When is an orange not an orange? Your one-stop guide to 3D printing in Ireland.
3D printing is changing the world, letting users do everything from creating custom prosthetic limbs to printing their own Batman costumes. Its one of those things that still feels utterly sci-fi, yet is very quickly becoming a reality in day-to-day life, in Ireland and the wider world.
And its not just for Dublins tech insiders: a community makerspace equipped with 3D printing resources has been proposed for DCUs Innovation Campus, and US-based DIY studios Techshop announced their plans last year to open a 3D printing service bureau for both entry-level makers and experts.
Looking at the Irish 3D printing startups on this list, its interesting how theyre not solely concentrated in Dublin. Companies like MCor Technologies and LayerLabz are doing their part to make 3D printing accessible to anyone, anywhere, from university campuses to hackspaces to design studios and industrial parks in County Louth.
3D Printing Dublin
This Rathmines shop and studio opened in 2013, selling 3D printers and offering small batch production, along with workshops and demonstrations. Workshops go through the history of 3D printing as well as giving you the chance to walk through the software. Theres also the option of hiring a printer if youre just starting out and not sure you want to commit (you should).
3D Printing Point
If youre based near Galway, then 3D Printing Point is a good place to start to make your ideas a reality with their Makerbot Replicator 2 printer. Upload your design and theyll get back to you with a quote. Their site is also an excellent source for free 3D modelling software, conveniently rounded up in one place. @galway3d
3D Printing Ireland
Based in North County Dublin, 3D Printing Ireland specialise in customisable, highly specialised designs for artists, engineers and even replica human bones for use by medical professionals (check out this eerily realistic lumbar spine!). @3DPrintScan
Launched off the success of Kickstarter project ClampHero, a 3D printed grip for smartphones and tablets to fix on the back of seats while travelling in trains, planes and cars, Garageeks are now gaining notice for their 3D printed signs designed to make businesses stand out, quite literally, from the usual laser-cut or printed branding. @garagegeeks
Since 2011, Inspire3D have run their 3D Print Bureau from a warehouse in Ashford, Co. Wicklow, printing full colour prototypes and functioning parts. They can do low volume production and rapid prototyping, and you can upload a 3D file straight to their site. @Inspire_3D
When DIT product design student Alan Donnelly discovered that he could build his own 3D printer out of salvaged parts, he partnered with a friend, DCU Marketing, Innovation & Technology grad Robert McGrath, and they were selected for DCUs UStart student entrepreneur accelerator programme where LayerLabz was born. The affordable printers have been trialled in schools, and theyve gone on to win 50,000 from Enterprise Irelands Competitive Start Fund expect more big things in their future. @LayerLabz
Love and Robots
Theyre backed by Frontline Ventures and won a place on the NYU Dublin accelerator, so of course were fans of Dublin-based 3D printing startup Love and Robots. The fashion tech company is slowly taking over Twitter feeds and fashion pages with their customisable accessories think nameplate necklaces, coasters etched with maps of the world and elaborately designed 3D bowties named after famous dead authors. Declaration Of Interest: We got them to design limited edition (and rather fabulous) Dublin Globe pins for our launch party. @LoveandRobotsHQ
Founded in Louth in 2005 by brothers Dr Conor MacCormack and Fintan MacCormack, MCor stand out for their use of paper as a building material, with the aim of democratising 3D printing and making it as easy as printing on paper. Last year they closed a funding round worth up to 15 million, opened a second branch in Boston and doubled their number of employees. They’re also responsible for the 3D printed orange at the top of this article. @Mcor3DPrinting
Mcor 3D Printing (@Mcor3DPrinting) July 22, 2015
A training centre for 3D printing with courses in Dublin, Cork and Limerick, Viewsion cover every part of the process from sourcing supplies and machines to using software to model and print your creation, to discerning the difference between mass producible and non-mass producible designs.
Irelands first Fab Lab (a small scale digital fabrication workshop combining design and production) is based in the Cloughjordan ecovillage in Tipperary – beginning in January 2016 theyll be runing a 3D printing and embedded systems Springboard course in collaboration with Limerick Institute of Technology. Theyll also host visits from schools and corporate away days, rent out space to makers, artists and developers, and run additional courses in topics like Arduino and laser cutting. @WeCreateIRL
Founded in 2014, Wittystore sell products which are ‘ingeniously clever in conception, execution and expression’. This translates to an online store for all your 3D printing needs, as well as a downloadable range of free model templates – including this adorable 3D printed Pikachu. @wittystore_com
A full-time 3D printing centre accessible for research, design services and commercial printing, U3D is based in University College, Dublin as an outgrowth of their Urban Modelling Group. Their range of printers in extensive, including a concept laser MLab machine, a photopolymer printer and filament printer and a Filastruder, which sounds very complicated but were told is a machine for creating low-cost, high-quality filament at home. We want a Filastruder!