Website Update

Posted by in Shapeways, What's Hot

Today we released a number of updates on the website. Some of them are ‘behind the scenes’ but there’s also quite a bit of improvement in the frontend.

The fixes I’m most excited about are in the 3D backend: the import module has become a LOT more robust! Here are the best bits:

  • We now accept models with polygons; they will be automatically triangulated.
  • We now support NURBS models.
  • Files can now contain multiple separate objects – no need to join your meshes into one single object anymore.
  • We select better viewpoints for the model thumbnails if no camera information is provided.

This should make it a lot easier to upload your model – we should now be able to process any Collada file you throw at us! Of course, the usual modeling constraints still apply: make sure your object is a closed, manifold volume that doesn’t have parts that are too thin to print. (More info on that here).

By the way, we’re still looking for input on which file formats you’d like to see us support next – please pay a visit to the forum and leave your feedback there!

The 3D processing isn’t the only part that was worked on – we also made quite a lot of fixes on the website itself. Most of them are usability improvements. Here’s an overview of the best parts:

Login form

  • Added a ‘Remember me’ option to the login box.
  • Pressing <enter> will now submit the login information in Internet Explorer as well.

Homepage

  • Higher quality thumbnails in ‘you and your design’ (the ‘action shots’ of printed objects).
  • Added a ‘Welcome to U-Design’ box with useful information for new users.
  • Added a tab navigation element for the homepage.
  • Tightened up the ‘Last forum posts’ and ‘What’s Hot’ boxes on the homepage.

Model page / galleries

  • Galleries are now sorted by modification date by default (showing the most recent work first).
  • Removed the mouse-over information boxes from the gallery pages and cleaned up the model information.
  • Tags will now auto-suggest while typing.

On to the next release! If you have suggestions for improvements we’d love to hear them, of course.

[image by richardmasoner, released under a Creative Commons license]

3 comments

  1. Anonymous

    I think that you should write a list of fileformats on a part of the website that is accessible to people who havent signed up for a login.

    Right now random bypassers do not get the feeling that this is something they can do on their home computer (windows, mac or linux)

  2. Wildsketch

    Added a ‘Welcome to U-Design’ box with useful information for new users.

    Was this on purpose? I know from browsing old blog entries that you changed your name a while back from U-Design to Shapeways. (A slight improvement in my opinion.)

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