The Consumer Electronics Show (aka CES 2016) in Las Vegas was last week and I was there to check out as much as I may in my brief visit (three full days) to the city in the desert. Equite year, I have grand plans to see as much as possible. This year yet, I ended up staying depletely within one venue (the Sands Expo – in addition home to a ton of wearable tech, smart home, and fitness tech, and a enormous hall for startups, which I in addition browsed) for the duration. Sure, I may have favored to hit the other buildings, but my focus was on the 3D printing side of things and, as much as I wanted to visit the other areas, there simply wasn’t adequate time. This is one thing individuals who have never been have a hard time understanding – it’s simply too big for one man to see all things. This might in addition explain why the attendance was over 170,000 individuals with most news outlets and companies sending multiple individuals to see all things.
So, what’s new this year? A lot additional than I expected. Before I arrived, I browsed the show floor map and was a little underwhelmed with what I saw. There didn’t seem to be as most big players with their enormous, splashy booths as last year. But once I arrived, my worry was undiscovereded as there were a lot of big splashy booths, but a lot of partnerships and one booth/most players presenting within. A ideal mirror of the consumer 3D printing industry as a whole.
There were no big ‘reveals’ like previous years in 3DP, in my opinion (there in fact might have been, they simply didn’t hit my radar), which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Here are a few bullet point observations:
- Iterations rather than net new offerings, existing platforms evolving and improving (this is a great thing as the industry consolidates and matures)
- Seems like equiteone is getting into the SLA/DLP game, with most new (alyet familiar) resin-based printing equipment – even 3D Systems (the SLA patent holder) showed off a new SLA platform with a robot arm which prints in minutes, not hours. They all seem to like printing the same model to show off their build area dimensions
- 3D Systems had the sizeablest booth with the most varied selection of technologies and samples on display. The most informative to me was the 3D printed eyeglass frames (deplete with scanning station for correct fit), additional 3D printed food (I had the passion fruit candy – texture was like a sugary Honeycomb, but fruity), and the whole wearables section. And, by wearables, I mean clothing and fashion. Some creative new processes were on display here, such as 3D printing directly onto nylon mesh fabric for a multi-material result which was astonishing, additional shoes which include the Nervous System/New Balance project, jewelry and home furnishings, and even an object printed of asteroid material by Planetary Resources
- MakerBot was literally reduced to a side table within the Stratasys booth (which was tiny compared to the competition, but understandable since it is CES), where they showed off the Smart Extruder+, which appears to fix a pre-existing problem rather than quite be an advance for them.
- There were a lot of sub-$300 printing equipment, as well as a expanding number of quite sizeable format printing equipment
- One of the additional informative new machines was the AIO Robotics Zeus Plus which combines a 3D scanner and printer in one, along with a quite well connected touchscreen which can do all things of run the scanner, search the internet for models, slice for printing, and even walk you through tutorials
- There were a lot of scanners on display this year, with most of them being created on the RealSense 3D technology of Intel
- Similar to the AIO machine, XYZ Printing had a multi-machine on display, but it included a 3D scanner & printer with a laser engraver.
- Voxel8 was back with their ‘electronics 3D printer’ revealing the improvements since last CES with lots of samples of deplete devices created on their machines.
- Getting my own 3D printed tie of Tom & Tracey of the Hazz Design team (and meeting in man!) who interviewed me last year for their 3DP podcast. I wasn’t wearing the right shirt, but our bartender rocked it
- Robo3D had an awe-inspiring booth with a giant 3D printed race track, deplete with cars, multiple fully printed arcade cabinets, a guitar, a giant mascot, and even a few sample packaging revealing a few new ideas for 3DP in retail. They weren’t the just ones revealing the e-Nable prosthetic hands at the show, but they were the just ones printing a lot of them, instead of trinkets, on their display printing equipment
- I got a bunch of exception filament samples to try out, which include a few of 3DFuel which is created of algae, which I’m looking forward to attempting.
- Against my advantageous judgement, I in addition got a new 3D printing pen at the show. I’m usually swift to tell individuals to not bother with them when asked, but I’ve come to like having them while I’m teaching, as it keeps the kids interested and the new one I discovered uses eMate filament, which has a much lower melting point so the pen isn’t just of\ as hot as it needs to be for most filaments. This filament in addition can be put in hot water and sculpted with, so it will be fun to see how the kids experiment with which. This pen is in addition a lot smaller in size than my other ones, so it’s advantageous for kid dimensionsd hands.
There was a lot to see this year…and I was a fewwhat expecting it to be additional of a downturn, but there was a lot of optimism of the vendors I spoke with in the 3DP space, so this continues to be an amazing industry to be involved in.
I’ve got a ton additional photos on Flickr in my CES 2016 album.