Expo Highlights Rapid Innovation in 3D Printing

A 3D printing expo is featuring everything from 3D printing for the environment to 3D printing for your health and wellbeing. Time Warner Cable News’ tech reporter Adam Balkin filed this report.

Imagine using a 3D printer to create something unique and while doing so, helping the environment – it’s just one of the ways 3D printing continues to show how it’s evolving at the recent Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo. One of the printers that caught our attention is the $1,200 Ekocycle Cube. A collaboration between 3D Systems, Coca-Cola, and performer will.i.am, it’s a 3D printer that prints entirely with post-consumer waste, like old Coke bottles.

“We believe that waste is only waste if you waste it, so why not turn that waste into something awesome like a 3D printed lampshade, wearables," says Alyssa Hoyt of 3D Systems.

There are many other ways innovative ways 3D printing is being used – to make everything from prosthetics to jewelry, architecture and even clothing. In addition, get a traditional artist like Rachel Goldsmith -  trained in painting with watercolors - hand her something like the 3Doodler - a handheld 3D printer - and just like that, her paintings take on new life.

“I call it painting with plastic,” says Goldsmith. “I cannot believe the fact that my artwork is growing off the page, literally, where I can stick with same lines and a forms that I’ve always really liked to create."

Finally, we checked out a pair of concept shoes from a company called SOLS that is not only 3D printed so that they fit you perfectly but they are also smart shoes to help keep you healthier, safer and more comfortable.

“When you take a step, liquids or air pressure will move to certain areas where you may be falling out of stability or you may be in a position where your foot needs to be adjusted back to neutral position," says Tiffany Stone of SOLS.

SOLS is not sure when it will exactly be able to mass-produce those. In the meantime, its business revolves around generating 3D models of your feet, and then for just under $200, 3D printing custom insoles.

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