Tag Archives: 123D

Inside 3D Printing Chicago Conference – A Full Retrospective

Inside 3D Printing Chicago

Inside 3D Printing Chicago – What We Saw

Looking ahead to the next Inside 3D Printing conference in San Jose (September 17-18, 2013), we’ve identified some of the key takeaways from the most recent Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo in Chicago.  The below summary lays out both what we learned during the conference about recent developments in the 3D printing (additive manufacturing) revolution and some of the core challenges still facing the industry.  Through their insightful remarks, Inside 3D Printing’s speakers made clear that this technology is capable of unleashing human creativity beyond the limits of what we consider possible today.

Inside 3D Printing Chicago

Professor Hod Lipson emphasized during his lecture that the future of 3D printing is one of portable, instant manufacturing where complexity is free, and we can create any object we are capable of imagining with zero constraints and zero lead time.  Prof. Lipson’s lecture, along with keynotes by industry heavyweights and a range of tutorial presentations, made clear that the industry continues to make significant strides forward.

Among these positive developments is the fact that, according to Lipson, better, cheaper and faster machines continue to be introduced in a wider range of materials.  Conference exhibitors presented machines capable of printing in alternative materials like copy paper, wood, and rubber-like plastic materials, among many others.  Speakers also emphasized that makers and scholars are working to increase the use of natural raw materials in 3D printing processes, which now include sawdust, salt and wood, among others.  It is also possible to print in more environmentally friendly materials such as bioplastics and in live materials such as human cells.

It is also worth noting that today’s 3D printers can print functional parts in multiple materials seamlessly and with no assembly required.  These parts have already met with a wide range of applications, including engine parts, prosthetics and outer casings for electronic components, among others.  Prof. Lipson anticipates that future printers will be able to create and combine new forms of materials, as well as print integrated systems containing electrical and later digital components.

3D Printed Fashion Dita Von Teese

Importantly, 3D printing has allowed designers to consider a new approach to design.  Inside 3D Printing made clear that the concept of “design for manufacture” is starting to fade with the onset of 3D printing.  Conference presenters Isaac Katz, Michael Schmidt and Francis Bitonti noted that artists and designers are now able to design and 3D print virtually any geometric structure their minds can conjure.  This ability, when paired with the high precision capability of virtual effects and CAD software, now allows designers and makers to think about creating as nature does.  The ultimate impact of this exciting development is that the objects we make can now reflect the organic, layered, fluid and undulating structures found in nature – structures that would be cost prohibitive or impossible to make otherwise.

Inside 3D Printing also provided an opportunity for Michael Raphael of Direct Dimensions to update participants on the impressive capability of 3D scanning technologies.  Raphael noted that, 3D scanning technology has also seen ”massive change” over the past three years thanks to the growth of the 3D printing industry and other technologies like smartphones and GPS.  Scanning equipment has become more powerful, portable, and affordable.  In the past three years, the price of high end scanning equipment has decreased dramatically, with gear that formerly carried a price tag of over $100,000 now available for purchase for under $1,000.  Mobile and video game applications like 123D Catch and Microsoft Kinect have also made 3D scanning technology more widely available and this trend is expected to continue with the release of the Kinect 2.  Applications for 3D scanning technologies are also wide ranging, from current uses in high definition surveying to potential future uses in mass customer apparel.

Avi Reichental Keynote Inside 3D Printing Chicago

At Inside 3D Printing Chicago, attendees were able to watch industry leaders engage the market in new ways.  For example, 3D Systems CEO Avi Reichental announced during his keynote speech a new strategic alliance with Deloitte to assist companies in adopting 3D printing design and manufacturing solutions.  Disney Entrepreneur in Residence Cydni Tetro also evaluated the role of 3D printing in retail and illustrated how the Disney Company has applied 3D printing technology to create premium retail experiences like the “Carbon-Freeze Me Experience,” which allows Star Wars fans to purchase a 3D printed image of themselves appearing to be frozen in carbonite.

In addition to highlighting these and many other exciting developments in the industry, Inside 3D Printing also raised a number of questions about the future of the technology and its impact on existing processes.  As the technology develops, 3D Printing has identified several key questions for industry participants to consider moving forward:

  1. How will materials experts within the industry, as well as the maker community, continue to harness the technology into practical applications and make it widely accessible?
  2. What will be the environmental impact of 3D printing, and how will the ability to print objects in more varied and earth-friendly materials develop?
  3. What will be the social impact of this technology?

