Author Archives: Eleanor

The future of 3D printing is now: A new factory for Shapeways Eindhoven

3Dprinting factory opening

Pete Weijmarshausen cutting the ribbon with Katja Lucas from Dutch Design Week, the Royal Commissioner Wim van de Donk, and the Mayor of Eindhoven, Rob van Gijzel

The future of 3D printing is looking brighter and brighter, as more people design custom that are exactly what they want. As excitement about 3D printing has grown, so has Shapeways and on Monday, October 20 we opened the our new 3D printing factory in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. This is our third location in Eindhoven and the largest so far! We’re so excited because we will not only be able to produce 3D printed products more efficiently at this new facility, but it has plenty of room to grow for the future. It’s a milestone in Shapeways history and we’re excited to be growing in the city where we began.

3D printing factory opening

Pete Weijmarshausen welcomes guests and the Shapeways team to the new Shapeways Eindhoven factory

At the opening Shapeways co-founder and CEO Petere Weijmarshausen kicked off the evening and talked about how Shapeways grew from one office with one chair and desk to a company of 150 with factories on both sides of the Atlantic. We were also joined by very special guests Katja Lucas from Dutch Design Week, the Royal Commissioner Wim Van De Donk, and the Mayor of Eindhoven, Rob van Gijzel who spoke about the significance of Shapeways and 3D printing for Dutch design, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The entry hallway at our new Eindhoven factory

The entry hallway at our new Eindhoven factory

With Dutch Design Week in full swing we were honored that Katja Lucas made time in her busy schedule to talk about how 3D printing and companies like Shapeways are empowering designers to push their imaginations and their designs. The Rob van Gijzel, Mayor of Eindhoven, spoke about the city’s tradition of nurturing technological visionaries and the entrepreurial spirit that Shapeways exemplifies. The Royal Commissioner, Wim van de Donk, said he felt like, “A part of history,” and drew connections to Einstein’s time in Eindhoven and how 3D printing is not only driving our imaginations, but the next industrial revolution.

We also wanted to thank you, our community, for enabling us to bring your designs to life over the past six years. We’re all learning and growing together in this new industrial revolution and are curious to know, what do you think will be the next big thing in 3D printing? What are you looking forward to?

Shapeways Eindhoven 3D printing team

Three cheers for our community and thank you from the Shapeways Eindhoven team!

Want to see more of our Eindhoven factory? Join us on this minute-long, Hyperlapse tour!


 

Shapeways Community at Dutch Design Week

Shapeways Dutch Design Week 3D printing

Shapeways staff members David Gillespie and Ruud van Muijzenberg discuss 3D printing with Dutch Design Week visitors

For the fifth year in a row Shapeways is proud to participate in Dutch Design Week, a week long showcase of all that’s new and innovative in Design in the Netherlands held in our European hometown of Eindhoven. Shapeways designers and shop owners also are a big presence at Dutch Design week and had a chance to show off their 3D printed designs, jewelry and accessories. It’s my first time attending Dutch Design Week and I’ve been really excited about the innovation and energy on display, as well as the engagement of visitors, who are all enthusiastic about learning about innovative design possibilities.

3D printed Dutch Design Week products

Daphne Lameris explains the process of 3D printing with Selective Laser Sintering

The Shapeways booth features a wide selection of products that show off the possibilities of our different materials, including Strong Flexible Plastic, Full Color Sandstone, Ceramics and our many different metals, including 3D printed steel and precious metals like silver and gold. An eye catching addition to our booth this year are three clocks by Plokk, which are 3D printed in strong flexible nylon plastic. Created by Henk Hulshof and Gertjan Westerbeke these clocks bring Christiaan Huygens’ pendulum clock, as designed at his drawing board in 1656, to the 21st century. At Plokk’s Shapeways shop you can download a 3D file to adjust and customize the clock face.

3D printed clocks Dutch Design Week Plokk

Henk Hulshof shows off the Caliber 1 Plokk, a fully 3D printed clock

It’s been great to talk with visitors about how 3D printed products are made and many were amazed at the fact you could print complex objects with interlocking, moving parts at one go. They were especially taken with the Double 8 fabric squares created by Vincent Greco and the garment based on the biometrics of shark skin that was made during our Computational Fashion Masterclass.

Daphne Lameris 3D printed jewelry Dutch Design Week

Daphne Lameris displays her 3D printed jewelry

On opening weekend we were joined by Shapeways Crew member Daphne Lameris, an industrial design and engineering student who creates 3D printed jewelry and accessories. Daphne is also an expert on the 3D printing process and jumped right in to answer visitors questions about how 3D printing works. Dario Scapitta also joined us to show off his beautiful 3D printed jewelry. We were also happy to see that Shapeways shop owner Ina Sufeleers had her own exhibit  for Ola, her line of 3D printed jewelry, right near the Shapeways booth.

3D printed jewelry Dutch Design Week

Jewelers and Shapeways shop owners Ina Suffeleers and Daria Scapitta meet at Dutch Design Week

Ola jewelry 3D printed Dutch Design Week

Ina Suffeleers displays off her Ola 3D printed jewelry at Dutch Design Week

We also love meeting community members and seeing what they make with Shapeways. When Felix Mollinga came to our booth and showed us the ring he created from a scan of his face and 3D printed with Shapeways of course I had to snap a picture!

3D printing jewelry Shapeways ring Dutch Design Week

Designer Felix Mollinga shows off the ring he made from a scan of his face that he 3D printed with Shapeways

Our exhibition at Dutch Design Week is open until October 26th and we will also be joined by community members FabMe Jewelry, Somersault 18:24 and Virtox, who has joined us for 5 years at Dutch Design Week! If you are visiting Dutch Design Week this year we’d love to see you!

 


 

Time-IT Watch: How 3D printing can drive innovation in wearable tech

Time-IT watch has produced a new watch series using Shapeways to print the watch cases in bronze. I talked with Ramon Groen, the company’s founder, about his company and how 3D printing is helping to push the boundaries of product development and wearable tech.

3D printed watch, wearable tech

Please introduce yourself. What is your background and what inspired you to create Time-IT watch?

