Matthew Farnsworth has the most romantic 3D printed twisty puzzle story you will read all day. It has to do with Matthew, Mindy & how a Rubik's cube can be the key to someone's heart. I will let Matthew tell you the story in his own words:
Many years ago, while digging through some boxes of stuff in my grandfather's garage, I found a small keychain Rubik's cube. I didn't know how to solve the cube, so my brother and I did some research and eventually figured it out. After a few months, during which I got a standard sized cube, I decided to turn the keychain cube into a sort of personal "sword in the stone." Whosoever could solve the Rubik's cube (and meet some standard requirements) I would then and there ask for their hand in marriage.
Time passed and the cube ended up at the bottom of a box of games. Every so often I would see the cube and think of my secret little pact.
Eventually, I forgot about the cube and life moved on without any significant change. One day, I was asked to sing at the funeral services of a friend's grandfather. Not wanting to sing alone, I called some friends who called other friends and eventually, a girl named Mindy was invited to sing. We met shortly before the funeral to practice and before too long, Mindy and I were dating.
Some time afterwards, We were looking for a particular game and happened to come across the keychain Rubik's cube. I told Mindy of my little arrangement involving proposing to whoever solved the cube. A few days later I noticed that the cube was missing and I realized that I really liked Mindy and wanted her to solve the cube.
It was then that I was hit with a burst of inspiration: build a Rubik's cube that would open when solved!
I immediately turned to some engineer friends of mine to start the design process. Chris, Kevin and myself spent a fair bit of time drawing and sketching on the whiteboard many different possibilities. Most of these possibilities looked fine on paper but as soon as we tried applying a third dimension, things would get complicated. We had just about finished a design involving spring-loaded pegs, when we discovered a YouTube video of a hollow cube.
Oskar van Deventer had actually redesigned the interior of a Rubik's cube, creating a beautiful cavity where one could hide a ring.
Now all I needed was to buy the hollow cube and edit the design so that it would open upon completion. I decided, instead of trying to setup costly experiments and purchasing multiple hollow cubes, that I would propose the idea to Oskar himself to see if he had any ideas of how to help me. And help me he did.
Within two weeks, I had the designs in my hands. a few weeks later and I had the Gift Cube. In the meantime, I created a small wooden ring box that would fit inside Oskar's Gift Cube. When the Cube arrived, I was ecstatic to discover that the ring box (a sphere actually) fit perfectly inside. After assembling the whole device and scrambling the cube, I hid it in the bottom of a box of my old high school memorabilia. I suggested to Mindy that we could reminisce about "the good old days" while looking through my box of stuff.
Eventually we got down to the Rubik's cube and I informed Mindy that it was my first Rubik's cube (a slight fib). She proceeded to solve the scrambled cube only to discover a small wooden ball. I told her the ball opened, but the lid was too tight and I had to open it for her. Getting down on one knee, I handed her back the ring box and asked is she would consider marrying me. She accepted and we are absolutely thrilled.
We would both like to thank the people of Shapeways for their part in this love story. I would also like to personally thank both Ralph and Maartje for their patience with me during a time of great anxiety. And of course, none of this would have been possible without Mr. Erno Rubik and Mr. Oskar van Deventer.
Oskar van Deventer's Floppy 2 X 3 x 3
is a great puzzle. It is one of those mindbogglingly mindbendingly
creative designs that just make you play for hours trying to solve it.
As a special offer we are now offering this design for $84 (€ 67), fully
assembled. For $84 we will 3D print it, dye it, put on the stickers and
assemble it for you. The normal price for this puzzle is $171 and the last day to order it for the reduced price will be the 11th of June. The YouTube video is below and you can buy the puzzle here.
We will now put your logo or your design on a metal 3D printed pair of cuff links for $60. Your Stainless Steel printed cuff links will arrive within 20 working days. Until the end of this month you can also opt for a Gold plated pair for $64. You can order them here.
This past weekend a few of us got to go to one of our favorite events, the Bay Area Maker Faire. Below you can see some pictures of the event and our stand. Robert, Denise, Jo and Peter were the lucky Shapeways people that got to attend.
Here are some of the models we took with us.
We showed people the Draw it concept by having a coloring competition for the kids at Maker Faire.
