We're excited to announce three more amazing new material finishes for you to 3D Print in! Introducing the latest and greatest materials to the Shapeways family: Matte Black Steel, Polished Grey Steel, and Polished Nickel Steel, which are all great for jewelry, structural parts, sculptures, and anything else that you would want to 3D Print in steel!
Matte Black Steel has a clean, modern and elegant feel, that will be
sure to complement your new loft space. Polished Grey Steel gives you a more shiny, yet vintage, old school look.
Polished Nickel Steel looks just like a super polished bright stainless
steel. As one of our team members noted, "It may even look more like
Stainless Steel than Stainless Steel itself."
These new materials belong to the same family tree as our existing Stainless Steel. The price to manufacture in these materials is $9 startup with an additional $8 per cc. (It's the same price as our current Gold Steel). As for the design rules, they're exactly the same as our existing steel as well.
We hope that you're just as excited as we are about these new
additions, bringing our total number of materials that you can 3D Print
in to 39! Wow, we're almost 40. We're starting to feel really, really
I really like these! I'm wondering if the "grey" is the same as the "gunmetal" patina I'm familiar with being offered by ExOne.
"Patina" may be too rare a word to use on a consumer-oriented website, but can we start calling post-process variations "finishes"? After 39 material and finish options, calling each finish a "material" is a bit much.
To answer the questions:
Aaron, the grey is indeed the "gunmetal finish" from ExOne, but we like to keep guns off Shapeways so we called it Grey . Plus, it's grey!
Glenn, good question on the finishes:
The Matt black is a patina, which means its a chemical process that makes the metal turn black. With some very vigorous rubbing (we used a dremel actually), it will wear off. Unlike most patinas, this one actually looks good as it wears off, because it reveals the Grey finish underneath. This finish would resist the normal wear that happens on a pendant but it may wear unevenly on a ring, so depending on your design you may not want that.
The Grey finish is when black wears off. We chemically patina the steel black, then polish it to get the even Grey finish. This would be a great choice for rings, pendants and functional objects.
The Nickel Finish is a plating, and a strong one at that. It will take a LOT of rubbing to get that off as nickel is much tougher than gold. So this is a good, long lasting choice for rings, and functional objects.
Thanks Natalia, that was very helpful and clear. As a both a retailer and manufacturer, Shapeways strikes a careful balance between keeping the message simple for customes and giving detail to the designers who are always hungry for more info. I have some great images from ExOne their finishing work. I'll be happy to share them in the forums or in a blog soon.
This is another interesting article:
Shapeways, please read this and consider putting up a warning, instead of recommending people to make rings with it.
"the prevalence of nickel sensitivity is 5% to 15% in women and 0.5% to 1% in men"
"Nickel sensitivity is not hereditary, it is acquired through intimate and prolonged skin exposure to nickel metal or nickel salts."
It even says you might have to stop eating chocolate if you get it, imagine that!
You're all absolutely correct, some people in the population do have a nickel allergy so I should not have recommended it for wearable items! On our materials page, I will add a clear warning about potential nickel allergies.
Most people with allergies are aware of them, and anyone who has bought cheap jewelry knows that you can tell very quickly if you have a nickel allergy as it causes some irritation. Luckily it is not a grave condition like say, a peanut allergy. That said, I will make it clearer on the materials page and maybe if you ARE creating jewelry items, don't enable nickel as an option in your shop, or put a clear warning in your own description too.
Excellent. I am always happy to see Shapways trying out new materials and finishes. However, I do have a few concerns/questions:
1.) Are we ever going to see larger bounding boxes for the metals (steel, brass, silver, and bronze). Right now, the bounding boxes on these are rather small.
2.) For stainless steel, are we ever going to see a relaxing of the design rules? That sandcastle business is a nuisance to deal with. Might we ever see that go away?
3.) Price. Right now, printing certain things can be prohibitively expensive. Will we ever see a comedown in price in general? If not, maybe a comedown in price on the metals? Hopefully?
4.) Will we ever see moving parts allowed for metals?
I have a bunch of other quandaries but those are my main concerns. If nothing else, I would love to see larger bounding box limitations for the brass and bronze. In any case, good work guys. I look forward to seeing what you come up with over the coming months.
Hey, Bobbie, I know that metal prices seem high - and yes, I re-sell my jewellery so the price does affect me greatly, however, if you do some checks you'll see that Shapeways' prices are in fact pretty much the best out there.