Author Archives: Duann

About Duann

Shapeways Designer Evangelist

Bring Your Designs to Life with the ‘littleBits Bring Your 3D Prints to Life Contest’

Shapeways has teamed up with littleBits to challenge you to make your designs move with the ‘littleBits Bring Your 3D Prints to Life Contest’, we want to see what you will make when you can add modular electronics to your 3D prints.

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3D printing is great for making unique items to exactly meet your needs, but what better way to take your ideas one step further and add motion, light, sound, or even programming with littleBits modular electronics.  littleBits create powerful but easy-to-use electronic components that snap together with magnets, so there is no need for soldering, wiring or programming (unless you want to). That means you can prototype with electronics and don’t need an engineering degree to do so.

The Challenge:

Make a design that combines 3D printed Nylon and littleBits to make a 3D printed creation that comes to life using the littleBits. We chose Shapeways Nylon because you can make complex, interlocking parts in a single print, incorporate a living hinge, all with the precision to make compress fit, or threaded connectors.

Add littleBits to your 3D prints and control them using a mechanical input, like a button, or use a sensor to control with just a gesture or sound. We challenge you to use the following littleBits modules but you can incorporate any littleBits modules that you like.

To get you started, the littleBits team has released the STL and STEP files of these base components for you to download and import them into your 3D modeling software of choice and modify you design to fit these components. Download littleBits 3D files here.

Take a look at the littleBits project gallery for inspiration, where you can see everything from a Remote Control Car to a Flying Dragon or a Keytar with 3d printed knobs. Also find custom 3d-printed accessories designed for mounting littleBits in projects.

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The Remote Control Facetime Car made with 3D printed components.

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The Keytar uses 3D printed knobs to make the sounds more ergonomic and awesome.

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Run Horse Run uses your voice to make the horses, run.

The Submission

  • Upload your design that incorporates at least two (2) Little Bits modules to Shapeways with the tag LittleBits
  • Your design must be printable in Shapeways Nylon Selective Laser Sintering (WSF) with a maximum material volume of 300cm3.
  • Your submission can include one or multiple parts, (please indicate that an upload is “1 of 3″ or similar so that we can better understand your design.
  • Include a description of your design, the function and proposed movement.
  • BONUS POINTS: For a rendered animation or video of the design in action

The Prize

  • littleBits Pro Library (over $4,900 value)
  • 3D Printing Credit at Shapeways to the value of $500
  • The top 3 designs will have their design 3D printed by Shapeways

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3D Printing Material Torture Test – FIRE

Ever wondered what would happen if you set fire to your 3D prints?  Yeah, me too.

Following is a video of a quick flame test of five of shapeways core 3D printing materials including Alumide, Acrylic (FUD + Detail) , Full Color Sandstone, and Nylon (WSF).  Watch this 3 minute video to see how each of these materials reacts to a quick encounter with a blow torch. Please do not try this at home.


A little surprisingly the Alumide was the first to melt down like a powdery napalm candle.  Both of the Acrylics (both of which are UV cured resins) caught fire super easily and burnt steadily emitting a terrible odor.  The full color sandstone did not really want to stay alight with this geometry.  It is actually the Cyanoacrylate (super glue (Kragle)) final sealing process that really burns in the full color prints, I tried other prints that had not been dipped in Cyanoacrylate and they would not stay alight at all.  Finally the Nylon caught fire but did not maintain the flame for very long.  In other geometries I have seen the Nylon keep alight for longer, again dripping like napalm whilst still on fire.

In the end, these materials are in no way resistant to fire, keep them away from naked flames as it will most likely result in a hot dripping, smelly mess.

I will share more videos of each of the materials with different geometries so you can see in detail how each material reacts.

And, what material torture test would you like to see next?


 

Hero Forge, Making Custom 3D Printed Miniatures Easy

Making custom 3D Printed tabletop gaming miniatures is about to get easier with Hero Forge App, and the Shapeways 3D Printing API.  The team at Hero Forge have raised support with a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign to create an app to make custom 3D printed figurines for table top gaming.

