We work really hard at Shapeways to get your 3D prints to you as quickly and cheaply as possible with the best possible quality 3D printing available. Occasionally we run late on some materials due to machine malfunctions, sometimes a parcel get's lost by UPS and we even have old fashioned human error mess things up, but we will always correct our mistakes and continue to try to give you the best possible service. Anyone who has used digital manufacturing technologies knows it is not always easy, anyone who has tried to do a large run in a school, fab lab or industrial complex knows this makes it even more complex when dealing with multiple machines, file types and level of experience.
Today I spent the entire afternoon in my local
university's 3d printing lab. They have 2 different 3d printers, 1 is a
Zcorp color powder based machine, 1 dimension abs printer, a 5 axis cnc
and a cnc router, 2 50W CO2 lasers and a next 3d scanner.
After watching the staff deal with build table cleaning, print head
cleaning, part cleaning, wrong type of material in the lasers, incorrect
part fixturing in the cnc's, memory addressing errors on the 3d
scanner, incorrect file types, corrupt files, files missing textures,
non-mani files and a slew of other issues.
All on a much much smaller scale than Shapeways...the staff of Shapeways
should be commended for getting the volume of work done that they do!!!
Anyone who has a hard time understanding why your model might not be
quite perfect should go see a 3d print house and just stand around and
watch what goes on!
I have a much better understanding of the complexities involved with
this industry, going in the shop to machine my parts is a cakewalk by
I have been told I can come in anytime and print my own items, guess
what, I will still send my files to Shapeways. It is far easier to just
send my files in and get my finished items shipped right to me!
Thanks again Shapeways for making this all so easy!
Thank you BVR, we will continue to work really hard to make 3D printing easy for you, your schools, everyone...
There is also a really helpful tutorial on Instructables by Rachel that shows how to 3D model and 3D print a mold. For her molds, Rachel uses an Objet machine with their ABS like material which gives a hard, smooth and relatively heat resistant finish as she is using an exothermic reaction to cure her finished parts (meaning the material produces heat when curing). At Shapeways we use an Objet machine for our Acrylic Detail Materials but it does not have exactly the same material properties with a heat resistance down to 48C/118F so you may be better off using polished Nylon (PWSF) or Alumide which has a heat resistance of 80C/176F, 172C/342F respectively.
Sometimes one good project leads to another. At the University of Virginia, a class project to construct a 3D printed plastic turbofan engine replica, sponsored by Rolls-Royce, got the students some attention and has led to the creation of a flight-worthy 3D printed drone.
The engineering students built a plastic turbofan engine using 3D printing technology and some copper tubing that could be powered with compressed air, for under $2,000. A YouTube video of the engine caught the attention of the Mitre Corporation, a defense contractor. Two of the students, Steven Easter and Jonathan Turman, went on to receive a summer internship at the company with a far more challenging goal: build an Unmanned Arial Vehicle (UAV) from 3D printed parts.
The team worked with their professor from the engine project, University of Virginia alumni David Sheffler, who has 20 years of experience in the aerospace industry. The project's mission was to create a UAV with a 6.5" wingspan, made from assembled 3D printed plastic parts.
After completing construction of the UAV, the team conducted four test flights in August and September, where the aircraft hit a cruising speed of 70 kilometers per hour. Observers from Mitre and the U.S. Amy watched the final test flight and were sufficiently impressed; the team's internship has been extended and they have been tasked with building a lighter and easier to assemble model.
Students at the University of Virginia are well situated to take on these kind of exciting projects, the school's Rapid Prototyping Lab has six uPrint 3D Printers and a Fortus 3D Production System from Stratasys.
This year at Dutch Design Week Shapeways is presenting 'Your 3D Printed Home' with the booth set up like an apartment filled with useful 3D Printed products.
From the 3D Printed Tables and chair, to an entire cutlery set and ceramic plate, the clock on the wall and the vase full of flowers, the lamps and the art on the walls, an entire chess set, sculptures and jewelry. From decorative to functional, more and more we can 3D Print the things that we need, want and cherish with Shapeways 3D Printing.
Many of the levels of backing are already sold out but there are a few machines left starting at $2,699 or for $10,000 you can get a 3D Printer, attend a private dinner and get an invitation to the launch party.
