Author Archives: Savannah

Made In Space and SpaceX to Deliver First 3D Printer to Outer Space

Imagine… being able to design tools for astronauts in outer space, that could be printed in space, using materials found right there, out in the galaxy. Sound like the start of next Armageddon-esk blockbuster? Well, it’s not.

dragon-lab-e1410581931375

Launching today, is SpaceX CRS-4, another historic Dragon spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station; but this time, it carries more than supplies and moustronauts. This spacecraft is taking a specially tested, groundbreaking new 3D Printer designed by the our friends at Made In Space, to the International Space Station for it’s first in-space testing. This marks the start of a new era, the first step in bringing on-demand additive manufacturing to outer space.

MIS_Printer_black

There are many challenges when designing for printing in 3D. For starters, there’s nothing to hold anything material in microgravity. Even after solving the gravity dilemma, the printer has to get off the ground, and endure 9G’s of force during launch. Ensuring precision with an extruder stabilized by no gravitational force was a problem our friends at Made In Space were committed to solving. After four years of extensive testing on microgravity flights and research at their NASA Ames office, their dream of 3D Printing of space is now being realized. You can watch the this historic moment live during the wee hours of the morning, a sleep sacrifice I’m personally more than willing to make.

After this initial round of tests, including the printing of 21 demonstration parts, Made In Space looks to recycle broken tools, space waste, and even regolith (aka moon dust) as material for the printer. The fact that this space man could be made of the moon dust we first saw Buzz Aldrin’s footprint in someday, quite soon, is absolutely mind blowing.

Astronaute Wireframe by Vidal Design

Oh, and about those Moustronauts. SpaceX will also carry 20 mice that will live on the ISS for 6 months, approximately a quarter of their lifetime, allowing scientists to study the effects of prolonged zero gravity exposure. This data can then be extrapolated out to apply to human life and weightlessness tolerances. Currently, astronauts spend six months in space at a time, missions to mars could take two years or more. The only way to see the effects of prolonged space travel, is to get help from our furry rodent friends. I can’t help but wonder, if things get out of control, will they have to 3D Print mousetraps?

All jokes aside, what is the biggest challenge you see with 3D Printing tools in space? What tools do you want to design for astronauts?

 


 

Shop Owner Bootcamp: Build Your 3D Printing Reputation

This is the first in our new series, Shop Owner Bootcamp: 10 week countdown to Black Friday. Every week we will be discussing advanced tips and tricks for optimizing your holiday sales. This week’s focus is reputation. 

Can you feel it? The churn of excitement that only comes with Holiday season and sales? We are just 10 weeks away from Black Friday and it’s time to whip our Shops into shape.

Vijay-Paul-Dotsan-Stag

Wired Life Stag by Dotsan

This week we’re focused on Reputation. Customer trust is the single most important factor when it come to repeat business. Knowing that they can get something unique, custom, and awesome from you that works as expected is crucial to the growth of your business. How do you build this customer trust? Back when I was on the UK roadshow, Vijay Paul of Dotsan, one of the most trusted designers on Shapeways, was kind enough to discuss reputation and tips for building it with us.  He’ll be guiding us all as we ramp up to holiday with our new Shop Owner Series.

Video produced by Stephen Greenwood, with help from yours truly

Consider this checklist your challenge for the week:

  • Print Your Models- Much of what we create has never been done before, and unexpected things happen to even the best designs from the best designers. The only way you can ensure form and function will be as you hope and expect for your customer, is to print it for yourself first. We know that with nearly 50 materials offered now, from plastic to platinum, that printing in all of them may not be an option. That’s okay, focus on ways you can paint the best picture for your customers. For example, even if its not possible to print a product of yours in a premium alloy like gold or silver, our stainless steel finishes can give the customer a very good idea of what to expect.
  • Document Your Process- One of the most compelling things about Shapeways is that every product has a story. Taking photos of the iterations that didn’t make the cut and illustrating how you’ve improved a design over time lets customers know you care about your products. It gives them the confidence that you’re not selling something you wouldn’t try yourself, and shows them your keen design eye.
  • Engage With Your Customers- Shapeways now shares the user name of a customer if they made the purchased logged in. Make a note to check back with them after the product should have shipped and see what they thought! Encourage them to post their photos in the comments on your product page, letting others browsing know how great your work is. Be open to updating your design based on their feedback, these early adopters can give you great UX advice!
  • Be Yourself- In your brand, in the products you design, in the product descriptions you write. This is your business, your baby, and the more it aligns with who you are, the more it will sing. Talk about your inspiration for the piece in the product description, upload photos to your personal and shop profile; and make the Shapeways Shopping experience personal!
  • Complete your Profile- Seeing a face and lineup of great products instills confidence in any consumer. Knowing who is behind the brand encourages people to try it out. Uploading your avatar is more critical than ever, now that your designer card shows up on every product page. Include your twitter handle so shoppers can chat with you easily on the go. Make a sweet shop banner. Invest in this now, so when traffic floods your shop around holiday, you like the reputable, fabulous business you are.

