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3D printing highlighted at 2015 International CES

2015-01-09 09:23 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping
The 3D printed food is seen at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, the United States, on Jan. 6, 2015. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

The 3D printed food is seen at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, the United States, on Jan. 6, 2015. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)

Tools, toys, cakes and wearable clothes. 3D printing is breaking out of the labs into people's life at 2015 International CES.

In 2013, there were only one or two 3D printing companies that exhibited at CES. One year later, the Consumer Electronic Association (CEA) created a 3D Printing Marketplace section at CES, with 20 exhibitors and 7,200 square feet of exhibit space devoted to the category. This year, the section has grown to 54 exhibitors and 18,450 square feet, an increase of about 156 percent in square footage, said Karen Chupka, senior vice president of CEA events and conferences.

"3D printing is an emerging technology that has the potential to change the world," said Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis, CEA. Back in February 2013, the world's first 3D printing pen 3Doodler was introduced by toy company WobbleWorks, quickly catching the attention of drawing fans. As of last month, more than 125,000 units had been sold globally, making it the best-selling 3D printing device in the word, said WobbleWorks.

According to CEA's recent study, 3D printers brought in an estimated 76 million U.S. dollars in total revenue in 2014 in America, a 44 percent rise from 2013.

CEA predicts that the device will see double-digit growth in U. S. unit shipment through 2018, generating 175 million dollars in total revenue.

A study found that 76 percent of 3D printer owners report using their 3D printers daily or several times a week. From printing toys, shoes, tools, people now could print a variety of items using 3D printers.

XYZprinting, a Taipei based 3D printer company, demonstrated its latest 3D Food Printer. By using this three print-jet food printer, people can turn ingredients into uncooked cookies with jam on the top.

"Since we unveiled our first 3D printer Da Vinci 1.0 in March 2014, over 2,000 units have been sold and it has taken the top ranking place at Amazon for a long time," said Mili, senior administrator in the sales department of XYZprinting. "We are also thrilled to see the potential of the 3D food printer."

The market for consumer 3D printers is an area of intense innovation, competition and growth. Meanwhile, 3D printers are being developed and deployed for commercial, industrial and even medical applications with amazing results.

Formlabs, a young and energetic company starting out of MIT in 2011, unveils its new Form 1+ 3D Printer at CES. This 3D printer is specially designed for professional users such as engineers and designers who need to print items that are more delicate and complex.

"We looked a lot at trussed bridges and trees to understand more elegant and efficient ways to offer greater support with fewer contact points. There's a lot of math and engineering in those little structures," said Andrey Mishchenko, Formlabs software engineer.

Most of the interest in 3D printing technology is still from users making prototypes or scale models, in other words, the academic and professional world, according to a new study from #D Hubs, a 3D printing service with almost 10,000 connected printers worldwide.

In the near future, mainstream consumers could be seen scooping up the newest, most compact 3D printers for the desktop.

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