Oskar van Deventer is a puzzle savant. He is a genius at designing and
making twisty & mechanical puzzles. I guarantee that if you look at
his YouTube channel or Shapeways Shop
you will be blown away by at least one puzzle and probably more. I know
of no other designer that has amazed me, puzzled me and plain
dumbfounded me more than Oskar has with his designs. Check out this Bram's Cube and this Unlucky Twist
for example. Oskar really has shown a lot of people that it is possible
to create amazing things using 3D printing. His Shop does really well
and now we're incredibly proud to announce that one of Oskar's puzzles
has gone into production with Uwe Meffert, one of the world's most prestigious and famous puzzle designers.
To me Oskar's story is a great one and it really illustrates not only
what people can accomplish with Shapeways but also what personal
production will bring us in the future. A single person developing a
product from their own home and selling this worldwide. A single person
starting a business and brand of one.
Zcorp has long made powder based 3D print systems for 3D printing color models. Zcorp is now departing from its basic technology with its introduction of a "high end" system, the Zbuilder Ultra. The Zbuilder user a photopolymer is a process similar to SLA (stereolithography). This would mean that Zcorp can now 3D print in plastic and at high detail. The deviation on parts would be around 0.2 mm and the minimum feature size would be 138 microns. Around the office a few of us felt it reminded us rather a lot of the EnvisionTEC Perfactory and the EnvisionTEC Ultra. Although the resemblance and the fact that both the EnvisionTEC Ultra and the Zbuilder Ultra have the same Ultra name and resolution of 138 Microns is probably just a coincidence. The system uses a DLP projector and is touted as being twice as fast as
existing rapid manufacturing systems. They seem to want to position it surely against the Stratasys FDM machines. It would cost $34,900. This heats up the price point near the Stratasys Dimension systems and the entry level Objet systems. You can see a movie about the Zbuilder here.
This move by Zcorp is going to make things in 3D printing land very interesting. Up and until now most 3D printing companies were founded on a single technology and contnue to exploit and improve this one technology. 3D Systems has two technologies (their original SLA technology and SLS Selective Laser Sintering). But, they were the exception. Stratasys only does FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling),the technology Stratasys' foundere developed and commercialized for example. A choice for a technology in most cases meant a choice for a particular vendor and vice versa. This year most of the mayor 3D printing patents are expiring. This could mean that the vendors could even perhaps use each other's technologies. This would make competition much more interesting. We all understood that the HP and Stratasys distribution deal would change a lot of things and Zcorp embracing an additional technology is just one of the many ripple effects we will see.
Farah Bandookwala is a student at the Edinburgh College of Art. Farah uses 3D printing and haptic devices to create jewelry. You can see her work from the 12th to the 20th of June at the Edinburgh college of Art Degree Show and also at New Designers 2010 in London.
Farah is, "creating jewelery that will be made up of a series of unique units that fit together in different ways, allowing the wearer to create a constantly evolving piece of jewelery to express their changing sense of self over time. Using haptics has allowed me to create forms that are organic, unpredictable and unique. The forms drawn digitally while working with Anarkik 3D, use the haptic interface Cloud 9 to create objects for rapid manufacturing."
Anarkik 3D is a research project that is creating software where by you can use a haptic device to 3D model. Haptics are devices that give you tactile "feedback" via vibrations. The Dual Shock Playstation 3 controller is an example of a haptic device. With Anarkik 3D for example a penlike device that you can hold lets you not only manipulate your 3D model but also "feel" where it begins and ends. You can see a short intro video on their site here. Cloud 9 is Anarkik's modelling tool. I've used Anarkik's haptics & Cloud 9 and they're an easy & fun way to model.
Clearly the example set by Farah's work is where we all want to go. Allowing more people to design & making production cheaper is what will create unique things that are fit for us. The increase in functionality as things become designed for us rather than us and a million other people is the path we're on. Farah's project illustrates one possible waypoint in the journey to truly personalized production. This waypoint is the powerful combination between 3D printing and haptics.
We're very happy to have helped Farah by sponsoring her inspiring degree work. Thank you so much to Derek Elley of Ponoko for getting Farah in touch with us.
Above are some examples of some of the full color prints currently in our gallery for inspiration.
To clarify a query you can post multiple entries to the contest, your design can be a product, character, jewelry, miniature, sculpture or anything you can think of, as long as you are a student of some description. And of course all IP and rights to your designs remain yours as per Shapeways terms and conditions.
To make sure your entry is valid it is important to tag your design as 'Student Contest' (not competition) either during the upload process, or once the model is uploaded, and that the submission includes a full color render (you will not be judged on the rendering itself) and the model is 'Available to all'.
