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Ewloe, United Kingdom
Writing, tweeting, debating and occasionally getting a little over-excited about 3D Printing. But always aiming to keep it real!

Tuesday 5 January 2016

It’s THAT time of Year, Prepare for 3D Printing Revelations!

As I mentioned in my first post for All3DP yesterday, this week is going to be a busy news week in 3D printing land, and already it is proving to be true. This courtesy of the annual New Year dates for the Consumer Electronics Show, or CES as it is commonly known now,  in Las Vegas which has become the (rather weird, in my opinion) place for new 3D printing announcements and unveilings. We'll come back to that.

So what have we been prepped for already? 

In the run up to CES opening tomorrow, quite a few companies went early with their announcements. Just yesterday Stratasys’ MakerBot announced it will be introducing a new smart extruder at the show, with, I suspect, more revelations to come when the doors open. Similarly, 3D Systems announced a new metal industrial 3D printing platform, which will be on view at CES this week — it’s certainly not a consumer machine, so quite why it will be launched in Vegas is a bit of a mystery to me. However, the company provided some details of the ProX DMP 320 ahead of the show, namely that it is a platform utilizing the laser sintering process with high precision and high throughput capabilities for a range of powdered metals, including titanium, stainless steel and nickel super alloy, which, thanks to innovative exchangeable manufacturing modules, allows for quick material changes. 

Ultimaker will also be introducing two new upgrades to its desktop 3D printer range at CES, according to Make Parts Fast and both will be on show.

At yesterday’s CES Unveiled pre-show press event, Taiwanese company XYZprinting demonstrated eight different 3D printer models that will be at the show, including some new ones, as well as new wearable devices and robotic innovations. 

There is also a newbie taking to the CES floor — a Korean company called Formers Farm — that will be exhibiting two new desktop 3D printer platforms. Mark Lee, reporting for 3DPI seems particularly impressed with them.

There will also be a host of other 3D printing companies there, not least Carbon3D, Autodesk and Mcor Technologies. From my experience of these companies, their press announcements are released on the opening day, and some may have information out under embargo already ;-)

But back to CES being the place of new 3D printing revelations! After a year that saw many 3D printing companies visibly pull back from targeting “the consumer” why does this consumer show draw in so many companies that choose to announce new products there? I don’t actually have a definitive answer, by the way, I am genuinely baffled. More so when you consider that just six years ago the only 3D printer company at CES was MakerBot, with a few more additions the following year, all dotted around the place with no cohesion whatsoever. It was only in year three that 3D printing companies were brought together in a dedicated pavilion at the show with a conference running along side it.  Also, it’s Vegas — dizzyingly chaotic at any time of year, but in the first week of a new year when most people are in a state of recovery after a week or more of festive over-indulgence — it certainly wouldn’t be my first choice!

Some of the favourable attributes will certainly be the press coverage that the show gets, along with the very high visitor numbers and celebrity attendees, but that said, I am still baffled by this phenomenon on the 3D printing calendar, and will be intrigued to see how long it lasts.