One of my favorite things at the Design Academy Graduation Galleries was the Sealed Chair project by Francois Dumas. He not only created an object but an entire production process to go along with it. Francois has invented a relatively inexpensive production process that uses thermoplastics and molds to create small series of plastic products.
We worked with Alexander Pelikan last year with his Machine's Perception project. This year Alex came up with 3D printed doorhandles for a project he did with TNO (a dutch research institute). The designs are based on the perception of the 3D scanner and I think they make lovely objects for in the home. We tried to 3D print one in Stainless Steel for him but sadly the model he wanted to print was too thin. We'll try again soon. You can check out a lot of Alex's work on his website PeliDesign.
The second place goes to Smaller Buggy by Jiovanie Velazquez. "Nice little car, very likeable, impressive demonstration of the technological state" of 3D printing.
In first place is Bottle Opener Compact by aeron23. The jury mentioned that, "very appropriate material/technology choice. The text is customized,
metal is the correct material and the design is appealing. A special
and useful object!"
Eeppium (Erno Mattila) took first place with his skull ring.
In the Art category wuct88 (Chitian Wu) took third place with his Cup."A classic subject, relatively untried in 3D Printing, and skillfully modeled."
In second place was Inlite (Blair Collins) with Dragon. "This is what 3D printing should do. It's modeled very freely. But it's fun and funny and would be difficult to make any other way."
In first place was Whystler (Shawn T. Johnson) with Metal Wand. "A good idea, well executed, and ready for market. It looks tactile and satisfying, with a material and weight that work well, and it comes in at a good price point. This is a solid hit squarely in the design space of the medium."
Congrats to all the winners! 3rd placed winners get $50 in 3D printing, 2nd place $100 and first placed get $100. Thank you so much also for our jury!
This post is meant to give you guys a better indication of what is and what is not possible with 3D printing Stainless Steel. These guidelines are based on all your uploads and are a work in progress. They are meant to be indicative. We have images to illustrate these examples and I will add them once we have permission from the model owners.
I know that mass and weight are weird things to consider when 3D
modeling(unless you're a CAD person of course). But, look at your model
and think, if I made this out of clay would it work? This is really the best tip I can give you.
small parts up to 50 by 50mm
95% of these parts print successfully. They can have very thin walls of below 3 mm. But, the most important reason for failing is that the parts are not strong enough or do not self-support. The model will either fall apart or crush itself. Lets imagine we are trying to print a wine glass standing upright. A 3 mm thick stem might work if it were printed alone. But in a wine glass the stem has to support the bowl. During production the model is very fragile. If the bowl is heavy it will simply topple over.
Lets imagine now that we are trying to print this same wineglass horizontally. The stem would break in the middle. Lets now imagine that we are trying to print a wine glass that has no stem but simply consists of the bowl. This would work because a wine glass bowl is a self supporting structure without a weak point that could cause the model to break. What if we get ambitious and would like to add lots of decoration to our wineglass bowl? This is possible. But, if the decoration would consist of a lot of mass the weight would break the bowl during the printing process.
With Stainless Steel it is not a case of absolute wall thickness as with the other materials. The EOS printer that makes White, Strong & Flexible simply can not print thinner walls than 0.7mm (really, please only use 1mm or higher). With Stainless Steel there are a lot of variables. This is why it is so hard for us to give you guidance on what can and can not be done.
Very thin or delicate structures can not be printed either. If it looks wispy and lovely and feather-like it will probably have an issue. People have to remove support material, put it in an oven etc.
Integrated 'whole' parts have the highest chance of success. Lets imagine you wanted to print a plate of spaghetti. If it was one mass of spaghetti on a plate it might be possible. If there were strands of spaghetti that magically would stand upright and horizontally in all directions it would not work, it would break. If it would be and incredibly thin structure consisting of many individual strands in a bowl, it would not work. It could simply not be cleaned.
Furthermore since there is an oven step involved whereby the models are all heated to a high temperature parts might fuse if they are loose or close together. So, a bowl of many individual strands of spaghetti would fuse.
Medium to large parts less than 200 by 200 by 100mm
These parts need wall thicknesses of 3mm. Why? The part is larger so the internal structures supporting the part need to be stronger.
