For those of us who didn’t get to go to CES this year, check out Anna Kaziunas France’s “The State of 3D Printing and Scanning After CES 2014: The Push For Mainstreaming Begins” @ MAKE:
Is 3D printing ready to be adopted by mainstream consumers? The short answer is “we don’t know”. However, Judging by scale of the desktop 3D presence on floor of International CES 2014, huge marketing dollars are now being spent to push desktop additive manufacturing mainstream.
With industry giants like Adobe and Microsoft rushing to add integrated 3DP drivers, and Martha Stewart taking a keen interest in both FormLabs and MakerBot (with a rumored partnership with MakerBot for a Martha Stewart collection of 3D printable products) can other large companies be far behind?
The movement to mainstream 3D printing is aggressively pursuing a sea change that replaces “experimental” with “easy”. We’re seeing more auto-leveling build platforms and new extruder designs which address the two biggest desktop 3DP issues: nozzle clogging and print adhesion problems. However, it is apparent that some of the hardware changes that claim to facilitate “ease-of-use” can also result in more closed, priority chip-locked systems; engineered to create cartridge-based filament dependency.
CES 2014 3D Printer Roll Call
The show floor at CES is as large as 37 football fields. Although the 3D Printing Techzone was only a small part of this orgy of consumer tech, it featured 30 3DP focused booths that included both established, industrial companies (3D Systems, EnvisionTEC Inc., Kevvox, Mcor Technologies Ltd, Incodema Group, DWS Systems, Sculpteo, plus Stratasys and their newest desktop division, MakerBot) as well as some smaller companies (Afinia, Solidoodle LLC, Beijing Tiertime Technology), complete newcomers (Old World Labs, LIghtForge, XYX Printing, CEL Technology, FSL3D and SolidIdea) and Kickstarted machines (FormLabs, Pirate3DP Pte Ltd, Robo 3D, AIO Robotics and Matterform).
There were a few surprises that were not listed in the directory of published exhibitors, who partnered with those willing to pony up for a pricy CES booth. Members of the Deezmaker crew (Diego Porqueras and Rich Cameron (you know him as “whosawhatsis” and I’ll be referencing his comments through out this post) were also in attendance, printing models from the 3D digital sculpting platform Leopoly. The Hyrel Engine and System machines were on display at filament provider and printer reseller 3DPrintLife. More details to come in the Fused-Filament Fabrication section of this article…
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!