Author Archives: Savannah

Video: 3D Printed Prosthesis Help Derby the Dog Run for the First Time

derby

Derby, an adorable husky mix was born with underdeveloped forearms (or forepaws as I like to call them) and a hyper developed sense of adventure. Undeterred by his condition, Derby’s foster parents experimented with a few mobility mechanisms and elbow pads for him before turning to 3D Printed prosthesis. Derby’s custom paws just allowed him to run for the first time, an activity he and his adopted parents have every day since.

If this doesn’t warm your heart and show you the healing power of 3D printing… perhaps this story about Shapeways’ Designer Melissa Ng, of Lumecluster, and the custom prosthesis she made earlier this year will:

melissa

Know a pooch or person in need of prosthesis? Connect them to our community in the forums or reach out to me personally, Savannah@Shapeways.com. I’d love to help the dreams come true of our 2, 3 and 4 legged friends.


 

Five Predictions: The Future of Drones, Quadcopters and 3D Printing

INflight2

The new DJI Inspire 1, a convergence of consumer and commercial Drone technology

Every December we like to look back at the trends we’ve seen since January and assess what learnings should be applied to the year ahead. If there is on product category on Shapeways that has withstood the test of 2014 it is Drone Accessories. Battery pack hacks, propeller guards, landing gear, GoPro mounts and levers are just a few examples of the great 3D printed parts the Shapeways community is making for their quadcopters and multirotors. They’ve signaled to us that the Drone market is healthy and growing rapidly. Here are my thoughts looking forward.

drone-guard

Five Predictions for Drones in 2015:

The “Drone” vs UAV vs Multirotor Debate will Fizzle

When multirotors went consumer, early adopters and advocates were weary of the term “Drone,” and rightfully so, most people associate drones with the military. That said, I think as the market gains awareness across the general public, we’ll be able to effectively differentiate from unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV – the scary kind) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV – the commercial and consumer kind).  I know hard core mutirotor fans out there may be skeptical, but I believe this will happen for a few simple reasons: 1) More and more people are flying and seeing consumer aircrafts, visually comprehending the difference 2) Drone is just easier. In the same way a table can have 2, 3, 4, 6 or however many legs, and UAVs have varying numbers of rotors. While multirotor is inclusive, it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue the way drone does. 3) It’s already happening. 150% more products on Shapeways are tagged “Drone” over “multirotor.”

Drone Activity Debates will Heat Up

While I believe the word “Drone” will become less controversial, the activity of Drones will only fall under more intense scrutiny. The air above us is considerably less regulated than the ground below us and with that ambiguity comes fear. “Drone Surveillance” is considerably more ominous sounding than “non-invasive aerial video” despite the activities (taking video from the sky) being exactly the same. Drone lovers will need to be sure to assure their clients and networks that they’re flying for good.


Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 2.46.49 PM
Photo taken by Stephen Greenwood and I using the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+

The Drone Laws are Coming

The FAA and their international counterparts have yet define the naughty and nice list for Drone pilots. While there are some guidelines, compared to other activities, playing with your consumer drone is relatively unregulated. Not only serving as oversight for the safety and privacy of citizens, Drone regulations will bring big bucks to emerging industries. The wild west will only stay wild for a little longer.

Drones will Show Us the Money

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) predicts that “The economic impact of the integration of UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS) will total more than $13.6 billion in the first three years.” This $$ means jobs, too; “Integration into the NAS will create more than 34,000 manufacturing jobs and more than 70,000 new jobs” overall in those same three years.  AUVSI predicts that between 2015 and 2025 those jobs will grow to over 100,000 and the market to $82.1 Billion.

Shapeways will Continue to Provide the Best (and Fastest) Drone Accessories

Yes, I’m biased for obvious reasons, but this is also data based. We have more accessories available faster than the companies that manufacture the drones because inventory is unnecessary in 3D Printing. Drone part designers test on their vehicles, iterating quicker than anyone else can. There are already over 1,000 unique Drone parts for sale on Shapeways, I predict that number grows to 2500 over the next year.

landinggear

Drones are not only a part of my day job, but they’re a part of my nights and weekends too. My boyfriend is a video producer and has fallen in love with the perspective now provided by these small unmanned aircrafts. I act as DP when I can, controlling the camera mounted to his DJI Phantom I. Occasionally, Martini (my dog) and I have an “encounter” with his training Hubsan quadcopter. If you still love something after it’s tried to nest itself in your hair, you know it’s a hobby that’s here to stay. That’s how I feel about Drones. There’s a lot to learn, and much room to grow.

