What happens at a 3D printing convention?

What happens at a 3D printing event like the 3D Printshow? With constant visual stimulation and then furthermore being able to touch and feel everything, it was awesome.

The 3D Printshow is a worldwide event, in which one was hosted in Pasadena, California. Luckily, it is where I go to school, so I was able to attend. Admission price: affordable ($32.50 for a one-day pass, $25 for students).

Betty at 3D Printshow
Here I am at the 3D Printshow California.

Dubai, Paris, Istanbul… and then Pasadena?!

I want to first ask you reading this, have you heard of Pasadena, California? I definitely have not until I moved here for school. Of all the other major cities that the 3D Printshow is hosted in, such as Dubai, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Istanbul, why this quiet, small suburban city? Because Pawnee City Hall from my favorite TV show Parks and Recreation is actually Pasadena City Hall? In any case, I’d imagine San Francisco to be more suiting.

But actually, it makes sense. Pasadena is – to my recent knowledge – renowned as a city for its design and innovation. It is the home to the top-ranked schools like the Art Center College of Design and the California Institute of Technology, and neighbor to the NASA-Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

3D-Printed Wearables 

With the number of 3D-printed fashion pieces exhibited, I’d imagine a higher number of females at this event. Moving past the sea of men waiting to talk to the attractive female vendor wearing a 3D-printed dress, I was finally able to check out this body-hugging 3D-printed dress myself. “Would you wear this?”, asked of me by an older ‘gentleman’. I replied, “Only if I were in a photo shoot.” Also, black seems to be trending in 3D-printed fashion industry.

Would you wear this?

3D-printed Dress
3D-printed body-hugging dress, shoes, and mini purse. Airwolf: Axios dress and purse. Bryan Oknyansky shoes.
3D-printed shape-contouring
3D-printed shape-contouring “fabric” of the Axios dress.
Is this a 3D-printed apron or dress? By Sylvia Heisel.
Is this a 3D-printed apron or dress? By Sylvia Heisel.
3D-printed chest piece
3D-printed chest piece by Behnaz Farahi.
Close-up of the flexible material of 3D-printed chest piece
Close-up of the flexible material of 3D-printed chest piece by Behnaz Farahi.
DSC_1296
3D-printed dress by Autodesk. My personal favorite of the 3D-printed fashion at the event.

3D-Printed Art

DSC_1245
3D-printed art piece by Shane Hope. What is the meaning to this piece? There is supposed to be a scientific aspect to it.
DSC_1246
3D-printed art piece by Shane Hope up close.
DSC_1290
3D-printed sculpture “Alice” by Blazer can be found and purchased on Shapetizer.com.

3D Printers

From my naive impression about 3D printers, I was blown away by the vastness of 3D-printing technology. It ranged from stereolithography and human-sized printers to building a 3D printer yourself. Of course, the “regular” 3D printers were also exhibited.

Autodesk
Autodesk’s Ember stereolithography 3D printer which uses a photo-sensitive hardening resin.
Human size 3D printer to print furniture and other large-sized objects.
Human size 3D printer from BigRep to print furniture and other large-sized objects.
A DIY 3D printer. You would build the 3D printer yourself from a kit by Ultimaker.
A DIY 3D printer. You would build the 3D printer yourself with a kit by Ultimaker.

3D Printing Filament

Although I only have two pictures of 3D printing filament, there was a much larger variety of filament types and quality. Some companies boasted extremely high melting temperatures, carbon fiber, color variety, and antimicrobial capabilities.

The rainbow of 3D printing filament
The rainbow of 3D printing filament by Metaform Tools.
Antimicrobial filament
Purement antimicrobial filament.

Other Miscellaneous

And here is a variety of miscellaneous things that I found cool.

3D printed spongey material
3D-printed spongey material from Autodesk.
Robot parrot
3D-printed robot parrot by Brian Matthews on the shoulder of Brian Matthews himself.
3D Doodle Pen
Playing with the 3D printing pen by 3Doodler.
3D-printed lamp shade.
3D-printed lamp shade by Igor Knezevic for Alienology.

I spent 5 hours at the event and couldn’t get through all of the exhibits to the level of detail that I had hoped for. I recommend that if you attend a convention like this, definitely don’t just walk by and sightsee. Stop and talk to the vendors. Learning about the technology and the backstory made every piece so much more interesting.

In summary, it was a great event with lots of visual and tactile stimulation. If you missed this year’s 3D Printshow in California, there is always next year. Additionally, there will be a 3D Medical Printshow in 2016 focused on 3D printing for medical technology.

Some members of the AstroGro team along with Ultimaker's Iris Smeekes who sponsored our team's 3D printer. From the left: Diane Le, Jama Mohamed, Alex Pai, me, Iris Smeekes.
Some members of the AstroGro team along with Iris Smeekes, our conduit to Ultimaker’s sponsorship. From the left: Diane Le, Jama Mohamed, Alex Pai, me, Iris Smeekes.
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