we are going to be at Siggraph! I am quite proud to announce that Shapeways will have a booth at Siggraph (#138).
The reason why this is something special is, that it goes back to 1999, when I was asked by Ton Roosendaal of Not a Number (Blender) to help him with the booth of Not a Number for Siggraph. This is the coolest show to be if you are into 3D! Now, after I have visited Siggraph 3 times (2x for NaN, last year for Shapeways) it is going to happen: Shapeways will have it's own booth at Siggraph and there we will announce something really cool.
So, please come and visit us at Siggraph on the 12-14 of August at the Los Angeles convention center. We will have some really exiting news and fun stuff to show. Also we will be organizing a drink on one of the evenings. If you are intending to visit, let us know on our forum, or in a comment to this post.
We would like to invite all the designers on Shapeways to enter into our 3D design challenge! We are looking for the most inspiring 3D object that can be made. It could be anything: a necklace, a starship, a figurine, art or a useful object of some sort. Our judges are going to evaluate each submission according to just one critera though: how inspiring is it? So get brainstorming, get making and get creating!
So, why enter? The top ten finalists' designs will be 3D printed out by Shapeways and taken to SIGGRAPH 2008 in LA to be exhibited there. After thousands of designers have seen your work at SIGGRAPH we will ship your model to you. The community will then vote on the finalists to determine which one is our grand prize winner. This person will win an additional $500 in free 3D printing from us.
The Dimension 3D printers look a bit
like Darth Vader's favorite coffee machine. They're about the size of
one of those cup dispensing office coffeemakers too. They are made by
Stratasys, the same company that makes the FDM 400mc. But, whereas the
FDM is a industrial type machine thats in the expensive Italian
convertible price range, the Dimension is quite a bit cheaper. An
adventurous Stratasys dealer might trade it in against a used 2004
Freedom of Creation or FOC is a exciting design house that amoung other things has come up with 3D printed clothing and other materials. We have a bucnh of their stuff around the office and it feels very slinky and not at all 3D printed. They are amoung the most toyed with objects we have.
We're very psyched about this and welcome all the TechCrunch readers to Shapeways. Look around, grab a chair and make yourself at home. If you have any questions you can email me at joris (at) shapeways.com.
We're also happy to let you know that our servers are holding up quite nicely despite all the attention. Furthermore we promise to remain grounded, friendly and as approachable as we have been in the past despite our new found fame.
At Shapeways we're obsessed with
turning 2D things into 3D objects. We'd like to think everyone shares
our obsession. If you look at this work by Dutch artist Kim Rikken it
initially looks like a collage, decidedly 2D. She seems to have drawn
lines across the work to give it some semblance of depth and 3D.
In actual fact the work started out a s
a 1.2 metre display box with shards of paper in them that moved as
the box was moved. It used to be a 3D object but the resulting work
looks as if it is 2D. And those lines? They are actually 1 metre high
each and painstakingly hand-drawn. It seems that some people will go
through great lengths to do the opposite of what we are doing.
One of the best artists websites ever
is this site by Jack Reubsaet. I tend to hate flash but the site is quite simply crazy(in a good way). See if you can spot his six foot tall Super Mario murals.
One of the machines we use is the Objet Eden 500. Objet is an Israeli company that makes 3D printers. At Shapeways our White Detail and our Transparant Detail materials are Objet. These materials have a nice smooth finish and are very detailed.
The main issue with them is temperature sensitivity. So we would recomend you didn't use this material for ashtrays of the like. It does make for very pretty display objects though, such as printed out avatars, real versions of animations and art. The Eden 500
Make is a rapidly expanding movement urged on by the likes of Boing Boing, Instructables and the ever-present O'Reilly Media. Globally makers are experimenting at home with technology by taking things apart, adding functionality and creating their own completely new things. I used the vague term 'things' because makers are busy making thousands of thousands of "things" from robots to rockets, Bar-B-Q's to vases, spinning bow ties to swimming pools. The movement itself seems to be about rebelling against a manufactured mass produced world that has grown so technologically complex that we no longer understand any of the devices that fill our lives. Years ago everyone could fix their own cars, now nobody can. Makers rebel against this by playing with technology and creating their own. Technology that is cheap, easy to make, fun and that fits a particular purpose well. A lot of makers then make instructions of their completed projects so that others can follow them. This means that no matter how techno-challenged you are: there will always be some project you can do. The movement is rather democratic so it has no official history(that I am aware of).
