The 3D Systems 3D Printed Band
I say ‘relaxed’, it was, of course, hectic from start to finish with barely enough time to cram a final NEC pasty in.
At least on day two of TCT Show + Personalize I was able to take in some of the exhibitors stands, which ranged from, as the TCT slogan says, hackerspace to aerospace.
Being on Personalize I took my time to visit some of the consumer 3D printers out on the show floor, in particular the Ultimaker 2. There’s been a lot of buzz about the machine, which is ironic seeing as that’s exactly what it doesn’t do, it is comparably silent to the current crop of printers as it works away printing hi-res files, first time, every time.
There’s a lot of excitement in both the maker and consumer communities about the latest machine from the Dutch outfit, seeing it in action you can tell why. The Ultimaker GB team were on hand after their launch at BIBAs the previous Friday to show us the printer in action.
Whereas the wooden boxed original Ultimaker had a huge appeal to the tinkerers of the world, the new machine would not be out of place sitting in the most modern of homes. A sleek white design and functional front panel controls means this 3D printer is one of the truest consumer machines on the market.
Elsewhere on the show floor MakerBot were showing off the Digitizer for the first time in the UK, their desktop 3D scanner was drawing quite the crowd. It is a little bigger than I had thought and the scans were looking good when being churned out of the MakerBot Replicator 2.
There was one printer I was surprised to see at the TCT Show; The Robuster. It was on display at the RP Tech Works stand, ‘nothing unusual there’ you might cry but what about when I tell you that printer was the very printer Massive Dynamic's source told us was owned by Print Forge 3D. Of course, it wasn’t and the RP Tech Works representative, Mr Yang had never even heard of Massive Dynamics or Oscar Hines but we won't get started on that again.
One stand that was catching the eyes of many was that of Threedy, a two-man operation who tell us that they’ve used printers for years to make interlocking puzzles. They were never satisfied with the quality of the rest so they built they’re own. At first glance it may not be the prettiest but boy is it sturdy and the quality of the prints? As good as I’ve ever seen.
We spoke to so many people it is hard to get into a blog but a special mention must go to the RepRap hub. Richard Horne and cohorts did not get a second to breathe during the show and it was easy to see why. Warm, welcoming and knowledgeable to say the least the team were attempting to answer the thousands of questions being fired at them. RepRappers are testament to how an enthusiastic community spirit can develop a technology and give it to the masses without charging the earth.
The breakdown; physical and emotional
Smart blistering shoes off, comfortable training shoes on for a breakdown, which appears, to all intents and purposes, to happen at the speed of light. The heavy lifting is done by the floor team leaving us the fun job of bubble wrapping anything we can get our grubby little mitts on.
Upon waving goodbye to the RepRappers and Faberdashery the thinly veiled cool persona I’d developed since chairing my first session (have I mentioned that I chaired a session?) was stripped away from me by some sticky back plastic. Strutting across the show floor I obliviously stepped on some super strong carpet tape , with my next step the training shoe detached from the very foot it had been comforting just minutes earlier. "Can I style this out?" I pondered? No there's no styling out the old one shoe on one shoe off routine. Tail between my legs, an about turn to detach my shoe from said tape was required. Alas, I am not cool, I am geek. 3D Printing geek.