Former Shapeways intern Mathijs van Beers noticed that you could not save to STL using the Solidworks Student Edition (Solidworks Student Design Kit). This meant that students who use the Solidworks SDK could not use this cheaper version of Solidworks to 3D print. The STL file format is the standard for the 3D printing industry so if you have your own 3D printer, if you use a 3D printing service or if your school has a 3D printer in house this keep you from 3D printing. Mathijs found out how he could solve this and described it in this little mini-tutorial/hack showing you how to go from SLDPRT to STL here. If you have Solidworks and need additional tips we also have an additional tutorial showing you how to optimize your Solidworks design for 3D printing here. Thank you so much Mathijs!
Janne Kyttanen is one of the very first people to seize upon the opportunity to make designs for consumers using 3D printing. Janne is the founder of Freedom of Creation. FOC is a groundbreaking and inspiring design label that is ahead of the pack with regards to 3D printing & design. We were happy to interview him to find out what Freedom of Creation is all about and how Janne views the future of design and 3D printing.
Joris Peels: What is Freedom of Creation?
Janne Kyttanen:A pioneering design company busy with a new industrial revolution
Joris Peels: How did you get into 3D printing?
Janne Kyttanen:I saw it on some fair in the mid 90’s. I had my first computer when I
was 8 years old and have been pretty much counting polygons ever since.
When I saw the first 3D printer, I immediately saw every object around
me in wireframe and realized where this whole thing was going to go. I
got quite obsessed with it quite early on and skipped making products
by other means. For me it was so clear, that I didn’t see any point
making anything by hand anymore.
The RepRap project has long been a groundbreaking project to create an affordable open source 3D printer that can print itself. Many RepRap parts have already been uploaded to Shapeways. We've always been very proud of that and love the idea of our technology being used to make another complimentary one. Now the RepRapWiki site has a tutorial showing you how to take a part 3D printed by Shapeways, make a mold of it and use it to build a RepRap mendel 3D printer. This could make it very inexpensive to create the plastic parts for the RepRap and will hopefully speed up the spread of the RepRaps to all the corners of the earth.
White Detail, Transparent Detail and Black Detail are some of the most detailed 3D printing materials we have on Shapeways. They are made by hardening an Acrylic-based photopolymer using UV light. The machines used are from 3D printing company Objet Geometries. We just made a movie showing you how Objet 3d printing works. We show you how the model is built up layer by layer by the machine and how Objet support material is removed. Enjoy.
We recently made a huge improvements to our renderings. To do this we used Blender. If you want to read all about how we used Blender you can check out a great article on the BlenderNation blog here.
We love Blender and we're giving you the Blender files so that you can do the scenes at home and play with them at your leisure. We're releasing the files under a Creative Commons, Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. You can download them below.
We're also holding a special contest for all you Blender Ninja's out there. The "Have I seen the best scene" contest. Can you use the files above to create the most realistic scene? Can you take Suzanne and put her in the kitchen, the garden, anywhere? To enter the contest just post your scenes here on the forum.
The winner wins $150 in 3D printing from Shapeways!
Some tips from the pros: "Feel free to change anything you want, except for
the camera position and orientation. We need these to be fixed because
of the way the auto-scaling script works (see the 'shoe-box' in layer 2
- each object is squeezed inside).
Also, be gentle with the rendering times. Remember
that we need to render hundreds of objects per day, so don't go crazy
on 'expensive' rendering features. Using the node editor is fine.
Finally, we spent quite a bit of time on the White, Strong & Flexible
material, so please make sure that remains the same, too. Of course, if
you can substantially improve it, we won't complain ;-)"
Bill Cournoyer just made something wonderful with Shapeways. It is the Steam Punk Scout 3D printed neckerchief. For $20 you can now get the perfect accessory to go with your steam powered ballooning merit badge. The Stainless Steel variant would require some serious pocket money saving however at $95.
Bart made a movie showcasing the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D printing process. SLS is the 3D printing process behind White, Strong & Flexible. In the movie you can see how your models are made. You can see our EOS Formiga P100 SLS 3D printers and also how your models are cleaned. The cleaning step is all manual labor and will probably be the biggest surprise for those of you who think that we just press a button and walk away (if only).
Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg form the Boston based design duo Nervous System. The inspiring creative duo are currently one of the front runners in computational, algorithmic and generative design. With MIT degrees in Architecture, Mathematics and biology between them their outlook on design and forms was bound to be different. And it is, from releasing the tools they've made to create their designs for free
We usually make incremental continual improvements to Shapeways. Mesh Medic represents something much more revolutionary. Mesh Medic is an automated 3D printing file repair system that will deal with many issues people have when trying to design for 3D printing. From now on when you upload files to Shapeways Mesh Medic will be there to help you. He will repair holes, invert your inverted normals so they're normal, repair manifolds and generally make life a lot easier for you.
