What once was a bland and static page detailing your order has gone through a transformation and is now the almighty "Order Status Page". Why is it so awesome? Because it not only offers more transparency into the current status of your entire order, but also shows you what's happening with each individual item. In addition to being taken to this page immediately after checkout, you can also get here from the My Orders overview.
We've also added detailed information on refunds and credits on a per-order basis for all new orders. Additionally, this overhaul lays the foundation for some even cooler features that will be coming in the near future.
This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Roman Vlahovic, a duo blending research in architecture and design into generative jewelry.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
We are Miro Roman and Luka Vlahovic, together forming Roman Vlahovic, and we are architects currently living and working in Zagreb and Singapore.
What's the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
I am trying to question design through stories inspired by information technologies. For example, what was once the design of a perfect unique object featuring specific materiality is today the design of a population of objects featuring any materiality. Instead of a specific object, the designer creates an algorithm. Elitism and exceptionalism contained in the idea of a singular object (e.g. golden ring) is replaced by the `individual populism` of generative objects. While traditional jewelry design is characterized by uniqueness, hand-craft and noble materials, contemporary jewelry making relies on mass production and synthetic materials. Generative ring design merges the qualities of both by digitally producing the jewelry for the 21st century.
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
The possibility of designing a whole population of objects of an unlimited diversity, and the possibility of designing in any material. Today, the generative system design enables the imposition of materiality to the object. The choice of material has so far served as the basis for determining the design process, defining the expected execution of details, conjunctions and textures. Today, the generative system design enables the imposition of materiality to the object. The form, uncomplimentary to certain material, can now be attached to it by mere use of intellectual control. Therefore, the objects can be rendered into reality via 3D printing. Materiality is the last, almost arbitrary, decision done by a designer.
Who are your favorite designers or artists?
Here I would like to refer to people like Francois Roche, Hernan Diaz Alonso or Louise Bourgeois, and Chapman brothers who are doping their work with narratives which are crucial for today’s understanding of design. In the Shapeways community, I like the work ofNervous System. Although their approach is drawing inspiration from natural phenomena, my work, driven by a similar setup, is more interested in cultural consequences and ideas.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
Through personal education and curiosity.
If you weren't limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
Information technologies have opened up a number of new ways of thinking about the world and the object. When you ask an architect what would he like to 3D print with no limitations of technology or scale, the obvious and most basic answer would be a house. Throughout education we were simply programed to think that way. Algorithmic – generative design and digital production techniques are powerful platforms for designing ideas and objects. 3D printing is one way of rendering those ideas. Let’s play and see how far we can go!
Check out more of Roman's work on his website or his Shapeways Shop and if you'd like to be the next featured designer, email email@example.com.
While shoe manufacturers have been using 3D printing to prototype shoes for years, this is the first shoe by a major manufacturer that plans to use 3D printing for the final product. The Nike Vapor Laser Talon is 3D printed using selective laser sintering to produce an ultra lightweight football shoe weighing only 159 grams (5.6oz) including cleats. Nike designed the cleats specifically to help athletes quickly accelerate from standstill.
As mentioned in the previous post where we looked at the cost of injection molding vs 3D printing, the value of the 3D printed part is in the complexity, not just the material cost. Nike are using this 'free' complexity to design the football cleats for maximum performance without being constrained by issues of manufacturability.
“Nike’s new 3D printed plate is contoured to allow football athletes to maintain their drive position longer and more efficiently, helping them accelerate faster through the critical first 10 yards of the 40... Translated to the game of football, mastering the Zero Step can mean the difference between a defensive lineman sacking the quarterback or getting blocked... SLS technology has revolutionized the way we design cleat plates – even beyond football – and gives Nike the ability to create solutions that were not possible within the constraints of traditional manufacturing processes”
Shane Kohatsu, Director of Nike Footwear Innovation.