My name is Ramon Groen and I have been entrepreneurial since the start of the new millennium. I made career at a former Philips division and in 2004 I founded my own company, TIME-IT watch. We had the idea of creating a watch never seen before – a LED display with linear time reading system that we hoped could change perception of time. TIME-IT watch company ( http://timeitwatch.com/about) specializes in designer LED watches even received a design award in Paris in 2006. I’m proud to say that TIME-IT is one of the mayor players in the niche market for designer LED watches worldwide.

What was your design and iteration process like?

When we started the company we had to start from scratch. We had to build a non-existing technology and it took us lots and lots time to send samples back and forth to one another. It was an intense iteration process and took about two years to have our first watch ready that worked really well.

3D printed watch wearable tech

Limited edition watch with cover printed by Shapeways

How did 3D printing enable you to bring this idea to life?

We always want to experiment with new designs, techniques and materials. Based on our experience in the development and production of watches and having acces to a 3d printer we decided to make some prototypes just around the corner of our office in Amsterdam. We got so excited with the outcome and were surprised with the speed of this new design and iteration proces that we decided to send a 3d]D design to Shapeways to see how a high quality 3D print would look and whether it would be good enough to use as end product. The result was mind blowing! We decided to launch our first limited watch series of 200 watches with the case printed in in bronze metal by Shapeways.

In your opinion, how do you feel 3D printing is enabling and empowering product designers?

I think 3d printing is the future for product designers. it’s a great way to get to the best design in a short time, no expensive moulds or tooling is needed, practically you make a product at ‘no cost.’

Want to find more wearable tech? Check out other innovative accessories and gadgets printed with Shapeways!


 

Introducing kids and families to 3D printing: Shapeways at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum

3D printed products children's museum exhibition

Shapeways show and tell table at the exhibition opening

Shapeways is proud to be working with the Brooklyn Children’s Museum to introduce the next generation of 3D designers, engineers, scientists and inventors to 3D printing. The exhibition “More than meets the ‘I’” opens today and runs through January 19, 2015. It explores the future of biology, health, robotics and technology and features a display of 3D printed products created by our talented designers and 3D printed by Shapeways, as well as the Ultimaker 2 desktop printer.

3D printing children's museum exhibition

A view of our exhibition case and show and tell table

I worked with Sandra Vanderwarf, Curator and Collections Manager, and Marcos Stafne, Vice President of Programs and Visitor Experience, at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum as a guest curator to select models from Shapeways that illustrate the possibilities of 3D printing and would be fun and engaging for a young audience.

3D printed children's museum exhibition

Preparing the exhibition at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum

The exhibition explores how 3D printed products are made and highlights how 3D printing is used to make complex, custom objects like jewelry, figurines and toys, as well as scientific models like crystals and cells, and practical objects like glasses and prosthetic limbs.

3D printing children's museum exhibition

Showing off 3D printed designs at the exhibition opening

It was a fun challenge to write the text and choose the final objects for this exhibition because 3D printing can be difficult for adults to understand. Sandra and I struggled to describe how selective laser sintering works and other 3D printing processes work. Here’s a sneak peek of what we came up with, “Instead of printing a design in ink, 3D printers use melted wax and powdered plastic, or minerals mixed with glue. The printer stacks tiny layers of these materials on top of each other to build a model of your design from the bottom up.”

3D printer children's museum exhibition ultimaker desktop printer

The Ultimaker 2 with a Full Color Sandstone grumpy cat figurine with full color sandstone powder and an example gypsum, one of the minerals that goes into making full color sandstone

I am really proud to have the opportunity to work on this exhibition, as I started my career as a museum educator and I love museums as spaces to learn and explore. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is a great partner for Shapeways because they innovated the idea of creating a museum focused on children when they were founded in 1899 and have inspired children’s museums around the country and the world!

I’m excited because the kids and families that come to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum today are the innovators and inventors that will push technologies like 3D printing forward tomorrow. What do you think is next for 3D printing? How can kids help? And finally, how would you describe 3D printing to the next generation?

Are you a kid or a parent that wants to learn more about 3D printing? Try out our Introduction to 3D design & printing for kids tutorial. And for design inspiration, check out the work of Zach Tsiakalis-Brown, one of the youngest Shapeways shop owners!

 

 


 

Build your business with 3D printing: Shapeways Small Business Bootcamp October 24

Posted by in Events 6 Comments

I am so excited to announce the first ever Shapeways Small Business Bootcamp in New York City, taking place October 24th from 9:30 to 4 pm, with a happy hour to follow. Read on for a schedule of talks, speakers and how to RSVP. 

3D printed business planning

3D printing is powering small businesses and empowering creative entrepreneurs to design, produce and sell unique products that fill specific needs for consumers. Join us for the first ever Shapeways Small Business Symposium for a day of entrepreneurial and design inspiration, as well as advice on business planning, marketing and designing 3D printed products.

Speakers include entrepreneurs who have launched successful businesses using 3D printing and Shapeways staff members who are experts in the 3D printing design and production process. Participants will come away with a deeper knowledge about the mechanics of 3D printing and design and the tools they need to launch, or grow, their business with 3D printing.

The Shapeways Small Business Bootcamp is hosted by Union Square Ventures. The event is free and light breakfast and lunch are provided. Advance registration is required. Please reserve your spot here.

If you are not able to join us day-of: We’ll be recording the event and will make it available on Shapeways’ YouTube channel.

