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Not all of the excitement this month in Pittsburgh was housed at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, as the Steel City welcomed members of the global additive manufacturing community for a very busy week. On the penultimate night of RAPID + TCT, I found myself in an Uber with some of the LulzBot crew as we convinced our confused driver that, yes, the open garage was where we meant to be and that this was a meeting for makers, not bikers. HackPittsburgh opened its (garage) doors to the maker community as 3DPPGH — 3D Printing Pittsburgh — hosted its monthly meeting, using the convenient timing overlap with RAPID to add special guests to the night’s agenda, including:

  • Matt Griffin from Ultimaker
  • MatterHackers
  • Matt Stultz

A 3D printing who’s who in a makerspace

The evening kicked off casually, as the local makers welcomed additions from around the country, chatting over quesadillas and local beers and we new to the space took in the sights: an arcade machine housed in a TARDIS, wall workspaces filled with 3D printers and in-progress projects, and more.

Everyone took a seat as Ultimaker‘s Matt Griffin took center stage to talk about what’s new at the popular Dutch 3D printing company. He shared a look into the Ultimaker 3, introduced in October, and looked to some tools in Cura that might have been overlooked in the latest software release, ensuring that all present understood the offerings from Ultimaker as the company looks to make professional desktop 3D printing more accessible.

From there, MatterHackers‘ own 3DPGirl Mara Hitner took up the presentation to share some details about the SoCal company’s offerings. The company, which sells more than 500 varieties of 3D printing filament including their own nylon and carbon fiber composite NylonX, isn’t just a seller/reseller, as the team also prioritizes hands-on interaction and engagement with the 3D printing community. Making the presentation even more hands-on, Mara passed around a 3D printed e-NABLE hand as well as some other 3D printed object examples to show off filament and finish options.

Matt Stultz has made quite a name for himself, as one of the founders of HackPGH and working now with Make: Magazine, where he reviews 3D printers and examines the latest in goings-on. The software developer, maker, and hacker chatted about his processes in reviewing and ranking 3D printers — and what to look for in your next 3D printer.

Following the presentations, the evening went low key as community members could get to know the people behind the company names and Twitter handles, and enjoy everything that makes makerspace meetups what they are — personal, casual, and intensely exciting. Those gathered included casual makers, big industry names, and everyone in between. I chatted with Joel Johnson, Co-Founder and CEO of BoXZY, which launched its all-in-one 3D printer two years ago, about the growth of the 3D printing industry and his hopes for the future of the BoXZY, and learned more about how that machine is definitely one to keep an eye on as its capabilities continue to expand.

3DPPGH hosts monthly meetings for those interested in making around the Pittsburgh area. Fortunately, this is pretty close to Cleveland, so I’m happy to say this month’s won’t be my last meetup with these makers. Ryan Priore, Co-Founder and Chief Bed Leveler, and Chris Yohe, Co-Founder and Chief Hot End, ensure that 3DPPGH is engaged regularly with the community and offering resources in 3D printing and other digital fabrication technologies through regular meetups. They’ve invited me back to speak at a future event, so I look forward to meeting up in Pittsburgh again!

Share your thoughts in the 3D Printing Pittsburgh forum at 3DPB.com.





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