Next week we’ll be talking about the importance of photography and tagging in the getting your products discovered. Feel free to get a head start!

What help do you need to take your shop to the next level? Feel free to ask for guidance here or in our Marketing Your Shapeways Shop thread on our forums.


 

Extend the Function iPhone 6 Design Contest

Duann'sCase

Are you ready for your next design challenge? In honor of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6, and in our tradition of powering the coolest phone cases in the world, and our ability to bring some of the first cases to market, we’re launching “Extend the Function” an iPhone 6 case design challenge! The goal of the challenge is to extend the function of your phone or of your favorite app, maximizing the capabilities of the iPhone 6. 3D printing lets us combine form and function like never before and we cannot wait to see what Apple’s latest innovation inspires you to design.

Ethan Imboden

We have a special guest judge for this competition, Ethan Imboden, the Head of Venture Design at Frog. Ethan is a serial innovator and incredibly talented designer, we are all lucky to have him as our guest expert! He will be using his keen eye when evaluating the best combination of form and function in the winning case. The winner will receive $500 in Shapeways credit!

Duann, our resident designer of awesome things, has generously put together a basic case based on the specs apple released this weekend. You can find it in his shop on Shapeways and on tinkercad.

When designing functional products like iPhone cases it is really important to specify the right materials and wall thicknesses.  Shapeways Nylon (WSF) is by far the best material to use for your iPhone case.  Keep wall thickness and wires to at least 1mm thickness.  We have designed the case at 1.2mm so that you can engrave the design with a 0.5mm cut and still keep 0.7mm thick which is the minimum.  It is always best to add rounded edges so that the product is not sharp, and adding a fillet between perpendicular planes makes the connection much stronger, and will reduce the chance of the part cracking.

Enter the contest by uploading and tagging your model “SWiPhone6” on Shapeways. Share it with your friends using the hashtag #ShapewaysiPhone on social media for bonus points!

You have until Midnight on October 1st, here in the city that never sleeps. How are you going to step up your case design?

Terms and Conditions

  • No purchase necessary.
  • Maximum of five entries per person. By entering this competition, entrants will be deemed to have accepted and agreed to the conditions.
  • No cash or other alternative prizes available. The prize draw is not open to Shapeways employees or their families.
  • The promoters decision is final – in case of dispute, no correspondence will be entered into.
  • Winning entries will be documented and printed by Shapeways and may be used for promotional purposes.
  • Contestants models must be uploaded to Shapeways and tagged #SWiPhone6 to be considered.
  • Winners retain all IP as per Shapeways standard terms and conditions. Winners and winning entries may be required to take part in any publicity resulting from this competition.
  • The winner will be contacted by Monday 6th of October, 2014
  • Promoter: Shapeways, 419 Park Avenue South, #900, New York, NY, USA, 10016.




 

3D Print iPhone 6 and Apple Watch Accessories

Update: Apple has released the design files for the iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus! Page 16 and 17 of this pdf have everything you need to know to design a case for these awesome new phones. Be sure and enter our contest and be one of the first iPhone 6 cases ever 3D Printed!

Original Post: Did you watch the Apple announcement? Are you excited about the new iPhone 6/6plus? Are you counting the seconds until you can get your hands on the Apple Watch?

AppleWatchRender

UPDATE 9/11: Some amazing Shapeways Community Members put together a <beta> 3D CAD file of the Apple Watch! It’s based on the specs Apple announced, and while not Apple official, should serve as a great starting point for all interested in designing Apple Watch accessories. You can download the .stl of the Apple Watch design files here. Special thanks to Michael Christensen for sharing this in our Apple forum!
iPhone6
I’ve been counting the minutes for months now and seeing Phil show off the iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus and seeing Super Evil Megacorp’s gaming experience made me drool millions of pixels in anticipation of their September 19th launch into the world. The new iPhone camera has Focus Pixels, which means you’re essentially carrying a DSLR in your pocket. Just imagine, our 3D scans will be sharper than ever!
iphone camera
Shapeways has always been one of the first to market with accessories when new consumer electronics come out. Our communities ability to responsively create designs and leverage our short lead times is unparalleled by any other accessories company in the world. The cases that you’ll see in the Apple store were modeled months ago and have been in production all summer. Alongside the new phones, Apple announced a new line of silicone and leather cases, but I think we know our Nylon looks the coolest when it comes to pimping your iDevices. We are eager to see what cases, stands and accessories you make for this new line of apple products and will handsomely reward those who do it best (details to come when the design files are announced by Apple later in September).
iphones

