We're thrilled its almost time for Dutch Design Week! Our home-town event is one of our favorites of the year, and a prestigious festival on the design circuit.
This year Shapeways is enabling the future of product design by featuring shop owners and their businesses. Each day a different designer will be visiting our booth and sharing their shop and their story.
Over 100 people took our pre Shop Owner Challenge survey and the results were clear: the biggest point of frustration with Shapeways is having a model rejected. Our Customer Service team is dedicated to helping you resolve these issues. Today, Andrew, a very helpful recent addition to the team teaches you how to use netfabb, the same program we use here at Shapeways, to optimize your models printability.
Open your model in Netfabb. Netfabb can only open .STL or .OBJ files. If you need to convert to these file types you can use Meshlab, see our tutorials section for details. This model was made with the 2D to 3D Converter.
You've got some great tips so far, nows the time to really put some polish on your shop and get it ready for an influx of sales! Natalia, our Community Manager here at HQ, breaks down the secrets to a shop that tells a great story.
Halloween pop-up shops have taken over New York City (and likely your stomping grounds as well). Walking through these spooky stores, I'm always so disappointed with the lack of individuality. The costumes are the same as they were 20 years ago! Here at Shapeways we believe that every product can, and often should, be customized to your liking. This time of year, products should be COSTUME-ized! So share your designs with us on social media for a change to win $100 in Shapeways cash!
With Halloween just around the corner, we've got monsters on the brain. How appropriate that we stumbled upon Monstermatic, a cute mobile game that allows users to create and 3D print custom designed monsters. Players are given tools to invent, interact, share, and ultimately unleash their monsters into the world through 3D printing.
Clayton shared a bit about how Shapeways is helping to turn his idea into reality with the Shapeways API:
“When we started looking into color 3D printing, like everybody else, we typed “color 3D printing tutorial” in our Google search bar and looked for results. Shapeways was dominating the result page and quickly became our main source of information. Their guide section is extensive, organized and covers all the technical aspects of color 3D printing.
Once we got our head around the process we started looking into prices and quality. Again, Shapeways was way ahead of its competitors with a strong 15% to 30% below the market price while keeping the best quality available.
Lastly, we looked into how was easy it would to integrate the third party’s 3D printing process within our app, and hands down, Shapeways surprised us with a simple yet flexible API.
In Monstermatic, players are given tools to make monsters using 3D printing. To do so we had to find the most reliable 3D printing company and I am happy to say we did: Shapeways!”
Aww, thanks guys, inspiring stories from our community melt our hearts...
Hi Shapies! Hope you found yesterday's post on getting promoted on Shapeways useful. I heard from a few of you last night, great job heeding the advice! Today, our brilliant Director of Marketing, Carine, shares her insight on merchandising. Know what to design and who to design it for can be a real challenge. Here's an overview of what merchandising really means. Seedling Design, featured below, does an outstanding job of merchandising their shop currently on Shapeways.
Four Things to Consider When Deciding What to Design
Designing for 3D printing is a whole new ballgame: it's much faster than traditional manufacturing, there's no inventory, no waste, and you can even tweak your products based on your customer's feedback. This means you can take risks, fail, and still win. It's a beautiful thing!
With the unique benefits of 3D printing in mind, what does this mean for product merchandising, or in other words, what products should you design, 3D print, and put in your Shapeways Shop? Ask yourself these questions and determine what products are right for you.
Who are you designing for? Whether you're making a special gift for a loved one, or you want to design the next big hit, you always have to start with understanding your potential customers. Who are they? Where do they like to hang out in person? Online? What gets their heart fluttering and emotions stirred? What's on the top of their Christmas wishlist?
Do you know who your customers are? Figuring this out is sometimes easy - if you know your customer, just talk to them! If you think your customer is similar to you, ask yourself these questions, honestly. And ideally, you can get some data from Google Analytics or other tools to get some broad strokes of demographics and interests.
Is your product timely, relevant? Once you have an idea and have a better understanding of who might buy this product, start digging into whether it's the right time to bring this product to market. Think about seasonality - is it related to a holiday, season, warm or cold weather, vacations? Also consider relevance - depending on who your customer lives and what they're interested in, perhaps there's something super timely in the news or culture that you can tap into. Is there a viral video, a new Apple iPhone, or a big election coming up? You can even go down the rabbit hole of understanding trends and what's selling in bigger stores by researching trend reports and checking out your favorite stores. (Always stay original though!)
It it useful? The next big question to ask is whether it's useful. Not to say that fun desk toys are not useful; they make us smile! But think hard about how this product fits into someone's life, what need you're solving, and whether it's emotional (making them smile) or functional (helping them make better coffee). This will not only impact the design you make, but how much you can charge, what materials you could use, and the balance between form and function.
How does it fit into your brand or collection? Finally, if you're really trying to run a business, you'll likely have more than this one product in your Shop. Consider whether it makes sense to launch this product as part of a bigger collection, such as four custom ornament choices for the holiday season, or eight ring designs based on your favorite animals. Seeing products next to those with a similar purpose and aesthetic will help tell your story. That doesn't mean you won't have a one-hit wonder, but think about CD; most artists have a couple singles that play all the time on the radio, but they also have the album for their top fans to play on repeat.
So, what's your album called?
Here's Carine looking awesome and encouraging you to keep working hard on your shop:
See you all tomorrow! Thanks for your hard work! Let us know what else you'd like to learn in the comments .
This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Alexandre Grynagier, an animator whose love for toys led him to spring his animations to life.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
Hi! I'm a designer specializing in 3D animation. I live in Paris, where most French animation studios are based. I have a degree in industrial design, but was more attracted by comic book and arts, so animation, art toys and anything related felt like an obvious evolution.
