Wednesday, 4 January 2012

What would an X-Prize for 3D Printing look like?

It's all too easy for forget that innovation takes time. Twelve years ago the then state of the art Objet Quadra Tempo (a bit of a mouthful) delivered 20 micron print layers, 1536 jet nozzles in 4 print heads, and the machine printed only one material, known as M510. Today, 12 years later, the Objet 260 Connex delivers double the print quality, from half the number of nozzles, at a significantly higher run speed, with a choice of over 68 materials and able to combine 14 different materials with very different properties and color shades in a single machine that is half the size. 

The now obsolete Objet Quadra Tempo circa 2000

This information was provided by Objet in an article celebrating How Far Have 3D Printers Come in the Last 12 Years? Do you agree that this progress is impressive? Is 3D printing developing at a similar pace to other important technologies? Or does the progress that Objet have achieved over the last decade signify that 3D printing may hit limits in the next.

What are the inpenetrable innovation walls of 3D printing?

Instead of making predictions about the sales and units shipped from various 3D printer suppliers, let's spend 2012 working out what 3D printing innovations we think may be possible in the decade ahead. I propose the development of a 3D Printing Innovations Barometer. It should not forget to include the barriers.

Is there an X-Prize of 3D Printing around the corner? What areas of 3D printing might the challenge address? How about finer print resolution?

If you'd like to get involved, please add your comments below.


  1. Fabbaloo have proposed 10 barriers to overcome:

  2. Fabbaloo have also now suggested an X-Prize for 3DP:

  3. Stratasys on the speed of 3D Printing: