Author Archives: Eric Ho

About Eric Ho

I am the social media specialist and digital marketing Guru at Shapeways.

Your Favorite 3D printed jewelry Inspired by Microscopic Organisms

Community member Kimberly Falk is a scientist and self-taught 3D modeler based out of Germany. She is the designer behind the Shapeways shop Ontogenie, her shop consist of 3D-printed jewelry inspired by science and nature. What is distinctly unique about her designs is that she turns her fascination of filigree structures of microscopic organisms on land and in the sea into detailed a gorgeous 3D printed pieces of jewelry that you can wear.

Some of her pieces are amazing and her designs really take advantage of the materials that they are printed in. Take her Discalia Pendant for example, which is based on an Anthomedusae jellyfish, Discalia medusina.

You can see how well the details of her Spumellaria pendant came out printed in our polished bronze material.

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Her Cristelleria pendant which are a marine single-celled organism that lives inside a spiral-shaped, calciferous shell looks absolutely beautiful printed in polished silver.

Kimberly 3D models her designs in Blender and also takes custom request. She loves working with scientists, having been a research scientist herself for many years at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology. Kimberly is not sure which microbes she’ll tackle next, or whether she might instead switch to something larger, like jellyfish, but there’s certainly enough weird creatures in nature for inspiration for many years to come. You can find Kimberly on Twitter @Ontogenie.

What is your favorite weird creature or microbe you’d like to see 3D printed? Let us know in a comment below!

3D Printed Cityscape Rings Lets You Wear Your Favorite City Around Your Finger

Traveling and exploring the world is an experience that very few forget, especially when you’re adventuring through beautiful cities like Amsterdam, New York City, Berlin, or Paris. Jewelry designer Ola Shekhtman is a traveler who found a way to combine her passion for city landscapes, 3D printing, and Jewelry into these beautifully designed 3D printed cityscape ring collection.

Ola’s Cityscape rings are rings that feature several of that city’s famous landmarks. For example her Paris Cityscape ring features such landmarks as Tour d’ Eiffel, Sacre Coeur, Moulin Rouge, Arc De Triumph and many more.

Ola’s Cityscape ring collection also includes New York City, Berlin, and Amsterdam. They’re available for sale on her Shapeways shop Shekhtman Dreams and are printed in our cast metals from 14k Gold to brass. Ola 3D models her rings in Rhinoceros.

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Here’s a Berlin Cityscape Ring Video

What is your favorite city and which cityscape ring should Ola design next? Let us know in a comment below and feel free to tweet at Ola at @Shekhtman.

The Most Terrifyingly Awesome 3D Printed Kraken D20 Die You Will Ever See

RPG fans and dice rollers brace yourselves for one of the most terrifying and coolest die we’ve come across. Designer Ian Dwyer of the Shapeways shop Nveonom8 Designs has created this terrifying mass of writhing tentacles and gaping beaks holds a dark secret: It’s a completely fair 20-sided die!

The die is almost three inches across (7.1cm), this eldritch monstrosity of a D20 is the perfect centerpiece for your gaming dice collection. May it guide you safely across treacherous seas, help you triumph over unspeakable horrors, and give you courage in the face of the kraken–or even Cthulhu himself!

The Dice is available stainless steel

Be careful of it’s pointy tentacles and avoid anywhere near your eyes!

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Here is a video of the Kraken D20 dice is action

What are your thoughts on the Kraken D20? Would you unleash this baby at your next RPG gathering? Let us know in a comment below.

3D Printed Steel Frequently Asked Questions Explained (Video)

One of our community’s favorite materials that Shapeways offers is our 3D printed stainless steel. We often get commonly asked questions that aren’t often easily explained for those without a technical or material science background. In order to better explain and educate the community about our steel material to help you guys better design your products, we’ve partnered with our steel 3D printing manufacturing partner ExOne to put together a few educational videos explaining the steel 3D printing process and commonly asked questions.

In this video ExOne technician Brandon Cary answers FAQs on our steel material.

This video demonstrates the process and technology involved in creating 3D printed steel parts.

We hope that you find these videos valuable and that they provide you with insight on the process and technology involved in creating your 3D printed steel parts. We plan to continue to creating useful and educational resources like these for the community.

A 3D Printed Topology Joke

Mathematical artist and community member Henry Segerman has found a creative way to combine 3D printing and a topology joke. The joke goes about topologists is that they can’t tell the difference between a coffee mug and a doughnut. For those who are not familiar with topology, topology is the study of geometrical objects where you don’t care about lengths and you don’t care about angles, what matters is how the spatial relations relate to each other.

