A breath of fresh air in a crowded 3dprinting market

I first saw this printer at the 2013 3dprintshow in London and it caught my eye immediately. This was different from other printers. This actually had good design as the core feature. Many times when looking at 3dprinters you see a strange attempt at a cross between a microwave and some space age structure. But in this case you simply see good design. All printers essentially do the same thing, print objects, but many neglect the product design aspect as this is usually an after thought, and in my opinion is a contributing factor to why the mainstream consumer are not yet embracing the technology. Many 3dprinters you just would not contemplate them in your homes. Some are even an eye sore. The beethefirst printer is different. Design is what sets it apart, this printer looks like it is right out of Apple’s design studio. Jonny Ive once said his aim was to ‘Design out the design’. The design has to be so good that it blends seamlessly with the user and is almost an afterthought. Here we have a 3dprinter that fits this ethos. It looks stunning and is timeless in its appearance. This printer has won many awards including best ‘Prosumer printer’ and best ‘consumer printer’ at the 3dprintshow 2014 and is gaining a reputation as one of the top players in the industry by being awarded the ‘Rookie of the year’ in Make Magazine. There’s a reason for this as well. This printer is by far the most user friendly 3dprinter that I have used and also the most consistent and reliable. From opening the box to 3dprinting the first part was 20 minutes. The user flow of setting this up, calibrating, loading the filament and printing the first part was flawless. A major issue with printers is the calibration of the bed, in this case it was as easy as clicking a mouse button. Everything about this printer has been designed with the user as the focus. Even down to the packaging of the product. When you open the box you are met with a message from beethefirst and the excitement of the unboxing process is like being a child at Christmas again. Every step of the experience brings happiness.

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I met with Diogo Quental at the 3dprintshow and the whole team have to be the most friendly bunch of people I have met in 3dprinting. At their stand was free hugs and ‘beescuits’, what more can you ask for! Friendliness and trust goes along way in the world of business. Diogo outlined some of the plans for the future of Beethefirst that includes expansion into the education market with a partnership with Nautilus and also myself as a Beta tester of their printer. I have put this printer through its paces for the past few weeks and it has delivered exceptional results. There used to be a time with 3dprinting when it was hit or miss if a print would be successful. Since printing on the Beethefirst I have not had one print failure and I have printed over 200 parts without needing to calibrate the bed.

As an educator myself, the area of 3dprinting in schools is still an uptapped market with no one clear printer taking the lead. The reason for this I believe is reliability and usability. I think Beethefirst could be a contender to lead in this market. Teachers and students need a 3dprinter that will work time and time again and not have to worry about if a print will be successful. Then there is the fact that this printer is a great case study for good design. When I teach Design and Technology/Product Design lessons, the design of a product is just as important as the functionality side of it. I inform the students that if a product doesn’t look good then it probably won’t sell. If users aren’t attracted to it then the likelihood is it won’t succeed. This looks good and you would be proud to have it on your desk.

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With more models planned for the future the direction of Beethefirst is extremely exciting and is one to watch closely. At the 2013 3dprintshow they had one small desk with a 3dprinter exhibiting. At the 2014 3dprintshow they dominated the show floor with the biggest stand. What will 2015 bring?

For more information visit their website https://beeverycreative.com/

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Bioprinting and 3Dprinting – a potential lifesaving use of the technology.

There have been many innovative uses of 3dprinting that make the news almost every day. 3Dprinting cars and even houses are just a few examples of how fast the technology is emerging. It is widely recognised that the medical industry stands to make great strides from the use of 3dprinting through research and development and this was evidenced at the 3Dprintshow in London. During the 3Dprintshow there was a stand in the ‘3dprinted hospital’ section that caught my eye over all other exhibitors. There was no flashy corporate stand dominating the event hall, no pushy sales reps promoting their printers, just a desk with a 3dprinter and an information board explaining the project, along with Alan J Faulhner-jones. Alan is a PHD student from Heriot Watt University, who won the Inspirational individual award in the 3dprintshow annual awards ceremony. Alan won the award for creating a ‘bioprinter’ that is capable of 3dprinting human cells with the aim of using the printer to hopefully one day help cure some of the worlds most common diseases. alanFJ-02

Alan explained that, ‘New drug development can take more than 10 years and only around 16% of drug candidates that begin pre-clinical testing are approved for human use. Some of this low success rate is due to the different responses of humans and animal models used for testing. At Heriot-Watt we are working towards creating micro versions of human organs from human cells, such as the liver. These so called “micro-tissues” should produce the same responses that the entire organ would, but on a much smaller scale.’ The shear scale of this is truly ground breaking, if we could 3dprint living organs to test out new drugs, this could throw the medical industry on its head and really advance the fight against some of the most deadly diseases we so often encounter. alanFJ-01

Alan’s background is Robotics & Cybertronics for which he gained a Masters degree at Heriot Watt University and he has since used this expertise to create the Bioprinter that forms the core element of his PHD studies. Alan explained that, ‘It’s a continuous development cycle, I started my PhD in 2010 and I’m currently working on the 4th generation machine now.  The biggest challenges lie with the biology; sometimes cells don’t do what you expected they would do.’ Also, in the first stages of application of the printer Alan is aiming for ‘liver micro-tissues for drug testing’ and in theory the technology could then be applied to generating tissues to repair the body using patients own cells to avoid rejection.

