Next month Engatech is sponsoring our Houston 3D Printers User’s Forum on July 19th from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the New Horizons Learning Center in Houston TX. I wanted to give you a little background on how we set up the timing and speakers, plus give you a few details, and finally, why going to the meeting is a good idea.

When I first starting developing the 3D Printer’s User’s Forum (also known at the 3DPUF) I looked at the trade and seminar events for 3D printing that were on the national and international stage and reviewed what each of the events contained. Overwhelmingly each event, ranging from AMUG to Rapid to TCT, had a large amount of educational content as well as the opportunity to network with peers and vendors. The events were and are great, and they give a lot back to attendees including some of the best networking I have experienced. (I absolutely suggest going to AMUG or RAPID if you can.) However on the downside, each event costs a lot of money to attend, requires travel with hotels and meals, plus a large time commitment. Going meant you had to be away from your normal work for days. The investment on the part of attendees is huge.

Looking at the outlay for these large national meetings, I started exploring whether there were local or regional groups that did 3D printing educational and networking events in the areas where Engatech serves. While I had started a couple of Meet Up groups to give people a chance to informally socialize and compare notes on 3D printing, the Meet Ups were mostly social groups loosely organized and most members were not users as much as just interested in the tech. In polling clients there was definitely an interest in a more technical program with “user conditions.” Potential attendees didn’t want to travel to a hotel, the event needed to be short, focused and inexpensive and no more than a day. That sounded like a good blueprint for the basics. I got to work on making the vision happen.

I came up with the 3DPUF. While the 3DPUF is not on the scale of an AMUG or RAPID, I and the Engatech team strongly believe that being a 3D printing leader in the region means also showing the way for the kind of discussions and sharing that these meetings represent. Engatech sponsored our first 3DPUF in March in Dallas Fort Worth as a “prototype” event to judge response, examine what went well and how to make the program even better. I was pleased that the Dallas attendees gave us outstanding reviews with a couple of suggestions on the structure as well as topics. With those changes in mind, we started planning 2 more of these educational and technical events – one for Houston and one for the Oklahoma/Northwest Arkansas communities.
The programming and topics are those which have been requested by users. Included in the Houston event will be 6 speakers on 6 topics and they will cover information that attendees will not be able to hear anywhere else. Included will be sessions on “Change in 3D Printing; Trends and Market Reactions,” as well as a comparison of basic differences between processes. Other presentations will include: “Materials and Machine Selection”, “Scanning and Converting Data to 3D” files, expert tips on Catalyst and Insight for FDM, using free on-line resources for file creation and conversions as well as new machine and materials from Stratasys. Of course part samples will be available and a light breakfast will be served for pre-session networking.

If you would like more information on the Houston 3DPUF and to reserve a seat click here.

We anticipate that the event will be full, so don’t hesitate to register. I am also lining up speakers for the Fall OK/AR event, so if you want a topic, don’t just think about it – drop us an email with your suggestion. Have an area that you are an expert on – give me a call and let’s talk. You can send suggestions to with the subject line “3DPUF topic” and we will see about lining up experts and more speakers.

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