Chattanooga is a city of two tales.

Home to the nation’s first and only city-wide gigabit network, the Scenic City recently emerged as the high-tech startup hub of the Southeast. Juxtaposed with this new focus on next-generation technology is our enduring legacy as a manufacturing center.

Chattanooga has now reached a transformative moment: Our two tales have the potential to intertwine. The city’s future-forward technology, combined with its manufacturing heritage, uniquely positions us to lead a new industrial revolution in Tennessee. And 3D printing just may be our coup d’état.

3D printing is emblematic of Chattanooga. It’s an advanced technology that will flourish in an ultra-high speed connected environment; it recalls our city’s longstanding reputation as a place that, simply put, makes great stuff.

CO.LAB is in the vanguard of making Chattanooga a living laboratory for next-generation businesses. As such, it is working with partners such as the Chattanooga Public Library, the Creative Discovery Museum, Chat*Lab, and others to inform our neighbors about the potential 3D printing represents.

Given Chattanooga’s high-tech focus, it’s surprising that very few people have been properly introduced to the wonders of 3D printing. Informal surveys indicate that nine out of 10 Chattanooga residents are unfamiliar with the technology.  Clearly, this is a situation that cries out to be rectified.

That’s exactly what we aim to do. This spring, we’re kicking off a series of events to introduce 3D printing to the community. On March 16, the Chattanooga Public Library will host Chattanooga’s first 3D Printing event: “Maker Day.”

With your help, we’ll attract as many Makers and their printers as we can. Anything and everything you do to be a part of this day will further our mission as we promote the revolutionary potential that 3D printing has to offer.

But it goes beyond that. This is an opportunity for Chattanooga’s manufacturing heritage and its new-found status as a hotbed of high-tech startups to coalesce. Your contribution, no matter how big or small, can help us merge our “two tales,” developing an entirely new, fertile market in our region.

And that’s what Chattanooga’s story is all about.

– Mike Bradshaw, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at CO.LAB


Find out more about the “Maker Day” event and keep up with the 3D printing movement in Chattanooga by liking CHA Makers on Facebook.