »

With rumors circling that 3D Systems will be purchased by IBM, the stock soars. We look at why IBM might be interested in the 3D printing giant. More »


Organovo CEO Presents Vision of Enabling Technology Bioprinting Platform

Organovo CEO Keith Murphy presented the afternoon keynote at Inside 3D Printing Santa Clara. In his presentation to several hundred attendees, Mr. Murphy described a vision of Organovo as an enabling technology bioprinting platform.

The context behind this vision is a dose of reality that 3D printing, especially bioprinting, is still in its infancy.

“If we are stuck in the first chasm for 3D printing, we are probably a lot earlier than that for bioprinting,” explained Mr. Murphy.

While bioprinting can provide unique capabilities to the pharma industry for toxicology testing and disease models, the technology is simply too complex to deploy. Instead, Organovo is working hand in hand with drug companies to develop custom bioprinting strategies and execute them.

Keith Murphy Organovo Inside 3D Printing Santa Clara

“I compare the way we use our platform to a punchcard computing system,” said Mr. Murphy. “It’s so early, we need to be there at the site and working closely.”

Mr. Murphy stated Organovo’s value add to the pharma industry as an enabling technology that can position cells in 3D dimensions so they can have function.

Organovo Business Models

The market size is interesting. There are 6,500 prevalent programs in pharma each year across all therapeutic areas, and each program needs a project run every 9 months. Mr. Murphy quantified these contracts at about $200-600K each, with a median target of $250,000.

Replacing Animal Models

Organovo sees a fundamental flaw with the industry practice of using animal models for drug discovery and disease testing. “The goal is to replace animal models,” said Mr. Murphy.

While the holy grail of bioprinting is to print human organs, this is still a long way off. Organovo’s primary work is generating small tissues, such as liver, in multi-well plates for toxicology testing and disease models. These tissues measure about 3mm in size. 

Organovo has already developed partial 3D printed organs that they are testing in animals. However, they are still 4-6 years away from clinical trials for partial organs. Full organs is a much longer road.
The company was founded with seed funding in 2008, and is now a publicly traded company (NYSE:ONVO) with a $450 million market cap. 

Autodesk to Showcase New Spark Software at Inside 3D Printing Santa Clara

MecklerMedia (OTCQX: MECK) and 3D Printing Industry announced that Jeff Kowalski, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Autodesk, will be featuring Autodesk’s latest 3D printing and design software during the Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo in Santa Clara on October 21-23, 2014.

Kowalski will also discuss his predictions about the future of how things are made with an emphasis on how widespread access to 3D design and fabrication technology is disrupting industries of all kinds.

Inside 3D Printing Santa Clara

In the event’s exhibit hall, MecklerMedia confirmed that Made In Space, Inc. will be displaying one of their 3D printers that is designed to print in zero-gravity conditions. Also on display will be a scale model of a 130-piece motorcycle, created on Stratasys 3D printers using FDM® technology.

Ticket prices will increase on site, so attendees are encouraged to register before October 21 for the best rate. Group discounts are available for 2+ attendees from the same organization.

For complete information on Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo, visit

About MecklerMedia
MecklerMedia (OTCQX: MECK) is the producer of conferences including Inside 3D Printing, Inside Bitcoins, and AllFacebook Marketing Conference. MecklerMedia produces over 25 conferences annually. The MecklerMedia news sites and newsletters, including Inside Bitcoins News, 3D Printing Industry, and provide up-to-date coverage on emerging industries to help drive business forward.

Startups Stand Out During 3D Printing Pitch Event in New York

Continuing our coverage of the ongoing Inside 3D Printing conference in New York, conference organizer Mediabistro closed out yesterday’s session with an inaugural startup company showcase, allowing five standout early stage companies in the 3D printing space to present a five-minute pitch to investors.

Tyler Benster, Program Chair for Mediabistro and moderator of the Maker Summit during the conference, emceed the startup program using a competition format.  Zach Schildhorn, Vice President and Director of Operations of Lux Capital, an investor in Shapeways and highly knowledgeable about the 3D printing space, evaluated the merits of each concept from a venture capital standpoint and gave immediate feedback to each presenter.  The presenters represented the following five startups:  3D Hubs, Feetz, 3Discovered, 3D United Corporation, and iSenCore.

3D Printing Startup Session

Bram de Zwart, co-founder of 3D Hubs, delivered a standout presentation about his emerging business, an online platform designed to connect available desktop print capability with people who want to print 3D designs within the same geographic area.  The site offers would-be makers the advantage of obtaining their 3D printed products within 1-2 days versus the typical two-week timeframe offered by centralized printing services, and having the option to demo the technology as the product is being printed.  3D Hubs, according to de Zwart, has developed a network of 4,300 3D printer owners and successfully built a community of makers through a network of designated Mayors as part of the site network.  In this way, de Zwart explained, 3D Hubs is fulfilling the promise of localized manufacturing through 3D printing by connecting users and building communities within a decentralized, localized network.  These makers have banded together all over the world to celebrate the spirit of localized manufacturing through Maker Day celebrations throughout the world.

