We’ve just completed a busy several days at the London 3D Printshow, where quite a number of interesting things occurred.
We prefer attending this particular show as it has a character unmatched by other shows, which tend to be exclusively business-focused. The 3D Printshow is unique in that it has a genuine community of like-minded folks from across the globe, all deeply interested in the success of 3D printing. This community includes not only business folks, but creative artists, designers, students and hobbyists. The entire spectrum of 21st century 3D printing users was present, at least as represented by their categories.
The show included numerous show floor booths, each demonstrating their products or discoveries. This is one of the key differences between 3D Printshow and other events: the booths are NOT all product vendors. At this show, you’ll always find non-vendors, such as scientists or researchers wishing to show off their latest findings, discoveries and inventions. This sense of the community “coming together” persists well beyond the show hours itself and continues into extended conversations and “outside” events, including the annual 3D Printshow Global Awards.
We were able to participate directly by operating the brand new “Knowledge Bar”. Along with team members Richard Horne of RichRap fame and Wojtek Grabczak, we continually answered all types of questions about 3D printing from the public. Their questions were surprisingly deeper than we expected, signifying the public has gone beyond the “what is it?” phase we observed last year.
Here’s our quick video of a portion of the show floor to give you a taste of what you missed.
Over the next week we’ll be writing of our findings from the show, of which there are several. But for now we’ll leave you with an amazing story that occurred at the close of the event.
A very old man approached the Knowledge Bar with but an hour to go before closing. The fellow said he was aged 90, and looked so, although the sparkle in his eyes indicated his curiosity at the magical machines sitting within nearby booths.
After hearing his personal story, which included being trained as a bomber navigator in World War II and performing harrowing airborne search and rescue missions off the coast of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) while being pursued by enemy Japanese fighters, we asked him a simple question: "Why are you here?" He said, with a laugh:
I live very near here [the venue], and I often walk past and wondered what goes on inside. The door was open, so I came in.
Before you ask, he did have a paid ticket. We then explained in very basic terms what he was seeing: personal 3D printers, capable of printing not paper, but whole objects that you can pick up and hold in your hand. He suddenly lit up and exclaimed:
It’s like your own factory!