Following is the story of how the project came about, why they chose to use Shapeways 3D printing, and how this is a perfect case study, for helping people get exactly what they want with a customization app, and on demand 3D printing at Shapeways.

HERO FORGE ORIGIN STORY

About seven months ago, with bated breath and well-bitten nails, we at Hero Forge launched an ambitious Kickstarter campaign  proposing a new application of 3D printing: customizable tabletop miniatures. The idea was simple: using a WebGL-based app akin to a videogame character creator, users would be able to build a character from a library of parts, poses, and features, then get it 3D printed.

Hero Forge - Grid

The idea for Hero Forge actually came about when we went looking for a service like it, hoping to use it as customers. We’d seen slick WebGL-based apps and had seen all kinds of cool Maker Apps using Shapeways Developer API. We assumed something like Hero Forge would already exist. As it turned out, all the pieces were there but the service itself wasn’t. We decided to make it ourselves.

Going to Kickstarter for funding was a no-brainer. Kickstarter has an incredibly passionate gaming community that’s been jumpstarting role-playing and miniatures projects for years. We really couldn’t have predicted just how amazingly supportive our backers would be, though. We ended up hitting our initial goal within the first three days of our campaign then went on to unlock nine stretch goals. It was exciting to say the least.

WHY IS CUSTOMIZATION IMPORTANT?

There miniatures can mean a lot to tabletop gamers. A player might spend years playing as a single character, and having a mini that really matches their vision is a powerful thing. Unfortunately, finding a miniature that really captures one’s character can be difficult. Nearly all tabletop fans know the frustration of combing through poorly-stocked shelves or browsing low-resolution image galleries looking for just the right combination of features and equipment.

Hero Forge - Closeup 1

We have absolutely amazing team working on the tech, UI, and building a library of weapons, armor, poses, faces, and more. They’re making the building blocks that users will be able to play with, combine, and rearrange until they get something that is legitimately theirs. We want to offer a whole new level of parity between the character in their imagination and the miniature in front of them.

HOW IS 3D PRINTING FACILITATING THIS?

It’s great to have reached a point where 3D printing can do more than prototyping. We’ve gotten to a place where it can produce polished, finished products. There’s no doubt that 3D printing is an integral component of our service. No other manufacturing method would allow for us to produce one-off figures in a cost effective way. Using the Shapeways API provides other huge advantages, too. As a start-up, being able to let an established, proven name handle both manufacturing and shipping is a godsend. It lets us focus on what we really want to be focused on: building an amazing service and designing cool great arms, armor, and characters.

There’s a lot of freedom and flexibility of material offerings, too. We’re taking advantage of that flexibility, offering larger-scale statuettes in stronger, cheaper materials and higher detail, smoother materials for users who want more fidelity in their miniature prints. And in the future, if new materials hit the scenes, adding them to our offerings will be easy.

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At the moment, we’re focused on building an incredible service, and the Shapeways API and manufacturing team are proving to be amazing folks to have on our side. We’ve still got our sights set on launching before the year is out. We really can’t wait to see what people create with what we’re building.

Hero Forge - Group Shot

–Joshua Bennett, Co-Founder of Hero Forge

Photo Credit: MDK Photography (MartinDK108@gmail.com)


 

An Invite to Submit Your Designs to SuperFanArt

Shapeways is super excited to be working with Hasbro to help bring more 3D printed awesomeness to the masses via SuperFanArt.  The first wave of the groundbreaking Intellectual Property and 3D Printing partnership was a huge success, and now we are ready for you to help take it to the next level.  Following is an open letter inviting the Shapeways community to participate.

hasbro superfan art brands

As you may have heard, Hasbro and Shapeways are working together to encourage artists to create and sell 3D designs based on Hasbro’s iconic brands. Our July launch of SuperFanArt.com featured five artists and their My Little Pony-based designs. We’ve generated substantial press and attention for the artists, Shapeways and Hasbro with our story of a major entertainment company empowering fans to engage with their brands. Given this early success, we want to expand this opportunity to include more artists, more Hasbro brands and more 3D printed awesomeness.
This letter is an invitation for you to become part of SuperFanArt and the broader Hasbro and Shapeways communities, so we can help you promote and sell your designs to other fans. If you have a passion to develop 3D-printable art based on any of the following brands, we’d like to hear from you:
Dragonvale
• Dungeons & Dragons
• G.I. Joe
• Monopoly
• My Little Pony
• Scrabble (to be sold in US and Canada only)
• Transformers
Get your designs ready and visit SuperFanArt.com on August 22 for instructions on how to upload your work for promotion and sale. We hope you’ll join us in expanding the power of 3D printing by becoming a part of this exciting movement!
Your friends at Hasbro & Shapeways.

