Cathal Garvey is doing some truly amazing stuff with 3D printing. His Shapeways Shop Labs From Fabs showcases all his 3D printed lab equipment. Basically he wants to use fabbing technology such as Shapeways and Makerbot to make inexpensive lab equipment. He sells the printed objects on Shapeways and also makes the designs available for download on Thingverse for anyone with their own 3D printer.
I thought it was a great initiative but recently it turned amazing with the Dremelfuge. The Dremelfuge is a 3D printed attachment that turns a regular Dremel power tool into a lab centrifuge. Cathal's great blog shows you a video of how it works as well as an explanation of the Dremelfuge.
This is a great example of how 3D printing could change industries. A test tube centrifuge is now $64 or $100 if you have to buy a Dremel.
On a web page outlining the explosive PETN and how it was used in the attempted bombing of the flight from Amsterdam to New Orleans sits a KLM advertisement touting the airlines cheap flights to the United States. Somehow I don't think that this will be their best add in terms of conversion. The same website has another page talking about the attempted plane bombing and this page is accompanied by some very handy Google AdWords.
Kevin Kelly has done it again. In his post about 1,000 true fans he details how a designer, artist or any independent creative can make a living as long as they have 1,000 true fans. If you would like to make a living in a long tail world where anyone can make anything and anyone can design anything then please read this post. If you want to use tools such as 3D printing to make a living, then please read this post. If you are a designer, artist or creative on Shapeways, and would like to make a living on our platform, then please read this post. Or if you just want to start a business at one point, then please read this post. I don't know how he does it but Kevin Kelly has through the morass identified and described quite possibly the most important element of becoming successful while using todays democratizing technologies. It is also a quite clear path forward for anyone wanting to turn a hobby and/or a dream into a living.
"I am suggesting there is a home for creatives in between poverty and
stardom. Somewhere lower than stratospheric bestsellerdom, but higher
than the obscurity of the long tail. I don't know the actual true
number, but I think a dedicated artist could cultivate 1,000 True Fans,
and by their direct support using new technology, make an honest living."
This is going to save you tons of time: we now support Zipped uploads for all file formats! I just tried this with a 63MB VRML file. Before, it would take me almost 10 minutes to upload this. Now, I can zip it to about 8MB and it uploads in about 1.5 minutes. Hallelujah!
3D Bioprinting new blood vessels or even organs may be possible in the future. A first step has been taken with the first commercial bioprinter, by Organovo. It currently prints cell structures but nobody has dared to put them in their bodies yet. So while this looks like a promising development, I'd take good care of your body just a little longer - say, 30 years or so?
I found it interesting that the article refers to manifoldness as 'the Vertex to Vertex Rule':
What this means is that each triangle of the mesh must share 2 vertices with its adjacent triangles. For example one triangles vertex cannot lie on the side of a triangle, it must be attached to another vertex of the triangle.
There's an image in the article that illustrates this. What do you think? Is this a clear/better explanation?
Meshmixer is a very peculiar bit of software. It makes it very easy to combine existing objects, but it does so in a unique and intuitive way. This video explains it much better than I ever could;
What makes this amazing to me is how easy you can just 'drag' an object over another object, and it'll follow the shape wherever it can. The connections between the two objects are also quite smooth and natural.
It looks like Meshmixer is doing a good job at generating manifold objects - as long as you input manifold objects, that is. I ran a few tests and each design was printable by Shapeways. The current version only loads .OBJ files, so you may need a tool like MeshLab to convert your files.
Meshmixer is developed by Ryan Schmidt, a computer graphics researcher at the University of Toronto. It's a free, Windows-only download.
In first place RK101 also known as Robert Kane with his Punk Angel. This is a wonderfully whimsical and fun Punk meets Christmas Angel holding a customizable sign. Use them as table settings or customizable gifts.
Congratulations for everyone and thank you for the inspiration! Robert wins $300 in 3D printing, Felix $100 and Gillian $50.
Children + Branding Irons = Christmas. I'm about to set off for a two week vacation and on the cusp of leaving some awesome news reaches me. Youknowwho4eva also known as Michael Williams will be giving 75% of the money he makes with Shapeways this December until Christmas to Toys for Tots. Toys for Tots collects unwanted toys and "distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children."
Since Michael has a number of great models such as a Bic version of the BrandingIron, you can now buy a customizable Branding Iron and support children with charity Christmas gifts at the same time. Give the gift of branding! Do it for the children. Just one of the amazing things 3D printing steel can make happen for the world.
We've replaced Cream Robust with Grey Robust as of today. We did this to give the Robust material a shot in the arm because several community members requested a different color. The price remains the same.
