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.



Lowering Cost and Reducing Production Time, ProJet 3D Printing Lets Turbine Technologies Soar

Making test parts using traditional mold manufacturing techniques is risky business. Take turbine engine components, which traditionally require weeks and tens of thousands of dollars to finish. The designs upon which these parts are based go through extensive cycle analysis, computational fluid dynamics, finite element analysis and solid modeling, but there’s always the chance that alterations may be required due to a mistake or change in specifications. In any case, if a design change is suddenly required, your shiny new test part is now an expensive, time-eating piece of scrap.


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.

The Manhattan Project


A major art installation made possible by 3D Printing at Quickparts

In early 2014 Sparks, a Brand Experience company talented at creating vibrant environments and activations, was tasked by Vick Art Advisors to create a sculpture to fill a 24-foot niche in a newly renovated corporate space in New York City. The client was looking for something to abstractly represent Manhattan but the deadlines were tight and thus demanding a quick turnaround.


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. 

3D Systems Brings 3DPRINTING 2.0 to the Additive Manufacturing User Group

ROCK HILL, South Carolina – April 7, 2014 – 3D Systems  (NYSE:DDD) today announced it will feature its newly available 2014 product line of 3

High quality doesn’t always have to come in a big, expensive package. Today, we officially began shipping our ProJet 1200 micro-SLA machine: a small 3D printer that packs a big punch for $4,900. Stereolithography (SLA) sets the benchmark for 3D printing accuracy; with the ProJet 1200, we just scaled it down and lowered the price. So you can quickly produce highly accurate SLA parts from the workbench, countertop or CAD desk. In fact, the ProJet 1200 is smaller than your average coffee maker.


What are people using the ProJet 1200 for?

  • Dental work of all types – From crowns to bridges, dental labs use the ProJet 1200 to create smile-worthy, castable patterns in under an hour.
  • Jewelry design – The ProJet 1200’s precision makes it great for creating intricate jewelry casting patterns. Designers don’t have to fret over the manufacturability of complex pieces.
  • Hobbyists – The possibilities are endless. For small charms, RC car parts, miniatures, intricate pendants, replacement cabinet knobs, tiny action figures, electronic components and housings, game pieces, small assembly components... You get the idea. If it’s a small part and accuracy is important, this affordable 3D printer is for you, just don’t let the size fool you.
Release Date: 
Sunday, March 23, 2014 - 23:30
Media File: 

3D Systems' ProJet 1200 3D Printer for Jewelry Design

There was a time when we got bread from the baker around the block and clothes from our local tailor. Our CEO Avi Reichental’s grandfather was a cobbler who catered to nearby customers, providing custom-built shoes for specific feet. But somewhere in the industrial revolution, this kind of localized commerce and the craftsmanship that it thrived on was washed out. (Image via

But considering the current capabilities of 3D printing, as well as those on the horizon, Avi recently shared with a TED audience that he sees a return to our manufacturing heritage and a renaissance of custom workmanship. We are, he says, going into a “new era of localized, distributed manufacturing” and accomplishing a new quality of life with the freedom and economy that 3D printing affords.

Click here to read more about Avi’s TED talk and hear about the ways that 3D printing is enabling this new manufacturing paradigm in industries like healthcare, entertainment and fashion.

Advanced Processes and Materials Help Indy Racing League Racecar


Customer: Élan Motorsports Technologies (EMT), part of the Panoz group of companies, is one of the world’s leading motor sports technology companies.



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