These are what I can give you right now. I hope to get more information to you as we learn.
We ultimately want the Shapeways upload filters to be perfect. We'd like us to be able to repair any file automatically. And even though each day brings us one step closer to that goal, we are not there yet. Specifically to help you guys out with your wall thickness issues we went on the hunt for a software tool that you could download right now. We hoped that the right tool would make life a lot easier for you guys. After months of looking and two weeks of testing by five of us, we've found one. It is called Netfabb Studio Basic and it rocks.
Previously we helped you guys by showing you Meshlab, a free and open source tool that is great for polycount reduction, mesh resurfacing, normals recalculation, viewing issues with models for 3D printing and converting. We also have shown you Accutrans, a free for 30 days, tool that is great for converting from lots of different file types and scaling. In addition to these tools there is a great closed source commercial package out there called Magics by Materialise, a 3D printing service bureau. This tool even goes as far as to automatically repair your STL files in some cases. It is a great tool, the only problem with it is that it costs $7000. Materialize even has a service called STLFix where you can repair your STLs. There is a free version of Magics called mini-Magics. But this is only an STL viewer and doesn't let you repair anything. There is also 3D scanner software such as Polyworks and GeoMagic that are meant specifically for repairing meshes made from scans. These are also good but as Magics, they are also expensive.
There really was no commercial alternative to Magics, until now. Netfabb Studio views STLs, repairs STL files automatically, scales them, inverts normals, measures STLs and lots more. This tool blew me away. The second best thing about it is that Netfabb currently costs $399. The best thing about Netfabb? There is a free version of it that you can download. This does a lot of the things the commercial version.
With the free version of Netfabb Studio Basic you can:
automatically close holes
automatically invert face normals (inverted or flipped triangles)
automatically repair non-manifold errors
easily measure the wall thickness of STL files
easily measure dimension and volume of your model
easily scale STL files
manually remove, invert and add faces triangles and shells
One huge word of caution before you collapse from joy. Even though Netfabb is a great free tool it can not solve all your problems. A lot of files can simply not be automatically repaired. The free version also does not remove intersecting triangles. The software can not repair with 'degraded triangles.' You can select and remove some shells but the free version does not have a way to automatically reduce many shells to one. So this will not make all your STL problems magically go away. We've been testing it for two weeks and we're impressed but realize that no software tool can fix everything automatically. It is a huge step forward though.
Read on to see how to use and what you can do with the Netfabb Studio Basic STL viewer and repair tool.
This past weekend I was at Dutch Cube Day in Eindhoven. Dutch Cube day is an annual event for people who love cube puzzles. There were about 230 puzzle people there from all over the world. People came from Spain, the USA and all over to compete in speedcubing. In speedcubing people solve Rubik's cubes in around 10 seconds. Here is a video from a few years back showing you a competitor in a speedcubing event.
Besides the speedcubing there were lots of tables where people showed their home made puzzles. A profusion of languages swirled around these tables as Spanish, French and German were interchanged. The one thing that amazed me most was that even though these people came from all over the world, were from very different backgrounds and in some cases had never met before the puzzle people community is an incredibly tight one. Everyone has had contact with nearly everyone else. Everyone knows everyone else and is up to date on their inventions. It is also a caring community and even though there is competition in speedcubing and inventing the best puzzles, information is shared widely and openly.
Uwe Meffert was there. He is one of the most prolific and best selling puzzle inventors ever and everyone could just come up to talk to him ask him for advice. Erno Rubik (as in cube) was also present and it was great to see everyone take a picture with him and get to speak to him as well.
Erno Rubik (on the left) holding Oskar's Unlucky Twist puzzle while Oskar in turn holds a version Mr. Rubik's infamous cube.
I was there primarily because Oskar was there. Oskar van Deventer is an incredible puzzle inventor and we are so happy that he uses Shapeways to make his challenging & fun puzzles. Both Uwe Meffert and Erno Rubik seemed very interested in Oskar's puzzles and played with them at length! To get some indication of how awesome his puzzles are check out his Unlucky Twist, Bram's cube (that he invented together with Bram Cohen) or Caution Cube (my favorite).
