Author Archives: Eleanor

What I learned from exhibiting at my first Maker Faire

By Vicky Somma, a Shapeways Crew member and owner of the shop TGAW. This piece was first published on Vicky’s blog TGAW

Earlier in March 2015 I had a booth at my very first Maker Faire! The Nova Mini Maker Faire in Reston, Virginia. My booth focused on my 3D Prints made with Blender (for 3D Modeling) and Shapeways (for 3D Printing).

Vicky Somma at the NoVa Mini Maker Faire

Vicky Somma at the NoVa Mini Maker Faire

I was interested in knowledge sharing, so I had a monitor displaying a Giant Prezi of Death of screenshots of my modeling techniques in Blender. I also had on hand a variety of prints I had done through Shapeways:

Shapeways prints ready to go to the faire

Shapeways prints ready to go to the faire

Since I was giving a speech on “3D Printing without Owning a 3D Printer” in the afternoon, I also had a small section of my table dedicated to compliment that speech and to let people know that they could 3D print that day without owning a printer or knowing a thing about modeling.

Small “3D Printing without Owning a Printer -OR- Knowing Modeling” Section

Small “3D Printing without Owning a Printer -OR- Knowing Modeling” Section

Giving my talk at Nova Mini Maker Faire

Giving my talk at Nova Mini Maker Faire

It was an absolutely fantastic time and as with all first experiences, I learned a little along the way. Here are a couple of Do’s and Don’ts I came away with.

DON’T Be Intimidated!
At the informational meeting, the organizers stressed that they want Makers of all levels. You didn’t have to be an expert or a professional. Reinforcing that concept, the NoVa Mini Maker Faire kept posting a badge saying, “We are All Makers” and they mean it.

I was somewhat nervous about the other 3D modelers. I’m still relatively new to 3D modeling, so at times leading up to the event I had a wee bit of “imposter syndrome.” I was mentally preparing myself for someone coming up, sniffing arrogantly, and saying, “Oh, I see you are using the Boolean Modifier. Don’t you know that makes messy meshes?” : )

But the environment of the Maker Faire isn’t like that at all. People are enthusiastic, people are curious, and people are very very very nice. It’s like the Comment thread of Instructables.

Speaking of Instructables, there’s actually an Instructables out there for “Your Own Booth at the Maker Faire“. A great resource for knowing what to expect! : )

DON’T Be Afraid to Reach Out to Related Vendors
Leading up to the Faire, I emailed Shapeways to let them know what I was doing and they sent me giveaways for my booth! So I had some nice stickers and postcards for people to take!

And then get this! The Community Advocate from Shapeways, Michael, came down to our faire and helped with the booth. As busy as the faire was, it was great to have an extra voice there. He brought a good sampling of products as well which only further showcased the capabilities of Shapeways and 3D Printing!

Community Advocate Michael Williams at Nova Mini Maker Faire

Community Advocate Michael Williams at Nova Mini Maker Faire

Similarly, I had a great experience prepping for the “3D Printing without Owning a 3D Printer” speech. I found everyone to be very generous with questions I had. FromNovaLabs to the Virginia Tech Northern Virginia Center MakerLabClub to Ara’s Hub (through 3DHubs) to PrintedSolid, everyone was happy to help me with information. Don’t be afraid of looking like an idiot. If you have questions, ask!

DO Stage Your Items Ahead of Time
We staged everything ahead of time on my Mom’s dining room table. This made it very easy for us to know what else to pack (extension cord, monitor cables, mounting goo, tablecloths, signs, packing tape, etc).

DO Ask for Help
My forte doesn’t lie with decoration, so I recruited my Mom. She instantly had suggestions for tablecloths, how to display the Christmas ornaments (a metal tree she had in her room) and a little dark cove to showcase the glowing Cthulhu Jack-O-Lanterns (a collapsible grocery crate she had in her car). Not only that, she was a key supply gatherer. I mentioned I needed something to sticky to mount my signs. The very next morning, I woke up and found some sticky goo in my staging area. My Mom was a big help.

My mom makes a puppy through Pupworkshop

My mom makes a puppy through Pupworkshop

I also recruited my friends Britt and Chris to help with the booth during my speech. With that, I really underestimated their work load. I pitched it as warm bodies watching the booth, but pretty much everyone that assisted me that day (my husband, Michael from Shapeways, my Mom, Britt and Chris) was busy the whole day. Chris, Ryan, and Michael did a lot of talking and question answering. Britt and Mom did a lot of kid-wrangling. : )

I also recruited people to help me with some first hand research for the “3D Printing without a 3D Printer” talk. My Mom designed a puppy through Pupworkshop. My sister-in-law drew an angel we printed via the Shapeways’ 2D to 3D App. Finally, my three year old even accrued a personalized 3D object by making a Color Me Teddy.

My three year old designs a Color Me Teddy

My three year old designs a Color Me Teddy

DO Enjoy the Free Feedback
Like most Shapeways shop owners, I have Google Analytics enabled gathering data about my referrals and traffic. But you know what is even better? Watching people’s eyes light up. Watching people revel in how beautiful the Library of Congress ornament is or laughing when they get Schrodinger’s Cat. You get instant feedback on how people are responding to your designs.

And some of the lessons may be surprising. Over the holiday break, I was playing with Python scripting for Blender to make customized Cancer Ribbons. I was thinking people would like an interface to order ribbons “In Honor Of” or “In Memory Of” their loved ones sort of like Relay for Life Luminaries. But watching the response at the Faire, if I do put time towards automating something through code, I may want to focus on faces for the Dial-O-Lantern. That got an overwhelmingly larger response at the faire.

Vicky works the booth with Dyson

Vicky works the booth with Dyson

DO Know the Event is Family Friendly
The Maker Faire is family friendly, which meant we were able to bring our boys. At times, I had a cute accessory as I worked my booth.

DO Have An Activity for Kids
Related to the Family Friendly aspect of the event, do have an activity for kids. In my case, I went with a contest for the Dial-O-Lantern! My faces actually started as drawings, so we invited kids to draw faces for a new Dial-O-Lantern. We’re picking six winning faces and sending each winning child a print that includes their face. This turned out to be a good activity. The amount of entries exceeded our expectations (and makes selecting the winners a tough task).

Working on a Dial-O-Lantern face

Working on a Dial-O-Lantern face

DO Check Twitter
Although you are getting first hand feedback from your booth visitors, be sure to keep an eye on Social Media as well. I got a HUGE thrill walking between buildings when I saw that the Editor-in-Chief of Geek Dad appreciated and tweeted my Schrodinger’s Cat. Geek Dad! We have Geek Dad books on our bookshelf!

DO Have Business Cards / Contact Info
The day before the faire, I actually picked up some quickie business cards from Staples. And here’s the thing. I designed those cards assuming there would be a lot of leftovers. At the top and bottom I included lines for every millimeter. Why? When I’m designing 3D models, I am constantly measuring things and getting out rulers to gauge how big I want to make something. But rulers are also popular with my boys, so it seems they are frequently misplaced.

So I figured if I was going to have a bunch of unused business cards around, I might as well make them handy. And although I do have a few I can use for measurement, I don’t have nearly as much leftover business cards as I expected! I was very surprised by how many business cards people snatched up.

DO Make It Easy For People To Learn More
I printed QR codes for pretty much everything. My presentations were both put online (Prezi and SlideShare respectively). I used BufferApp to “live tweet” links during my talk (Hat Tip, Jess Hedstrom). I coordinated with the Nova Mini Maker Faire so all the links from my PowerPoint were easy to find on their blog. You want people to learn more– make it as easy as possible!

Those are my take-aways from my very first Maker Faire. It was an absolutely fantastic time. I can hardly wait for next year!

You can read more about the NoVa Mini Maker Faire on their blog athttp://www.makerfairenova.com.

More of our photos from the event are on Flickr.

 

 

Shapeways Meetups in Southern California March 25 and 27

Posted by in Events

Continuing our March on the road, Shapeways is hosting two meetups next week in Pasadena and Ventura, California to give our community members a chance to connect with each other and learn more about how they are using 3D printing to realize their creative and business goals. We hope you can join us!

shapewaysstanfordmeetup

Wednesday, March 25 in Pasadena
6:30 to 8:15 pm
Cross Campus Pasadena
Join us for talks by Les Karpas of Metamason and Igor Knezevic of Alienology about building their businesses with 3D printing as well as networking over light refreshments.
RSVP and details

Friday, March 27 in Ventura
5:30 to 7:30 pm
Barrelhouse 101, Ventura, CA
Join us for a high tech meets handmade happy hour to talk about how craft and technologies like 3D printing are coming together to create a bright future for makers.
RSVP and details

I will also be speaking about funding and creating goals for your creative business, and how services like Shapeways can help, at the Craftcation conference in Ventura from March 26th to 28th. If you are attending the conference please say hello!

Hope to see you next week in sunny California!

Easy tips to scale a model for 3D printing from Stony Smith

Posted by in How To, Tutorials
3D printed miniature trains tutorial scaling models

Z scale Fuel Tender by Stony Smith

Can you enlarge or shrink your model to another size? Yes! It takes only seconds to mathematically change the computer model from one size to another. But, to ensure you are happy with the results there’s a few factors to think about. In this tutorial Stony Smith explains what to consider when scaling a 3D model for 3D printing. You will learn how to scale your model considering polygons and price in this tutorial. Looking for more 3D printing tutorials? You can visit the Shapeways tutorial hub.

Shapeways Community on the road in March!

The Shapeways Community team knows that our community is global and an important part of building community is meeting, talking and sharing ideas face-to-face. This March we are covering a lot of ground across the United States and Europe and you can find us in five countries and thirteen different cities giving talks, hosting meetups, judging hackathons and leading workshops. Whether you are in Berlin or Los Angeles (or many places in between) we hope that you will connect with us this month – take a look at our events page and our meetup page for updated dates and locations.

Community Events 2015

To kick off our marathon month, Savannah Peterson, Director of Community at Shapeways gave a talk at the Gasparilla Interactive Festival, Tampa Bay’s showcase for cutting-edge technologies, digital innovation, and entrepreneurial inspiration, and served on a panel about women and millennials as entrepreneurs and innovators.

On March 8th we sponsored a Printathon at Brandeis University where our master of social media, Eric Ho, and customer service agent Andrew Thomas served as judges for the students projects. The event featured two Teams from Brandeis, one from UConn, one from Columbia and one from Waltham High School. The theme of the competition was social justice and students were encouraged to print products that can help humanity. The day was followed by a meet up with Voxel8, an electronics 3D printer.

3D printing hackathon

Brandeis University Printathon participants and judges

In the next two days three members of the Shapeways Community Team will be on stage talking about different aspects of 3D printing in three different time zones: On Thursday, March 12 Natalia Krasnodebska, Community Manager, will discuss 3D printing and intellectual property at the Copia Institute Inaugural Summit; On March 13 Lauren Slowik, Design Evangelist for Education, will lead a workshop on 3D printing in education at the 3D Printshow Summit in Madrid, Spain; finally, also on March 13 Savannah Peterson will speak about “Decoding Gender Diversity in Tech” at SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas.

Setting up for the 3D Print Show in Madrid

Setting up for the 3D Print Show in Madrid

Lauren will also be making stops in Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Berlin for the 3D Print Show – please check out her blog entry on her European road trip for updates on meetups and events throughout the month.

Me and author Michelle Ward at Craftcation in 2014

Me and author Michelle Ward at Craftcation in 2014

Finally, at the end of March I will be heading out to Southern California to speak at Craftcation, a conference for creative makers in Ventura, California held March 26 through 29. I will be talking about funding your creative business and creative business models, plans and goals and will be talking a lot about business lessons from our Shapeways shop owners. I’ll also be hosting a meetup in the LA area on Wednesday, March 25 and a High Tech Meets Handmade Happy Hour in Ventura on Friday, March 27.

We hope to see you while we’re out on the road this month!