What Drone do you have or want to get? Here’s an overview of the current consumer Drones if you’re just getting started.


 

Bigger is Better for Shapeways 3D Printing Bounding Box

box

 

Have you had to update everything from your case to your jean pocket size since upgrading your phone? We too have adapted to the bigger-is-better trend taking the product world by storm.

Announcing a Bigger Polished Strong & Flexible Bounding Box!

Thanks to a little R&D, we are excited to expand our current bounding box limitation for Dyed & White Strong & Flexible Polished from 150 x 150 x 150mm to 150 x 150 x 200mm!

This means that our entire Strong & Flexible Plastic family is iPhone 6 Plus case friendly! We look forward to seeing the colorful creations you polish with this expanded bounding box.

What other bounding boxes do you wish would expand?


 

Shapeways Celebrates You This Small Business Saturday

Did you know today is Small Business Saturday? A day focused on supporting your community and the independent businesses within that. Online small businesses count too, and that’s why today is my favorite of this wild holiday weekend. There is a lot to celebrate today, alongside the over 22,000 small business owners powered by Shapeways 3D Printing. Remind your friends and family when they shop from you store on Shapeways, not only are the getting a great deal this weekend, they’re also supporting the maker movement and the small businesses within that.

Learn more about the people behind Shapeways 3D Printing powered businesses through our Designer Spotlight series. Celebrate your creative independence and remind others to #ShopSmall! What small business on Shapeways is your favorite?

 


 

Video: iPhone 6 Case Semi-Finalists Reviewed, Finalists Announced!

Remember that iPhone 6 3D Printed Case Contest we hosted a few weeks ago? We waited to print the cases until the backlog of repricing orders had been cleared, and finally have them in-hand! I took the time to review the top 10 semi-finalists, and am proud to announce the final four. Everyone who participated did a great job, but like all initial prototypes, some need a few design adjustments to be ready for the main stage.

Curious as to which cases are making their way to Ethan Imboden at Frog Design in California for final review? You’ll have to watch the video to find out:

Now that you’ve seen them, which case would you like for your phone?


 

Shop Owner Bootcamp: Own Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday

This the tenth and final post in our Shop Owner Bootcamp Series counting down to Black Friday. Appropriately, today’s tips are all about how to win Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. We make an effort to embrace all global traditions in our community, but given that a significant portion of our shopper traffic comes from the United States, we want you to be prepared.

ponies-fun

Take a deep breath. Look around at the products you’ve created before you. And get in the zone. We are entering the highest traffic time of the year here at Shapeways, and we want you to capture as much of it as possible, bringing excited new customers to your shops. We try hard to showcase the diversity of great products on Shapeways, but with nearly 3 million models uploaded, it’s impossible to feature everyone. Below is a guide for how you can optimize every day in the holiday shopping weekend coming up. If you’re looking for personalized shop advice, be sure and sign up for our Shop Owner Sessions over the weekend and next week.

Three Golden Rules:

  • Schedule posts on your preferred social platforms: Shapeways shoppers come from around the world – you never know when they’re watching. Buffer is my favorite for this, and Tweetdeck works great as well.  Both are free and work seamlessly with all your twitter accounts. This will help pace your content if you get caught up with a customer during the day.
  • Respond to People Quickly: People are looking to buy between Black Friday-Cyber Monday more than any other time of the year.  This also means they’re looking to transact quickly. Be extra responsive to private messages, product comments, and engagement on social media. Showing people they matter goes a long way.
  • Be Shameless: Yes, we all want to avoid being spammy. Telling people about something they want or would be interested in however, isn’t spammy. Include educational tips and designer scoop on how you make your creations, how we 3D Print them etc. and include a product in every post. By giving your audience something (awesome behind the curtains info) you appear as much like an educator as you do a business oriented person. We’ll be looking to share your posts with the greater Shapie community, so keep ‘em coming!

