That’s a Wrap on 3D/DC 2016!
That’s a Wrap on 3D/DC 2016!
That’s a Wrap on 3D/DC 2016!

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    Courtney Duffy, PK's Robert W. Deutsch Arts & Technology Fellow, spearheaded the 5th annual 3D/DC 2016, the premier 3D printing policy event in the nation. The event took place on Capitol Hill over the course of April 13 and 14. You can check out social media posts from the event using #3DDC2016, and follow Courtney Duffy on Twitter at @cduffy90. Here is a recap of the event.

    The Public Knowledge team was proud to once again present 3D/DC, an event to bring together members of the 3D printing community with federal policymakers to promote policy that will encourage, rather than hinder, innovation in the industry. Since 2016 marks 3D/DC’s fifth birthday, we decided to make it bigger and better than ever, spanning the course of two days: the first day was comprised of advocacy training and Congressional meetings, followed by a day of panel programming and an interactive reception.

    Day One

    Advocacy Day went off without a hitch. A dozen members of the 3D printing community convened at our office here in DC for a morning of networking and advocacy training. We discussed the differences between direct lobbying and grassroots advocacy – given that we are not registered lobbyists, we were engaging in the latter – and the types of situations we might encounter during the afternoon Congressional meetings that we had ahead of us. Here are a few of the takeaways from the morning workshop:

    • Researching which offices to meet with is half the battle
    • Don’t be discouraged if you meet with Congressional staffers rather than members
    • Flexibility is key
    • Recruit other people from your community to join you
    • Prepare thoroughly for your meeting
    • After the meeting, follow up with the representative who met with you with a note of thanks and any additional details

    After a quick photo opportunity, our advocates hit the road and headed for Capitol Hill. We split into three small groups to keep the conversations as personal as possible and met with representatives from the following Congressional offices: Representatives Takano, Mulvaney, Slaughter, Lance, Nadler, Scott, and Ryan, as well as Senator Tillis.

    Day Two

    The main event was comprised of a series of panels followed by an interactive reception, all of which took place in the Rayburn House Office Building. We received 750+ RSVPs, and the panel presentations, including STEAM Education, the Environment, Social Impact, Bridging the Workforce Skills Gap, and the Arts, were standing room only for much of the day. Four of the panels were moderated by members of the Public Knowledge team, including Chris Lewis, Charles Duan, Dallas Harris, and me.

    I moderated the 3D Printing and the Arts panel, which was comprised of an impressive array of participants, including Fractured Atlas Executive Director Adam Huttler, artist and instructor Kate Blacklock, Brooklyn-based designer Francis Bitonti (who designed the now-famous 3D printed gown worn by Dita Von Teese), and Phyllis Klein, who runs a makerspace for artists in DC called Fab Lab. You can watch the video in full here:


    3D/DC 2016 attendees had the opportunity to hear remarks from Representative Mark Takano, the Congressional Maker Caucus co-chair, during the panel portion of the event. Representative Takano is in many ways the champion of 3D printing on Capitol Hill. His staffers are committed to the cause, and he is the only member of Congress with a 3D printer in his office. He shared with the crowd that the Congressional Maker Caucus has created its own Thingiverse page that features a handful of designs that are available for print.

    Following the panels, attendees gathered in the Rayburn House Office Building Cafeteria for an evening reception. Between 15 and 20 groups exhibited their work at interactive booths, allowing them access to Congressional members like Representatives Takano and Ryan, who stopped by, as well as Congressional staffers and members of the general public.

    You can find a full album of photos from 3D/DC 2016 here and videos of all the panels here

    The event was sponsored by the following groups: the Congressional Maker Caucus, Fractured Atlas, Source3, Shapeways, and the Enable Community Foundation. It simply could not have occurred without their support.

    3D/DC 2016 was one for the books! Thank you to those who helped promote it. To learn more about our work on 3D printing, click here.