Usually on Fridays we find some of the interesting new designs to make it into the Shapeways galleries but occasionally we take a look at some of the latest Shapeways taged items on YouTube or Flickr. This week we will take a look at some of the photos you have uploaded to Flickr. Flickr is a great place to post your photos as they can be easily stored in high resolution and embedded in blogs. Whenever we get requests from journalists for high resolution images of 3D printed products, we always search Flickr for recent uploads tagged with Shapeways to pass on to them.
Here are just a few we found today that show the massively broad spectrum of things being 3D printed with Shapeways.
We get to see a lot of amazing uses for 3D printing here at Shapeways, but this technique is new to me! Ben Godi from Italian company 3D Wood shares a really interesting technique that combines 3D printing and traditional wood turning.
In his words...
Hi I'm Ben and I would like to share a production process I have developed this year, together with a local wood carving company 3D Wood. We already use this production pipeline daily now, because it has so many advantages and Shapeways plays a major role! (how could it be otherwise!) I'm going to explain the steps with the help of two models that are for sale on my website.
1. Digital Sculpting
I use Pixologic ZBrush for sculpting. It allows me to create and sculpt the model entirely on the computer from concept to final sculpture. I'm able to change things based on client's feedback quickly, with no need of making laborious changes on a clay model for instance. What I have to keep in mind is, that the outcome will be a physical object and in this special case, an object made out of wood. As you already know for sure, wood consists of fibers that grow in a certain direction. Therefore it's necessary to avoid thin parts that go across that wood grain. They break easily.
2. Preparing the model for 3D Printing
When I'm done with sculpting, I make use of ZBrush's "decimation master" plug-in and reduce the polycount. A super-highres mesh isn't necessary for printing. I use Magics RP from Materialize to combine all shells to a single shell and to fix mesh errors, in case the model has any. Removing shells is necessary for giving your sculpture a wall thickness later on. In Magics RP I also perforate the sculpture, so the dispensable powder can be removed after printing.
3. Prototype and Production 3D printing
For production on the pantograph (see point 4 below) you need to work on a reference model that is at least twice as big as the final wood figurine.
That's necessary for transferring all the small details to the wood and makes it a lot easier to work with, because you must trace the surface by hand on the profiling machine later on. But before I order the big printout for production, I get a small version, ideally the size the final wood sculptures will be, to see how the model looks as a physical object. Whenever I feel something doesn't look right, I go back to ZBrush and try to fix it things like composition and balance.
Shapeways full color sandstone material is fantastic for printing prototype models it's really affordable and looks great. For production, I go for Strong and Flexible with a wall thickness of 1.5 mm. These models are pretty big, up to a total height of 50 cm and sometimes more.
4. Production on the Pantograph (3D profiling machine)
I fill the double sized plastic 3D printout with a special resin and mount it on a metal plate. Everything has to be assembled very strong to prevent it from bending or changing its position during tracing on the machine. The tracing itself isn't an automated process yet; you still have to do it by hand. And you have to be super careful. Oh boy, in a moment of carelessness you can ruin the whole row of figures! You start with some bigger milling heads for rough machining and switch to the smaller once for detailing. I use maple wood for my work. It doesn't change its color over the years and allows very fine details.
5. Finishing and Refining
The figures that come straight from the pantograph look great but aren't finished yet. They need a lot of sandpaper work to smooth the surface. I add details with my set of small carving knifes and boost the ones that disappear during milling. Finally I paint the parts I want to be painted and add a thin layer of wax that prevents the wood from getting dirty.
6. The final product
If you keep an eye on some production restrictions, (wood as a living material, the dimensions the pantograph allows, avoiding spots that are difficult to reach with the milling heads and so on), the possibilities are endless!
7. Fan Engagement: Put down the bullhorn and have a conversation
8. Data is your Friend: Statistics, Tracking and Analytics
9. Pay for Play: An introduction to the advertising world
Your shop is ready, your products look great, so now it's time to promote yourself! We love the incredible designs that you create on Shapeways and we do what we can to promote you via our blog, the Holiday Gift Guide and our weekly newsletter. To get the most success for your products you can't just rely on broadcasting, you need to go where your audience is.
The first step is to tell your friends, using your own social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google + and your own blog or website if you have one. The next step is to go beyond your social networks, and spread the word to blogs and magazines, people who have a bigger reach than just you.
