There is a new 3D printer conference in town so you better watch out!
I just got done hanging out at the AMUG conference this week meeting with the folks at the “cutting edge” of additive manufacturing. Or should I say “point of extrusion” since we are talking additive manufacturing.
If you are doing any work with additive manufacturing this appears to be the new place to go. Or is it the old place? Turns out the AMUG has been around since 1988. There has been some rapid changes in the industry and the AMUG has responded in kind, expanding what they cover, taking a hard stand on openess and growing the conference well beyond expectations.
While the AMUG is not the only additive manufacturing conference (If you missed AMUG, you might check out the Rapid Manufacturing conference coming to Atlanta May 22-25), it is special in a few ways. First, it is a user’s conference organized by users so content is very geared toward education, not sales. Even the sponsors seemed to understand this (thank you Objet and Stratasys for sending some real material scientists to this :-) ).
What struck me the most in the first day was the range of materials and technologies now being offered. I saw flexible rubber parts, clear parts, multiple materials in the same part, huge and fully functional (strong) parts and lots of discussion on upcoming materials. There are powders and goo’s and jets and spools of line to make all these things.
We talked about consumer level 3D printing (yes, there is a lot of hype here), ever popular prototyping and the growing area of true “additive manufacturing” where you create the final parts, not just a prototype or mold pattern.
I learned about a rather large subculture focused on fixing and modifying STL files (the format used throughout the industry). I also learned more about the upcoming AMF format which intends to fix so many of these problems. Those of us used to working in the mechanical CAD industry with their highly precise solid models are likely thinking, “It’s about time”. However, AMF is
going to create some new twists for us too (multi materials, parts within parts, varying material properties within the part, textures, oh my!). It certainly makes the world interesting.
So, good job AMUG organizers. And thanks to everyone that helped me get me up to speed on the industry. I’m excited about the future.