Hi, I'm Nancy, the Product Lead for Materials and Content at Shapeways. I know maybe some of you are confused and frustrated with the Stainless Steel design rules,
and the disappointing rejection notices you get regarding wall
thickness and other violation of design rules. I'd like to take some
time and update you on what we are doing at Shapeways to address this.
First, I'd like to recap some of the important design rules..
Basically, the way I think of it--it's less about the precise number of millimeters and a precise ratio (like 1:2 will work but 1:2.01 will not work, or anything under x millimeter will work and x-.1 millimeter won't), and more about the question, will it break? The part of the process where a model usually breaks is when the material is in the "Green State." The way I like to think of it is, if I sculpt this out of wet sand--can I pick it up without it falling apart? Or, if I made this out of really brittle, unbaked clay--can I pick it up without it breaking?
While visiting our suppliers, I took a quick video of me playing with the Stainless Steel in the Green State (a fragile stage in the middle of the process). See how fragile and easily breakable this is? And this piece is actually 3 mm or over!
The current version of our Stainless Steel design rules can be found here, in detail. There's also a blog post
that describes some of the nuances. But more importantly, here's what
we're cooking up to deal with the confusion over these rules.
Open Attribute is a simple add-on (currently available for Firefox & Chrome) that makes it easier to attribute the proper Creative Commons license at the click of an icon on your toolbar..
License attribution is relatively simple, but sometimes people get it wrong. We will be talking about this more in the very near future, and will be implementing functionality to give you the option to apply creative commons licenses to any files you make available for download on Shapeways. Until then, take a look at Open Attribute to help you ensure you do not inadvertently step on anyone's digital toes.
"That’s why we’re building Open Attribute, a suite of tools that makes it ridiculously simple for anyone to copy and paste the correct attribution for any CC licensed work. These tools will query the metadata around a CC-licensed object and produce a properly formatted attribution that users can copy and paste wherever they need to.
Open Attribute is at the early stages and it looks like they will be broadening their range off tools, it would be great to see them include the option to add the icon for the license used along with the attribution and location. I did do a quick test and picked up a glitch where the attribution referenced the wrong URL, also it did not pick up the license out of Flickr even though they use it as an example.
If you are keen to try 3D printing with Shapeways but do not know how to 3D model then 3D Tin may be the solution for you...
Like a fun cross between Lego and 8-Bit graphics with 3D Tin you assemble your model with cubes that are drawn by dragging your mouse on a grid, drawing on top of an existing cube ads another cube in height. Simple. You can also use the Extrude tool to add additional cubes in any direction, and an eraser to, you guessed it, erase and cubes...
This has to be the easiest, lowest resolution 3D modeler that makes Google SketchUp look like rocket science. The perfect fun modeler for kids (or the young at heart)