We absolutely loved TCT, the 3D printing show held at the NEC in Birmingham on 25th-27th September – and there was just so much to see that we never thought we’d be able to fit it all in one blog! But we’ve managed to narrow down some of the most impressive people, companies, and themes that we ran into at the three-day event.
Recycling at schools is about to get interesting
Children are taught recycling in an abstract way: seeing rubbish thrown into differently coloured bins that are collected by hi-vis jackets – and then it just disappears, just like their normal rubbish! We believe that kids should be more engaged with the recycling process, from understanding the different types of plastic, to collecting plastic to 3D recycle at school. What was once seen as ‘waste’ or ‘rubbish’ will then be transformed in front of their eyes into something beautiful, useful, or fun.
At TCT, we spoke to Philip Cotton, who educates teachers on 3D printing – a topic that is gaining momentum in schools and is started to be used to teach STEM subjects. Teachers are struggling to gain content for their students, and our Strooder can reduce a school’s costs, and increase the educational benefit of 3D printing. We want to see kids experimenting with coloured dyes, smells, and non-plastic materials like sawdust or carbon fibre. We’ll keep you posted on this exciting opportunity!
Air quality and 3D printing are now working together
We met ProtoPro at TCT, a company producing air scrubbers and 3D printer enclosures – preventing potentially harmful particulates from melting plastic from entering the atmosphere. ProtoPro is making it safer for 3D printers to be used in smaller, more enclosed spaces like schools, so you can focus on your creations. We can’t wait to get collaborating with ProtoPro, and they’ll be making a tester air filter for our Strooder. If everything goes well, we’ll be able to offer this to our customers so you can experiment with more plastics, safely.
The 3D printing industry is expanding
We’ve been offering bespoke product design for a while – otherwise known as DISCPAC, or Distributed Simultaneous Co-Production and Consumption. Others in the 3D printing industry are catching on, and this type of on-demand manufacturing is progressively becoming the norm. Our Strooder’s design is perfectly crafted for this, giving 3D printing designers complete control over how they work.
But 3D scanning is still industrial
Whilst what we saw was very impressive, we would like to see 3D scanning enter the home and be more consumer friendly: anyone could use this to find dimensions of their room for furniture, feet for shoe designs, glasses frames . . . the list is endless! We see 3D scanning making its way to mobile phones with the release of the iPhone X, and before long we believe that it will become second nature.
The Strooder could be about to get hot
Hundreds of those who visited our stand had never heard of filament extruders, and couldn’t believe that they could save money and the planet by producing plastic at home. We even ran into a PEEK printer company – a plastic used in engineering – who are interested in collaborating if we could create a Strooder that works faster and hotter. We also chatted to 3D artisans who would love a simpler version of the Strooder: without a user interface that only works with one type of material. We’ll be hitting the drawing boards once again!
We didn’t really want to leave
Attendees at the TCT Show just loved the Strooder. Retailers were impressed enough with our demo Strooder to discuss stocking our range – both nationally and internationally. We sold a few directly and watched people walk away with their new Strooders, and we even sold one to a businessman based in China who wants to use it for a rollout scheme. His focus is being more environmentally friendly, exactly why we created the Strooder in the first place. We’ll be working closely with him to create a general recycling scheme in China to collect plastic waste in local areas, transforming the landfill sites there and giving something back.
If you want to see what all of the fuss is about, then just head here to see a Strooder in action – or you can read about why education is so vital for 3D printing, and what sort of filament you should be using.