TCT 2017 - Behind the Scenes with E3D
It’s mid October 2017 and here at E3D we can’t quite believe how fast the year’s flying by. With the launch of Titan Aero nearly 6 months ago, along with supplying our HotEnds to many open source 3D printer manufacturers (Lulzbot, Prusa, Dagoma to name a few), we’re delighted that the E3D ecosystem has become synonymous with reliable, high performance 3D printing.
A highlight so far, as always, has been the TCT show in Birmingham, UK. This annual trade show and conference has become a key event in the industry calendar, and it's been an honour to see the growth, refinement and impetus driving additive manufacturing. It’s fantastic to both watch and be a part of. The show always gives us a chance to catch up with the whole community, and to show you guys what we’re spending all of our time doing (other than making HotEnds of course).
We thought we’d share a taste of the show with you for anyone who missed it! Here’s the E3D version…
Behind the Scenes
Setting up for the show is always peppered with major and minor calamities, usually related to the disproportionate E3D staff to Hi-Vis vests ratio. This year the problem was exacerbated by the new office pet, who insisted on having his own to wear.
We were joined this year by Tim from Filastruder, a prominent stateside E3D reseller and thoroughly nice chap. He probably wasn’t expecting to actually build the stand he’d be attending, but there’s nothing better for bonding than having your face in a team-members armpit as you both wrestle with the overhead banners. Sorry, Tim.
The industry we're in is so young that many of its founders and key influencers tend to be at many of its trade shows around the globe. Perhaps one of the biggest influences on E3D, and certainly the reason we exist in the first place, is Dr Adrian Bowyer of Bath University who of course started the entire Rep Rap project. Although RepRap Pro have closed their doors, Adrian's still a key figure at the forefront of research. His social updates are a joy to follow and we enjoy the rare insights he gives into his innovative world.
So, of course, a prime photobombing candidate.
But it wasn't just Adrian in attendance, and if you were attending the show it was almost impossible to miss bumping into at least one familiar face.
Duet are good friends of ours and we hope to be doing a lot more with them in the near future. You'll soon be able to find the very popular DuetWifi on the E3D store. But what really impressed us at the show was this crazy 3D printer:
Quality time with our Partners...
We always enjoy spending time with our many partner companies that build printers with E3D parts. It gives us the opportunity to understand them as more than just a company, and to learn what we can do to help and support them.
This year we were fortunate to spend time with the team at Prusa Research - as you'll know, they make an incredible machine. It's been enjoyable working together on projects like hotends for reliable multi-material printing and it's always great to bounce ideas back and forth with their whole engineering team.
But while there’s all that, it also turns out that the good people at Prusa Research are a jolly fun bunch, and that Jo Prusa is surprisingly adept at giving lions face-tattoos (more on our new lion-friend in a moment).
Next stop is an E3D visit to Prusa HQ in Prague (which of course will need a whole blogpost in itself), to check out the facilities they’ve recently moved into, and to get a peek at the print farm being put to the test with all those pre-orders for the recently-announced Prusa i3 Mk3.
An Open Sauce Dinner
It's an easy jump from 'open source' to 'open sauce', and it was an obvious choice for the naming of our new (maybe annual?) dinner. Lacking a gathering of purely open-source goodness, we decided it would be fun to get back to grass roots whilst we were all in one place. The inaugural location was a burger joint, naturally - the fuel of many a print session.
In all seriousness, it was a real honour to have so much of the community together. We could endlessly list names here, but instead why don’t you try to spot who’s in the crowd?
From 'just grabbing a burger', the Open Sauce dinner grew into a gathering of over 60, partying until 3am. Both a casino and a scary stretch of dual carriageway were involved, but the good news is that nobody perished, no money was lost (worst casino customers ever!), and the show continued the next morning with only slightly weary faces (and only a little more caffeine than usual).
The King of the Jungle
Introducing Roary, the new office pet. Stunningly designed by Louise Driggers, Roary is the king of beasts. Quite fitting for our legendary ecosystem of HotEnds and parts! We'll be writing a lot more about him and his modeller, Loubie, really soon.
See you all next year at TCT 2018!