Today at 19:00 CET we will be having the next Shapeways live. This time we're going to transmit video so we can see some models and products. I'll be showing people the Gold plating, Stainless steel and glass 3D prints. There will also be time to ask any questions you may have about uploading, designing etc. We will be using Ustream to do this and you can watch here.
A lot of people have been emailing us asking for an extension on the Gold Plated Stainless Steel trial. Because we love to pander to a crowd we've decided to extend the Gold trial until the 15th of this month. Now you have two more weeks to ponder how many of Matthias Richter's H_Bracelets you would like to have.
A few weeks ago we asked you to vote on our new summer colors. Here are your choices. The colors are Summer Blue, Summer Green and Summer Magenta. They will have a start up cost of $4 and cost an additional $1.99 per cubic centimeter. We will offer these colors until the end of August. What do you guys think of the colors? Michiel Cornelissen's Happy Bird looks quite fetching in Magenta I think and Baroba's Bunnies are always adorable.
Matthew Farnsworth has the most romantic 3D printed twisty puzzle story you will read all day. It has to do with Matthew, Mindy & how a Rubik's cube can be the key to someone's heart. I will let Matthew tell you the story in his own words:
Many years ago, while digging through some boxes of stuff in my grandfather's garage, I found a small keychain Rubik's cube. I didn't know how to solve the cube, so my brother and I did some research and eventually figured it out. After a few months, during which I got a standard sized cube, I decided to turn the keychain cube into a sort of personal "sword in the stone." Whosoever could solve the Rubik's cube (and meet some standard requirements) I would then and there ask for their hand in marriage.
Time passed and the cube ended up at the bottom of a box of games. Every so often I would see the cube and think of my secret little pact.
Eventually, I forgot about the cube and life moved on without any significant change. One day, I was asked to sing at the funeral services of a friend's grandfather. Not wanting to sing alone, I called some friends who called other friends and eventually, a girl named Mindy was invited to sing. We met shortly before the funeral to practice and before too long, Mindy and I were dating.
Some time afterwards, We were looking for a particular game and happened to come across the keychain Rubik's cube. I told Mindy of my little arrangement involving proposing to whoever solved the cube. A few days later I noticed that the cube was missing and I realized that I really liked Mindy and wanted her to solve the cube.
It was then that I was hit with a burst of inspiration: build a Rubik's cube that would open when solved!
I immediately turned to some engineer friends of mine to start the design process. Chris, Kevin and myself spent a fair bit of time drawing and sketching on the whiteboard many different possibilities. Most of these possibilities looked fine on paper but as soon as we tried applying a third dimension, things would get complicated. We had just about finished a design involving spring-loaded pegs, when we discovered a YouTube video of a hollow cube.
Oskar van Deventer had actually redesigned the interior of a Rubik's cube, creating a beautiful cavity where one could hide a ring.
Now all I needed was to buy the hollow cube and edit the design so that it would open upon completion. I decided, instead of trying to setup costly experiments and purchasing multiple hollow cubes, that I would propose the idea to Oskar himself to see if he had any ideas of how to help me. And help me he did.
Within two weeks, I had the designs in my hands. a few weeks later and I had the Gift Cube. In the meantime, I created a small wooden ring box that would fit inside Oskar's Gift Cube. When the Cube arrived, I was ecstatic to discover that the ring box (a sphere actually) fit perfectly inside. After assembling the whole device and scrambling the cube, I hid it in the bottom of a box of my old high school memorabilia. I suggested to Mindy that we could reminisce about "the good old days" while looking through my box of stuff.
Eventually we got down to the Rubik's cube and I informed Mindy that it was my first Rubik's cube (a slight fib). She proceeded to solve the scrambled cube only to discover a small wooden ball. I told her the ball opened, but the lid was too tight and I had to open it for her. Getting down on one knee, I handed her back the ring box and asked is she would consider marrying me. She accepted and we are absolutely thrilled.
We would both like to thank the people of Shapeways for their part in this love story. I would also like to personally thank both Ralph and Maartje for their patience with me during a time of great anxiety. And of course, none of this would have been possible without Mr. Erno Rubik and Mr. Oskar van Deventer.
Oskar van Deventer's Floppy 2 X 3 x 3
is a great puzzle. It is one of those mindbogglingly mindbendingly
creative designs that just make you play for hours trying to solve it.
As a special offer we are now offering this design for $84 (€ 67), fully
assembled. For $84 we will 3D print it, dye it, put on the stickers and
assemble it for you. The normal price for this puzzle is $171 and the last day to order it for the reduced price will be the 11th of June. The YouTube video is below and you can buy the puzzle here.
We will now put your logo or your design on a metal 3D printed pair of cuff links for $60. Your Stainless Steel printed cuff links will arrive within 20 working days. Until the end of this month you can also opt for a Gold plated pair for $64. You can order them here.
