I came across something truly amazing today. It is Meta-Morphose,
an initiative in 2006 to re-purpose existing objects in order to
prolong their life using rapid prototyping. A standard Thermos flask
could for example at the end of its life be turned into a portable lamp
or patio light with the addition of some 3D printed parts to it. You can find pictures of the result here.
The same Canadian team is now working on Metacycle. I asked one of the team members, Philippe Lalande, a professor at École de design industriel of Université de Montréal, about the project. They are currently using, "Crowdsourcing to canvas the design energies of an international
creative community in proposing how products could be transformed
through the use of Rapid Prototyping." He also said that so far they have had 130 submissions of new ideas. Their first contest was won by, "an office wall clock, was proposed by the Portugese designers Botelho and Gouveia." The clock is composed of recycled markers and a 3D printed housing. I personally also really like their VHS video tape, tape dispenser.
I think that this is a great initiative. On the Metacycle site you can submit your own solutions to recycling challenges as well as rate other people's solutions.
Shapeways member Xcapee made some 3D printed gifts for speakers at a conference that he helped organise. The model is a sleeve that slips over a LED tealight. I love the idea. This is the third time that someone has used Shapeways to make conference gifts and maybe it is a niche we should perhaps more actively approach. I'm not sure how much the LED lights were, but the cost of printing the sleeves was $13.71 so it seems that this is quite an affordable gift too. I think I'll experiment a little with LEDs and our Ring Poems to see if we can make a ersatz version of Xcapee's model that anyone can then make using our Creator. Kudos to Xcapee's for inspiring us, his creative gifts and also for his amazing beard. You can check out the video below.
Next to all the usual ordinary or actually, extraordinary stuff we do at Shapeways, there is now another complete different thing we would like to pronounce.
I'm already here for a year now and I think it's time to let you know what I've done the last couple of months. During my internship last year I created a passion for global sharing..
Once we knew the first Shapeways Creator should give people the opportunity to express their feelings in a personalized and unique way, I started to think about creating a way to get people inspired.
The Light Poem is a perfect way to tell your loved ones that you love them, in a complete unique and personalized way. With these thoughts (that the Light Poem is a perfect gift of love) I created a whole new concept for people to express their feelings.
The website Share the Love is a brand new community where all kind of expressions of love are brought together. The website has a database of poems and other expressions of love in several languages.
You can search on category, language or by tag.
You can upload a poem or expression of love in English and or translate it into a language you master.
So, are you looking for some inspiration for your Light Poem? Or are you just curious about this new community? Have a look at www.share-the-love.net
As announced earlier, Peter and me represented Shapeways at Play 2008. We met a lot of people to share our excitement about Shapeways and being your personal fabrication service. We got many good suggestions, ideas and new friends.
The participants of Play 2008 received an e-mail to participate in a small contest to develop a Light Poem with the most inspiring text on the theme of Disruption (what it means to you... be creative!). Our community member Helen Ip won the contest with the following text:
Disruption happens when a person is about to get up to go to the bathroom the seatbelt light goes ding and comes on.
At Shapeways we had great fun reading this entry. Indeed, it is disruptive and at a place where you least want it to happen to you. Helen Ip's creativity has won her a free Light Poem ! If you want to make one yourself go to: http://www.shapeways.com/creator.
Last but not least: Thank you Play 2008 for inviting us! Many thanks Carlos for your great support and the fun we had. Thank you California for some very welcome sunshine!
I don't know about you, but here at Shapeways we're starting to get into the holiday season spirit.
And it looks like we're not the only ones - community designs for our Christmas Contest are already starting to come in (there are 11 days left to submit your work, by the way! Deadline is november 30th).
We couldn't really curb our own creativity either, so we set out to find something that would look cool on your dinner table and would be easy to make for everyone.
The result is the Ring Poem, the small cousin of our Light Poem. Just enter your message into our Creator, select a font and Ring Poem type and you'll get an instant quote. We did our best to keep the Ring Poems affordable - priced around $10 a piece, you can leave each guest a personal message during his or her dinner.
There were some questions on the forum lately about printing working hinges and what kind of tolerances you need to make them work. Some test objects were uploaded by pzich and we're currently printing those to see how they work.
While we're waiting for them, we thought we'd share a few insights that we gleaned from some test objects that we already have on our tables here
1. Flexible hinges Instead of making a mechanical hinge, you can use White Strong & Flexible to make flexible hinges. Here are two example: one using a 'harmonica' structure. In this case the material is about 0.5 mm thick:
Another approach is to make a long, flat piece of plastic which can bend. The material here is about 0.5 mm thick as well:
2. Moving parts
This 'GearCard' was printed as a single model in White Strong & Flexible. You can make moving parts by modeling air gaps between the gear and the axis. Although our minimum tolerance is about 0.1mm, we do suggest that you keep gaps above 0.25mm to be safe (these measures apply to White Strong & Flexible only).
We'll get back to you once the new testparts are in!
Here's something that should make you happy (well, at least a little bit!): as of last week, we offer world-wide shipment tracking for all our orders. At no extra charge, of course. Great, now I have another site to reload all day! \o/
"Does your character have character?" Heck yeah! Ranking this contest was awesome as we had an great collection of wonky, cutesy, scary, artistic and simply strange models - we've saved the contest gallery, check it out!