Ultimately, despite the naysayers, Inside 3D Printing provided an opportunity for speakers, exhibitors and attendees to share their progress, identify key priorities, and show how 3D printing will transform our future.


Authored by On 3D Printing contributor Lisa M. Pérez, co-founder of Heart Design Inc.

For more coverage on the conference, read our top stories from Day 1 and Day 2.

Tinkercad Acquired by Autodesk: Free 3D Design Software Lives On!

Tinkercad Acquired by Autodesk

Tinkercad Acquired by Autodesk

In what will be great news to Tinkercad fans across the globe, the free 3D design software has found a new home at Autodesk. Autodesk has a suite of pro design software and its own free software such as 123D and 123D Catch for iPad.

Tinkercad is free, online 3D design software that is popular among 3D printing enthusiasts. The team announced they were shutting down Tinkercad in March 2013.

Now, in a change of course, Autodesk has acquired the software and website.

Here’s the memo from Founder & CEO Kai Backman:

I am happy to announce that we have just signed a deal where Autodesk will purchase the Tinkercad site and core technologies. This is a great day for all Tinkercad users, Autodesk is an very enthusiastic and capable steward. There are two main impacts of this deal: the site is fully operational and Autodesk has some very exciting plans for Tinkercad.

The shutdown plan has been rolled back and effective immediately new users are again able to sign up for the site. Even better, at the request of Autodesk, we have supercharged the free plan. You can now create unlimited designs, all import and export functionality is enabled and ShapeScripts are turned on for free accounts. We have automatically upgraded all existing free accounts to this new powerful plan. This account will be offered for a limited time only so make sure you sign up as soon as possible.

Before signing the deal the we spent a lot of time talking to Autodesk engineers and product people about their vision for Tinkercad. We were impressed by the deep insight the Autodesk team had into the Tinkercad interface and the underlying technology. There is also a strong alignment on topics like furthering education and the vision of making design more accessible. But most of all we are very excited about the roadmap Autodesk has drafted for Tinkercad.

As our team continues working on Airstone I’m pleased to see Tinkercad find a safe and welcoming home. I can speak for everyone when I say that we are looking forward to using Tinkercad for a long time to come.

Yours sincerely,
Kai Backman
Founder & CEO

Infographic: 3D Printing and the Future of Manufacturing by Sculpteo

3D Printing Infographic Future of Manufacturing

3D printing service Sculpteo published a great infographic called “3D printing is the future of manufacturing.”


  1. The Third Industrial Revolution
  2. What is 3D printing?
  3. Manufacture in one click
  4. The range of 3D printing materials
  5. What does it change for your VC or CEO?
  6. How to integrate 3D printing into your business today? Invest in 3D printing or integrate a cloud solution
  7. New markets have access to manufacturing
  8. New major players
  9. And your consumers
  10. A case study: 3DPCase

3D Printing Infographic Future of Manufacturing


Via Sculpteo blog.

Top 10 Countdown: Most Popular 3D Printing Stories in June 2012

Peter Thiel 3D Printing

Here are the top 10 most popular stories On 3D Printing brought you in June 2012.

10. The Dutch combine 3D printing and textiles.

9. A review of 3D modeling software Tinkercad, SketchUp, and 123D.

8. People are wondering why Google sold 3D modeling business SketchUp.

7. Still popular: the Motley Fool reviews the 3D printing industry.

6. We exclusively covered 3D Systems’ Cubify at Google I/O 3D printing in San Francisco.

5. UP! 3D printer from China is a viable competitor to MakerBot and other.

4. You can be a superhero; your face 3D printed on a superhero action figure.

3. Facebook investor Peter Thiel backs 3D printing entrepreneur.

2.  Why 3D printing will be more fun than LEGO thanks to Minecraft.

1. 3D printing stock are hot and up over 180%! So was this article.


Thanks for reading in June!

Peter Thiel photo by thekenyeung used under Creative Commons license.

Top 3D Printing Headlines Last Week: Apple, Google, Joe Biden, $300 Printer

Apple 3D Printing

A roundup of the top news On 3D Printing brought you from June 25 to July 1.

Monday, June 25

Tuesday, June 26

Wednesday, June 27

Thursday, June 28

Friday, June 29