Richard Gain above with his Stainless Steel 3D printed burr puzzle.
As an added surprise Richard Gain came over from the UK. His Microcubology burr puzzles are amazing and fun. He brought a Seldom Seen Cube with him in Stainless Steel. I had not seen it before in Stainless Steel and it looks great. Indeed his puzzle is the first Stainless Steel 3D printed puzzle I've seen and I really believe that it shows you that some more amazing puzzles are just waiting to be made in that material.
All in all it was a fun day and I loved meeting both Oskar and Richard and the many other puzzle people. You can check out all the puzzle Shops and lots of mechanical, twisty, burr, puzzle rings and other puzzles on our new Puzzle theme page here.
P.s., I came across a video of someone solving a Rubik's Cube while blindfolded.
Shapeways community member Asher Nahmias (aka dizingof) had a problem. He bought a nice new iPhone and a protective case to go with it. The problem? The iPhone + case would not fit in any of the standard charging blocks and stands. So he, "designed a dock that can charge any iPhone with any skin or protective
case - simply insert the charging cable you received with the Iphone
from below and glue it - and you're done."
The resulting universal iPhone dock can be integrated into a home theater system or be used as a stand alone dock. The unit simply attaches to your iPhone cable. Asher is, "very happy with the result, I increased the height of the design a
little bit by another centimeter so that any charging cable will fit in the design." Asher's iPhone dock is an elegant solution to a design problem. These kinds of little problems will increasingly be solved using 3D printing. The best thing is that at $23 the is solution also an affordable one. Yes, we can all dream of a world where everyone can make everything anywhere. But, this is what you can do right now.
In the previous post I told you about Shapeways Community Member Bas van der Veer and his Design Academy Graduation Galleries design "A Drop of Water." The Design Academy is among the best design schools in the world. Their yearly Graduation Galleries is the showcase for the graduating class' graduation projects. And each year the Rene Smeets Prize is given for the most promissing designer with the best graduation project. And Bas van der Veer, has won this prize this year! This is a very very big deal and we are immensely proud of Bas! Congratulations Bas!
So Bas..tell us how you came up with A drop of water?
I think it is very important to be very careful with our freshwater reserves. Therefore I wanted to create a product that makes it really easy to save tap water. Since we use a lot of our freshwater for irrigation, my thesis was to make a product that makes it as easy as possible to choose rainwater instead of tap water to water the plants.
Tell us about the work... 'A Drop of Water' is a rain barrel with an integrated watering can that is located right underneath the drainage tube. This means that the can is filled automatically when it rains, and that the surplus will fill the rest of the rain barrel so that it is possible to refill the watering can after using it.
How long did it take to make it?
After several months of research, conceptualizing and fine tuning, I created a 3d model of my final product. This model was then translated into a mdf-mold by Kleizen, a company in Hengelo. After that, I created the actual rain barrel by using different techniques in about two weeks. Parts of the barrel's tap and the spout of the watering can were 3-d printed by Shapeways, the barrel was made from epoxy resin and glassfibre and the watering can was made using thermoforming.
It looks very organic? Yes, to me it was very important that the shape of the product had a clear connection with the subject: water. Therefore the rain barrel is shaped like a drop of water as a symbol for the thing it harvests.
Is it meant to be an environmental piece or just a pretty thing? With this graduation project, I wanted to create a very elegant and smart product with the emphasis on user-friendliness. But since eco-awareness is also close to my heart, I think 'A Drop of Water' is a combination of both worlds. Whether or not people are willing to save on tap water, electricity, gas and so on, is directly connected to the solutions designers come up with to help them doing that. So in order to make a good product to 'save the world' , it is crucial to make the product as attractive as possible, otherwise no one will bother.
It looks a bit like a breast or pregnant woman?
I hear that a lot, some people also tell me that the barrel resembles a fat man's belly! I think it is good that people have a lot of associations with my product, that way they can relate to it, so I'm not bothered at all by that.
What modeling software did you use to make it? I always create my digital models in Rhino3D. When I was around 16 years old, I already started making very basic models in a demo version of Rhino, and this software is the only CAD-software I know how to use.