Three Important Days

  1. Black Friday: Historically the theme of Black Friday is “doorbusters” aka Early-Bird deals for shoppers. Take advantage of the buzz online by including #BlackFriday in your communications. Consider experimenting with lower prices on a few of your pieces early in the morning to see if you can increase demand. If you’re putting an item on Sale, be sure an indicate in the product descriptions so your shoppers know to take advantage of this special deal! Historically very popular in the US.
  2. Small Business Saturday: A lovely day branded initially by AmericanExpress, #SmallBusinessSaturday is meant to celebrate the Independently owned businesses in our communities, both digital and IRL. Take the opportunity to tell people about your business, the collections you have available now, and the direction you would like to take it in the future. Though started in the US, it has spread across the globe. Take this day to tell your story through your products.
  3. Cyber Monday: The mother of all online shopping days. A global phenomena that brings more people to E-commerce land than any other day. Schedule the most posts across the most networks on this day. We’ve got some great surprises in store on-site, so be sure and check it out. #CyberMonday is the tag to go with, and discounts are the currency. Don’t feel like you have to have a sale, however, as many of you are already so modest with your markups.

Alright, what final questions can I help you with Shapies?

 


 

Dinovember: Discovering Endless 3D Printed Bacon in Space

dinovember.png

DINOVEMBER has taken over and things are getting crazy at Shapeways HQ! After all our recent news about 3D Printing in Space with our friends Future Engineers, Grumpy Cat, Doge, Jebediah and some other 3D printed friends blasted off to see what the buzz was all about.

Upon arriving in a land far, far away, they were greeted by their pal Rawr Dinosaur. As they all gathered around to catch up and talk about space life, something truly magical happened. A bacon mobius descended from the atmosphere and provided endless space bacon!

See all the fun unfold in this stop motion film:

On a slightly more serious Dinovember note, did you know they uncovered new dinosaurs this year? Giant vegans, no less! How cool is that? You can check out these featured dinos and many others on our dinosaur featured page! If you’re feeling extra inspired, you can enter our Dinovember weekend contest and model your own dinosaur!


 

Shop Owner Bootcamp: Quick Email Marketing to Boost Sales of Your 3D Prints

Love-Letter-Target-Shapeways-3DP

This is the ninth in a 10 part Shop Owner Bootcamp series counting down to black friday. Last week we focused on Supercharing Your SEO and this week we’re talking Email. Pictured above is Love Letter: Square by Target. Learn more about our partnership with them here

Are you beginning to feel the heat of Holiday Season yet? If you’re not, let me be the first to tell you, it’s go time, Shapies! We just released our holiday gift guide are in full-steam-ahead holiday mode. If you do no other marketing for your Shapeways shop today, do this: remind your friends, family and former customers that you make awesome products through 3D printing and that just about anything can be personalized through your skills and the technology. If you’re concerned that it will come off as spammy, we are happy to take a look in our Holiday Messaging Help forum. I also ask that you trust me when I say, your network will be interested. While it’s no longer new to us, 3D Printing, especially in our unique material portfolio, is still very cool and new to most folks outside the Shapie universe.

The email can be simple: 

Hi friends, 

2014 has been a great year, and I’m grateful you were a part of mine. I just wanted to share the 3D printed products I’ve created this year, and let you know that if you’d like any of them or any other custom products for holidays I’m here to help. 3D Printing is very cool and personal, and it’s not just plastic. Shapeways prints in Steel, Brass, Silver, Gold and even Platinum, too. Holiday season is fast approaching.  

(Insert a few photos of your work)

(link to your shop) 

Cheers, 

I bet you’ll be surprised how few people are aware of what you’re truly capable of, and what’s more fun than supporting a friends business and also giving a great gift? We see so many touching stories and personalized products come through our factories, I can’t help but encourage you to let your network know you’re there.

For those of you with Existing Email Newsletters:

I get many of your independent newsletters each month and enjoy them all. The one thing that all Shapies have in common is how genuine your passion is. This comes through in your communications and in your work. Keep it up! And don’t worry, if you don’t have an email list yet, Holiday is a great time to make one. Just add a link to a google form (or whatever signup mechanism you prefer) in your shop description and watch it grow!

Two Emails You Should Send:

  1. Next week, ideally Tues-Thurs (higher open rate): Holiday preview and/or reminder about your shop including top sellers & latest creations. You can even offer design services.
  2. Small Business Saturday: A holiday mostly celebrated in the US, but one worth letting your customers know about. Black Friday is historically retail centric, Cyber Monday (a great day to send an email as well) is all about digital, but SMB Saturday offers a different unique opportunity to showcase how 3D Printing is enabling your Small Business and say thank you to those contributing to it’s growth.