Lucy Beard of Feetz also delivered a clear and concise presentation of her company’s use case for custom fitted 3D printed footwear.  Noting that Nike ID made over $100 million in giving customers the option to choose their color pattern on standard size footwear, Feetz seeks to tackle the challenge of penetrating the $180 billion dollar footwear market and easing the pain in our feet by delivering 3D printed footwear featuring fully custom fitting foot beds.  The Feetz 3 step process includes custom imaging and sizing through 3D scanning technology, personalization in style selection, and fully 3D printed construction using desktop 3D printer models.  Feetz is currently Beta testing its process on 600 individuals.

Feetz SizeMe Startup

Peer Munck made the case for a better 3D design hub on behalf of his company 3Discovered, a dedicated marketplace designed to serve designers, users and 3D printing service bureaus by addressing several perceived core challenges to the mass commercialization of 3D printed designs.  3Discovered seeks to aid designers and design owners avoid intellectual property theft through rights management.  They also aim to improve the user experience by ensuring printed objects will work through authentication and quality control mechanisms, as well as to enhance the site interface experience through improved and consistent search and discovery features.  3Discovered also seeks to clarify pricing issues for key stakeholders.

Michael Weaver of United Corporation delivered an overview of his team’s innovative laser sintering technology, which seeks to provide a reliable and enhanced experience in metal 3D printing, by addressing porosity challenges and surface issues users currently encounter with existing models.  Weaver noted that his team’s expertise in the field positioned United Corporation at a unique advantage in delivering a better quality metal printer – an area that Weaver mentioned is of interest to the Chinese government, which has already invested in United’s R&D.

Finally, Zouya Zarei of iSenCore introduced the audience to his company’s software application, designed to alleviate the cost of prototyping and of testing 3D printed designs by harnessing the power of digital simulation.  ISenCore’s platform is premised on the idea of “letting the cloud do the work” through digital stress testing via simulation.  The process, from the user’s standpoint, consists of uploading the design file, choosing the applicable stress test/simulation, and then running the test against the design.  Zarei emphasized that his company’s product is easy to use, and delivers value to users by providing informative visualizations that enable them to iterate constantly and make decisions faster.  ISenCore currently has a public beta available at


This article was written by Lisa Perez, a regular contributor to On 3D Printing.

Airbus Envisions a 3D Printed Future

“We see a huge value and a huge benefit in 3D Printing.” Curtis Carson, Airbus

Curtis Carson, Head of Systems Integration, Centre of Competence Manufacturing Engineering at Airbus, presented the afternoon keynote on Day 2 of Inside 3D Printing New York City.

Carson opened by setting the stage for the magnitude of the airline industry and Airbus’ operations. Every day, 8 million people get on an airplane. There are over 80,000 flights daily and 15,500 commercial jets that take off and land. And Carson said we can expect significant growth in the future.

“Air traffic will grow at 4.7 percent annually requiring over 29,220 new passenger and freighter aircraft valued at nearly US$4.4 trillion (3.3 trillion euros),” Airbus said in a statement last year.

The supply chain and assembly of aircrafts are large and complex. For example, the Airbus A380 has 4 million individual components. If you were take out all the seats, its floorspace is bigger than a basketball court.

Airbus’ supply chain spans the globe. “These parts are traveling distances, either the raw material, sub-assembly parts, or completed parts,” said Carson. The levels of stock in inventories require significant amount of investment capital.

Airbus 3D Printing Curtis Carson

So where does 3D printing come in?

Airbus is working on 8 main domains of 3D printing exploration:

  1. Prototyping
  2. Tooling
  3. Flying parts
  4. Spare parts
  5. On demand production
  6. Methods and tools
  7. Skills and competencies
  8. R&D

Carson provided some examples of how Airbus has already embraced 3D printing. Plastic equipping brackets are now being 3D printing, saving the company 650,000 Euros per year, and saving weight, about 2.5 kg on a single aircraft.

Airbus is also 3D printing cabin brackets and hinges out of titanium.

Curtis Carson, Head of Systems Integration, Centre of Competence Manufacturing Engineering at Airbus, on 3D printing at Airbus.

“On 2 parts, I can save almost 1 million Euro per year,” explaining that there is potential to integrate 3D printing into aircraft assembly. And these 3D printed parts perform just as well as the traditional parts.