What did you make using Shapeways? The spout of the watering can was created by Shapeways. It has a very subtle pattern of holes in it, so rapid prototyping was much easier (and cheaper) than any other production technique in this case. Also, parts of the tap at the bottom of the barrel were made by Shapeways in order to have pieces with the exact right dimensions.
What are you going to do after graduation? At this moment, I am trying to find a way to put 'A Drop of Water' into production and to actually sell the product. Apart from that I want to see what other things cross my path this Dutch Design Week and ultimately to find a really nice job as a product designer.
Tell us a little about your other work? I think that both my graduation projects (A drop of Water / Bioplastic Planters) show that I have a passion for ecodesign, but also for making elegant products that people really enjoy using. I always strive for products with relevance and with a clear concept that everyone can relate to, and I think you can see that in all of my products. More information about 'A Drop of Water' and about my other work is also on my website www.basvanderveer.
From the 17th until the 25th of October Dutch Design Week will be in Eindhoven. It is the biggest design event in the Netherlands and I always find it very inspiring. So, inspiring in fact that I bought my 6ft green Dolphin there last year.
Shapeways will be at Strijp S in the Klokgebouw at Strijp Speelt throughout the week. This is a play area for kids where we will be having fun with our Stampmakers. We will also be participating in the Design and Technology tour at the High Tech Campus. If you want to come on by to meet us, we'd love to meet you.
If you are a designer in the Eindhoven area we also highly recommend two workshops on Intellectual Property and designers during DDW. One by Ernst-Jan Louwers shows you how you as a designer can protect your IP. In the other Maarten Haak explains IP lawsuits.
If you are coming to DDW you should check out Shapeways community member Jan van Eck, a Perk Interior Design student. He is exhibiting his graduation project on the Perk Interieur graduation exhibit. He printed the exhibit using Shapeways. His model shows how Jan would through architecture and design encourage integration and how through using multi functional furniture the space can be used optimally.
Another community member you should check out is Bas van der Veer, his website is here. Bas is graduating from the Design Academy and is exhibiting his water tank "A Drop of Water" at the Design Academy Graduation 2009. His beautiful and functional design collects rainwater and comes with a built in removable watering can that you can refill directly from the tank. The watering can sprinkling head and the mechanical parts of the tap were 3D printed using Shapeways.
We're so proud that both Jan & Bas used us to print their graduation assignments!
We love interesting new ways to combine data visualization with products and 3D printing such as the Weather Bracelet. We also love examples of Co-Creation such as the models on our Co-Creator Platform gallery.
When an experienced community member combines both into a great model & great concept we were in a virtual tizzy of excited chatter at the office.
Stijn van de Linden's Braille Ring is just simply a touching gift. Stijn or Virtox as he's known on Shapeways has been making a lot of great designs and we love this one. Stijn is in the product development stage however. He wants to order some more designs for himself and when he's completely satisfied with the results he will offer them for sale on Shapeways. Stijn is also working on binary and morse co-creation rings, so that should be fun also.
The first to develop something for 3D printing and braille is Aaragorn however, who back in March came up with Braille dice. Others are working in Braille too someone printed brialle lables using their Makerbot. Because of all your braille inspiration & this touching 3D printing story we made a Braille theme page and will add more and more Braille objects to it as they are designed by you. At the moment we have Braille key chain, a Braille medallion and several more items on the page.
We're still looking for a Braille Rubik's cube-type puzzle and lots more Braille creativity from you.
The Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) is a term used to describe the largest and at the same time poorest group of people on our planet. This group of four billion people live on less than $2 a day.
The BOP has unique challenges and has traditionally not been served by many companies & products. The BOP could benefit from well designed products that help the poorest people by making their lives easier, longer or even help them escape poverty in some way.
As Shapeways we can potentially democratize manufacturing &
production for anyone, anywhere. We can produce 3D printed goods more efficiently with
more scale and at lower cost than anyone. This means that unique, short run products can be made that potentially help the Bottom of the Pyramid. So how can we by using
Shapeways' strengths bring the benefits of 3D printing to the poor, the
We don't know. So we're asking you for help.