Here’s a great example from Somersault 18:24‘s Monthly Newsletter:

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 10.34.39 AM

 

Their message goes on to include links to their shop and updates about the science and 3D printing world. It’s helped grow them to one of the most successful shops and collections on Shapeways.

Would it be helpful if included easy to share news stories you could include in your emails in our Shop Owner Newsletter? What emails that we send do you like best? And worst? Be honest with us the way you want your customers to be honest with you :) .


 

Shapeways October Top Sellers & Viewed 3D Printed Products

Have you ever wondered what products sell best on Shapeways? What products are going viral and getting the most traffic? Well, thanks to your feedback and with some help from friends of ours at 3Dprint.com we’ve started a new series. Every month, we’re going to share the top 10 marketplace sellers on Shapeways as well as our top 10 viewed products. Below is a peek at last month’s leading models.

Shapeways October Top Sellers

1. & 2.  Moto 360 Bumper Case by Raelx

These are some of the first and only Moto 360 bumpers on the market and they are only $8! We were very excited to see these take off and get picked up by all the gadget media. Our only hope is that Raelx makes additional versions (he has a short and tall currently) in our premium metals… Here Shapie shopper Michael Shulteis shows off his in our red strong and flexible plastic (found on twitter):

moto 360

 

3. Itty Bitty Sad Keanu by neuralfirings

A Shapeways veteran all-star, Sad Keanu saw a huge bump in traffic after we helped celebrate Keanu Reeve’s 50th Birthday by throwing him a 3D Printed party on vine:

You can see the rest of the Top Sellers in October over on 3DPrint.com

Shapeways October Most Viewed Products

2. Origami Crane Skeleton by Joabaldwin 

Joaquin Baldwin’s crane is very well designed, and this fantastic image tells the story immediately. It’s hard not to be a bit mesmerized when you see it for the time:

origami-crane-skeleton

 

8. Spitfire My Little Pony by Christophe Vidal

The new additions to the SuperFanArt family have been incredible, Spitfire being one of the fan favorites! Christophe has designed many products on Shapeways, and his My Little Pony modeling is helping him reach new audiences.

sptifire

 

You can see the full list of top viewed Shapeways products from October of on 3dprint.

What do you hope to see make Novembers list?


 

Winners of the About.com Home and Shapeways #ShapeMyHolidaysSweeps Announced

Our friends at About.com Home their Experts put together a beautiful curation of home products. A few weeks ago, we opened up voting for members of both the Shapeways and About.com communities and let you decide which product you wanted in your home. The voting was extremely close, the winner only separated from the other top few products by a few votes!

Drum Roll Please…

The Favorite Product in the #ShapeMyHolidaySweeps was the 36 pencil bowl by Michiel Cornelissen!!

pencil-bowl

Our 48 lucky voters have been notified that they’ve won and will receive their pencil bowl in time for holiday, and Neeharika Ilavala, our grand prize winner, will receive all 10 products from the About.com Home curated collection.

Big thanks to everyone who voted and all the Shop Owners who decided the beautiful products in the curation!

 


 

Shop Owner Bootcamp: Five Easy Ways to Supercharge Your SEO

This is the eight post in a 10 week series leading up to our busiest sales weekend of the year. We’ve covered everything from getting press for your 3D printed products to how to promote your products on social media and much in our Shop Owner bootcamp series. This week’s post comes from our performance marketing pro, Jeanne, we’re focused on SEO.

eggbot-mygadgetlife-shapeways

Scottish Shapie Shop Owner MyGadgetLife has some of the best product descriptions on Shapeways. Check out his eggbot (above) and his moon mobius to get inspired for your shop!

5 Easy Ways (Under 5 Minutes) to Get Your Products Picked Up by Google

We’ve already talked about various ways to get customers to your shop, but today we’re going to dive even deeper and talk about the importance of search engine results (SEO). Currently, organic search results are one of the top drivers to Shapeways. The more you can get your products in search engine results, the more likely a potential customer will visit your product page and make a purchase. Below are five tips to get your products search engine optimized in minutes.

#1 Use Specific Keywords in Your Product Titles & Descriptions

Your model titles and descriptions are used not only on your model page on Shapeways, but in search engine search results – a two for one! So, titles and descriptions with specific, relevant keywords will help your products appear in and get people to click (which helps it to surface even more frequently).

