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3D printing fair opens in Shanghai

Reporter: Yuan Chenyue 丨 CCTV.com

06-01-2016 07:14 BJT

China's biggest 3D Printing Technology Industry Expo opened in Shanghai today. It's the first time the four-year old event has been held in Shanghai. Our reporter Yuan Chenyue says many companies are showing off printers that can be used in homes.

This 3D printer can produce home decorations such as a vase or lamp cover. The device costs around 4,000 yuan, and the company that makes it sold about 5,000 printers last year. Most buyers were schools or individuals.

"The printer brings the best effect by using plastic and carbon fiber materials. We are now developing 3D printers that can use flour to make pancakes. Users can make cartoon-shaped pancakes for children," said Ye Zhen, HueWay Technology.

"Developers say 3D printing has grown in popularity in the manufacturing sector with companies using it to design models. Some say home and individual use is the next target, but that there are some challenges to overcome in order to make it happen," said Yuan Chenyue, Reporter.

One developer says 3D printing will be more popular for individuals who want personalized products. But there are some hurdles to overcome involving cost and technology.

"In the future, if the 3D printer can connect to the Internet by Wifi, consumers can talk with designers online and place the order without leaving their home. But we need to increase the efficiency of the printer. Currently, it takes about an hour to produce 50 grams of product, which could be quite slow for consumers," said Huang Bo, 3D Designer, SH WWDY Technology.

Some consumers at the fair are excited about the idea of a 3D printer at home, but not all.

"A 3D printer can let users make small toys and decorations. It is interactive and can train children's creativity and practical abilities. That's different with buying toys only. I would be willing to pay up to 30,000 yuan," said Lv Shiming.

"I think you still need to learn more about how to design a model if you want to buy a 3D printer, or it will be useless. And developers can post more design graphs online for users to better use the device," said Wang Xinyu.

China's 3D printing industry was valued at 7.8 billion yuan last year. That's double its size from 2014.

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