It’s been a few weeks now since we have launched our latest Creator: the Photoshaper.
A lot of people have tried it out and ordered their very own Lightsculpture (= the print coming from the Photoshaper). I also had contact with some of you to get feedback on your experience with the Photoshaper. I was happy to hear that in general the feedback was positive and most of you are happy with the end result. Nevertheless there is always room for improvement and obviously that’s the challenge we take on daily.
One of the improvements I am currently working on is a way to use and display your Lightsculpture in your house… office… etc. Below you can see what came out of my tests. They are quite easy to make and it makes the Lightsculpture come out beautifully… if I may say so myself.
If you have any ideas or suggestions feel free to post them here or simply send me (peterpaul[at}Shapeways[dot]com) a mail.
Frame your Lightsculpture
Get a picture frame of 13cm – 9cm (5,1in – 3,5in). The bigger the frame the better the result. A bigger frame size will give you the best light/dark contrast since the frame will block the light coming from the back and the Lightsculpture will allow it to go through.
Take out the glass and the back plate. Place your light sculpture in the frame and fix it.
Backlight your Lightsculpture
The result above will work really well. However you could also take it 1 step future by mounting a backlight on the frame. You will need to buy a fitting with mounting bracket and a power cord.
Attach the power cord to the fitting, mount the fitting on the frame, put a lamp in it (not to strong for the best effect but also for the heat to keep the Lightsculpture from melting!!) and ….
If you have any other suggestions, applications, examples, feedback, etc …. Let me know
A lot of models and designs on Shapeways are immediately interesting. You can see from the thumbnail that this is going to be a fun, others are not so obvious.
Take Edward Hibberd(ARHib)'s Kweijebo model. Look closely, the description should get your blood flowing though, "Antweight class robot 106g." Antweight is a "class of fighting robots under 150g." These tiny, light mean machines battle it out and Andrew made a chassis & body for one with Shapeways! This stuff really makes our day! Check out his awesome robot in action below.
That disc on the front, spins at 12,000 RPM! You can check out more pictures on the forum. Andrew has been building robots for five years and we hope he does really well in competition!
Arno just discovered a contextual ad fail. It is on the Netherlands' most popular news site nu.nl. The encircled ad is for a trip to Mexico. The article is about the Dutch government telling people not to go to Mexico. The ad is currently still live on the page, LOL. This is the second time we've discovered an ad fail too.
Maker Faire is an incredibly fun and creative event for people who 'hack' technology and hardware. Last year there were 500 makers there and 65,000 visitors. The makers exhibit anything from robots to musical instruments to knitwear. You can check out a video from last year below to get an impression.
Shapeways is going to go the Bay Area Maker Faire on the 30-31st of May. If you're there come meet us!
To inspire people we would like to show off the best models that you can possibly make. Something that will make people go wow! Something that explains how 3D printing will change things. Something that someone will look at, hold in their hand and go..you can make this?
The Maker Faire contest is your chance to have your most amazing design made. Anything you want, anything that you think will inspire and amaze is game. The top 3 models will be 3D printed, exhibited at Maker Faire and then sent to the lucky winners. The winning designer gets an additional $300 in 3D printing from us.
The fine print: The contest closes the 15th of May. Enter by adding the tag: makerfaire to your upload. Your model has to be less expensive than $200.
I have been playing around with the possibility of printing in “rubber”. This is a flexible material (not actual rubber) that can be printed with the same machines that print our current Black-, White- and Transparent detail. I have generated a height map based on a picture (jpg or GIF) saved it and printed it…. Obviously this image can be made in any piece of software or just by taking picture of something you like t o make a stamp of... flowers, faces, structures,...
It takes some additional work after you have received the package at home but this opens up much more possibilities that go far beyond standard stamps.
I still need to optimize the process to get the best stamp possible. I just wanted to share this with you guys because it makes me really enthusiastic when I think about all new possibilities. For all clarity we currently do not yet offer this material but if you are interested in making your own stamp feel free to let me know I’ll keep you guys posted.
My Stainless steel printed Ringpoems also have arrived. I ordered two for my kids. I know it’s a bit cliché but heee it’s combining something very classical like a napkin ring with something completely advanced like 3D metal printing. I am obviously very happy with the result.
As you can see I have ordered mine with the bronze finishing. Becasue I polished the very first one that was shown on the site some weeks ago and I loved the contrast of the shiny polished finishing on the outside and the rough, dark finishing on the inside/between the characters, I did the same with the one I just now received and this is the result.