3D printing working planning business

Schedule:

9:30 am Welcome and Keynote: How 3D printing is driving the future of manufacturing
David Gillespie, Vice President of Manufacturing at Shapeways

10 am: Designing a winning product
The inspiration, design and iteration process behind successful product design
Susan Taing, founder of Bhold

10:30 am: Planning for your 3D printing powered business
Melissa Ng, founder of Lumecluster.com, wonderlands for the entrepreneurial mind

11 am: Build your brand: Marketing and branding for your 3D printing business
Jeremy Burnich, Joy Complex
Bryan Salt, Thinker Thing
Kacie Hultgren, set designer, educator and owner of Pretty Small Things
Moderated by Savannah Peterson, Global Community Manager at Shapeways

12 pm: Staying motivated as an entrepreneur
Facilitated by Eleanor Whitney, Community Outreach Coordinator at Shapeways and Savannah Peterson

12:30 pm: Lunch and breakout discussions with Shapeways staff
Build your business with the Shapeways API
Merchandising your Shapeways shop

1:30 pm: The basics of copyright for 3D printing
Thomas Ellison, Customer Service Lead at Shapeways

2 pm: Building a custom, 3D printed design business
Bathsheba Grossman, artist and 3D printed metal sculptor
Wayne Losey, Chief Creative and PlayMaker of Modio
Ashley Zelinskie, artist
Moderated by Lauren Slowik, Design Evangelist for Education at Shapeways

3 pm: Design for optimal 3D printing: know your materials
Christian Brock, Wulongti Toys
with Raphael Stargrove and Gabriel Leader-Rose, Physical Product Managers at Shapeways

The event is free and light breakfast and lunch are provided. Advance registration is required. Please reserve your spot here.

 5 to 7:30 pm: Happy Hour at Barn Joo
Connect, relax and share more ideas and inspiration over drinks and snacks. Please RSVP.

Klein Bottle Opener Bathsheba 3D printed mathematical art

Klein Bottle Opener by Bathsheba

Speaker Bios:

Susan Taing is a designer and maker based in New York with experience spanning creative, tech and manufacturing. An MIT and Stanford grad with experience in Product Marketing at Google, her company Bhold creates thoughtfully designed functional objects that are also fun, whimsical and elegant.

Melissa Ng is the founder of Lumecluster.com, wonderlands for the entrepreneurial mind, where she helps makers of all types battle their fears through writing and 3D printed Dreamer Masks.

Jeremy Burnich, of Joy Complex, is a self taught designer with a passion for art and sculpture. He has  worked and apprenticed with some amazing artists and is now finding his own voice. He believes a piece of jewelry is a wearable sculpture and art meant to be touched.

Igor Kenezevic is the founder of Alienology, a Los Angeles based design studio and consultancy, active in the areas of Product Design, Architecture, Concept Design for film and themed environments – all done with expert 2D and 3D CGI skills.

Bryan Salt is the Founder/Partner and Creative Director of Thinker Thing, which  has developed a radical new process to build real objects using a touch screen user interface.Bryan has worked on the cutting edge of technology for the last 25 years, for companies such as Televirtual, blue chip Medical companies and the British Military on virtual reality visualizations and simulations.

Wayne Losey is a career toy maker who has migrated from traditional toys to push the boundaries of 3D printed products. He now brings his product and storytelling expertise to the digital world as the Chief Creative and PlayMaker of Modio, a 3D printing app that empowers users to design, customize and print their own unique creatures and characters.

Bathsheba Grossman is an artist exploring the region between art and mathematics. Her work was in TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential designs of 2007 and has been influential in popularizing direct-metal printing as an art medium.  She has encouraged 3D printing suppliers and developers to consider art and design applications as a strong market.

Kacie Hultgren of Pretty Small Things is a set designer for live performance by day and maker by night.  Her experiments using desktop 3D printers for model building led to a miniatures business catering to dollhouse enthusiasts. She is also a 3D printing educator, producing tutorials for Lynda.com.

Ashley Zelinskie is a Brooklyn based artist whose work aims to blur the lines between art and technology.

Christian Brock is a Web Developer, Cyber Ninja, Hard Core Transformers Fan, Paper Engineer and Toy Designer at WuLong Toys.


 

Mold3D joins the 3D animation to 3D print contest as a co-sponsor

Are you an animator or 3D modeler interested in trying out 3D printing? You have until October 15th to join our 3D animation to 3D print contest for the chance to win your original figurine printed by Shapeways, Shapeways printing credit and a chance to featured on Mold 3D’s website.

Today we’re really excited to announce that Mold3D has joined the 3D Modeling and Animation Group on Facebook as a co-sponsor for the contest. Mold3D.com is a 3D Printing website that focuses on producing quality content and resources for artists that was launched in January 2014 by animation industry veterans Edward Quintero and Robert Vignone. Edward has over a decade of experience as a designer, 3D artist and entrepreneur, including as a co-founder of design firm Massive Black, and as a senior artist at Industrial Light and Magic and Dreamworks Animation. Robert Vignone is a 3D print artist and teacher, and has worked at studios such as Weta Digital, Disney Feature Animation and Sony Cinematics. At Shapeways we love what Mold3D is working on because they provide a place for 3D modelers, sculptors, designers and 3D Print enthusiasts to come together to learn, share, promote their work and inspire each other.

3D printed robot

TrafficBot by Steve Talkowski more at http://sketchbot.tv

Edward and Robert told me they were inspired to start the site because, while there were plenty of 3D Printing news sites around at the time, they felt there was a need for a 3D Printing community strictly dedicated to artists working in the entertainment industry. Since their launch Mold 3D has produced 3D printing workshops and build a community of 3D printing enthusiasts.

For the 3D animation to 3D print contest as co-sponsors Robert and Edward will be participating as judges, and the winner of the contest will also be featured on Mold3D.com. Get all of the contest details here. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!


 

How you can join the world’s most dynamic 3D printing and design community

Posted by in Community

From Maker Faires to meetups to online hangouts, since joining the Shapeways Community Team I’ve been inspired and and motivated by the dynamic community of creatives, makers, and 3D printing experts that that make Shapeways who we are. It’s my passion to connect creative people to opportunities and resources and at Shapeways I’m proud to work on projects that reach out, engage and connect our community members. If you want to be a 3D printing leader and want to get more involved in Shapeways, here’s how:

Shapeways Community 3D printed scans models

Check out our new Community page for a quick reference for upcoming Shapeways events around the world and links to our blog, forums and tutorials, as well as other community highlights.

Scotland Shapeways Community Meetup

Join us for World Meetup Weekend, being held October 24 to 26. World meetup weekend is your chance to join the worldwide 3D printing party with Shapeways community members. Host an event to share the spark of 3D printing and design with your community, whether a happy hour show and tell, a talk or a hands-on workshop – whatever you feel will help share and spread the 3D printing love! Register as a host and receive expert event planning guidance, as well as cool Shapeways swag. Fill out this quick volunteer host form by September 30 and we’ll send you more information!