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This really is ground breaking use of 3dprinting technology and in terms of impact, it could have the biggest of them all. Alan really has a special project and I wish him all the best with this as I really believe that this will help the masses. Many people ask me how would 3dprinting benefit them in their lives, well this project right here could benefit us all in the future. Definitely one to watch.

For more information check out Alan’s 3dprintshow page

http://3dprintshow.com/global-awards/inspirational-individual/alan-faulkner-jones/

3Dprintshow 2014 rocks London once again.

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The return of the 3Dprintshow to London was one of the most highly anticipated 3dprinting events of the year. The event started three years ago as a small get together of growing 3dprinting enthusiasts/companies  and it has now turned into a Global brand expanding year on year helping spread the 3dprinting revolution. Year one was solely London, year two was London, Paris, New York and now year three is London, Paris, New York, Dubai, Berlin, California, Milan, Madrid and Mexico with further plans announced at the annual awards for even more destinations in year four. One thing has to be certain is that every year the 3Dprintshow tops the previous year and is a standard barer for the rest of the 3dprinting community to try and follow.IMG_8058 On show was an unbelievable exhibit of the latest 3dprinting fashion, technology and consumerism for the world to see with possibly the best art exhibition I have ever seen. More innovative exhibits ranged from the 3Dprinting of soil to Bio Printing of  stem cells by PHD graduate Alan J Faulkner who won an award for ‘Inspirational Individual’ for his research into creating a Bio Printer to aid with Stem Cell research. The use of 3dprinting in the medical industry is one that will change lives beyond anything we have ever seen, I wonder what will be in the ‘3dprinted hospital’ next year?

Thrown onto the show floor was the usual printer companies jostling for the title of best consumer printer with big players such as Ultimaker and Makebot dominating, along with growing brand Beethefirst. Last year Beethefirst exhibited on a single table, this year they claimed the show floor with their award winning brand of printers that won best ‘consumer printer and best prosumer printer’ at Thursday nights’ Global 3dprinting awards. This brand has won the design contest of all the printers hands down. Anything that resembles an iphone is a winner by my book and they have a infectious likeability factor that draws you to their printers. This company is one to watch in the future. Shapeways exhibited their brand with their European team on hand to answer any questions and their enthusiam for 3dprinting is a reflection of how much we owe to the Dutch in their pursuit of world leaders in the technology. IMG_8105Holland has thrown out Shapeways, Ultimaker and 3Dhubs (who have just had a cash injection of$4,5 million) and there are many more smaller Dutch companies waiting in the wings that are sure to make an impact. From such a small country they are surely making their mark in the world of 3dprinting.

The annual 3Dprintshow Global Awards were held on the banks of the river Thames with a stunning backdrop of London Bridge and the Shard. They celebrated the industry and individuals who have significantly contributed to 3dprinting through their work/projects. Here’s a list of the winners;

 

Artist of the Year (Sponsored by Adobe) PussyKrew

Fashion Designer of the Year (Sponsored by Stratasys) Noa Raviv

Green Award MCor Technologies

Educational Excellence Philip Cotton (for the 2nd consecutive year).

Rising Star Julia Koerner

Positive Change 3D Control Systems

Inspirational Individual Alan Faulkner-Jones

Best Business Newcomer (Sponsored by Fabbaloo) M3D

Best Online / App-Based Service Tinkercad (aka Autodesk)

Best Consumer Product Ultimaker 2

Best Consumer Software Cura by Ultimaker

Best Consumer Printer BeeTheFirst by BeeVeryCreative

Best Prosumer Printer BeeTheFirst by BeeVeryCreative (not a mistake – they won both categories).

Best Professional Software Adobe Photoshop CC

Best In Show 3D Hubs

Industry Icon Enrico Dini

Brand of the Year (Sponsored by Things3D) Autodesk

The 3Dprintshow was again another great spectacle of 3Dprinting and I can’t wait for the next one. Like my first ever blog about the 2013 3dprintshow I could go on for ever describing the event, however I will let the photos do the talking…….

