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
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.
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.