When National Manufacturing Week begins this week, it will feature, for the first time, an additive manufacturing product zone.
At NMW and elsewhere, there is huge curiosity around 3D printing/additive manufacturing. According to the just-released global trends bible for the industry, the annual Wohlers Report, the market grew an incredible 34.9 per cent in 2013.
The excitement isn’t coming solely from manufacturers.
“Much to our surprise, advertising agencies have also shown a real interest,” explained Mel Fuller, co-founder of Three Farm. Her relatively new company approaches the technology from “a shared vision of sustainable and ethical futures.” Three Farm's efforts to educate this year have included seminars for organisations including the Australian Museum, Macquarie University and Asciano.
Fuller also presented at the 3D Printing Expo at Townsville at the beginning of this month. On Tuesday she will be presenting at NMW’s Digital Hub on the topic of “Design Led Revolution”, and will be a keynote speaker that evening at the “3D printing – what’s in it for me” event at Chatswood.
“We have done substantial research into 3D printing's enhancement of consumer engagement and co creation strategies,” she told Manufacturers’ Monthly when asked about where demand had come from with those wanting the technology demystified.
“But to be honest the gigs we have done and the professionals we have met are from many different sectors. I would say this is due to 3D printing's broad reach on industry.”
The event at the Chatswood Club on Tuesday, hosted by Print21, is targeted at the conventional printing industry, which has recently been showing a lot of interest in the idea of printing in a third dimension.
“It’s a sort of Damascus revelation that there is more to life than printing ink on paper!” Andrew McCourt, a print and packaging industry consultant and journalist at Print21 told Manufacturers’ Monthly.
“Printing is classified as a manufacturing industry by the ABS since raw materials are 'elaborately transformed.' Why shouldn't they do this with 3D objects? Architectural models to go with plans is a natural for example.”
Shortly after her presentation efforts this week, Fuller will head to the US for a three-month study tour.
Education will continue to be hugely important for those who are well-versed in 3D printing, as it is for those who are attend conferences to try and find out what it’s all about.
“Like so many great new technologies, we have to learn all of the applications after we have invented the means,” offered McCourt.
“It was a French philosopher who said ‘Just because man invents new machines, does not mean he knows what to do with them.’ That's 3D! So we are all learning.”
Mel Fuller and her Three Farm co-founders Grace Turtle and Yasmin Smith will be presenting at NMW’s Digital Hub on Tuesday May 2014 at 11:00 AM - 11:45 AM.
“3D Printing – What’s in it for me?”, featuring Fuller’s keynote address, will run from 6 pm to 8:30 pm at the Chatswood Club on Tuesday. For more information, see www.eventbrite.com.au/e/print-21-seminars-presents-3d-printing-whats-in-it-for-me-tickets-11459033277