Another CES has come and gone so kicking off what is undoubtedly going to be a killer 2016 for electronics, 3D printing, and connected everything.

As first-time attendees, we left Kitchener last week with our walking shoes on hoping we were prepared for what was ahead of us, and as hoped, we were in our element - New technology…*drool*  

Our ‘home base’ for the week was at the HAX Booth which was consistently busy, busy, busy. We loved the great showing from KW with Voltera and Bartesian also having product and samples at the booth.  It was a great place to kick-off the week.

3D Printing at CES 2016

CES is definitely a big draw for showing off innovation, and the 3D printing market is clearly growing in a very diverse way. There are more players entering the SLA (stereolithography) and DLP (digital light processing) space, and there is definitely a growing interest in printing with specialized materials, like as seaweed filament, which made us quite happy. (Shameless plug: if you want to move beyond filament printing, you can print with all sorts of paste materials with a Discov3ry Paste Extruder).

We were also really impressed and excited by the innovation we saw in the products themselves. CES 2016 had a stronger focus on introducing new and evolved products than the other conferences we’ve been to over the past year which often focused more on the tools and processes. One new printer we stopped to look at was Polaroid’s newly launched 3D Printer. We're looking forward to seeing how they make out.

Networking at CES

As many people know, there’s more to CES than just the booths on the show floor. The networking opportunities with key industry players can be invaluable when walking around from exhibit to exhibit. 3D Systems had one of the bigger showings with the ChefJet Food 3D Printer, and Stratasys/Makerbot also had a decent turnout. Honorable mentions go out to Robo3D, Form1, NewPro3d, Flashforge, XYZ, Voxel8, and Lulzbot who we also had a chance to chat with.

Ultimaker threw a really great 3D printing meetup which we were able to attend. We met with many awesome people from all areas in the consumer 3D FDM area; from users to printer companies to vendors.

You really never know who you may run in to, or get the chance to speak with, so it’s worth keeping your eyes open and cameras at the ready. Sadly, Charles was a little too slow to capture Stevie Wonder and Shaq passing by.

Key learnings for anyone planning to attend for their first time next year

  • Plan to network. Bring lots of business cards and sample product you can carry around. Never know who you may meet.
  • Plan to walk – a lot. Comfortable walking shoes are a must. Our Pebbles said we walked 35,000+ a day!
  • Take advantage of meet-up and after-party invites. Again, networking opportunities pop up all week.
  • A booth is not always necessary. By having the freedom to walk the floor we had the flexibility to move around and seek others out for meetings.
  • Book early. Hotels and flights fill up early. Try to plan ahead.

With so many companies harnessing 3D printing for products like drones, footwear and food, it isn’t surprising to see the growth in new form factors from the very small to the very large.

Until next year Vegas….