In another example, one of the suppliers for spare parts went bankrupt and the tools to manufacture those parts were lost. When the airlines started Airbus for spare parts, the company embraced the challenge. “Can we adapt something that was designed 30 years ago with today’s technology?” said Carson.

“It’s not like landing gear,” said Carson, acknowledging that the parts 3D printed to date were not mission critical per se, ”but these examples allow us to give credibility to [3D printing].” There are also savings on lead time, getting parts to the assembly.

Where do these savings come from?

  • Accuracy – Airbus is incredibly still producing parts with printed drawings. 3D printing is a forcing function for digital designs and better tooling
  • Less waste – Airbus wastes 90-95% of material through subtractive processes. With 3D printing there is no waste.
  • Lighter weight parts – In the airline industry, weight is performance. Less weight means less fuel burn, which can be a huge savings for the airlines, Airbus’ customers.

Carson also showed a video of the future for Airbus.

But these advantages of 3D printing do not come easy. It takes years of planning to modify which parts are used in assembly and how they are manufacturing. Further, Airbus has 55,000 employees and it takes time to train people across a variety of functions from engineering to assembly to quality inspection. Carson also suggested that the fact 3D printing moves so fast is a challenge. When should Airbus commit to one particular 3D printer or 3D printing process?

Overall, it’s clear that Airbus envisions a 3D printed future. “We see a huge value and a huge benefit behind the technology,” said Carson. The investment case for 3D printing is there, he said. Even though today the value is incremental, the future is wide open.

Neri Oxman Showcases the Power of Biomimicry in 3D Printing Design

During a well-attended afternoon presentation held on Day 1 of Inside 3D Printing New York titled “Printing to the Nth Dimension,” the internationally lauded architect, designer and head of MIT Media Lab’s Mediated Matter Group Prof. Neri Oxman discussed her groundbreaking work in harnessing the power of additive manufacturing and showcasing its potential to help us build and make things as nature does.

Prof. Oxman began her talk by drawing a sharp contrast between humanity’s current design and production processes, which require a multiplicity of single-use parts to build complex machines, and the highly integrated, multi-functional, multi-material approach to creation found in the natural world.

A Volkswagen sedan, for example, is made up of 14,000 individual parts, whereas the human skin is comprised of only one “part” with properties that vary throughout it’s structure and perform multiple functions.

Volkswagon Car Parts

Emphasizing that her Mediated Matter Group’s goal at MIT is to develop “products without parts” and “processes without partitions,” Prof. Oxman went on to describe several of her team’s notable projects.  These include, among others, a 3D printed glove that integrates the multiple functionalities found in a carpal tunnel brace within a single print and using a single material. In describing the principles behind the success of the carpal tunnel “skin” project, Prof. Oxman emphasized that her team looked to nature in developing  its computational approach, stating that “every design we take on in the lab begins with a phenomenon that exists within the natural world.”

Neri Oxman Design

Prof. Oxman has famously leveraged this approach in developing many other successful projects and exhibitions that have been featured throughout the world.  Her 2012 exhibit in Paris at the Centre Pompidou titled “Imaginary Beings – Mythologies of the Not Yet,” for example, showcased the capability and potential of 3D printing technology to create multi-functional objects using multiple materials embedded within the same build or “skin” and exhibiting different properties.  A “Minotaur” helmet, for example, was printed using harder material properties around certain areas of the head requiring greater protection and softer materials in areas closer to the face.

Neri Oxman Inside 3D Printing

Most recently, Professor Oxman presented the Gemini lounge chair at an exhibition in Paris, as part of a two-part, multi-material sleeping pod design.  The chaise was printed using the Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 Color multi-material printer and CNC milling by Le Laboratoire.

The lounger is innovative in that it incorporates varying material properties to create softer surfaces around the areas that will be exposed to the body, and harder materials in areas intended to sustain the structural integrity of the chair away from the body.  When combined with its upper portion, to be displayed this coming October, the Gemini Chair will turn into an acoustic sleeping pod designed for comfort.

Additionally, Professor Oxman shared that the Mediated Matter Group will be unveiling it’s silk pavilion exhibit this spring.

Having set out to explore the relationship between digital fabrication and biological fabrication at an architectural scale, Prof. Oxman’s team happily discovered the first purely biological additive manufacturing process by redirecting the cocoon-making path of 6,500 silk worms using light, heat and geometric spatial conditions.  In the silk worm, Prof. Oxman emphasizes, her team found a helpful model for transcending the three principal challenges we face in the development of additive manufacturing:  software, materials and print scale.  The silk pavilion will be displayed in the atrium of the MIT Media Lab building.


This article was written by Lisa Perez, a regular contributor to On 3D Printing.