Hi everyone, I will be on vacation until the 7th of September. I wanted to give you guys a heads up because I personally hate getting out of office replies when I'm expecting a response from someone. If you have any questions you can simply mail service (at) shapeways (dot) com and Nikki and Ralph will get right back to you with the answers. Bart & Peter will do some blogging while I'm gone and meanwhile I will be rearing to jump back into the thick of things for you guys.
De Fietsfabriek is an Amsterdam based bicycle manufacturer founded by Yalcin Chichangir & Dave Deutsch. The company has its own factory in Turkey and the bicycles are assembled in Amsterdam. The Fietsfabriek first became popular with hip and useful versions of the Dutch Bakfiets. A bakfiets is basically a heavy duty bike with a large container attached to the front of it. Bak=container, fiets=bike. In the olden days people used to use them to transport and deliver almost anything in the Netherlands but the bakfiets had long since been replaced by cars, that is until the Fietsfabriek brought them back.
Above you can see a camo color bakfiets.
I spoke with co-founder Dave Deutsch about the Fietsfabriek & personalizing bicycles. The company does not see other bicycle manufacturers as their competition, their bikes are meant to compete with cars. Indeed Dave has many examples of people getting rid of a second car after buying a bakfiets. People use the bicycles to do shopping & go to the zoo with their kids in the bak. The bikes are sturdy and you can fit a lot into them. Their customers are mainly to be found under the ecologically conscious and trendy people in major cities. They currently have ten stores in the Netherlands as well as franchise stores in Chicago & Berlin.
The Fietsfabriek got into bicycle customization & personalization because they wanted to help protect their customers from theft. A bakfiets can cost 1500 Euro's. The Fietsfabriek had an innovative idea: we make all our own bikes anyway so how about we let people put their names on them? That way there is less of a chance that someone will steal the bikes.
Later on people requested more colors and companies started to make bikes in their colors and with their logos on them. You can also have a hand painted bike or your very own unique configuration. Customization can start for 95 Euro's. For that money you can get a laser cut & powder coated plate mounted on the bike with your name in it. Some people are building bikes to their very own precise specifications & size. Soon you could actually visit the Fietsfabriek's factory in Turkey and be there for the initial fabrication of your bike. I think that the Fietsfabriek is a great company. It is rare to see a business start out nowadays that does all of its own production. Their products are very high quality and I love the fact that customization to them is a means to an end. Their bikes are above all else practical and filled with good useful design.
Above is a hand painted small bakfiets.
This type of bike is very trendy in the Netherlands at the moment. The plastic crate on the front is an easy place to store your stuff. On the back there is a comfortable cushion for people hitching a ride on your bike. These kinds of utilitarian considerations happen if you actually use a bike as a mode of transport.
Lets say you have twins?
This bakfiets has been specially made to transport people in a wheelchair.
Some of you have maybe already met me via the service (at) shapeways mail but I haven’t had the
chance yet to formally introduce myself. I’m Nikki, and I've been here
to help the rest of the Shapeways team since the beginning of June this
year. My job is to make all of your lives a little bit easier. I chase
down your orders, answer questions about them and help you make your
models printable. I also help with the administration & planning of
orders and shipments.
I’m still a student, studying Advertising, Marketing &
Communications in Amsterdam. In September I will start my 4th year,
hopefully I will graduate next summer. I love to design in 2D using Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. I am learning to make illustrations and I make a lot of posters, flyers and logos. When I grow up, I want to work on the creative side of marketing. At Shapeways I hope to learn some 3D modeling and get more involved with the Shapeways site & brand. I recently moved to Eindhoven. I love dance music and go to a lot of parties such as Lowlands. I also love the Internet(love to read blog posts, not write them).
I'm very happy to be here at Shapeways and look forward to seeing all your emails, questions and designs!
We got some more photos of some of the models we displayed at SIGRGAPH, the metal 3D Printed: minotaur, wire ring, wrapped ring and Bowie the bunny. Thousands enjoyed touching these models and we think they really illustrate what is possible now.
The Wrapped ring model is not a finger ring per se as it is much larger, more of a too small bracelet.
The Wire ring is a finger ring, it costs less than $11 including shipping so shows you how affordable you can make things in Stainless Steel. You can see the definition of the printing process clearly in this close up photo.
The minataur is a piece for a boardgame. It is 3.9 CMs high and costs $39 including shipping.
