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3D Print Show

We attended this year’s 3-D Printshow to find out the latest innovations in an industry that many once dismissed as  hype. In spite of this, it has continued to thrive, as new innovators and disrupters harness its potential for a range of exciting projects: from education, music and film, to experiential shows and chocolate printing (really!). The point is 3-D printing is offering more entrepreneurs opportunities to create  ventures in a wider range of fields, so if you have an idea, there is likely to be a 3-D printer out there to help bring your idea into fruition.

Shaping Future Industries

We caught up with Chris Thorpe, the former chief technologist behind Moshi monsters, ( he profusely apologises to parents across the land), about his latest project I Can Make, an educational programme to help teachers better understand 3-D printing and teach the next generation how to use it in the simplest way. By offering 3-D print designs online, Thorpe is part of new generation of technologists enabling anyone with a printer to download a design file and create at home. Thorpe’s company has focused on the likes of architectural models tied to history projects; but in the future, experts we spoke to on the day, imagine printing items such as clothing or homeware, from home.

Paul Croft, Manager at  Ultimaker, told us the story of the brand, which went from a flat-pack prototype to a market leading product in the space of just 24 months. Offering budding creatives, designers and inventors the opportunity to 3-D print cheaply, Ultimaker is a compact model demonstrating the future democratic potential of manufacturing: an affordable way for independent businesses with ideas to create products. In addition, as one of the forerunners of the 3-D printing trend, Ultimaker have created a phenomenal community of printing enthusiasts who share their experience, expertise, tricks and tips online here.

Aiding Creativity

Finally, we caught up with Rebecca Gischel who shared the story of her experiential events company, Picaroon, which used 3-D printing to create musical cylinders and sensors that respond to movement by lighting up and playing music. Using 3-D printing enabled  Rebecca to produce the prototypes more affordably, with her business going from strength to strength.  She visited festival and events of all sizes, demonstrating that 3-D printing isn’t just for tech enthusiasts but is proving pivotal across several sectors and industries.

How can you get started with 3-D Printing?

Printers are becoming more affordable, with models such as Ultimaker, on the market for around £800,  chocolate printers in the region of £3000, all the way up to huge industrial printers for £30,000. As mentioned before, Ultimaker’s website offers some great tips and advice for users at all stages, as does the 3-D Printing Industry site.

Articles are written by independent journalists and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of O2.





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