The method: First I used rough sand paper to remove the bronze finishing and make it nice and flat. I have a small (hobby) machine for that but manually this is also quite “do-able”. You can start with a nr.200 sandpaper and work your way up to nr.600. After this I worked my way up to nr.1200 sandpaper. This can easily be done in 2 or 3 steps (nr.600, nr.1000, nr.1200). It’s best to sand it wet. After the 1200 I started with the polishing paste. I used my drill for that (picture will follow later) but this also is quite easy to do by hand with any polishing paste. Car polish will do the trick. And tradaaaa (the other one is also done by now ):
Enrico Dini dreamt of buildings, construction and impossible shapes. He was particularly inspired by Gaudi's architecture and loved his fantastic(in every sense) work. He became a Civil engineer and later branched out into making machines. All the while dreaming of those impossible shapes.
Traditional building methods tend to reel in dreamers outlandish dreams though. Building with concrete and brick require scaffolding and a lot of manpower. This creates constraints. These constraints limit the way in which buildings can be constructed and limit the shapes and forms that architects can use. Rather than accept these constraints as a given Enrico set out to completely remove them. In 2004 he invented and patented a full scale 3D printing method that used epoxy to bind sand. Enrico could now 3D print buildings.
As Shapeways community members who have experimented with resin molds know, epoxy resin can stick to virtually anything. This lead to high maintenance costs for the machines as well as inefficiencies when they were used. Enrico went back to the drawing board to invent anew. In 2007 he got a new patent for a system using an inorganic binding material and any old sand to 3D print buildings. The new process had low maintenance costs and was easier to use. Now Enrico can 3D print buildings, cost effectively.
He is now working on
further improving the accuracy and will 3D print a full sized
roundabout sculpture in Pisa Italy. The rendering below shows you the
scale, once it has been installed. This is no pie in the sky stuff, it is happening now. The picture at the top of the post is of a quarter scale model of the actual 3D
print of the roundabout.
Affable Enrico told me that his "small team is sitting on a huge opportunity." I would tend to agree. Their D_shape technology makes it possible to 3D print 6 by 6 by 1m parts. These parts could either be shipped to the construction site or the entire building could be 3D printed on location. The parts made by D_shape resemble 'sandstone.' They are comparable in strength to reinforced concrete and the ingredients are the binding material and any type of sand. D_Shape's materials cost more than regular concrete but much less manpower is needed for construction. No scaffolding needs to be constructed so overall building cost should be lower than traditional building methods.
The system works with a rigging that is suspended over the buildable part(you can see it at the top of the first image). The system deposits the sand and then the inorganic binding ink. No water is necessary. Because the two components meet outside the nozzle, the machine does not clog up and can keep up its accuracy of 25 DPI. Enrico and D_Shape are currently talking to lots of construction & engineering companies and architects about their technology.
The technology would seem to be especially interesting for these
architects. With D-Shape they could make previously impossible forms
and indeed approach a building not as a place where planes intersect
but much more organically. As with regular 3D printing methods a lot of
forms can only be made in this way. I for one would love to work in a Moebius
strip office building.
One thing that I personally found very compelling about the technology
is that it does not use cement. The production of cement creates a lot
of CO2. The D-Shape process has the possibility to be much more
environmentally friendly because the build material does not need to be made by heating limestone and so would create much less carbon dioxide. Since the build material is just sand plus the inorganic binder it could be much better for the planet too.
What is next for D_Shape? One group of people that Enrico is talking to is the group responsible for the still ongoing construction of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Perhaps the engineer that was so inspired by Gaudi could help finish his work using 3D printing.
There is however a huge business opportunity here.
I will give you this business idea, completely free of charge and even
get you started with the marketing of it. This business idea will turn
the dairy industry and milk consumption on its head as well as
revolutionize food retailing and have a lasting impact on society.
Riches and fame await for the person that is lucky enough to read this
and able to capitalize on this idea.
Major revolutions in
retailing and consumer behavior typically often when distribution
problems are solved in inventive ways. Milk distribution in the US
seems to be an efficient affair with high barriers to entry that
depend on scale and scope. That is until you apply real insight and
inventiveness to the problem. To be "at arms length" at all times to
the customer is the dream of any distributor and retailer in any
industry. You can do this for the dairy industry by implementing this
put a cow in every home.