In the end it was a very close call.. The winner of the $250 free printing coupon is daddymack. His 'Ode to the Boogieman' got your highest votes. Congratulations, daddymack! We'll carefully print out Looie for you and he'll be picking his nose on your desk soon!
CB Model Pro is an entry level surface modeler that's published by Dassault Systèmes, the creators of SolidWorks. You can use it to create all kinds of objects just by pushing and prodding objects in 3d space - much like working with virtual clay. You'll be using a basic tool set containing tools like Point Pull, Flatten, Bend, Neck, Scale and Poke. You can also draw in 2D on your models and then use these shapes for extruding or bending. Finally you can also 'paint' on your models using colors and decals.
It's a great tool for anyone who wants to get his feet wet in 3d design and it's great fun to play with. Having said that, it's unclear why the product is called 'PRO' because it's certainly lacking a number of pro-features (like having more control over your model and it's dimensions).
CB Model Pro is available for both Windows and Mac OS X, and it's completely free (although after 15 days you'll have to register for a free key to continue using it).
Due to the nature of this modeler, it's hard to create non-manifold objects, and it contains an STL exporter - the basic ingredients for having your model printed are both in place.
The exported STL files need a bit of cleaning up though - they trigger a 'non manifold' error after uploading to Shapeways (even though they're not!). This is easily solved though by downloading the open source package MeshLab, opening your STL with it and saving it as STL again. The default objects (cube, sphere etc) have a dimension of 1, so you should use 'inches' as the STL unit when uploading.
The website CB Model Pro Fans has published a number of nice video-tutorials and demonstrations that should get you started:
Who says a house has to remain in the same place all the time? The Danish art collective N55, together with engineers from the MIT have designed a house that can simply walk away if you fancy a better spot (say, if a flood is coming or you simply don't like your neighbours anymore). It has all the basic necessities for living on board - a living room, kitchen, toilet, bed and a wood stove.
Submission deadline: 30th of November, Winner announced 1st of December. Some have asked so we shall give: Shapeways staff will judge this contest. The winner will be determined to be: that model that can give the most Christmas cheer to the most people.
Did you think that you were done with voting? Vote now for our Does your Character have Character contest. The winner will be announced on the 14th.
I know that previously we said that the contest would be over by now but AWN and we decided to extend it to give people more time to submit their models. I should have posted this earlier but was sick, sorry. So run over to our contest gallery and vote now!
Thomas Linssen of StudioThol designed a full sized 3D printed chair for Dutch Design Week and we were proud to have on the stand. The Hypernurbs chair was so inviting that despite the do not touch signs people couldn't keep their hands off of it. Some of the 3D printing astute will note that the chair could not be produced in one piece. This is true, currently the build envelopes of 3D printing machines make printing a chair impossible. Thomas therefore printed out his chair in parts and then glued it together after. Unlike the other items on the stand Hypernurbs is not a final product. Thomas is looking to have it produced in bronze right now. Be sure to check out his site and the great kitchen on the index page. His cocktail glass is another strong piece of design. As are his childrens kitchen appliances including this canon that cuts fruit.
We're in a rather strange building here on the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven. The ancient building we are in has two large open atrium-like areas in it. During the day they are unused. In the evening hours though these areas often surprise us. I've walked for coffee to find a usually empty atrium transformed into a full table tennis competition complete with official tables, referees and onlookers. It is also really weird to walk around your office building and suddly realise that you are one of the few people not wearing a judo outfit because the classes just started. I know not to work too late on a Tuesday because then the Philips Harmonie Orchestra practice tends to shatter any productivity gains.
One of the neighbors that I was the most curious about was the Philips RoboCup team. They are a group of 15 enthusiasts, here every Wednesday night, that get together to enter into competitions revolving around autonomous robotic football players. They write the code, the algorithms and hack the hardware so that their team of autonomous soccer robots will beat out teams from all over the world in competitions.
This is why in the middle of this atrium next door to our offices there is a RoboCup football pitch. The pitch itself rather confused me on my first visit but it has always intrigued me also. So, today I went over to shoot some pictures and talk to the guys on the team.The robots have very little in the way of processing power and come with a modem. But, they only use this modem to upload and download software to them and to communicate with the other robots on their team. The robots tell each other where they are on the field, where the ball is and how close they are to the ball. An individual robot can then "claim" the ball to make the ball if it is the closest to it and tell the others that it will go for the ball. Some robots are assigned defensive or offensive roles and there is a goalie also.
The robots use a camera pointed at a mirror to see the area around them, one processor handles the video the other movement. The processor that they use to determine where the robot should move has around a 100 MIPS of power. 100 MIPS(Millions of Instructions Per Second) is comparable to the power present in a 90 Megahertz Pentium processor. This was the power of a regular desktop PC, in 1994. If you do not know what Pentium means, think slow, think Windows 95, think Forrest Gump tops the box office. The power that you used to play Colonization in 1994 is now used to move a robot autonomously around a football pitch. You are currently viewing this blog on a PC that probably has 2.4 gigahertz. Although I can't be sure because gigahertz used to mean something and now it doesn't.
The goal of all the RoboCup players is to make machines that are capable of taking on and winning from human soccer players. While at the moment our RoboCup players might look kind of cute and goofy, beware! I've read a lot of Isaac Asimov and can tell you that robots and humans never end up getting along.