Meetup 3D printing community

On Friday, October 24 in New York City we’ll be kicking off World Meetup Weekend with the first ever Shapeways Small Business Symposium. This all-day symposium will focus on entrepreneurial and design inspiration, as well as the practical side of building a business with 3D printing. Speakers will include top Shapeways community members and Shapeways staff experts on design, materials and marketing. We plan to livestream the event for our community around the world. A happy hour will follow! More details to come very soon, so save the date and mark your calendar for a day of learning, networking and inspiration.

Shapeways 3D printing community

If you are interested in being a on the inside track when it comes to Shapeways events, news, and want to share your love of 3D printing with the world, I invite you to join Shapeways Crew. Crew members live all over the world and are the epitome of what Shapeways stands for: innovative, inspiring, helpful, welcoming, and fun! They get the inside scoop on what’s new at Shapeways and 3D Printing and get to hang out with some of the most passionate, incredible people in the 3D printing and design field. Crew members organize and attend events on behalf of Shapeways and contribute regularly to the Shapeways blog and tutorial hub. Want to join us? Just fill out this survey.

So hope you can join us this fall as a host for World Meetup Weekend, joining us for our Small Business Symposium, becoming part of Shapeways Crew, or by engaging on our forums or right here, on the blog!


 

Conversation with designer Michiel Cornelissen about opening MCHL designstore featuring his 3D printed products

Posted by in Design

design store retail Utrecht

Dutch designer Michiel Cornelissen just opened MCHL, an independent design store with innovative products from housewares to jewelry and electronics accessories, in Utrecht in the Netherlands. As it might be the only design store of its kind in the world where the majority of the collection is 3D printed I asked Michiel more about launching a retail store and how 3D printing is powering his business.

Tell us a little about your boutique MCHL. What can shoppers expect to find there?

MCHL is a design shop which has items in all the categories you’d expect: small furniture pieces, interior items and jewellery. What sets it apart is that most items there are made using ‘democratic’ production technologies such as 3d printing; and I always try to use that to my advantage, putting little innovations in just about every design that’s in the shop. And I think you’ll see my love of pattern and structure coming back in many of the products on offer.

3D printed design store

You already sell your designs all around the world at places like MoMA designs store in New York and Japan, the Tate Modern in London and Centre Pompidou in Paris. What inspired you to open a freestanding boutique? How do you hope the boutique will help your design business evolve?

I’m extremely lucky to have encountered people and brands that have helped me reach a worldwide public with some of my products – a dream come true. Shapeways itself is a great, innovative channel, where I’m happy to have a presence. But there were always so many ideas that somehow still couldn’t get out there; for instance, products that combine 3D printing with other, non standard materials; and some products are simply too expensive for wholesale margins, but work perfectly well when I sell them directly. In MCHL, we can bring all those products together and offer them in an environment that we can design exactly like we would like it to be; hopefully offering a truly wonderful shopping experience to our customers.

3D printed design Michiel Cornelissen

Also, it’s a really good experience for me to be in such direct contact with customers; seeing what works, and perhaps what doesn’t. We’ve also noticed that having a physical presence in the city is a great way to get to know people, some of whom are even turning into either clients or suppliers.

3D printed design

How has 3D printing helped you grow your design business? What opportunities do you think 3D printing offers to independent business owners such as yourself?

Although I happily work with clients totally outside of the 3D printing arena, I can safely say that 3D printing is becoming very much intertwined with my business. There’s my own work in 3D printing, such as what you can find in MCHL, but I also help companies research what 3D printing can mean for them. And I’m working on product design and creative direction for a well-known 3D printing manufacturer now – a perfect match for my interests.
In general, one important aspect of 3D printing is that it’s lowering barriers for the production of physical objects – which has enabled me to open my shop, but it also puts the creation of great, innovative products in reach of many more people then before.

3D printed design necklaces Michiel Cornelissen

What’s next for MCHL?

Because design, production and sales are so closely linked now, it seems like there’s something new in MCHL every week, and we’re definitely trying to keep that up. Beyond that, there are plans, but some are rather wild and far off – so it’s probably best to keep them to myself for now.

Visit Michiel Cornelissen’s Shapeways Shop to see more of his products and MCHL at Oudegracht 254, Utrecht, The Netherlands or on the web or Facebook


 

Announcing the 3D animation to 3D print contest

We are thrilled to team up with the 3D Modeling and Animation Group on Facebook to bring you an exciting opportunity to bring a unique character to life with 3D printing! If you are an animator who creates movies and video games, we invite you to join the 3D Animation to 3D Print contest to win Shapeways credit and the opportunity to hold any creation that you can imagine in your hand. The contest runs through October 15th and you can get all the details on the contest page.

Strong Dog by Bill Plympton from the Plymptoons shop on Shapeways

Strong Dog by Bill Plympton from the Plymptoons shop on Shapeways

To help launch the contest I talked with the 3D Modeling and Animation Group’s founder Justin Haynes about what inspired him to start the group and why, as an animator, he is excited about the possibilities of 3D printing.

Eleanor: What’s your background and how did you get into animation and what inspired you to start the group on Facebook? 

JustinHaynes

 Justin Haynes: I live in the extremely small town of Greenview tucked away in the mountains of northern California. It is in the middle of beautiful Scott Valley in Siskiyou County. My highschool offered a CAD class my Jr year that I took. In the class we also learned Rhinoceros Nurbs Modeling program.

I modeled as much as possible at school because I did not have a computer at home strong enough for modeling. I came in early, at lunch, and stayed after class working on models. The renderings on the school computers would sometimes take all night. So I wouldn’t be able to see a rendered image until the next morning.

I soon learned as much as the teacher and programs book could teach me so naturally I went online. I saw that there was no group specifically for modeling and animation on Facebook. Facebook was still rarely new at this point. I decided to create the group and it has grown far beyond my expectations.

How has the group grown and evolved? 

JH: Right now the group is the largest and most active 3d modeling and animation community on Facebook. We gain around 100 members every day.

