Last week, we demonstrated the Discov3ry Complete as a guest of Ultimaker at the Additive Manufacturing Show Europe in Amsterdam. This was our second trip to the European Union (the first being the TCT Show in October 2015). As with many shows where we demonstrate our technology, people still can’t believe we are able to directly print using soft materials like silicone. There was certainly a great deal of intrigue as visitors would stop by to see actual 3D printing with silicone.
As the show focused on the industry sectors for Automotive, Aerospace, and Bionics, we printed representative items for each. For automotive & aerospace, we printed red gasket silicone. This is a high-performance silicone for heavy duty use that can withstand temperatures ranging from -54 C to 343 C (-65 F to 650 F). It also resists degradation from engine fluids.
Then we printed an orthotic shoe insert for bionics. These proof-of-concept orthotics were done using RTV silicone caulk, which is great for prototyping and design optimization. However, due to the acetic acid by-product, this material would definitely not be suitable for direct, prolonged skin contact. For a real world, patient-specific print, we would certainly use medical grade silicone, which is platinum cured.
The rest of the show consisted of companies showcasing tall 3D printers, or tall prints like this 2.5 meter Saturn V rocket, which took 3500 hours on 4 Ultimaker printers to make.
What made the show really special, though, was meeting and working with the Ultimaker team and the extended Ultimaker community and resellers. These were all 3D printing enthusiasts who love their jobs, and love pushing the boundaries of 3D printing to new heights. There were many questions about the Discov3ry, so it was great to handle a forum discussion in-person, one-on-one with these community builders. Additionally, these people taught me some new things about the Ultimaker printers and Cura that I did not know, and look forward to testing.
We arrived back in Canada on Canada Day, and while it felt great to come home again, it also felt good to know we have a new home, a new community we belong to.
Structur3D Printing gratefully acknowledges funding from the Canadian Digital Media Network, for helping companies reach new markets.