 

New Cheaper Shipping Option for 3D Prints in Australia & New Zealand

Aussies and Kiwis rejoice, we now have a cheaper shipping option for your 3D prints from Shapeways. Whether you are in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, even Hobart, (also Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch) Shapeways can now offer your 3D printing a even cheaper now we can ship to you via USPS.

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The USPS rate will start at $14.99 which I am told is a 25% reduction on our UPS option for Australia and New Zealand.

Australia and New Zealand have been really early adopters of 3D printing, some of the most prolific architects using 3D printing for maquettes of their constructions and landscaping are working out of New Zealand.  The model train community in Sydney and Brisbane 3D print scale models of the Australian rail system.  Universities in South Australia and Melbourne such as RMIT have invested huge amounts of resources to ensure Australian students are at the absolute forefront in using 3D printing for their school projects.

Now all Aussies and New Zealanders can get their 3D prints a little cheaper, maybe even a little faster.


 

Grun Jewelry: 3D Printing, Travel and Inspiration by Tanya Gruenberg

Tanya Gruenberg was part of the Shapeways team at the Museum of Arts & Design for the Out of Hand exhibition, helping people understand how they can use 3D printing, 3D scanning a few thousand people, and always, obsessively thinking about and designing jewelry to be 3D printed.  Since her time at MAD, Tanya’s jewelry designs have evolved at an amazing rate to the point where she is now ready to present her beautifully resolved designs to the world, as Studio Grun.

“When I was a little girl, I remember my mom always wearing large white gold hoop earrings with diamonds running through it. I couldn’t wait until I was older to get my hands on them.”

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That memory left an impression on Tanya Gruenberg, a Miami native who graduated from Parsons School of Design with a degree in Industrial Design. Upon graduating, she has worked as a furniture designer and assisted in designing home goods for a large clientele. On her free time she was making jewelry and noticed her interest was getting deeper and deeper.

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Tanya has taught herself wax carving, along with other traditional techniques, but quickly noticed it was very difficult to balance a full time job while teaching herself physically laborious jewelry techniques. That’s where Shapeways came in. “I already had the skillset to 3D model which has helped tremendously getting my ideas out. Every time I commuted home from work, I would sketch out ideas in my Moleskin and as soon as I got to my apartment, I’d open up my computer where I’d 3D sketch and before I knew it a few weeks would pass by and BOOM… I would receive my package from Shapeways and my vision was physically in my hands. What could be better than that?”

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Travel serves as a source of inspiration for many of her designs. Tanya explains there is something really special about traveling, and exploring the unfamiliar that sparks her creativity. “Traveling allows me to observe and see things through a new perspective. “ A combination of traveling, book reading, museum going, and image viewing serves part of her inspiration. The unusual architecture and textiles from Florence, Italy and time spent at museums looking at ancient tools, weapons and artifacts in Egypt explain her aesthetic. “I feel like a storyteller when I design. All my pieces feel like they are designed for an ancient culture that never existed.”

Studio Grun is showing her work at, NY Now at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center 655 W 34th St, New York City and Accent on Design August 17-20 2014 (Sunday – Wednesday) Booth Number 4270

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3D Print and Pick And Place (otherwise known as the most awesome machine in the world)

The Retro Populator is anything but retro, it may well be the future of digital manufacturing.  We all know that 3D printing is all kinds of awesome, but it does have limitations, namely anything other than the material you are printing in.  Now, if we combine a 3D printer and a Pick and Place machine, we can make all sorts of amazing products, with integrated components such as electronics, batteries, motors, magnets even insect larvae, though I am not sure why.

