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CES 2013 was shaping up to the the year of 3D printing with 8 major exhibitors showing of 3D printers, 3D printing marketplaces, and more. We visited the booths, heard the announcements, and talked to the teams. Here is our recap.
MakerBot Has Several Major Announcements
Last year, MakerBot won Best of CES 2012 in the Emerging Tech category. We think MakerBot deserves an award this year again for the biggest announcements. In our exclusive footage of Bre Pettis, the MakerBot CEO revealed the new MakerBot Replicator 2X “experimental” 3D printer, announced changes to the Thingiverse API, and talked about the plans for “bot farms.”
Stratasys and Objet
3D Systems Wins Best Emerging Tech with New Cubify 3D Printer
3D Systems had announced that they would bring the next generation 3D printing showcase to CES, and they did by introducing two new printers.
Above photo courtesy of core77:
This year they pulled the sheets off of not one, but two machines: Their updated Cube 2, a faster and more accurate update to the original, and their larger CubeX, which can print “basketball size” (10.75″ x 10.75″ x 9.5″) in both ABS and PLA.
- Afinia showed off its latest H-Series 3D printer.
- FormLabs announced that it would be shipping its Form1 3D printer soon to Kickstarter funders.
- Delta Micro Factory Corp showed off the UP! 3D printer.
- 3D printing marketplaces Kraftwurx and Sculpteo were at the show.
What else did you see at CES? Write your thoughts in the comments!
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) opens this week in Las Vegas. This year will include over 20,000 products from more than 3,000 exhibitors.
CBS News highlighted 3D printing as one of the key trends at CES this year, along with Ultra HD and mobile computing.
MarketBot, 3D Systems Corp and Sculpteo are among a handful of companies that make 3D printers that will be showing off new products at CES 2013, Scientific American reports. As home 3D printers become more affordable, the community of enthusiasts also continues to grow. Cracking the mass consumer market may be the next step for manufacturers of 3D printers.
“The consumer space is a key market for 3D and small steps have been made in this space via hobbyists and model makers in arts and craft projects and self-employed designers,” Accenture senior executive Kumu Puri writes in a blog post for Forbes.
Here is our list of the top exhibitors showing their latest developments in 3D printing.
Since 1986 3D Systems has transformed entire industries with powerful 3D content-to-print tools. The company intends to democratize access to affordable 3D content-to-print solutions for professionals and consumers. Launched last year at CES, Cubify is 3D System’s consumer zone (www.cubify.com).
Booths: LVCC, Central Hall - 15447, Venetian Ballroom - 71003
See our coverage on 3D Systems.
Afinia will be showing it’s award winning 3D printer, and full line of ABS filament. Our H series 3D printer was voted “Best Overall Experience” in the recent make magazine 3D printer shootout. Live 3D printing demonstrations will be held continuously during the day.
Booth: LVCC, South Hall 4 - 36388
See our coverage on Afinia.
Delta Micro Factory Corp.
Maker of popular personal 3D printer, Up! Series.
Booth: Venetian Ballroom - 70524
See our coverage on UP! 3D printers.
The Form 1 is the first truly high-resolution, low-cost desktop 3D printer, achieving professional quality at a price individual designers and engineers can afford. Our technology fills the gap between low-quality hobbyist machines and high-end printers that cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Booth: LVCC, South Hall 4 - 35160
See our coverage on Formlabs.
Kraftwurx is the worlds original platform for 3D printing in the cloud. Showcase, buy, sell and create virtually anything you can imagine in 70 materials and worldwide shipping. Based in Houston, TX, our mission is to empower everyone for custom-made goods and empower manufacturing to deliver it.
Booth: Venetian, Lvl 3 - 74411
See our coverage on Kraftwurx.
MakerBot® is a global leader in desktop 3D printing with engineers, entrepreneurs, and people who just like to make things. Honored as Popular Mechanics “Overall Winner” for best 3D printer, Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2012, and Fast Company 2012 Innovation by Design Awardee.
Booth: LVCC, South Hall 3 - 32025
See our coverage on MakerBot.
Sculpteo offers a fully online 3D printing service – from the upload of your 3D model to the final object – designed to make this new technology easy and accessible to all. In addition to affiliates, Sculpteo, has its own 3D printing facilities in France for R&D purpose.
Booth: LVCC, South Hall 2 - 26111
See our coverage on Sculpteo.
Stratasys is a leading manufacturer of 3D printers and production systems for prototyping and manufacturing applications, recently merging with Objet to create leader in 3D printing and direct digital manufacturing.
Booth: LVCC, South Hall 4 - 35463
You can setup your own CES itinerary at the MyCES website.
See you at CES!
Editor’s Note: This guest post is written by Chris Waldo, who is a technology enthusiast and copywriter with a focus in 3D printing. He is currently working as the Content Manager for the 3D printing network, Kraftwurx. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter. We previously covered Chris’ work about renewable energy.
Xerox has recently developed a new type of silver “ink” which has a few qualities to it that are truly unique. This silver has been engineered to melt at a temperature lower than plastic, film, and various fabrics. What is significant about this? With a lower melting temperature, Xerox’s silver can be 3D printed on a wider array of surfaces. Keep in mind, silver can be one of the key elements to circuits, as it is highly conductive.
