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!
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 ;-)"
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.