Dutch creative agency KesselsKramer has used 3D printing & stop motion to create an opening an closing sequence for Dutch children's TV show Het Klokhuis. The apples used for the stop motion sequence were 3D printed by Shapeways. The apples were made using our White, Strong & Flexible material and were so happy to have played a small part in this great video! The video is directed by John Kelly and you can read more about the people that made the video here. Check out the videos below.
Shapeways interviews Bre Pettis (on the right), the Maker in Chief over at Makerbot Industries. Makerbot Industries makes an affordable desktop 3D printer and we and a lot of other people are very excited about them and their Cupcake CNC. We asked Bre about the future of Makerbot Industries and desktop 3D printing.
Joris Peels: What's a Makerbot?
Bre Pettis: A MakerBot is an affordable, open source 3D printer.
Joris Peels: And a Cupcake is a Makerbot?
Bre Pettis: Yes, the Cupcake is our flagship personal fabrication device! It makes things that are a little bigger than a cupcake!
Joris Peels: Who is the team behind Makerbot Industries?
Bre Pettis: Adam (Adam Mayer) has his head in the software, Zach has his hands on production, I'm making waves and we all start prototyping at 6pm when we stop answering emails, packing boxes and taking care of business.
What was the first thing you 3D printed?
A shot glass. Promptly filled with a deadly Scandinavian concoction.
Your favorite thing so far?
Everyday I wake up and check out what's new on Thingiverse and I'm never let down. Lately there has been a trend to make tools to do other things with a MakerBot like the MicroLathe. When folks are using the tools we design to make other tools to make other things it gets me excited. We make things that make things that people use to make things that make other things that make things. Try saying that 3 times fast.
Who came up with the idea for Makerbot Industries?
Zach(Smith aka Hoeken)had been obsessed with 3D printing for a while and infected us with the personal manufacturing bug. Making things that make things is fun so it's contagious.
How long did it take you guys to get the company going, to get the first bots out the door?
We started on Jan 17. Had the prototype done by Mar 17, and then had the first batch of MakerBots out the door on April 17th. There wasn't a lot of sleep in those months. We actually ate 2 cases of ramen in those months so we wouldn't have to go out and eat. That was a bad idea. Don't do that, it's not healthy.
The main difference between a MakerBot Cupcake CNC and a Reprap is how much time it takes to make one. The Reprap project is an academic research project and it can take a few months to gather the materials and then put a reprap together and then a lot of experimentation to get it to print. The MakerBot CupCake CNC is a kit and can be printing things out after a weekend of assembly with a friend.
Are you really going to try to tackle 3D scanning too?
Yes. Having a MakerBot 3D printer and MakerBot scanner is the washer/dryer combo of replication. Who doesn't want to print out portrait sculptures of their family and friends?
And what new materials will you introduce?
We just launched PLA, PolyLactic Acid, and it's flying off the shelves. It's clear and it's made from corn. It smells a bit like butter when you print with it. We're finishing up prototypes of the frostruder which is a syringe based extruder that can print with frosting and anything squishable like UV curable silicon. And clay! We're in the market for a kiln so we can fire our own MakerBotted tea set.
What is a typical Makerbot customer like?
A lot of our customers are time traveling antique hunters which brings up all sorts of shipping problems. Most people think that all MakerBot customers are seriously geeky, but the truth is that even though lots of designers and architects and engineers buy them, most of our customers are just clever people who are sick of waiting on other people for their jetpack.
Will everyone have a desktop 3D printer? If so when?
When the Altair came out, people criticized it and said there wasn't a need for more than 10 computers in the world. We're in that same kind of place with personal manufacturing that personal computing was back then. MakerBots will be an absolutely totally common thing to see on a desktop within 10 years.
Why is Thingiverse important?
We built Thingiverse because we needed a place to share our designs so we wouldn't lose them and so our friends could make what we had made and then modify those designs and make them better. The community is amazing and supportive, and it's also a lot of fun. There is no other place that you can share a design for a physical thing and people around the world will make their own copies within minutes (NB: mmm we might need to do some more work in promoting our 3D parts database). It's that kind of sharing magic that makes Thingiverse the closest thing to teleportation that we've got in this solar system.
What are the mayor challenges for you guys?
It can be hard to find time to eat and sleep. There is way too much stuff to do in this world right now. If you're bored in this day and age, you're doing it wrong. Turn off the TV, pick a ambition and start spending your free time working on it. Besides 3d printing, there are all sorts of open source collaborative hardware projects to work on.
