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Some links about me. Many of my 3D designs are free. I also post on Google+ and in another blog, oz4.us
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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

3D print fair at Fabcon 2014: feelings and people

Fabcon 2014 - was worth 2575 kilometers and 31 hours on a motorbike!

So I was kindly offered to give the closing talk of the 2014 edition of Fabcon 3.D in Erfurt, Germany.

My talk is now available online as slides, and also as a youtube video (for some unknown reason I cannot embed it here).

Note that I added a short separate post that resumes it, with a few new ideas: The businessman and the maker. This one is about the people and projects I met there.

My spoken English should definitely be improved (and I was half sick half exhausted), but it will spare you pushes on the space bar for the next slide, and more importantly, you still get details in the 25 minutes not-so-lively speech. My apologies, as it was the first time I spoke in public for years (back to my time at the long-gone Palm company, and more significantly during my PhD, huh, 14 year ago!). Please read ahead.

Now, I decided I did not want this site to be that of a journalist. I even did not take pictures at the fair -- so do not expect this post to be a report on the show itself (see e.g. my new friends at 3dprintingforbeginners - short, and well-written -- by the way, I highly recommend the excellent list of events they maintain, whenever you wish to know about 3D printing fairs all around the globe and the year).

Attending the show and seeing other people was really one of the reason why I accepted.

But why did I drive there!?

OK, for once I will speak a bit about my own feelings, and about people.

Driving to Erfurt from the south of France on my bike for twice 15+ hours was a curious trip, with a moving average of 80 km/h (mostly thanks to the high speed German motorways and even though I have no speed bike). But why the hell did I do that? I guess it goes with the sense of freedom (though my carbon impact probably was quite high).

This is also why I like freedom when traveling (the Vosges, in N-E of France). More pictures from me here if you like.

And it made also a nice break to cool my head and compensate for the intense work I did for the last months (some of you may have noticed: neither posts nor designs lately!...). No way you can even read or hear music on a bike -- I would not dare --, and your hands on a handlebar empties your head after... well, say 1000 km may be, or so. The weather was fine all the way, and most often plain beautiful.

Erfurt is as nice as I was told. With more time I would have stayed around in das grĂ¼ne Herz Deutschlands (Thuringia). But my way back was sped up by a flu...

Anyhow, I came in to attend only the second and third days of the show (namely the "prosumer" and "family and maker" days). I would have loved to see the "industrial" day though, but I really had work to release till the very last day.

Key people with key projects

The show was not that big, and I first felt I could be feeling lonely after a while. This was immediately and absolutely unjustified
  • I spotted from far away the hairy and enlightened David (Cura's main developer) talking with...
  • Nils (3Ddinge) in his booth featuring the incredibly cheap Makibox, and headed straight to them. Quite happy to see them in the eye for the first time. While we were discussing,
  • at, with or near Roland (Repetier) and Ian Spring (fast and furious Ultimaker fan!), we saw and hooked...
  • Gina  (Octoprint) who just arrived and was starting to wander around.
  • Then I saw the great Joris (yes the guy who thinks out of the box - he IS tall so he would not fit in a box anyway). He needs to print a T-shirt labeled "I was an option", unless Daid really commits his change to re-name Spiralize back to Joris in Cura.
  • and Jason (BotBQ) who is so nice a guy and who taught me something very interesting (see below).
I am certainly forgetting a few people, whose names may not get back to me right now. I just hope not to have forgotten people I met that do count in the open/free scene. And I came too late to shake a humble hand with Josef Prusa, who opened the fair (his talk here).

All this was really unexpected to me, as we really spent most of our time discussing with each other the whole day, having ideas, and drinking a beer at some nice place.

I feel honored to be there! From bottom to top and right to left:
Gina Haussgue (octoprint), Florian Horsh (so much!), Joris Van Tubergen (yes, the Joris!),
David Braam (Cura and more), me (not done much, really), and Jason Mosbrucker (BotBQ).
We missed some though, like Mark (Coffeescad), and I would have loved to see also Richard (richrap) who could not make it to the fair neither. Obviously there were other people I should have talked to "locally", e.g. William Hoyle (Techfortrade - Ethical Filament Foundation) or Gaspard Bos (Perpetual Plastic Recycling), because their projects are both well thought and important. They deserve more visibility!

Hypecask'ed Jason. What a beast! (pic: Gina)
Finally, I had the chance that Kai stopped by Erfurt and gave me a hug just a few minutes before my own speech, something I deeply appreciated! He is the guy who invented the Laywoo (remember?), Laybrick and much more (Florian was really kind and gave us time so I could check the new stuff he brought). He keeps inventing - he is a perfect example of "made at home" creativity to be compared to industrial heavyweights (see my second post).

We all had harder times chasing  Florian Horsh running around as the lead of this event, until he finally settled down for 5 minutes on a chair at the end of the three days... this young guy rocks (kudos also to Uli and Diana -- so much work!). Not only Florian published a book this year, while setting this Fabcon 2014 (a major 3D conference up in Germany), but he also managed to work on the so high quality Hypecask products, like the huge Delta Towers that were shown in the entrance of the fair -- the printers obviously come at a cost (~8K!), but they left no place for compromise both in quality and print volume.

All in all this was a real pleasure to be there. My only regrets are the few more people I would have loved to see, and the nasty east-german flu I got on my way bike, not a good thing in a helmet for 15 hours (nice unintentional play on word!). Else I would probably still be driving my bike on small roads back to home.

I did not talk about my own speech here, you may want to check it quickly in this post.

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