The group has artist from all over the world from beginners to experts. Jobs have been offered and filled from this group. Artist collaborate across the globe.  New and growing artist get help from experts. And everyone gets to show off there work and receive feedback.

Working as a 3D artist is my dream. As of now I currently work 6/7 days a week at a lumber mill. Modeling and animation is a hobby at the moment.

The group is too large at the moment to moderate on my own. While working as a 3D artist is my dream, I currently work six or seven days a week at a lumber mill and modeling and animation is still a hobby at the moment. Fortunately, I have an amazing team of admins helping to keep the group as clean and helpful as possible.

I have bigger dreams for the group. I am working on getting a website up for the group and it will be amazing!

A model in process by Justin Haynes

A model in process by Justin Haynes

You are relatively new to 3D printing. What was it like the first time you got to hold one of your creations in your hand? 

JH: The first time I held a 3d printed model was a spring out of corn starch in high school. I thought…it actually works as a spring. My mind went off on everything I could now create and print! A working drum pedal? A bicycle? Anything!!!

Shapeways now let’s me create and print whatever I can imagine without having to own and hassle with a 3d printer! I am currently working on a ring for my girlfriend.

Do you have a creation that you want to bring to life? Enter the 3D Animation to 3D Print contest by October 15th! Visit the contest page for more details and for some helpful hints about getting started.

 


 

September Shapeways 3D printing events in New York City

Here at the Shapeways headquarters in New York City we’re buzzing with excitement about all of our September events. With MakerCon and Maker Faire just around the corner and factory tours, workshops, talks and meetups for designers, educators, and 3D printing enthusiasts galore, September is a great time to come out and get involved with the Shapeways community in New York City! Here’s a rundown of what’s happening and how you can join us:

Screenshot 2014-09-10 13.42.22

September 15, 5 to 7 pm: Getting Started with 3D Printing for Custom Fashion Design in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Part of the BKStyleCon event.

September 17 & 18: MakerCon, a professional conference by and for makers held at the New York Hall of Science in Queens. Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen will give a talk about 3D printing your favorite brands and the real future of product design at 11:20 am on Wednesday, September 17. We will also be hosting factory tours at our Long Island City factory on Friday, September 19 for attendees of MakerCon. You can buy tickets to MakerCon here.

September 18, 12 to 1 pm: Making dreams into reality with 3D printing and Shapeways hosted by QNS Collective in Long Island City, Queens. Melissa Ng, creator of Lumecluster: wonderlands for the entrepreneurial mind, will share her creative design process and walk participants through the process of creating 3D printed products and works of art with Shapeways. Reserve here.

September 18, 6 to 8 pm: Pre-Maker Faire 3D Printing Meetup with Shapeways + Ultimaker hosted by Shapeways at our Long Island City factory. Come and learn how you can use your Ultimaker together with Shapeways, share your prints and take a look around the factory!

September 20 & 21: World Maker Faire New York. Hosted by the New York Hall of Science in Queens, New York come find Shapeways in the 3D printer village! At 2pm on Saturday, September 20th join Shapeways Crew and community members for a community meetup. Meet at the Shapeways booth to explore the fair together, attend a talk and a happy hour to follow at 6pm at LIC bar in Long Island City, Queens.

Screenshot 2014-09-10 13.46.50

September 24, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Meetup: 3D Printing in Public Libraries. Hosted by the Brooklyn Public Library at the Shelby White and Leon Levy Information Commons at the Central Library. Libraries are on the front lines of innovation and providing access to and understanding of the latest technologies, including 3D printing. Join members of the Shapeways and staff and community members of the Brooklyn Public Libraries to discuss how they are using 3D printing in library programs and services and how 3D printing can fit into public and educational programs at libraries and schools.

September 25, 7 pm. Designers + Geeks: Lasers and Internet Memes – 3D printing for all. Hosted by Huge in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Shapeways Designer Evangelist Lauren Slowick will illuminate the 3D mysteries under the all the hype. She will also share tips to help you get started designing your own products with software tools you probably already know how to use. Designers + Geeks features talks from experts on design, technology, startups, and all manner of geekery. Purchase tickets.

September will be a great time to be inspired and expand your 3D printing network. We look forward to seeing you!


 

Artist Michael Leavitt on creating 3D printed sculptures

Sculptor Mike Leavitt has created an edition of 3D printed miniature versions of one-of-a-kind wooden sculptures from his “Empire Peaks” series through his Shapeways shop Innovation Kitchen. He spent two years designing and hand-sculpting the wood statue series and the pop culture mash-ups debuted at New York’s Jonathan LeVine Gallery in late 2013. Before opening night Leavitt had the largest wood statues, some standing 3 feet tall, scanned by a local hi-tech medical engineering firm. A classically trained wood sculptor based in the Pacific Northwestern United States, he taught himself the necessary software to bring smaller, 3D printed versions of his work to a new market. I caught up with Leavitt about how he translated his work with wood and chisels into 3D design and the possibilities that 3D printing offers to visual artists.

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What inspired you to create 3D printed models of your “Empire Peaks” sculpture series?

Michael Leavitt: This might sound unexpected coming from an artist. My inspiration to create 3D printed “Empire Peaks” models was merely the marketing potential. As a full time visual artist, I’m the only one in charge of my career and I’m forced to consider these possibilities. I’ve passionately searched for ways to create affordable editions of my sculptures for years. It’s not as easy as it seems. Making quality prints of 2D paintings and canvases can be a challenge. Mass producing toys is a monumental task. Tons of quality control and capital investments are required. I learned of Shapeways somewhere during the process of 3D scanning my “Empire Peaks” figures. My first goal of 3D modelling and printing became crystal clear. Having the specific target really galvanized the learning process.

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As a classically trained sculptor, what was your process like learning 3D modeling software?

ML: My learning curve with 3D modeling has been massively steep to say the least. First I have to learn to sit at the computer all day when I’d rather put my hands on something other than a keyboard and mouse. Next I have to learn a new language. Even ZBrush, my primary tool, is very intuitive but there’s a lot of lingo to absorb. I watched a ton of YouTube tutorials. I took copious notes. I could’ve gotten a full quarter’s worth of college credit for the time I logged. I almost had to chain myself to the computer. I guess the process was like training a free-roaming dog to stay in a small crate.