Modern Miniature Inspiration: Carol Mitcheson of Mitchy Moo Miniatures

This week we are pleased to feature Carol Mitcheson, of the blog Mitchy Moo Miniatures, and some of her inspired displays that use 3D printed miniature furniture and accessories. Carol is one of the judges for our Mini House Contest, where you have until April 10 to share photos your mini house or display with 3D printed details for a chance to win Shapeways printing credit and a feature on our blog.

3D printed miniature house dollhouse modern miniatures

Introduce yourself and tell us how did you get interested in mini houses and what inspired you to launch your blog?

My name is Carol Mitcheson, but my friends call me Pepper and my interest in miniatures started after a rather tongue-in-cheek comment about my husband’s action figure collection. A friend suggested I make a pub for them so they would have somewhere to hang out. I hated dusting them every week so I thought “why not.” It wasn’t until I started furnishing the pub that I realized modern miniatures where hard to come by and I ended up making many of them from scratch. I started the blog to record my progress and share anything I’d learnt with other miniaturists.

3D printed custom dollhouse miniature house

What inspires you to create your houses and rooms?

I probably do this the wrong way around but I collect miniatures, find I have nowhere to display them and then design a home for them. I get inspiration from everywhere – other miniaturists, interior design magazines and real-life buildings.

How did you discover Shapeways and 3D printed miniature accessories and furniture?

Another blogger, Megan from ModernMiniHouses, opened a shop on Shapeways and did a post about it. I was just fascinated by the technology. I realized then, that at last, there was a way to create complicated, scalable items that didn’t cost the earth.

3D printed miniature dollhouse minihouse

You’ve collaborated with designers using Shapeways to design accessories like a toolbox. Can you talk about how these collaborations came about and your process for creating them?

There are certain things in real-life that a very hard to replicate in miniature. I was building a miniature shed at the time and keen to fill it with as many realistic items as I could. I wanted to create an opening toolbox and some stacking boxes. Every miniature shed needs a miniature tool box, right? I read through the Shapeways forum to find a designer for hire and settled on a design team that had good feedback. Over two months I emailed my ideas, measurements of the life-size objects and received a work-in-progress report as the project developed. I received the designs in a file format that I could upload to Shapeways. The items were printed and received within a week.

Once you receive a 3D printed item, how do you work it into a display? Do you do any additional painting or finishing?

The first items I received were already painted and good to go. I bought another tool box later that I wanted to look like the ones sold by a well known DIY store in the UK. I painted it in the stores colours and added decals to make it look as realistic as possible. The addition of miniature tools and painting techniques to age the items make them look at home in the scene.

3D printed miniature dollhouse minihouses

Carol’s display featuring a miniature stag head by Dotsan

If miniature enthusiasts wanted to get started with 3D printing, what advice would you give them?

There is a lot of information on the Shapeways forum to get you started with 3D printing. If you don’t feel confident enough to design it yourself, there are many sellers and designers happy to help. It’s an exciting time for miniaturists – I feel the only restriction to our hobby now is our own imagination!

Check out the 3D printed mini houses contest for more information about sharing your mini house designs and displays with us!  

The next frontier: Meta augmented reality and 3D printing

Posted by in Community, Events

We’re excited to collaborate with Meta, the first wearable, Augmented Reality computer, for a hackathon in San Francisco March 6 and 7, 2015. In anticipation of the hackathon and for inspiration about how Augmented Reality and 3D printing can complement each other I asked Soren Harner, Chief Product Officer at Meta, to tell me more about how Augmented Reality be a tool for designing 3D printed products.

Interested in attending the hackathon on March 6 and 7 in San Francisco? For 50% off the registration enter the code MetaShapewaysHacks.

Please introduce the Meta products and tell us a little bit about how you have been developing them.

Meta is the first wearable Augmented Reality computer that lets you create and share digital objects in the real world. Meta’s Augmented Reality (AR for short) platform has attracted thousands of development groups who are building professional and gaming applications for numerous industries and we are currently shipping the Meta 1 Developer Kit.

Like most hardware startups, we are incredibly indebted to 3D printing. We created early functional prototypes using 3D printers. In fact, we couldn’t have shipped our first product without them. In the early days, we were creating a new prototype every day.

Augmented Reality, like 3D printing was a few years ago, is a technology that has been in the works for awhile, but is only just now becoming more available to the “average” person.

Augmented reality meta 3D printing

The Meta 1 Developer Kit

How do you foresee augmented reality will develop in the next few years?

Steady as she goes; our chief scientist, Steve Mann, has been working on AR since the 1970s. What we see now, more than ever, is smaller components at more affordable price points and more readily available. Advancement of GPUs and the miniaturization of emerging technologies, like displays and cameras, in cell phones makes it easier to create powerful AR devices.

However, as with VR, we understand we’re embarking on a journey. In the next few years we will see form-factors improve and an ecosystem of augmented reality apps develop and evolve. We feel this maturation is required before wide-scale adoption happens.

What connections do you see now, or hope to see, between augmented reality and 3D printing?

We see AR and 3D printing in complimentary and very similar fields. Just as 3D printing speeds up the manufacturing prototyping feedback loop, AR can speed up the modeling feedback loop before sending it to a 3D printer.

We’ve used Meta as a print-preview function for 3D printing. You can do more than see the object: you can place the object, at scale, in the physical location where you plan to use it. This gives you a sense of live perspective – a CAD model doesn’t do that.

The real benefit is after you have the model. For example, if you were designing jewelry you could easily design, edit, size, resize, change materials and colors customized for the designers body shape. It comes down to having a perspective of objects within the actual physical space. You can see your model in the environment instead of just on a 2D screen.

3D design augmented reality meta

Can you explain some of the design applications that have been built for Meta and how they could create files that are 3D printable? What else do you hope developers will create to bring together augmented reality and 3D printing?

We’ve built a 3D viewing application which allows for intuitive interaction with objects. It is available as part of our SDK in our developer portal. It allows you to select a 3D model from a library of objects and interact with them. We also provide the source code in the dev portal. We’d love it if someone at the upcoming hackathon would extend the app to allow for STL export (hint hint). Even better, we’d like the app to have basic mesh editing so that you could morph the model from within Meta.