Below is the upload dialog, followed by the option if already uploaded.
We regularly hold student 3D printing contests together with universities and colleges. These contests are way for us to engage students on Shapeways. The animation, product design or engineering students learn how to design for 3D printing and have a fun assignment that might result in them having a 3D print made. Usually the professor picks a regular in class assignment and tells the students that they can upload to Shapeways and that the best design will then get their model 3D printed. We hope it is a "everybody wins" scenario. We did one of the most recent contests with the Pennsylvania College of Technology's Manufacturing Engineering Technology department and their MET460 Rapid Prototyping class.
We asked professor Eric Albert, who taught the class, how the contest went & more about what seems to be a future ready college course.
Joris Peels: what kind of people were in the class?
Eric Albert: Our class consisted of 26 undergraduates who were seniors in one of two four year degrees: Manufacturing Engineering Technology and Computer Aided Product Design
Joris Peels: What do they use to 3D model?
Eric Albert: We use either AutoDesk Inventor, SolidWorks, or ProE. We are fortunate to have well equipped labs and students become proficient on each of these.
Joris Peels: What was the assignment?
Eric Albert: Their assignment was to create a useful product that fit the Shapeways site in terms of manufacturability by rapid prototype machines, cost effectiveness, and overall product offerings meeting the terms of the site. The students presented each product as part of their final examination session, and the final determination was made by the class as a whole.
Joris Peels: What course was it for?
Eric Albert: The course is called MET460 Rapid Prototyping, which is a required course of our Manufacturing Engineering Technology students, and a technical elective for the Computer Aided Product Design students. This class covers the entire field of rapid prototyping, including even building a RepRap Mendel and a Makerbot this semester. The overall goal is to have students know and effectively use the technology in their fields.
Joris Peels: Why 3D printing? & Why Shapeways?
Eric Albert: The ideas of zero inventory, just in time manufacturing are taught here but to actually create a product and display it for sale is a unique learning opportunity afforded by Shapeways. We are a “hands on” style college and this was a great means to put theory into practice.
Besides an easy user experience and set up, something that Shapeways offers is working within a global view of product design and sales. The assignment was well received and the process went very smoothly.
If you want your college to do a contest with Shapeways then email joris (at) shapeways (dot) com.
From today until the 30th you can order Gold Plated Stainless Steel. This new material gives our 3D printed Stainless Steel a pure gold finish. This will let people create jewels and jewelery using 3D printing with a lot more bling than before! A product in this material has an introductory price with start up cost of $5 and costs $10 per cubic centimeter. The lovely Polyoptic Ring by Euphy above would cost $25 including shipping $29 including shipping. We hope that you can see just how significant a step this is in offering affordable personal production. You can now make a unique ring for your loved one, in a familiar material: gold plate and have it delivered to your house anywhere in the world for $25. Nervous System's gorgeous 1-Layer Twist ring, made to order in your size, costs $20.
Designs made in this material will take 18 working days to reach you. The process is identical to the Stainless Steel 3D printing process only as a final step your model is lowered into and submerged in a gold bath. The outer layer is then firmly coated in gold. In order for us to be able to do this there has to be some kind of eyelet or 'limb' that we can use to tie the model up so we can lower it into the gold bath (and I bet you thought we were all high tech). If you look at the models above they all have something like that. A marble on the other hand would not work. Furthermore the model must be able to sink in the gold bath so enclosed spaces that make it float are not permitted. The maximum build volume for this material is 31 CM by 26 CM by 20 CM so feel free to start ordering your Buddhist temple parts from us.
Dear Shapies, Joris asked me to write a monthly blogpost about our Customer Service work, so here it is!
It has been quite an interesting few weeks for Shapeways Customer Service Team. Due to the ash clouds in Iceland we had some delays. Sorry about that, but to be fair, this is the first time we have had to deal with natural disasters ;) I am glad that Shapeways has members who bear with us and are so patient! We also introduced a few new materials the last month: Alumide and Milky White Matte Glass . We anticipated a lot of Customer Service questions about this, but in the end this did not occur. This can either mean that our website is clear enough, or that you guys are so kind not to bother us ;-) Regarding the questions we get about any problems with the 3D viewer in different browsers, I want to let you know that our developers are working hard on this to get this fixed. We also started to email customers pro actively, just to let them know if any of their orders might have some delay. If you haven't received an email, your order is still on schedule. We are constantly working on ways to improve our service, just to give you guys the best possible Shapeways experience. If you have any advice for us, or just want to share things, please contact us at Service[at]Shapeways[dot]com Since our last blogpost, the Customer Service has a few more members of the customer service team. Maartje & Tyce Welcome!