A while back you had an experiment in crowd sourced manufacturing with having people produce parts for Makerbots for you. How did that work out? Will you be doing this more often?
We were the first company to ever do crowd sourced manufacturing and it worked out great. It was so cool to have MakerBots in the wild making parts for unbuilt MakerBots. We've got some ideas to do this again that we're going to announce later this year.
How important is your community to you? What do they do for the company?
The MakerBot community is awesome. Because we're open source and the community is so smart, we've seen a lot of participation in the research and development sector. For example, MakerBot Operator Tim Myrtle ripped the guts out of our temperature control code and replaced that section of code with some serious PID math which made the temperature of the nozzle much more stable. Because we're open source, our users know that the code and designs are theirs to hack on. They also know that if they improve their machine, they can share their improvement and everyone in the community benefits. Can I download a Makerbot and print it out using Shapeways?
Go for it! There was talk a while back on the MakerBot Operator google group to replace all the lasercut parts with printable parts. Progress is being made and already there is a printable extruder!
Are Makerbots going to be able to self replicate?
One step at a time. Self replication is cool, but our first step is actually to get the machine so that it can be an autonomous manufacturing factory. I want to be able to go to sleep and wake up to a pile of MakerBotted things next to my MakerBot!
Why did you guys start Makerbot Industries?
We felt compelled. We decided to live the dream. We followed our hearts.
Shouldn't you guys be making the next YouTube or
something (Bre used to work for Rocketboom, Etsy & MakeZine as their video producer)?
Why 3D printing?
We love the internet, but web apps are very
90's.Personal Manufacturing the new black. We see the future and it's
full of flying cars, replicators, and moon colonies. You can watch
videos of the MakerBot Operators popping our collars from the moon
colony on youtube when we get there.
You used to be a teacher, is that still kind of your job? To 'teach' 3D printing?
My mission in life is to be able to develop infrastructure that lets humans be creative. I feel that very tangibly inside my self. When I taught school that's what I did. When I made tutorial videos that's what I did. Adam, Zach and I are taking creative infrastructure to a new level by putting the tools of manufacturing into the hands of creative people. Everyday, even the long days packing boxes, we get excited about empowering people around to world create amazing things with our machines.
is an important article in Wired by Chris Anderson about the democratization of production. It will frame the discussion about the business that Shapeways is in. To sum it up, "In the age of democratized industry, every garage is a potential micro-factory, every citizen a potential micro-entrepreneur." An even shorter summation, "the long tail of things" is coming.
It is thought provoking and inspirational article and everyone should read it. In my opinion however it leaves out several crucial elements that will allow "atoms to become the new bits."
1. Atoms will become bits only if the right infrastructure evolves.
Small entrepreneurs have to be able to defend their IP. Markets will
have to be found. Customization and easy 3D modeling software will have
to be created. Services such as legal, customer service, accounting,
etc. will have to evolve. Customization tools will have to work.
Recommendation engines for people, things and products that do not
exist will have to be found, etc.
2. No amount of technology will replace the division of labor.
3. No amount of (available) innovation will eliminate comparative advantage.
4. Absolute advantage will not magically vanish overnight.
5. The invisible hand will still call the shots
6. Cooperation is not only a word on Sesame Street.
The most successful web publisher is not necessarily the best
coder, builder of websites, writer of web
frameworks, marketeer, authors, editor etc. Indeed even if he could do all of those things working with others would seem to be an efficient thing to do. The best designer in the world should probably spend more time designing than putting stuff in boxes. The best designer in the world might suck at marketing. The best designer in the world might be too expensive.
By working together and using the platforms available to us and using the skills of others in concert we will be able to achieve personal production. Networks of micro-businesses will define the future of commerce.
The key factor for someone who has or wants their own micro-factory or who wants to be a micro-entrepreneur is to specialize. In the New Industrial Revolution the core question will still be, what is it that you can do better than others?
Shapeways Community member Bill Morris has a fun blog called I Heart Robotics. Bill also has some great designs on Shapeways such as a Sonar Servo mount, chuck key Holder & a toolholder for Torx screwdrivers. In order to let people install the tool holders, Bill wanted to develop a way to use screws along with 3D printed parts. A perfect marriage between the old and the new, don't you think? You can check out his blog post here. Its good to see such development because I had
personally given up on threaded screws used along with 3D printed parts. Bolts generally are much easier
to use along with 3D printing and for the White, Strong & Flexible
materials a simple hole will support a screw as long as the wall is
thick enough. Thin walls along with screws might cause the material to tear thought. Bill however worked with the ABS plastic 3D printing material that we call Grey Robust. Its nice to see Bill showing us what is possible.