How is the process of preparing a piece for 3D printing similar to and different from your process of sculpting a one-of-a-kind piece?

ML: There are few similarities between preparing a piece for 3D printing and sculpting my originals. So far there are only small, brief moments when I feel like I’m actually “sculpting” on the computer. Maybe it’s just a matter of my learning curve. Once I get more comfortable it might feel more natural. A major difference between the two is that I really have to work hard to hold long, linear thoughts in my head while 3D modelling. Too often I want to do one simple, little thing- make this one knob a little smaller or something- and it requires several linear steps to execute. Whereas, in physical sculpting, it all comes naturally. I can just instinctively alter things without having to perform a prescribed series of actions. One might say physical sculpting requires it’s own tedious, methodical process. I don’t discount it. I’ve just been at it so much more of my life. Another major difference: the undo command. Wow. I still have to wrap my brain around it. It’s bizarre how easy it is to experiment while 3D sculpting. That one will keep on giving to me.

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How does having a Shapeways shop and 3D printed versions of one-of-a-kind sculptures available open up new opportunities for you as an artist?

ML: For one thing, having the Shapeways prints allows me to more directly connect my work with people’s hands. My originals can be fragile or sensitive to hand oils over time. So we limit direct contact during exhibits. Ironically, I engineer moving body parts that can only be experienced with physical interaction. My original sculptures are also quite valuable and only rarely displayed in public. I do a show in New York about every two years. It’s only on display for about a month. I try as hard as I possibly can to tell everyone I can about the show. I promote like crazy. I really try to drive traffic to the gallery. Still only a small handful get to either own or experience the work in person. Having an on-demand 3D printing service accessible by the entire planet is nearly a dream come true.

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Do you have any advice for other artists who might be interested in incorporating 3D design and printing into their practice?

ML: I’m still struggling with how to define the line between my fine art and 3D prints. I think it’s extremely important for artists to clearly communicate their intentions and definitions in this respect. Especially for an artist such as myself who is “established” to a certain degree. I have many long-time, loyal and heavily-invested collectors of my original works who deserve a clear delineation between the original, hand-crafted works for which they invested and the replicated editions available on a larger scale. My advice to other fine artists is to be careful, sensitive, and clear when incorporating 3D printing with their practice. I sincerely hope I’m following my own advice on this point.


 

Conversation with designer Ning Hua about launching a 3D printed jewelry business

Interview by Xiaoxiao Zhang, Shapeways Crew member and founder of MCreatures, a 3D printing shop in Shanghai.

When Ninghua first got to know 3D printing through an article in Time magazine he was not yet a designer. Inspired by the possibilities of 3D printing he followed his passion and is now a jewelry designer with a shop on Shapeways and his website Plain Orb, featuring pieces that infuse his signature clean style with traditional elements of nature, Chinese patterns, and Catholic symbolism.

Ning Hua

Ning Hua

So, Ninghua, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

Well, I am from Fujian (a province in South China) and now working in Ningbo. I grew up in a small town. Not like in big cities, the life there is so close to nature. And nature has become one of my main design inspirations.

Another major source of inspiration for me is my religion. My family is Catholic and my religion has guided me, so I incorporated Catholic symbols such as PX or the fish sign in my designs as they are of special meaning to me.

As I Chinese designer, I also love to use patterns from traditional Chinese art to give my design some personality. For example, the Xiaozhuan font from Chinese calligraphy and the ice-breaking pattern from ancient Chinese wood window frame design. My habit is to keep the essence of those and give it a clean and simple presentation. Many of my non-Chinese customers love the idea.

How about your educational background?

My major in university was English, nothing to do with design or 3D printing, and got into international trade field later on. Working in this trade company got me to realize that the manufacturing industry of China is growing weaker and less competitive on the global stage since we are not good at producing our own original designs. Thus, it makes products “Made in China” less valuable. I believe design is at the core of mass production. However, many times my I was not able to execute my ideas for products through traditional manufacturing. 3D printing is different because I can make an idea into a real product without too much hassle or cost. This makes me think 3D printing is capable to inspire individuals to design more incredible things.

BingLie Bottle Opener designed by Ning Hua

BingLie Bottle Opener designed by Ning Hua

How did you know about 3D printing and why did you want to make it as your own business?

I first learnt about 3D printing from an article on Time magazine, and it was about Shapeways! I was quite bored at work one day and was reading Time magazine. This article popped out and I felt overwhelmed, though also a little bit confused, about this new technology called 3D printing.

The concept itself is so cool to ignore. It is called printing, but it is nothing like printing on paper. In addition, a product could be produced without using a traditional mold sounds attractive. At the time I was working on a start-up and was looking for some a unique product to launch. No mold, no stock, small investment, all these features of making 3D printing products sound like an appealing way to manufacture my future products.

I studied what material can be used for 3D printing, its basic cost, and what software I could use. After understanding this concept rationally, I decided that entering into the 3D printing field and make it my business was do-able for me. I opened my online store selling jewelry even if most of my friends around me who had heard of the 3D concept consider the idea new, bizarre and irrelevant. Now, of course, I am very glad that I did trust my own gut and started my 3D path.

BingLie or "cracking ice" pattern has been used as a window pattern in China for over 600 years. Photo by Ning Hua.

BingLie or “cracking ice” pattern has been used as a window pattern in China for over 600 years. Photo by Ning Hua.

What was the first 3D product you designed?

It was a leaf-shape USB port cover. It was the very first product I designed and produced after I intensively studied industrial design for 2 months from level 0. But it did not sell very well.

When did you start to design jewelry?

After the USB port cover, I was struggling to decide if I should mainly design products that are more practical or fancier and more decorative. After the testing of a few prototypes, and inspired by a few other designers on Shapeways, I finally decided to put my focus on jewelry. The main reasons jewelry became a desirable business focus for me are: 1) the cost of 3D print is still not cheap and my clients generally find the high price is more acceptable if the product is jewelry. 2) Jewelry can always be a piece of meaningful gift to oneself or to others and people can wear them for a long time.

