Tag Archives: FDM

Inventor of 3D Printing Scott Crump: “My Dreams Started in a Garage”

Inside 3D Printing Conference Kicks Off in San Jose

Alan Meckler, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of WebMediaBrands, welcomed the packed crowd to the Inside 3D Printing San Jose. “3D printing is not a device, but an ecosystem,” Meckler said, preparing the audience for 2 days of 3D printing experts from across the value chain.

Conference attendees have come from 38 states and 10 countries are represented, Meckler said.

This success is leading Meckler to continue his 3D printing conference world tour in Singapore, Seoul and Shenzhen over the next year. (Related: read our recap from Inside 3D Printing Chicago)

Alan Meckler Inside 3D Printing San Jose

Keynote by inventor of FDM, Scott Crump

Cornell professor Hod Lipson introduced Stratays’ co-founder S. Scott Crump, giving Mr. Crump credit for not only inventing key technology in 3D printing, but also seeing it through to build one of the biggest 3D printing companies in the industry.

Mr. Crump shared his personal story of inventing FDM (fused deposition modeling) in his garage with his wife Lisa in 1988, 25 years ago. His journey was initially a personal one. He wanted to create a toy froggy for his 2-year-old daughter. But he also had a broader vision of giving engineers the capability to create a physical object from a CAD file.

In 1992, Mr. Crump created the first operational 3D printer. He raised funding, developed a facility, and launched his company Stratasys.

Scott Crump Stratasys

Mr. Crump shared details about the scale of Stratasys. The company now has 24 different 3D printers, ranging from those designed for the home to prototyping to full production, and collectively those 3D printers use over 120 different output materials. These 3D printers range from $2,000 to over $600,000. Stratasys is always innovating, with over 560 patents pending or granted.

Stratasys, now combined with MakerBot, has sold over 50,000 3D printers (25,000 sold by MakerBot), and generated over $360 million in revenue last year.

Making a Difference

Perhaps the most passionate part of the presentation was Mr. Crump’s examples of how 3D printing is making a difference.

He shared the story of Emma, a toddler who was fitted with 3D printed magic arms to address a rare condition she was born with called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. 3D printing literally gave Emma a second chance at life. (Related: read our article about Emma’s story)

Emma Magic Arms 3D Printing

In the long run, Mr. Crump said, everyone can benefit from 3D printing, whether you’re an engineer, jeweler, or investor. “My dreams started in the garage, where will yours start?” he concluded.



SpiderFab: NASA Turns to 3D Printing for Future Space Expeditions

NASA Space 3D Printing

Astronauts have always had limited carry-on storage. Even some of the most valuable scientific equipment can be restricted from flight because of constraints in the design of a space shuttle.

NASA has green lit a new project called SpiderFab that will enable the manufacturing of spaceship parts and other equipment in flight. How? By integrating 3D printing into the space program.

From Iowa State Daily:

NASA’s project entitled “SpiderFab” proposes the use of 3D printer technology on future missions allowing for the possibility of a spaceship to self-assemble parts in orbit. The project is funded by NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts program with a $100,000 grant. This new initiative opens the door to potentially lower costs and the ability to launch 3D printers with the materials needed for ship construction in outer space. Current spacecraft are designed to fold and fit all necessary components into a compact area within the craft, while also having to withstand the high energy forces of launch and the ascent into space.

“We’d like someday to be able to have a spacecraft create itself entirely from scratch, but realistically that’s quite a ways out,” said Robert Hoyt, CEO and chief scientist of Tethers Unlimited Inc. “That’s still science fiction.” “The system could then morph in orbit into a very large system a dozen or hundreds of meters in size,” Hoyt told InnovationNewsDaily. “It would be like launching a CubeSat that creates a 50 meter-length boom.” (Space.com)

Here is the description of SpiderFab from the NASA site:

We propose to develop a process for automated on-orbit construction of very large structures and multifunctional components. The foundation of this process is a novel additive manufacturing technique called ‘SpiderFab’, which combines the techniques of fused deposition modeling (FDM) with methods derived from automated composite layup to enable rapid construction of very large, very high-strength-per-mass, lattice-like structures combining both compressive and tensile elements. This technique can integrate both high-strength structural materials and conducting materials to enable construction of multifunctional space system components such as antennas. The SpiderFab technique enables the constituent materials for a space structure to be launched in an extremely compact form, approaching perfect packing efficiencies, and processed on-orbit to form structures optimized for the micro-gee space environment, rather than launch environments. The method can also create structures with 2nd and higher orders of hierarchy, such as a ‘truss-of-trusses’, achieving 30X mass reductions over the 1st order hierarchy structures used in most space applications. This approach can therefore enable deployment of antenna reflectors, phased array antennas, solar panels, and radiators with characteristic sizes one to two orders of magnitude larger than current state-of-the-art deployable-structure technologies can fit within available launch shrouds.

The SpiderFab process for on-orbit construction of large, lightweight structures will dramatically reduce the launch mass and stowed volume of NASA systems for astronomy, Earth-observation, and other missions requiring large apertures or large baselines, enabling them to be deployed using much smaller, less expensive launch vehicles and thereby reducing total life cycle cost for these missions. Potential applications include construction of multiple high-gain antennas in Earth and solar orbit to support a deep-space communications network, long-baseline interferometry systems for terrestrial planet finder programs, and submillimeter astronomy of cosmic structure. The proposed space system fabrication technologies will also enable these systems to be re-configurable and repairable on orbit, and can evolve to support ISRU of orbital debris in Earth orbit and asteroid materials in deep space exploration missions.


NASA photo by Luke Bryant used under Creative Commons license.

Stratasys CEO Named Top 20 Most Influential People in Rapid Technology

Scott Crump CEO Stratasys

Scott Crump is the CEO of Stratasys and the inventor of Fused Deposition Modeling. He now has another title: industry influencer.

Scott Crump, chief executive officer and chairman of Stratasys has been voted one of the top 20 most influential people in the rapid technologies industry by TCT Magazine. Scott Crump is the inventor of the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) method of 3D printing, the most widely used additive manufacturing process.

TCT Magazine is published by Rapid New Communication Group in the UK and is read by design and manufacturing professionals with a specific interest in rapid product development. To create the list, TCT asked readers to nominate those individuals who they believed most positively influenced the sector. Those who received the most nominations made the list.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the readers of TCT Magazine,” says Scott Crump. “It means a lot to be selected by this group of professional design and manufacturing engineers and manufacturing management working across a range of sectors. The credit goes to the entire Stratasys team. Together we’ve been able to serve the additive manufacturing industry well enough to be recognized this way.”

“Scott’s commitment to additive manufacturing has been instrumental in shaping the industry and making it what it is today,” says James Woodcock, Group Editor at TCT magazine and www.prsnlz.me . “This is an exciting time for the industry, and the vote demonstrates not only who is influential, but also how the industry is evolving.”

In the video below from May 2012, Stratasys VP of Global Marketing Jon Cobb and Scott Crump, Stratasys founder and inventor of FDM Technology, give resellers a sneak preview of the Mojo 3D Print Pack at the company’s 2012 global sales conference. Mojo is the first professional 3D-printer to be offered in a complete system for less than $10,000 with no hidden costs.

Via MarketWatch.

How 3D Printing is Revolutionizing Rapid Prototyping

3D Printing Rapid Prototyping

3D printer manufacture Stratasys sums up the impact of 3D printing on rapid prototyping in a brief blog post. 3D printing gives us “free range to design … [without being] limited by manufacturing capabilities.” Very powerful.

It may come as a surprise, but many Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) users already take advantage of its ability to build usable products. No other technology can withstand the wide range of applications and post-processing techniques that FDM parts can take. This is just one example of how 3D printing is making design limitations a thing of the past. In this age, we are becoming more adapted to and knowledgeable of the CAD packages that give us free range to design whatever our creative minds can think of. In the past, our designs may have been limited by manufacturing capabilities, but not today. Whatever you can scan and alter, or design in CAD, you can have in your hand within hours or even minutes. Speed to production has never been faster than with FDM systems.


Via Stratasys blog.

Photo by saschapohflepp used under Creative Commons license.