The Grey Robust material is an ABS plastic made with Stratasys' Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process. If you look at the material closely you can see layers in it. This has lead the material to be a under appreciated one. But, I will speak out now in defense of Grey!
ABS plastic is a very strong material. The material is also very durable. It is also not flexible so makes for good housings, structural parts and engineering parts. The biggest advantage that Grey Robust has however is that it is the most dimensionally stable material out there. If you need for something to be precisely the right size, then Grey Robust is the right material for you. We suggest it for things like robot parts and for use by 'makers' and engineers. Please tell us what you think of the new color and give us feedback if you decide to use this material. You can check out more data on the material here.
Our BrandingIrons became a huge hit thanks to BoingBoing, Wired, a lot
of other blogs and many twitter peoples. I then decided that it would
be interesting and a good idea to raise the price of the BrandingIrons
by $20. Instead of $25 they would now cost $45. The idea was that these
custom BrandingIrons could then do more to subsidize the Shapeways
community. It was an experiment in reversing the 'loss leader' idea to create a 'profit leader' that would build the foundations for thousands of new creations in the future.
This was a mistake and we are going to go back to our
original pricing of $25. So the marketing person's headline for this post should be, "Huge price cut on customizable branding Irons"
Sales of the BrandingIrons slowed from a torrent to a trickle. And I spent a lot of time listening and discovering my error. Nick Taylor, summed it up best in a blog comment, "I think
you're breaking an unspoken social contract that there is a
meaningful relationship between the value of something, and the price."
Price and value always fascinate me. Why is one shirt for sale for $200
and the other for $10? What value & perceived value operate on your
buying decisions? How we do we compare a price when we've never
considered a comparable product? How much does "unique" cost? What
ideas are worth paying for, which are not?
With all my supposed thinking, my little experiment
completely missed the simple idea that there would be people out there
told about the $25 price who would find the new $45 price disagreeable (and might even find us annoying for changing it).
We did sell less and I would attribute this to the 'sticker shock' and justified feelings of unfairness. We also received feedback from people explicitly stating that they found $25 to be a good price point and $45 to be excessive for the product. All in all it would seem that 3D printed customizable BrandingIrons are a rather elastic good. I really liked the discussion on the blog and all the emails that I received. But, I must apologize to the people that were annoyed or confused by the price change. The mistake was mine, my apologies.
We want to be as simple, as easy and clear as we can. This is why we
are reversing the price raise and reimbursing the people that brought
BrandingIrons at the higher price. We will also never again flippantly play with price but stick to the calculated prices as we have in the past. From now on: prices on Shapeways
will only go down, as they should.
We've increased the price of the Text BrandingIron and the Logo BrandingIron by $20. A customized 3D printed branding iron will now cost you $45 (28 Euros) including shipping and VAT if you live in the European Union and $38 including shipping if you do not. So depending on where you live it will now cost you $45 or $38 to get your words; your 2D design, logo or image turned into a mini-3D printed-Stainless Steel Branding Iron.
So why did we increase the price of the BrandingIron? We are simply exhibiting expected behavior for a monopolist. After conquering and dominating the customizable 3D printing mini-branding iron market we of course will raise prices. Just kidding, but the real reason might be more interesting.
One of the truly special things about Shapeways is that we believe that it is our task to democratize manufacturing. We believe that we have the opportunity to provide anyone, anywhere with manufacturing capability. The steps we take, each day, slowly but surely walk towards that goal chiefly consist of us making Shapeways more affordable and more inspiring for our community.
Inspiration is why we develop things such as the BrandingIron. It is meant as a demonstration of what can be done, a new direction, a hint, a trigger for many other designs by our community. Our willingness to earn less than any other company, our scale and our ability to optimize the processes we use better than any other company mean that we can keep costs low. This means that more people can make more stuff. Rinse, repeat.
Thanks to Boing Boing, Wired, Make, many other blogs and people on Twitter (thank you all!)the BrandingIron became a hit. At the ridiculously low price it was at, the product helps spread the word for Shapeways. We now believe that we can use the success of the BrandingIron to in fact subsidize our community rather than offer it at the same low prices as everything else on the site. So we put $20 on top of each BrandingIron so we can build new software and buy more 3D printers. We're also curious to see how this affects demand and to what extent people will be less willing to buy them now. What is the ideal price point for a BrandingIron? How much will you pay to have your logo turned into 3D printed metal? How much is a 'fun idea' an 'edgy' concept? How much does unique cost?
I'd also like to thank everyone that was so concerned with the legal aspects of this. I would also like to reiterate that the objects brought from Shapeways are only for decorative purposes and they are not suited for any other purpose. We wouldn't like to go looking for the edge of the envelope only to find a paper cut.