Maartje: Hi there! I’m Maartje, born in Eindhoven 1979, I live together with my husband Leon (he is a Police officer) in Borkel & Schaft (that’s at the end of the Netherlands, near the Belgian border). I have been working at the Shapeways Customer Service since September 2009. Before I came to Shapeways I used to work for Strukton Rail Eindhoven in the Safety Division of the Dutch Railways. When I started out at Shapeways I was amazed to see that you can print out your own drawings, I couldn’t just sit and watch so I’m very pleased that my own Money Pig came alive (special thanks to DotSan) in February 2010. In my private time I’m always around horses, my hobby is to photograph them, I have my own website to show it to the rest of the world. I like my job at Shapeways, it’s a nice personal team with a great community. Every day I have the opportunity to see the most beautiful creations that I could never imagine before, where is this 3D printing revolution going to end………? Talk to you later by E-mail! Cheers Maartje
Tyce: Hi community, nice to meet you! Let me introduce myself. I'm Tyce van Alphen-Wintermans (a whole mouth full and I kept it short this time . Last year I hit the magic number of 30 years and I'm married to my lovable hubby Rob. Together we have a fluffy cat named Freggle who rules our house and furniture. Besides my work at Shapeways I still study and in the spare time I have left, I really enjoy theater, a good book, music and movies. Before Shapeways I worked as "Data and production Manager Assistent" at a big Semiconductor company. Sounds fancy but it mend in general that I took care of internal communication and that everybody worked according to procedures. Now I have the big challenge to communicate with you guys ;) Within our wonderful Customer Service, I am the newby of the team as I've only worked here for a few months. I've never had so much fun in a job as I do now because we get the possibility to solve the issues that you have. The biggest challenge, for me personally, is to come up with ideas to make things easier and more understandable for everyone. So that's me and now you know who you are talking to at firstname.lastname@example.org! Greets, Tyce
Ralph I guess you guys already know me by now, but just for the few out there: I started out at Shapeways in April 2008. I got my bachelor of Science degree a couple of years ago, and I've been working in the IT-business for several years now. When I got the opportunity to work for this internet start-up, I didn't even hesitate for a second. To me this is a dream come true. I mean, come on, we're printing the future! So, what's my role in the Shapeways team? For those who have encountered non manifold, bad edges problems, questions about delivery or shipping status, you've already emailed back and forth with me. I'm the Service Customer Manager. Previously I was the Shapeways Webmaster but I've changed so that i can help you with any issues you can have. Because we are still growing rapidly as a start-up, and therefore receive more and more orders from around the globe (thanks for that!!), we are in need of excellent customer service. I hope to make you as happy as can be, and this is my job. Our main goal: 100% satisfied customers . For the rest, I'm enjoying life, I'm a huge soccer fan (VVV Venlo) and I like spending time with my friends, and watching movies. Well that is it for now! Hope you got a bit of an insight of our Customer Service Team! Cheers, Ralph
Michiel Cornelissen's work transcends & extends 3D printing while being both inspirational
and fun. We're
very proud that he is a Shapeways community member and also proud that
we played some small part in helping him launch his solo career. As
part of New York Design Week 2010, Michiel will exhibit at the Model
Citizen NYC show at the Hosfelt Gallery starting on May 15th. To
celebrate this, we interviewed Michiel.
Joris Peels: Why did you want to become a designer?
Designer Anna Bullus was bothered by chewing gum. She saw used gum stuck everywhere. Anna designed the Gumdopbin a streetside bin where you can deposit your chewed gum. The next step she took was to spend months in the lab trying to find a process whereby chewed gum could be turned into a plastic that could be injection and blow molded. She succeeded and now the first Gumdropbins (actually made from recycled chewing gum) are being installed in the UK. When the Gumdropbin is full the entire bin is collected and recycled into more bins.
In a word: fantasic! We've all seen the dirty sticky chewing gum debris stuck to floors & the street. Anna did something about it by comming up with a end to end process that is self-reinforcing.
Photographs propterty of Anna Bullus. Thanx to Renny Ramakers for the tip!