Pick & Place & 3D Print

The Retro Populator is an electronics pick-n-place retrofit for 3D printers.  Take your RepRap based desktop 3D printer (ie. most of them) add a few of the shelf components and you are now at the very forefront of digital fabrication.  Note: Actual effort may be greater than brief overview given in superficial description.

Now this first prototype is not yet the 3D Print and Pick and Place all at the same time, but it is an indicator that it will be very possible in the relatively near future.

Check out their video of the first iteration in action and keep an eye out for their project as they flirt with the avalanche of success that may very well bury them on Kickstarter.


 

Flowers Blast Off with the 3D Printed Rocket Test Tube Holder

What do you get when you combine a rocket, a test tube and 3D printing? Possibly the geekiest vase on the internet to beautify your home.

rocket test tube vase 3D print Shapeways The *rocket test tube holder 25mm by MrNib accepts a standard 25 mm (0.98 inch) diameter test tube to make a nice space age bud vase that you can give to your favorite rocketman, rocketwoman, or friend from another planet.

A segmented friction ring near the top of the holder keeps the test tube from being loose when inserted. There is enough springiness in the design to handle slightly oversized test tubes.

Test tubes are not included but you can purchase them from supply stores like American Science & Surplus.

3D Printed Rocket Test Tube Vase Shapeways

 


 

Day One of 3D Printed SuperFanArt at Comicon 2014 in San Diego

Our 3D Printing partnership with Hasbro has officially hit the floor at Comicon in San Diego as thousands of fans swarmed the booth to get a glimpse at the 3D printed ponies designed by the Shapeways community.  The SuperFanArt section is a relatively small part of the massive Hasbro booth at Comicon, but one that is garnering a lot of excitement among fans, artists and the toy industry.

Superfanart 3D Print at Comicon

If you are at Comicon 2014 in San Diego be sure to drop by the Hasbro Kiosk 3213 (its the huge one) and say hello to the SuperFanArt team.  If you are an artist or designer interested in participating in the SuperFanArt project, please be sure to register your interest to start selling your Hasbro approved 3D prints to fans around the world.

For those who cannot make it, check out some of the craziness that is Comicon.

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Yep, and that’s just the people lined up who pre-paid to be first at the Hasbro stand…


 

Not Everyone Has a Heart of Gold, But You Can Get One 3D Printed in Silver

The Anatomical Heart Pendant by leorolph is a beautifully detailed heart pendant that looks amazing 3D printed in Sterling Silver by Shapeways.  Of course you can order the pendant in solid 14k or Rose Gold, it just costs a little more.

Anatomic 3D Printed Silver Heart Jewelry

Take a look at the Owned Shop on Shapeways to see more unique jewelry by this Australian designer.

Remember, we have upped the speed on our Silver, Gold and Brass to get your 3D printed jewelry to you as fast as possible, so if you have an anniversary, wedding, or birthday coming up, Shapeways 3D printed jewelry can make the perfect, unique gift.


 

Hasbro & Shapeways Enable 3D Printing Fan Art with SuperFanArt

For the first time, a global brand will open up its intellectual property to fan designed products using Shapeways 3D printing. We are partnering with Hasbro to launch SuperFanArt, enabling fans to 3D print and sell their own creations based on Hasbro owned content. SuperFanArt, which will debut at Comic-Con San Diego 2014, grants the passionate and talented Hasbro fan base from the Shapeways community a license to create exciting new art and product offerings. The first license is granted to a select number of 3D artists including Brandon Lee Johnson, Paul Philbin, Christophe Vidal, Melinda Rose, and Brian Harris to create artwork based on My Little Pony.

