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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.
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.
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 www.isencore.com.
This article was written by Lisa Perez, a regular contributor to On 3D Printing.
“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.
So where does 3D printing come in?
Airbus is working on 8 main domains of 3D printing exploration:
- Flying parts
- Spare parts
- On demand production
- Methods and tools
- Skills and competencies
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.
“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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
The excitement is high for 3D printing.
Yesterday, the 3D printing world saw a new IPO announced and an acquisition.
Belgium-based Materialise NV, which provides 3D printing software to industrial manufacturers and medical equipment makers, filed for an IPO of American Depositary Shares. In the announcement, Materialise said it had provided more than 8,000 3D printing software licenses to over 4,000 customers, including Ford Motor Co, Airbus and Boeing Co.
Meanwhile, 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) announced that it acquired Medical Modeling Inc., a leading provider of personalized surgical treatments and patient specific medical devices, including virtual surgical planning and clinical transfer tools, using 3D modeling and printing that is rapidly changing how reconstructive surgery is done today.
Today, there are 4,000 attendees at the second annual Inside 3D Printing conference and expo in New York City, hailing from over 45 countries and 43 U.S. states. These attendees will hear from 56 speakers and get to shake hands with 37 exhibitors.
3D Systems CEO Avi Reichental started his keynote on a personal note with a story about his grandfather, who was a shoe cobbler and made shoes to measure. Reichental said on a somber note that he did not have a photo of his grandfather, who perished in the Holocaust.
Reichental said he inherited “his [grandfather's] passion for making,” and sees a connection between his grandfather’s trade and 3D printing, in that 3D printing enables localized digital craftsmanship.
Reichental then showed a picture of the very first 3D printed part, created in 1983 by Chuck Hull, the same man who founded 3D Systems and launched the 3D printing industry. From there, Reichental shared his vision for the future of digital manufacturing, from aerospace advancements to medical devices and beyond.
Below is a photo of Reichental wearing bespoke 3D printed eyewear from pq. No hinges!
Reichental highlighted Project Ara, the 3D printed phone coming to market early next year from Google. This phone is modular, allowing a user to swap out components based on whatever is most important to them. This is part of a movement Reichental articulated as cloud-enabled 3D printing at scale.
Reichental continued to dazzle the audience with examples of 3D printing coming to the kitchen, disrupting the toy market, and changing the fashion industry.
The conference is off to a good start! Want to know what else to expect? Read our exclusive preview of Inside 3D Printing.
Here at On 3D Printing, we are gearing up to bring you first-hand coverage of this week’s Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo to be held Thursday and Friday at New York’s Javits Convention Center and hosted by Media Bistro.
We are looking forward to the conference, which now features an additional instructional day at the outset of the conference dedicated exclusively to workshops in addition to its traditional keynote and dual-track breakout panel format.
In addition to the conference and expo, there is also a designated workshop day on April 2 for industry practioners. The Media Bistro site shows that three out of four workshops are already sold out.
We look forward to bringing you coverage on these discussions. Several topics from the workshop day include: ”From CAD to Scanning: Introduction to Design,” which will feature a “soup to nuts” introduction to the fundamentals of real-time imaging and 3D CAD design software; and “Tools of Creation and the Future of Retail,” in which Isaac Katz will expand upon his account of how 3D printing will change the retail experience and provide a preview of his Interactive Design customer co-design interface.
Another new feature announced by Media Bistro for this iteration of Inside 3D Printing is the new Maker Summit & Pavilion, a special section of the trade show floor dedicated to makers, DIY enthusiasts, consumers and so-called “prosumers.”
This feature appears to be designed to provide unique exhibition and collaboration opportunities to makers, tinkerers and DIY enthusiasts. Additionally, the Maker Summit and Pavilion will showcase the recent work of artists such as Ioan Florea, who developed a unique “liquid metal finish” process he used to create a highly reflective 3D printed metal car body appliqué which he fused to a traditionally manufactured Ford Taurino to create a unique look.
At On 3D Printing, we are interested to see how the Maker Summit and Pavilion expands the reach of prior conference expos and workshops, particularly in terms of facilitating practical applications for makers and new businesses.
In terms of the Keynote offerings, we also noticed a broadening range of industries represented, with the speakers including major players in the areas of 3D design software and industrial application.
Notable among these are Carl Bass, President and CEO of Autodesk, who will deliver a keynote on April 4 titled “the Future of Manufacturing: 3D Printing and Beyond,” which seems poised to cover the general landscape for the rapid prototyping industry and the broader manufacturing sector as a whole.
Other keynote headliners include Christine Furstoss, Global Technology Director of Manufacturing & Materials Technologies at GE, and Curtis Carson, Head of Systems Integration for Centre of Competence Manufacturing Engineering at Airbus, will be discussing specific applications of rapid prototyping technology in aircraft production, medical devices and other manufacturing sectors.
Industry heavyweights and innovators like Avi Reichental of 3D Systems and Maxim Lobovsky of Formlabs will also be delivering keynotes set to address innovation and the overall impact of 3D printing technology.
In a sign of the industry’s growing awareness of the investment landscape, Industry analyst Terry Wohlers will share his perspective on investments in the 3D printing industry following a debut year for 3D printing IPOs. Wohlers predicts that the industry will top $6 billion by 2017 and top $10.8 billion by 2021.
Prospective attendees and industry enthusiasts can visit the Inside 3D Printing website for an agenda and further information.
This article was written by Lisa Perez, a regular contributor to On 3D Printing.