International CES 2014 is over, the remnants of the stands that this time last week were a hive of activity are now being freighted home.
TCT + Personalize was lucky enough to have friendly CES neighbours with excellent products on display in the 3D Printing Zone. You may have already read our interview with our friends to the right, and now you can learn a little more about our neighbours on the left, Pirate3D.
The Singapore-founded Buccaneer 3D printer manufacturer's presence at the world famous Las Vegas technology event was certainly felt, with the team dealing with a constant stream of enquiries from both those in the know and 3D printing virgins. Brendan Goh, Pirate3D's Chief of Operations, and Roger Chang, Chief Executive, were on-hand to deal with the thronging crowds and Chang managed to find some time on the last day of the show to talk to TCT Magazine about Pirate3D's plans for 2014 and his thoughts on the growing consumer 3D printing industry.
Like so many of the companies in the 3D Printing TechZone, this was Pirate3D's first time exhibiting at CES - but it does not look like it will be the last.
"It's been tiring, but it's been awesome," said Chang.
When asked whether the types of enquiries Pirate3D had been receiving throughout the show were an accurate reflection of how the company has positioned itself in the now burgeoning consumer 3D marketplace, Chang seemed satisfied.
"From the start we have been positioned as a consumer 3D printer - not for hobbyists but we are really going for the mainstream market. Even though we are quite well-known on the internet, we get even more mainstream exposure at CES."
The TechZone has been a broad church of 3D printing companies in the consumer sphere and - like any canny business - Pirate3D has relished the opportunity to see what their peers are doing and what the competition is.
"It's been good because we wanted to see what everybody else has been doing in this growing sector - literally anybody who is anybody in 3D printing has a booth here," Chang said, remaining tight lipped about what specifically has caught his eye on his brief moments of browsing the surrounding square footage of the show floor.
There has been speculation that the current consumer 3D printing hype cycle has peaked - even though the popularity of the 3D Printing TechZone at CES would easily convince you this is hardly the case. Chang said he believes there is "more mileage in the hype" per se, but suggested the so-called hype cycle theory does not apply to this sector.
"We are past the hype cycle," he said. "People now know they cannot print a cup of tea and most people do realise the limitations of the technology, but they also realise the potential of 3D printing. There will come a point when more of us will have it in our homes.
"2013 was a year of growth and I believe 3D scanning is going to grow alongside 3D printing, especially when people who buy a printer realise they need a scanner because they cannot design things themselves.
"Adoption of 3D printing will come first and then they will realise they need a scanner as well," Chang concluded.
Chang believes it is Pirate3D's approach to 3D printing as an application that makes the Buccaneer a future-proof piece of hardware, not to mention its sleek design.
He likened 3D printers to espresso machines. Users do not want to see the working parts or to tinker, at the end of the day they want espresso.
"You expect all the parts are going to be inside. Yes, 3D printing is fun to watch for the first ten times, but after that you just want it to work," Chang stated. "People think of 3D printing as magical or geeky, but it could be in the home - that's our goal."
He added that Pirate3D is looking at distributors in 2014 because in this industry it is not necessarily enough just to have a good product and hope the market comes to you.
"We believe 3D printing is something everybody can use. Technology for the people," said Chang.
"I can't wait to see CES next year and we'll be back with a bigger booth. We want to get the spongy padding for the floor, though - my feet hurt."