The USPTO, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the organization responsible for the US patent system, is currently advertising on The Pirate Bay. The USPTO has a site for kids called Invent Now. Invent now is a place for kids to submit their ideas & inventions to. The USPTO started it up together with the AD Council and the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation. To popularize their site they use online banners. A friend just sent me screenshot of an Invent Now banner running on the Pirate Bay.
It is early days yet but the first iteration of Kris Reed's actuated robot arm looks very promising. You can check out Kris' blog post on how he came to make his arm here or see the 3D printed robot arm that will one day subjugate humanity in action below.
Johnny Kelly is an animation director who works for Nexus
Productions an award winning independent animation studio. He was
tasked by Dutch advertising agency KesselsKramer to do the production
for the new opening titles for a Dutch television show, Het
Klokhuis. To make the opening and closing titles Johnny
and his team used stop motion using 3D printing.
From today until the 14th of March we will be offering you Alumide as a 3D printing material. If enough people like it (and buy it) we will then decide to keep it for you. Whystler, Chris and many others have been asking for Alumide in the forums so here it is.
Alumide is White, Strong & Flexible with Aluminum dust mixed in. The material looks space aged and has a higher heat resistance that regular plastics. Its melting temperature is above 172 Celsius It costs $1.59 per cubic centimeter(plus $1.50 start up costs per model). The material is brittle and less flexible than White, Strong & Flexible. We intended it to be a good Maker material for projects such as Arduino cases and RC Helicopters but after testing it and seeing it the material would seem to be fun for all sorts of other models also.The pictures below are for Bill's Arduino case model.
It feels smoother than White, Strong & Flexible and up close looks like it came from space. It could be part of a meteorite or a chunk of alien technology that fell off of a space ship. And Alien technology for $1.59 per cubic CM, thats a bargain. Update: as per Kristopher's request we've created a material page for Alumide here.
We had a number of great entries for the Maryland Plastics injection molding contest. You can check out the entries here in the special injection molding theme gallery. The people of Maryland Plastics carefully looked and evaluated each model. They said that, "Our decision was based on how well the model followed the rules of the
contest. The items had to be moldable, original, and fit into the
Crystalware line. These three designers showed the best understanding
of these rules, and created very attractive products. The winners as
well as all other models submitted are under consideration for
purchasing the design from the designer." We'll follow these developments closely! But, what we know now is that in third place is RK110, Robert Kane with his Cake Tray.
Robert Fulton was an American inventor and engineer. Steam was the defining technology of its day and Fulton is really one of the most significant pioneers in the field of steam power. He was in charge of developing many US warships and also used his engine design to create the first steamship, the Clermont. In today's parlance you could say that Fulton was instrumental in making steam mainstream. Furthermore, without him no Huckleberry Finn. A group of intrepid hobbyists calling themselves the Followers of Fulton hope to remind others Fulton's significance and the importance of his steam engine by rebuilding replicas of that engine. The Fulton Engine Project hopes to eventually build a full scale version of the steam engine that powered the Clermont (and perhaps the Clermont itself). An intermediate step is a scale model.
The intrepid v& hard working Fulton Followers are using modern technologies such as laser cutting and 3D printing to make their unique steam engine. Shapeways helped out a teeny bit by printing the bell brackets for the ships bell which could not be made otherwise.You can see the original bell to the left and the modern one above.
We like to support interesting projects that push 3D printing technology forward or use the technology in new and interesting ways. If you've got a great project that needs our support let me know here. Thank you so much Fulton's Followers for using the technology of today to let people relive the technology of yesteryear!
The Less Lamp is a lamp that comes to you as a black sphere that does not even properly emit light. You then punch holes in it according to your own taste using a pickaxe to let the light in. A great customized product. Reminds me of one of my favorite items by Dutch design label Droog, the Do Hit.
The Do hit is by Marijn van der Pol. The Do Hit is a simple sheet metal box. It comes with a hammer so you can shape it by hitting it. You can also pay extra and have Marijn do it for you. Both the Do Hit and Less Lamp are great and very active, very literal and very fun co-creation concepts and I'm still amazed that the Do Hit is from way back in 2000.
Leonar3Do is a 3D modeling tool that allows you to model while you actually see the object you're working on in 3D in front of you. You have on 3D glasses and use a 3D marker to model. The marker is tracked and the model is projected in front of you. It should be coming out in a few months and will cost $1000. If this is even a quarter as good as it looks it will be amazing.
If you're in the UK then the BBC has a very exciting opportunity for you. In the autumn a new BBC television show will follow designers, makers & DIY enthusiasts who want to have one of their products sold in High Street shops. If you're selected for the show you get to show off a model of your design to the buyers of some of the UK's largest retailers. If they like your design then, boom, they will license/buy it and put it into their stores.
They are looking for original and interesting designs and the product could be absolutely anything.
Shapeways community member Kevin Cook is in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the worlds largest dice collection. He is also quickly amassing a collection of 3D printed exemplars from Shapeways. Want an initial impression of how big exactly the world's largest dice collection is? Take a gander at this page.
Joris Peels: How many dice do you have?
Kevin Cook: Dice counting towards the Guinness record as of receipt of my latest Shapeways shipment yesterday evening (not added to inventory yet) 29,423. Including my duplicates for trade I think I have about 35,000.
Joris Peels: What is it about them that you like so much?