I bet many of you have wondered, "How do I get my product featured on Shapeways?" Today, I'm going to let you in on our secrets and give you the Pro Tips for making the Shapeways.com front page.
First, your shop must be “complete.” How do we define that? Four or more products (take a peek at the designer spotlight each week to see examples) that have been printed successfully before.
Second, all four of those products need to be photographed, not renders. This is so your future customers can get the most realistic feel for the products you’re offering. Yes, we know some of you are amazing at photorealistic renders, but when you’re offering products to someone who has likely never seen a 3D print before, it’s nice to show them the tangible proof of concept.
Third, we look for shops that have been built with care. Designers and Makers who have taken into consideration the template images on the site and will translate well across platform. Taking the extra few minutes to build your banner is worth it!
Fourth, we want people and stories our community can connect to. Upload a thumbnail of yourself or your favorite model as your profile image. Share your design inspiration with with the shoppers on our site. Humanize the micron-precision of the lasers. Tell us how Shapeways has changed your business.
Fifth, let us know you’re out there! We do our best to constantly search for new emerging brands and shops on Shapeways, but even we are human. Tweet at us, post on our Facebook wall, or join us in our forums and post your designs in “It Arrived!” or “Feature This.” Feeling shy? Email Savannah@Shapeways.com- I’m happy to give your shop the once over anytime.
Today we continue our journey on becoming successful shop owners with the second part of Brad's three part series on google analytics. Yesterday, we added it to your shop, and now Brad will guide you through the basics.
How Many People Visit My Site?
The default Dashboard in Google Analytics is a summary of who has visited your site in the last 30 days. This is most likely the first thing you’ll want to take a look at everyday to get a sense of how your shop is performing.
Many of you have asked for advice on tracking your traffic and leveraging Google Analytics in your Shapeways Shop. Conveniently, when I asked our staff if they had any super powers in addition to their job description at Shapeways, Brad (below with his beautiful wife), expressed his love of analytics. I was elated to hear his insights and pro tips, and I'm sure you will be to! Today we have Part One of his Google Analytics series. Enjoy!
Part One: Learn More About Your Customers with Google Analytics
One of the most important aspects of designing great products is understanding the customers that show enough interest to take a look. Who are they? Where are they from? Are they buying? If not, why not? Shapeways supports Google Analytics, a tool to analyze who is visiting your shop, which can help you answer these questions.
Just over 5000 years ago man entered the Bronze Age, now you too can have access to the material that mankind used to build the tools that transformed civilization into what it is today.
The 3D printed Bronze at Shapeways is a high-detail metal with a deep red color similar to rose gold. It has a subtle marbling effect, and the silvery highlights give each piece their own unique character.
As with our 3D printed Brass, this new material will be available at Shapeways as Raw Bronze and Polished Bronze with the exact same design rules as Brass, so items you have designed for one material, will be printable in the other.
Raw Bronze has a rustic matte look with some rough surfaces. It is great for antique-looking objects, vintage and steampunk jewelry, functional parts, and more. Coloration may vary across a single object, and as with all Bronze it may tarnish over time, in a cool way.
Bowie the Bunny 3D Print in Raw Bronze
Polished Bronze goes through an extensive hand polishing process to give it a super smooth, glossy finish. It is great for miniatures, precious objects, and shiny, modern jewelry.
We're excited to share that for those shipping to the United States, you'll now be able to choose from the following options on Shapeways: Standard, Two Day and Next Day. This enables you to get your Shapeways products faster than ever! We want to make these options affordable and accessible, so we’ve priced them as low as we can. Standard shipping will cost $6.50, with Two Day costing $9.50 and Next Day costing $15.50. You’ve asked for improved shipping solutions for some time, and these updates are the foundation for future enhancements.
Pricing models is a challenge every Shapie Shop Owner faces. In this emerging marketplace of 3D Printing storefronts, guidance and advice on perceived value is imperative. Today, Kim, one of our product superstars, breaks down pricing and markup so you can optimize your shop for success.
IMPORTANCE OF PRICING Though sometimes overlooked, product pricing helps shoppers form first impressions about the value of your product, the type of products you sell, and the type of shop you own.
Pricing also tells a story, and by setting the right price, you can make yours more compelling—and attractive to customers.
COMPONENTS OF PRICE
Shapeways is a unique marketplace where printing and manufacturing costs are factored in early on. So, as a Shapeways Shop Owner, all you need to think about is how much profit you’d like to make. Let’s start by looking at what a price is composed of.
The first part is the base price, which is the price you would pay to purchase the model for yourself. Second is the markup, which is the amount of money you want to make off each sale of your product. Add these two together, and you have your final price.
Smithsonian X 3D to be held in Washington November 13-14 is a free event which will show how 3D technologies will transform the work of the Smithsonian Institution, and museum and research institutions worldwide.
For the first time ever, state-of-the-art 3D scanning and image-based modeling technology paired with new Smithsonian tools will enable museum collections, scientific specimens, and entire research sites to be digitally recorded, studied, and shared in immersive detail.
Researchers and conservators can use 3D capture to document and analyze a single artifact or an entire field site.
Curators and educators can use 3D imagery to explore complex ideas and share new discoveries.
Teachers, collaborators, and members of the public can interact with Smithsonian museum objects in new ways.
The conference is scheduled to take place in Meyer Auditorium: Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Please enter the Meyer Auditorium through the Independence Avenue entrance.
Registration is free but limited, so if you are in Washington and have an interest in how cultural institutions can adopt 3D printing be sure to register now.