Remember last year when we partnered with Google on an advanced research and development project? Well, there’s been a lot of buzz since then in the tech community about the future of modular phones, and last week’s revelations at Google’s Project Ara Developers Conference have re-energized that excitement. The conference was held April 15th-16th and discussed the progress we’ve made on the forthcoming modular smart phone project that will enable users to upgrade their phones in piecemeal fashion. This means that as individual features are enhanced, rather than chucking your whole device for a new camera, you simply slide out the old one and clip in the new one—badda-bing, badda-boom: you have a better phone with less waste.

One innovative production feature of Project Ara is that the phone modules are making their way to the world through 3D printing. To do this, the dynamic and evolving technology that is changing the way we think and make, is also changing the way it thinks and makes. We partnered with Google last year on the project and are ready to preview some of the early progress. To bring the modular cell phone experience to the market by the anticipated 2015, we are creating a continuous, high-speed 3D printing production platform and fulfillment system to accommodate production-level speeds and volume. This methodology breaks away from the “reciprocating platform” of many contemporary 3D printers. “Reciprocating” refers to the coordinated motion of the print platform and the print head, leading to frequent acceleration and deceleration, which ultimately adds to the overall print time. For more productive print rates (of millions and hopefully billions of units), we’re creating a continuous motion system around a racetrack architecture that will allow the module shells to move in a continuous flow with additional “off ramps” for various finishing steps, including inserts and other module manipulations.

Beyond these process considerations, we’re expanding the materials available in both aesthetic and functional features. We are also advancing material strength, and developing conductive inks in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and X5 Systems for printing functional components such as antennas. The modules will additionally be printable with full spectrum, CMYKWT color plus support (meaning cyan, magenta, yellow, black, white and clear, with support), in hard and soft composite materials for the optimum lifespan of parts and ultimate customization by the user. “The combination of exponential creation technology with exponential information technology translates to unprecedented capability and adaptability for the consumer,” said Chuck Hull, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of 3DS. “The scale of this project and its practical functionality are an exciting step into the future.”

How will you make the most out of modular? How will your phone match your personality and expressiveness? Which phone features matter the most to you, and will you be among the first to make history by getting on board with Project Ara?

Always one to upend run-of-the-mill public school education, North Carolina’s Richmond County Schools is giving students the opportunity to apply 3D technology in unexpected ways.

The school district’s Teen Scene Investigation (TSI) club recently joined forces with award-winning educator Jeff Epps’ G.R.E.A.T. 3D Academy to apply 3D software and 3D printing to crime scene investigation.

Click here to read more about the collaboration and see how these students are getting valuable exposure to the 3D skills of the future.

The festival is afoot! Thousands of school kids are pouring out of buses to join the fun at the 2014 USA Science and Engineering Festival at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.

It’s fun seeing kids (and grown-up kids) so eager to try everything from scanning with the Sense to haptic-enabled Geomagic Freeform design software to 3D printing on the Cube. The Star Trek 3DMe and 3D-printed cookie cutters are huge hits already, and there are still several days to go. (Image: Eight-year-old Alex was scanned using the Sense; he’s now editing his likeness in Geomagic Freeform.)

The USA Science and Engineering Festival is an amazing event that aims to “re-invigorate the interest of our nation’s youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).” It’s a real chance for kids and educators alike to see all the compelling and exciting kid-friendly technology and scientific applications, including everything from flight simulators to homemade smoke ring launchers.

Come by and see our interactive experience in the America Makes booth (#761) in the Engineering Pavilion, Hall A.

Click here to see where else you can find us at the event.

3D printing keeps turning heads in Bern, Switzerland, due to the hard work and passion of the team at 3D-MODEL, the premier reseller in the region for 3D Printers, software and 3D scanners from 3D Systems.

Now, Bern residents can get a 3D scan of themselves and get a 3D-printed version while they shop at the stores of the Westside shopping center on select Friday nights until the end of June! Several lucky shoppers will be a winners of a free 3D selfie!

Visit Westside, which is located in Switzerland’s captial city, Bern, between 4.00 p.m. – 10.00 p.m. to scan yourself into 3D on the following days:

  • Friday April 25, 2014
  • Friday May 30, 2014
  • Friday June 27 2014

See more details by clicking here.

3D printing of scan data is completed using the ProJet 660, a part of the world’s only line of full-color 3D printers. 3D-MODEL is on hand to provide training and equipment for these events.

By Deelip Menezes

I attended the first Ara Developers Conference held in Mountain View, California, last week, where I learned quite a bit about the innards of an Ara phone. The engineering that is going into this device is astounding. Imagine hot swapping a dying battery for a charged one without disconnecting your call. Mobile phones as we know them are going to change. Completely.

