Maybe you want to print award-winning prosthetics for young amputees. Perhaps you need access to a 3D printer to see what a product prototype would look like in real life. You might just want a four-inch “mini me” printed to set on your bookshelf. How fun would that be?
Image by Bit Rebels.
Whether you’re one of the above or you just want to see a 3D printer in action, you’re in luck. With the Arizona tech scene’s recent burst came a slew of 3D printing resources. We’re here to share the coolest ones for business and personal use.
Stax3D offers a variety of scanning and 3D printing services for both work and play. Their store, attached to the Chandler Fashion Center in East Valley, is the ideal 3D printing stop for hobbyists and inventors alike. Stax3D designers help to make customers’ dreams become real-life renderings, while high-capacity scanners cover objects up to the size of a car. Stax3D can 3D print customers’ designs within a matter of days, and their professional finisher makes sure the end product is stable and polished. Perhaps most notable, however, is the store’s ability to scan and produce 3D printed miniature versions of customers themselves. Customers can be scanned in virtually any pose, then reproduced as figurines as small as 2.5 inches within the week. Finally, hobbyists and businesses interested in owning a 3D printer can buy several versions from the store, along with accompanying scanners and filaments.
StartUpLabs at CEI Gateway
In spring of 2015, the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation at Gateway Community College built StartUpLabs in collaboration with Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies. The incubator’s exclusive “lab” allows clients to 3D print prototypes, attend regular seminars on product development, and receive one to two hour mentoring sessions on product design at discounted rates. Local entrepreneurs can use the lab at full charge. “Our mission at CEI is to provide commercialization assistance for job-creating technology entrepreneurs in the Phoenix area,” said Jeff Saville, CEI Executive Director, in a press release. “PADT, with its product development expertise and specific medical device specialties, fills a major role for us in support of our client companies and their growth.” According to the release, both CEI and PADT wish to eventually expand discounted access to other business incubators in the area.
Phoenix & Tucson 3D Printing Groups
Through Meetup.com, 3D print lovers from Arizona’s two biggest cities can network and learn with one another. Phoenix 3D Printing is a group with over 700 members who meet irregularly to marvel over the latest 3D printing inventions, help each other with design, and show off their technological capabilities. Tucson 3D Printing, with just over 300 members, does largely the same—plus, it holds “cross-pollination” meetings with nearby 3D printing groups who wish to swap ideas. All lovers of 3D printing are welcome; whether you’re an entrepreneur, artist, inventor, engineer, teacher, or other, you’ll find a wealth of information and company with either of these groups.
MACH1, or a “space for makers, artists, crafters, and hackers,” is a teen makerspace held at the Burton Barr Central Library in downtown Phoenix. It offers free programs on coding, video game design, robotics, video editing, and more. A top program at MACH1 is one on 3D modeling, where kids can choose to scan a 3D character into a game or print it on a 3D printer. All supplies are provided, but kids are welcome to bring their own. With summer finally upon us, this is a great way to keep kids’ minds moving in a fun way during the break!
As the field of 3D printing advances at breakneck speed, resources for everyone—from the novice to the expert—become easier and cheaper to access. We’re looking forward to the ways in which Arizona businesses, incubators, and organizations will continue to provide locals with 3D printing use and education!