The Future of 3D Printing: RAPID + TCT 2022

Additive Manufacturing Event

SUBMITTED BY nicole dietz

In May, I had the pleasure of attending Rapid+TCT as an exhibitor with B9Creations. More than 400 companies exhibited this year, many showcasing new machines, materials, and software offerings for the first time.  

Rapid+TCT events usually showcase several impressive large-format prints and micro-printing machines, and this year’s event was no exception. Seeing all of this new technology made me ponder the future of additive manufacturing. 3D printing has come a long way from the early days of desktop figurines. As technology continues to evolve, it’s clear from this show that the future of 3D printing is brighter than ever. 

Remember the early days of 3D printing? We shared a collective excitement for model versions of the historic bridges and iconic cartoon characters to adorn our desks. Now, 3D printing is tackling much larger issues and solving complex problems across industries of varying scales.

The basis of 3D printing is adding layers of materials compounded to make an object. Where cutting and soldering were once required, additive manufacturing gracefully adds layers to build the same type of structures. However, these results are stronger, lighter, more temperature resistant, and require fewer parts.

3D printers have long been able to print rocket-shaped objects, but now companies in the aerospace industry are actually printing rockets. Companies are using additive manufacturing for aerospace engine and defense system applications. Medical companies are now printing at micro-scale. Tiny prototype catheter tips are being 3D printed to save babies lives - shown here with a sewing needle for scale.

3D printers are adding versatility in other ways, too — using a variety of materials, including metal and even ceramics, sometimes within the same machine. Printers will be able to print one object containing multiple materials, paving the way for a significantly widened field of use. Once a novelty pipe dream, 3D printing is now an established technology, positioned for real, important growth.


Nicole, our Vendor VP, has fifteen years experience in leadership and marketing and five years in the 3D printing industry. She is the Associate Marketing Manager at B9Creations.