Design files

Shapeways has a long history of being one of the first to market with iAccessories. We were keeping the iPhone classy back in early 2012 with this 4/4s MacPro Case:macpro case

We gave you the design files the moment they were available for the exciting new iPhone 5, hosting a contest around it. The Sweater Case by ArtizanWork that won is still a favorite of ours to show off at events and through our crew kits!
sweater case
We also brought you the iPad Mini files that same October. All in all, we power over 2600 products that fall in the iPhone category. Let’s round out our Apple Fan Boy and Girl offerings and incorporate all these awesome new products.

Now you can start brainstorming the iPhone 6 and iWatch cases you want to design in our Apple and iGadgets thread in the forum. Hit the sketchbook or the sketchup and get creative! The bigger form factor gives you more design real estate than ever before. We will update this post and announce a contest as soon as Apple releases the Design Files.

On a fun historical and sentimental note, this Apple Fan Girl can’t help but ask, 30 years after Steve Jobs announced the Macintosh (the anniversary is today) do you think Apple is still as innovative as they were under Steve?
timeandsteve


 

Don’t Be Sad, Keanu: A Tribute to Keanu Reeve’s 50th Birthday

We only know one Keanu Reeves here at Shapeways and he is perpetually sad. Sad Keanu is one of the longest-running, top-selling, products ever to go viral on Shapeways. Nancy Yi Liang of Mixee Labs brought Sad Keanu to life years ago and his ability to delight and surprise never ceases to amaze us. Today, is Keanu Reeves 50th birthday. Since he’s been responsible for so much joy and fun both internally at our offices, and for the greater Shapie community as a whole, we wanted to throw a VIP birthday party for him. Pup Workshop, Success Kid, Pinky Pie, Woody Allen, RAWR Dinosaur and Grumpy Cat all came out to help Sad Keanu cheer up:

Sad Keanu Party

What Shapeways Stars would you like to see at your next birthday party? Let us know and we just might make it happen… Here’s a vine of the scenes from the party:


 

Shapeways Social: Follow a Feed of Designers You Love

Shapeways is excited to announce the latest social feature on the site: Follow a Designer! Now you can see the latest from your favorite Shops and Designers curated in your custom feed. It’s easy to get started, just start browsing. Click “follow” on the designer cards of the designs you love (process illustrated below), and come back to check your feed to see their latest updates. There is a lot of social noise on the web, and here you can quietly browse products in peace.
The Feed is in the top navigation bar of the Shop tap and Shapeways homepage. Even if you aren’t following any designers yet (but you will be after reading this) you can see the global feed: a stream of products and actions taken by your fellow Shapies like adding to lists, uploading, adding photos etc.
feed

Since we introduced “Follow,” I’ve been going through my favorites and following the designers I want to always know the latest on. For you, this may mean following designers whom you’ve purchased models from, or creatives you’ve always looked to for inspiration in your own work. Hopefully it’s a combination of both, and affords more opportunities to connect the greater Shapie community. Here’s a snapshot of my feed from a few moments ago. Looks like kspaho is submitting some great models for our collaboration with Hasbro; I spy Dragonvale and Transformers!
spaho
It’s easy to follow a designer when you’re browsing products, like this epic Caffeine Molecule Coffee Mug from Joaquin Baldwin:
cup
Follow is below the “Contact” button on the designer card to the right of the product, here’s a closeup:
follow joaquin baldwin
You will know you’re following the designer when the button reads unfollow:
following
You can also follow a designer when viewing their shop up in the top banner. Here’s Bathsheba’s Shop for example, whom I highly recommend everyone follow, especially if you like sculptures that push the limits of 3D printing.
bathseba
This is also a great reminder to add your twitter handle(s) to your profile- it shows up next to “follow” as well. It will encourage shoppers and fellow designers alike to connect to you through their preferred platforms. Here’s a sample tweet illustrating my joy about following Joaquin Baldwin, with a photo (tweets with photos get 3x engagement) and a link back to Shapeways to make any potential sales for him seamless:
Tweet to Joaquin

What do you think of Follow and the Feed? Let us know in the comments here or in the forum. We always welcome your feedback.


