RAPID is THE rapid manufacturing conference where all the suppliers showcase their latest products. Robert, our Operations Manager, traveled to Florida to see what's cooking.
This year's RAPID Conference did not have many major surprises or big announcements. Still, there was a lot of interesting product development going on, some of which could be very interesting for Shapeways in the future.
Stratasys was there with their new line of machines including the huge FDM900mc which allows build sizes up to 91 x 61 x 91 cm. Objet had their new Connex500 machine which can print in two materials at the same time including blending these two materials to create even more options. And EOS introduced two new materials; a plastic and a metal.
Stratasys is now selling the ReadyPart equipment they already introduced for their RedEye service. It makes FDM parts smooth and watertight. The equipment was not on the showfloor but it is some kind of vapor deposition onto the part. It felt indeed very smooth.
An interesting product I had not seen before was from xlaForm. Their ProSystem is a full penetration resin system for ZCorp printed 3D models (here's a short video of the process). In other words they fix the issue with ZCorp 3D printed models. They are no longer brittle and easy to break, but become strong and actually usable.
The best quote I heard was "It's all about what the customer wants". We could not agree more!