Inside RAPID + TCT 2018, in Texas [Image: Fabbaloo]
Inside RAPID + TCT 2018, in Texas [Image: Fabbaloo]

RAPID + TCT 2019 is coming to Detroit, and so are we.

All of Team Fabbaloo (that’s Kerry, Marney, and me) will be spending the full week at the show, along with much of the 3D printing industry. With around 430 exhibiting companies and an anticipated 6,000+ attendees, it’s going to be a Very Busy Week.

This event has grown over the years along with additive manufacturing, as RAPID + TCT is the largest additive-focused annual event in North America.

This year we’re expecting some big things, based on impressions, embargoed press releases, invitations, and pre-briefings — and the general spirit of a major industry event.


Detroit, the Motor City, may not sound like the most exciting location for the industry, but it makes total sense. The legacy automotive history and proximity to a great number of industry facilities — I’ll be visiting at least two during the week, and unfortunately couldn’t fit even more into the limited few days — means we’ll be in a hub of additive manufacturing. Detroit is within the legacy Rust Belt, which has been revitalizing as the Tech Belt (along with my own HQ of Cleveland, Ohio, and through previous RAPID host city Pittsburgh).

Frankly, the last time I was in Detroit, after having not visited for years, I left impressed. There’s a great food scene (which bodes well for the after-hours gatherings) and plenty going on in medical, automotive, and other 3D-heavy application areas. It’s worth noting that the last time I was in Detroit was to visit Henry Ford Health System, which since that trip has seen its 1,000th patient treated using 3D printed heart models.

So, Detroit, here we come!


Inside Cobo Center, the exhibit floor will hold a concentrated landscape of some of the biggest players in 3D printing today.

My schedule this year is completely filled, and was for a couple of weeks ahead of the event, which is great — there are a lot of conversations I’m really looking forward to having, and dedicated one-on-one sit-down time is my preferred means of going through tradeshows, to dig in. BUT it’s also a problem; if 430 companies are there, that means that’s 390 I don’t get to sit down with.

Fortunately Kerry and Marney will be taking their preferred tradeshow route and making an effort to visit as many booths as possible, along with the press conferences, luncheons, and other media events that crop up.

Between the three of us, we’re hoping to again get a solid look at this industry.

RAPID + TCT 2019 is hosting, it seems to me, more materials and metals companies than ever before, as well as a noticeably larger international presence.

Many companies have recently been announcing international office openings, and several of those have included European entities setting up shop in the US, so we can expect to see more newly-local suppliers.


And of course, the expertise gathered at RAPID + TCT means a full agenda available of promising scheduled talks and panels. I’m very much looking forward to the keynotes, which are always a highlight for this event.

There are mainstage talks, as well as smaller sessions; it’s a full schedule well worth a look to see what can fit into a day.

Two sessions I’m definitely making time for are the #3DTalk co-hosted by Women in 3D Printing and Cyant, set to discuss certification and automation and followed by the Women in 3D Printing happy hour, and the Protolabs and GE Additive panel discussion on their collaboration with designer Zac Posen for the 2019 Met Gala. I’m moderating the second panel, so that was an easy one to ensure I scheduled in; it’s going to be a really fun one to dig into the intersection between fashion and technology.

Many, many more speakers and panels are on the full conference agenda, which you can check out here.

See You There?

It’s going to be a busy week in Detroit! Will we see you there?

Contact us via email or Twitter to connect during the week. Our daily schedules are busy, but we’re keeping networking events on our calendars to spend some more casual catch-up time.

We’ll also have some of our tried-and-true tips shortly for a busy show, so stay tuned. (And remember: wear comfortable shoes!)


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