A Look at the Colors We Launched Earlier This Year.
Earlier this year we launched some new colors and improved the process for our existing colors to make your 3D prints smoother, with more reliable colors. We just wanted to share some images of the current colors across variable geometry, from curved to flat surface, angular sections, emboss and engraving. You can see that the color is quite consistent across the diverse range of geometries. The only significant difference being where the text is engraved or embossed, where small details look to hold slightly more color. We have also noticed that some thin, wiry parts can look slightly darker, with more saturated color than solid, flat surface.
Now that we have these colors locked down, what color Nylon would you like to see us introduce next? Let us know with CMYK or Pantone colors?
We do not always know exactly what everyone is 3D printing with Shapeways, Every now and then we see some odd forms coming out of the 3D printers and we speculate what they might be. A sliding bracket to connect a camera to a dog, a rolling half mount to amplify bird calls, or a weirdly flapping crawler to take flight over Japan? Check out the videos of the ornithopter that was modeled in Autodesk 123D and 3D printed with Shapeways as it is first tested, then launched into outdoor flight. If anyone understands Japanese and would like to translate the site, please feel free to share more information on the project.
This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Isaie Bloch, an incredible artist who uses the capabilities and limitations of 3D printing to inform his designs.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I'm a Belgian architect and CG artist under the name of Eragatory. After receiving my first master degree in architecture, I joined the postgraduate program Excessive in 2010 lead by Hernan Diaz Alonso, at dieAngewandte, Vienna, Austria. My ongoing research and design ambitions are focused on the correlation between craftsmanship and additive manufacturing within several creative domains including Architecture, Fashion and Plastic arts and the digital methodologies blending in between them. I have been working as an artist in the field of hyperrealism exhibiting in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, China, Dubai and the USA, creating a range of art-pieces reaching from small prints, to 3D printed sculptures and huge hand manufactured installations. I have also been working together with designer Iris van Herpen on several sculptural dresses which have been shown on the catwalks at the Mercedes-Benz fashion week in Berlin and the Paris Haute Couture Show.
What's the story behind your designs?
I generally seek to design pieces dedicated to the geometrical capacities of 3D printing. In my opinion it does not make sense to use 3D printing for the production of regular objects unless they are intended to be prototypes. Just like all production methods all of them have specific characteristics 3D printing offers the incredible advantage of being able to produce almost any type of intricate geometry. And that specifically is the characteristic that I want to project in my work as much as possible. Highly ornamental, specific geometrical conditions and subverted aesthetics are elements which will always be found in my work. The Floralia vases are a design that balances on the edge in-between functionality, digital aesthetics, mass customization and object-oriented eclecticism. In contrast to contemporary thought and design, which views things as the aggregation or assembly of smaller bits and parts, in Object Oriented Design new objects emerge out of an ecology of interaction of multiple and heterogeneous objects. Through a process of formation or computation, highly differentiated, contradictory concepts and structures can become one object, without resulting in an incongruous collage.
Pink Floraria vase printed in Full Color Sandstone
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
For me personally Shapeways offers the ideal balance in between a very good online service (which is really hard to find) quality, price, materials and production time. Being able to get a direct quote and first checkup of your 3D model instantly is very useful. It speeds up your design process a lot, since you don' need to wait for several days in order to know if you should make this or that differently according to your estimated price. The whole website is so clear and easy to use, the web shops are pretty good looking and not complicated in any way.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
As an architecture student I was confronted with the possible use of 3D tools. We were not forced to use any of them but it was very clear for me that these tools were going to be a great help according to my own aesthetic and geometrical preferences. So I started to instruct myself using a lot of tips and tricks that I found on the internet. Because of my attraction to ornamental overload and high resolution geometries I acquainted myself to the types of softwares which would not be directly related to architecture like 3DS Max, Z brush and Meshlab.
How do you promote your work?
I try to get as much exposure as possible by publishing my work on design and 3D printing related blogs and magazines. I organize workshops once in a while and during those I lecture about my work as well. All my work is published on my Eragatory blog as well.
Green Floraria vase printed in Full Color Sandstone
Who are your favorite designers or artists?
My interest is pretty wide according to artists I follow. Differing in physical or digital disciplines and status, some are very known and could be on the edge of being commercial and others might just be students or unknown artist with a very good oeuvre. But all of them have a touch of absurdness, eccentric material usage, high resolution intricacy and would preferably have a high level of tolerance for mistakes. Abhominal, Barry x ball, Henrique Oliveira, Jan Manski, Jerry Judah, Mrmann, Katsuyo Aoki, Lebbeus Woods, Michael Hansemeyer, Juliaan Lampens, Wolfgang Tschapeller, Stephan Balleux, Mack Scogin Merril Elam Architects would be a good representation of what I seek for in the creative industry.
Anything else you want to share?
I can not stipulate it enough, despite all the magical 3D tools on the market it is still very important to have a design intent at the beginning. I use these tools as a new set of crayons impowering me to form my ideas not as a series of digital trics generating random geometry. It happens way too often that people get mislead by automated fuctions in 3D software, generally resulting in mainstream/predictible/d?j? vu results. We should be subverting the logic of perfection: what used to be about mastering the perfect result of non-perfect processes should now be about the production of misfit and the grotesque through perfected processes.