On Tuesday Oct 23, 11.15am: Bart Veldhuizen, Shapeways European Community Manager will be presenting at the 3D Printing Event in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
If you are in Eindhoven for Dutch Design Week and you are also attending the 3D Printing Event, be sure to catch Bart's presentation on the impact of 3D printing on the creative process and the new commercial opportunities for product designers.
While you are in Eindhoven, be sure to visit the Shapeways Dutch Design Week booth at Klokgebouw, hal 3, Klokgebouw 50, 5617 AB Eindhoven, to see the home of the future, filled with 3D Printed products, everything from chairs to cups, clocks to cutlery... Images to follow soon.
This week's Designer Spotlight focuses on Mohammad Alaswadi of Dilly Design. His endless hex clock is currently hanging in our 3D printed living room booth at Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, so if you are in the region, come by and check it out in person!
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I am a freelance product designer and the designer behind Dilly Design NYC. I am always trying to figure out ways to improve products using 3D printing. I grew up in the Washington DC suburbs but 5 years ago I moved to NYC area and fell in love with the city.
What's the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
Like many designers or comedians many of my inspirations come from everyday encounters. Take the Endless Hex Clock, it was inspired by our inability to control time. Its title references its physical structure of repeating hexagons (hex) and the curse (hex) of time. From a design perspective it is a dynamic clock that is visually stimulating from all angles and can only be manufactured through 3D technology.
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
The idea that I can print a finished product and not just a prototype captured my imagination immediately. Shapeways not only allows for ideas to come to life but will deliver your idea to your front door for a reasonable price.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
Perhaps sculpting was my first exposure in designing in 3D. As an industrial design student I was exposed to 3D computer modeling as part of the development of products.
How do you promote your work?
I have been fortunate enough to win a couple of competitions including 2011 3D Printing Event which was sponsored by Shapeways. You can also keep up with my latest designs on Facebook and my website.
Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
I would have to say that Dieter Rams is on the top of my favorite designers list. His work and design philosophy truly inspire me. There are countless great and clever designers in the Shapeways community. I really enjoy Michiel Cornelissen products and his approach to design. I'm also fascinated by Kostika SpahoBiomimicry Shoe. Frankly I see a lot of noteworthy designs in the Shapeways community.
If you weren't limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
I would love to be able to print fully functioning electronic devices like smartphones, or maybe print organs for those in need.
Check out his inspired pattern designs on his Shapeways Shop or his website or stop by our Dutch Design Week booth until October 28th!
You may have seen from yesterday's blogposts that we were honored to have Mayor Bloomberg cut the ribbon at the groundbreaking of the Shapeways Factory of the Future, with 3D Printed Scissors, of course.
We modified the design ever so slightly, introducing a slight curve in the blade to compensate for the 0.6mm gap that ensured the moving parts did not sinter together but there was still an easy shearing motion between the two blades. Then without further testing (yikes) we put the design on top of the build so that Mayor Bloomberg could take the scissors from the powder, clean them off and cut the ribbon.
Here you can see the progress with Mayor Bloomberg looking a little surprised that they worked perfectly straight out of the 3D Printer while Peter and Marleen look on relieved/joyous. It was a fantastic event and a massive thanks go out to Mayor Bloomberg and all elected official and press (including Betabeat and Gizmodo who gave the scissors some love) who attended along with the entire Shapeways team for making it happen, especially Carine and Elisa who spent HOURS in preparation....
In the U.S., we have the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), opening in Youngstown, Ohio. The center is focused on additive manufacturing and 3D printing, and is the first of 15 institutes to be opened in the U.S. as part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). The program has $70 Million in federal and private funding. We covered the center previously here.
Now, on the eve of the 3D Printshow London 2012, UK-based Big Innovation Center, a spin off of Lancaster University and the Work Foundation, is recommending that the British government review and adopt policies to support the 3D printing industry.
The paper, Three Dimension Policy, outlines the way that 3D printing will impact the UK economy, as well as the challenges and policy gaps that need to be closed. The report authors note that the country must be prepared to navigate massive changes to intellectual property, regulation of dangerous printed items, liability, safety standards, new and suitable materials, and both digital and physical infrastructure.
In the report, the authors emphasize that the growth of the 3D printing industry in the UK will empower business by encouraging customization of products, reducing the need for large inventories, shrinking capital and transportation costs, and limiting environmental impacts.