Action: You can spend a lot of time on keyword optimization, but here are two easy ways to get started:

  • If you were to search for your product, what would you type in a search engine? Make sure those keywords are in both your title and description

  • Be as specific as possible with your description, including all the peripheral search terms that might be relevant (synonyms, the category that your product belongs in, types of customization or personalization, etc.)

For example, if I title my product “Holiday Ornament,” the likelihood that my product will show up on the first few pages of Google is very low (there are a total of 22.8m search results). Sucks, I know. But if I title it “Custom holiday ornament with initial,” I’m competing against 8.7m search results. And in my description, I’ll write “Christmas or holiday ornament can be customized with initials, monograms, names, images, and is a great unique gift for your loved ones.” Sounds wordy, but it works.

#2 Update Titles & Descriptions to a Certain Length

Anything too long or too short is suspected by search engines to be of low quality. There is a min and approximate max, and you are penalized with less opportunity to turn up in search results for it.

Action: Titles should be about 6 to 8 words (55 characters), with the most important words in the beginning. Descriptions should be at least 15 words (160 characters) with keywords described above in it, as that’s the snippet that gets viewed in search results so you want it to be enticing! Use natural language (the way you would normally talk or write) in your descriptions, including facts and statements to help viewers see the value of your product immediately.

Description

#3 Give Your Images Captions with Keywords

A picture is worth a thousand words. More and more people are finding Shapeways products through image searches on search engines (i.e. Google, Bing, etc). Including a photo and a description with keywords will increase the likelihood it will get picked up in image searches (known as an “Alt text”).

Action: In the Details tab of your model, fill in the image caption with keywords, starting with the ones most relevant to your product. For example, for this ornament I created with Shapeways ornament creator, my caption is “Custom Christmas holiday ornament with organic design”

Image caption

#4 Every Product is Unique, so its Title and Description Should Be Too!

Every model should have a unique title and description. Duplications are penalized by search engines because it assumes the viewer won’t have a good experience if there’s a lot of too-similar content.  Unique titles and descriptions will help your products get shown by search engines.

Action: Give your product titles and descriptions. Your products are unique and their titles and descriptions should be too.  little bit different is better than no difference at all.

#5 Your Shop Description is Prime for SEO Opportunity

Your shop page is full of opportunities for search engines to pick up, with your product and their titles, image alt text, and the robust area to write in a shop description.

Action: Update your Shop Description in your Shapeways Shop Settings with examples of your products types, your background and your expertise designing them. Feel free to elaborate on your designs and products, as the more relevant keywords on the page compared to non-relevant keywords, the better.

Bonus: Also add an extended description for your shop page.

Shop Description

Search engine optimization is a time-intensive and ever evolving process, but the key tenets are consistent: quality content, natural descriptions, and following basic guidelines will go a long way.

What keyword search do you wish you were the #1 result for?


 

Shop Owner Bootcamp: Seven Steps to Get Press for Your 3D Printed Products

This is the sixth edition of our ten week series counting down to Black Friday. Previously covered topics include engaging forums, tagging products, photography, market research, and reputation.

press-dcyaleRadial Drill Press HO Scale by Dave’s Model Railway Stuff

Have you dreamed of seeing your products on your favorite website, blog or media outlet? Are you ready to expand your audience? Believe it or not, it’s easier than you think. Getting promoted on Shapeways is always a great start; and by targeting publications and outlets with audiences that align with your target customer base, you can really see your sales go through the roof. Write out the checklist below and seek holiday press, one article can make you thousands of dollars; really.

Seven Steps to PR Success:

1) List Your Dream Publications to be Featured in: Where have you always wanted to have been featured? What would validate your company or give you bragging rights amongst those less familiar with how great your business is. Make the wishlist of publications you want to be featured it, you’ll check them off over time, I promise. Plus, visualizing where you want to be helps make it happen.

2) Identify the Reporters that Cover Your Niche: Almost all reporters have topics or “beats” that they cover. Make a list of 1-2 journalists at the publications that you want to be featured in to target for coverage of your work. Communicating with the right people at a media outlet is essential to you getting featured and saves everyone time.

3) Find and Document Ways to Reach Reporters: Twitter handles, news tip forms, and individual emails are all great ways to get in touch with journalists. I have found that twitter handles are often the fastest way to get in touch with someone, followed by email. Platforms that journalists check in real-time are always best. Make a list or spreadsheet of these.