Joris Peels: Why did you want to use wooden screws together with 3D printed parts?
Bill Morris: I usually drill and tap holes because in many of the projects I work on
there is no way to access the back side to put a nut on. Nuts also have
a tendency to fall on the floor and loosen due to vibration.
After tapping hundreds of holes in 3D printed plastic I thought that
there had to be a better way. I wanted a solution that customers buying
stuff from my Shapeways store could reproduce without buying a set of taps.
I guessed that wood screws might work well, and looked for plastic
screws. While I am waiting for those to arrive, I decided to test the
Joris Peels: What machine and material did you use?
Bill Morris: Stratasys Prodigy Plus with P400 ABS.
Joris Peels: What was the most surprising thing about your findings?
Bill Morris: It was surprising that the wood screws had enough holding strength to
split the countersinks and split the screw bosses.
Joris Peels: Are you going to be doing more testing?
Bill Morris: I have ordered samples of these screws. Once they come in I'll do a similar test. I am hoping that they will work even better then wood screws since they don't have a countersink.
Stratasys and HP are going to make and distribute 3D printers together. This is huge news. As you may know Stratasys is the company behind the Dimension & Fortus 3D printer brands and the Red Eye 3D printing service. Stratasys use the FDM process and we use their machines for our Grey Robust material. Some quotes from the press release: “We believe the time is right for 3D printing to become mainstream,”
said Stratasys Chairman and CEO Scott Crump. “We also believe that HP’s
unmatched sales and distribution capabilities and Stratasys FDM
technology is the right combination to achieve broader 3D printer usage
worldwide. HP has made a similar move in this market before, capturing a
dominant position in large-format 2D printers. Together we hope to
repeat this success with 3D printers.”
The large printer manufacturers have now dabbled in the "low end" of the market with Dimension FDM printers breaking the $20,000 mark at one point. This is the same price as the entry level Zcorp machine, the 310. Objet's Alaris is around 40,000 if I'm not mistaken. Now the Dimension U-Print starts at $12,000. 3D Systems, another 3D printer manufacturer, recently acquired the assets for Desktop Factory which was a start up that wanted to produce a $5000 3D printer.
Stratasys working with HP means that they will have a lot more muscle on the distribution side and will push prices lower. HP's savvy in doing the whole "giving you the printer" and charging an arm and a leg for the ink thing. It would be interesting if they tried this with 3D printers. This is a huge shake up in a market coming to grips with the idea of manufacturing for everyone.
The race to lower prices and desktop machines is of course even more interesting given that the open source Rep Rap printer (and its positively dirt cheap $750 Makerbot Cupcake CNC variant) are both doing very well. This means that as of now the major 3D printer manufacturers are locked in a battle for your desktop while at the same time trying to figure out how to compete with open source. Awesome!
Eric Finley and Aaron Trocola rock! I am continually astounded by the helpfulness and kindness of the Shapeways community.
As you know we recently introduced color 3D printing. To upload and create a color 3D printed file you have to work with a texture map and the VRML file format. These are both unfamiliar to a lot of people. Aaron therefore spend a considerable amount of time making a clear and well illustrated tutorial explaining the texture mapping of VRML files. His tutorial shows you how you can use the free Google Sketchup tool combined with the free and open source tool Meshlab to easily make textures out of images. His example of a simple photo frame is clear and the tutorial is a huge help to our community. I would like to thank Aaron so so much. You can check out the tutorial which will help 3D modelers from noobs to ninjas deal with texture maps here. Besides writing super tutorials Aaron is Aeron203 on Shapeways and has some really well designed items in his Shop.
Just having one person such as Aaron do something so helpful would be amazing but over the past weekend we had two. Eric Finley made his Shapeways Tools Script for Blender. This script integrates and builds upon the work of another awesome member Loonsbury. Loonsbury's pricing script for Blender is now included in Eric's Tools. This means that community members have now made tools for Blender as well as for 3D Max in the form of Virtox's excellent pricing script.