We’d like to see tighter integration between Meta and CAD systems. Currently, files need to be converted to the .obj format for use in Meta. Another opportunity is to look at how individually printed pieces fit together into larger assembled parts. Imagine testing joints and how various parts fit together; that would really smooth out the end-to-end use-case.

It would be interesting to close the loop: 3D photocopying. Use the Meta depth camera to create a 3D scan of an object and then print it on the 3D printer. In a sense, this would be like duplication from the mere sight of an object.

Meta augmented reality 3D printing

Ultimately, we are part of the same 3D ecosystem. As depth cameras and light-field cameras become more commonplace, I think we’ll see an explosion of 3D content. This ecosystem is just going to get bigger. We also believe 3D printing combined with AR will be especially powerful in education and training. Imagine visualizing molecules in a lesson, printing them and then passing them around.

We’d really like to urge people to come to the hackathon. We’re bringing together developers, hackers, AR enthusiasts, and leading minds in the AR industry. Uber talented Meta engineers will be on hand for the two day event at the gorgeous Wix lounge in San Francisco’s SOMA district. Attendees will present their apps to possibly win a Meta 1 Developer Kit and a 1 year Unity Pro license, as well as Shapeways credit for the Design Award. You can register now and use the code MetaShapewaysHacks for 50% off registration.

 

 

Shapeways Crew all stars: 3D printing community events around the world

Posted by in Community

2015 has kicked off with a bang thanks to the efforts of our amazing Shapeways Crew members who have hosted 3D printing focused events all around the world! In their roles as 3D printing community leaders and ambassadors for Shapeways, Crew members have hosted workshops, exhibitions, a TedX talk, and meetups. I’m also exited to announce that Crew is nearly 60 members strong and we’ve recently welcomed Crew members from England, Germany, Australia, Finland, South Korea, as well as all over the United States!

Here’s the some of the highlights from our Crew members from the past two months:

3D printed heart, anatomical model, science

3D printed hearts in Frosted Ultra Detail and White Strong Flexible plastic

The NIH Science in 3D exhibition spear headed by Chris Leggett, who also shared more about his experience on this blog;

An introduction to 3D modeling at the East Brunswick Public Library organized and facilitated by Jeffrey Keiffer;
An introduction to toy design online course led by Christian Brock;

3D printing workshop Tedx Gijon Spain

3D printing workshop at TedX Gijon

An introduction to 3D printing at TedX Gijon in Spain by Mariel Diaz Castro. Shapeways printed keychains with the TedX Gijon logo;
A talk with employees of the digital agency Huge by Melissa Ng at the Shapeways LIC factory;

3D printing meetup Singapore

3D printing meetup in Singapore

A 3D printing meetup in Singapore led by Ariel Lemon;

Nervous System's Hyphae lamp at Stacking Layers

Nervous System’s Hyphae lamp at Stacking Layers

Thomas Jackson represented Shapeways at the Stacking Layers conference at Florida State University in Tallahassee and helped facilitated a meetup at maker space Making Awesome.

Idoya and Luk of Somersault 18:24 at Biotech Day in Ghent, Belgium

Idoya and Luk of Somersault 18:24 at Biotech Day in Ghent, Belgium

The ever inspiring Luk and Idoya of Somersault 18:24 presented about 3D printing to a group of students in Peers, Belgium. They also represented Shapeways last year at Biotech Day in Ghent, Belgium;

Students with Somersault 18:24 3D printed designs

Students with Somersault 18:24 3D printed designs

Display of Shapeways models at the Columbus Idea Foundry

Display of Shapeways models at the Columbus Idea Foundry

Finally, Tom  Hanson, based in Columbus, Ohio has been attending the monthly 3D printer meet up at the Columbus Idea Foundry to talk about Shapeways and how a 3D printing service can augment what you can make with a desktop printer.

Want to get involved in Shapeways Crew to bring dyanamic 3D printing events to your community, hang out with other 3D printing leaders and get the inside track on what’s happening at Shapeways? Apply now by filling out this quick survey. Are there 3D printing or design events in your community you’d like to be a part of?

 

Mini houses, maximum inspiration: Meet our mini house contest judges

Miniature houses are big on Shapeways! To celebrate our miniature community, we’ve launched a contest in conjunction with the fabulous blog Modern Mini Houses to invite mini house fans to share the beautiful displays they’ve created that incorprate 3D printed furniture and accessories. You have until April 10th to share your mini house or display with us on Facebook for a chance to win Shapeways 3D printing credit. Visit the contest page for more information on how to enter and read on for more mini house inspiration and to meet the contest judges.

3D printed dollhouse mini house

Living room by Megan Hornbecker with 75 mm stag head by Dotsan

To kick off the mini house contest we wanted to highlight the work of the contest judges: Megan Hornbecker of Modern Mini Houses, Kacie Hultgren of Pretty Small Things, and Carol Mitcheson of Mitchy Moo Miniatures. I am constantly delighted by their attention to detail and the imaginative ways they incorporate 3D printing into their displays. When I look at these mini houses I want to move right in!

Megan Hornbecker chronicles her obsession with miniatures and dollhouses on her blog Modern Mini Houses and was recently featured in our Designer Spotlight. She also shared her process of creating a 3D printed miniature pendant light in a special “How I Made” tutorial.

3D printed dollhouse modern mini house living room

Living room by Megan Hornbecker

Modern mini house 3D printed dollhouse kitchen

Kitchen by Megan Hornbecker

Carol Mitcheson is a miniature maker and collector based in the UK and the author of the blog Mitchy Moo Miniatures. She also co-designed some mini accessories on Shapeways, including the mini tool box featured below.

3D printed dollhouse mini house shed toolbox

Shed by Carol Mitcheson

3D printed dollhouse mini house living room

Living room by Carol Mitcheson

Kacie Hultgren is a designer who uses Shapeways to create miniature furniture and accessories in her Pretty Small Things shop.  She also spoke about marketing and branding at the Shapeways Small Business Bootcamp.

Need some more inspiration to design or discover the perfect piece for your mini house? Megan, Kacie and Carol have curated selections of their Shapeways favorites and they are featured on our miniature furniture page.

