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Innovation is Bigger in Texas

SXSW 2018 Recap: Inside Look at 3D Printing Innovation in Austin, Texas

Picture of Claire Sembera
by Claire Sembera
Mar 21, 2018

SXSW 2018 Recap: Inside Look at 3D Printing Innovation in Austin, Texas

Last week, All3DP took a trip to SXSW 2018, the renowned tech, film, and music festival in Austin, Texas. There was a ton of 3D printing innovation going on throughout the event. Check out our SXSW 2018 recap here!

South by South West, aka SXSW, started as a small music festival in Austin, Texas with a mere 700 attendees back in 1987. It has since blown up into a 10-day festival that takes over the entire city. Expanding to include technology and film, in addition to the music, SXSW now attracts almost half a million attendees from all corners of the world. It has become the place to introduce new technologies and and learn all about “what’s next”.

“At its core, SXSW remains a tool for creative people to develop their careers by bringing together people from around the globe to meet, learn and share ideas.” – Roland Swenson, SXSW Managing Director

This year, we decided we had to check it out for ourselves and bring you all the cutting edge uses of 3D printing that were presented at SXSW 2018.

The festival, which ended last week, included a number of innovative 3D printing showcases. Here’s a recap of what we saw:

SXSW 2018 Gigabot X

Image of SXSW 2018: Gigabot X

re:3D is a small company out of Houston, Texas that is taking a different approach to 3D printing. This year at SXSW 2018 they soft launched their new Gigabot X. This 3D printer is not for the faint at heart, offering a print bed size of 42″ x 42″ x 51″ (106 cm x 106 cm x 129 cm). In addition, this printer uses plastic pellets instead of filament. This enables the use of recycled plastics, as it’s much easier to turn recycled plastic into pellets than a uniform strand of filament.

Learn more about Gigabot X here: Gigabot X can 3D Print with Recycled Plastic Pellets


Image of SXSW 2018: ICON
Source: ICON

The talk of not only the festival, but the whole town this year, was ICON’s 3D printed houses. Have you ever heard of a home being built in a day? Well now ICON is 3D printing 650 square-feet homes within 12-24hrs. If that’s not enough of an awe factor, consider the fact that they are attempting to get the price down for each home to just $4,000. They intend to use this technology to tackle the housing shortage for the homeless around the world.

Read more: Live at SXSW: $4,000 3D Printed Homes for Those Who Lack Shelter

SXSW 2018 Archileon

Image of SXSW 2018: Archileon

Meet Archileon – the “Small Construction System Robot”.

Students are known for thinking outside of the box and coming up with unusual, creative solutions. This is especially true for a group of students from the University of Tokyo who didn’t agree with the restriction of straight walls and hard edges. Inspired by Gaudi, they decided beauty lies in curves. Therefore, they wanted to “make curved walls that are easy to be built.” With this in mind, they came up with a robot that 3D prints a concrete-like fly ash polymer.

They are currently still in the design phase of this project, but have successfully printed a 12cm tall wall, stopping only because they ended up running out of material.

Learn more and see a video of Archileon in action on Kickstarter.

SXSW 2018 WTFFF?! 3D Printing Podcast

Image of SXSW 2018: WTFFF?! 3D Printing Podcast
Source: 3dstartpoint.com

Tracy and Tom Hazzard have been putting out the podcast WTFFF?! 3D Printing since 2016. And no, the name is not an millennial-ized acronym for profanity, but rather stands for “What The Fused Filament Fabrication”. They detail all different aspects of 3D printing, going more in depth and giving explanations alongside numerous guests within the industry.

This year at SXSW 2018, the podcast team did a live filming with guest Jay Samit, talking about his new book, titled Disrupt You!, and about disruptive technology.

SXSW 2018 M3D

Image of SXSW 2018: M3D
Source: printM3D.com

M3D was located on the trade floor with a few printers to show. They had their Micro 3D printer on show. But what was more exciting is they were presenting two new printers: M3D Promega, featuring the ability to have four filament inputs feeding into one nozzle, and Snapmaker, a 3D printer, laser engraver, and CNC carver all-in-one.  Both of these new printers are available for pre-order.

We recently published in-depth previews about both of these 3D printers. Check ’em out below!

Snapmaker: 3-in-1 Snapmaker 3D Printer: Review the Facts Here!

Promega: M3D Promega 3D Printer: Review The Facts Here!

SXSW 2018 La Miam Factory

Image of SXSW 2018: La Miam Factory

La Miam Factory came to SXSW 2018 all the way from Belgium to show off its 3D printed chocolate. Yes, you can now have Belgium chocolate 3D printed into your favorite design or even your company logo. Chemist and chef Gaetan Richard, one of the co-founders, has somehow made it so the chocolate tastes BETTER once it’s 3D printed. There are no additives – just pure delicious Belgium chocolate.

They are currently limited due to the brittleness of the printed chocolates, but they have big plans to expand this sweet concept all over the world.

SXSW 2018 Open Meals

Image of SXSW 2018: Open Meals
Source: Mashable

Chocolate was not the only 3D printed food presented at SXSW 2018. Open Meals is 3D printing sushi in a fun pixelated form. They print each 8-bit cube in different flavors, and then have a robot arm assemble the cubes into a pixelated form of your chosen dish. They brought this robot to the trade floor and you could watch it assemble a full meal, one cube at a time.

Read more about it: Live at SXSW: Open Meals Shows Off 3D Printed 8-Bit Sushi

SXSW 2018 STEM3000

Image of SXSW 2018: STEM3000

STEM3000 had a fun interactive session at SXSW 2018, where they presented the Bird Feeder 3000. Jennifer Gallegos and Matt Sparks sought to combine all the exciting technologies of this day and age into one project. With this seemingly simple object, a bird feeder, they combined virtual reality & 360° cameras, artificial intelligence, citizen science, 3D printing, and the Internet of Things.

How does a bird feeder come into play with this? Gallegos and Sparks designed a bird feeder that they 3D printed. They installed a 360° camera that translates the captured images into virtual reality, allowing the user feel as though they inside the bird feeder. Still shots from these cameras can then be run through Merlin Bird ID from the Cornell Lab, which uses AI to identify the birds visiting the bird feeder. With a bit of user interaction, this information can then be sent to Project Feeder Watch to track bird migrations and help scientists with other bird related research. Lastly, they incorporated a weather station that tracks temperature and humidity and sends this information to your smart phone via the IoT.

It was quite impressive to see all cutting edge technologies combined into one object.

Featured image source: Schmoozd

License: The text of "SXSW 2018 Recap: Inside Look at 3D Printing Innovation in Austin, Texas" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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