We are looking for viable product idea that could benefit the BOP. During this process, using co-creation, work together with the Shapeways community to improve this idea. We will call this process of working with you to develop this product "3D printing the BOP". We would support your with design, 3D modeling & 3D printing expertise. We would also 3D print iterations and the final product for you. We are looking to, together with you, take this idea and turn it into a product.
The product could either be an end use product or prototype. So, it could either be, for example, a portable water carrier that is 3D printed and then sold or distributed to the third world or it could be a prototype for this product to be ultimately made by another production process.
Do you know a social entrepreneur developing a product for the Bottom of the Pyramid?
Do you yourself want to develop a product for the BOP?
Or do you know someone active in a poor community with a unique design or engineering challenge?
Apply by emailing a short outline of your idea as well as a short description of yourself to joris (at) shapeways (dot) com. Or send this blog post on to the right person so that they can enter. The deadline for entries is the 7th of November. We will then sift through and evaluate the entries and select a project that we will support.
The criteria for the entries are:
Above all: viability
Elegantly designed, simple and robust items would seem to us to be more effective.
Concept is nothing, it depends on execution, the final product, functionality.
The product must ameliorate the conditions of the members of the Bottom of the Pyramid in some way.
The products benefit has to be easy to evaluate and communicate.
It could be a niche product.
It does not have to be a "big" idea that changes everything it could just do something small incredibly well.
Spectives is a really cool tool for all you designers, blog readers and internet enthusiasts. Spectives, is a visual RSS reader. You make a selection of the blogs you read and Spectives shows you the images from those blogs. If a new article is posted the new image is added. Check out the movie below to see how it works or check out the Co-creation collection I made.
In the entertainment industry artists have residuals. They are payments to the band, recording artist, songwriter, TV actor or producer of a song, movie or TV show. When the song continues to get airplay or the TV show has its umpteenth rerun these creators of the work get paid. Licensing deals for merchandise or use of songs or someones image by marketing bring in more cash. This allowed Elvis Presley to earn 52 million in 2008. Albert Einstein's estate made $18 million from licensing for the Baby Einstein toys brand and, believe it or not, a Nestle Coffee brand in Japan. Dr. Seuss earned $12 million from book sales & movie deals and Andy Warhol stretches his 15 minutes to beyond the grave with licensing deals worth $9 million. These earnings are all a result of copyright, personality rights(ie pay to use James Dean's image in your advertising) and continued sales and airplay. Patents can also continue to bring in cash long after the invention has been made. Some product designers are also increasingly getting into the royalty game charging between 3-5% on future revenues from their designs.
Over the coming years residuals are no longer going to be a thing that only expensive lawyers as well as superstars and their grieving relatives will think about. As more and more people design, as more products become niche, as more designers & other artists become brands out of their own bedroom the number of people collecting residuals will increase.
Indeed right now if you have a design in your Shapeways Shop you can earn residuals off of the sale of the products from that design. The initial design effort could have been done months ago but you could still earn money based on that design, again and again every time someone orders a product.
As companies similar to Shapeways come to the fore more people like you will be created the world over. Not only in 3D modeling but also in furniture design, 2D design of any kind, movie making, acting, writing, engineering, invention etc. The democratization of production(of any kind) will be a leitmotiv for the coming years.
As more consumers are exposed to more products of all kinds more demand for diversity in any and all products will ensue. More choice in books leads to more demand for individual choice in clothes, cars, furniture, anything.
More designers will be needed to design more things that suit more peoples diverging tastes. The world will be replete with people who are "a brand in their bedroom." Over the past years it has become possible to as one person through technology to make a feature film, produce a song, write a computer game, become a retailer via eBay, and so on. These advances plus the concept of the long tail mean that more people will design more stuff in areas that are now traditionally catered to by companies rather than individuals.
Just because everyone can make their own movies though doesn't mean that everyone will be successful. Everyone could start a blog but only a precious few have found readers and a much smaller percentage can make a living from their readership. Talent, effort & marketing skills will matter.
So we will have a world of millions of brands:
The long tail & more choice in one product brings about more demand for choice in other products.
The Platforms (such as Shapeways, eBay etc.)
The technology (video camera's, inexpensive 3D modeling tools etc.)