“With the development of a new silver ink, Xerox scientists have paved the way for commercialization and low-cost manufacturing of printable electronics. Printable electronics offers manufacturers a very low-cost way to add “intelligence” or computing power to a wide range of surfaces such as plastic or fabric.” (Source: Xerox)
Assuming that this silver can be melted onto various surfaces without melting them, we can approach the possibility of 3D printing circuits onto fabrics, plastics, and film. Through Xerox’s breakthrough, we have the potential to 3D print “intelligence” onto a wide variety of products. Let me elaborate.
If a circuit can be placed on a surface, an electrical current can flow through it. This current will be necessary for powering various devices. As you read this article, look around. Imagine placing a miniature-computer on the objects around you. How powerful could this technology be? Small applications such as a “smart” medical cabinet, or a highly efficient kitchen could come about. Fun knick-knacks with electric capabilities will be cheaper & easier to make. This is pretty interesting I suppose, but it’s small. Let’s talk big.
The first potential application I want to discuss might cause you to shake your head. I’m talking about roll-up computers. Imagine having a sales-representative pulling out a computerized display from his or her briefcase. This display would be “rolled” onto the table for a presentation. Prospective clients would see all necessary graphics & visuals from this miniature-roll-up-computer. Sensors are also an application of this technology; imagine having a miniature touch-computer that could be rolled across the table for a presentation. Sound interesting?
Another potential application of this technology would be the creation of PV solar cells at a much less expensive rate. This kind of thing foreshadows a much brighter future within renewable energy. Assuming film would be on the build tray, Xerox’s silver would potentially allow for the fabrication of solar cells! This would be much less expensive in comparison to silicon cells. For an in depth explanation of 3D printed solar cells, check out this article.
(photo credit: Solarinsolation)
The economics of Xerox’s silver ink is one of the most significant aspects presented. This technology is cheap! Currently, silicon is the leader in manufacturing “intelligence” onto various small gadgets and products. This material is expensive, and the process of refining silicon is very daunting. However, Xerox’s new silver “ink” has the potential to dominate silicon in more ways than one; silver ink is much more conductive, it is much less expensive, and it can be applied in thinner layers. The only thing missing for this ink to succeed is industry coverage, and capital.
Similar to the second application, here’s another interesting concept initiated by Aaron Saenz – portable, roll out solar panels. Imagine pulling up to work, rolling out a foldable solar panel on your dashboard, and leaving. You would come back later that afternoon to a charged electric vehicle.
“If we could have printable circuits, what would that mean for the average consumer? Imagine buying a roll of fabric that was also a solar cell surface. Spread like a tarp it could provide portable energy almost anywhere in the world.” (Source: Aaron Saenz)
The same concept could be applied to various devices, for example: water wells associated with irrigation, pump-jacks on oil wells, popup campers, cameras, or anything you use outside that needs power!
Another what-if-question I’d like to pose would be the use of Xerox’s silver ink within Objet’s multi-material printers. Some of Objet’s printers already offer 7 materials in a print; what if Objet added one more material – particularly a material that offers the layer-by-layer creation of circuits? This could lead to the development of gadgets and gizmos that require little to no touching up before use.
All in all, this technology offers no ceiling – it could have unlimited potential. As product developers, engineers, and visionaries work together with this technology, we could be moving into a new world of intelligent products. For this silver ink technology to succeed, we need to do our best to market this breakthrough to the manufacturing powerhouses. Perhaps within the next few years – we could start seeing it come into our everyday lives.
XRCC NanoAg photo credit by Xerox.
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Could we use 3D printing technology to create paper-thin solar strips that are capable of generating electricity?
Xerox is in the process of developing a special type of silver-ink that melts at a temperature lower than plastic. Silver is one of the key elements to dielectrics, semiconductors, inductors, conductors, and various circuits. With the ability to print silver on to films, fabrics, and plastics, there is a strong potential for paper thin solar strips, adaptable sensors, and a wide variety of circuits — all of which could be printed on to paper thin materials!
“Xerox (NYSE: XRX) has announced its development of special silver inks which have a melting point below that of plastic. Crafted into different versions which can act as conductors, semiconductors, or dielectrics, this silver ink could allow users to print integrated circuits onto plastic, fabric, or film. (source: Aaron Saenz)”
Printing solar strips sounds pretty fascinating, but how would it work? To understand how 3D printing can work within solar energy, one must first understand the process behind photovoltaic (PV) solar energy.
In simple terms, PV solar panels involve a non-reflective layer of film, on top of a semiconductor which is sandwiched by a front and back contact terminal for the electric current to flow through.
Chris continues to describe the photovoltaic process and then concludes:
Theoretically, silver used in conjunction with FDM 3D printing and film could result in damage to the non-reflective film, as the heated silver might melt and warp the film. Currently, silver is not used in FDM printing at all. However, Xerox’s silver can be melted at a temperature lower than plastic and many films. If Xerox’s silver could be printed as a semiconductor, we would very likely be looking at paper thin PV solar strips. This would involve doping of this silver to make two different materials – positively charged silver and a negatively charged silver. This would be the key to 3D printable solar strips.
This is a very innovative idea and the impact could be massive if low-cost solar strips could be printed on demand.
Read the full post at 3dprinter.net.
Solar photovoltaic photo by PNNL – Pacific Northwest National Laboratory used under Creative Commons license.