Like most of the tech world, this week we’ve been paying a lot of attention to the goings-on at CES 2018 as announcements have arisen from the neon desert landscape of Las Vegas. Many of these have been focused on 3D technologies, as additive manufacturing is showcased alongside a huge variety of 3D scanning and related technologies including LiDAR, virtual and augmented reality, and the Internet of Things. While 3D printing doesn’t have quite the footprint at CES that it did circa 2014 and the hype of consumer-focused desktop 3D printers, the technology is an undeniable — and definitely has a place at the massive trade show. With that in mind, I trekked out to Nevada to spend a few days in the hive of activity.
My visit was relatively short, starting with a Monday media event ahead of the Tuesday full show start and with my exit somehow conveniently timed to be 15 minutes before #CESblackout on Wednesday, and I definitely didn’t have the chance to see everything nor speak to everyone I would have liked to, but the time there was very well spent. As a dedicated 3D printing media outlet, being on the ground at such a major event of the tech calendar is invaluable, with conversations and demonstrations providing thorough, hands- (and ears-) on looks at the latest technologies. We’ll be sharing more direct-from-show coverage soon, including exclusive interviews.
In the 3D printing marketplace in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, I had the opportunity to check out some of the booths we’d been excited to see: below is part one of 3D printing as seen at CES 2018.
The first company I spoke with in Las Vegas was HP, which has been making waves throughout not only the printing industries, 2D and 3D alike, but with related technologies including the popular Sprout setup — which works with the just-introduced HP Z 3D camera. Announced Monday, the 3D camera took home a CES Innovation Award. It was on display at the media-only Pepcom Digital Experience! Tech Tailgate event the evening before CES, where I had the opportunity to see it in action.
Displayed alongside several fairly large and fully detailed Multi Jet Fusion 3D prints, the HP Z 3D Camera easily and quickly captures a full 3D image. I saw a complex, large geode scanned in seconds — as Joshua St. John, Head of Product, Immersive Computing at HP, held the rock, the system automatically removed his hands from the image.
The usable files created so quickly using this system are high quality and immediately workable. Operation is intuitive, with easy prompts to ensure accurate capture of every angle of detailed objects.
Bringing the Fuse 1 SLS 3D printer, Form Cell automated production system, new resins, and more, Boston-based Formlabs had plenty to display at CES. The Fuse 1 is drawing attention as the fairly petite machine is at work on the show floor, with plenty of SLS parts on display to touch and see. The parts hold up to those I saw at their HQ a few months ago, and it was good to see the machine in action.
As I spoke with the team, another member of the media was having his ears 3D scanned through the company’s new audio-based partnership with 3Shape — and given the opportunity to partake in turn, I jumped at the chance. The non-invasive system is quick and easy, if a little weird-sounding:
In my ears, the clicking sound was actually quieter than that picked up in the video. I was told that smiling or laughing could impact results, but fortunately I didn’t mess things up too much for Allan Ilve Vinther, 3Shape Product Manager, Audio, to work with. I did discover, finally, why I’ve always hated wearing earbuds — turns out I have narrow ear canals. Formlabs will be turning my 3D data into a custom pair of earbuds for me, so I hope to hear more music more easily soon.
Formlabs is at booth #7908 in the North Hall.
A cluster of nine 3D printers are actively 3D printing parts for new 3D printers for LulzBot, 20 of which are being assembled right in the booth. I spoke at length with Aleph Objects Director of Marketing Ben Malouf about the extensive setup, and will be sharing our interview in the near future. The booth, impossible to miss in its signature shade of green — with the working techs wearing custom-dyed lab coats to match — has been drawing huge crowds as the on-the-floor work continues. Part of that crowd when I arrived were some of the team from Ohio-based IC3D, who with LulzBot introduced the first-ever open source 3D printing filament last year; we’ll be catching up with them in the near future, as well, as they’ve been busy.
The 3D printers produced on the show floor, noted with Made It In Vegas styling, are also part of an attention-grabbing giveaway, with 16 grand prize bundles centering around the new Mini machines and several other recent product introductions. Popular YouTuber Joel Telling, the 3D Printing Nerd — who I also had the chance to finally meet in person — additionally offered the chance to win show-made 3D printers through his channel, with his two winners announced this morning.
The LulzBot booth is #8700 in the North Hall.
Among booth displays always guaranteed to draw eyes are drones and motorcycles — and these are certainly drawing visitors to CRP Group’s booth. Along with a large drone and two motorcycles featuring 3D printed components are a TubeSat and a steering wheel, all created using high-strength Windform material.
Stewart Davis, Director of Operations, CRP USA, was on hand again this year to share more detail about the company’s offerings. The large drone on display is the Tundra-M, a functional prototype from Hexadrone created using Windform XT 2.0 and Windform SP; the modular design allows for each arm of the drone to be removed and reattached with ease, as Davis demonstrated.
The steering wheel, created for Formula SAE using Windform XT 2.0, is a functional prototype and fully functional racing component. Mounted for show display to showcase the LEDs included for racing indications. Additionally set for speed are components for motorcycles, as CRP subsidiary Energica displayed two full-sized motorcycles each with a variety of 3D printed Windform components.
CRP Group is in the North Hall at booth #8910.
XYZprinting has been busy. Introducing the first full-color FFF 3D printer just a few months ago, and a slew of new offerings since including industrial machines, the Taiwan-based company has quite a lot to show at CES 2018. At the booth are the latest introductions, including the new da Vinci Color AiO that allows for all-in-one full-color 3D scanning and 3D printing. Much grown up since the earlier AiO I tested in 2016, the new unit shows interesting capabilities — including the company’s first attempt at incorporating voice command. The da Vinci Color AiO took home a CES Innovation Award.
Alongside the full-color offerings is, of course, more. Industrial 3D printers, 3D scanners, and educational offerings are on display, along with the company’s new, low-temperature 3D printing pen. XYZprinting is looking to create a full portfolio of solutions appealing to users from school age to professional engineers.
With so much to offer, we’ll be sharing more details soon from an interview with Vinson Chien, the US Director of XYZprinting Inc.
XYZprinting is at booth #7903 in the North Hall.
3D printing is perhaps not the highest-profile section of CES this year, but the technology remains notable among the show’s technology milestones.
In Part Two, we’ll take a look at more of the 3D printing at CES 2018, including showings from Kodak, Uniz, Techniplas, DWS, Nexa3D, T3D, Markforged, Rize, Syos, and more.
Discuss CES 2018 and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.[All photos/videos: Sarah Goehrke]
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