This series of 3D prints is a joint collaboration between Segerman and Keenan Crane. To a topologist, as the old joke goes, a coffee mug is the same thing as a donut since one can be deformed into the other.

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(Topology Joke printed in white strong & plastic)

Video of Henry Segerman explaining Topology Joke printed in our Porcelain Pilot Material.

You can see more of Henry Segerman’s sculptures and mathematical inspired 3D printed on his Shapeways shop.

 

3D Printed VR Headset Will Mesmerize Your Eyes

The emergence of technology such as virtual reality, drones, and gadgets have always prompted a new market opportunity for designers to design custom 3D printed accessories and modifications for them. We’re always on the lookout for the coolest and eye catching 3D prints and this impressive designed 3D printed VR headset by designer Masaharu Ono caught our attention.

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(VR Headset Bloom)

Masaharu was inspired to create this awesome headset through his love of nature. He modeled this headset in Rhinoceros and Grasshopper. The VR headset is 3D printed in nylon plastic and is available for sale on Mashaharu’s shop for $10,000.

Below are some iterative sketches behind his 3D printed VR Headset.

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This cool VR headset is one of the more ambitious 3D designs we’ve seen from our community recently. We’re big believers in pushing the limits of product design and testing the potential of making creations that were once thought of as impossible before the existence of 3D printing capabilities.

What is the most ambitious design you’ve worked on? Let us know in a comment below or tweet us on Twitter @Shapeways.

 

Developing 3D Printed Assistive Tools For The Elderly

As we age and get older, especially for the elderly, ordinary actions become extraordinarily difficult such as writing, typing, or opening bottle caps. Japanese Designer Tatsuo Ishibashi was aware of these issues and has created 3D printed products aimed for assisting the elderly and people with a loss in muscular functioning.

Tatsuo’s Shapeways shop mizulabo specializes in “assistive technology”, simple and functional designs that lead to lightweight, low cost, and easy handling of functional activities. He models his designs in 123 Design by Autodesk and prints them through Shapeways. Below are some examples of his tools.

The writing assist tool is a tool for helping people write with a ballpoint pen.

Higaki” is the tool to remove caps and tabs from a plastic bottle and a can easily.

The Finger Input device is a for device for making tapping PC keyboard, remote controller, etc easier.

Tatsuo’s designs show that 3D printing can be used to make very attractive tools for assisting people and functional tools can be aesthetically pleasing and useful. What are some attractive 3D printed tools you’ve designed or come across? Let us know in a comment below.

Five tactics to help you decide your next design idea

For some people finding new design ideas is as easy as looking at their surroundings and finding inspiration, for other’s it can be challenging finding that creative spark. An even more difficult challenge is designing a product that has the potential to sell and do well on the Shapeways marketplace. Here are some of the tactics that you can use to come up with new ideas for product designs.

1) Google Trends

Designing products around what’s trending online is a great way to make a design that is fresh and relevant in people’s minds. One way to find what’s trending is by using Google Trends. With Google Trends you can filter out what’s trending by many category options by demographic and subject matter (science, sports, animals, etc). This is based on top stories and search terms people are searching for. You can even do a search on Google Trends for specific keywords and see how strong they come up in Google search. Here is an example of a search I did to see how popular the Tardigrade was. Here you can see how popular the keyword was and the demographic that are searching for it.

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2) Instagram Hashtags / Explore

Instagram recently launched a new updated discovery tab which allows users to easily discover trending hashtags and photos based on the type of photos you post and like. This is a great feature to see a curated stream of photos based on the photos you’ve already liked and give you a visual inspiration for your next product design idea.

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Searching various terms on Instagram shows you how relevant and popular a subject can be.

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3) Collaborations

Collaborations amongst other designers and artist have been a growing trend in the Shapeways community. A fantastic way to bring a new product to the marketplace is to get together with a designer or artist whose designs inspire you. If they’re on Shapeways you can send them a private message, you can tweet at them on Twitter, or send them a direct message of a mock up 3D model to that artist on Instagram letting them know you’re an admirer of their work and if they’d be interested in collaborating with you on bringing that design to market on Shapeways. Here is an example of a collaboration done between Gabriel Prero and Bathsheba.

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4) Ask your existing audience / Do a Q&A

Do you have an existing audience or following? Ask you audience on social media. Make a post on Twitter or Facebook asking your followers what’d they like to see you design next and listen to their feedback. You can also experiment with Reddit’s r/IAmA, here is an example of one done by Kostika Spaho and Christopher Carter.