Xiao Zhuan cufflinks based on a popular font in ancient China from 2000 years ago

Xiao Zhuan cufflinks based on a popular font in ancient China from 2000 years ago

What are the difficulties when running your 3D print jewelry store all by yourself?

At this stage, I am doing everything by myself. I worked out lot of things by myself, my website, how to use design software, etc. And my business volume still allows me to do that.

In this business, the challenging part for me is marketing and promoting my products effectively. I am working on using the social media channels such as Instagram to promote my products to more of my target customers. I need to figure different channels to reach Chinese customers and international ones as their habit of using social media is difficult. It’s important to use social media to convey the the quality of 3D print jewelry and build trust if customers have never seen a 3D product before.

What has exceeded your expectations?

My design. When I started to learn 3D design from scratch and I was not even sure how the final product would look. I kept improving my models with more and more test products so I got more experienced. Now I do think a lot of my designs have exceeded my original expectations.

Do you have tips for other people who are fascinated by 3D printing and want to make their own products from scratch like you?

Very simple. Your design shall always represent no one else but you. Your own design and your style will remembered by the market.

 


 

At Work on the Road: 3D Printing, Designing and Living Around the World

One Infinity small pendant in polished grey steel at Mondello Beach, Palermo, Italy

One Infinity small pendant in polished grey steel at Mondello Beach, Palermo, Italy

by M.G., a member of Shapeways Crew and an American artist living abroad who sells her work she creates on Shapeways through her shop Sloris

Reduce the entirety of your belongings to two suitcases; all the clothes, accessories, documents, electronic devices and toiletries that you’ll need for the foreseeable future.  Don’t forget a sample of your 3D printed products.  Take a minute, or two.  

That’s how I live.  My partner and I run our business, www.sloris.com, from the road.  Our traveling home office consists of two laptops, two external hard drives, a tablet, a point and shoot digital camera and a HD digital camcorder.  And, of course, Shapeways.

My first ex-pat experience was living on the west coast of Mexico at the age of 24.  My most recent adventure was in the South of Thailand.  I lived four years in each location, which seems to be as long as I can happily settle in any one place (Brooklyn being the exception ).

Even considering this history, my current lifestyle is a radical change.  I’m moving every month or two, until either I find a place I’m so enthralled with I can’t imagine leaving or I’m too exhausted to continue.  My next move remains to be determined; it’s exciting, it’s scary. There are many considerations, but the main factors are attraction to the culture, the availability of inexpensive housing and transportation possibilities:

A combination of research, persistence and creative thinking is required to make this a reality.  I consider being really good at this my own little superpower. How does all this affect running a business and my creativity?  The running a business part is made possible by two factors:

  • Online networking:  its importance, accessibility and value makes living and working from the road not only possible, but effective.  Facebook is a good base, but my recent foray into Twitter and Instagram have helped me to engage a wider audience.

  • Shapeways: acts as my support staff by handling payments, returns, refunds, customer service and shipping.  Print on demand technology eliminates the problem of over and under stocking and the need for a storage facility.

Holeyware Espresso Cup at Teatro Massimo, Palermo, Italy

Holeyware Espresso Cup at Teatro Massimo, Palermo, Italy

Conveying exactly how this lifestyle affects my creativity is trickier.  When I’m stationary for a time, I build my environment very carefully.  I like my surroundings to be placid and inviting, completely free of clutter.  Routines are essential.  Having all the odds and ends of life scheduled gives my mind the chance to roam freely, unencumbered with worry and little decisions.  Being on the road makes everything I just listed impossible, but is equally inspirational.

On the move, I’m at the mercy of the environment and the apartment I find to rent.  I’ve already experienced a variety of decors; retro hippy, uber modern minimalist, French country and a split personality atmosphere where Mom enjoyed doilies and tea sets and daughter thought IKEA was the answer to everything.  The extent to which I’ve enjoyed living amongst and using other people’s belongings has really surprised me.  I’ve read things I never have before; gossip mags to improve my Spanish (I know more about princesses than I ever cared to) and décor trade rags.

Office view in Fuengirola, Spain

Office view in Fuengirola, Spain

I love learning the differences, substantial or seemingly insignificant, between cultures.  Thailand has an amazing cuisine and no matter how big or small the city, you can find many restaurants offering a wide variety of delicious complete meals priced at 30 baht (approximately 1 USD).  In Spain, I experienced an absolute dedication to siestas.  In downtown Granada at 2:00 pm every single business, except restaurants, closes and locks their doors.  The buses bulge with passengers as everyone makes their way to meet up with friends or family.  In my current apartment in Palermo Italy, there’s a toaster like I’ve never seen before.  I know it sounds ridiculous to mention such an insignificant product, but consider how many people across the globe use a toaster in the morning.

These shifts in behaviors and items affect my creativity because they spark interest in a way of life or an object that usually goes entirely unnoticed.  It revives a sense of newness and proves that there is still space for original concepts and products.

Then there are the things that can sap my energy levels and temporarily crush my spirits; fighting grouchiness after close to 48 hours of straight travel, sacrificing creature comforts to stay within our tight budget, trying to communicate in a language I don’t speak and living and working 24-7-365 with my partner of 23 years.

At the time these situations occur, I certainly don’t feel creative.  It’s as if I’m chained to a stairmaster, forever climbing and getting absolutely nowhere.  It’s exhausting and frustrating.  After the fact, I often need some down time to recover.  During this period I look and feel completely unproductive.  However, in many instances, I emerge from this dormant time with a plentitude of fresh ideas and enthusiasm.

I often work long hours, but then I walk out my door into a completely new and captivating world.  For me, it’s perfect, but I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.  Do you also work from a traveling home office?  Would you want to?

You can follow my adventures on my blog at and check out my products on my Shapeways shop

Finding inspiration in the streets of Palermo, Italy

Finding inspiration in the streets of Palermo, Italy


 

Print 3D for Me: An app that turns your favorite photograph into a 3D print

Posted by in 3D Printed, API, Apps

Zach Kauble is the co-founder of 3D Print for Me, which uses the Shapeways API to create a unique keychain from your favorite photograph. Below Zach discusses how he was inspired to create this application and how 3D printing can impact the future of custom product design.

