After a brief hiatus, the Friday Finds weekend kickoff is back! Enjoy a look at some of the awesomist stuff being made by our community this week. If you'd like to see more, just check out these designers shops, or the It Arrived section of the forum. Happy Friday.
MJoachim designed his own protective case for his Panasonic, wowing us with his product design prowess.
We will have loads of awesome 3D printed products from the Shapeways community on show in all of our materials from the classic WSF to the brand new ceramics. Come and MeetUp with the Shapeways crew, chat about the materials, processes, your items and your shop. We love these events as we get to share the enthusiasm and excitement in the flesh...
We are getting many really cool designs in silver. One current issue we have is trying to balance enabling our community to create things, no matter how challenging they are and ensuring that the amazing designs actually can be printed. Sometimes, this means adding or changing design rules, sometimes, this means modifying our methods of production to accommodate.
For silver, one issue we often run into is that very thin designs do not survive the wax process. For example, if you have a thin bar (like a pin, an earring hook, or a necklace hoop) attached to a thicker object (like an earring stud), handling the wax can be quite difficult and often results in having the pin snap. Of course, we do not want to say "no more earrings or pins" because that would just be too limiting. To solve this, for some parts, we may print the pieces separately and then weld them together after they've been cast. We have worked with our supplier to ensure that the end result is indiscernible. For example...
The left side is a picture of the computer generated model, the right side is the hoop welded on.
We have received customers informing us that the welded parts do not conform to their original designs. We have worked with our supplier to ensure that we do not use stock items, but will print the pieces of the actual design. We have also stepped up our quality check in our Netherlands distribution center to catch these prints if they still come through. For the long term, we are investing in more advanced machine that can produce stronger wax models, which will eliminate much of the need for welding altogether!
We hope with this technique, we will simultaneously maintain the integrity of the design while enabling more interesting and "fragile" designs. If you have any questions, or you feel like the welding was done improperly, please e-mail our lovely Customer Service department at service (at) shapeways (dot) com and they will take care of you.
Yesterday afternoon, the Shapeways NY team disassembled our first ever booth at ICFF. The International Contemporary Furniture Fair has been around since 1989, and has become the most sought after interior design trade show in North America. What was exciting for us though, as the new, hyper modern customized manufacturing kids on the block, was how warmly we were welcomed. Not only did most people we talked with already know what 3D printing is (the Javits center was full of product designers, after all), most people had already heard of Shapeways, and had even come to the Fair looking for us. Watching so many designer's eyes light up as their imaginations began to churn was a thrill. The words "I just placed an order with you!" was uttered more than a few times.
Since the introduction of Shapeways Frosted Detail and Frosted Ultra Detail we have had a flood of orders from people making most of the high resolution 3D prints. Many of you have shared your items as they have been delivered to your door and it has been really exciting for us to see your reactions. Our printers are working around the clock, and even the UPS crew are struggling to keep up. Check out some of the images posted so far in the It Arrived forum.
I hope you are enjoying the 3D printed Glazed Ceramics so far. Along with my goal to give Shapeways more smooth and shiny products, we've also been working with our 3D printed Stainless Steel production partners to come up with some tips on how to ensure your pieces gets a better polished feel.
See above for polished (left) and unpolished (right)
Today we are super excited to announce the launch of 3D printed Glazed Ceramics as the latest material available on Shapeways.
Glazed Ceramics is the first food safe material available on Shapeways so it is perfect for any application such as a plate, cup or bowl. Shapeways 3D Printed Glazed Ceramics material properties are exactly the same as standard ceramics as it is produced with fine ceramic powder which is bound together with binder, fired, then glazed with a lead-free, non-toxic gloss finish. The final products have a professional, high gloss white finish that looks simply beautiful.
“Ceramic has always been considered a valuable and durable material in many cultures and, therefore, it means a giant step for 3D printed products. After silver and polished SLS, this is the third material from Shapeways that can easily compete with other manufacturing methods in terms of surface finish, and will therefore be attractive to both designers and consumers.”
The pen holder was design from the idea to create a minimal surface from which 2 functionalities could emerge, in this case the penholder and paper tray. Adjustments were made to the initial shape to reduce material and costs without jeopardizing stability. First the mesh was tessellated and only the ribs maintained, than the base of the object was made smaller. This all added up to become a dynamic and novel shape.
Designed as a custom graduation ring for a client in the game design field by Action N
A tiny working model of a retro computing icon offers a blend of nostalgia and sillyness by Rossum.
My first computer was an Atari 400. My first disk drive was the magnificent Atari 810. Overwhelmed by a recent wave of nostalgia from playing Zork for the first time in 30 years I have built a working model of an Atari 810 that uses 8Gig microSD cards instead of 5 1/4 inch floppies to emulate up to 8 drives. Maintaining the relative dimensions of drive to media, the model is somewhat smaller than the original.
3D printed by Shapeways then hand painted, this is by far the cutest external drive, ever.
What other retro devices could be 3D printed in miniature to act as housings for electronic devices with thousands of time the storage and processing capability of the original in some kind of size reduction = capacity multiplication equation?
Chris Hardy'sPaper Pendant Lamp is a beautifully simple design that proves that you do not need to have 'an impossible design' that could not be made with any process other than 3D printing for 3D printing to be a valid method of manufacture. What the design proves is that an independent designer can get a unique product to market without investing in the usual 'minimum order quantities' or losing his IP to a manufacturer.
The Shapeways business model allows is for the designer, Chris, to maintain full control over his product, the price point and his profit margin without it being dictated as only 5% by a third party, or having to amortize an investment across multiple units.
Chris is an example of a professional designer using Shapeways as his finance department, manufacturer and distributor and this is why he will be one of the Shapeways community members who will be representing us this year at ICFF in NYC.
In Chris's own words:
"I think that Shapeways is arguably a paradigm shifting resource open to designers, makers, tinkerers, inventors - everyone."
"The openness of Shapeways in terms of the abundant help and information they offer, as well as their pricing structure, removes any mystery associated with prototyping. I use Shapeways in two distinct ways, on the one hand I use it very much from a traditional industrial design perspective where I prototype components for both visual and functional validation, pattern making, exhibition pieces and so on. In addition to this I use Shapeways in terms of the recent development of direct digital manufacturing (DDM). The ability to dream up an idea and very quickly bring that idea to life in numbers to sell to people is something that I would not have dreamed of prior to my experience with Shapeways."
Live out your Star Wars fantasies in time for the next installment of the franchise and make like Han Solo and freeze. Now upload to shapeways and 3D print.. I know Shapeways community member Todd Blatt has been running slightly higher resolution experiments, can't wait to see his full size 3D print ;) I am really looking forward to seeing more of these Kinect experiments start to tun into slightly more practical processes. What would you scan with a Kinect and 3D print?
It is really exciting to see those outside of the direct business of 3D printing are starting to promote the potential of the democratization of manufacturing through 3D printing. It is understandable that MakerBot is inspiring many with the relatively low cost to purchase a unit and materials, along with the physicality of the process that makes it easy for those new to the concept of 3D printing to understand how it works.
It may however also be detrimental if someone's first exposure to 3D printing is at a lower resolution and with material qualities not as advanced as those currently available through more commercial 3D printing techniques such as those available on Shapeways. It is fantastic that MakerBot and RepRap are lowing the cost threshold to own a 3D printer while online 3D printing services such as Shapeways lower the threshold of entry but without lowering the quality of materials available.