4) Engage with Reporters BEFORE you Ask for Coverage: In order to get what you want (coverage) you need to give (engage). Follow those journalists online and interact with the content they create.  Comment on their articles, share those you and your audience will find relevant and make yourself known on their radar before you ask for a feature.

5) Ask for Attention: The notion that if you model it the journalists will come is naive. Everyone is overwhelmed by the amount of content online, and the best way to stand out is to contact writers directly. For example, if you design camera parts, tagging the reporter at Engadget that reviews cameras and saying “Hi John, loved your article on DLSR’s last week, I made this mod for my Canon,” etc. are great ways to get the conversation about you started.

6) Post Your Products on Platforms Journalists Often Search: You may not get a journalists attention the first time you reach out, but since what you’re creating is so cool, they’ll notice the buzz you stir up. Getting an existing online community excited about your work, like we discussed in last week’s forum tips, can really boost the exposure of your products to journalists and potential shoppers alike.

7) If at First You Don’t Succeed: Try, try again! Journalists are busy and on tight deadlines. Just because they don’t cover you today, doesn’t mean they won’t cover you next week. Share your latest creations with them, reminding the writer why their audience will love to hear about what you’ve done.

There are Shop Owners already doing a great job with this, and you can too! Some great recent examples include:

natasha-long-prosthetic-leg-by-melissa-ng

ittyblox-toyland-shapeways

Remember, both your products and your story as a 3D designer are noteworthy. Don’t be bashful, start growing your audience today!

Bonus challenge: Share your list of target outlets and reporters in our Marketing Your Shapeways Shop forum thread – the more we all work towards getting exposure for our work, the more journalistic interest there will be in all of us. One lucky list sharer will get $25 Shapeways credit.


 

About.com Home and Shapeways Team Up to Make Your Holiday More Awesome

Do you have guests coming to visit during the holidays? Are you already stressing about getting the house ready for hosting? 3D printed products make for excellent conversation pieces and can be a game changer at holiday events. About.com Home knows how special holiday celebrations are, and we’ve put our heads together to #ShapeMyHolidaySweeps!

About products

Our friends at About.com Home have gotten a fresh new look and to celebrate that, Experts from their team in everything from Colors to Kitchens (and even Dogs) picked their favorite product on Shapeways. Check out the great About.com Home curation of products and vote for your favorites. 48 lucky winners will get the top voted product and a grand prize winner will get all 10! Be sure to pin and share your favorite product to help it get more votes :) .

about curation

Isn’t it fun to see Shapie products on a site as cool as About.com? Which product did you vote for?


 

Shop Owner Bootcamp: Reach New Customers Through Existing Forums

This is the fifth is series of 10 Shop Owner Bootcamp posts counting down to Black Friday. We’ve covered reputation, photography, market research, tagging your products and today we’ll be talking about engaging with your audience and community on forums.

write-pencil

Do you want to get more traffic to your shop? Do you wish that everyone in ___ niche, category or community knew about your products? You can tell them yourself by taking part in other existing online communities. Much of our referral traffic comes from community powered forums and message boards like reddit,  PhantomPilots and TheMiniaturePage. The Shapies who engage on these forums often reap the greatest financial benefit from those visits. David Dewey, of d3wey designs, is moderator on PhantomPilots and generously shared his top 10 tips for engaging on forums. Use these to guide you in your quest to grow your audience and evangelists.