This past weekend a few of us got to go to one of our favorite events, the Bay Area Maker Faire. Below you can see some pictures of the event and our stand. Robert, Denise, Jo and Peter were the lucky Shapeways people that got to attend.
Here are some of the models we took with us.
We showed people the Draw it concept by having a coloring competition for the kids at Maker Faire.
You've got to like alliteration loving company Purple Platypus. They have been an Objet & Netfabb reseller and now are bringing the Purple Platypus Panther to the US market. The printer prints colored ABS plastic, has a layer thickness of 0.1mm and a print build volume area of 32 X 28 X 19 CM. The printer costs only $4000. This makes is much more expensive than a Makerbot but the build volume is much larger. The Panther printer can also take multiple printing heads and also comes fully assembled. Its another great step forward for desktop 3D printing. With Netfabb's excellent entry level 3D model repair software, the entry level Objet Alaris and now the Panther 3D printer, Purple Platypus is extremely well placed to help the 3D printing market grow considerably.
Purple Platypus is actually reselling and rebranding the Panther. This is a similar arrangement as EnvisionTEC and Zcorp are doing. Indeed both have been announced very close together. The 3D printer is made by UK based company Bits From Bytes. In the UK the same machine sells for 2000 pounds, is styled a little less aggressively and is called the BitsFromBytes BFB 3000.
BitsFromBytes is the company behind the RapMan 3D printer. This entry level machine is based on the RepRap open source project as the Makerbot is. The RapMan comes as a kit and retails for 795 pounds. BitsFromBytes is currently doing a roaring trade concentrating on selling their kits to schools and universities. But, both the RapMan and the new BFB 3000 could be an alternative for Makerbot users.
here is how the various open source based printers stack up price wise:
I think that it is significant that the RepRap project has now two growing and successful commercial companies that use its core technology: Makerbot Industries and BitsFromBytes. I wonder how many more will follow their path in turning that groundbreaking open source project into money.
Next Thursday at 19:00 CET we will be having another Shapeways Live
webcast. The last was informative but a bit of a technical challenge
and we hope to improve that this time round. This Shapeways Live will
be about "which materials Should Shapeways offer in the future."
Additionally there will be a Q & A where you can ask any questions
you may have about the site, 3D printing, Shapeways, etc.
This time we will be trying out Webex as a technology platform.
Oskar van Deventer is a puzzle savant. He is a genius at designing and
making twisty & mechanical puzzles. I guarantee that if you look at
his YouTube channel or Shapeways Shop
you will be blown away by at least one puzzle and probably more. I know
of no other designer that has amazed me, puzzled me and plain
dumbfounded me more than Oskar has with his designs. Check out this Bram's Cube and this Unlucky Twist
for example. Oskar really has shown a lot of people that it is possible
to create amazing things using 3D printing. His Shop does really well
and now we're incredibly proud to announce that one of Oskar's puzzles
has gone into production with Uwe Meffert, one of the world's most prestigious and famous puzzle designers.
To me Oskar's story is a great one and it really illustrates not only
what people can accomplish with Shapeways but also what personal
production will bring us in the future. A single person developing a
product from their own home and selling this worldwide. A single person
starting a business and brand of one.
During the first Shapeways Live webcast Tree asked how we chose the
models we feature in the newsletters, on the homepage, in the banners,
blog posts etc. To make this process more transparent I'll explain how
we find models and how we choose models.
We're on the website a lot so we bump into stuff randomly
I regularly get emails from Customer Service, production & finance that they came in touch with a cool project
I get emails from community members telling me about cool projects (either their own or others)
We actively search for recently highly rated models
We actively search for models that bring in traffic
We always notice when people tweet or mention their models on their blogs
We glace and look through uploaded and ordered models
We look through models with newly added pictures
We notice models by very active community members, because they're active
Very active community members are very visible so
On the forum someone could be asking for help and we notice the model they mention
We look through specific categories and tags of models to find something in that category
What do we look for in a design?
It has to be inspiring
This is the basic criterion for a lot of what we do. We have to be swept away by it in some way.
What also really helps is if the design is:
the design or product tells a story
It pushes 3D printing into new territory
It is a product we have never seen before
It is fun
It is clear what it is from the description
It is clear what it is from the photograph
It makes people think
It makes you go "how did they make that?"
It makes you go "they made what??"
A product we could see others buying
A design that is unlike anything we've seen before
A product or design that has a high appeal for a select group
A product or design that would have mainstream appeal
The product uses a new material
The product uses a material we don't see much of
The product uses a material in a way we haven't seen before
It is a Co-Creator (we really want to promote them)
We could totally see blogs or other media pick up the product and feature it
It totally illustrates a concept that we are looking at ie "hold
a model in your hand", "anyone can design", "affordable 3D printing",
"combinatory manufacturing", "co-creation",etc.
It is a signifier of the direction we want to go into: for example into finished products, art, etc.
The model goes really well with a blog post or Newsletter
The model is from a community we would like to engage
What helps it in being featured?