Kevin Cook: Interesting, I have conducted a lot of interviews and I do not recall anyone ever asking me this before. It is really hard to put into words. I look at them as small pieces of art. They are compact and each has its one purpose, whether general (normal pipped or numbered dice) or specific (dice made for a specific game or task).
Kevin Cook: Only some dice are 6 sided there have been dice with 4, 12 and 20 sidesfor over 2000 years.
Joris Peels: What were your first 3D printed dice?
Kevin Cook: My 20,000th die, Dice and Games in the UK printed it for me I had it laser engraved then I polished it myself.
Joris Peels: What does 3D printing mean for your die collecting hobby?
Kevin Cook: I have known of rapid prototyping / 3d printing for several years and I have been waiting for someone to do something like what Shapeways has done. It opens up a new market to me and I have given permission to several artists to use my on original creations. I look forward to the future.
Joris Peels: So you're in the Guinness Book of Records?
Kevin Cook:Yes, unfortunately the record must be 'refreshed' in order for the current count to be raised. This is a lot of work so I have not gone to the trouble of refreshing the record. This is why the current official record is only 11,097.
So why have I been spending every minute of my free time cooking bioplastic? Basically the idea is: make a biodegradable plastic in your own home. This will potentially be of big benefit for desktop 3D printing, personal production and also in reducing fossil fuel consumption and one's carbon footprint. Make a material with easily obtainable biological products that you can in turn use to make lots of things. If we're dreaming we can also then perhaps make a material that enables you the consumer to recycle the consumer products you make in your own home at home. I tried to test and replicate a number of recipes and also show you what results you can achieve by cooking bioplastics in the home, right now.
The renderer we currently use for thumbnails in the gallery and the model details pages has its limitations and we've wanted to improve these previews for a long time.
The reason being that we want to give everyone visiting Shapeways a better impression of what the actual model will look like. One of the limitations of the current renderer is that it lacks smoothing, which gives ugly results when triangles have large surface areas. Moreover the lack of depth perception in the rendered image, the overall dark look of the gallery and the somewhat odd camera position are things we wanted to improve upon.
For this reason we have been developing a new render solution. And we want to give you a sneak peek on where we are now. We are very curious as to what you think! Below two images: one of the old and one of thenew renderings. Lots of thanks to Bart, Robert and team for making this possible. Please comment and let us know what you think!
So lets say you're on the move and get a tweet from a friend that they've just added something to Thingyverse. Or someone tells you that this one spur gear right for your project can be downloaded from the Shapeways 3D parts database, only you're walking around. What do you do? Well from now on you can download the Netfabb STL viewer on your Iphone. It is free. You can point it at a URL and it will download the STL and let you see it while you are out and about. Using the Iphone's touch pad you can spin and rotate your models while looking at them from all sides. You can pinch to zoom in and I think its generally more intuitive to use than a PC STL viewer. Check out the video of this fun free tool below or download it on the App Store.
I'm your Community Manager and this means that it is my job to make Shapeways easier and more compelling for you while at the same time increasing the size of the Shapeways Community. Since I work for you, I'm going to ask for you to evaluate me. I am also going to ask for you to determine what the waking hours of the next three months of my life will be like and where we should be headed. I am asking you to co-create my job & output as a Community Manager for the next three months.
What will my priorities be?
What will I work on?
What will I try to accomplish?
What elements of Shapeways need to improve?
I'm asking you right now to take this survey in order to tell me now.
How it will work:
The survey is based upon all the comments, answers, ideas, feedback, conversations and emails I've received from our community over the past months. I could not include everything but instead included the ideas, projects and suggestions that were mentioned the most often. In some cases regular feedback was not included because it is already being handled by another project or person. In some cases the feedback and ideas came from a relatively small group of people or even an individual. In these cases however these people's considerable efforts for the Shapeways Community and/or their unique expertise in a relevant area warranted their inclusion.
The free form responses or feedback you will write in addition to the survey will be tabulated, mind mapped and will be added to the goals and projects I will undertake. If significant clustering does occur between free form responses I will add these to my list of projects, priorities or goals.
I will divide up my time according to the priorities that come out of the survey. I will try to accomplish the goals set in the survey. A high score on the survey is no guarantee that something will happen, just that I will try my hardest to make it happen. There is also a personal 360 feedback element in the survey and I will try to either improve or stay the course with any and all information that emerges from that.
I want you to see me as your employee and I would like to be evaluated critically and fairly.
At the end of the time period I will do an evaluation to determine how successful I was in meeting your goals and if we should repeat this. I'm not sure yet how and if we can make those results public but will try to do so.
The survey will require that you fill in the email address you use with your Shapeways account in order to verify that you are a Shapeways Community Member. I will not see these email addresses. This survey will take you approximately 6 minutes. It would mean a lot to me if you took the time right now to take the survey here.
Photographs by Dano and mbiddulph under a Creative Commons Attribution license.
Bruce Sterling is a noted sci fi author, futurologist & speaker. As well as being an award winning author and one of the founders of the cyberpunk movement he is an early and constant booster of Augmented Reality technology and coined the word Spime. Spimes are pieces of technology that know where they are and can reveal their entire history to you. He is also behind a project that hopes to document dead media, founded a green design movement, loves Bollywood movies, is a hacker in the original sense and you really should read his Wired blog Beyond the Beyond.
Joris Peels: I was wondering if at one point you would be interested in doing an interview about 3D printing/the
Bruce Sterling: Well, man, all I can tell you is that I'm hanging out at a monster science event with labs-on-a-chip and 3d biofactories.
Joris Peels: Sounds good, are there any jet packs?