Open Materials at the Rapid + TCT Show 2018

At the Rapid + TCT Show in Fort Worth, Texas, several speakers signaled the rise of open materials. At Plural, we’ve been supporting open materials for a while. It’s nice to hear the word is getting out.

HP gets it. Stephen Nigro at HP noted that open materials selection unlocks innovation and material pricing in the $12 trillion manufacturing market. Like open software for slicers, open materials drives innovation and adoption of additive manufacturing.

In his Rapid + TCT 2018 recap, Pete Zelinski at Additive Manufacturing noted the material moment. While part of that comment comes with the attention of metal additive manufacturing it is also the emergence of open materials and “material development independent of those of the AM machine providers.” End users have more choices for materials, machines, and software than ever before.

However, the consequence of many choices makes it a more complex decision. With tools and resources less siloed, end user questions shift from “Can I Print It?” — is it technically possible — to “Should I Print It?” — is it economically feasible? SME’s ITEAM describes these choices and has been working on a tool to compare technologies and materials. ITEAM showed its beta at Rapid, and is one group working on standards for comparisons.