That's some incredible advice for budding 3D designers, thank you Isaie! You can see more of his work on his Shapeways Shop or his blog.
As 2012 comes to a close it is time to look forward to 2013 and what exciting new things we can do at Shapeways. One thing we really love is to experiment with 3D printing new materials and post processing. What would YOU like to see us introduce next year?
Should we look at new colors or new finishes, new metals or new ceramics, different plastics or something completely new like 3D printing wax? We have a few ideas and have been experimenting behind the scenes but would love to know what you would like to see next and why. We will read EVERY comment and investigate what is possible. So, what is it going to be???
Let Us Know What Models You Would Like to See in Friday Finds Using @Mentions
Usually for Friday Finds we trawl the Shapeways site, check the It Arrived and Feature This threads in the Shapeways forums, search Flickr, YouTube and even Pinterest. This week we are asking you to use our new @mentions feature to let us know which 3D printed products YOU think should be featured in this weeks Friday Finds.
To suggest a product, simply mention @ElisaRichardson and tell her why we should feature the product on Friday Finds.
Take a look at this really interesting video of an experiment to seal Shapeways 3D printed Nylon with super glue and acetone.
Shapeways community member and Twisty Puzzles Forum member Brandon Enright has shared a really interesting video on YouTube of his experiment to seal a Shapeways Nylon (WSF) 3D print with a mixture of Cyanoacrylate (Super Glue) diluted with Acetone. His experiments show that the mixture quickly penetrates and seals the surface of the nylon giving a glossy texture that is considerably more resistant to getting dirty when tested with tiny particles of copper powder. When compared to unfinished nylon parts there was a massive difference. This is a well documented experiment that is showing some very promising results and we are really looking forward to seeing more results. We also know that people are using floor polish to get a similar effect but you may need to be careful the formulation you use does not yellow over time.
What post processing experiments have you tried on your Shapeways 3D prints? We would love to see more videos of your results.
This week we feature 3D printed products tagged with 'miniature' in the Shapeways gallery.
Every Tuesday we refresh the homepage with products from the Shapeways gallery tagged with a certain theme. We are encouraging you to tag your products to make it easier to find your designs and to help us curate relevant content on the Shapeways site, blog and social media. This week we are (belatedly) featuring items tagged with 'miniature'. If your design is a miniature be sure to tag it and we will continue to add more products to the homepage over the next few hours. If you have an idea for next weeks Tag Tuesday, let us know in the comment section of the blog.
We share loads of images of 3D prints and our 3D printers, but here is a peak at some of the machines behind the scenes at our production facility in NYC.
We are continuously installing new machines both our production facilities in New York City and Eindhoven. We are hiring super talented people to run the 3D printers, sort and ship your 3D prints around the world. Take a look at our jobs page if you want to smell the magic of sintered Nylon and get to see some of the amazing prints that come through our production line every day.
Check out some other Shapeways blog posts about our manufacturing facilities.
Once your shop is set up for holiday sales, you're well on your way to being optimized for selling into the new year. These last few tips are going to help you set up a longer term strategy for maintaining a good shop.
One of the great things about 3D printing is the ability to quickly iterate a design. You make a product, say a pair of earrings, and after wearing them for a few days, you realize they are actually a bit long, and catch in your hair. It's easy to go back to the computer and modify the design. Similarly, if your customers give you feedback, you can incorporate it into the design, like adding popular colors or different sizes.
While advertising and promotion is important to get your products known out there, having a conversation with your customers is often more powerful than just broadcasting a message. Customers feel like they get input into a product they are buying, just the same way you feel when you design something for 3D printing! Best of all, they get to tell a cool story, like this one from Pete, our CEO:
"I saw this cup on Shapeways so I bought it to use in the office...
I like to have a little milk and one sugar cube in my espresso. I found that once I added the sugar cube, my coffee would overflow, so I emailed the designer Kostika Spaho, to make the cup just 10% bigger. He modified the design, I ordered it and now I have a perfect cup for the way I like my coffee."
Something we introduced at Shapeways that should make conversations easier is @mentions! When your username is @mentioned in a model comment, you will receive a notification. If you @mention someone's username they will also receive a notification. It's the best way to have a conversation with a designer or to recommend a product to someone else in the Shapeways community. (You can view your most recent mentions by clicking on the @ notifications icon next to your profile image in the top navigation bar.) So if a customer is shopping on the site and sees a product they wish could be customized, they can @mention you and start a conversation. You can also see who has favorited your products, and @mention them in the comments.
Check out the video and the description from the Triple Gear product page on Shapeways.
In this unusual mechanism three gears mesh together in pairs, and yet they can turn!
If you take three ordinary gears and put them together so that each
gear meshes with the other two, then none of the gears can turn because
neighbouring gears must turn in opposite directions. Triple gear avoids
this problem by having the three "gears" arranged like linked rings -
the gears then rotate along skew axes, and the opposite direction rule
no longer applies (although see also Oskar van Deventer's Magic Gears for another possible solution).