We're looking for an experienced Designer for Shapeways in
Eindhoven. I know many of you from all over will be interested but we
can not offer relocation or "work from home" for this position. So this
job opening is for people in the Eindhoven area only (sorry).
are an experienced designer in the Eindhoven area that has mad
Photoshop, Illustrator & inDesign skills complemented with Flash
and some 3D modeling experience, we're looking for you. Come check out
the job listing on the jobs page.
need someone that can both do the design work and work with our team to
develop new Creators and the overall look and feel of Shapeways.
Do you want to help determine what the future of co-creation and 3D printing look like? Join us.
Co-Creation is the general tendency of
companies to work together with their customers in order to create
value for them both. CK Pralahad, one of the co-coiners of
the term has
”Think of Google. I can personalise
my own page, I can create iGoogle. I decide what I want. Google
understands that it can have a hundred million consumers, but each
one can do what they want with its platform.”
With iGoogle, Google makes the
platform, the content is provided by Google and many other publishers
and users make it meaningful by personalizing the page to their
The Shapeways Co-Creator Platform is
our way of taking co-creation and 3D printing to combining the two.
A designer can take a single design and
turn that design into a template. Within the variables set out by the
designer the buyer cant hen adjust or specify his own unique design
within the confines of that template. Shapeways does the production,
shipping, billing & customer service.
The customer can then very easily
customize, personalize and create his own unique objects to his or
her specifications. The Co-Creator Platform allows anyone buying a
gift, for themselves or others, to tap into the skill and creativity
of the thousands of designers, artists & animators on Shapeways.
A designer can now take any design they
have and using Shapeways make it into something others can adapt and
customize. The advantages for the designer are:
Ship & sell real physical objects
worldwide with start up costs of a few hours of your time.
Make unique designs for others in
comparatively little time.
Initialize and own the initial creativity and creative process.
There is also no risk of designing
something without getting paid
This last point is the biggest
practical difference and most unique thing about the Co-Creation
platform. You could have previously entered into design competitions
or do work made to order online. But, these both bring risks to the
In a “made to order” scenario all
the work before the customer agrees to buy the product is a risk
taken on by the designer. Small errors in scoping, finding out what
the customer wants could waste hours and end up underpaying or
resulting in the designer not getting paid at all. Even if all goes
well the constant pitching, emailing back and forth, negotiation and
work to get a customer to choose you is a waste of the designers
Competitions are really made to order
work whereby hundreds of thousands are asked to do a “made to
order” assignment but where you end up paying only one. This
clearly would provide uneven & unsure returns for participants. A
competition is great for the organizer because it means that much
more effort goes into your design than if you just paid one person.
This is why we use competitions for fun and to inspire our community
on Shapeways. However, when it comes to tools that we deploy to let
our designers make money we have purposefully avoided competitions.
With a template a designer knows ahead
of time how much time he or she will spend in customizing each
resulting design. The returns for the designer would be more constant
and more predictable. The designer gets to decide how much they want
to earn for a quantity of work that they can estimate. And possibly
most importantly the customer only comes to them once they've already
paid for the product. This means that expectations, returns and
deliverables are managed for both the designer and that designer's
customer on Shapeways
We think that the Co-Creator Platform
points towards a future where consumers can design many of the
objects that populate their lives and where designers can become
“brands of one” by having their own production capacity.
Please note that co-creation does not
consist of co-developing or co-designing products themselves. This
process is co-design and could also occur between designer and
customer but a better example of this would be our Creators
such as the Ringpoem Creator.
For an overview of some short
definitions of the relevant buzzwords you can check out the list below.
Mass customization- Is allowing the
customer to have and even create is own individual product or
Co-design, also spelled codesign is
when a customer gets together with a designer and they both design
the final product together.
Open innovation: is the collection and
collation of customer input and ideas to develop new services,
products and concepts.
Crowdsourcing is when a group of people
are asked to perform a certain task or tasks to help achieve a
Co-Creation is the general tendency of
companies to work together with their customers in order to create
value for them both. A classic example of this is iGoogle or Netvibes
where the company provides a platform or tool that the customer can
personalize to his or her liking.
Competitions as in a traditional design
competition is in my opinion none of these. Since it is just a
'brief' you send out to many people and end up paying only one. This
is not the route to go through because in the long run it would limit
the quality, variety and earning potential of our community.
“made to order” according to me
does also not apply since it is simply a brief that one would send to
a single person asking them to build whatever the brief says. Granted
the difference between the Platform and made to order is at first
glance a small one but by putting the designer in charge of the
initiation of the project will over time lead to significant deviation between the two.
Depending on who you listen to or how
narrowly or broadly define each term, what Shapeways is doing could
possibly be all of these terms.
