This past weekend, we had the opportunity to attend the 2014 Additive Manufacturing Users Group in Tucson, Arizona to showcase Inspire to the Additive Manufacturing community. Below is a brief summary of thoughts and observations regarding the conference.
To be a part of the 600+ attendees and exhibitors in one showroom showcasing the latest and greatest in 3D printing was a pleasure. From prosthetic legs to fully functional jet engines, anything and everything was 3D printed, no matter what shape, size, color or material. We also had the opportunity to attend several networking events where we met many people from different areas of the world who were passionate about 3D printing. This group ranged from graduate students to consulting firms to 3D print manufacturing companies.
While the conference consisted of a large number of attendees and exhibitors (600+), there appeared to be a familial atmosphere. This camaraderie may have been due to the open bar throughout the night; however, it was apparent that the group had developed relationships due to the 3D printing revolution. Being first time exhibitors at the conference, we were approached with many questions regarding our Inspire software. After demoing the software, some attendees went so far as to say we were revolutionizing the design community with the concept of simulation based design. Design engineers among attendees were excited at the new ownership of optimization that Inspire was able to provide. For many, this proved to be a game changer to their traditional design process.
A few hours into the first day of the show, we saw a 3D printed part in our neighboring booth, Renishaw, which looked very familiar. To our surprise, Renishaw, a UK based manufacturer of metal-based additive manufacturing machines, was showcasing some pieces from their recently 3D printed bike frame which included parts designed with Inspire. To see the actual part was exciting after only seeing the concept in Inspire and pictures online. A recent article by DeZeen on this frame can be seen here, which includes a section explaining how Inspire helped Renishaw design this frame.
Inspire can be leveraged with 3D printing by generating concepts with no manufacturing constraints. When this is done a most efficient concept is generated, without the constraints of manufacturing processes like casting or stamping. In the past, Inspire’s “untreated” results were efficient, organic and optimized, but impossible to manufacture due to internal voids and hollow structures. Now these designs are possible to manufacture with 3D printing.