While scrolling through twitter last Friday I found out that the 3D print show was going to be hosted in nearby Pasadena. The way the conference is set up there is an exhibit area with what seemed like 20-30 3D printing companies who specialized in various products; in addition to the conferences that were planned throughout the two days. I signed up for the design conference since that seemed to best line up for what I was interested in.
It was very interesting seeing where 3D printing currently is and where it is heading for the future. I loved hearing Les Karpas talk about his company Metamason. I loved how he talked about how we are currently in the 3rd industrial revolution – this is the time where the United States and Europe can take back manufacturing from the East. Everyone can and will be doing their own manufacturing.
He spoke about his company Metamason which customizes patient specific medical devices like CPAP machines. You can see his website here. He then spoke about two other really interesting companies SOLS is a company that scans feet and then prints out custom orthotics, Nervous System is a company that allows non designers the ability to customize jewelery that can then be 3D printed. I found all of these companies fascinating because it shows you the range of where 3D printing can possibly go.
One of the best speakers in my opinion (from an teacher standpoint) was Jeanette Matthews, she is a from a company Mixomo that was bought by Photoshop. She showed us a program called Fuse which allows users who are not experts at the design aspect to easily design and manipulate characters. Users can they import the design into photoshop which gives you even more editing abilities and then it allow you to will create an .stl file for you. What really made me excited is that when you finalize you file – if photoshop notices that the wall of your 3D print is designed to print too thin (which will result in a misprint) it will FIX IT FOR YOU!! This was a huge problem for my students who created designs in TinkerCad – sometimes they could not tell whether or not the walls of their designs were too thin. Looking into this ASAP and how to make photoshop work at my school site.
Last but not least I want to address the company that I am hoping to buy a 3D printer from next AIO Robotics. Imagine a lesson where you give your students playdough or clay and have them design and object, you place it in your 3D printer for scanning, the design can then be uploaded onto TinkerCad for further editing and then you can print the design from the same 3D printer. AIO Robotics has created a printer, Zeus, that has made that possible. This past summer I was trying to decide whether my next classroom purchase should be a scanner or a second 3D printer and AIO Robotics has solved my dilemma. Fingers crossed I get the funds to purchase this beauty!
In the end it was a GREAT show, they are scheduled to come back to California in September 2016. I am hoping there is more focus on 3D printing in education since I feel that wasn’t an area that was not highlighted very much. I will leave you with this article that made me fall even more in love with AIO Robotics. 3D Printers & the Special Olympics