by General Fabb
While in London recently we had a rather long lunch meeting with Gary Miller of IPF, a.k.a. Industrial Plastic Fabrications, a growing 3D print service based in the UK just outside of London. Also in attendance was Claire Russell-Jones, a publicist often providing service to Objet, manufacturers of commercial 3D printers.
Miller's operation uses 3D printers from Objet and EnvisionTEC, as well as other non-3DP rapid prototyping equipment and was excited to show us many amazing sample prints he had brought along in a large case. At first we wondered if a 3D printer was in the large case, but it was merely enough samples to completely cover the entire six-person table.
Miller explained how his 3D print service business has gradually grown over the years and how he's had to add capacity to his service to meet demand. It's quite fascinating to hear tales of highly unusual client requests that would inevitably land on a 3D print service's doorstep. No, we're not going to provide any details here.
Many of the samples we were shown included items produced using Objet's PolyJet technology that permits two different materials to be mixed together. The samples had mixes of hard and soft material, such as a panel with soft push buttons printed in a single operation. Another sample print was a replica of London's sorta-spherical City Hall building, which you can see here held up by Russell-Jones. Oh, she's holding the real one in her other hand, too.