Want to make a 3D printed mini dream house and win Shapeways credit? Read more on the mini house contest page and share your creation with us!

Unique 3D printed celebrations of love

A few months ago we invited our community members to share how they were commemorating and celebrating their unique love with 3D printing. Needless to say, we loved the creative ideas that they came up with. This Valentine’s Day, as you celebrate love, friendship and treat yourself, we hope that these ideas from our community will inspire you!

3D printed wedding take topper tea set

From Harry of Lightbringer Designs

Our shared affinity for loose leaf tea was one of the first things that brought us together and it has become a recurring design element in our wedding. My Shapeways store focuses on wax seals, so of course we needed a very special seal for our wedding invitations. Liz, being an artist, drew the initial concept sketches, which became the seal. We each wanted our own, so one is cast bronze and the other brass. We hope to have enough time to make chocolate seals to go with the wedding cake too!

3D printed custom wedding wax seals

Borrowing from the seal design, I made cufflinks for the men in the bridal party with each person’s initials replacing the heart and the E&H. This way, they can still use them after the wedding. Also, most monogrammed cufflinks are engraved – as far as I know, Shapeways is the only way to get them embossed. 7 groomsmen, FoB, FoG, and myself – 10 sets in Shapeways polished silver.

3D printed custom wedding cufflink

To, ahem, top it all off, we made our own wedding cake toppers from Shapeways stainless steel. The shorter tea pot with the Stars and a cat tail is for Liz, while mine is a taller wire frame.

I make customized wax seals and cufflinks to order on my Shapeways store, send a a PM to arrange for a similar order.

3D printed cufflink custom wedding

From Erin Baker

3D printed custom wedding favor

I am a graphic artist and wanted to create something unique for our guests to take home with them. I decided on making a 3D ambigram of our initials in a heart, that would represent our marriage. You can view the negative space as two people holding hands, and you can view the positive space as the letters “e” and “g” for Erin and Greg.

3D printed custom wedding favors

by Jo Ann Manolis Photography

From Alejandro Guzman Aguado

Custom 3D printed jewelry

I have created several models for Nancy, but I have only printed 3 pieces, as she is not very fond of jewelry. However, when she can wear something special created just for her I think she enjoys the idea and the gesture just as much as the object itself.

Custom 3D printed engagement ring

When I create a model for her, I feel again as a teenager doing origami for the girl I like. But this object endures far longer than paper and it’s beautiful to watch being worn by the woman you love. The most important piece I have created is her engagement ring. While it may not be the most expensive or elegant ring, but it is a beautiful piece and there is nothing more exciting than creating the object you will deliver when you ask the question that will define your life together.

What would you like to design for someone you love?

Love in 3D: From Wedding Contest Winners to Newlyweds

Just in time for Valentine’s Day we caught up with Bastiaan and Alicia Ekeler, the winners of our Love in 3D wedding contest from earlier this year. They 3D printed their wedding bands and gifts for the wedding party and we wanted to catch up with them to hear about their special day and what they have been making since!

3D printed wedding rings

How did you design your 3D printed wedding rings? What inspired you to put your finger prints on the inside of the bands?

I designed the rings using Photoshop and Rhinoceros 3D. I have a background in industrial design so I am very familiar with these software packages. Rhino has been my favorite 3D modeling tool for a long time and was the perfect candidate for this project. The rings started with an ink pad, an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper, a lot of fingerprints and a scanner. The scanned image was prepared in Photoshop and converted into a 3D surface in Rhino. I modelled the rest of the ring around the fingerprint relief and exported the whole thing to STL. There was a lot of experimentation to get all the variables right but the whole process worked pretty well.

The idea of using fingerprints stems from the inherent capability for 3D printing to customize any product. Even without having won the contest, it was clear to me that our wedding rings would have to be unique and personal. No off-the-shelf design would do. Fingerprints seemed pretty unique and personal and the finger has an innate connection with the ring to begin with. They were an ideal match to be brought to life using additive manufacturing. So, the idea was born to have my left ring finger’s print embedded in my wife’s ring and vice-versa.

You might be interested to know that we have actually decided to start offering custom designed rings on Shapeways! We like ours so much that we feel we should share the design with the world and opened out first Shapeways store.

Did you 3D print any special favors for the bridesmaids and groomsmen?

Yes, we actually did design gifts for the members of our wedding party. For the bridesmaids, we created a tiny little infinity symbol, loosely modeled after a precisely curved twig. It is a little hard to see from the picture but the pendant has some knots and imperfections on it, making it a little more organic than mathematical. I even went into Zbrush and textured the outside to mimic tree bark, although this detail got polished out in the finishing process. It is always hard to resist the temptation of getting lost in modeling details when zoomed in 1000% on a 1cm wide model. The infinity symbol was chosen for it’s obvious marriage / friendship related symbolism and the branch element was based on the outside, farmhouse wedding location.

3D printed wedding favors neckalce

For the groomsmen, all high school friends of mine, I designed a pair of cufflinks with the logo we’ve been using since college to symbolize our group. I will leave the interpretation of the abbreviation as a exercise to the reader.

3D printed wedding favors cufflinks groomsmet

Now that you are married, have you designed anything together to commemorate your wedding or your time together since?

We haven’t done any 3D modeling together since the wedding but I would like to share one last Shapeways item we had made: a cake topper. We went through a lot of designs for this but in the end decided to keep it pretty simple and elegant, matching those same qualities of the cake itself. Yet another use for the white, strong an flexible nylon!

3D printed wedding cake topper

Can you share one piece of advice for newlyweds or couples who are about to get married?
I don’t know if we’re really in a position to be giving out advice as fresh newlyweds. From our short experience, I’m afraid I can only talk in clichés, so here we go: Never take each other for granted, pick your battles and always keep communicating.

Thank you again for allowing us to have the best wedding we could have had through the power of 3D printing!

wedding 3D printed

Bastiaan + Alicia Ekeler

Congratulations again, Bastiaan and Alicia! For our lovebirds out there, what do you plan on 3D printing for your sweetheart?  