Our Creator products are pure mass
customization tools. We develop a piece of software and a template
and the customer gets to, within the confines of this template,
create his own unique product.
Shapeways as an upload service whereby
people get to upload their own designs that we can then produce
could also be seen as mass customization & co-creation.
Our Shapeways Shops where any designer
can upload a design and then sell it could be seen as co-design, open
innovation, crowdsourcing and even co-creation itself.
member feedback, forum discussions and emails we listen to and
discuss actually make up a significant portion of our own software
development roadmap. With a little stretch this could be seen as
co-design, co-creation and even crowdsourcing.
Now that you know the future of production and design, what are you going to do about it?
You guys might have seen all the press we have been getting about the Stainless Steel printing. We had a Crunchgear article, a FastCompany one, a Wired one and lots more besides. That coupled with the many many many people we met at SIGGRAPH means that it is quite busy right now on the site with people who are new to Shapeways. It would be great if you guys were kind to all the noobs and helped them out should they have any questions. I mean noobs in a nice way.
The Stainless Steel material has been added to all models on the site, so you can now check the prices of your models in Steel. The price per cubic centimeter is $10(including shipping of course). We can not currently guarantee that all the models that you order will print. Since the process is new we have not been able to develop completely 'watertight' software filters to check this. We do know that for the model to succeed a wall thickness of 3mm is required.
To clear up: the models that we ship to you, that you can now make are stainless steel and bronze through and through. There is no cast, it is not a covering or layer over a plastic model, the entire thing is steel and bronze and it is built like that.
We've been getting a lot of questions from engineers about the material properties of our 3D printed Stainless Steel. So here are the answers:
The UTS (Ultimate Tensile Strength) is 99 KSI / 682 MPa.
If you compare this with other materials the tensile strength of our Stainless Steel material is: higher than aluminum, higher than structural steel(as in the steel used in buildings in the US), much higher than cast iron but lower than titanium and regular stainless steel.
The yield: 66 KSI (455 MPa)
The modulus(Poisson Factor/material constant): 21.4 MPSI (147 GPa)
Hardness: 25 HRc
As far as post processing the 3D prints are concerned you can weld it, machine it and drill it. If you do want to drill it, we'd advise you to use carbide drill bits.
As you can see, apart from being awesome and fun to use for rings, jewels and lovely interior decoration items these values give our Stainless Steel material quite some other uses. People have already tested this for turbine parts so something like that would be completely boring. But, perhaps the strength could inspire you to make something interesting?
We have a great contest for you this month. We're doing this contest together with AutoDesSys the makers of Bonzai3D. The contest will run from August 4th until September 4th. The theme for the contest is "make your dream home or anything in it." So this is a contest for architects and aspiring product designers. What kind of dream items would be in your dream home? What would your dream home look like?
We really upped the ante in prizes also this time. Together with AutoDesSys we're giving away:
$300 in 3D printing and Form.Z RenderZone Plus(Prize valued at $1800) for the first placed winner.
$200 in 3D printing and Bonzai3D($700) for the second placed winner.
$100 in 3D printing and a Bonzai T-shirt(priceless!) for the third placed winner.
Bjorn Hogberg, Phd is a research fellow at the Shih Lab, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Department of Cancer Biology at Harvard Medical School. He is also a Shapeways Community member. I was intrigued when I saw his post on our "it arrived" forum mentioning his DNA slotted cross. The "DNA origami" model that he had printed with us looked nice enough and referenced an article in Nature.
I checked out his website and asked Bjorn what it all meant, and he completely blew my mind. Seriously and without hyperbole. Bjorn and his fellow researchers are currently working on 3D printing with DNA. They are attempting to let DNA self-assemble using a technique called DNA origami. They hope to use this technique to make drug delivery systems & molecular machines.
Joris: What exactly is "building with DNA?"
Bjorn: Well, DNA in our cells is used mostly as an information storage device.
Almost 30 years ago Ned Seeman at NYU came up with the idea to use DNA
as a building material. Today, DNA nanotechnology is all about just
that. Ignoring the biological function of DNA and just treating it as
How can something self-assemble?
This is where DNA excels compared to many other molecules. Im sure
you have heard about the A,C,G and T bases that every DNA chain is
built up of. In a DNA double helix A pairs with T and G pairs with C so
if you mix for example a AAAA molecule with a TTTT molecule they will
find each-other in the solution and self assemble to form a double
A few years ago, Paul Rothemund at
Caltech, discovered that if you mix a long DNA molecule with some
200 cleverly designed short DNA molecules, these short DNA molecules
can attach to the long molecule in such a way that they fold the long
molecule to whatever shape you want. Among a bunch of other designs, he
self-assembled a nano smiley that has become quite famous. The
technology developed in our lab is an extension of this technique that
allows us to self-assemble complex three dimensional shapes.
