10 Times Our Users Highlighted What is Possible with 3D Printing in 2020

As 2020 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on what has been an event-filled and unpredictable year. Challenging times call for innovative solutions and the 3D printing community has provided exactly that.

For this annual review, we’ve curated a selection of our most popular Formlabs Comes To You virtual sessions, highlighting some of the ways our customers have been driving impact across their industries.

This year, we went behind the scenes at United States Naval Academy, learned how a TedX speaker uses 3D printing to explore the connection between neuroscience and the body, shared how organizations are using additive manufacturing to adapt and evolve for a brighter 2021, and much more.

1. How Exactech and University of Florida Partnered to Use 3D Printing in the Fight Against COVID-19

No review of 2020 would be complete without addressing the impact and disruption caused by the global pandemic. Determined to offer support to the medical community and help those in critical need of testing, PPE, and medical equipment, Formlabs and its users acted quickly to establish a COVID-19 response initiative - collaborating with healthcare providers and government agencies around the world.

A powerful example of this was when the University of Florida and Exactech combined a fleet of Formlabs 3D printers, FDA-compliant facilities, and medical expertise to validate a nasal swab design and quickly scale production. The session explores how the two organizations had been using 3D printing technology prior to the pandemic, and during their new partnership.

“When the pandemic hit, we pivoted to produce nasal swabs. Equipped with the validated STL file from Formlabs and Northwell Health, we partnered with Exactech for their extensive experience in developing medical equipment in ISO approved facilities, rallied together our Formlabs printers, and ramped up production.”

Scott Powell, Operations Manager, University of Florida

2. CAPT Brad Baker on 3D Printing at the US Naval Academy

It’s not every day that you get to go behind the scenes and look at the additive manufacturing tools used by a federal service facility. In this tour of their world-class makerspace, United States Naval Academy’s Associate Professor, CAPT Brad Baker, discusses how he utilizes SLA printing within his mechanical and nuclear engineering teaching programs. With 16+ years of experience in the submarine force and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, you’ll want to hear his advice for creating robust end-use parts.

“At the makerspace we have a wide range of filament, powder, and resin-based 3D printers for the USNA students to access. Our six Formlabs printers, or ‘precision printers’ as we call them, are used primarily for projects that require high accuracy, specific tolerances and fine details.”

Captain Brad Baker, MakerSpace Lab Director at USNA

3. Building BIG Structures with Monster City Studios

Ever wondered how brands like Disney and Nike develop bold new concepts for experiential marketing, theme parks, and more? ZBrush Summit 2020 speaker, and founder of Monster City Studios, shares how he uses Formlabs printers to bring big projects to life with a wide variety of fabrication tools. Tune in to see what Monster City’s small crew are capable of creating under one roof, as James tackles challenges beyond entertainment design.

“Metal injection molding tools are extremely expensive and the one we wanted to create would have cost around £25,000. With Formlabs technology we were able to print a mold for a few hundred pounds and inject silicone rubber into it. It works just like an aluminium or steel tool - we just use it for lower runs.”

James Powell, Founder, Monster City Studios

4. The Closest Thing to Metal 3D Printing With a £2900 Printer

Metal 3D printing or machining metal parts can be a costly process, but it doesn’t have to be this way. During this session President and Founder of RePliForm Sean Wise looks at using hybrid techniques, like using electroplating with his Formlabs Form 3 printer, to achieve high detail, metallike parts at an affordable price. Sean discusses the science behind the electroplating process and how it can enhance the mechanical properties of the print. If you’re interested in exploring this topic, this is the video for you.

“RepliForm specializes in electroplating 3D printed parts to enhance their mechanical performance: with this technique we can increase the stiffness, strength and durability of photopolymer parts, without having to use a metal printer.”

Sean Wise, President and Founder of RePliForm

5. Designing for Humans with Product Designer and TedX Speaker, Dani Clode

Designing functional parts for the human body is no easy feat. This virtual session explores the topic of augmentation and prosthetic extension, with product designer and TedX speaker, Dani Clode. During this highly-visual presentation, Dani talks about using the Form 3 when founding ‘The Third Thumb’ - a neuroscientific research project in collaboration with University College London. She also shares insights from working with Formlabs Tough 2000 Resin.