I believe that make's genesis lies in the science projects we all used to do when we were kids, such as this fun one by NASA.
One of the first make things I ever did was this fun hovercraft on Make:zine.
I've been getting some questions about what kind of machines we use at Shapeways. (Y)our models are printed by several 3D printers. One of these is a Stratasys FDM 400mc. Stratasys is one of the largest rapid prototyping machine companies and is refreshingly based in Minnesota.
The picture above of the machine was taken by me, my sincere apologies for that. The printer is about the size of a large SubZero fridge(think MTV Cribs) and uses a technique called FDM or Fused Deposition Modeling.
A lot of you will be familiar with Banksy by now. The faceless man from Bristol who went from mysterious and anonymous graffiti artist to screen print star. Currently there's quite some speculation that his real identity might be rather a boring one. Rather than a hard luck story he might be, Gasp, a middleclass person. Whatever that means. Perhaps he even has a Facebook page. This post is not about that though. A while ago he helped organize The Cans Festival. This wonderfully named event showed us some stunning, funny and thought provoking art.
Some more street art can be seen on the Mark Jenkins site. It shares the humorous, court jester-like quality of a lot of street art with a kind of "installations that ambush you" theme.
At Shapeways we love making thing in 3D but other people are busy in 3D on an entirely different scale. The Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota was started in 1948 by Korczak Ziolkowski. He worked for 36 years on the monument commemorating Native American culture and one of its' most famous chiefs. After his death others have expanded it but it is very far from being finished. Eventually the statue will be 172 metres tall. You can see more pictures of it here. You can also see it on Google maps. At Shapeways we think big, but not that big.
3D Printing is currently rather a hard term to define. Officially it is just one of the rapid manufacturing techniques. Currently however the term 3D Printing itself is used as a synonym for rapid manufacturing, digital manufacturing, direct digital manufacturing, rapid prototyping, desktop manufacturing, freeform fabrication and fabbing.
Each one of these terms has a distinct meaning but they are all vying for your attention to become the official term to describe any process whereby the information in a digital file describing an object virtually(such as an STL or CAD file) is used to rapidly make a real object. Usually by one single machine and usually in limited production runs.
The official definition maintains that 3D Printing is is just one of the many ways that you do this. In that light: 3D Printing is a technique that deposites material layer by layer using a head similar to that of a inkjet printer. The head tends to move along the X and Y axes and the object being printed moves up and down on the Z axis. In the picture above you can see our Objet printer at work. The head is printing two copies of Macouno's Shapeways model Petunia(Of Project Petunia fame). The two Petunias are on a base plate that moves down along the Z axis to give the model depth.
At Shapeways we have noticed that we, our designers and partners tend to use 3D Printing as a general term to describe any rapid manufacturing technique. In a future post I will try and clear up some of the differences between the different techniques and materials.I hope that this definition helped, and did not confuse.
Although the RepRap has been getting all the press lately, for me Fab@Home Project is the original open source, cheap, desktop 3D Printer project.
Every weekday we will share a few links on a (hopefully) relevant
topic based on the emails we let fly around the office.
The first installment: Open Innovation.
Open Innovation is the concept whereby companies open up their
R&D and product development to consumers, partners and other
firms to make use of their feedback, ideas and even IP to enhance
their R&D effort.
Economist article about Open Innovation as practiced by some
hardware manufacturers. Very practical overview of Open Innovation
in the wild.
McKinsey Quarterly article wirth some good graphics and quotes if you're getting
started or want to pitch this idea in a business setting.
link to "The New Age of Innovation" by C.K. Pralahad
and M.S. Krishnan. An excellent book by the author of Fortune
at the Bottom of the Pyramid about how to create a framework for
Open Innovation in international firms by working together with
networks of customers and employees while redesigning internal
systems. Some creepy analytics anecdotes and a lot of corporate ICT
process stuff that might bore some people but a solid read for the