What shapes are you able to make?
The shapes we can make are limited in size by the DNA molecules we use.
Today most object we make are around 40-50 nm long in all dimensions.
The "voxels" we use are basically small chunks of DNA double helices
about 6x2x2 nm big so the structures are also quite "pixelated". This
paper contains a small gallery of the shapes we are able to make,
some structures with curvature has also been made by Hendrik Dietz,
another post doc in our lab. They have not been published yet but his
webpage contains a preview of those curved things.
What are these structures useful for now?
Now, there is basically only one 'useful' application and that is to
make small stiff rods of DNA that provides a way to determine the
structure of membrane proteins by nuclear magnetic resonance. The
structure of this particular class of proteins is notoriously difficult
to solve so the technology fills an important gap.
What could they be used for in the future?
printing at the nanoscale for hobbyists (although you would need a
pretty expensive electron microscope to actually see what you built).
Rational design of molecular machines that could be used for example as
smart drug delivery vehicles. Circuit construction for nanoelectronics.
Is this really 3D printing with DNA?
I think it is. You could argue that anything that self-assembles isn't
really printing because there is no machine that is doing the actual
printing, its sort of a 3D powder printer in which the powder just
sticks itself together in the way you want when you shake it in a test tube.
In the Nature piece you say:"We anticipate that our strategy for self-assembling custom three-dimensional shapes will provide a general route to the manufacture of sophisticated devices bearing features on the nanometre scale." What do you mean by devices?
In that case we are talking about molecular machines. Our body is filled with wonderful little molecular nanomachines called proteins. They are very good at what they do but we basically have no idea how to re-design them to do something else. DNA nanotechnology provides us with the means to rationally design new molecular machines.
What is a molecular machine and how could it be used?
For example the ribosome, it reads the sequence of a gene, and produces a protein according to the sequence it gets. This little machine that exist in many copies in every cell on the planet is an excellent example of a molecular machine. It took some billion years to evolve by evolution. In the future, we might be able to build our own molecular machines.
Will these things have applications in biotech, medicine, beyond?
First I think we will see applications in biotech and medicine. Molecular machines that we might produce with DNA include a drug delivery vehicle, it could for example be programmed to release chemotherapeutic drugs only when it enters cells of a growing tumor. On a longer time frame, I personally believe that building schemes such as this will be used to build circuits for nanoscale molecular electronics and quantum computers.
This model I designed to use at presentations when I describe my cross design. Its basically a 3D schematic that in a stylized way shows how the long DNA chain winds its way through the entire design. I also thought it would be cool to have a macroscale version of the cross design, a 2 million times enlarged version.
Why did you print it with us?
I've been interested in 3D printing for more than 2 years. I wanted to build myself a CandyFab (http://www.candyfab.org/), but the move to a smaller apartment in Boston with a new job as a post-doc slowed those plans down. When I fund your site I though "This is exactly what I have been looking for". The fact that you upload your file and immediately get a yes or now for printable along with a price, thats almost like having your own 3D printer.
What is caDNAno?
When I first came to this lab we all designed our structures by drawing a large schematic in Adobe Illustrator, then manually transferring all the coordinates to a custom python script that would calculate the DNA sequences we needed to order. My cross design probably took like 3 weeks to design if you include the rigorous error checking we all had to do on our designs. It was a pretty error prone and time-consuming process to design a new shape. Shawn Douglas in our lab wanted a better way to design stuff so he wrote caDNAno, now using his software the design process is much less painful and the probability of making small errors is decreased. Its a great step forward in spreading the use of this technology.
In the Nature article you guys say that "we seek to demonstrate actuation potential and mechanical controllability of prestressed DNA tensegrities, to create DNA-protein chimeras that integrate defined 3D DNA nanostructures into natural extracellular matrices, and to use these artificial matrices to control mammalian cell behavior and multicellular organization by mechanically actuating physical changes in the internal DNA nanostructures." This to me reads very sci fi. Does it mean that you will 'print' a structure that will make changes in the body?
Yes, that project has an ambitious goal and it is not clear that this is exactly how it will work, but in principle it should be possible to make a DNA nanostructure that react to a chemical signal in the cells and in turn make its own changes to the cell. In fact this is already how cells work, what we could contribute is a way to make it easier to 're-program' certain cell functions. This probably lies many years ahead though so I guess you are right when you call it sci fi.