Interactive Product Design, Mass customization, Co-creation, Online Design Tools... call it what you will, but there is rising interest in designs made for and “by” the individual. Applications and their intuitive interfaces are increasingly making it possible for costumers to become the designers. At shapeways, We would like to introduce some interesting projects currently exemplifying these design principles with the intention to give an insight on future intentions for designers.
Innovation of industry in the 19th century was the interchangeable part, which lead to 20th century mass production. Thus, 21st century innovation and beyond realizes on interactive production. In the distant past, a designer would craft their object under their patron’s specifications. Each design would take a large amount of labor and produce a small number of products. Mass productions later changed the designer’s role to solely designing an object, producing a large amount, and distributing it through shops for the public. Today, you can still find these systems battling each other, yet, the designer’s role has evolved. The designer is no longer a designer but a communicator between the individual and the product. We inform the customer directly with a series of design decisions possible in altering the final output. The final product is delivered directly from the production facility.
Shapeways offer an array of Co-Creation Design Tools such as: LightPoem, Photoshaper, Cufflinks, and Stylus... just to name a few. The interface is simple. The customers have a special attachment to the objects. And a sense of emotion relationship with the design invokes pride and gratification when your able to say “I made this... for you... to remember that special moment of ours...”
Following are a few projects that touch on these same points.
The Shapeways community uploaded an avalanche of amazing designs with over 10,000 uploads in November alone and just under 1600 shops selling more and more items each day.
The Shapeways community gathered increasing exposure for both products and services on TV programs such as the Today Show, print press coverage in a number of magazines and newspapers including a raft of articles in the New York Times, huge amount of exposure in the blogosphere including boingboing, gizmodo, notcot, fastcompany and trendspotter (and many, many, many, more) along with increasing growth of traffic coming in from both Facebook and Twitter.
Take a look and tell us what is missing, what didn't you know, and what next for 2011
So…It all began in late 2008/early 2009 when I really wanted to build a 3D printer. There were not as many choices in DIY 3D printer designs then as there are nowadays. I could not find a machine design that I really liked that was capable of printing with ABS plastic. So I set off to design my own and ended up designing something like this:
You may be finding yourself this holiday trying to explain 3D printing to your 80 year old grandmother who only knows a mouse as a critter the cat chases. To us that use the latest technology on an everyday basis it may seem like a no brainer, but the truth is that though 3D printing is not an extremely new technology it's still practically a newborn to the public and retail realms.
According to Wikipedia "3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing technology where a three dimensional object is created by laying down successive layers of material." That is a pretty solid explanation, but not really one that flows conversationally.
You can always bring out the YouTube videos that show 3D printing in action. On my own website I embedded the following video, which is from the Museum of Modern Art's YouTube channel:
We are excited to see such an easy to read book hit the markets that is perfectly pitched to take the reader from complete novice to 3D Printing Pro in just 309 pages. Published by Apress, the book is available as an ebook or or as a paper back via Amazon.
We interviewed Sandeep to get to know a little about his background, what his inspiration was for writing the book and his experience to date with 3D printing from SketchUp to Shapeways. Following is the transcript of the interview between Duann and Sandeep.
Duann: Firstly thanks for writing such an easy to read book that explains both SketchUp and 3D printing to the beginner. You have a background in electrical engineering, how did you first get exposed to SketchUp and 3D printing?
Sandeep: For my Masters program I went to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and decided to get a degree in Biomedical Engineering. I was interested in working for a medical device company and helping people, there I took a course in product design and was introduced to 3D modeling, I used SolidWorks there for my course work but also was reading about other CAD software and saw SketchUp and was amazed at how easy it was to use. After graduation, a year later I believe shapeways started and was excited about taking something I have designed to see it in 3D form, and many of my Engineering friends didn't know about SketchUp or Shapeways
Duann: Did you find that having a tangible output with 3D printing gave more incentive to continue to learn 3D Modeling
Sandeep: Yeah it was exciting. Now I could take something that I have designed and hold it in my own hands without having to purchase expensive equipment
Duann: How did the learning curve of Shapeways and 3D printing compare to the learning curve of SketchUp? Was 3D printing as easy to achieve results quickly?
Sandeep: I remember in the beginning uploading models on Shapeways was a little tough a lot of the SketchUp models that I uploaded came out with errors, I think Shapeways over the past year has improved a lot.
Duann: The introduction of Shapeways Mesh Medic made many more files printable that would have otherwise been rejected, now most errors come from people not designing for the process or
materials, with thin walls, and unsupported large structures, or just
too small. Not from file mesh, manifold errors.
Sandeep: Yeah exactly right, I don't see as many errors now, there seems to be a lot of improvements. There are some amazing mathematical model designs on the site.
Duann: Your book covers both SketchUp and Shapeways in considerable detail, what was the stand out points, either hardest or surprisingly easy with each?
