Despite 3D printers having been around since the 1980’s, it is only recently that the technology, also known as additive manufacturing, has expanded beyond the walls of research institutions and it’s largely thanks to its increasing affordability. We exhibited at the first ever 3D Printshow, showcasing some of our latest, cutting-edge 3D printing experiences and projects to curious attendees.
From October 19th – 21st, over 4000 curious people passed through the historic halls of The Brewery in London for the 3D Printshow. They witnessed the foundation of an era that could change everything over the next five to ten years, including manufacturing, education and the consumer experience.
It was a no-brainer for us to get involved with the first 3D Printshow. We exhibited an array of projects, produced specifically for the show and from our existing portfolio, to inspire people with new ways of using 3D printing technology.
iPads rolled video of each project including a selection of trees from ‘People Wood’ – a unique 3D crowd-sourced data sculpture, created with Something & Son, and commissioned by Hackney Council, to celebrate the opening of a new community centre. Every tree was ‘grown’ virtually by our bespoke software that mapped online survey responses onto the structure of each tree. When printed, design factors such as the thickness of the trunk and number of branches, represented each respondent’s sense of community. The full 400 tree permanent display can now be seen at the Redmond Community Centre, Hackney.
Next to the tree sample was a sliced 3D print of musician Si Begg’s head, taken from a project we did for ATYP. The creative design agency animated each slice in a painstaking frame-by-frame process for the music video ‘Permission to Explode’ which can be viewed here.
Sticking to a rostral theme, one of our plinths housed two models of a brain, both based on the real cerebral cortex of Inition co-founder Andy Millns, the only difference being one was formed out of white chocolate. It was a follow up to a smaller version we produced for (and won) an Instructables competition we entered in the summer.
No doubt the highlight of the Inition booth was the AR/3D print combination proof-of-concept application that augmented computer graphic animations onto a real world 3D printed building of the Eli & Edy Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, due to be completed for real in November.
Representatives from global architectural firm Zaha Hadid, a product and service client of Inition, were highly impressed when they saw it for the first time. “This transfers well to the smaller scale of 3D printing, allowing for direct visual context as an overlay on to a real world replica of the project and intuitive, useable and accessible navigation.” said Shaun Farrell, Practice BIM Manager, Zaha Hadid Architects.
Several ‘layers’ could be selected, including a multi-coloured thermal flow that caressed the building as if it were really there. Another selection surrounded the model with foliage, roads, people and cars; allowing people to gage how it would look in situ. To locate the building, and standing far back, a map filled the entire screen and one could even look at different floors inside the building.
One of the greatest aspects of the 3D Printshow was the genuine sense of excitement – there was an almost tangible buzz in the corridors of 3D printed musical instruments, fashion accessories, interior designs and artistic visions. In these pioneering days, mutual curiosity between companies is based on an eagerness to share and explore, rather than compete.
3D printing is a technology that is now in the hands of the creatives and, judging from the inaugural 3D Printshow, and the rapid growth of an industry set to be worth $105 by 2020, next year’s show should be even more incredible.
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