Local 3D Printing opens ...

An interview with Brent Cox of GetPrinting3D at the Grand Opening of their Evanston, IL storefront July 13, 2013.Last week we had a chance to attend the 3D Printing Conference and Expo being put on by MediaBistro down at McCormick Place. The two-day event had multi-track programming, and an exhibit hall with a dozen or so companies showing off their printers, and related services. Between us we got a few interviews shot there, but we were limited by not frequently being in the same space at the same time (so Ed could ask questions and I could run the camera), and hampered by the very high noise level. And, frankly, while fascinating, 3D printing is a bit of a slow process, and video of it gets tiresome quickly (so it’s perhaps better suited to Vines, which I posted some of from the show: #1, #2, #3, #4).

However, today’s post isn’t something from the conference, but from a follow-up on an exhibiting group. One company, GetPrinting3D, had promos for the Grand Opening of a new storefront location up in Evanston over the weekend, and I figured doing an interview there was likely better than trying to get one from the exhibit hall. Their location, by the Technology Innovation Center, is very convenient, being just a block away from the Davis St. El station, and is well-positioned to interface with the Northwestern community. Here’s how they introduce it on their website:

GetPrinting3D Evanston, our pilot 3D Printing Retail Showroom & Demonstration Café in downtown Evanston, IL, was brought to life for two basic reasons. First, people of all ages want to see first-hand what this “new” technology, 3D printing, really is and how it works. Secondly, with consumer-level 3D printers and user-friendly 3D modeling software now available and affordable, combined with our ability to demonstrate and make available for purchase these products, a venue like this just made sense.

As their Marketing Director, Brent Cox, describes in the following, they’re trying to provide a multi-aspect facility, where people can come to learn about 3D printing options, where somebody can come to have a one-off 3D item printed, and still being a showroom (obviously, their main business is selling the various systems to corporate clients) featuring a reasonably large selection of 3D printers:

I asked (when posting an additional Vine) how many different types of 3D printers they had, and they said seven (more or less, as some were similar, but different, models), most of which were the “classic” (can one have a “classic” on a technology this new?) hot-plastic build-up versions, although they also had a “set powder” machine which builds up layers via a powder that gets set with a binding agent, layer after layer after layer. The little “portrait” figures in the video are done with that system, which (remarkably) uses a standard ink-jet cartridge (as shown briefly in the video) to add color to the piece.

At the conference we saw several other types of systems, from one that uses paper (with amazing results, but it’s just odd somehow), to ones that use UV light to set polymers, and others that use liquid metals. It’s a fascinating industry, which is clearly in its infancy. The possibilities are pretty amazing on what might be coming down the line as these technologies mature!

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