Last week, 3,500 3-D printing engineers, enthusiasts, innovators and users gathered in Detroit's Cobo Center to help celebrate SME's 21st annual additive manufacturing blowout: the RAPID Conference and Expo.
This year's show boasted a 40% increase in attendance from last year with an approximate 30% increase in exhibitor space.
But this year's show was something much more than just bigger: This year,
Along with the plastic printers we've come to expect at the show, the rows were rife with metal printers and powder suppliers, hybrid machine and software solutions -- big, Industrial equipment for a suddenly big, industrial show.
At times, RAPID felt more like IMTS than a 3-D print show, with aisles filled not with geeky futurists, but industrial-minded engineers looking for industrial grade equipment.
Finally, after 31 years of development, 3-D printing was treated as an industrial tool that can cut costs, improve efficiency and boost quality, not just a fancy toy.
That means good things to come.