Consumers like milk and
respond very well to "freshness", wholesome, healthy and immediacy. A
cow in every home will allow these consumers to consume milk in the
most healthy, fresh and immediate form. Furthermore, in the long run
they will be able to drink this much fresher much healthier much more
available milk at lower cost than store bought milk. The environmental
benefits would be self evident. A cow could in addition to being a milk
dispensing device also function as a household pet. The cuteness and
docility of cows will drive widespread adoption.
distribution channel will focus directly on the consumer and allow for
high margins by cutting out the middle man. Furthermore by supplying
the inputs for the cow such as hay and "superfood for your cow" you
have a potential high margin secondary revenue stream similar to
Proctor & Gamble's razorblades model. If you act quickly the
"aftermarket" in cow accessories such as pens, toys and grooming
equipment could be yours also.
Some of the skeptics will invariably see problems with this idea. They will say things like:
"81% of the united States is urbanized.
In a city home there simply will not be any room for a cow. In suburban
homes there might in some case be room but it will be difficult. Cows
also produce a lot of waste, they stink and specialized training will
be needed to care for them. It also takes a lot of work to take care of
cows.The market will soon be saturated with other firms offering cows
for sale even if it does work."
I will quickly repudiate any and all objections from these naysayers.
genius of this plan is to create: mini-cows. Through genetic
engineering you can create low cost, small footprint, low waste, low
maintenance cows. This proprietary technology is patentable and will
create barriers to entry. No one will be able to sell your excellent
breed of cow at the same price point and with the same low footprint.
The prime mover advantage in this industry will be enormous and while
others struggle to catch up and genetically engineer similar cows you
will be free to conquer and own the market.
As for the branding
and marketing I have some suggestions. I would not go for the Holstein
breed of cattle. Although iconic I would not consider this a wise
choice. The black and white patterning will tend to breed tired visual
and marketing as well as limit your brand. Tucows and Gateway
(remember when they both were cool?) both have copyrights in the tech
arena with the typical black & white patterning. A lot of dairy
firms already use similar patterning in their respective fields.
Instead I would suggest going for a Jerrsey, Brown Swiss Cow or Guernsey breed.
These are all good milk producers, docile, smaller than Holsteins and
have a distinctive look. This will make for easier patent and
intellectual property development and protection. By taking a
distinctive breed you can also dominate and define the "category" of
the in home milk producers more easily.
As for the consumer
marketing itself it would be simple. Focus on cuteness, utility and
originality. I would also advocate for a social media viral marketing campaign.
Take the photograph below, tastefully insert your brand and URL
somewhere and submit a link to the image on your site to services such
as Reddit and Digg and you should be golden.
Please remember to attribute it to Law_keven correctly and realize it is a Share Alike Creative Commons
As you will have gathered this post is not about milk at all but about desktop 3D printers.
Fist some background for you, 3D printing in a nutshell:
A 3D printer today costs from $10,000-$900,000. When I use the term 3D printing I mean it in the broad sense as explained here. 3D printers are typically the size of coke machines.
An experienced 3D modeler has to make a 3D file that is watertight,
2-manifold and with the normals pointing in the right direction. This
3D file has to be checked and often repaired. Then the machine software
takes this file and calculates how the machine will make it. The
and orientation of the part have to be calculated also. Next, layer by
layer material is built up into the resulting object. There is a manual
process for removing support material
(the brown stuff in the picture right) and many processes require
additional steps such as curing or hardening in some way. The printer
requires a skilled & experienced operator to be run efficiently.
Some machines can work in an office environment but the removing of
support material is often not suited for an office. Other machines
produce a lot of dust or work with toxic materials and I would not want
them within a city block of my home. Price of the machines depend on
build volume, build speed and the types of materials they can work
with. These materials also vary widely in price. There is no clear
"best" 3D printing technology or material, it all depends on the use
The Desktop 3D printing revolution will put small and easy to use versions of these machines in everyone's home. Inspired by this T-shirt however I have begun to doubt that this revolution will be as easy, quick or complete as promised.
I work for Shapeways which is a 3D printing community which is based on
giving access to the most expensive machines for the lowest prices
through scale I must confess to definitely being biased and perhaps
suffering from confirmation bias. I also realize that I am exposing
myself to a Thomas Watson type of risk as expressed by this comment to the Singer post
But, with that in mind I do want stimulate discussion on desktop 3D
printing and point out that the path to the mainstream will be a bit
slower than anticipated. Furthermore, it will not be a case of
"laser printers were expensive" now they are cheap, ergo the same will
happen with desktop 3D printing. The drivers for the adoption of this technology will be
different ones entirely.
Just because a lot of people like a technology, just because it could change anything and everything does not mean it will be implemented successfully. Good ideas do not win just because they are good ideas. The milk analogy, hopefully, illustrates barriers to profitability and implementation for a commercial company attempting to put a desktop printer on every desk, in every home. Even if the obvious technical challenges could be solved, instantly and right now, would mini-cows or desktop printers in every household work?