The "brands of one"
The Internet (making it all possible)
With all those game changing themes why did I single out residuals for this blog post? Residuals, or the idea that you earn money from your creation after the fact, is quite simply the least mature of these things.
With exceptional talent you can right now become a brand of one and make a living from your own bedroom in your own niche. But, how can you protect your work? How can you establish that a design is 'yours.' How can you guard your innovation, your creativity, your work? Currently this is simply not possible.
The internet is the glue that binds these series of innovations
together but it is also a place where content is easily copied. This is
part of its usefulness but also exposes talented people to the threat
of misappropriation of their work, especially when they are just
starting out. The battle between the extremes of "all content wants to be free" and "protect IP at all costs" will continue to rage.
Copyright-, trademark- and patent law are all hopelessly behind the times. Worse still, the changes that have been made skew the entire process of protecting your intellectual property towards large companies. Everything from securing IP to protecting it is hugely expensive.
And yet..residuals are key. They allow you to get revenue from your entire body of your work, over time. Protecting these assets and exploiting them continually will be the key for talented people to make money consistently from their designs. The ability to earn from the 'catalog' of your work will be of paramount importance. It means that in a widely distributed world where information is instant you can continue to sell years later in the tiniest of niches.
Without the proper safeguarding of residuals being in place: every song, design or performance will be a struggle. Without the proper safeguarding of residuals being in place: poaching a design will be more profitable than making one. Without the proper safeguarding residuals being in place: a long tail world of 'brands of one' will quite simply not work. The returns would be too uneven, the right guys simply would not win.
So why did I write this post? I wrote it to inspire a lawyer. I'd like a lawyer to read, this admittedly long winded mess, and start a company. I'd like that company to provide a service similar to the Artists Rights Society but for every designer, large or small. I'd like it to be a RIAA that understands the internet and respects that we live in a changing world where sometimes monopolies lose, where sometimes business models get broken and that the right course is then to innovate, not to haplessly sue while hopelessly clinging to memories of a bygone era.
I usually don't like to make predictions. But..I know that such a company, if executed well, would make millions. IP rights is a high margin, high service, business for the happy few. No one is trying to democratize it, make it more accessible, make it scale. If you were the first to do this in scale you would have a profitable high barriers to entry global business.
So, if you are an IP lawyer and managed to get through this post, congratulations. You have just been made aware of a huge business opportunity. I hope you do it. To get you started I've taken the liberty of registering carefreeip.com. I hope you like it. If you start up the business described, the domain is a gift to you from me. Good luck.
If you are not an IP lawyer, please send this post to someone who is. Or you might want to just pitch this idea to them. If you are at all interested in personal fabrication, 3D printing, mass customization etc. it is crucial that such a business be created. If you can, please try to motivate someone you know to start it.
After all as Warhol said, "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." And everyone won't all be able to make their way to the offices of Fancy, Fancier & Fancy-est esq. on Park Avenue.
Photo's used under Creative Commons, Share, Remix, attribution license:
CloudFab is a brand spanking new start up that is aiming to become a distributed fabrication platform for 3D printing. They are in alfa right now but you can sign up for a beta on their site.
I wasn't the only one intrigued, CloudFab was featured on the Ponoko blog and also on FluidForms
and now we're going to do an interview with Nick Pinkston, CloudFab's CEO. Isn't that great,
we're just one big happy family of personal fabrication companies.
Joris: So tell us a bit about your team?
Nick Pinkston: Sure, there are two founders:
I'm Nick Pinkston, the "business
guy" of the company. I've been a tinkerer since I was very young - I
learned to solder before I could ride a bike. Since, I've run a few
small businesses, and I've been wanting to start a company that blended
my love of making things with a way to help change the world.
Steve Klabnik is our lead developer, and he's been programming for
most of his life. He really brings a depth of talent and experience
that's been invaluable to us. He's not just a basement-bound dev
though. He's great to toss around strategy with, and he's a true
believer in the cause.
When did you guys get the idea for CloudFab?
At first, we were looking to start a place with equipment to work on
projects like TechShop, but it didn't look like the local market would
support that. It was then that we helped start HackPittsburgh - now the
local hackerspace. We wanted to solve the problem on a larger scale
though, so we looked at how best to make production widely available.