This is joint work with Saul Schleimer. We were inspired by another of Oskar's designs, his Knotted Gear,
which consists of two linked rings that gear with each other, and of
course we wondered if it would be possible to do three linked rings!
This week's Designer Spotlight focuses on Stony Smith, who uses 3D printing's ability to make small and complex parts to make incredible replicas of trains at Z-scale, which is one of the smallest guages out there, at 1:220 scale. He is also one of Shapeways forum moderators, with a wealth of modeling knowledge, he is a friendly and helpful resource that we are lucky to have!
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I had a co-worker label me an Alpha Geek. I can do pretty much anything with computers: if it's got a keyboard, I probably can fix (or hack) it. I live in Texas, because I married a wonderful woman from Lubbock some 32 years ago, and I still can't get her to move out of the state. My day job has always been in some kind of computing, mostly high power data analysis that would bore you to tears but my true addiction is robotics and artificial intelligence
What's the story behind your designs? What drew you to making miniatures?
In 2008, my wife suggested that I (again) take up model railroading. I started working on a train layout, but quickly found that there were items (especially houses) that I wanted, but weren't available for purchase. Even though I can do a few artistic things, my very early background was in architecture and mechanical drawing, so I tend to work with real or technical objects more than fanciful organic creations. My normal workflow involves in designing the object in decimal feet using 1:1 dimensions as often as possible. If the real object is 40 feet long, I design my object to be 40 units long. Then, I have the freedom to re-scale the items to match whatever train scale I happen to be working for, which then makes it easier to offer multiple sizes.
A rail crane: The cab swivels and the boom travels up and down, and it's all printed in place: no assembly required. Yes, that is a penny in the background!
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
My first semester in college, rather than work on homework, I attempted to construct what you would call today a voxel-based model of the Star Trek Enterprise. If you can imagine, it wasn?t a great success using 80 column punch cards, but I did get it to the point where I could do 2D prints of the ship from any random rotation angle. In the 80's, I played with Pov-Ray and week long scene rendering. Then, in the 90's, out came Truespace, which allowed you to build VRML worlds you could walk around in, which has always been my true goal: a virtual world you could walk around in, like Stark Trek's Holodeck. I've used Truespace since version 0.9, and I am really saddened that Microsoft bought it and killed off new development. I really should try Blender, but that's for another day.
A railroad pusher: all four axles turn and the center two axles are on swing arms allowing them to move up and down.
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
To me, it was all about the houses. I want several more houses on my layout, and there are precious few of them available for Z scale commercially. Either the current ones don't have the look I want, or they've got an impossible number of parts to glue and paint. I had seen Shapeways a couple of times on HackADay.Com, and I had even tried uploading a model or two, but I was always getting the dreaded 'non manifold' error. Then I stumbled upon OpenSCAD and was able to construct a STL that would successfully upload and print. From that success, I was able to go back to Truespace and get it to work. From there, it was a very simple matter. Every person that I show any of my designs to has always had the same one single response: That's really cool! Can you do one of THESE?
Most of the items in my shop are there because someone has asked me to design the item.
How do you promote your work? Is there a community you participate in?
Most promotion is word of mouth, just customers telling others about some product. I'm a webmaster for ZCentralStation, a model train community online, and the guys there are always bending my elbow to get something special designed for them. The Z-scale train world is rather desperately lacking in many items that are available in the larger scales. That works out great for me: I get to do something that doesn't compete with a commercial product, and due to the small scale, the prices aren't completely impossible. This month, my shop passed 3500 total items sold so I would love to give a shout out to the many customers that have bought from my shop over the past 3 years: THANK YOU!
I was truly honored when Ana asked me to be one of the moderators for the Shapeways forum. It's fun to keep up with what everyone is doing here. I love to talk about what is possible in 3D printing, and I really enjoy helping others to get their designs working. If you have ANY questions, I'll be glad to try and answer them.
A miniature snowplow
Who are your favorite designers or artists, who has served as an inspiration to you?
I really need to credit my father here. He was old-school, a master with leather, woodworking and the pocketknife. I wish you could see the miniature saddles he fashioned from just scraps. Many fond days were spent with him trekking thru the backwoods looking for just the right piece of wood to turn into some creation.
If you weren't limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
A higher detail colored material like a smooth Full Color Sandstone would be really nice. That, and transparent windows would be extremely helpful. A material suitable for making working gears (at 1:220 scale) would allow me to pull off a number of ideas that I've currently got, like a working railroad handcart. Lastly, I can't wait for the day when we can mix materials as we will be able to print working motors and circuitry in a single pass of the 3D printer!
Anything else you want to share
It is almost impossible to describe how fulfilling it is to design something on the computer and then hold a copy of it in my hand: it's truly a life-long dream. Beyond that, it brings me to a profound sense of accomplishment when someone shows me a painted and finished version of my items sitting on their train layout. Understand: Stony Can't Paint, and when someone takes one of my models and finishes it up properly, it's overwhelming.
Check out Stony's miniatures in his Shapeways Shop, on his website or find him in the ZCentralStation forums.