Feature this!

During the first Shapeways Live webcast Tree asked how we chose the
models we feature in the newsletters, on the homepage, in the banners,
blog posts etc. To make this process more transparent I’ll explain how
we find models and how we choose models. 

How do we find models?

Any Shapeways employee suggests models. Most are found on It Arrived on the forum since we always check this

  • We’re on the website a lot so we bump into stuff randomly
  • I regularly get emails from Customer Service, production & finance that they came in touch with a cool project
  • I get emails from community members telling me about cool projects (either their own or others)
  • We actively search for recently highly rated models
  • We actively search for models that bring in traffic
  • We always notice when people tweet or mention their models on their blogs
  • We glace and look through uploaded and ordered models
  • We look through models with newly added pictures
  • We notice models by very active community members, because they’re active
  • Very active community members are very visible so
  • On the forum someone could be asking for help and we notice the model they mention
  • We look through specific categories and tags of models to find something in that category

What do we look for in a design?

It has to be inspiring

This is the basic criterion for a lot of what we do. We have to be swept away by it in some way.

What also really helps is if the design is:

  • beautiful
  • the design or product tells a story
  • It pushes 3D printing into new territory
  • It is a product we have never seen before
  • It is fun
  • It is clear what it is from the description
  • It is clear what it is from the photograph
  • It makes people think
  • It makes you go “how did they make that?”
  • It makes you go “they made what??”
  • A product we could see others buying
  • A design that is unlike anything we’ve seen before
  • A product or design that has a high appeal for a select group
  • A product or design that would have mainstream appeal
  • The product uses a new material
  • The product uses a material we don’t see much of
  • The product uses a material in a way we haven’t seen before
  • It is a Co-Creator (we really want to promote them)
  • We could totally see blogs or other media pick up the product and feature it
  • It totally illustrates a concept that we are looking at ie “hold
    a model in your hand”, “anyone can design”, “affordable 3D printing”,
    “combinatory manufacturing”, “co-creation”,etc.
  • It is a signifier of the direction we want to go into: for example into finished products, art, etc.
  • The model goes really well with a blog post or Newsletter
  • The model is from a community we would like to engage

What helps it in being featured?

Above all: good
photos. We’re not necessarily talking Henri Cartier-Bresson here just
a clear photograph that is either attractive, well lit, shows off the
model well, shows off what you can do with it well or tells a story. A
good title helps also because then we can understand the model sooner
(and others can too). A clear description often leads us to include
something that is initially baffling but turns out to be interesting in
some way.

The
entire process is not set in stone but we try our hardest to be fair.
For an in depth look in how the featuring process works lets look at  Nathan Matsuda’s Icetube clock enclosure. It was on it arrived
where our CEO Peter spotted it and mailed it around telling us it was a
great model. If you look at the it Arrived post you can see that the
model is attractive. The photos tell a story of him getting the model
and assembling it. The final picture shows you an attractive thing that
we at least could totally buy for ourselves. The photos are clear and
not blurry. The model also works with an item from Adafruit Industries
which is this really great DIY products site. We would like to do
things with Adafruit. Also Adafruit itself could generate lots of
traffic for the model. Adafruit is a part of the maker movement which
is a community we would like to engage even more with. By combining the
model with a 3D print it tells several stories: a maker using 3D
printing to make a unique item, a maker using Shapeways, an Adafruit
enthusiast using Shapeways, the combination of electronics and 3D
prints etc. Nathan’s model therefore tells a great story and it is also
a great design. This why we’re going to be featuring it here and in
other places. I hope this clears things up.

To make this process even more open we are adding the forum topic Feature this! as of today.

“Have you seen a model on Shapeways that we
should feature in a blog post, on the home page, in the newsletter? Add
a link to the model or the forum post here to be sure we don’t miss it.
You can suggest your own model or someone else’s.” 

We can not guarantee that we can feature every suggestion but we will look at and discuss each one. 


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