3D Systems has been working very closely with Google on Project Ara, in my opinion, the next big thing in mobile technology. Ara will completely change the way we buy and experience our mobile phones. Basically, you cook up your phone by selecting which modules you want (camera, battery, speaker, display, etc.) pretty much like a jig-saw puzzle. Each phone has a frame called endo (short for endoskeleton) into which modules slide into and lock into position using electro-permanent magnets. Each module consists of (1) an aluminum base, (2) a PCB containing the electronics of the module, (3) a safety shield to project the PCB, and (4) a shell.

project ara, endo, 3d printed, phone, google

The shell is where 3D Systems comes into the picture, and we are deeply involved. The shells are being 3D printed and we are developing a new high volume 3D printer for large-scale production. The point of 3D printing the shells is to personalize your phone after you customize it. The difference between customizing and personalizing is important to understand: Customizing involves picking modules to make a phone that serves your purpose. Personalizing involves creating a truly one-of-a-kind phone that represents you as an individual. For example, you can personalize your phone by 3D printing a picture of your spouse or kids on the shells of your Ara phone.

I also presented at the Developers Conference and gave the audience an insight into a couple of other things on which we are working with Google. One of them is the Ara configurator app: This is the Android app which people will use to configure and personalize their Ara phones. This app is being developed by 3D Systems. We are also developing an entire Back Office application to run the Ara business. Orders placed in the Ara configurator app will show up in the Back Office and will be processed thereafter.

 project ara, 3d systems, 3d pint, phone, googleProject Ara is highly exciting. Stick around on this blog to see more updates as they come in, but we know we are manufacturing our future, indeed revolutionizing it, with Project Ara and 3D Systems.



What could full-color 3D printing do for you? How could they liven up your concept models, convey your ideas more truly than ever, and add life to your designs?

You have questions; we have answers.

Today we announced a new webinar on our ColorJet Printing (CJP) line: “3D Printing Your Designs in Full Color,” which will stream live on April 24, 2014, at 11 a.m. EDT. If you have questions about color 3D printing or just want to see what it can do, this is a can’t-miss event.

Color helps us understand and identify the world around us. It separates our ideas from the rest. It makes things unique. With this in mind, color 3D prints can make a huge difference in things like architectural models, movie animation pieces, medical models, product concept models and more. Better yet, color 3D printing from 3D Systems can speed up product development cycles and bring you to a new level of productivity.

3D Systems representatives, and guests from CJP expert users Objex Unlimited, will present the incredible capabilities of our ProJet® x60 line and our ProJet 4500, the only full-color plastic 3D printer.

So we invite all designers, architects, manufacturers, engineers, medical modelers and digital artists to see what the CJP’s high resolution, fast build speeds and over 6 million colors can do for you.

Click here to register for the event.

Early in 2014, Vick Art Advisors tasked Sparks, a brand experience company, to create a sculpture that uniquely depicted Manhattan. Realizing that 3D printing was the only option for the ambitious full-color 3D project they had in mind, the artists turned to Quickparts to 3D print the 28 15”x 15” pieces.

3D Artist David Shamlian, the lead artist on the project commented: “Quickparts has a wide range of 3D printing options for different types of projects . However, we needed to print very large models very quickly and in full CMYK color, so their ColorJet Technology was the one option that made this even feasible,”

It turns out the project was completed in record time by Quickparts, on deadline, even while parts were printed on full-color ProJet 860 3D printers that were thousands of miles apart and on different continents.

Read the full story here.

3D Systems 3D printing at Staples NYCWalk down New York City’s 5th Ave in Manhattan and you might spot some interesting new displays in the windows of Staples. In addition to the 2D print/copy services that are a staple of Staples, so to speak, new 3D printing services are now being offered in two of the company’s flagship Manhattan and LA stores.

In a retail space filled with 3D printers and prints from 3D Systems, the space allows shoppers to recreate themselves with the 3DMe photo booth, to create custom cell phone cases, and also bring in data to be printed as a service.

This is part of an effort to bring 3D printing to a wider audience, and serve customers with new technologies.

“3D printing offers enormous potential for small businesses, and by using Staples, they can print with the technology without having to invest in it,” said Damien Leigh, Senior Vice President of Business Services for Staples, Inc. “The test with 3D Systems will help us learn about our customers’ needs for a local 3D printing service, and how Staples can help them make more happen for their business through 3D printing.”