While Mesh Medic will not work for everyone and not work all the time, this is the most significant improvement to Shapeways so far. Please tell us what you think give us feedback on how to improve Mesh Medic on the Forum. It has never been easier for a designer to take a design that is your head and get it made into a physical object than today and every day after today. You can try Mesh Medic out right now by uploading your STL, x3D or Collada file here.
For Rhino users it will take away an extra step in checking and converting their models and everyone else shouldbenefit significantly also by having their workflow from file to 3D printed item reduced. Please do always check the uploaded model in the 3D view on Shapeways to make sure that the automatic repair filters didn't repair something they should not have. Mesh Medic currently does work for VRML files but not for the color VRML files with textures and we will enable this as soon as we can.
You can now use the Sandstone 3D printing material. This material is exactly the same material as the Full Color Sandstone just with the color bit removed.
The model depicted is MadebyDan's Square platter. The platter would cost $74. Now you can now use this (our cheapest) material without having to convert or upload your model into VRML. Please do take into account that the material is fragile and does need to adhere to the design rules for the material.
You have until the 14th to order your models in Alumide. We were very happy with your enthusiasm for the material! However we have sad news, we can not offer the material permanently at this moment. At a later date we want to bring it back though but we can not yet say when. The reason for that is that we have been able to consistently fill an entire machine with the Alumide material orders. The turnaround time between White, Strong & Flexible and Alumide is also a bit longer than we would have liked. This means that the machine we have been using for Alumide would be better served in pushing your White, Strong & Flexible orders out the door quicker. In order to keep offering the lowest possible prices optimal machine utilization is very important to us. We have already started looking at lots of different ways in which we can optmize the Alumide production and we hope that we will be able to offer it once again in a few months.
From today until the 11th of April we will be holding the Co-Creator Creativity in Co-Design Contest. We are looking for the most interesting & inspiring co-creators that you can come up with. The winner will be a fun, interesting, beautiful interaction concept (and or final product) that at the same time results in a great gift (for oneself or someone else). The winning co-creator will win $100 in 3D printing. The top ten finalists will get a 3D print of their co-creator competition entry sent to them free of charge!
Thinking about and designing co-creators is very different from making a model or designing a product, we think this is real cutting edge stuff and want to see what you guys can do to push the envelope in co-creation.
We hope a lot of you to participate in this contest because we do think that the co-creators are a real step forward in designers working with customers in order to develop unique customized things. We believe that your creativity and 3D printing technology could result in some boundlessly interesting co-creation concepts and products. Furthermore you can still be "the first" to do something with regards to co-design. Name something else you can be first in?
Combinatory manufacturing is the combination between the unique and the mass produced. 3D printing for example can deliver unique shapes and functionality for a relatively low per unit cost. Mass produced items with millions of copies will be much cheaper per unit but will not be unique in their shape or functionality. But, by being standardized they can pack a lot of functionality into a cheap package. By combining the best of both worlds you can come up with great products.
As a technology platform the cell phone is hard to beat. They are inexpensive, ranging from $25 and up, and within the mobile phone's suite of applications a myriad of technologies are packed. Messaging, speech, speakers, screen, microphones, calling, geolocation and an OS can now be found on the simplest of devices. I believe that a cell phone would be very exciting and powerful technology technology platform for Makers and Designers to build around. Not only straightforward things such as interchangeable personalized covers but also things such as hacking a standard phone so it becomes a tracking device for your car or automatically sends out messages if leaves the county.
This is why I was so happy to see a post on Make about an inexpensive robot that uses a cell phone as its brain. The Android based phone Truckbot is also easy to programme. As much as I love the Arduino these kind of developments really make me think that for the Make community cell phones could lead to a lot of exciting products. Arduino's are great and also really pack a punch but they don't go over the counter in their millions. Check out the Truckbot video below.
The Hurt Locker was not the only big winner at the Oscars this year. 3D printing won big with 3 Oscars and four nominations. Avatar won the Academy Awards for Cinematography, Art Direction & Visual Effects. Detailed models created with 3D printing firm Objet Geometries 3D printing process were used to simulate all the lighting in the movie. This detailed and high impact use of a physical 3D printed model to "engineer" a movie. Objet 3D printing was used even more extensively in Coraline. Coraline (a fantastic and very scary movie by the way, the noise of the scissors kept me up at night) used 3D printed Objet models throughout the film. Coraline was stop motion and many of the things you see in the movie were 3D printed on Objet machines. At Shapeways we use Objet for our White Detail, Black Detail and Transparent Detail materials.The movie below shows you how 3D printing was used in Coraline.