There are an enormous number of options for 3D printing these days.
This makes it all the more difficult to get involved. In earlier days, the number of commercial vendors was countable on one hand, and a similar state was present in the inexpensive desktop 3D printing world some years ago, too.
But that’s all changed.
Now we find dozens, perhaps hundreds of 3D printer companies: manufacturers, services, analysts, content providers, meta-layer operations, suppliers and others, each competing for your dollar.
These companies often partner with each other to amplify their effects: a 3D printer manufacturer may partner with a materials supplier, and both companies benefit.
But these relationships sometimes cloud the space; a new entrant to the world of 3D printing may be captured by such a corporate relationship and unnecessarily aligned with a particular set of suppliers. While there may be some benefits, there is the question of costs and missing out on other potentially better opportunities.
It’s very typical for a newbie to simply approach a well-known company and begin their journey there. Of course, the company will overly promote their products, even if there is the slightest fit. It’s a competitive world.
However, one company seems to be doing the opposite. UK-based Addition Design & Research is a company that provides strategic advice to those using 3D printing. They explain:
As a dedicated strategic partner to our clients we provide end-to-end design and manufacturing solutions, maximising the real opportunities in additive manufacturing and 3D printing through advanced industrial design and research. It is this multi-disciplinary approach combined with extensive knowledge of AM processes that sets us apart for any company engaging with additive manufacturing as an industrial production tool.
While they offer a number of research and development services related to 3D printing, they now offer a new introductory course on the technology. They explain:
With a fully impartial approach, the purpose of the course is to offer a realistic, interactive one-day event for attendees to investigate if, when and how 3D printing affords real opportunities for their business.
The Addition Design & Research training course has been specifically designed to allow attendees to decide for themselves if any of the additive technologies are relevant for them. All of the sessions will provide a grounded, realistic approach that remains interactive throughout the day, providing overviews of the different additive processes and materials, their benefits and the challenges involved with integration into existing workflows.
They take great effort to explain what they will not do in this session:
- Preach at attendees about what they should be doing with 3D printing.
- Wax lyrical about 3D printing as a technology that can solve every manufacturing problem.
- Lecture attendees about 3D printing in any way.
Bravo! This is certainly a breath of fresh air, after seeing countless other conferences, sessions, webinars that tend to do these things.
It should not be about trying to trick someone into buying your product; It should be about truly seeing if a technology is appropriate or not for each and every situation.
The company is offering their first instance of this course this coming September in the UK. I suspect that if they find the event successful, they will do more and in other locations.