There was also this nice thought for Shapeways users: "3D printing could significantly increase the market for design services, by placing increased emphasis on the value of design." The report goes on to say that we are likely to see both a globalized market for design and a rise in localized production, and that "If the customer is able to choose a product design from the internet, with the manufacturing process and materials relatively standardized, design is likely to the be the key selling point for many products."
The report cautions that the rise of a globalized design marketplace places extreme strain on the intellectual property laws, which will need to be updated to keep pace with the technology.
The full report is really fascinating, and provides some great insight into which industries are facing significant disruption as 3D printing matures. Highly recommended reading, check it out.
And since we are in a British mood, here is a sweet 3D printed replica of London's famous Tower Bridge, by the UK's own Chalk Studios.
Shapeways Director of Industrial Engineering Kegan Fisher (@keganfisher) shares our vision for the future of manufacturing as we cut the ribbon on our NYC Factory of the Future.
When we opened the doors to the Shapeways NYC office, we dreamed of building a factory nearby. A factory that would provide the thousands of designers and innovators in NYC a place to bring their products to life.
We are incredibly excited to announce that today marks the beginning of our Factory of the Future in Long Island City. We are cutting the ribbon on our new space with a little help from our friends...including Mayor Bloomberg of NYC and Kenneth Adams, President & CEO of Empire State Development.
Last month we signed a lease, sat down to ideate, and began construction on a massive 25,000 square foot space. Not only will it house 30 to 50 high definition, industrial-sized 3D printers, but it will also be a hub of innovation, research and development, and continuous community exploration.
Historically, the word factory brought up connotations of assembly lines and jump suits and iron and cement. It reminded us of the factory Henry Ford created and has been replicated time and time again.
But today, I am proud to say we are giving the word factory new meaning. One that replaces mass manufacturing with mass customization. One that empowers the independent business, the craftsperson, the hobbyist, and the entrepreneur. We are building a factory that gives everyone the ability to create, where the only barrier to entry is imagination.
We've opened up NYC distribution, installed a few 3D Printers, and have been growing our team like mad. So it is with great excitement that we mark the beginning of our Factory of the Future in Long Island City and cut the ribbon on our new space with a little help from our friends...including Mayor Bloomberg, Kenneth Adams, President & CEO of the EDC as well as the rest of the Shapeways' gang.
We are very excited to share that we have improved our dying processes and quality and are launching new colors in our Strong & Flexible family!
Starting today, you will be able to order 3D prints in our dyed & polished red and purple, as well as two new colors: Royal Blue and Hot Pink. The new dyes are a potent mixture of pigment and dye which saturates both the surface and the interior of the nylon plastic. The results are vibrant and consistent, and means that the colors will last longer and appear brighter.
Most excitingly, all Colored Strong & Flexible plastics will now be polished first. By polishing and then dying, 3D prints look and feel like final products and the quality rivals what you can find in a store. We have gotten great feedback on the quality, consistency, and aesthetic and hope you like them!
This is the first of many more colors we will be introducing. We chose to add blue and pink based on your feedback and we can't wait to see what you design for these colors.
New Colors: Properties and Design Guidelines
The design rules are slightly different as the models have to withstand polishing first. The bounding box for polished colors is slightly smaller at 150x150x150mm and the minimum for unsupported wires is 0.9mm.
For more details, please see the Product Detail page here and refer to the design rules for polished products. Remember, you can still order White and Black Strong and Flexible in unpolished.
To celebrate this new addition and help you prepare your shop for the holiday season, all colored Strong & Flexible plastics will be 10% off until October 31st.
Thereafter, the prices will be:
White Strong Flexible - $1.50 startup, $1.40 per cc - no change
Black Strong Flexible - no price change
White Strong Flexible Polished - $2.00 startup, $1.50 per cc
Colored Strong Flexible - $2.25 startup, $1.50 per cc
What this means is, excluding black, everything over 2cc will now be cheaper. That's right, not only are we introducing new polished colors, we're making them cheaper too!
Your Shapeways Shop: What does this mean for you?
Shop Owners, as of today, you will have the ability to add these colors as a new material option with enough time to get some samples before the holiday season kicks off.
If you currently have colored products in your shop, these will be added automatically enabled, though we will not automatically enable blue and pink. That's up to your discretion.
If you do not have colored products in your shop, you will have the opportunity to add these material options starting today, October 17th.
So try them out! Print your models in these vibrant new colors and get ready to be amazed at the vibrancy and finish! Let us know what you think! What colors would you like to see next?