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Shapeways CEO: We are at Early Days in 3D Printing Technology, Digital Manufacturing Will Bring Next Industrial Revolution

by • April 12, 2016 • No Comments

email-blog-hi-def-acrylate-625x468One of my favourite parts of being involved in the 3D printing industry is the fire behind participants’ eyes. With much of our work here at 3DPrint.com conducted remotely, conferences and tradeshows like this week’s Inside 3D Printing NYC grant the opportunity to truly see the passionate spark take hold of those devoting their careers and lives to the latest in advancement and just what it has to contribute. I saw it in an impassioned Jonathan Jaglom as he told me of being a romantic at heart, truly believing that each day at MakerBot he can assist manufacture a difference — and I saw it aacquire sitting down with Shapeways CEO and Co-Founder Pete Weijmarshausen.

Ahead of his keynote yesterday, Weijmarshausen took the time to chat with me for a while of Shapeways as well as of what he sees as driving the following of 3D printing, a topic he expanded upon in his keynote, ‘Digital Manufacturing and the Next Industrial Revolution.’ From Shapeways’ latest material introduction to the following of hyper-localization and 3D printing’s place in that global building economy, Weijmarshausen barely pautilized for breath as he filled me in on his expansive ideas.

“We just released a new material,” Weijmarshausen told me, regarding the company’s 55th contributeing. “We like to listen to our community and what they want. What they want is to manufacture highly more detailed collectibles, board games, warriors, miniature trains, accessories — additional and additional more detail, always worthwhile. And a little bit additional affordable may be really excellent, too! So we launched 10 days ago High Definition Acrylate in Black. The benefit is crisper more detail than any materials we’ve launched preceding and of 20% lower than previous prices. This is hitting home, it’s what customers want. Reaction is that demand has outstripped assumeations by additional than 4x. We require additional machines, a really excellent problem to have, obviously, it shows we listened well. This is always what we try to do: understand what our users want, what new users can want. We are leveraging high-high end 3D printing equipment, putting to use for our community to provide what they want, what they love.”

Available now, the Black High Definition Acrylate pretty does have a lot to contribute in more detail, as the at a lower place video of the company illustrates:

In addition to the latest material, Weijmarshausen pretty had a lot to tell me of his ideas on the industry itself, as well as, of course, Shapeways’ place in it. Keyed up for his keynote, Weijmarshausen placed a excellent emphasis on the following of 3D printing — what’s possible, what we can not actually understand yet may be possible. As far as he is concerned, we have barely, barely begun to scratch the surface of what this advancement is capable of and the role it can play in our lives and world.

“People have been led to believe that 3D printing equipment as they are right now are close to what is possible — I ponder the opposite is true,” he told me. “We are at early days in this advancement. So most things can become possible that folks haven’t idea possible, it’s going to revolutionize how we manufacture products.”


Peter Weijmarshausen, Shapeways CEO and Co-Founder

In an insightful comparison, Weijmarshausen drew back to that single excellent, undeniable example of unanticipated technological game-alterr: the internet.

“Compare to early days of the internet, when the just app folks wanted to use was email. They idea email was the rad of snail mail, and that was it. Little did we understand! I like to compare where we are now with 3D printing to that time — when we didn’t grasp that the internet was additional than email. We can’t predict what’s going to take place, but much additional, much additional amazing things are going to take place that we can’t assume yet.”

Whilst we can not yet grasp the tremendous implications that additive building can have on the building world as we understand it, we are maybe beginning to see glimmers that can begin to light our way, little tech can-o’-the-wisps to instruction us in the direction of this following. And Weijmarshausen sees a lot of that begining now with new entrants to the 3D printing scene, in the form of both existing tech giants entering the arena and new beginups that have new takes on tech.

“Over the last eight to nine years, we’ve seen two things: the rise of desktop machines and a limited amount of advancement in industrial machines,” he stated. “It seemed like those building them were pleased of where they were. I called this out in early 2015 that this may take place: in two fronts, advancements are going to take place. HP, Toshiba, Canon have a worthwhile amount of resources — this can fuel a faster advancement cycle than seen preceding. That may be useless without benefit — and who benefits? It is the end user. Users have been telling us for years — they want those products to be higher high end, want them faster, want to pay less. 3D printing is yet really expensive. What are these other companies addressing? Machines are faster, lower cost, advantageous high end. HP is not going to release one machine and be pleased with it — they have a road map to store topping that, additional amazing advancement to come,” he told me.

