We are proud to announce our new Creator. The Shapeways Ice Sculpture Creator! For the first time we've developed our own proprietary technology in the realm of 3D printing. We've come up with a tool that firmly takes the process out of the realm of thermoplastics and into new artistic endeavors. Best thing: anyone can use it, as with our other Creator tools no 3D modeling skills are required. Find out how the process works and how you can get started here.
From today until the 31st of March you can order your Ringpoems 3D printed in bronze.
You can now make your own bronze sculpture in a few minutes. Your words, thoughts, ideas, poems, declaration of love: in bronze.
Just go to the Ringpoem Creator, type in the words of your choosing, choose a font, then order it for $49 including shipping and tax.
Then you will get your message: 3D printed in bronze.
I know I seem to be repeating myself but: WOW. That is pretty darn amazing right? We can now, for a limited time, let anyone everywhere create a metal 3D printed object that they get to design.
If there is demand for the Ringpoems we will see if we can extend this process to the rest of the models on the site. But, hold your horses because we're ironing out some kinks with that at the moment. So we can not guarantee that.
So how does it work? An inkjet head deposits binding material on the build tray. The build tray is lowered. A very thin layer of powdered metal is spread over the build platform. In this case the powdered metal used is Stainless Steel. This continues layer by layer until the part is built. Then the part is removed from the metal powder that has not been bound by the binding material. The last step is to heat the part and infuse it with bronze. And presto you have a 3D printed metal part.
The process leaves you with a heavy, stainless steel and reddish bronze Ringpoem. Depending on how long you make your text it will be around 4.5 by 4.5 by 4.5cm and 3mm thick. It feels and looks smooth. It also feels nice and cold to the touch and the material is strong. The process is much much much cheaper than titanium 3D printing. I think its amazing that you can now 3D print in the same material roman swords are made of, the same material that Henry Moore made his sculptures are made of! Enough of this though, I'm going to go make a bronze 3D printed sculpture!!!!
If this is not the coolest thing you have read all day please retweet our message on twitter telling us what you have seen today that is
cooler than our Bronze Ringpoem. If this is the coolest thing you've seen all day then please also retweet this message with a comment. The best answer will get a free Bronze Ringpoem of their all time favorite tweet. A twitter tweet 3D printed in bronze!
Rich Gain of Microcubology has made the worlds smallest puzzle(as far as I know). You can check it out here in his Shop. The puzzle is $9.95 and is 3.5 by 5.5 by 0.9cm and looks very challenging. Rich has made a video where you can see him playing with his puzzle below. You can solve it in two ways by building a cube or by building an "inside out cube" that is hollow on the inside. Pretty nifty, ya think?
Peter Paul and myself are at Maker Faire Newcastle right now. The atmosphere is great and a lot of people are asking all sorts of questions about Shapeways. The only problem with being at a Maker Faire is that invariably someone has something much cooler than you do. I really new that Maker Faire had started when we heard a loud screeching sound and Peter Paul said: "It seems that the robotic horse is here." Look at the pictures of it below.
I think that this will be an interesting weekend.
Shapeways community member Virtox made something completely truly awesome for 3D Studio Max(3DS Max, is how they want us to call it) users the other day. He made a script that calculates the volume and price of your model including or excluding VAT. The script also allows gives you a warning if you go over the maximum polycount and helps you see what scale you can use to price your object as you would want to have it. This is a Studio Max script so you can check all of these things from within the application!! I think that this is a wonderful thing and hope that all the 3D Max users on Shapeways help Virtox by testing his script and giving him feedback. You can check it out and download it here.
This is something I totally forgot to blog about. TNO, a Dutch research institute, is doing a lot of interesting stuff in the field of rapid manufacturing. The work on improving 3D printers as well as doing lots of research and experimentation on processes and materials. Their Rapid Manufacturing department, TNO RM Research is located right here in Eindhoven. One of the things they showed me a while back but I totally forgot to share was this: 3D printed circuit boards. This is very far from being a scalable industrial process that we can use but it does point to an interesting future.
The process prints a housing as well as the circuit board itself in one go. The pictures below show you a very simple circuit board that when hooked up to a battery allows the lights to go on. This has huge implications for design and manufacturing and would take 3D printing from a "nice for prototypes" technology to a production process that could revolutionize how products are made. If the housing is the electronics form factors and the engineering in a lot of products we use could alter dramatically.
We just launched our Photoshaper this is a tool that can take one of your photographs and turn it into a 3D printed image. The result is similar to a frieze or a bas relief and when lit from behind makes for a lovely effect. The Photoshaper is an attempt by us to create a tool that anyone can use to take anything and turn it into a 3D printed object. Of course the resulting Lightsculpture is not full 3D but rather has depth based on the contrast in your actual image. It will also look 3D when held up in the light. Excluding tax but including shipping, the Photoshaper Lightsculptures cost $41. If you want to make your own Lightsculptures you can do so here. Below is a video showing a Lightsculpture in the light.
We were at Rail 2009 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We were there to get feedback on BeneluxSpoor.net's rapid prototyping initiative. BeneluxSpoor.net is a foundation of railway enthusiasts and they have a rapid manufacturing/3D printing working group that is doing research into how 3D printing can benefit the model train community. They are looking into painting as well as a host of different 3D printing processes. We were at Rail 2009 in order to show off Beneluxspoor's work and find out what the railroading community think. And let me tell you that they are a tough crowd to please. Their eye and attention for detail is second to none. We got a lot of enthusiastic responses though and think that this is a huge opportunity for us and model railway enthusiasts. With Shapeways people can produce unique trains and other accessories and even sell them via the Shops: the long train if you will.
There was a complete manufacturing section on the Beneluxspoor stand with a CNC machine, a Dimension 1200 3D printer a LOM 3D printer and a laser cutting machine. There were also a few computers where you could try out the Alibre modeling tool.