New York: Eye of the 3D printing storm

new york 3D printing

The recent Solidoodle announcement was mostly about global expansion, but there also came news of domestic plans. Solidoodle is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, and now the partnership with Manhattan’s Ensemble will draw even more New Yorkers to 3D printing through events like Soliforum and Solifusion. But Solidoodle isn’t the only 3D printer company making moves in New York. In fact, NY seems a hotbed (pun totally intended) of 3D printing activity.

3DEA, in partnership with Shapeways, Ultimaker, printbl.com, and others, was a pop up event/store hosted by Openhouse. MAKE was also a partner, offering discounted tickets to 3D printing classes. Besides classes, presentations were given, there was a contest to make your own Christmas tree ornament, and 3D printers and 3D printed objects were for sale, which apparently flew off the shelves. This is all past tense because, as a pop up, it only lasted for a couple weeks.

Spun out of a Dutch company, Shapeways is another 3D printing company that’s planted itself in the concrete jungle of New York; they’ve been remotely printing people’s stuff in all kinds of materials since 2007. Having already been headquartered in NY, it made sense that the Shapeways’ Factory of the Future land in Long Island. The 25,000 square foot warehouse is currently being filled with dozens of high definition selective laser sintering machines in order to print more of our stuff at lower prices. With expectations of spitting out 3 to 5 million objects per year, such a factory will serve as a major boost to America’s innovation and economy.

Solidoodle and Shapeways are perhaps doing a bit of Follow the Leader (though I’m not entirely sure when Shapeways moved their HQ to NY), as Makerbot has been in Brooklyn since 2009. A bit before the Replicator 2 was released, Makerbot upgraded to a 31,000 square foot office space not far from the original location. I can’t back this up with any real numbers, but I’m pretty sure more people have Makerbots than any other 3D printer, as their models were originally RepRaps.

One of the most powerful 3D printing-related forces to hit New York, though, is World Maker Faire, created by MAKE. While Maker Faire is neither solely about 3D printing, nor exclusive to New York, the World Maker Faire has brought a LOT of 3D printing attention and activity to New York. Between the Bay Area and the New York events, over 165,000 people attended in 2012, so whatever percentage of those people were there for 3D printing is still a large number.

Since Mini Maker Faires are now occurring in dozens of cities across the country, and considering that Deezmaker has a 3D printer retail store in Pasadena, California, and that Denver, Colorado now has the physical 3D Printing Store, I suspect the infection of 3D printing in New York to spread across the country with fervor. This is a productive bug to catch.