With your tags and description you already know who might be the best person to buy your product, so it's time to think about where they lurk. Which blogs do they read? Which blogs cover products similar to yours? For example, if you made something related to gaming or memes, reddit is a great place to feature it. Made something arty and gorgeous? Tumblr's your best bet. Does your product have moving parts? Making a video helps to bring it to life. Posting it on YouTube exposes it to a whole new community of viewers, and you can link your video back to your shop, and embed it directly into your product page.
Here are two great excerpts of ideas from our community members, read their full posts for more details.
Think about which blogs would be interested in your product, and send them a short email tailored to their audience. Save them some time by writing it in the way they would write an article, make it short and to the point and include clear images. Try to make your text interesting, tell a story with it and explain what you created and why its cool.
I wanted prototypes of the models printed, pictures for galleries ready, videos, various other networking and popular sites covered and a website all ready for the first day of my designs going 'public' to the world.
Have any tips to share? Post them in the comments, and let us know what you do to make your holiday season fruitful!
Calling all NY makers, designers, and engineers in New York City: create designs or prototypes for new products that have commercial potential, and win big!
NYCEDC shares:We are inviting makers across the five
boroughs to submit their product designs and prototypes, and we will award
five months of free studio space provided by sponsor NYDesigns, a prototyping budget, Shapeways
3D printing credits, mentorship, and business support to six finalists
who exhibit the best designs and greatest potential for launching a
successful commercial business. In addition, one Grand Prize winner will
receive an $11,000 cash prize. Visit NextTopMakers.com to learn more and enter this NYCEDC competition by February 13, 2013.
$11,000 in cash, NYDesigns studio space, Shapeways 3-D printing credits, five months of expert mentorship, and more.
Theo Jansen's 3D printed Strandbeest continues to evolve with an even more elaborate walking mechanism and a centipede-like walking motion. The latest evolution called 'Animaris Geneticus Ondularis' walks on twenty separate legs that move in a wave sequence. This new configuration results in a fluent walking motion, different from its twelve legged predecessors. It incorporates 122 moving parts, showcasing the complexity of mechanisms possible with 3D printed fabrication. It is also slightly larger than its predecessors. The operating principle of 'Animaris Geneticus Ondularis' is based on one of Theo Jansen's original beach walkers, the 'Animaris Ondula'.
Objet has just launched the massive Objet 1000 3D Printer with a 1000 x 800 x 500 mm build volume, this is 10 times the build volume of the next largest system from the company the Objet Connex500.
So, would you like to do multi material 3D prints or MASSIVE multi material 3D prints?
Would you 3D Print a bicycle frame at 1:1?
Or perhaps a large snake like object to hold awkwardly?
Either way, the Objet 1000 is a huge, high detail acrylic 3D printer.. Can you imagine an increase from our current bounding box of 250x250x200mm for Detail Acrylic?
Check out the infomercial...
The Objet1000 combines the advanced precision of inkjet-based 3D printing with Objet's renowned Connex multi-material build capability. Connex technology offers a choice of over 120 materials, with materials that simulate both standard and ABS-grade plastics. In addition, you can print up to 14 materials in a single model to achieve the precise look and feel of your intended end product.
This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Stijn van der Linden, the creator of one of our most popular items on Shapeways: Gyro the Cube. He is an avid and prolific designer, and he also finds time to answer questions on the forum as one of our moderators.
Hi everyone! My name is Stijn van der Linden, probably better know as Virtox around here . I live in Tilburg, in the Netherlands together with my lovely wife and son. I am a work-at-home dad, so I juggle my time between housekeeping, changing diapers and late night sessions of tinkering, designing and programming. I have a college degree in Electrical Engineering and worked as a software engineer for several years, but shortly after discovering 3D printing and Shapeways, I switched careers to my life long passion of 3D Art & Design.
What's the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
Initial sparks often come from the intrinsic beauty found in nature, science and life: a twig, an atom or a kitchen sink. I have a particular fondness for using primitive shapes, such as circles, cubes and spheres and morphing them into the desired forms.
How did Gyro the cube come about?
