At the South By Southwest (SXSW) conference, technology, entrepreneurship, film, and music collide in downtown Austin, TX. We set out to discover how additive manufacturing was making an appearance alongside creative design keynotes and celebrity red carpets.
ICON – At a featured event at SXSW, ICON showcased the first 3D-printed outdoor performance pavilion at The Long Center for the Performing Arts. In their event called “A Moonshot for Affordable Housing”, ICON shared their vision of creating affordable homes that cost under $99k. The company envisions that using advanced manufacturing to cross the $100k threshold will inspire and motivate city planners and developers to create more accessible and sustainable housing.
ICON also announced a partnership with Liz Lambert and BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group to build a 3D printed hotel in Marfa, Texas and a new global architecture competition called “Initiative 99” opening in May with a total prize purse of $1 million. On the competition, Co-Founder and CEO Jason Ballard said:
“Our goal is that Initiative 99 would in turn create the conditions for affordable housing to be something hopeful, optimistic and exciting, and furthermore catalyzes the building of some really incredible affordable homes that just years ago would not have even been possible. The future could be a wonder, but we have to all work together to make it so.”
Fortius Metals – Jeff Lints, Founder and CEO at Fortius Metals, advanced to the final round of the SXSW Innovative World Technologies Pitch Competition where he showcased their high performance welding wire used for large-scale metal additive manufacturing and robotic welding.
Mighty Buildings – Alexey Dubov, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Mighty Buildings, spoke alongside traditional construction industry leaders on how their team is using additive manufacturing to produce wall panels more efficiently and with recycled materials. The panel, titled “Housing’s Need for Innovation On a Global Scale”, focused on efficiency improvements achieved using modular construction strategies. Dubov discussed the need for diversifying the construction supply chain, and how additive manufacturing can provide an answer to disruptions in raw material supply chains and labor shortages.
Creative 3D Technologies – In the SXSW Creative Industries Expo, Creative 3D Technologies demonstrated their Duo machine featuring a large build volume (910 x 500 x 675 mm), dual extrusion heads, and ability to print a wide variety of performance plastic filaments.
It was exciting to see additive manufacturing featured in so many events at SXSW this year, where most attendees are not familiar with the technology much less the huge variety of processes, materials, and applications being developed in the industry. As additive manufacturing becomes more widespread, events like SXSW may be the next frontier to connect with consumers to increase education and adoption of 3D printed products and affordable housing with evolving design options.