View the Staples & 3D Systems video below:

CubeX 3d printer at Staples

















All Mac users can now enjoy the Sense at home 3D Scanner as much as the PC user has been doing for a few months now. Released in late 2013, the Sense 3D scanner is Fully integrated with and the Cube 3D printer, the Sense allows scans to upload directly for 3D printing, either at home or through the cloud. It releases STL files and PLY files.

Mac users can  jump for joy with the newly announced support for 3D Systems.

The Sense is the first 3D scanner designed for easy consumer use and optimized for 3D printing. Catching moments in 3D is now easy and fun, and costs just $399.

The Sense software V1.1 features Mac support and other feature upgrades including improved scan tracking and stability, upgraded auto-enhancement for correct brightness and color.

These features build on the very easy-to-use interface that allows anyone to focus, crop, delete and share color 3D data. Sense printables can be sent to Cube® and CubeX™ 3D printers, or directly uploaded to for cloud printing in a range of materials, including Ceramix, Aluminix and Clear.

Read more about the Sense

 Sense 3D scanner with Mac

Zurich. 7 years ago. Swiss architect Phil Binkert designed an innovative stair climber for a stroller. In order to present it at a competition in England, he needed a prototype. He recalled using SLS printing previously for his architectural projects and turned to it once again for his new invention.

Once he and business partner Christiane Fimpel really focused on the new generation of 3D printing technologies for this project, they then found they couldn’t let it go. The opportunity was too big to pass up. The pair gave up their jobs, pooled their finances, and opened a 3D printing retail store in downtown Zurich called 3D-MODEL. They have never looked back.

“Our 3D printing store receives an enormous level of interest from every different field,” said Christiane, “Insurance, financial and logistics companies. Think tanks, architects and graphic design firms. Food and packaging companies. Universities, CIOs and CMOs of major firms visit and book us for speeches, presentations and workshops.”


The windows of the store display the entire range of products from 3D Systems – from Cube printers, scanners, through to full color 3D printers and multi-Jet printing systems. The team offers retail sales on consumer products, and consulting and implementation on everything from data management, 3D scanning and 3D printing of every kind.

“Our full hearts, efforts and outlook are focused on how this technology will affect the world around us,” says Christiane. “We like to talk about mass customization, how 3D printing will change our schooling and education, the internet of things. Here we are living it every day, watching how it works and helping people understand, and it is an amazing ride.”

With a schedule of workshops, a full range of products from 3D Systems, including scanners and software for beginners through to professional engineers, anyone in Zurich can now walk the streets of the city and learn about 3D printing with 3D-Model.

A TV news crew spent some time at the facility recently, and this video shows the range of tools and expertise available at 3D-Model. (German language only.)

Find out more at:



For those who missed our last blog post, 3D Systems is playing an integral part in Google’s Project Ara, the modular cellphone that will allow anyone to decide what their device does and how it looks. 3D Systems is providing rapid prototyping of the housings that give each Ara phone its own unique look and feel, and allow each user to tell her own story. The project actually breaks down the smartphone so that each individual user can personally build it back up, from the module colors to the electronics inside. (Left: Customized 3D-printed Ara module housings.)

3D Systems is also working on a new high-speed continuous 3D printer that will be capable of producing large volumes of Ara modules, allowing phones to be customized faster than ever.

In short, this project is awesome. To prove it we have a brand new video update on the project that lets you see exactly how Project Ara is coming together. Click here to see the progress and the engineering developments that are bringing Ara closer to reality. 

The 3DS display is open and visitors are hitting the show floor for the first day of Inside 3D Printing show at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.

April 2–4 visitors can come by the 3D Systems booth to experience the first and only full-color plastic 3D printer—the ProJet® 4500—which makes concept models and end-use plastic parts more vibrant and provides a new tool for the designer to bring her imagination to life.

Visitors can also see the latest Direct Metal Sintering 3D parts, the ProJet 5500’s versatile multi-material capabilities, the affordable micro-SLA ProJet 1200, even 3DS’ market-leading industrial and consumer scanning solutions—Capture and Sense.

For those looking for the buzz-worthy new consumer devices that debuted at International CES 2014, we are showcasing the ChefJet™ food 3D printer, the only ceramic 3D printer, the CeraJet™, and the first full-color desktop 3D printer, the CubeJet™. The newest evolution of Cube® and CubePro™ 3D printers are on display as is the new 3D printing lifestyle—the décor, the fashion, the entertainment—they’re catalyzing.

Oh, and if that wasn’t enough users can try out our breakthrough perceptual 3D mouse, Touch™, and see what it’s like to touch virtual objects.

Did we mention there’s a 3D-printed band as well?