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5) Modify An Existing Product

Take a look at your existing products and see if you can modify it or manipulated it into a whole new product all together. For example here is a 3D printed Grumpy Cat and  a Santa themed grumpy cat created by designer Manuel Poehlau.

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Designer Corretta Singer of the Shapeways shop CS1 turned her mech heart pendant into a mech heart ring.

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Give these tactics a try and you just might come up with your next hit product. What does your creative design process look like? Let us know in a comment below!

3D printed case turns your micro drone into a wasp

Posted by in Design, DIY, Drones, Inspiration

Drone parts and drone accessories are a popular design category on Shapeways. Customizing drones has become a fun hobby for 3D printing enthusiast, especially with SLS and Shapeways 3D printing, designers are able to design for accurate and sophisticated  upgraded parts and accessories.

German designer Kai Bracher, of the Shapeways shop Cabrada has taken his love of drones to the next level by designing this eye catching 3D printable case for the drone for the Micro Drone. This 3D printed clip on case for the microdrone 2.0 and 3.0 from Extreme flyers turns your done into a wasp.

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Wasp case designed in Zbrush

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Micro Drone in flight with the 3D printed Wasp Shell add on

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The Wasp Drone case currently sells for $31.50 USD on Kai’s Shapeways Shop and is available in various colors in our Strong and Flexible nylon material.

There is also a video shows the mounting of the wasp to the Micro Drone

Have you modded out your drone with 3D printed parts or accessories? Let us know in a comment below or share your photos with us on Twitter and Instagram by tagging @Shapeways.

Shapeways and ExOne Steel 3D Printing Community Meet Up In Pittsburgh

Posted by in Community

Last week Shapeways hosted it’s first community joint meet up with ExOne in Pittsburgh. ExOne is a production partner of Shapeways with whom Shapeways works closely to offer the best steel 3D prints to our community. Local designers, makers, students, and community members in the Pittsburgh and Ohio area got the opportunity to visit the ExOne 3D printing facilities. They were able to meet with members of the Shapeways community team, get a tour of the steel 3D printing machines, learn more about our current steel material options, and get to engage and interact with fellow designers.

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Community members were able to get a walk through of the steel 3D printing process from planning, model checking, build planning, printing, post production, and finishing.

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We got to talk about our exciting updates and launches this year including ShapeJS, Designer For Hire, 3D Tools, and our Pilot Materials program.

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Designer and Shapeways shop owner Jeremy Burnich (pictured above) spoke about how he started 3D printing with Shapeways, advice on building your brand, and his experience 3D printing in steel.

Here is a Video montage of the event

Shapeways Steel 3D Printing video

Have you 3D printed in steel before? If so how has your experience been and what type of designs do to make for steel.

Introduction to Shapeways Newest Community Managers

Posted by in Community, Shapeways

We are EXTREMELY excited to welcome Andrew Thomas and Kat Kinkead as the newest members of our community team!

Andrew and Kat are not only active members of the community, they are veterans of the Shapeways NYC team. Kat and Andrew have previous experience working in our “Factory of the Future” in Long Island City. When it comes to 3D Printing, they know it best: from post processing, overseeing daily ops, and owning their own shops, they’re a perfect fit for our Community team!

Q&A with Andrew

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If you could design a couch or a rocket or a shoe, which one would you pick and why?

I’m not really interested in any of these options. I like to make more or less useless things like this. 3D printing is revolutionary because it enables personal manufacturing, so I don’t need to choose ‘between’ designing anything anymore. I can just make what I want even if its not functional or a good mass market idea.

What does the future look like in 5 years? 

Probably blurry, unless I get a new prescription for my glasses.

If you could host a meetup anywhere in the world, where would you choose? 

I like to think about how 3D printing would work in very isolated environments and what it could be used for (provided I had design tools and an internet connection) which might not be a great idea for a meetup. So maybe I’d have a meetup in New York, then a year later everyone would have to travel to someplace else in the world by their own means and share what we’ve made along the way.

What drew you to Shapeways? What are you looking forward to the most?

I’ve been working at Shapeways for almost 2 years now in the (amazing) customer service department. Its given me a very good insight both into the interests of our community and the inner workings of Shapeways from all sides of the business.

I’m looking forward to continuing to build the Shapeways community into an amazing and inclusive place to be a designer.

If you could be a superhero, who would it be? 

I love Kuro and Shiro in the manga Tekkonkinkreet. I like that its unclear what their actual super powers actually are. They seem to be able to fly because they’re always on top of buildings and power lines but you never actually see them do it. Sometimes they are depicted as animals like cats or birds. Its hard to know if these are real or imaginary powers and its never explained why they got them. I like that sense of mystery.

