The Shapeways Live webcast is hosted by community manager Bart Velduizen and is a great way to find out what is happening on Shapeways. It is also the perfect way to let us know exactly what you would like to see from shapeways, be it a material, service, shop or website improvement. You can also use the live chat to get together and connect with other Shapeways community members. The live chat is always open so you can use it to communicate with each other at anytime.
You can also watch the archive of all previous Shapeways Live webcasts to get a taste.
For those of you who are initiated in Blender and are interested in creating your own 3D printed jewelry Artur Tchoukanov a video tutorial on how to create a simple ring from a bitmap. Blender is a free open source 3D modeling and animation software, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License. Download Blender and follow the tutorial to create your own ring.
And of course to keep up with the latest Blender info check out thew Blender Nation and Blender Guru blogs for more tips, tutorials and inspiration..
If there is any other CAD software you would like to see tutorials on how to prepare for 3D printing, please let us know. In the meantime check out Cad Junkie and Lynda (Lynda for Blender) for more CAD tutorials.. Warning: Hours of your life may be lost following CAD tutorials, proceed with caution.
Since Shapeways introduced glass to the range of materials available the team doing the process have come across the barriers of possibility, seen some amazing results like the Vase below which was hand painted with leaded glass enamels of the sort that traditional stained glass artist use. This is a secondary process, sort of like glazing pottery.
GlenG is part of the team responsible and is generous enough to post really helpful information in the forums on a regular basis about the glass process.
We have had very few problems with small solid parts . Failures are mostly due to bad design practices like overly thin sections, radical sectional changes, and lack of fillets. These problems tend to become magnified as model size increases. When designing hollow parts accommodations must be made to allow the support powder to completely fill all empty spaces. The support powder acts as a mold during firing. The glass becomes like soft toffee during firing and without support it will move in unexpected (usually disastrous) ways. These are things we know for fact.
A big thanks to Glen for his time and effort in sharing his knowledge and experience from the coalface.
A big welcome to Derek, Dave and the rest of the team at Ponoko who have made the move into the third dimension by adding 3D printing to their current 2D laser cutting.
Realized in partnership with Cloudfab, Ponoko are offering a range of 3D printed materials from their US hub including white polyamide, UV curable acrylic resin, ZCorp, stainless steel and gold plated stainless steel. They add 3D printing to their existing options which includes laser cutting of a vast range of materials along with electronic components via Sparkfun.
It is exciting to see another voice emerge along with Shapeways to promote the huge potential of 3D printing to independent designers and 3D printed products to potential buyers.
Online sales typically pick up in the weeks leading up to Christmas with people searching for the perfect gift for family and friends, colleagues and clients. Now is a great time to take a good look at your Shapeways Shop to ensure that it is presenting your items for sale in the best possible way.
Images: Ensure your items are well photographed in 450x324 or 700x519 format, either with a plain background or in context to represent scale and use. If you do not have access to a decent camera get a friend with a camera to lend a hand, take a look at the photography tutorial for some pointers and please, please, please do not use your low resolution camera-phone, do not use a camera top flash, use a tripod instead....
Clean up your shop: do not clutter up your shop with 'default renders' of unrealized products. If you have great photographs next to bad images it erodes the overall integrity of the look of your shop. Decisions to purchase are often made the moment an object is seen (everything after that is usually a process of self-justification), make the decision easier with a clear, consistent shop.
Ok, instead of just taking a look at what has arrived over the past week, I thought it might be interesting to use the new Shapeways widget to share some of the cool items to arrive on the site in the last few weeks and show off the versatility of the widget at the same time. Using the widget also really shows how important it is to take some decent photos of your items and ensure they are in 450x324 or 700x519 format to ensure they sit right in the frames.
I made the gallery above by adding a few of the recent models to my favorites and making a 3x4 widget with the code fav=USERNAME. As far as rows go use this to adjust the frame size
If you want to sell your designs you must watch this presentation from the 2010 Blender Conference in Amsterdam by Andrew Price AKA Blender Guru. It may be about being a digital artist, but the same rules apply to all independent designers whether it is CG, Jewelry, Product, Furniture, Graphics, or Needlecraft.
If 35 minutes is too much of your time (I listened while doing other menial tasks (not work related)) you can always read the article on his blog..
If you do not have time to watch or read, here at least is a summary of what you need to do to succeed. Step 2 could be replaced by having an exhibition, market stall, trade fair, Shapeways shop, PDF portfolio, press pack etc etc...
This perfectly speaks of what it means to be create, monetize and market online in 2010. We use online digital processes to make physical objects, we sell them via e-commerce directly to peers, then we, our friends and family promote them online using social media.
Especially interesting that one Venture Capital firm is behind each and every step. Looks like they know something we know.
We have been looking for ways to help the Shapeways community get their designs out into the wild and have got a few exciting projects on the boil. One that we need you to help us test is the Shapeways Widget that allows you to embed your Shapeways shop into other sites using a HTML snippet.
This widget is still in the testing stage and we would really like to get your feedback on how it works, if you run into any problems and if you would like to see any more details or options. Also feel free to send us links of where you use the widget so we can get an idea of the context in which you use the widget.
I am always surprised by how much I learn whenever I catch even a snippet of a 3D modeling tutorial and cadjunkie's video's are easy to follow and understand for the beginner, with enough new information to be worthwhile even if you have thousands of hours experience with a CAD package. If you would like to delve deeper into the theory behind CAD modeling you can drown your self in some serious CAD geekery on Adam's site.