Commit Your 2012 Travel Budget Now
Todd Grimm posted on January 09, 2012 |
Get out and see the 3D printing world. Here are four events to put at the top of your list.

There are a lot of great events that showcase 3D printing. Below are four that I can personally recommend. While there are uncommitted funds in your travel budget, consider registering for these top-notch conferences and shows.

AMUG logoAdditive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) Conference 

  • Costa Mesa, California; April 22 – 26, 2012

For the first time ever, this long-running event is open to all users and owners of commercial 3D printing technology. The agenda includes a two-day exhibitor expo, four-day conference, workshops and plenty of networking opportunities to pick the brains of those that have solved the problems and conquered the applications that you are trying to address.

If you want insight, facts and personal experience straight from other users (instead of filtered through vendors or editors), this is the event for you. If you feel like you are in it alone when finding best practices, solvivg daily problems or investigating new systems and materials, this is a must-attend event.

AMUG has a very open environment — users that are willing to share and are quick to offer assistance.

RAPID 2012 logoRAPID 2012 (

  • Atlanta, Georgia; May 22 – 25, 2012

Organized by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), this event is half trade show and half conference. It is a must-attend for vendors, so you will see all the systems and materials that are available. There is also a substantial service bureau presence for those that need to outsource some of the prototyping and manufacturing work.

Whether you attend the conference (for a fee) or not, the opening session is part of the package. This year, RAPID has a can’t-be-missed keynote speaker, Paul Doe of Prodrive (UK). Paul and his team use 3D printing to design and build rally cars for the FIA World Rally Championship series. After Paul, you’ll get a rapid-fire run down of whats new and interesting in 3D printing.

Oh, word has it that the opening session will conclude with a fashion show…featuring fashion and fashion accessories produced with 3D printers.

TCT Live 2012 logoTCT Live 2012 (

  • Birmingham, England; September 25 – 26, 2012

You won’t find a better value anywhere else. TCT Live, which is organized by the folks behind The TCT Magazine, offers free conference sessions in conjunction with its trade show. In 2011, over 5,000 visitors attended. In the words of the event organizers, “The 2011 event smashed all previous attendance records and highlighted the excitement and interest around 3D printing and additive manufacturing.”

TCT live offers the bonus of many co-located events that are included in your registration. These include Micro-Machining Live, MEMS Live, Nano Live, Interplas, PPMA Show and Sensing Technologies.

Like RAPID, plenty of hardware, materials and services to see at the show. Unlike RAPID, you will see technologies available in Europe that have yet to make it across the pond.

EuroMold logoEuroMold (

  • Frankfurt, Germany; November 27 – 30, 2012

EuroMold is a massive trade show (57,955 visitors from 97 countries in 2011). And while its focus is on all the technologies that fuel molding and machining, there is a very large 3D printing contingency.

Historically, EuroMold has been a preferred launch venue for 3D printing companies. So when you are there, you will likely be one of the first (or first few thousand…did I say this show is big) to see what’s new and what’s coming in 3D printing.

Separately, there is a one-day additive manufacturing conference, organized by Terry Wohlers, that kicks off the event.

So get out, live a little, and break free of the impersonal conversations through print and Web. I’ve committed to three of the four events already. Hope to see you there.

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