The reasons why mini-cows would or would not work depend on consumer behavior, consumer perception, the ability and willingness of someone to engage with a particular new technology and the usefulness of this technology to them at any given moment. A device's perceived and actual utility to a person making a decision to buy it, or not.
The $5000 desktop 3D printer does not matter.
Its existence an sich will not magically make a market. If I created a $5000 consumer friendly desktop nuclear reactor tomorrow, would it sell? Regulatory issues aside and imagining that government bodies would certify it as safe. It would be mega high tech and interesting and would be sure to get a lot of techies blood flowing faster. The marketing launch would be immense. I'm sure that there would be people that wanted one. But, would a lot of people buy one? Would you? Why or why not?
To me the price point would not matter at all. The inventiveness and sheer possibility of it would not matter either. Even the fact that the thing would be an incredibly good investment for consumers would not matter. What would kill such an initiative ultimately would be that people are afraid of the word "nuclear."
The technology itself and the possibilities, although endless, would be immaterial.
As for the desktop 3D printer market: The real barriers to adoption by consumers should be similar to the ones expressed in the Singer post and the drivers for adoption would come from the materials and the ability of everyone to design, not the machine itself.
To track the rapid manufacturing industry I read a lot of newsletters, have a lot of news alerts and RSS feeds set up and scan a lot of websites every day. I also read offline publications such as the Wohlers Report. If you do not have that kind of time but still want to know what is happening with 3D printing and the industry there are two great blogs doing that for you. These blogs that could do all your curating for you are Fabbaloo & Replicator. I read every post on both blogs to keep informed and make sure what I post here does not overlap with their posts. Check them out! Fabbaloo has some great stories such as this one about 3D printing a puck and this one about printing bones. Joseph Flaherty at Replicator has a great story here about different types of production technology and this inspiring one about 3D printing ceramics.
What do you guys think of the titanium model? I think that Yanying's
design is beautiful as well as very illustrative of all the future
possibilities in 3D printing.
This jewel measures 2.6 by 2.5 by 4.9cm. It is made of titanium an this coupled with the process makes it rare and expensive. It costs about as much as an entry level MacBook. There is a lot of titanium in the world but very little 3D printed titanium. A lot of jewelery has already been made out of titanium so it should be a viable material. The process should add value since I would assume that rare=good in the jewelry business. I also personally believe that customized jewelery is a huge potential opportunity.
But..do you see yourself buying a 3D printed titanium jewel? Do you see yourself making your wedding ring on Shapeways? Or would you be more likely to buy/make a less expensive jewelery item?
In short: is there are market for high end custom made 3D printed jewelery? And is this market dependent on the material (ie titanium is good because it is a recognized jewelery material) or dependent on the process (ie I've always wanted to make something nice and affordable for my wife)?
third place is Whystler with his Orrerey. This by the way is a, "full
functional model of the 4 terrestrial planets: mercury, venus,
earth, and mars. Ideal for planning your next interplanetary voyage on
your star-galleon, the planets can be moved to show their orbital
placement around the sun."
Once again the contestants really raised the bar for 3D printing and what is possible with 3D printing. The other entrants to the contest were also all excellent and you should definitely check them out. Not a lot of moving 3D printed parts have ever been designed or made apart from basic hinges and things. And here we can see that a community of talented individuals can create wonderful things. We really think that this is the future and hope that through this contest everyone got a glimpse of that future.
V-Fiets, makes conversion kits to turn your bicycle into an electric bike. For 439 Euro's you can turn any regular bike into an electric bike that goes 25 KM per hour. It costs 18 cents to recharge the battery and you can travel for 40-60KM with that one charge. You can also alternate between cycling yourself and the electric motor.
This is how the conversion process works, Peter has developed a bicycle computer for these kinds of bikes. The computer keeps track of battery usage, the distance you can travel with the battery, the temperature etc. He used Shapeways to make a prototype of his electric bike computer and will use that to cast the final versions in.
Peter built and programmed the entire thing from the ground up. He still has to make the PCB and then a final production version. His story got us really excited because we want to do a lot more with mechanical parts, housings and home built things that go to final production products.
He is also working on an awesome OLED screen for his EBC. Check out the video of it below.
I think the implications of this are gigantic. Someone can now, in the comfort of his own home create technology that does not exist yet. You can compete with Sony. For most things scale will make their products cheaper but for certain niches you can compete, right now. Today. Hopefully in due time services like Shapeways will be able to bring scale to your doorstep, to your living room.