3D Printing, Kickstarter and the TSB

Today, the UK’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) announced a funding competition to develop new 3D printing technology.  It’s called “Inspiring new design freedoms in additive manufacturing / 3d printing” and is offering funding from £100k to £1.5milion for collaborative, business-led design projects to overcome some of the “dirty secrets” of 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, with a total funding pot of £7 million.

Over the last year I’ve been watching the rise of 3D printing projects on Kickstarter, as they’ve progressed from fairly simple ones to the more recent, high profiles successes, such as the Formlabs Form 1 3D printer, which is a project to commercialise a printer, software and compounds.  That one project alone has attracted just under $3 million in funding from over 2,000 backers, over 1,000 of whom will end up with 3D printers by next May.

Which made me wonder what the TSB is going to use my tax-payer’s money for in this competition, as it looks as if there is already a perfectly workable funding model to develop 3D printers.  Or do they think that 3D stands for Dead Duck Donations?

Read More