3D Printing 4D Printing’s Network of Research/ Artificial Intelligence.

Formnext forum Austin navigating the future of 3D Printing in an unpredictable world.

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The 3D printing and additive manufacturing (AM) industry has always felt like it’s on the verge of something big, only to face setbacks. Just when it’s about to make significant strides, unexpected hurdles arise, setting it back. Formnext Forum Austin 2023 hinted at the possibility of a year filled with uninterrupted progress in the 3D printing world. In this blog post, we’ll explore the key takeaways from this event and why 2024 might be a pivotal year for the industry.
Formnext Forum’s choice of Austin for its inaugural event reflects the journey of the AM sector itself—full of fits and starts. Interestingly, the event will not return to Austin in the coming years; instead, it will move to Chicago in 2024 and 2025. This shift mirrors the industry’s history, adapting and evolving based on the available choices and conditions at hand.
Much like the AM industry, which has had to navigate through challenges, including the choice of event location, Formnext Forum Austin faced logistical hurdles due to its timing and location. But, it’s also a testament to the resilience of the industry and its ability to adapt.
Formnext Forum Austin proved to be a unique and social experience for attendees. Despite the scorching Texas heat and outdoor gatherings, participants found themselves enjoying the camaraderie. It was more like an indoor company barbecue with presentations, fostering connections and relationships within the AM community.
The significance of 2024 as a turning point for the AM industry became apparent during the event. Several developments, including Apple’s confirmation of using 3D printing for the Apple Watch Ultra, signaled a shift. This move towards using AM for consumer electronics suggests that the industry is on the brink of significant changes.
While 2024 holds promise, the AM sector faces two major challenges—workforce development and cybersecurity. The need for a skilled workforce in the manufacturing sector is greater than ever, and cybersecurity is essential for the industry’s growth.
To overcome these challenges, collaboration is crucial. Industry players, including 3D printing OEMs, need to work together towards a common goal. Samuel Manning from Markforged emphasized the importance of unity within the sector, paving the way for future success.
Formnext Forum Austin 2023 offered a glimpse into an exciting and unpredictable future for the 3D printing and additive manufacturing industry. While challenges lie ahead, the spirit of collaboration and the resilience of the AM community provides hope for a year of unprecedented progress in 2024 and beyond. The journey may have been filled with ups and downs, but it’s clear that the industry is on the cusp of something transformative.

8 hours. By Matt Kremenetsky.

The Storm Before the Storm: Formnext Forum Austin Signals the Dizzying Year ahead for 3D Printing.

Coffee-powered 3D Printing brewing sustainable creations

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Imagine sipping your morning coffee and then using the same coffee grounds to craft intricate objects like jewelry, plant pots, or even espresso cups. It may sound like science fiction, but it’s precisely what a team of researchers led by Michael Rivera, an assistant professor at CU Boulder, has accomplished. Their innovative method involves transforming used coffee grounds, water, and a few sustainable additives into a versatile 3D printing paste. Rivera and his team have explored the possibilities of this eco-friendly approach, demonstrating its potential at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Designing Interactive Systems conference in Pittsburgh this summer. The implications are far-reaching, making 3D printing more sustainable and accessible to a broader audience.

The magic of this method lies in its simplicity. The coffee grounds are mixed with cellulose gum and xanthan gum, common food additives that readily degrade in compost. Water is then added to achieve a peanut butter-like consistency. While this coffee paste can’t be directly loaded into a standard 3D printer, Rivera has ingeniously adapted the technology by modifying a printer with plastic tubes and a syringe filled with the coffee paste. What’s truly remarkable is the resilience of the creations. Once the coffee paste objects dry, they are as robust as unreinforced concrete. They can withstand drops and rough handling, showcasing their durability.

The applications for coffee grounds 3D printing are diverse. For instance, coffee-based planters can nurture seedlings for acid-loving plants like tomatoes. When the seedlings grow tall enough, you can plant them directly in the ground, pot and all. The coffee paste can also be enhanced with activated charcoal to create conductive components, perfect for sustainable electronics such as buttons. While 3D printing with coffee grounds may not become mainstream, it represents a crucial step toward discovering sustainable alternatives to plastics in the 3D printing realm. Michael Rivera’s innovative approach demonstrates that with a dash of creativity and humble coffee grounds, we can reduce plastic waste and brew a more sustainable future for technology and the environment. It seems that with coffee, anything is possible.

This blog post draws insights from the research conducted by Michael Rivera, an assistant professor at the ATLAS Institute and Department of Computer Science at CU Boulder.