Last week I was lucky enough to be able to attend the “Inside 3D Printing,” conference and expo in New York City, organized by Media Bistro. On the final day of the conference, Autodesk CEO Carl Bass gave the opening key note, in which he discussed the future of 3D printing, and where he saw the technology headed. After the conference I was able to talk to him one on one for a couple of minutes.
Bass first learned about 3D printing 25 years ago, and although he feels that there is lot of excitement surrounding the technology, he believes that only some of that excitement is warranted. He does not think there will be a 3D printer in every home anytime in the near future, nor does he think that people will be printing out all of there everyday needs from their living rooms. He feels that the time constraints of the technology will hold it back on a consumer based level.
Bass explained that as you double the size of a printed object, the time it takes to print that object will increase by a power of 3. 2^3 = 8, he explained. An example would be as follows: You decide to create an object which takes two hours to print, but if you were to decide to double its size, that object will then take 16 hours to complete.
Although he was somewhat negative about the consumer market for 3D printers, he was very positive about the industrial side of things, saying that with 3D printing, “Shape complexity is free.”
Bass feels that the materials industry is the most important for the advancement of 3D printing technology as a whole. He believe that industrial scale 3D printing is where the major growth will be, envisioning business models which offer 3D printing services as being the true path towards progress. Business’s like Shapeways, have a very high printer utilization rate, while home 3D printers have a utilization rate similar to that of a toaster. It won’t make sense to purchase a printer when you can get cheap access to much higher quality printers, online or at local hubs. Everyone will have access to 3D printers, just not in their own homes.
Bass also touched on some of the newer devices, like the Mark One carbon fiber printer, created by a company called Mark Forged. He seemed to be excited about this machine, stating that Autodesk was working with them from a software point of view.
Although Bass didn’t come into his key note, ecstatic about 3D printing on a whole, he clearly believes that this is an exciting, growing industry, which will have a tremendous impact on the manufacturing industry. He intends to be right there as CEO of Autodesk, pushing the envelope within the CAD industry. Discuss Bass’s insights and opinions, and get the full live blog about his Key Note from Friday at 3DPrintBoard.
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