 

SHARK ATTACK AT SHAPEWAYS

Posted by in 3D Modeling

Our Sharks may not lurk in the cool waters of the ocean or eat seals, but at least they have sweet lasers for friends!

Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite sharktastic models in honor of Shark Week.

Whale Shark Pendant by RareBreed

Whale Shark Pendant by RareBreed


This Whale Shark Pendant by RareBreed is one of my favorite models on Shapeways right now. My boyfriend and I went down to Isla Holbox, Mexico back in June and swam with Whale Sharks in the wild. The experience was one of my favorites from travel this far, and checked a life goal off my boyfriend’s bucket list. When I saw this pendant, I knew we needed to have it for Shark Week.
Cute Shark Earrings by Bridget

Cute Shark Earrings by Bridget


These Cute Shark Earrings by Bridget are awesome. When you have them in, it looks like your ear is being attacked! We like them best in Steel.
Shark Pendant by freeform
This Shark pendant by freeform is equal parts bada** and brilliant. His gaping mouth and sweet gills make this guy great as a necklace or keychain for the shark fans in your life.
A Shark swimming on your wall by kipiripi
Sharknado in your kitchen? Yes, it’s possible. Kipiripi’s Shark swimming on your wall is a great way to bring the outdoors in. A must buy if you’re a collector of 3D Printed wireframe animals as well.
iPhone 5/5s Shark Case by lumlumpun
All true Shark and Shark Week lovers need to dress their phone accordingly. Thankfully lumlumpun has you covered with this great iPhone 5/5s case. Get it for under $20!

Hope you all had a great Shark Week & that we can keep up our love and protection of these beautiful sea creatures all year round!

What other animal do you wish had an entire week dedicated to it?


 

3D Printing Full Color Plastic: Shapeways Offers it First

Posted by in 3D Modeling

It seems that almost everyone has now seen a 3D printed plastic product. Likely, one made from filament by an extruder, or perhaps for the more 3DP savvy, a product made from nylon powder, selectively laser sintered by us. Regardless of whether it was ABS, PLA, FDM, or SLS, I would be willing to bet it was only one color. In the past, as a Shapeways Designer, you had to choose between the colorful form of our Full Color Sandstone, and unparalleled function of our more durable SLS plastic that can handle moving parts.

Until Now. Meet Shapeways Full Color Plastic!

Success Kid by Ryan Kittleson, Kerbal Jebediah Kerman on IVA by Kerbal Space Program, and Bacon Mobius by Joaquin Baldwin

Success Kid by Ryan Kittleson, Kerbal Jebediah Kerman on IVA by Kerbal Space Program, and Bacon Mobius by Joaquin Baldwin

We are elated to be the first to offer this diverse Full Color Plastic material to our 3D Modeling community. It will initially be released to a select group of Pilot Designers as a part of our Design Pilot with the material. We’re rolling this out slower than normal because we want our core community to experiment, touch, play with and explore this new material before we offer to the public and begin managing customer expectations. If we deem it worthy of all your creative shoppers, we will make the material public for all to enjoy.

The color resolution is similar to Full Color Sandstone, and you’ll have the ability to create moving parts like you can with our Plastics. Signups for this material Pilot have been closed for the time being. You can find out more about Full Color Plastic’s design guidelines on our material page.

What would you like to make or buy in this new material? Does this open new doors for you as a Designer?
fcp-kerbal-1


 

Seeking Designers to Feature at EAA Airventure: Send us your Planes, Drone Parts and Aerospace Models

custom drone
Do you love planes, drones or just aerospace in general? Have you heard of the Experimental Aircraft Association? Once a year they bring together air travel enthusiasts of all varieties at the world’s largest gathering of the sort, EAA Airventure, in Oshkosh Wisconsin. We’ve won a booth through a contest they held for startups and we would love to have you join us, or show off your planes and drone parts in our booth!

The Details:
July 28th – August 3rd
Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA

How You Can Get Involved:
Come say Hi to Dan & I in the booth or join us! If you live nearby or are visiting the midwest and would like talk to fellow aircraft enthusiasts any of the show days, please email Savannah@Shapeways.com and we can coordinate logistics.

Can’t make it to Oshkosh? No worries! Send in any products you want shown off at the show with your designer details, any custom branding you have, and a bit about each product you’re showing. We’ll tell your story and send them back to you after the show if you’d like!

