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  1. #1
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014

    UK TCT 2018 - This Week :-)

    Can't believe it's come round this fast.
    Not sure what day we're going on this year. either the 2nd or the third I reckon. That would be wednesday or thursday. Probably wednesday - 26th.
    You get more stuff on the last day - but people pack up early so not so much chance to chat to as many people.
    I usually come away from tct with a sore throat from waffling so much :-)

    To be fair I haven't made an inroad into the filament I blagged last year yet (or 2016 for that matter), so this year blagging stuff isn't my top priority :-)

    Some of the new specialist filaments I'd quite like. But just don't need any more 5 metre rolls of bog-standard pla :-)

    This year is more along the lines of pushing the 3d printboard angle and trying to make sure people think of me when they've got new stuff to test :-)

    Also maybe see if monoprice will let me buy the demo mini delta for a discount - hey, you have to try :-)
    It's still the cutest machine on the planet.

    So my usual spiel.

    Is anyone else from the forum going ?
    If so - fancy meeting up round the subway stand for a coffee or lunch ?

    I'll be even easier to spot this year.
    Not only a wide hairy bloke with a big ginger beard in need of a haircut, wearing a Curious Aardvark/3dprintboard. com t-shirt. But as I'm currently recovering from a torn thigh muscle - I'll also be limping :-)

    Admittedly at tct - a large hairy bloke with a beard, doesn't exactly stand out (as a species, we make up about 50% of the visitors). But throw in the t-shirt and the limp and I'll be easy to spot :-)

    Oh yeah and the grotty mauve 'backpack' thing stands out as well.
    I stick with it as there is no way on this planet, anyone would ever want to steal it :-)

    If you're going and fancy a chat, message me and we can exchange numbers.
    I'm happy to change visit dates - I only live 30 minutes from the nec.

    Should you come up to me and say: 'You are curious aardvark and i claim my ?5 !'
    You won't get ?5 :-)
    But it'll make me laugh.

    Last edited by curious aardvark; 09-24-2018 at 09:13 AM.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Well this year things at TCT were different.

    Considerably fewer exhibitors, no start-up section and they'd split the hall down the middle.
    Go left and you're in normal printer country. Go right and it was just metal printers.

    This resulted in 90% of the visitors all being in the left section at any given point with a few wandering aimlessly around the, mostly deserted, metal section.

    Also for the first time it felt a lot more like a corporate show than previous years.
    Usually at tct the people who run the company show up with their machines and goods.
    This year there were a LOT more print bureaus, who were also serving double service as representatives for the machine manufacturers.

    So 3DP had a few machines there, but weren't there in person.
    In fact a number of the bigger manufacturers were just missing completely.
    Whether this was a sign that the bubble has burst or that they now sell so well they don't need to go to the shows - I don't know.

    The emphasis this year was definitely size.
    Huge machines printing big objects with the emphasis on industrial applications and notable was the emphasis on a machine's ability to print with PEEK.
    Got a picture of one machine running with 350c hotend and 250c heat bed.
    Impressive piece of kit actually. idex extruders, rails and ball screws.

    There were still the usual desktop resellers and filament merchants. I scored a couple of stick on build plate surfaces from, that i tried out on the i3 last night.
    I think it's a form of buildtak - got to admit to being impressed with it so far.

    Got some cool filament and my mate collected 18 pens and enough bags of sweets to keep his partner happy for a while :-)

    But the whole atmosphere was quite different.
    I'm fully expecting there to be booth bunnies there next year.

    It's a solid indication of how the industry is changing.
    Desktop machines are now so cheap that having a stall at tct could put a serious knock in your profits.

    It's leaning more towards the standard corporate business model rather than the man in his garage building a product.

    It's the way things have to be - but I'm still sad to see the start of the end of the small 3d printer company successfully fighting their corner.

    There were considerably fewer deltas there this year, what were there, tended towards the larger size - one in particular standing at least 20 feet tall. Part of it was the delta specific companies just not being there.

    Got a few pics and made a couple interesting contacts - and got free build surface for the ctc i3.

    But for the first year we left before they kicked us out, and with a somewhat ambivalent feeling.
    Desktop Additive manufacturing is growing up, and I'm not sure that's neccessarily a good thing.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Okay some pictures:

    Printhead temp: 375c, Bed temp: 210c, print volume temp: 220c
    If you run out of things to print it'd make a decent oven :-)
    This is the Minifactory Ultra printer. Print volume 330x180x180
    Can't find price on their website:
    But I think he said it was around ?6-7000.
    For what it is - that's an excellent price. For me this was the best no-nonsense, PROPER industrial fdm machine at the show.

    Seriously engineered machine. Idex extruders as well.
    If you're an injection moulding company looking to add small run peek moulds to your repertoire - this is the machine to go for.


    Now this is an interesting one. It's a franken-delta. What they are trying to do is add the ability to print liquid resin with instant cure, on a delta.
    So strong ultraviolet lights on the extruder head and shining on the build volume as well.
    Used a couple of small pumps.
    Wasn't up and running, but a very interesting and potentially lucrative idea. Hoping to see it up and running next year :-)

  4. #4
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Heres one of the big printers. Modix big 60.

    On of the few to give prices:

    Looking for the same build volume on a tiny budget ? have anew range of budget printers:

    After a quick perusal we all agreed that it needed some bracing on the upper gantry. So hopefully that'll be incorporated.
    It's 600mm x 600mm x 600mm.
    Not going to win any prizes - other than largest print volume for smallest amount of money.
    But should do the job.

    Talking about size and simplicity of build:

    Used aluminium extrusion and a basic three wheeled carriage setup with carbon fibre rods.

    It's essentially just a scaled up rostock. It was even using, what looked like, standard 6mm belts. Might have been 8 or 10 mm.
    If the total bill for parts was more than a few thousand - I'd be very surprised.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 10-01-2018 at 09:27 AM.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    So on to possibly the simplest and coolest idea at the show.
    Blackbelt printers. The only machine to incorporate the infinity symbol in their build volume :-)

    Now the real clever thing is that the printhead is set at an angle.
    This allows it to print out at right angles without supports.
    Here's the big one:

    Made-in-space have developed a similiar machine for making components on mars and in space.

    When I find the sample print I got from the blackbelt I can show you how it prints horizontally without supports.

    And essentially that was the non-metal printing side of tct 2018.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Go left and you're in normal printer country. Go right and it was just metal printers.

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