Best of Rapid 3D Printing Expo 2015: 3D Systems
Upon entering the showroom floor, we were greeted by one of the biggest players in 3D Printing: 3D Systems. Without a doubt, 3D Systems had the best booth in the show. They displayed their ProX 200 printer. This hulking piece of machinery had a relatively small build capability of 6 inches cubed. The ProX utilizes 3DSystems’ Direct Metal Printing (DMP) platform, which allows the machine to print chemically pure metal and ceramic parts without the expense of tooling.
Of course, their DMP system has tremendous implication for the medical industry. Currently, implants and prosthetics are mass produced in different sizes. For example, if your grandma needed a hip replacement, surgeons would order a size “medium” hip. Then, they may have to alter your grandma’s pelvic bones to make it fit just right. With 3D printed implants made from titanium, doctors will be able to make customized prosthetics that are properly fitted – reducing the need to scrape away at a skeleton. The highly detailed and accurate anatomical parts would be invaluable for medical research, allowing practitioners to examine a patient’s unique physiology and/or skeletal structure before proceeding with a surgery.
A few of 3DS’s other printers are capable of printing in full color. These models were vivid, tangible recreations of homes or transmissions. In addition to having producing realistic architectural models, these printers could create accurate anatomical parts for medical class rooms.
3D Systems is, without a doubt, the most exciting company in the industry. From medical applications to simple everyday architecture, they are building machines that may shape what’s to come. My only regret is that they were not able to bring their ChefJet or CocoJet, printers which make edible models from – you guessed it – sugar and/or chocolate.