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InMoov – 3Dprint your own life size humanoid robot

 

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It’s 2013 and I was at the 3dprintshow in London. There was a large crowd gathered around a stand so naturally I was intrigued to see what the excitement was about. I knew the 3dprintshow was about to impress beyond anything I had ever seen before but nothing could prepare me for this. After manoeuvring through the bodies I came face to face with a 3dprinted robot that bore a striking resemblance to the robot from the movie ‘i robot’ with Will Smith. I had to find out more, this was the stuff of science fiction right here right now. The robot was responding to voice commands given by an operator and seemed highly intelligent, the robot could even take a ball out of a child’s hand when commanded to do so. The crowd was naturally left speechless and so was I. Upon further investigation I found out through Gael Langevin, the projects creater, that the whole design is open source and the files are freely available for anyone with a 12″x12″ 3dprinter to start experimenting. Without any real robotics experience Geal has created this fully functioning 3dprinted voice activated robot, that  is free for anyone to have a go at printing their own. The fact that it is open source means you are free to adapt and improve the designs.

The project started when Gael was tasked with creating a 3dprinted modern looking prosthetic hand for a commercial photo shoot. He had acquired a ‘Bits from Bytes’ 3D touch printer (one I am extremely familiar with myself, having used one in education for the past three years) to prototype the hand on. The photoshoot ended up being cancelled but Gael still wanted to develop the limb, so he added  servos and a ‘Arduino’, an open source electronics prototyping platform and created a fully programmable electronic hand. After posting the designs online for anyone to experiment with, the feedback he received was all positive and 3dprinting enthusiasts wanted more so he developed the project further into a full scale responsive robot. The result now being the InMoov project has a legion of followers world wide and Gael’s designs have been downloaded thousands of times.

This is why 3dprinting is so powerful and is really changing how we view and access technology. This project was usually the preserve of high tech research and development teams at Blue Chip companies or university PHD students, now the everyday consumer, through 3dprinting can access this project through it’s open source origins.  When he was asked why the robot is open source he states, ‘I have no idea if they will improve our lives, robots are created by us. They will be our extensions somehow. Just like any tool they will be what we want them to become. I trust the human race even if everyday news shows mainly our negative side’. Truly inspiring words from the creator of this innovative project. This is one project I will follow to see how it develops. Fancy like having a go at 3dprinting your own InMoov robot?  Download the files here;

http://www.inmoov.fr/download/

InMoov will be at two shows in June the first being;

http://www.futur-en-seine.fr/fens2014/projet/inmoov/

The second show will be the Paris Makerfaire on the 21st and 22nd June. Click the link below;

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For more information on this ground breaking project click the robot below;

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GaGaël Langevinël Langevin

The day the catwalk was redefined @3Dprintshow London

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So where do I start with this one? To be honest I was not even going to visit the 3Dprint fashion show. I was intent on just seeing the main exhibition hall as I had not really experienced the world of 3Dprinted fashion before. At the last minute I was convinced by a member of the 3Dprintshow staff to attend. What can I say, this was the highlight of the day. I truly believe that I witnessed a game changer in fashion. What walked down that main catwalk over the next 30 minutes blew my mind and left me speechless. I have never seen anything like this in my life. Sorry LadyGaga, you ain’t a patch on this….. To be honest my jaw was dangling on the ground throughout the show and I struggle to put into words what I witnessed. The garments on display pushed the boundaries of what is possible with 3dprinting and redefined the direction that many fashion shows will have to go if they want to remain at the forefront of the fashion world. I have followed the journey of 3Dprinting over the last few years, but I have never seen anything like this before.The one word to describe it was ‘spectacular’. One designer to be mentioned is Joshua Harker. His piece above, the Quixotic Divinity took over 200 hours to CAD model and when this walked down the catwalk there was the atmosphere of complete and utter shock from the audience. You start to wonder what the future holds.

Where will 3Dprinted fashion take us? Who knows at the moment. Will we all be wearing customised 3Dprinted clothes and accessories in the future? One company that has utilised this technology is Victoria’s Secret. In their latest fashion show models were adorned with 3Dprinted ‘Angel Wings’. Is this just the start of 3Dprinting becoming mainstream on the catwalk? This show was broadcast in over 180 countries with a combined viewing estimate of 15 million (mostly teenagers and people in their 20’s and 30’s), suddenly 3Dprinting has graced the most popular fashion show in the world. I feel this will become a regular feature. The best thing about all this is there are so many questions that remain unanswered and only time will tell what the future holds.

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I do not intend to describe every piece of fashion that walked down the catwalk as I would be here all day and you would probably fall asleep, just enjoy the visuals.

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3Dprinting by Philip Cotton

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Proud of this award!!!

I have so much to say about this amazing technology that I decided to blog about it. I am a high school technology teacher from Manchester UK who has been teaching 3D printing to my students for the past two years. I won the 3Dprintshow educational excellence award for my work educating high school pupils on 3Dprinting (proudest moment of my career so far). What can I say, it has transformed technology education as I know it. This has the potential to be disruptive beyond the power of the internet, manufacturing will never be the same again and this truly gives power to the designer and lets everyday people realise their design dreams. How can I say this….I have witnessed it in the classroom for the past two years. Creativity has been redefined and suddenly you can go from concept to end result in a matter of minutes.
I am not sure where this blog will lead me but I love an uncharted journey. Thankgod for 3Dprinting, that’s how I will end my first post!!