Shapeways & Hasbro 3D Print

We are thrilled to work with Hasbro to be the very first entertainment brand to open up their intellectual property to their dedicated fans to legally create tangible, 3D printed products. This partnership is perfectly aligned with our mission to enable the Shapeways creative community to make exactly what they want, for themselves, to share and sell to others.

superfanart launch Shapeways & Hasbro

For the initial launch at Comic-Con 2014, we will start with the incredibly popular My Little Pony series, to allow fans around the world to create and sell unique, 3D printed My Little Pony figurines. This will dramatically expand the range of products available from the few currently being mass produced by Hasbro, to potentially include the over 900 ponies identified and named by the fans. Many of these designs have been created by a passionate group of fans from the Brony community (for the uninitiated, a Brony is a Bro who likes Ponies so Bro + Pony – P = Brony (welcome to the herd)).  Once we have filled our 3D printers with community designed ponies, we will continue to work with Hasbro and the Shapeways community to enable more Hasbro branded content to be created, 3D printed and sold.

This is a major step forward in realizing the creative potential of 3D printing, to make products on demand that might otherwise never make it into people’s hands. Hasbro has been incredibly forward thinking and open minded, to realize that the existing unmet demand within their fan base can be satisfied with the help of those very same fans. We expect to see many more partnerships like this, to enable user generated content to be 3D printed based on existing intellectual property, with fair attribution and compensation for all parties involved. We’ve seen this model work successfully in the digital realm, and we’re thrilled to be leading the charge in the physical.

Take a look at the SuperFanArt site to learn more, and meet some of the Shapeways community members who are promoting their designs in partnership with Hasbro and Shapeways. Also check out the New York Times article for insight into why the Hasbro team approached Shapeways to be a partner to help them enter the world of 3D printing, thanks mainly to the Bronies in the Shapeways community.

A solid brohoof to all the bronies who helped make this happen.

 

 


 

Intricate Sugar Skull Ring 3D Printed in Sterling Silver

As we introduce more 3D printing materials suitable for jewelry we are seeing the Shapeways marketplace evolve to include more amazing designs such as this Sugarskull Ring  by lougon.

3D Print Silver Skull RIng

Showing the intricate detail possible in our Sterling Silver 3D printing, Lougon post processed his 3D print by oxidizing to blacken the Silver, then polishing to return the raised sections to high polish, giving a rich contrast.

You can try this process yourself using egg yolks to blacken your Silver 3D prints to give the same affect.


 

Show Us Your Elasto Plastic 3D Prints

We introduced Elasto Plastic as our first 3D Printing maker material back in May last year so that the Shapeways community could have access to a impact resistant, flexible 3D printing material.  The team at the factory in Eindhoven get to see the amazing products you design with this unique material but because it is a Maker Material, and not available for sale as a product on Shapeways, many of us do not get to see and be inspired by your designs.

flexible 3D print material on Shapeways

We would love to see your Elasto Plastic designs shared in the It Arrived forum so that we can all see the range of products you are designing and get inspiration to explore the material in different ways.  We are looking forward to seeing photos of your designs on the Shapeways forums soon.


 

3D Printing Custom Headphones is Normal

3D printed custom headphones are now available through the Normal app by former Quirky insider Nikki Kaufmann thanks to $5 million in venture backing.

normal 3D print headphone

The super simple app guides you through a photo based ear and face scanning process to configure the headphones to exactly meet your ear shape.  This is possibly the first 3D printing apps designed to make functional products, not a figurine or toy, a major step towards the ubiquity of 3D printing to power customized products.

There are already over 10 million 3D printed hearing aids in the world, now with apps such as Normal, we can expect to see more customized consumer products hit the market.

Speaking of Quirky, check out the video below and download the app to customize your earphones now.


 

Announcing the Winners of the Prototype to Product Contest with Formlabs

We had a huge response to the Prototype to Product Contest we ran with our good friends at Formlabs. Entries ranging from highly detailed ZBrush sculpts through to complex, interlocking mechanical parts, architectural models to 3D printed fashion and jewelry,  through to the whimsically weird.  We even received a submission all the way from Gran Canaria (yes we had to google the location, and yes it is crazy remote).

Although we received nearly 300 designs, only one person will have a brand new Form 1+ 3D printer shipped to their door.  The judges deliberated against the criteria, there were was tension, there was joy, they argued long into the night.  The Formlabs team pumped some serious excel magic to tally the votes, Shawn Sims from NotCot cast his well trained eye over the entrants,  The Shapeways team checked that the designs would withstand the 3D printing test and together they deemed the winner of the grand prize to be…

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