 

My heart beats for you: 3D printed anatomical hearts on Shapeways

Whatever your feelings on Valentine’s Day, one thing we all love on Shapeways 3D printed hearts that our community members who are scientists, artists and designers are creating inspired by that vital organ beating in all of our chests.

Shapeways Crew member Nathan Schmidt created this design inspired by his daughter Lucy, who was diagnosed with a rare heart condition. He shared her story on our blog last year.

Another Crew member, Chris Leggett, created an anatomically accurate heart based on data available from the National Institute of Health’s 3D Print Exchange. You can read more about how he created this model in his blog post about science and 3D printing.

Too much heart? We also love designs inspired by heart beats like these rings:

Like this list? You can share Shapeways products anywhere with our new embed feature!

How I Made a mini 1:12 scale pendant light for my dollhouse in SketchUp

Written by Megan Hornbecker

I’ve been fascinated with miniatures for as long as I can remember. 8 years ago I became addicted to modern miniatures. I had been carting around the dollhouse my mom made for me as a kid and thought it would be a fun project to redo the Country Victorian interior into something more contemporary. I searched online and found a few blogs that showcased modern miniatures and I was hooked. The only problem was there are very few artists out there making them. I started a blog, Modern Mini Houses, to feature the artists and designers I found making modern miniatures.

Megan-Headshot

Since I couldn’t find some of the decor and furniture I’d see in designer stores and magazines, I figured I should try to make them in miniature. The next problem was I knew nothing about 3D modeling. I found Shapeways and tried out a few of the free 3D modeling programs they recommended and had the most success with SketchUp 8.

By no means am I an expert modeler, I taught myself by trial and error. I’d have an idea of what I wanted to make and would search for videos and tutorials until I figured out how to do it. I’m writing this tutorial to share some tips and tricks for beginners to get started making 3D models in SketchUp. I was using SketchUp 8. It has been updated and the new free version is SketchUp Make 2015. The tool icons look a little different but they work the same as in this tutorial.

3D printed dollhouse light 1:12 scale

My designs are inspired by modern décor I want in full scale and by small pieces I find online or at random stores. I find something I like, work out the dimensions in 1:12 scale and then start designing. I found these LED battery operated earrings that I thought I could make into a cool light. The above two full-scale hanging lights inspired me to make a modern hanging pendant light with my LED lights, I like the structural supports on the bottom and the tall pendants.

I cut the clip-on earring attachments off the backs, arranged them where I thought they would work and measured the perimeter = 2.5″ x 1.25″. Each light is about 12mm wide by 10mm tall. To make sure the lights fit in the pendants I added 1mm of wiggle room and 1mm for each side of the wall so the pendant needed a 15mm diameter. I guessed the pendant should also be 15mm tall to hide the LED with room on top to be lit up by the light.

The Basics: Getting started in SketchUp

When you select the tool you want to use, the first mouse click in the drawing space starts the action that the tool is supposed to do and the second mouse click stops the action wherever you clicked. This works great for freehand design. If you want an exact measurement, click once where you want the action to start, move the curser the direction you want it to go, then type whatever dimension you want and hit Enter. There is no need for a second click, Hitting Enter will stop the action. Typing will fill in the dimension field in the bottom right corner field without having to click in that box. This field changes depending on which tool you have selected. If you select a tool, click once, but when you start to move the curser something crazy happens you didn’t want, just move the cursor back to the tools and click on another tool and the action will disappear. Undo/redo will be your friend as you get started figuring out how everything works.

Step 1: Add guides to define the perimeter of the light. Start to make first pendant.

3D modeling SketchUp dollhouse light

1A Select the Tape Measurer tool. Click once anywhere on the Green Axis, move the curser to the right to move the guide, type in 2.5 and hit enter (the default is inches so you don’t need to type the “ symbol).

1B Zoom in so you can see the line. (On a Mac: 2 finger scroll up on our track pad to zoom in, down to zoom out. On a PC: Select the Zoom tool. Click and drag anywhere in the drawing area. Move the cursor up to zoom in and down to zoom out.) Click once anywhere on the Red Axis, move the cursor up to the right, type in 1.25 and hit enter. Now we have guides marking the perimeter of the light.

1C Select the Circle tool. Type 100 and hit enter. (This changes the Sides to have more line segments making the circle’s edge smooth and round. Sides set to 24 or 48 will print corners or ridges on the circle’s edge. If you zoom in really far, you’ll see that the circle is actually made up of lines). Click once anywhere outside of your guides and move curser to the right.

1D Type in 7.5mm and hit enter to set the Radius (=15mm diameter divided by 2).

Step 2: Make base of pendant

3D modeling SketchUp dollhouse light

2A Select the Push/Pull tool. Click once on the circle to select it, drag the curser up to make the base.

2B Type 1mm and hit enter to set the distance. Note the default is inches so sometimes it will change the Dimension to inches like ~ 3/64″ after you hit enter, other times it keeps the Dimension in mm.

Tip: I make all of my miniatures at least 1mm – 1.5m thick so it can be polished and so it looks true to scale. Sometimes I do thicker, but under 1mm is too flimsy, the walls can bend, and everything I’ve tested under 1mm wasn’t high enough quality for me so I ended up redesigning to be over 1mm. Save yourself some time and just start at 1mm or thicker.

2C Select the Offset tool. Mouse over the top outside edge and click once when it says “On Edge”. Move the cursor towards the middle. Type 1mm then hit enter.

2D Select the Push/Pull tool. Click once inside the 1mm ring you just made and move the cursor up. Type 14mm then hit enter (the base is already 1mm, so add14 mm and that gives us the 15mm height I determined at the beginning).

Step3: Move pendant inside perimeter guides

3D modeling dollhouse light SketchUp

3A This will pull the walls up so we have the first pendant for our light.

3B Next, I want to move the pendant into position on the middle edge of the perimeter we measured out in Step 1. Select the Tape Measurer tool. Mouse over the intersection of the Blue, Green and Red Axis until the yellow “Origin” dot shows up, click once then move the curser up the Green Axis. Type .625 then hit enter (half the length of the 1.25″ side). If you haven’t saved yet, now is a good time.