    1. Read the “Sticky” Topics: If they have them then, always read a Forum’s ‘sticky’ topics. These will often answer frequently asked questions. Failing to read them and then asking one of the questions answered within can cause some of the less friendly in a forum to be… well less friendly.
    2. Understand and Familiarize Yourself with Forum Terminology: A ‘post’ is an individual bit of writing (a posting) from a user. Posts are found inside a ‘thread’ (also called a topic). A thread is basically a discussion going on between users who’s comments are ‘posted’. When you start your own ‘thread’ it will sometimes be via a rather confusing ‘post new topic’ button (in other words start a new thread).
    3. Google Acronyms: Acronyms are everywhere and Google is your friend! If you see abbreviations or acronyms that you don’t know then Google them. If you can’t find an answer don’t be scared to ask but again you may find a ‘sticky’ that tells you all of them. Then you’ll know your I.M.O (“In my opinion”) from your IIRC (“If I Recall Correctly”)
    4. Use the Forum’s “Search” to Uncover Answers: Learn to use the search tools to answer your questions. Some forums have really good search tools (some are awful). Try where possible to do a ‘search in topic title only’. This will get you much more relevant results than searching all posts. “motor failure” for example could be written in any post in a discussion about the risks of wiring something wrong “careful or it could result in motor failure”. Search for topics with “motor failure” in the title and you are more likely to get a page full of discussion about “Why have I got motor failure?” The search on our forum works great, too!
    5. Post in the right place: Make sure if you are going to start a discussion thread or ask a question, to do so in the correct place. “Why do I have motor failure” in a sub forum called “Classifieds” isn’t going to get you anywhere.
    6. ALL CAPS IS YELLING: Remember that people will read your post based on the mood they are in. If you type in caps you will, rightly or wrongly, be seen as shouting.
    7. Beware the ‘Troll’: Love it or hate it there are people in all forums that that will just be rude, blunt and unhelpful. Ignoring is the best method and while it is noble to step into someone else’s argument it will end in raised blood pressure for little gain. You will never win them over so why waste the time trying.
    8. Forums are a Give and Take: Give back in some of what you take out. If you ask a lot of questions and get a lot of answers to begin with then drop back in from time to time and look at others who might be asking the same. Help them out and point them in the right direction. Forums are only good if the knowledge is shared.
    9. Do as Others Do with Photos: Learn how to post photos in the forum’s preferred methods (usually found in a sticky!). Many forums now allow you (and prefer you) to attach images like you would an email but some require you to post via a linked photo. If this is so Photobucket is a great free place. Create an account, upload your image, click the ‘share links’, copy the [IMG]http://www.linkisinhere.com[/IMG] link and paste it in.
    10. Video, Video, Video: A video says a thousand words. If you have a question with a problem that can be demonstrated then try and video it! Pop it on Youtube (unlisted link if needed) and post it on a thread. People are MUCH more likely to press play on video than read 500 lines of text. Most forums embed the video on the post so people can click play from there. Speaking of video, here’s a fun one David took near Loch Ness: 

Big thanks to David for sharing this awesome tips with us. His shop is full of treats for your DJI Phantom quadcopter, with everything from battery doors to GPS and GoPro mounts. There’s no mystery that the more people who see your products, the more sales you will have. By engaging with people interested in things like your products, you not only show that you’re eager to contribute to the community at-large, but you may also find work & inspiration from those communities.

Our forum is very active here at Shapeways, and is one of the ways we keep in closest touch with our community. Have you visited our forum before? What forums do you wish you were more active in but haven’t had the time or guts to join?


 

Local Motors Launches New 3D Printed Car

Ever wanted to order a car on demand? Fantasized about when you design even more components of your life on Shapeways than you already do? Well, with the launch of Phoenix, Arizona, USA based Local Motors new 3D printed car, we’re now accelerating faster towards this future. Meet the Strati, Italian for layers, of course.

3D printed Car

Image, video and specs courtesy of Local Motors

The car is 3D printed in 49 parts, aka less than 1/100th of the 5,000 parts cars that are traditionally manufactured are made of. The 3D printing of the Strati took 44 hours, but this 45 second time-lapse video is one you’re going to have to see to believe:

Local Motors is global innovation community, like Shapeways, driven to make our collaborative dreams into vehicular realities. They are a resource for sharing ideas, designs, prototyping and miro-manufacturing and given the humble vision of their founders, it’s no surprise this community created the Strati. Unlike other prototypes, this model is practical and functional. More of this car was 3D printed than other that has precluded it – including the chassis- and here are the specs to prove it:

  • Engine – 100% electric (not 3D Printed ;) )
  • Features – electronic engine immobilizer, regenerative braking, disc brakes front and rear, rear- wheel drive
  • Transmission – Automatic, single speed
  • Battery – 6.1 kwh battery, 62-mile range, 3.5-hour charge time
  • Motor – 5 bhp or 17 bhp, 42 lb-ft torque*
  • Body – Approx. 212 layers, direct digital manufactured vehicle (DDMV), carbon fiber reinforced ABS plastic
  • Top speed – approx. 50mph*
  • Wheels – custom made by Fifteen52

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The historic first drive of the #3DPrintedCar – Enjoy!

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At $20,000 USD, would you drive a Strati? I’ve certainly signed up for the newsletter to be kept in the know…