Above all: good
photos. We're not necessarily talking Henri Cartier-Bresson here just
a clear photograph that is either attractive, well lit, shows off the
model well, shows off what you can do with it well or tells a story. A
good title helps also because then we can understand the model sooner
(and others can too). A clear description often leads us to include
something that is initially baffling but turns out to be interesting in
entire process is not set in stone but we try our hardest to be fair.
For an in depth look in how the featuring process works lets look at Nathan Matsuda's Icetube clock enclosure. It was on it arrived
where our CEO Peter spotted it and mailed it around telling us it was a
great model. If you look at the it Arrived post you can see that the
model is attractive. The photos tell a story of him getting the model
and assembling it. The final picture shows you an attractive thing that
we at least could totally buy for ourselves. The photos are clear and
not blurry. The model also works with an item from Adafruit Industries
which is this really great DIY products site. We would like to do
things with Adafruit. Also Adafruit itself could generate lots of
traffic for the model. Adafruit is a part of the maker movement which
is a community we would like to engage even more with. By combining the
model with a 3D print it tells several stories: a maker using 3D
printing to make a unique item, a maker using Shapeways, an Adafruit
enthusiast using Shapeways, the combination of electronics and 3D
prints etc. Nathan's model therefore tells a great story and it is also
a great design. This why we're going to be featuring it here and in
other places. I hope this clears things up.
"Have you seen a model on Shapeways that we
should feature in a blog post, on the home page, in the newsletter? Add
a link to the model or the forum post here to be sure we don't miss it.
You can suggest your own model or someone else's."
We can not guarantee that we can feature every suggestion but we will look at and discuss each one.
Zcorp has long made powder based 3D print systems for 3D printing color models. Zcorp is now departing from its basic technology with its introduction of a "high end" system, the Zbuilder Ultra. The Zbuilder user a photopolymer is a process similar to SLA (stereolithography). This would mean that Zcorp can now 3D print in plastic and at high detail. The deviation on parts would be around 0.2 mm and the minimum feature size would be 138 microns. Around the office a few of us felt it reminded us rather a lot of the EnvisionTEC Perfactory and the EnvisionTEC Ultra. Although the resemblance and the fact that both the EnvisionTEC Ultra and the Zbuilder Ultra have the same Ultra name and resolution of 138 Microns is probably just a coincidence. The system uses a DLP projector and is touted as being twice as fast as
existing rapid manufacturing systems. They seem to want to position it surely against the Stratasys FDM machines. It would cost $34,900. This heats up the price point near the Stratasys Dimension systems and the entry level Objet systems. You can see a movie about the Zbuilder here.
This move by Zcorp is going to make things in 3D printing land very interesting. Up and until now most 3D printing companies were founded on a single technology and contnue to exploit and improve this one technology. 3D Systems has two technologies (their original SLA technology and SLS Selective Laser Sintering). But, they were the exception. Stratasys only does FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling),the technology Stratasys' foundere developed and commercialized for example. A choice for a technology in most cases meant a choice for a particular vendor and vice versa. This year most of the mayor 3D printing patents are expiring. This could mean that the vendors could even perhaps use each other's technologies. This would make competition much more interesting. We all understood that the HP and Stratasys distribution deal would change a lot of things and Zcorp embracing an additional technology is just one of the many ripple effects we will see.
Farah Bandookwala is a student at the Edinburgh College of Art. Farah uses 3D printing and haptic devices to create jewelry. You can see her work from the 12th to the 20th of June at the Edinburgh college of Art Degree Show and also at New Designers 2010 in London.
Farah is, "creating jewelery that will be made up of a series of unique units that fit together in different ways, allowing the wearer to create a constantly evolving piece of jewelery to express their changing sense of self over time. Using haptics has allowed me to create forms that are organic, unpredictable and unique. The forms drawn digitally while working with Anarkik 3D, use the haptic interface Cloud 9 to create objects for rapid manufacturing."
Anarkik 3D is a research project that is creating software where by you can use a haptic device to 3D model. Haptics are devices that give you tactile "feedback" via vibrations. The Dual Shock Playstation 3 controller is an example of a haptic device. With Anarkik 3D for example a penlike device that you can hold lets you not only manipulate your 3D model but also "feel" where it begins and ends. You can see a short intro video on their site here. Cloud 9 is Anarkik's modelling tool. I've used Anarkik's haptics & Cloud 9 and they're an easy & fun way to model.
Clearly the example set by Farah's work is where we all want to go. Allowing more people to design & making production cheaper is what will create unique things that are fit for us. The increase in functionality as things become designed for us rather than us and a million other people is the path we're on. Farah's project illustrates one possible waypoint in the journey to truly personalized production. This waypoint is the powerful combination between 3D printing and haptics.
We're very happy to have helped Farah by sponsoring her inspiring degree work. Thank you so much to Derek Elley of Ponoko for getting Farah in touch with us.