The Shapeways Blog: 3D Printing News & Innovation

Shapeways Blog

Introducing White Strong & Flexible... Polished and Smooth


Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)

Thank you, Nancy!
#1 Todd Blatt (Homepage) on 2011-05-09 14:29 (Reply)
Very nice! Can't wait to get something made in this material. Would like to know a bit about the polishing process to know what we have to look out for in terms of delicate or thin areas.
#2 Glenn Slingsby (Homepage) on 2011-05-09 14:30 (Reply)
Hey Glenn. We use a vibratory tumbling machine. The process is described a bit more in detail here:

Basically, little grains of plastics and ceramics in soap & water vibrates against the material. The result is that the material evens out, and the pores closes. Meaning it should be more dust resistant. We haven't had one in the office long enough to test out how dust/stain resistant it actually is yet. But do let us know when you make your orders what your thoughts are!
#2.1 nancyliang on 2011-05-09 18:03 (Reply)
Ooo, I guess that process means chain-like and mesh creations will smooth out fairly well also?
#2.1.1 Christina Westbrook (Homepage) on 2011-05-13 08:01 (Reply)
look at this one:
# nancyliang on 2011-05-13 11:13 (Reply)
Oh, yes, forgot to mention I checked out the "Markup Machine" as noted in the above. Haven't yet tried it but if it works this will be a timesaver for me. I never understood why Shapeways didn't include the markup by percentage option...
#3 Glenn Slingsby on 2011-05-09 14:40 (Reply)
It will work as long as the format of the page stays the same. It's a very short term solution. the Dev Team is working out a way more elegant, long term thing. Let me know how the bookmarklet works out for you!
#3.1 nancyliang on 2011-05-09 18:05 (Reply)
Sorry. Didn't work for me. Using Chrome under Win7. All the markups change on the Inventory management page but after saving the changes and going to my designs nothing has changed. I tried this by marking up a percentage and applying to all materials, then with just two materials. Same result each time.
#3.1.1 Glenn Slingsby on 2011-05-12 20:45 (Reply)
The bookmarklet doesn't actually save the changes. It just fills out the text boxes and checks checkboxes for you. You still need to hit "Save" at the corner (or the Cancel button if you don't want to make your changes). When you say "saving changes" do you mean that you actually clicked the button in the corner?
# nancyliang on 2011-05-12 21:52 (Reply)
Yep, I hit the SAVE button in the corner. I've tried this numerous ways. Both before closing the Markup widget and after... all materials, one material.... nothing. Like I said the Markup works and changes the markup, but they don't save...
# Glenn Slingsby on 2011-05-12 22:19 (Reply)
And I'm guessing if you don't use the markup widget but click Save, it does indeed work?
# nancyliang on 2011-05-12 22:39 (Reply)
Yes, if I use it normally it works. I was really looking forward to using this since I like the percentage markup option.
# Glenn Slingsby on 2011-05-12 23:08 (Reply)
what method are they using to polish it? It looks like it doesn't get inside edges as well as the outside....

I am very excited about this!
#4 Silverbeam (Homepage) on 2011-05-09 14:48 (Reply)
We're using a vibratory tumbling process, for more info you can visit the material homepage here:

let me know if you have any more questions!
#4.1 nancyliang on 2011-05-10 08:29 (Reply)
Great to see that it is now available!

as far as the polishing method: my guess is that it is done with a vibrating machine like for example:
#5 Gijs de Zwart on 2011-05-09 16:10 (Reply)
Very interesting, I too will want to try this new stuff out!

The materials link in the post doesn't seem to work ... ??
#6 George Bell on 2011-05-09 16:56 (Reply)
Yep, it points to something inside the blog tree... anyway, if you go to WSF page, you can click the working link
#6.1 Stannum 3D on 2011-05-09 23:22 (Reply)
nice addition. and we'll be seeing the polished & dyed option soon?
#7 jeff bare (Homepage) on 2011-05-09 17:31 (Reply)
Yes, I also want to see some dyed pieces that looks very promising.
#7.1 woody64 on 2011-05-09 19:29 (Reply)
I have been hoping for a smoother material. It would make printed puzzles much more valuable.
I don't think Unlucky Twist was a terribly good choice for testing this new finishing option. It already is inherently loose and the polishing just made it worse. I really wonder how it would work for more traditional puzzle, in which the looser tolerances could be adjusted for by the structure of the mechanism and the tension of the screws.

Can the material be dyed or does the smoother surface prevent absorption of the dye?

I notice the density discount does not carry over to this new material. A 75cm^3 puzzle becomes $60 more expensive when polished. Too bad... $20 seems reasonable for the service but $60 is less acceptable for me. Cost is still a key issue for me and my customers.
#8 Tom van der Zanden on 2011-05-09 20:45 (Reply)
Tom is correct, the density discount does not apply to the new material. I have a 89 cm^3 model where the price jumps from $83 to $157 in the polished material. This doesn't make much sense, as I understand it the density discount is a printing discount, whereas the polished WSF is an extra post-printing process.

I have a few puzzles which could greatly benefit from this new material. I have been sanding the parts by hand to smooth them sufficiently.
#8.1 George Bell on 2011-05-09 21:49 (Reply)
Guys, you are right regarding the density discount.

We will update the material formulas to capture it shortly. We will blog about it when done and will also apply it to BS&F and other colors.

We will update the density discount to a better formula shortly also.

#8.1.1 Peter Weijmarshausen on 2011-05-11 03:01 (Reply)
Tom, what puzzle would you recommend? Interested in doing a test, to try it?
#8.2 Peter Weijmarshausen on 2011-05-11 03:04 (Reply)
I've recently added a couple of models to my FractalHeaven account that are specifically scaled to only work in FUD (they have a wallsize less than 0.4mm), and I carefully got rid of all the other materials as options when I made the models orderable ... but then when WSF-P was introduced, those models switched to WSF-P by default, instead, so I had to go back and manually delete the new material from the listed options. If I hadn't spotted the change, people might have been trying to order the models in an "impossible" material.

So I was wondering ... might it be worth adding a little numerical textbox to each model where the designer could fill in a nominal value for the model's minimum default wallthickness in millimetres, so that any materials that can't cope with the quotedl value are automatically deselected? Otherwise these problems are likely to resurface each time a new material is introduced.
#9 ErkDemon (Homepage) on 2011-05-10 02:04 (Reply)
I love the material, but about half of my models don't show it as an option - there simply isn't a checkbox in the inventory. Is this an updating thing that will go away over time?

#10 Michiel (Homepage) on 2011-05-10 07:59 (Reply)
This is brilliant although it looks like I'm not going to need that vibro finisher I just bought! I'll be doing some finishing experiments anyway with the strong & flexible samples I have, including the dyed versions. I'll let you know how it goes! :-)
#11 Mark Bloomfield (Homepage) on 2011-05-10 12:00 (Reply)
I don't suppose Shapeways could find a way of employing a similar technology to smooth out stainless steel? It is possible to get a silver-like polish to this material but not without a lot of work and inability to get into small areas...
#12 Glenn Slingsby on 2011-05-10 15:22 (Reply)
I guess that's possible for stainless steel, although larger area's are better done by hand I think to smooth out imperfections and print layer texture. An automatic system will probably not do that.
#13 Gijs de Zwart on 2011-05-10 15:27 (Reply)

Add Comment

Enclosing asterisks marks text as bold (*word*), underscore are made via _word_.
Standard emoticons like :-) and ;-) are converted to images.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.

The Shapeways Blog: 3D Printing News & Innovation

Learn More »