After visiting the 3D print show the conclusion was that it would be great to invest one of the mid range 3D printers, the technology looks great and the growing range of different print materials such as the organic cardboard looking pots you can see below is impressive.
The way the printers work printing from the top down does course some design issues and some shapes you can print are limited. The way the process works by adding small micro dots of plastic layering up on top of each other does create a very slight texture to the finish of the 3d model. Most of the lower end 3d printers only print with one material at a time but this can be swapped.
One thing that printers such as the Ultimaker 2 suffers with is creating really smooth surfaces but I guess with a touch of sanding down the final finish could be improved. Organic craft-like models that were outputted were the most impressive, to get decent prototypes out with a nice smooth finish would need to be outputted with the higher end printers. It looks like the .STL file format was the standard for the lower end models rather than full on CAD file types such as iges, but models can be converted to stl quite easily.
One area that was very impressive was the medical area, 3d printing is a great tool for producing 3D elements to replace bones, dental features and far more…..
We also got a body scan done by 3D scanning specialists, QUOD, we should get the 3D model sent from them very soon.
We would love to get our hands on a 3D printer & have a keen eye on the Ultimaker 2, not 100% sure if it would be a good financial investment for SuperCreative at the moment but they look a great deal of fun.