Send Planes, Drones & Aerospace Accessories To:

Savannah Peterson
c/o Shapeways
419 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016

More about EAA and Airventure can be found on their website; though this video gives you a nice taste of what is in store.

What would you fly if you could fly anything?


 

Shapeways Supports the First Ever White House Maker Faire and National Day of Making

Posted by in Events
This is a special feature in honor of President Obama’s declaration that today, June 18th, is the first National Day of Making! Share your Maker Story or join in the conversation in the comments under the #NationOfMakers #Shapeways tags on Twitter.

There is a palpable shift, perhaps even a paradigm shift, occurring in the product space. The rise of the collaborative economy of makers and entrepreneurs has nudged a market lead by visionaries into the mainstream. Today, we proudly stand alongside President Barack Obama, in celebrating the first ever National Day of Making.

This change is visible across the entire technology landscape. Last week Elon Musk encouraged makers to use all of Tesla’s patents, potentially putting the future of electric cars around the world in the people’s hands. Three weeks ago, Intel announced an open sourced, 3D Printable robot kit, meant to “lower the barrier of entry into Robotics”. Malaysian Airlines has even released the data from Flight 370 in the hopes that people outside their organization can solve the mystery surrounding the crash. The people are showing their collective power and goodwill, and in turn large companies and elected bodies want to pitch in. Today, we celebrate you! In honor of you, dear Shapie maker, we showcased some of your peers in an infographic illustrating the awesome businesses you create and empower.

Share your ‘Maker Story’ on Twitter with us today from 2-3pm EST. Join the conversation and view the celebration by following #Shapeways and the #NationOfMakers hashtags on Twitter.

Sneak Peek: We are also proud to announce the first ever Shapeways Small Business Symposium, to take place later this year (more details to come soon).

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National Day of Making: Shapeways Shop Owner Stories of Inspiration

Posted by in Events

The second part of our #NationOfMakers celebration series are inspiring snippets and fun examples of Shop Owners on Shapeways.

Our #NationOfMakers knows no borders; exists without expectation or judgement; only the promise of an adventurous product design platform where creatives come to collaborate. In this spirit, we celebrate with stories from around the globe. 

Shapeways Stats at a Glance:

  • 70% of Shapeways Shop Owners Spent Less Than $100 to Open their Shapeways Shop
  • 94% of Shapeways Shop Owners Spent Less Than $1000 to Open their Shapeways Shop
  • 70% of Shapeways Shop Owners are Self-Taught 3D Modelers
  • 50% of Shapeways Shop Owners are First-Time Entrepreneurs

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New Color Alert: Announcing Shapeways Green and Yellow

Posted by in New Features

Yesterday, we lowered lead times on the majority of our metals and today we are excited to announce the addition of two new nylon colors to our palette, Green and Yellow! Just in time for the world cup in Brazil. It’s the Shapeways GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLL to continue to bring you more materials faster and we’re committed to holding our top spot in the 3DP bracket!

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Now Shipping Faster: Gold, Silver, Steel and Gold Plated Brass

Posted by in What's Hot

Great news, Shapies! Today, we’re excited to announce a global reduction on lead time on some of your favorite metals! Effective immediately, lead times have been reduced for the Silver Family, the Steel Family, Gold Plated Brass and 14k Gold!

You can see the new ship dates reflect on our Materials page, upon checkout and right here in this chart. We are always working hard to get products to you and your customers faster, and we are excited to be able to do so with so many metals at once. Big props to our Supply Chain and Materials Teams for making this happen!

What would you like to see shipped faster next?

 

Intel to Create Open Source 3D Printed Robot Kit

Posted by in What's Hot

Intel demoed “Jimmy,” a “smartphone with legs,” their latest robot, customized and created from their new open source 3D printed robot kit at the Code Conference this week. This exciting announcement is a profound and inspiring move to increase participation in the robotics space. Intel is selling kits of the internal electronic and mechanical components (yet to be cost effectively 3D Printed), and they are offering the 3D printable hardware designs free online. Any Shapie, or individual with access to a 3D Printer will be able to print their own robot and have access to their social robotics platform to customize its form and function as they please.

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New Matter partners with Frog Design and Launches Desktop 3D Printer for Under Two-Hundred Dollars

Posted by in 3D Printer

Today, New Matter, launched their new and elegant desktop 3D Printer, MOD-t, on Indiegogo. There are a lot of Desktop 3D Printers on the market, and many companies and creatives have one for home iteration and leverage our million-dollar machines for the high-resolution, premium quality we ensure with our designs. New Matter’s entrance into the space with MOD-t caught my eye for a few reasons…

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