A trifecta of creativity
“It’s really incumbent on the industry to do a good job of explaining what the different materials are, what the properties are, and why it matters. That’s going to require a really strong communication between the hardware companies and the material companies and then also developing the software.”
“There is a whole class of objects that we don’t have because nobody thinks it's a commercially viable product. I think that it’s important that those objects exist, though we don’t need too many of those kinds of things. This idea of being able to produce on demand instead of producing for stock is a very important concept.”
"Anybody can print wherever you are and we recently calculated that we're now connecting one billion people within 10 miles of a 3D printer. That's one out of every seven people on the planet."
If you think it, you can print it.
As the 3D desktop industry emerges, there is a common misconception that if you think it, you can print it. “One of the most frustrating things about 3D printing is that there’s a real strong expectation that some customers have coming in that with this machine they’re going to be able to print anything they want. In reality, there’s this tension between three different technologies: hardware, software and the materials. We’ve seen that sometimes a material isn’t as capable as they’d like it to be, other times the printer can’t handle it, or the software can’t handle the geometries they’d like to achieve in terms of resolution and things like that. Other times the modeling software isn’t easy enough to use and taking a class is unexpected but necessary,” notes Kenny of Aleph Objects.
What makes the technology so powerful is the robust community that it has behind it. Ideas are no longer owned by one person, but shared online and constantly tweaked and improved upon. The power lies in the data. Once you have a file and pair it with the right tools and expertise, your only limitation is your imagination.
Ask yourself: why choose a certain material to print with? Is it a beautiful color? Is it the toughness and functionality you need? Maybe it’s ease of printing? colorFabb has worked closely with Eastman to purposefully engineer materials for the 3D printing market based on the community’s needs.
|Partner: colorFabb Area: The Netherlands Domain: 3D Materials Link: ngen.colorfabb.com|
The Eastman Innovation Lab (EIL) is helping to establish that #materialsmatter when bringing new products to market, and it is an even more important conversation in the 3D desktop printing industry. As ‘consumers’ become ‘designers’ and objects are printed in a variety of indoor spaces, the composition of the material is as important as the functionality it enables.
|Eastman Amphora™ copolyester|
Pushing the limits
Hardware and software in the 3D printing industry have rapidly progressed in the last few years. Both born in a spirit of innovation, files are shared with the community and innovation happens quickly, however “one of the major limiting factors for 3D printing is the materials. Over the last couple of years a lot of innovation has begun here, but quite frankly, there is still a lot of room to grow,” says Harris Kenny of Aleph Objects. Eastman’s materials for this market are looking to change this as we produce materials that meet the specific needs that users have.
A community of leaders
“Every person that uses a 3D printer, whether they are excited about the technology or what the technology provides in terms of capability, they’re all excited about this idea of being in control of what they can get out of the printer. That you could have this idea, send it off, and the rest of the world could benefit and build on top of this idea to make it better. For me personally, it has been one of the most exciting things to have designed something and then see other people print it and take it in a different direction than I originally thought of and make it better.” Erik deBruijn on founding Ultimaker.