“The Third Thumb Project is designed around a 3D printed extension for your hand. It’s a catalyst for discussion, a bridge between design and neuroscience, and a truly unique experience.”

Dani Clode, Founder of The Third Thumb Project

6. Running a Print Farm with Christina Perla, Co-Founder & CEO of Makelab

Another user benefiting from the enhanced production power of a fleet of 3D printers, is Formlabs Ambassador Christina Perla. In this session, Christina shares how she scaled her fabrication capabilities with Formlabs technology at her NYC based service bureau, Makelab. Hit play for tips and advice on keeping 20+ Form 3s running efficiently.

“When we scaled from one Formlabs 3D printer to seven, fourteen, then twenty, I learned quickly that factory layout and optimization was key. We’re based in Brooklyn, NY and space is hard to come by - so we decided that we needed to go vertical to get the most from our setup.”

Christina Perla, Co-Founder & CEO of Makelab

7. The Product Development Process that Helped This Startup Raise £429k

Bringing a new product to market is no easy challenge. When Dame Products set out to build adult toys for couples, they needed to go from a rough idea to a finished product with minimal funds in only a few months. Using multiple desktop 3D printers, Dame built over 100 prototypes using silicone molding and launched their product. The result? They led the most successful crowdfunding campaign in their category. Hear about the journey from Dame’s Co-Founder, Janet Leiberman-Lu, and Kickstarter’s Head of Design & Technology, Nick Yulman.

“The time and money saved by being able to immediately 3D print your ideas can be really transformative in how you think about the value proposition of prototypes."

Janet Lieberman-Lu, Co-founder of Dame Products

8. Designing and 3D Printing Jewelry with Rhino and Formlabs

Precision and ease of use are two key considerations for jewelry designers digitizing their workflows. During this demo, Vanessa Steeg, tech & trainer at McNeel and Jasmin Karger, jewelry expert at Formlabs, walk through the design process with Rhino CAD software, the file preparation, and 3D printing with the Formlabs. The duo presents a step-by-step guide for fabricating a pendant and shares how 3D printing can transform a jewelry business.

“Surface modeling is a spline-based geometry that is very powerful and versatile for creating the organic and complex shapes that are synonymous with jewelry.”

Vanessa Steeg, Rhino Tech & Trainer at McNeel

9. SLA Masterclass: Getting the Most From Your Prints With a Formlabs Pro Services Trainer

It’s not just our customers that we learned from this year. In this video you’ll meet our Berlin based Pro Services Trainer Jakob Dobberow. Having trained over 300 of our customers from more than 200 companies, Jakob has accumulated a wealth of knowledge in working with resin-based printers. Join the 3D printing maverick as he tackles topics like design optimization, print orientation, and post-processing in this engaging masterclass.

“The beauty of resin-based printing is that it allows you to create a very precise straight edge at any layer height. Therefore with designs that are tall on the Z-direction, you can speed up the print process without compromising accuracy by increasing the layer height.”

Jakob Dobberow, Pro Services Trainer at Formlabs

10. Innovation for Good: Accelerating Product Development Post COVID-19

To round up this list, we look at how the pandemic profoundly impacted society and changed aspects of everyday life for good. In this final session, PTC’s President, Jon Hirschtick, and Formlabs Founder, Max Lobovsky, discuss the challenges and opportunities for engineers and the industry, and the implications for product development in a post-covid era.

“The Covid-19 crisis has turned everyone into an entrepreneur in a sense - those who were negatively affected had to rethink and adapt, those who provided crucial resources had to keep up with demand, and others had to pivot quickly to seize opportunities.”

John Hirshtick, President, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Division, PTC

Wait, There's More

It wasn’t just manufacturing processes that digitized in 2020. The annual Formlabs User Summit evolved into a two-day, entirely virtual event, with over 5,000 of you tuning in from 100+ countries worldwide. Visit the event archive to hear how brands like Marvel, Ford, TaylorMade, Lush Cosmetics, and more are using 3D printing as a catalyst for change.

In the meantime, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank our customers, colleagues, and the community for driving impact in 2020, we look forward to what the new year has to bring.

Event Archive

Formlabs User Summit 2020

Revisit the most memorable momebts from Formlabs User Summit 2020, with this video archive of 50+ recorded sessions. 

Visit the Archive