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Please introduce yourself – what is your background? Are you a developer? Designer? 3D modeler?

The product and web site were designed by myself and my partner, Tyler Watson. We are both software engineers by day. I started experimenting with 3D printing as a consequence of learning 3D modeling and sculpting software such as ZBrush and 3DS Max. I quickly realized that my models could be made real via 3D printing. It wasn’t long before I came across Shapeways.

What inspired you to start Print 3D for me?

I got the idea after I ordered a few prints of my Zbrush sculptures from Shapeways. I think a transformation occurred for me that probably happens to most “Shapies” because I become somewhat obsessed with designing a unique product. A single question was repeated daily in my head no matter where I was or what I was doing? How does 3D printing change this?

I had been experimenting with 3D printed lithophanes on Shapeways for some time before we decided to create Print 3D For Me. What most inspired us was the reaction of my coworkers at seeing some of my early prototypes. They were amazed by them, which surprised me.
I thought they were somewhat interesting, but not nearly as cool as others did. I suppose after so many iterations of a product, the appeal to the designer starts to wear away.

So, based on this enthusiastic response, we decided to create Print 3D For Me and sell the lithophanes as key chains.

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What is your hope for growing the business?

Of course we hope to grow the business and several more products are in development. However, our primary goal in this endeavor is learn and have fun, and we’ve already done both quite a bit. There is definitely a lot to learn…3D modeling tools, Search Engine Optimization, Internet Advertising and configuration, the Shapeways API, and much, much more.

How is 3D printing helping creative businesses and consumers develop products they want?

My theory is that it removes the barrier to entry in developing and manufacturing physical product. It’s not specifically the additive manufacturing method that I’m excited about. It’s the idea that I can focus all of my time on designing a product while outsourcing the rest of the mundane details including manufacturing, distribution, and fulfillment. My sincere hope is that two things continue to happen as the technology improves: prices continue to drop, and the manufacturing options continue to increase…such as the inclusion of multiple materials and integrated electronics.


 

Cirphering.me: Creating interactive 3D printed jewelry

Posted by in API, Interview, Jewelry

Jussi Ängeslevä is the creator of Ciphering, which is part of a research project project of Berlin University of the Arts and the Technical University Berlin, which is using scientific methods to explore the role of rapid manufacturing, like 3D printing, in product creation. The ring uses the Shapeways API to create beautiful rings with hidden number messages that you can see when you take the ring off your finger and shine a light through it. As the Ciphering is part of the research process its only available for a short time – until December 31, 2014.

ciphering1 Introduce yourself. What is your background and what inspired you to create Ciphering?

I’m an interaction designer juggling my time between academia and industry, creating experiences in fantastically different scales. My role as Vice Creative Director at Design Studio ART+COM keeps me busy with creating larger public space experiences, ranging from museums to public art commissions. In parallel, as a professor at the Berlin University of the Arts, we are looking at the impact of digital technologies and “computational thinking” in everyday life. In both contexts, the meaning of interactivity, code and digital is increasingly shifting to physical world, where creating experiences with mechatronics, robots doing things designed by some complex algorithm, or where the physical form and the digital behavior cannot be separated anymore, as the programming takes place in both.

“Ciphering” is a generative jewelry, where the customer can encode 4 digits to the physical structure of the ring, which can be decoded when shining light through it, or when aligning the ring just right, and looking through the pattern. The project is a part of a larger research effort at the Berlin University of the Arts, where we are currently working on a research project called “Beyond Prototyping.” Together with the Technische Universität Berlin, we are trying to find the sweetspot between atelier service and mass manufacturing, and find out what aspects of design makes sense to leave open for the customer to decide. So, in the case of Ciphering, the idea is that the designer defines the aesthetics of the form but the customer decides the four important digits that then define the physical shape of the ring.

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What was your design and iteration process like?

We did a lot of iterations with the design, where the initial ideas were based around using caustic reflections that could be decoded with focussed light source. These studies took place purely in software, and the first test print through Shapeways showed the physical limits with surface smoothness and resolution, and we shifted to using shadow casting as the carrier. With a quick iterative loop we designed different pattern languages for encoding text to the ring surfaces, and printed them in larger scale with a MakerBot that is sitting at our studio. When the over sized prototypes showed promise of success, we ordered lot of different material samples of the rings through Shapeways. With these results, we then decided the final wall thicknesses, the material choices and edge roundings. We also decided to limit the content that the customer can encode to four digits only, as we realized that only by strict limits, we could provide the aesthetics right, and with pixel fonts you can only do so much.

3D printing was essential to realize this project. These computational shapes would be very difficult to produce manually. Especially, as every single ring will be different. Actually, the project is still very much on-going, because for the research project, my ultimate question is to understand the “aura of the digitally fabricated.” What is it in these artifacts that differentiate them from the handmade or the mass manufactured? Ciphering is trying to give one tangent to this, by having people be part of the meaning-making, by encoding their own special numbers in the shape but we as designers still control the overall aesthetic. If people are interested in the ring, I would like to ask them few months later, how they feel about it, what will it end up meaning.

Can you tell me more about the the research project between the Berlin University of the Arts and the Technical University Berlin that Ciphering is part of? What is the focus of this project and what else are you working on?

We have an organization between the two Universities called Hybrid Plattform which tries to facilitate transdisciplinary projects. Our collaboration “Beyond Prototyping” is one such things, enabled by generous funding from Einstein Stiftung. In this project we are looking at how things can be designed partially algorithmically, and partially with an in-depth knowledge of the materials and manufacturing processes, and then apply them to different fields, where the end-user can be part of the creation, therefore having a stronger sense of agency about the final outcome. The work falls somehow under the trendy “mass-customization” but we are trying to push the customization much more to the meaning, not only focussing on the optimization with sizing, or choosing random parameters like colors of different parts of a design.

Another case we have almost ready as a service is an oak table, where we use openstreetmap to let the customer define the meaning of the table. You can see a software prototype at locatable.me ,but it’s not quite ready yet.