3D Printing going mainstream

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Visitors to the August-long Summer Bytes Festival at TNMOC were fascinated by the 3D Printing events last week. Advanced printers could be seen in action, while visitors could try their hand at designing and printing objects themselves on smaller machines. TNMOC even received a 3D Printer for its collection.

3D Printing, hailed as a key element of a new industrial revolution, can produce objects of virtually any shape by layering and adding rather than the traditional machining process of removing and subtracting material. Prices of 3D printers have been falling so printers already popular in some industries are finding their way into homes. For industry, the production of prototype models takes days rather than weeks.

Mark Debnam of Triformica was on-hand at TNMOC to explain the concept of 3D printing to a delegation of MK Business people: "Early adopters of 3D printing were to be found in industry, but with new lower cost printers we are beginning to find printers in the home. Model makers, jewellery designers and hobbyists are using 3D printers to make personalised, bespoke items now that costs of 3D printers are falling. I think the next big breakthrough will be in the materials that can be used to print objects."

Andrew Spencer, Events manager at TNMOC, said: "The 3D Printing events at TNMOC were extremely popular both with our corporate visitors and our general public visitors. They were able to see multi-coloured pens being printed on a very advanced machine and on the lower cost models we were printing things like small chess pieces such as castles with incredible detail including internal staircases."

Simon van de Crommert from 3D Systems Europe Ltd who was also at the Summer Bytes Festival presented The National Museum of Computing with a 3D printer as a display item. Although 3D Printing is very much a technology of today, it is progressing so rapidly that this printer, which has already been superseded in the market place, will look like a true Museum piece in a few years' time.

This week at Summer Bytes Festival, there will be Raspberry Pi workshops and visitors will be able to explore the brand new computer controlled LEGO EV3 Mindstorms and Hornby's new computerised train set. The Festival culminates the following week with a computer games bonanza where visitors can join computer game-making workshops and play vintage games across six decades of computing.

Sponsors of the Summer Bytes Festival include:
IP Cortex
Bletchley Park Science and Innovation Centre

Notes To Editors

About The National Museum of Computing

The National Museum of Computing, located at Bletchley Park, is an independent charity housing the largest collection of functional historic computers in Europe, including a rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer and the WITCH, the world's oldest working digital computer. The Museum enables visitors to follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s through the large systems and mainframes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and the rise of personal computing in the 1980s and beyond.

Funders of the Museum include Bletchley Park Capital Partners, CreateOnline, Ceravision, InsightSoftware.com, Google UK, PGP Corporation, IBM, NPL, HP Labs, BCS, the Drapers' Foundation, Black Marble, and the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire.

The Museum is currently open to the public on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm, and on summer Bank Holidays. During the Summer Bytes Festival, 24 July until 1 September, the Museum will be open Wednesday to Sunday, 1-5pm. Guided tours are also available at 2.30pm on Tuesdays. There are often additional opening times for the public -- see the website or the iPhone app for updates. Educational and corporate groups are very welcome and may be on any day or evening by prior arrangement.

For more information, see www.tnmoc.org and follow @tnmoc on Twitter and The National Museum of Computing on Facebook and Google+. A TNMOC iPhone App is also now available from the iPhone App Store.

Media Contacts

Stephen Fleming
Palam Communications for TNMOC
t +44 (0) 1635 299116
e sfleming@palam.co.uk

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