3DPrint.com’s Top 10 Stories of 2022

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Surely like nearly every website, 3DPrint.com performs regular reports on traffic behavior and the like. And, like the rest of the internet, our most popular stories are generally the ones about sex and tabletop gaming. However, in addition to our evergreen posts about the safety of 3D printed sex toys or 3D printed Dungeons & Dragons figurines, we’re able to sift through our site visits to determine what our readers engage with most on 3DPrint.com. Gauging from our 2022 stats, it seems as though our readers value us most for our editorials and investigative work. Or, they just like big news stories. Take a look at the top 10 most-read stories of 2022:

10. MIT 3D Prints Objects with Lenticular Surfaces

Readers were wowed by Massachusetts Institute for Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL)’s use of Stratasys PolyJet to 3D print lenticular objects. As discussed by 3DPrint.com Macro Analyst Matt Kremenetsky, the technology could potentially offer new forms of utility, or lead to the generation of more plastic junk. 

9. 3D Printed Gun Arrests Tripled in Less Than Two Years – 3DPrint.com Investigates

Many 3D printing news outlets have made a decision not to cover the topic of 3D printed guns with any regularity due to the negative perception it creates of AM. However, 3DPrint.com has decided to continue its coverage in large part because of the way that it is framed by mainstream media and the fact that it is a niche segment that is gaining ground. Just one important detail uncovered by 3DPrint.com analyst Vanesa Listek is the fact that arrests for 3D printed guns have tripled in less than two years, indicating that, at the very least, law enforcement is taking the trend more seriously. 

8. Hostile Takeover and No CEO at 3D Printing Startup Triditive?

Mariel Diaz standing next to one of the Amcell printers from Triditive.

Mariel Diaz with one of the Amcell printers from Triditive. Image courtesy of Mariel Diaz.

Among the many stories related to disrupted startups that took place this year, that of Triditive was one of the most interesting. Founder Mariel Diaz claims she was ousted from the firm she started, likely resulting in the loss of a deal to make metal binder jet 3D printers with Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics. 

7. ​​Why Did HP Kill off its Full-Color 3D Printer?

Samples of HP’s full color Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology. Image courtesy of HP.

Prosthetist Brent Wright caused a stir with his investigation into the discontinuing of HP’s full-color Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer series. Despite the high quality of the parts and the profit incentive for HP, the technology was taken off the market.

6. Where is 3D Printing in Gartner’s Hype Cycle?

Executive Editor Joris Peels generated a lot of conversation with his article discussing the location of AM in Gartner’s Hype Cycle. He asks whether the industry is still stuck in the “trough of disillusionment” or is climbing up the “slope of enlightenment.” What do you think?

5. Biden Admin Launches U.S. 3D Printing Program: AM Forward

Just as Barack Obama ushered in an advanced manufacturing era with the Manufacturing USA network a decade prior, President Joseph Biden signaled a new phase in development with the launch of the AM Forward program. Though explicit funding from the administration has not yet been announced, several existing funding programs have been broadened in scope to include 3D printing. With the launch, several manufacturing and military giants, from Lockheed to Siemens, announced their intent to further integrate AM into their supply chains, mentoring smaller firms in the process.

4. Hypersonic Engine with 3D Printed Parts Achieves Key Milestone in Hypersonic Flight

Hermeus’ Chimera engine testing. Image courtesy of Hermeus.

Though explored to some extent in preceding years, hypersonics really started to incorporate 3D printing in new ways in 2022. In this particular story, 3DPrint.com analyst Vanesa Listek discusses how the Chimera hypersonic engine from Hermeus demonstrated it can successfully transition from turbojet to ramjet. Such a transition allows reusable hypersonic planes to take off from regular runways before speeding up to high-Mach speeds. Hermeus’s vehicle is made up of 15 percent 3D printed parts, some of which were 3D printed on Velo3D machines using Inconel 718. 

3. 3D Printing Layoffs Continue with Xerox Elem Additive Division

Xerox ElemX liquid metal 3D printer.

Readers seemed particularly drawn to our coverage of the large rounds of layoffs occurring at 3D printing companies across the industry. This included stories about Nexa, Desktop Metal, Fast Radius, and Carbon. However, the one that drew the most interest was the news that Xerox had essentially eliminated its Elem Additive division. The move was not only representative of the overall financial struggles faced by the AM sector as a whole, but was also a sign of the possibly difficult-to-predict corporate moves that lay ahead. 

2. The Importance of the Bambu Lab X1 3D Printer

3DPrint.com Executive Editor Joris Peels provided his insights into the unique Bambu Lab X1 3D printer, which launched on Kickstarter after raising USD$7.07M. He analyzes the hype and outreach the team was able to achieve in conjunction with the launch, as well as how this lined up with the reality of the printer. Most importantly, however, Joris suggests that the X1 has the potential to give desktop material extrusion 3D printing the boost it has needed since the RepRap movement kicked off over a decade ago. 

1. ​​Buying the Death Star: Ultimaker Merges with MakerBot. Takes Stratasys Investment

Nothing surprised the 3D printing community like the merger of Ultimaker and MakerBot. The collapse of the open source 3D printer was complete, essentially leaving Prusa Research as the lone survivor of the last decade of RepRapping. In this story, 3DPrint.com Executive Editor Joris Peels provides his commentary on the strange news.  

3DPrint.com and SmarTech Analysis are hosting Additive Manufacturing Strategies in New York City on February 7-9, 2023. Register for the event here to learn from and network with the most exciting companies and individuals in AM.

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