Eric's Shapeways Tools for Blender include a completely automatic wall thickness check. You are not dreaming. The script even color codes your wall thicknesses so you can see where your problems lie and just how problematic the walls are, right within Blender! Please help Eric by giving him feedback for his awesome app. You can check out his great fantasy Shop here.
Together with Maryland Plastics we will have a contest to see if the creativity of our community can lead to excellent design in injection molded tableware. The winner of the contest will receive $300 in 3D printing from Shapeways.
The top 3 entries will then be evaluated by Maryland Plastics and if the designs meet their exacting standards they will offer the designer a buy out fee. This could mean an additional fee of $2000 for example. But this would depend on the design being injection moldable.. The design has to be injection mold able and fit into Maryland Plastics Crystalware line. You can enter the contest by uploading a model with the tag: injection molding to Shapeways. Your design will remain your own property unless you decide to accept an offer from Maryland Plastics for the rights to the design.
So tired of all this boring unique, one of a kind stuff? Injection molding, is about millions of copies.
Rules to be Injection Mold able:
The easiest thing to do is pick up something that is made in plastic. You can even look through the Maryland Plastics Catalogs and see how it works. In most cases, a Mold is 2 pieces of steel, that are held together at high pressures, and liquid plastic is injected in the cavities. Then the 2 pieces of steel are pulled apart and the plastic pieces fall out. This can be seen on any injection molded piece. If you look at a plastic fork, there is a seam that runs along the entire perimeter of the fork. This is where the pieces of steel meet. On a plastic bowl or plate, it is usually along the brim. This seam is very important in your design. You must leave a way for the steel to escape.
For example, this punch bowl shape. Think of 2 pieces of steel. How would you have two pieces of steel to make this design, and then be able to remove the plastic piece? It would require extra moving pieces and be extremely expensive. And when you go to buy plastic stuff, you don’t want expensive. In some cases a 3 piece mold is required.
In the case of a coffee cup or pitcher, a 3 piece mold is acceptable. It is had to design a handle in a product that wouldn’t require a third piece. If you think about how the steel would need to escape from the plastic, you would see that one piece of the mold would be for the inside of the cup. Then you would need 2 pieces to move in from the sides of the cup to make the handle. If you just had a 2 piece mold, the steel would not be able to pull out from the handle.
Rules for Crystalware:
When you look through the Crystalware catalog, you will see many items ranging from platters to pitchers to plates. What we are looking for is one of two things. Something that will fit along with the items we already have. Or a design of it’s own that would look good in clear plastic. For example you like the design on the pitcher. You could make say cups that compliment the design. Or if you hate the design on the pitcher, and you think another design would look better.
The image above is an actual picture of Alien Grey by Jiovanie. It is 3D printed using our Full Color Sandstone material. This is our least expensive material and the pricing is $0.99 per Cubic Centimeter ($16.22 per cubic Inch + $ 1.50 start up costs per model, these prices include worldwide shipping).
You can check out the video here:
Several community members have been making some wonderful things over the past months to showcase Full Color 3D printing.
We turn any image into a color 3D printed depth map so you can see as well as touch your holiday snapshots for $29. Check them out here.
For Character modelers & animators this really means they can now take their avatar or their favorite character design and put it on their desktop. Designers can now come up with Co-creators that can be turned into any color, any pattern such as this Ipod accessory below. You just upload any image or pattern and the designer easily makes your object this color or pattern.
The type of 3D printer we use for this process are Zcorp 650. We however are using a finishing technique that strengthens the 3D printed parts using rapid thermoset composites. Additionally we also use a one of a kind machine to resin infuse the models. This unique process makes the models much stronger and the colors much brighter, than was possible previously. We believe that people that have been exposed to Zcorp previously will be blown away with the results.
Having said that we do have to temper your enthusiasm somewhat. The resolution of the printer itself is low compared to the other processes we use. So the details and features will be less accurate. However, the color resolution is high so high detail in images is possible. The models are much stronger than traditional Zcorp processes but still fragile compared to the other things you can make with Shapeways.
We have more technical information here in the Design Rules for Full Color 3D printing here. The most crucial information is to realize that the wall thickness is 3mm and that fragile dainty models can not be made with this process. For a quick overview of the material you can check out our material page for Full Color Sandstone.
You can currently add color to your models by using a VRML file with texture map or by using x3D. You can find out how that works here.
Please tell us what you think and especially in the first weeks of this new material, let us know what needs to be improved.