 

Q&A with Kat

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If you could design a couch or a rocket or a shoe, which one would you pick and why?

I would design a rocket with a couch inside it. That way, I could chill-out and travel to space, simultaneously.

What does the future look like in 5 years? 

The future is awesome and full of personalized products, made on demand for you. Right now, we have the amazing ability to customize hardware products, but I think the future holds great opportunity for this in the fashion and apparel world. I can’t wait to be wearing something that’s 3D Printed every day!

If you could host a meetup anywhere in the world, where would you choose? 

I would love to host a meet up in Japan. When I was there recently, most designers I came across were unaware of the technology. I would love to tap into that market and show designers how they can harness this kick-butt technology.

What drew you to Shapeways? What are you looking forward to the most?

I began working at Shapeways in 2012, as one of the first members on site at the Long Island City factory. After working there for two years (post processing ALOT of FUD, WSF & FCS), I left for a little while to go be a designer evangelist in the fashion industry. Working in the fashion industry helped me realize that I have a true passion for working with design communities and introducing them to 3D printing. There’s really no better place to do that then Shapeways. I am so stoked to be back!

If you could be a superhero, who would it be? 

Probably the Grey Hulk. He has all the same awesomeness as green hulk, but minus all the anger issues. In fact, he’s pretty sarcastic.

Five Tactics To Use On Instagram To Promote Your Shapeways Products

My favorite social media platform that I’ve been using in 2015 has been Instagram. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, the attention graph and organic reach of Instagram is the highest amongst all of the social media platforms out there. There are very few Ads, no ridiculous newsfeed algorithm, and it’s completely mobile.

Instagram has emerged as a leading platform for small businesses and niche communities to promote their products and generate visual awareness around their content. Instagram posts receive over 50% more engagement per follower (likes, comments) than Facebook and Twitter.  The engagement rate on average for brands is 4-5% on Instagram, much higher than the <1% we see on Facebook and Twitter per post.

In this post I want to highlight five specific tactics that I use on Instagram to promote my Shapeways shop and that you should be using as well.

1. Search Key hashtags and Engage

When promoting my products on Instagram I choose not to play defense and expect users to discover my Instagram account and content, instead I play offense and actively search potential customers and consumers who are sharing relevant posts. I do this by searching the specific hashtags that my product targets and begin liking, and commenting on their content making them aware I have a product that they might be interested in. For example I’ll search all the photos that have the hashtag #Tardigrade, filter through relevant photos of Tardigrades, read their photo descriptions and identify if they express interest in Tardigrades with keywords in their photos that say “I want one”, or “I love Tardigrades”. Then I’ll follow up with comments on their photo saying “You love Tardigrades? I have a 3D printed one on my page”.

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2. Link to your website on the location section of your post

Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links on post, no problem. Just add the link to your website on the location section by creating a “custom location” and just type the link to your website instead of an actual location. This will add visibility to your website for consumers. You can also direct users to the link on your bio which is clickable as an alternative. Either method works.

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3. Utilize Repost and Regram apps

Once I began selling a large quantity of my 3D printed products I began reusing customer photos that were shared on Instagram to promote them again with the Respost app. It essentially allows me to repost their photo, thank them for being a customer, and promote that product again. The respost app is essentially Instagram’s way for “retweeting” and “sharing” another users content on Instagram.

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4. Instagram Direct Messaging

Instagram launched photo direct messaging to users back in 2013. It’s a useful way to send direct photos to individual users and start a conversation. This feature has been very useful for getting in touch with influencers and other users who have a larger audience and reach than you. You can get in touch with them and ask them if they can cross promote your content. I would recommend the best course of action is to not go after big celebrities but instead go after relevant accounts. I first found success of this by DMing photos of my Thorgi figurine to niche Instagram users in the Corgi community. The reception was welcoming and I got quiet a few accounts to post and link back to my account and promote my product the lead to a increase in sales.

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5. Share Creative Video Content 

These are several content creation techniques and applications you can use to get creative with your content creation instead of just sharing static photos. Videos and short form micro content like slow-motion action videos, stop motion, slideshows, and Hyperlapse videos are a great way to get your audience hooked and wanting more.

 

Incorporate these tactics into your Instagram strategy and you’ll begin seeing better conversation and engagement. Are you currently promoting your Shapeways products on Instagram? If so be sure to incorporate #Shapeways in your photos so we can help discover and surface your work.