What was it like to take it from idea to website?
We got off to a rough start which put us a little behind, but I have to
say that having Steve leading the development really inspired
confidence in our ability to get things done quickly. The latest drama
was maxing out our servers during the launch, but we're back with a lot
Are there any sites/books/people that inspired you to start your own business?
When I was quite young I read "Engines of Creation", and as a young
tinkerer it really inspired me to look where tech could take us - if in
a futuristic way. Later, I read "Fab", "Democratizing Innovation", and
others which along with many blogs and friends helped inspire CloudFab.
So you guys are a distributed manufacturing platform? What is that exactly?
Distributed manufacturing / fabrication is all about tapping into
existing decentralized production capacity - similar to how the protein
folding project tapped into spare PS3 cycles. We'll be tipping our hand
more a little later, but the ultimate goal is to increase the
accessibility for everyone.
Will you ever do your own production, or is connecting users with producers going to be the only thing you do?
now, we're fully focused on getting the distributed model implemented
and working well. We don't see concentrating buying machines to be the
best model to best serve customers.
How will CloudFab work?
All a you need
to do is upload your STL file and select the build specs. This sends
all the applicable sellers a quote request. You then select the best
quote by price, turnaround, feedback, etc., and once you do we hold
your payment until the parts are delivered. If the parts are good,
you'll leave the seller some good feedback.
Are you guys a Business to Consumer company? Business to business? Both?
we're a hybrid really. If engineers, designers, etc. are considered
business, I'd say we're B2B. The main goal is really to empower people
who don't make things for a living. Once my mom can easliy make things
I'll be happy.
Your CloudFab Manifesto is very similar to what
I think about Personal Fabrication. In it you mention that the goal is
"truly personal fabrication", what does this mean to you?
seems like modern society has alienated everyone from the being truly
invested in their work like artisans of the past. We're at a point now
where technology allows us to be our own artisan. We can see blogs
being personal publishing, and it vastly increased the amount of dialog
and communication. If we can do that for designs and transfer that to
the physical world, we think it's going to vastly increase innovation
in the physical world as well.
So you would like to be a global platform? What you are doing reminds me a lot of Ponoko.
by global you mean having users around the world, then yes. Ponoko
seems pretty file centric. They bridge the consumer-supplier gap by
giving designers a platform to show and make their designs - which is a
Are there any/many differences between yourselves and Ponoko?
really like what Ponoko has done so far. Between them, Shapeways, and
others, the space has emerged as the new kid on the technology block.
It's awesome to see Dave ten Have on the cover of Inc. magazine. As
with any expanding market, everyone is trying to find and develop new
segments. We combine elements of the successful companies in the space
with some of our own.
What will make you guys successful?
They say you can focus on
the horse, the jockey, or the race. I think we're in a great race, we
have an awesome jockey, and I think our horse is pretty solid and will
continue to train to win.
You are in alpha right now, any indication of when you hope to go beta?
(and yes, we of all people know that this is ballpark at best).
We hope to go into open beta in about a month or so. We'll get the private beta robust, and then we'll turn it loose.
Why did you choose 3D printing as a technology?
Not only is 3D
printing able to make a wide range of 3D objects with many materials,
but it also has less complexity than CNC for sellers and buyers. With
CNC there are so many variables to take into account it makes it
difficult to do easily online.
In the long run do you plan to expand into CNC, laser cutting etc.?
cutting will be coming very soon - along with similar processes. CNC is
a harder nut to crack, but 3-axis shouldn't be too far away. Seven axis
Swiss machines aren't around the corner though.
Do you guys believe that "everyone will make everything" through 3D printing? Or are you less optimistic/more cautious?
very optimistic about distributed fabrication, but it doesn't consist
of only 3D printing, laser, etc. Especially for large objects, we're
far away from that. Metal stamping and injection molding have benefits
over digital techniques in many areas, but they're all apart of the
fabrication ecosystem. I'm sure we'll see such technologies becoming
more available as well as time progresses. In any case, I think we're
on our way to many people making a lot of things, and that's still a