Fabian Backer March 11, 2015

We have always believed (and still do) that people feel the need to express themselves, more than ever before, in a world where standardization seems to be the rule. Just returning from this year’s Rapid Pro, the annual 3D printing event in the Netherlands, it’s always great to see that people are looking for original ways to add value to their products, personal touches to their lives, and to make the world around them a little bit more their own. Now we can do this in even more ways by adding aluminum printing to our industrial repertoire – which was announced by Materialise CEO Fried Vancraen during the event. Joining the more over 20 other materials printed at Materialise’s Factory for 3D Printing, 3D printing metal makes it possible to have design flexibility that is unheard of with traditional methods, which is ideal for creating lightweight parts and integrating functionality. At RapidPro, we had the chance to meet and speak to lots of people interested in aluminum printing and all the other possibilities of 3D Printing at Materialise. We had one booth set up in the industrial section and another on display in the home professionals’ zone.

Lightweight Structures, Aluminum Printing and More at RapidPro Industrial

At our booth for industrial customers, businesses were able to learn about how they can do more in their companies with 3D printing for rapid prototyping or manufacturing. Those interested in personalization were drawn to the design-era-inspired Panasonic camera covers. Designed by WertelOberfell, these push the technological boundaries of 3D Printing in terms of intricate details and material thicknesses – or rather “thinness”.

Photo credit: WertelOberfell
Photo credit: WertelOberfell

Visitors could also hold lightweight structures in their hands, such as the Scherf shoe and new lightweight aluminum parts, to see how 3D Printing can make almost anything strong with less weight than traditional methods. The large door panel that we recently printed really turned heads. Even after 15 years of mammoth printing, visitors are still impressed by the size that we can print in one piece, without compromising the level of details. The car door also showed the range of our finishing degrees as this door looked more like a door you’d see on the road rather than a prototype. Car door prototype Materialise

Beyond Plastics – 3D Printing in Metals and Ceramics at RapidPro Home Professional

At i.materialise’s booth, hobbyists and designers were able to learn more about our online 3D printing service and see a selection of objects that were 3D printed by i.materialise, including some of our slotcars and Cathrien Orie’s Trash Cans. They were furthermore able to see, touch and feel our 3D printing materials including new color options for gold, ceramics and PA-AF (Aluminum Filled).

“Trash Can” created by Cathrien Orie
“Trash Can” created by Cathrien Orie for the Andy Warhol Challenge

Wim Verstraeten, the i.materialise Business Process Manager, gave a presentation about “Beyond Plastics – 3D Printing in Metals and Ceramics”. It showed once again that i.materialise is an interesting alternative for home professionals when ordering high-quality parts in various different materials.

3D-printed slotcars from the Euromold race
3D-printed slotcars from the Euromold race.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booths and we hope to see you at the Materialise World Conference to find out more about our 3D printing software and services! Check out i.materialise and our Factory for 3D Printing to learn more about our services and solutions!

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