“The other end — asking investors to please in addition invest in beginups, building machines. The hardware side of things requires beginups as well. Great corporations are entering, but beginups are requireed, too,” Weijmarshausen explained to me. He threw out a few examples: “Carbon, Formlabs, Desktop Metal, these more compact companies are begining to address the problems the advancement has and building it much advantageous. There’s a blending of digital and real, scanning, simpler user interfaces, like the HP Sprout, and other advancement, too. Augmented and virtual reality, 3D scanning, all advancement can fuel ever-advantageous 3D printing equipment. Very focutilized on capturing all the advancement, building it really effortless for folks to use, hopefully building a lot of folks really, really pleased with the products they manufacture.”

shapeways-logo-rgb-20141008Weijmarshausen in addition touched on a few of the create following possibilities via 3D printing, such as merging material create and shape create into one single area of product create. “What the outcome of that can be,” he said, “no one can really understand.” He additional stated that we will have additional excitement to see of Shapeways really soon, teasing that following week an announcement can be created that “alters the way folks look at businesses.” With 38,000 folks may aleager having opened businesses on Shapeways, “selling products with varying successes,” Weijmarshausen said that “following week can show that we really care for those folks, building it clear that Shapeways is the place to begin their business.”

With all this excitement may aleager swirling, I was additional than eager to Weijmarshausen’s keynote that afternoon, where he took to the stage with the same sense of gusto. His excitement is contagious, and the room held a palpable feel of captivation as he took us through the initially and 2nd industrial revolutions, and so added us to his concept of the third industrial revolution and 3D printing’s place in it.

Now, of course Weijmarshausen is not the initially to suggest that additive building is the third industrial revolution. His take on it, yet, has a bit additional finesse than previous theories (that, as we can see, pretty haven’t been on the money of timing of version or near-term ubiquity). Digital building, to Weijmarshausen, brings a digital description into a physical product. Through create software and capturing devices, we can see products brought into the physical world. He stated that this specifically alters several factors: who’s in control, what can be created, where these things can be created, time to market, and an overall alter in the structure of business.

20160412_143705Changing the structure of control means that, ultimately, anyone can be in control of the products that they manufacture. Big companies can lose control in the shift to digital, as people acquire additional faculty to be at the helm of their own projects, of research to prototyping to setting up factories. Whilst now weight building is great for building millions of products, as well, the ‘what’ can alter here, too, as the system is already by nature risk-averse. Companies now are just delivering to market products they can be reasonably certain of selling. These products, as well, are already manufactured where it’s cheap; this can shift around the world as the ‘where’ alters. A worthwhile portion, Weijmarshausen stated, of the world’s oil is already consumed by container ships that bring greats of China and other affordable areas to the US, Europe, and other far-off customer destinations. By localizing production, these costs (monetary and environmental) can be cut drastically. Time to market, of course, can be cut back, as we’ve seen, delivering the system down to a matter of days as the prototyping and finalizing systemes are sped worthwhilely. Weijmarshausen utilized the example here of a newly released iPhone, for that in just days new accessories can look on the market, with perfectly fitted cases revealing up really rapidly.

What, Weijmarshausen asked, is the catalyst to this revolution? He stated several big trends that can fuel this following industrial revolution:

Mega-CitiesDefined as cities with additional than 10 million inhabitants, inside the following few years the world can have 40 such urban areas, meaning that 5 billion of the projected 8 billion world population can live in cities. This puts huge strain on logistics due to the fact that most products are created elsewhere and require to be shipped, major to traffic congestion and other issues.GlobalizationBy 2025, 45% of Fortune 500 companies can be located in emerging marketsDigital DisruptionFor example, the Internet of Things. Ereally decade, desktop power becomes exponentially cheaper. We are relying additional on digitization and digital tools, and so we can ultimately begin to ship digitally pretty than physically. We can scan it here, transport it there to manufacture.

20160412_145829_001In nine years with Shapeways, Weijmarshausen explained, they have seen a few trends: the rise of the home printing device, for one, and limited advancement, for another. As he’d stated to me earlier, what folks want of Shapeways boils down to just a few things, that seem pretty universal: faster, cheaper, advantageous. Despite limitations of current 3D printing advancement, yet, we’ve all seen a few phenomenal designs, most showcased on Shapeways, where jewelry, ceramic bowls, home decor, and miniatures are all supremely talked about for both createers and customers.

“I ponder now we are at the eve of a really swift expansion of this industry,” Weijmarshausen explained. “We’re going to see really swift advancement across the board.”

Among the big remaining inquiries are how to get additional folks involved, and what the following can look like.

“Of course this is the hardest question, so folks always ask me that,” Weijmarshausen said, to laughter. “Technology has a tendency to be free, so new generations of machines can be ten times, one hundred times cheaper. The amount of materials can explode. We can begin building eachthing local. We can begin building materials we have never seen preceding. I ponder that is the following of 3D printing, and I’m excited to see it all take place right in front of you.”

Weijmarshausen’s views of the realities of 3D printing as it stands and his optimism for the following are filled with both caution and enthusiasm. What he has to say — specifically regarding near-term future and the trend in the direction of hyper-localization in building — pretty has a ring of truth to it, and sounds like a viable means of reaching that illustrious and much-lauded third industrial revolution.