There are so many sporting applications where a complex, customized product can be 3D printed in Nylon which is incredibly lightweight yet strong enough to withstand great stress if designed properly. What other sports do you know of that are ready for 3D printed components?
3D printing + NFC tagging = a world of endless (and awesome) possibilities.
NFC company Flomio provides a new service that embeds an NFC tag into a 3D printed model custom designed by you!
The process is simple. Send Flomio a .STL formatted file of your modeled object. Choose build size, NFC tag and plastic color (currently from white, green or blue). Then, if you approve of Flomio's pricing, they'll print out your model, tag it, test it and send it right back.
Their current pricing is $0.50 per cm3 with a $4 handling fee per item. Your chosen NFC tag and shipping prices are added on afterwards. The object build size must be larger than the NFC tag, with a maximum size of 15cm cubed.
This service marks the beginning of a beautiful blending of "smart"
technology and 3D printing. You can create something that doubles as a
cute figurine and a portal into the world of AR gaming, automatic
payments, Android applications and the sort -- what will you make?!
Check out the brief video below to see it in action!
3D Printing is not only about mouse clicks and lasers, there is also a lot of hands-on work required to take an item from bits to atoms, that is why we are always looking for talented people to help make things real in our Eindhoven and New York offices. Every model is lovingly removed from the various 3D printers, cleaned (sometimes dyed) and shipped around the world. We do not always get to see what you then do to the parts, what post processing you undertake to make them even more beautiful, but when we do, it inspires us and makes all of the long hours worthwhile.
We often get asked 'at what point does it become cheaper to mass produce and item rather than 3D print it? at which point we have to ask what do you want to make, in what material and to what level of complexity or customization? To approach a need and simply switching method of manufacturing misses the power of 3D printing.
A recent blog post by 3sourceful compared the cost of manufacturing two items using Shapeways 3D printing and Protomold to make injection molded parts.
"In this case, we prices out two different parts. One, a very small bracket (~1cm^3) and one a larger jig (~50 cm^3). To compare, we obtained quotes from Shapeways and Protomold. And for simplicity, we just assume the cheapest material from each. We then plotted out the total cost of production for different quantities. As we would expect, the tooling costs of the molds resulted in 3D printing being cheaper at lower quantities in both cases. But, in the case of the larger part, the cost of the 3D printing material meant that over 100 units, Protomold became the cheaper solution. Where, for the smaller part, 3D printing was cost effective over 1000 units."
This is great for a simple equation for comparing the cost of a simple part required in bulk like their bracket, but if there is any level of complexity in the part or strict tolerances, the price to injection mold is likely to quickly increase, where as the price to 3D print would likely stay the same or may actually be reduced if the complexity is in the form of meshed or perforated features. The larger item might not have taken advantage of the density discount on Shapeways that can dramatically reduce the cost of large parts.
The comparison does not take into account the upfront investment required along with cost to warehouse and distribute the injection molded parts with the liability of predicting sales and holding inventory that may not sell. Customization and/or fast iteration is also an incredibly powerful advantage of 3D printing not so easily posible with injection molded parts. If you want to make 1000 components that are very similar but not the same, the cost to 3D print remains the same where as with injection molding you will need to invest in 1000 different molds, or at the very least, 1000 different mold inserts which would then need to be manually changed out after each part is manufactured.
Same too with fast iteration, if you want to modify your design in any way to optimize your design there is no additional cost or delay with 3D printing where as with injection molding you would need to retool in most instances, adding greater cost that would need to then be amortized across the sale of your product.
Although it delayed us, New York weather can't stop us! We're excited to share that our 3D Printing event in collaboration with Ace Hotel has been rescheduled to March 2, from 1-5pm.
