Backstage at the 3D Printer World Exposition 

An insider's look at what it takes to set up the world's most exciting 3D printing event – and the folks who make it possible.

Things are surprisingly calm in the Burbank Marriott Convention Center as the 3D Printer World rolls into the last hours of preparation for tomorrow's gathering of makers, manufacturers, engineers and artists. That's not to say things are boring. The lobby and exhibit hall areas which were quite empty until a couple of hours ago are now filled with the crews who will turn a stacked jumble of shipping crates, rented furniture, and freshly-printed signage into a living event by tomorrow.

In the lobby area, one of the massive 3D printed sculptures being displayed by ExOne is already set up, a 1600 lb polymer-fused pillar of industrial sand, whose intricately-convoluted lines were inspired by Incan architecture.  Nearby, a faceted curve-linear wall takes shape as two architects from Emerging Objects clip its component panels into place. The walls' panels are also polymer-fused particles, but instead of sand, the artist used salt which was harvested from San Francisco Bay. It's no surprise then, that the angular repeating pattern which forms the panel's structure is inspired by salt's crystalline structure.

ExOne's pillar taking shape The Emerging Objects structure being assembled piece by piece

Behind the scenes, the entire 3D Printer World crew, their spouses and the occasional kid, are busy setting up their command center, inventorying supplies, stuffing several thousand tote bags with programs and show materials and making sure the rest of the last-minute preparations are managed.  During a break from my set-up chores, I realized that there's a special magic happening here in Burbank as all the months of preparation come together this afternoon and I decided to share a little bit of it with those of you who will be joining us tomorrow, either in person or via social media.  Besides getting a look at some of what it takes to put the event together, the pictures show you a side of our web site you won't normally see, and a glimpse at the tight-knit crew that delivers it fresh to your browser every day.