3C Select the Orbit tool. Click and drag anywhere in the drawing area. Move the cursor to turn your perspective so you are behind the pendant. Select the Select tool (arrow in top left) and draw a box around the pendant to select the whole thing.

3D Select the Move tool. Find the most outer “Endpoint” on the pendant and click once, then move the curser to the “Guide Point” and click a second time to move it into the correct position.

Step 4: Copy and place second pendant

3D modeling SketchUp dollhouse light

4A Select the Tape Measure tool. I’m not exactly sure where I want to put the second pendant so I’m going to mark two distances. Click once on the Intersection of the Green Axis and the guide on the left of the pendant. Type 20mm then hit enter. Repeat and type 22mm then hit enter.
4B Since we already have the pendant selected in blue, copy and paste (under Edit tab, or Ctrl+c/Command+c and Ctrl+v/Command+v), then click once to drop the copied pendant farther away from our workspace.

4C Select the Orbit tool, click and drag to move around the side. Zoom in or try the Pan tool (white hand) to get the perspective you need.

4D Select the Move tool. Find and click on the outer Endpoint then move and click on the 20mm Guide Point.

Step 5: Copy and place third pendant

3D modeling SketchUp dollhouse light

5A The 20mm Guide was a little too close so I used the Move tool to put it on the 22mm Guide Point. I grabbed the wrong Endpoint so I used Orbit/Zoom/Pan tools to check on the bottom that the right Endpoint was on the Guide Point (if the pendant is on the line it’s perfect, if part of the pendant is over the guide line try grabbing the Endpoint that is over the line and move that to the Guide Point).

5B Orbit to the top, copy and paste the third pendant.

5C Orbit then select the Tape Measure tool. Click on Origin and move curser up the Red Axis, type 22mm then hit enter.

5D Move Endpoint to Guide Point.

Step 6: Copy and place other half of light

3D modeling SketchUp Dollhouse Light

6A Orbit/Zoom out, select all (under Edit tab, or Ctrl+a/Command+a). This will copy all three pendants and the guides.

6B & C Paste (under Edit tab, or Ctrl+v/Command+v) and move cursor outside the perimeter and click to place. Select the Rotate tool. Click once on the top guide line when it says “On Line” so the Rotate tool is flat, then move cursor parallel to Green Axis so it is drawing a green line when it says On Green Axis then click a second time. Type 180 then hit enter.

6D Select the Move tool and match guide lines to move it into the perimeter.

Step 7: Move and add center guide points

3d modeling SketchUp Dollhouse

7A Looking again, it seems too tight so I moved it more to the right half an inch.

7B Orbit to the bottom. Select Tape Measurer click on any Endpoint edge of any circle, then move curser towards the middle. Type 7.5mm then enter. Do this on all of the pendant bottoms so we have the middle point to attach the supporting beams.

7C Select the Tape Measure tool. Measure from center guide point of one end to the other, which equals ~2 9/32″

7D Select the Rectangle tool. Click once above and away from current model and move curser up and to the right. Type 2 9/32, 2mm then hit enter. (Tip: I’m making the support bars 2mm thick to be strong enough to connect all six pendants so everything stays together in the polisher, and 2mm looks the most realistic at this scale)

Step 8: Add support beam

3D modeling SketchUp Dollhouse

8A Select the Push/Pull tool and click on the new rectangle.

8B Move the curser up and type 2mm then hit enter. Use Select tool to draw a box around the new rectangle bar to select it.
8C Orbit to side view.

8D Select the Move tool. Click once on the Midpoint of the rectangle bar then move curser and click on the Guide Point in the middle of the pendant bottom.

Step 9: Fix length and measure cross beam

3D modeling SketchUp Dollhouse

9A Orbit to the other end of the rectangle bar and Zoom in. It’s a little short.

9B Select the Push/Pull tool. Click on the square end and pull forward then click on the Guide Point to line it up perfectly in the middle.
9C Orbit then measure the next center Guide Points = ~21/32″

9D Select the Rectangle tool. Click once above and away from current model and move curser up and to the right. Type 21/32, 2mm then hit enter.

Step 10: Add first cross beam

3D modeling SketchUp Dollhouse

10A Select the Push/Pull tool. Click on the rectangle, type 2mm then hit enter.

10B Select the Select tool and draw a box around new cross bar to select all of it.

10C Orbit to side. Copy and Paste. Click to the side of the first bar to place the copied bar next to it. Select the Move tool. Click on the Midpoint.

10D Move curser to and then click on the Guide Point. (You know it’s in the right place if the tops of the two bars are flat.)

Step 11: Add second cross beam and adjust length

3D modeling SketchUp Dollhouse

11A Repeat for the other cross bar. Use Select tool and draw a box around the other cross bar. (Tip: for any part you plan to move, it’s best to leave it far enough away from other components so you can easily draw the select box around it without selecting other things near it. You know it’s too close when you try to move it and things you didn’t intend to move go with it. Never fear, that’s what Undo is for. You will use it a lot. Just zoom in and adjust your perspective to be able to isolate a section you are trying to surround with the select tool in order to move only it.)

11B Select the Move tool. Click on the Midpoint of the bar, move curser to and then click on the Guide Point.

11C Orbit to the other side and we’ll see the bars are a little short again.

11D Zoom in and select Push/pull tool. Click on the end move curser to and click on the Guide Point.

Step 12: Add cross bars to attach hardware

3D modeling SketchUp Dollhouse

12A Orbit to the top. Almost done, but we need to add holes to be able to add hardware to hang the light. Measure between pendants (the two green dots in photo) = 5/32″. Select the Rectangle tool. Click once away to the left side of the light (sorry no photo, I didn’t take enough screen shots here) and move curser up and to the right. Type 5/32, 2mm then hit enter. Then use Push/Pull to grab the top and type 2mm then hit enter to create a small cross bar. Copy and Paste moving the second one out of the way.