Sandeep: For the reader its important to know that there is a minimum wall thickness and manifold issues that have to be checked before uploading. This is one of the early mistakes I had made while designing my models. What makes Shapeways great is the ability to upload multiple file formats (.dae) which can be exported from SketchUp and the ability to check models for errors. I had some difficulty setting up the store in Shapeways. I believe the entire form had to be filled out before creating the store I figured this out after couple of tries.
Duann: And with SketchUp? what were the frustrating problems or happy surprises?
Sandeep: SketchUp is great because it is very intuitive. Simply click, drag push/pull and you have a design in no time. And all the tools are laid out simply. Other CAD software have too many tools tht can be confusing for a beginner. I also love that you can build upon SketchUp by adding plugins. The difficult part of SketchUp is designing curved models, it takes a lot of time.
Duann: I am always a little shocked when I see curved models in SketchUp, but some of the Shapeways community (dizingof) are doing amazing designs.
Sandeep: The model I designed in Chapter 8 took me couple of hours before I got it down (BA-64B armored car)
Promoting your designs on the internet is actually fairly simple, (but not always easy). To get the initial spark of interest from a potential buyer (or blogger) you need One Perfect Image that clearly captures the intent of your design at a glance. Once you have the viewers attention only then you have an opportunity to close the sale a brief description/story for your design and a great price.
Rapid are now seeking submissions from artists to show in the gallery during the event as a number of display pedestals will be made available to artists that have works created using additive technologies.
Artists are to submit images (jpeg preferred) for review by advisors along with their credentials and process used in creation of the artwork. The art will be displayed on an open air 2' square surface or display case (for jewelry). Artwork should be durable and stable for display. Contact with the art will be prohibited though minimal security provided in the immediate area open to attendees. Artist will assume expense for shipping work to and from the hotel. Submissions close February 1st 2011. Artists will be notified of selection by March 1, 2011. Selected artists will receive complimentary admission to the tradeshow, Tuesday evening reception and daily keynote sessions.
It's true that most of us will be in family mode during the coming holiday, but there's no reason to not keep an extra piece of our brains focused on cool things we could model (or if you're a customer, request an artist to model for you).
Every day life is a good inspiration, my best sellers were initially created for my own needs, I started modeling iPhone 4 cases a few weeks before I went to get mine, since I'm a bit clumsy and knew I would drop it at some point. I think my record at the moment is once a week, often on a hard surface and so far no cracks!
One other example of finding inspiration to make something is when I received a credit card reader in the mail. It's this little thing called a Square reader that you plug into your phone (it works on iPhones, the iPad and a few Android phones) and after downloading the app and doing a couple bank account verification things you can swipe credit cards with your phone. Right now it's only in the US, but I do believe they're trying to expand to a few other countries. Anyhow, it's really freaking small and I immediately thought that it was inevitable that I'd lose it. After a couple days my synapses fired and I realized, hey, I make stuff, I could make a case for this thing so I don't lose it. After I made one for myself with lovely 3D printed hinge action and took some pictures and a short video, then I started selling it to others.
I scanned a real shell using a Steinbichler Comet white-light scanner. 3D scanners of this type are high-precision instruments mostly used in laboratory and factory environments because of their cost and sensitivity to vibration, dust and temperature.
Dozens of scans were combined and blended together to create a 3D representation accurate to less than a thousandth of an inch. Hanging loops were sculpted in a style similar to the shell, creating a consistent look. The silver casting shows no printing lines, and even the sprue locations have been polished and sculpted by the silversmith to blend into the design.
Following is a post by Industrial designer Noel Wilson. Noel has worked in Australia, the UK, Africa, Canada and the USA, on a wide range of projects from playgrounds to bike carts, with tools as diverse as rapid prototyping machines to hand chisels, here is his take on getting things prototypes and slowtotyped in Malawi. Thanks Noel....
Access to rapid prototyping in remote countries is not as hard as you might think. All you need is an internet connection and a CAD monkey (or at least the CAD monkeys email address, or if you are one yourself then all the better).
I was based in Malawi, so the internet was kind of a challenge, but I managed to get my file uploaded to Shapeways, and my model delivered. I needed a model to partake in some ‘Slowtotyping’ (Slow Prototyping), using high-tech to inform an old-tech art form. After failing to communicate sufficiently with 2D drawings I wanted to use a 3D printed version of my toy design to communicate what exactly it was that I wanted to be replicated by a local artisan. Using 3D printing to communicate...
form made for much better results, making it so much easier to transcend the different ways we had of working. Although there are FAB LABs in Kenya and South Africa, Shapeways was much more accessible for me (and had free delivery!). I will be Slowtotyping again in January, this time in Tanzania, and will be aiming for product prototypes rather than finished toys. Stay tuned.