I have a great love for trying to create the impossible and this is clearly visible in Gyro the Cube. At the time I had just discovered the real power of 3D printing and the possibility to make stuff with moving parts. So, while I was playing around with morphing cubes into spheres and vice versa, I noticed that two of these closely nested cubes could rotate freely about a diagonal axis. I could then repeat this and change the axis for each one and make this impossible looking gyroscopic sculpture, that could (theoretically) move and spin straight from the printer! I was quite anxious after ordering, whether I had made any calculation errors and if it would actually work. It did spin (phew!) and the ease of movement exceeded all my expectations! I still keep one handy near my desk.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
I am mostly self-taught, as a young kid I started with simple 2D graphics and programming in C64 BASIC. This quickly went on to more advanced programming languages and working with 3D in PovRay, a very elegant scripted 3D rendering engine. During college I had access to more advanced software, like 3D Studio Max which had even more powerful scripting languages and programming APIs. All this evolved to the point that I stopped using off-the-shelf software and I currently make most of my work with home-brew software built in C++.
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
In August of 2008 I saw a mention of Shapeways somewhere and I signed up for the closed Beta. At the time I thought it was mostly expensive and very complicated, but I kept a close eye on the newsletters and forum and started to learn about the wonders of 3D printing. I tinkered about on the site, uploaded some models and tried the shop feature. To my shock and amazement, I sold something within mere days! Someone had actually bought Holey, a model I had designed years before and now someone, somewhere, was actually going to hold something I had once designed to be impossible to make. And worse, they beat me to it! So this led me to quickly place my first order and ever since I've been hooked on 3D printing.
How do you promote your work?
It has never been my strong suit, and it's hard to find the time, but I try to post updates to social networks as much as possible, such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, my own blog and occasionally to design blogs and websites such as Designspotter and Behance. But all things marketing, I learned from the Shapeways blog, as it contains a goldmine of tips, tricks and hints on how to promote your designs and shops.
Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
My all-time favorite artists are Salvador Dali, M.C. Escher and H.R. Giger. Their mind-bending work really sparked my love for art and I am very fond of surreal and impossible looking stuff! After four years of being part of this community, I must say there are so many great members helping and inspiring others, I could not hope to name them all! So a big thank you to ALL for making this place the success it is today! A special shout-out to Youknowwho, Magic, StonySmith and Stop4Stuff for driving the community forward and to Nervous System, Bathsheba, Unellenu and Opresco for making the most inspiring works. And apologies to all that escape my mind at the moment!
If you weren't limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
Oh wow, well just about anything and everything! I can't wait to sink my teeth into an impossibly shaped designer steak, sit down in a fully personalized chair and strap on that pair of extra robotic arms to get things done. But this technology is evolving so quickly I really do not feel limited. If anything, 3D printing just seems to be the ultimate addition to any toolkit.
Thank you to all Shapies for all your efforts to make the impossible possible, you are changing lives and the world with it!
Check out Stijn's incredible designs on his Shapeways Shop, his website, or hop onto the forums and chat with him and the rest of the Shapeways community.
And while you are looking at the picks from the 3D Printer, why not listen to the muzak we pipe into the machines, to keep them humming along, day and night, 3D printing your designs. Subscribe via Spotify and hit shuffle for the best listening experience.
This weekend, Shapeways is at the heart of the Minecraft community at MINECON 2012 in Paris! While we're bringing all kinds of cool 3D printed models (check them out here), the best way to experience 3D printing with Minecraft is of course to have your own models 3D printed.
This isn't as hard as it sounds - you can use a webshop called Minetoys to get your avatar 3D printed. If you have designed a model yourself, you can use Mineways to export it to Shapeways. This guide explains how.
Minetoys - Put your Minecraft skin on a real Toy!
Just enter your Minecraft username and select the size of your model: either get one for $20 or $50. Get a $5 discount by using this discount code on Minetoys.com: MINECON2012.
Mineways is a free Windows program by Eric Haines. You just load your Minecraft map and select the part that you want to print. Mineways will export it and remove any unnecessary material to make it cheaper (jay!). After that, you just upload the file to Shapeways. If you can model something in Minecraft, you can now 3D print it with Shapeways.
Full Colour Sandstone
Minecraft models are best printed in our 'Full Color Sandstone'. This is a gypsum printable with color textures on the model
Erik Martin of Reddit has chosen a few of his favorite 3D printed items from the Shapeways Gallery. From what has become a 3D printing classic, Gyro the Cube through to the latest 3D printed product to go viral thanks in part to Reddit, the Success Kid, Erik's picks are a fun cross section of gifts for the internet meme connoisseur. Check them all out.
Better get in quick as there are only a couple of hours left in our Black Friday Sale.