12B Zoom in between where 3 of the pendants meet. The two horizontal lines are where the cross beam is connecting these two pendants and the dotted vertical line is the Guide we started with that runs down the middle. We’re going to add our new bar above this to create a hole. Select the Tape Measurer. Click on the Intersection of the middle guide and the lower horizontal line. Move the curser up until it is drawing a blue line parallel to the Blue Axis and sides of pendants. Type 2mm then hit enter.

12C Select the Select tool and draw a box around one of the new short cross bars to select all of it. Select the Move tool. Click on the Midpoint.

12D Move curser to the Guide Point and click to connect it. Orbit to the other side and repeat steps 12B C D to attach the second new short cross bar into place.

Step 13: Upload and print

3D modeling SketchUp Dollhouse

13A DONE!! Save if you haven’t lately. Then go to File > Export 3D Model… then select Format: COLLADA File (*.dae)

13B Go to Shapeways, set up an account and then click Upload. Select your .dae file. Make sure you set the Model Units to “millimeters”.

13C Once the file is uploaded you can see which materials it is printable in and if there are any issues that won’t allow it to be printed. (If there are problems Shapeways explains the issues and links to more details on guidelines for each material and has a cool option to Fix Thin Walls for you.) I selected to print this in White Strong & Flexible Polished.

13D I ordered it on Jan 12 and it was on my doorstep on Jan 24. Every time I get an order from Shapeways, I still get excited. It’s just so cool to hold something in your hand that you created in digital format.

3D modeling SketchUp Dollhouse

To save drying time, I painted the cross beams with a gold Sharpie (the strong & flexible material is very porous so GO SLOW as it easily sucks up the paint and spreads where you might not want it go. Or just use regular acrylic paint and a tiny brush). There was a little bit of powder residue in the holes to attach the hardware; I poked that out with a toothpick and then attached a wire to hang the pendant light 2.5” above the table (standard suggested height). Here is the finished pendant with the lights on and off in my dollhouse kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shapeways Crew: a dynamic, worldwide 3D printing community

Posted by in Community, Shapeways

Shapeways Crew is a group of Shapeways community members who exemplify all that we stand for: they are creative, inspiring, helpful to others, and a lot of fun! We launched this initiative mid- 2014 and I’m excited to share more about what we have accomplished so far!

Shapeways Crew members share skills, ideas and inspiration through regular online hangouts, at in-person events and in a private Facebook group. They also showcase their knowledge and products through writing blog posts, tutorials and hosting and attending events on behalf of Shapeways and get the inside track on all that’s new here. Here’s a look at this talented group of people accomplished in 2014: 

Shapeways Community 3D printing Crew

Are you someone who is excited and inspired by the possibilities of 3D printing? Do you want to share what you have made and learned with others around the world and attend events on behalf of Shapeways? Sign up for Crew here – we’d love to have you aboard! 

Holiday Finds: 3D printed gifts for the petrolhead

Posted by in Holiday 2014

It might be a little late to get 3D printed gifts in time for the holiday, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still give the gift of 3D printing! Check out our digital gift cards – they’re a great gift for those on your list who you still don’t know what to buy for!

Jeremy Burnich of 3D Racetracks was kind enough to put together a list of some of his favorite 3D printed products, perfect for petrolheads! This is a collection of items from seven different designers that are sure to have something for fans of cars, motorbikes, and racing.

For people into classic Italian cars check out designs by TonyRR.  He makes all sorts of neat keychains other items like this  cool Ferrari 328 tie clip.  For your inner Magnum PI – check out his Ferrari 308 Logo keychain - yep, that’s the car you saw cruising around Honolulu driven by a certain mustached man in the 80’s.

3D printed tie clip men's accessories ferari

 

3D printed keychain metal ferari

Don’t have $1.5 million to spend on the Easy Rider “Captain America” Chopper? We have something that might be more in your budget; this ”bad to the bone” silver Easy Rider Skull Pendant by UrbanoRodriguez.  Peter Fonda would be proud.

3D printed easy rider metal pendant

Moving on to four wheels, any Formula 1 fan, though maybe not Nikki Lauda fans, would be happy to receive this very cool McLaren M23 keyring/pendant, which was James Hunt’s 1976 car by aegidian.  This designer has other really neat F1 items.  Interesting collection!

3D printed steel metal McLaren pendant

Sticking with F1 and ahem, acknowledging a little self promotion, check out what for many F1 fans is their favorite track – the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.  The Belgian GP in all it’s topographic glory. You like Monaco more? Don’t worry, that one and many other tracks available in my Shapeways store.

3D printed racetracks

I had to throw this one in. A neat doodad to have on your desk or charm on your keychain or even as a pendant for you über petrolheads out there – the benzene molecule!  (That’s what’s in gasoline – petrol to those in the UK).

3D printed molecule gasoline

Are you or someone you love apt to tinker with the looks of your bike? Do you happen to have one of the most iconic bikes of the modern era from one of the most iconic motorcycle manufacturers of all time?  Want to upgrade your motorcycle with 3d printed parts? My shop Joy Complex has you covered with these steel heel guards for your Moto Guzzi Griso – photos on an 8VSE in Tenni Green, nice bike!

3D printed heel guars steel moto guzi

Last but not most definitely not least. – Mini F1 Drivers!  Figurines that are printed by Shapeways. You have to PM the designer on his Facebook page to make a purchase though. These little guys are so cute and I know any F1 fans would love to have one. Look at this awesome Lewis Hamilton (with Shapeways box in the background.)  Wow!  Now if only he would also make some MotoGP riders – that would be a holiday miracle!

3D printed formula 1 figurine

 

 

Our biggest sale ever! Happy Cyber Monday!

Happy Cyber Monday! To celebrate the season we are offering you our biggest sale ever – today only get 20% off 3D printed products site wide when you enter the code CYBER20 at checkout! Cyber Monday 3D printed sale

The fine print:

This promotion is non-transferable and valid once per customer with a maximum discount of $100. 20% discount applies only to 3D printed products, not gift cards, sample kits, shipping, wrapping, or other services. If you order a design during the promotion period that cannot be printed, we cannot apply discounts to future orders (even if these designs are repaired). If you return your purchase, you will be refunded the amount paid. Offer expires December 1 at 11:59pm PST.