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The Spring Report - 3D Print Fair FABCON Messe Erfurt Germany 2014

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The Spring Report - 3D Print Fair FABCON Messe Erfurt Germany 2014

 

After being pushed and pulled by a number of people to do this report... here it is.. enjoy World ! :-)

 

So what can I say. I was once again invited to do a presentation at the biggest 3D Fair in Germany this year. A great honour and I was so delighted to be there and give my presentation on 3D Printing changing from a toy to a tool in times of Crisis.

 

Ok this report would not be a Spring Report if it was just shiny clouds and rainbows.. so here is what happened !

 

Last year Erfurt actually had two separate Fairs running at the same time. You had the hobby home base printers and then on the other side of the Fair.. the big boys with their million dollars wonder printers... This was .. incredible... the little guys wer allowed sneak over and look at what the big boys were pulling off and saying to themselves.. hell we can do that for 15 euros.. haha... and of course the big boys would sneak down into the world of PLA and ABS and secretly spot little clever ideas that there million dollars machines didn't have !!

It was truly a brilliant atmosphere because of the mix of Industries...

This year,, the fair people changed plans and there was only one day overlap between the two.

This was maybe great for the lucky people there on day number one but for all those on day number 2 and 3.... OH SHIT... TITANIC HITTING ICEBERG !!

 

As the Germans would say... Tote Hose.. or roughly translated DEAD TROUSERS....

The Fair on day 2 closed off the other half of the hall but still, it was like walking into an abandoned super market before the bulldozers come.

I mean I really really hope they change this back.

The guys like Florian Horsch and the two amazing Messe Girls are absolutely stunning at what they do and I just cant understand who made the big... FUCK UP DECISION.... ?

 

This Fair should be getting stronger and bigger.. not getting its left leg blasted off on year 2 !!

 

Anyway, there was also another strange and maybe not so good thing.. not all but some of the great little companies that buzzed the fair last year were gone... Some of the cool RepRap startups were gone... Reprap Germany was not there.. sad !.. the two brothers with their amazing big glass enclosed Reprap Printer for Industry.. not there... :-(..... even Netfabb seems to not care anymore....

It was an atmosphere where I started to think... are some of these guys just dead from the market ? or are some companies big enough now that they don't need to make contact with the normal user on the ground ?

I thought this could be the reason for Netfabb not being there.. I guess most home users have given up on donating 150 euros for dumbness when they can use something tasty and free like Cura.. maybe they just said.. Screw the normal guys.. and if so.. thats there thing !

 

Makerbot also down sized this year.. Last year it was like Fort Knox of Makerbot with 3 different stations. It deemed like they wanted to start crowd control but what was really funny was the little Ultimaker table in the middle of them sucking up visitors like the newest and best vacuum cleaner... They were also down to one makerbot island and to be honest, they didnt really seem to pushed to sell anything. The one time I did actually touch one of their printers.. a little guy ran over and hissed at me for touching it.. the words sabotage were mentioned and I slowly moved away from them... always of course keeping eye contact ! ;-)

 

I also went over the the IGO3D guys from Norhthern Germany.

OK I do know they are the official resellers to Ultimaker in Germany and yes I do know they have massive histerical global plans of opening up a thousand shops around the world.. still counting one shop at the moment... mmmm lets see what happens there ? ;-) But what was interesting for me was.. About 7 people came up to me on the first day I was there and asked.. where is the ultimaker desk this year.. I told them It doesnt exist and IGO3D is there for that.. The people just turned around.. looked at them... curled their eye browns a little and turned back... not impressed !

The problem with this strategy is.. Ultimaker wins people with their people !!

Guys that had little money invested in an ultimaker 1 or 2 because last year David and Harma... convinced them... that ultimaker was a good maschine with great people backing it !! Thats true and that won big time.. now IGO3D is a shop... selling different products and some where back there on a shelf is an ultimaker...

Does anyone feel where this is going .... ?

Will Ultimaker slowly loose its human feeling as it grows and its goals and targets change.. well it kinda doing that already right ?.. well atleast in Germany ?...

 

I also got to meet the guys from Colorfabb there.

This year a up-kitted boot... very nice and posh looking with a few printers wizzing around with lovely give away prints.. Those guys are just golden because they actually look like they are printed from GOLD PLA.. you just have to walk near ColorFabb and they light up with big smiles and helpful tips and free samples... If companies needed to learn some human relation skills.. I would take colorfabb as a good example !

The guys as always showed off some of their hot new materials.. Bamboo and Bronze were big hits and really got the women element excited .... uhhh printing jewellery... mmm... i like it ! :-)

 

On another interesting note and I do swallow hard when I say this.. I was actually a little more impressed with Fabbster this year !!.. Yes I know this is a shock !! but they have done some cool things in the last year !... introducing a lot of new materials.. also offering a DIY kit box set for 600 euros and also saying that a new hotend is coming down the road later this year with 5 materials than can be mixed in the head... Sadly the main design is still not the greatest but they are progressing and getting their stuff organised... Plus they have buckets of cash and massive business connections and are expanding into other markets like crazy... pay attention to these guys !!

 

Second last point for my report.. and a happy one.

I met a lovely lady from Nurenberg at the Fair. I met her last year as well. She was so nervous and shy last year because she wanted to become self employed and print house models for clients. She needed a 3d printer and surprise surprise I was standing in front of the ultimaker stand as she came by...

Well 1 year later she is buzzing with business and using her ultimaker2 to amaze clients every day and every week. The woman was absolutely electric with happiness and that was for me... a big highlight !

 

So last word... 3D printing is maturing yes... but we should never forget the kid in all of us the exciting crazy stuff !.. never let this business become too dry and dusty...

I think the people that organised this broke there backs doing a super job... but there one or two things that need to be changed for the next time....

Other than that... It was once again a pleasure to meet many of you !!

 

Good night.

Ian :-)

 

ps. About the rumours that some male ultimaker forum users are actually girls in disguise... the rumour is true !!... and they are very nice ladies !! ;-) LOL...

 

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