Artist Uses 3D Printing To Combine Love Of Printmaking and Beer

Posted by in Community, Design

Graham Stephens is a Maker and Artist based out of Portland, OR. Graham has a passion for Printmaking and focuses on  print making projects that range from engraving, woodcutting, and sketching. He recently opened a Shapeways store and launched his first product in the marketplace, the Ink Brayer Bottle Opener. Graham’s Bottle Opener combines his love of printmaking and everything print related with his love of delicious craft beer.

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It took Graham three iterations and prototypes before arriving at his final version of his bottle opener that is large and strong enough to reliably open a bottle with ease, but also maintains the look and feel of a tiny ink brayer. 

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 The Ink Brayer Bottle Opener 3D printed in stainless steel

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Video of Ink Brayer Bottle Opener in action

Graham’s Ink Brayer Bottle Opener fits great in a pocket and can fit a key-ring. It makes a great gift for anyone who loves printmaking. Graham started using 3D printing for his own personal pieces over the years and plans on listing more of his designs on his Shapeways shop Diode Press in the future.

Have you ever used 3D printing to combine your love with another interests? Let us know in a comment below.

 

3D Printed Father’s Day Gifts Designed by Dads For Dads

Posted by in Community, Curation

This Father’s Day give something unique, original, and aesthetically pleasing to show dad how much you care. For the modern dad, giving the gift of a 3D printed product from the Shapeways Marketplace can be thoughtful and personal. On Shapeways some of our community members are father’s themselves, so we’ve rounded up a few interesting products and gift ideas designed by Shapie Dads for Dads.

1) Fatherhood Knot Pendant by designer and Dad, Dan Foley

This Celtic design is sometimes referred to as a “fatherhood knot” or “father’s knot”, often it is a child that gets it as a way to remember their father. Occasionally a father and a child will both have one to represent that bond. It’s often done as a tattoo in this way

2) Ethanol Molecule Bottle Opener by designer and Dad, Steven Gray

Looking a little bit like a dog, this molecule model is made from steel and is an ideal gift for the beer loving dad in your life, or just anyone who loves beer!

3) Toothbrush Holder / Stand Submarine by designer and father, Kurt Drubbel

Remind your dad to be a kid again with this fun apparatus to put in toothbrush in when he’s done brushing his teeth.

4) Ghost Spinning Top by designer and father, Michiel Cornelissen

This is a a lightweight, 3D-printed stainless steel spinning top unlike any you’re likely to have seen. When it spins  it creates a fascinating, semi-transparent outline of a top. Show this to your dad and he will surely be impressed.

Michiel Cornelissen with his daughter living the good life. Can you spot the elephant in the background?

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5) Voodoo Doll by deigner and father, Edrice Waliyar

Now your dad can You can play with his own Guybrush threepwood voodoo doll!

6) Ll Bean Sonic Snow Tube GoPro Mount by designer and Dad Jeremy Mikesell

A video shot with a GoPro Hero2 on a 3D printed mount for the LL Bean Sonic Snow Tube featuring designer Jeremy and his kid.

7) Espresso cup holder by Dad and designer Henrik Sozzi

This cup holder apparatus will make your dad feel like he’s  drinking  coffee in a espresso cup at your home!

8) S’more pendant by Dad and designer Michael Williams

Give your Dad this adorable 3D printed S’more pendant (non-edible) to remind him of the times you two spent around the camp fire making S’mores. Who doesn’t like S’mores?

How are you spending Father’s Day this year? Did you design something special for your old man? Let us know in a comment below!

 

Japanese Designer Creates 3D printed Transforming ‘STINGRAY’ Toy Kit

Artist and Designer Tomoo Yamaji who was inspired by the Transformers cartoons from the 80′s and 90′s has designed a fully functional, detailed, 3D printed, assemble yourself transforming robot. Tomoo felt that there was a need for a grown up version of transforming robot toys and decided to use Shapeways 3D printing to bring this impressive design to life. The product comes in kit form and needs to be assembled by the customer. All parts already have the screw holes, so they can be easily assembled with screws. No adhesive is required.

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(The kit is printed in White, Strong & Flexible nylon plastic unpolished) 

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 (STINGRAY kit unassembled) 

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Tamoo’s robot kit and parts were designed using the 3D CAD software Rhinoceros

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Here is a video of his transforming sculpture

Tamoo Yamaji’s STINGRAY kit currently sells for $190 US on his Shapeways shop. You can find the instructions on how to assemble it on his website here. We have seen a growing number of talented digital artist designing custom 3D printed toys and figurines, especially designs that are aesthetically pleasing and challenges traditional manufacturing methods.

What are some custom toy ideas you’d love to see designed by our community members for the Shapeways marketplace? Let us know in a comment below.