Join local designers including In God We Trust, Chris Habana and Ten Thousand Things, and CAD modelers to create new designs exclusive to the event. At 2pm, we'll be kicking off a 3D Printing symposium with talks from Fashion designer Michael Schmidt — creator of wardrobes for luminaries like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Deborah Harry and Madonna, Brooks Hagan, textile artist and Acting Head of the Textile Department at RISD, and 3D design evangelists Duann Scott and Michael Curry from Shapeways and Makerbot, respectively. Hope to see you there!
Since we introduced Sterling Silver to our material catalog we have seen a lot of beautiful 3D printed jewelry in the Shapeways gallery making the most of the beautiful material. Our Sterling Silver is first printed in wax then cast in silver using traditional techniques so in the end you have pure Sterling Silver in a standard or glossy finish.
Check out this 3D Printed Sterling Silver which shows the beautiful, crisp details and shine of the glossy finish. Sometimes with the standard finish you will still see build lines in the silver from the process of 3D printing the wax for the silver. With the glossy finish, we spend a little more time to buff these out but you may still sometimes see the build lines and unpolished areas in the hard to reach areas. In some instances such as the Ancient Dragon Skull Pendant, this can help to add definition to the design.
What do you think of the Silver finish? Have you printed any of your designs in Sterling Silver at Shapeways yet?
While this is pretty much a hot glue gun squirting out plastic, for $75 you can get yourself a 3Doodler, what they claim to be the world's first and only 3D printing pen. Legend has it that the first ever FDM (fused deposition modeling) 3D printer was invented by Scott Crumb when he 'printed' a frog for his daughter using a hot glue gun. Scott Crumb went on to form Stratysys and the basic technology upon which the entire RepRap ecosystem is based, including desktop printers such as the MakerBot, Ultimaker and the Cube.
Now 35 years later you too can simply draw objects in thin air with the 3Doodler too.
While it is a cute idea and a relatively simple concept that might be a fun toy to get people started with a very basic start at making things with plastic, they state the pen is not suitable for children under 12 years old (270c of hot metal squirting plastic at your fingertips), most likely their ideal market.
At the time of writing they have already raised over $145,000 from backers for their device with 33 days still to go so they have obviously found a market willing to give this novelty item a try.
Shapeways Operations Manager Hugo Ploegmakers shares his thoughts on how continuous improvement and Kaizen principles apply to 3D printing.
In our continuing challenge to improve the service we provide at
Shapeways, to improve quality, lead-time and drive down cost (making 3D
printing more affordable for our customers), we are fully embracing
continuous improvement as a methodology. In short: continuous
improvement means that you never accept the status-quo, everything can
be improved, and everybody is involved in the improvement process.
How does this rhyme with the lean methodology, which
we've embraced at Shapeways? Does this contradict with the small steps
of 'continuous improvement'? I don't think it does. Bold Audacious Goals
are a requirement to make lean a success!
Improvements comes in
two different shapes. One, a continuous stream of small improvements:
the many changes we make to our production process each day in our
factories in New York and Eindhoven. Two, the less frequent but huge
breakthrough projects (e.g. our new back-end tool: Inshape). The picture
clearly shows how the combination of continuous improvement processes
and breakthrough projects makes us twice as fast! Only when successfully
applying both, we can improve as quickly as needed and make our
Bold Audacious Goals trigger breakthrough, which
is needed to remove the boundaries for continuous improvement before we
reach them. They accelerate continuous improvement: it
makes every tiny problem worth solving.
In the second episode of Shapeways Ask an Engineer, we demonstrate how slight modifications to your models can double their strength.
With the help of good old Diet Coke, we see how many cans we can stack on two different cube structures before they break. The first is a basic cube composed of squares, while the second is a little more complicated and composed of triangles. Our test reveals that the addition of a few more lines allows a structure to withstand two Diet Coke cans before snapping, while the basic cube snaps almost immediately after a can is placed on top of it. The difference in price between the two models is only fifteen cents -- definitely worth the extra money!
What would you like us to break next time? If you have any 3D printing questions you would like answered by our
3D printing engineer Matthew Hagan please email