Our designer spotlight this week features Corretta Singer. A Shapie with some serious imagination and awesome steam punk aesthetic, her shop is a great example of the endless possibilities of 3D printing.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located? I am a 3D generalist and animator currently living in Jamaica. I was born in Switzerland, but came to Jamaica when I was 5 years old with my mother and younger brother. I started out as a painter and visual artist but branched off into 3D and digital art after high school.
This past week, the Shapeways marketing and community team headed out west for a week of meetups and events in both Northern and Southern California. Of course, California is a huge and diverse state that is known as a place full of creative people driving innovation and turning their ideas into products and projects. We’re always excited to head out there and we were excited to meet a few of them at Shapeways meetups in Stanford and Ventura.
We take security very seriously here at Shapeways and we value your trust. The moment we were made aware of the Heartbleed vulnerability, our engineering team went to work protecting our community, patching the problem within 14 hours. We do not anticipate any further issues and we appreciate your continued trust.
Heartbleed was an internet-wide security hole. Although we're now patched, Heartbleed was a bug that affected the internet for the last 2 1/2 years. We recommend you change your Shapeways password and we wouldn't be good friends if we didn't tell you to change your other passwords to remain safe.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions or security concerns you may have. We're here to help and we value the incredible Shapeways community above all.
From bleeding hearts to hearts of steel- we've got you covered!
Mother's Day is just around the corner here in the US, and we want to make sure you can get your goods in time for your lovely mothers and important women in your life. We’ve mapped out a schedule for select materials, and you can always reference our material pages for more information. These cut-off dates are based on next day shipping for a May 9th delivery within the US. If you are ordering from outside the US, or ordering a personalized product, please allow for extra time.
The final stop on my Irish, British and Scottish roadshow was ancient Edinburgh. A city as cloaked in history as it is moss. Scotland is a lovely country, making up the Northern UK territory and producing some of the best Whisky in the world, it has always been high on my list of travel destinations. Full disclosure, the original impetus for this roadshow had been a wedding I was asked to officiate in Edinburgh, and given the success of the Shapie community there it made sense to combine work and play. After making some great memories with my old college community, I was excited to see how Scottish Shapies got inspired! I spent Monday with the esteemed Vijay Paul of Dotsan and the evening meeting up with Steven Gray, Chris Dobson and Michael Inglis, three other incredibly talented Shapies. Not sure if it was the gloomy weather or tasty spirits, but Scotland greatly impressed me with the magic of its design culture.
With so much talent out there, we encourage everyone to join. Already designed a gadget hack or accessory? Enter the contest by submitting an Instructable for a chance to win a feature in Popular Mechanics, an Ultimaker desktop 3D printer, Shapeways credit and your own Sphero!
Gadget hacking newb? Well, now’s the perfect time to try your first hack—and document it for your chance to win.
What can you win?
Every entrant will receive a $10 credit on Shapeways!
Though 3D printing opens the door for endless ways to accessorize, update, or customize your gadgets, entries don't have to include a 3D printed component. However, only entries with a 3D printed component will be eligible for the Judges’ Prize.
For the designer spotlight this week, we are highlighting Matthew Levy and Martin Griswold of Quantitative Design! They've also let us in on some of their design secrets, for our first ever BONUS MATERIAL section of the designer spotlight. The duo translates complex data into beautiful pendants, further opening our eyes to the endless capabilities of 3D printing. If you love space and jewelry, these are your guys!
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located? Quantitative Design is Matthew Levy and Martin Griswold. We studied physics together in college and we've always shared a passion for science, technology and design. Matthew is currently based in San Francisco, finishing his PhD on simulations of giant lasers and laser fusion. In between calculating and computing, he's worked as a fashion model and as a photographer in places like Los Angeles and Tokyo. Martin just recently got his PhD studying plasma rockets and lives in New York City.
We're proudly bringing back Friday Finds - sharing with you products, shops, and designers who are using their creative 3D printing powers in new, fun and exciting ways. This week, we present to you Thinker Things! Bryan Salt is the creator behind the brand. As a veteran of the 3D technology world, Bryan has 27 years of experience including virtual reality, games, television & mobile 3D engines. With Thinker Thing, he wants to make 3D printing accessible to everyone - even children!
It has been an exciting and busy week for Shapeways in Europe. First of was the Shapeway factory tour on Friday the 28 of march. Later that same week Shapeways took part in the first ever Eindhoven Mini Maker Faire 2014. We were also the proud sponsor of the Makerdays Hackaton.
After an inspiring meetup in Galway it was time to head to Big Ben and meetup with the London Shapeways Community. It was overcast and slightly misting when I arrived, in typical British form. 15 Shapies (and even some of their family) met me at The Riverside, on the South Side of the River Thames.
It was a pleasant variety of Shapies, many of them designers and engineers by day. Entrepreneurs, amateurs and some venerable members of the 3D Printing community came out and shared stories and Shapeways models. Many of the designers, like the one by Terry Wu featured above, were focused on making complete collections and iterating to perfection! Here are some highlights:
We're extremely excited to announce an incredible partnership that shows the true potential of 3D printing. For a limited time, the United States Mint is partnering with Shapeways to make 3D printed coins in our Premium Silver. We are authorized to create a limited number of silver coins with a special bonus. For the first time in history, a lucky few will have the exclusive privilege of having their face embossed on the back of what is slated to become the ultimate collectors item!
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that Shapeways is proud to offer exclusively to our loyal 3D printing community. You are the ones that have helped pave the way for Shapeways to be at the forefront of the 3D printing revolution and this is our small way of giving back and saying thank you.
We have a mintage limit of 50 coins, so as we expect demand to be high, submissions will be taken for the next 48 hours and then will be drawn as a lottery once the period has closed. To take advantage of this offer, message us on Facebook or tweet at us with the hashtag #PenniesFromHeaven. Submissions will be taken until at Midnight PST April 3rd. All entries will be placed into a lottery and the lucky 50 winners will be contacted directly by our dedicated customer service team on Thursday.
This week members of the Community and Marketing team at Shapeways are heading to the California to participate in tech community events and host Shapeways meetups. While we wish we could cover all of California this time, we’re excited to be hosting two meet ups: in Stanford on Wednesday, April 2 and in Ventura on Friday, April 4.
For this weeks designer spotlight, we'd love to introduce Susan Taing. With a background in product marketing and having worked around the world, we highlight Susan on Shapeways today as the proud founder of bhold, a company revolving around practical, well designed products that truly utilizes 3D printing to it's full potential.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located? I am a designer and maker who loves making useful and beautiful things, founder of bhold. I've worked at the intersection of technology and creative for most of my career. I'm originally from and now live in New York...
In case you did not spend your morning with a coffee and a New York Times print edition in hand, you may have missed Shapeways was featured on the front page of the Home section! But don’t worry—the article is also available online here, complete with a slideshow and video.
Our Designer Evangelist Duann Scott discusses how 3D printing is impacting the future of business and design and how Shapeways can be a resource for designers launching new products. The article also showcases a few of our amazing Shop Owners and community members.
Thank you to our talented designers featured in this article for being such amazing ambassadors:
Vladimir Bulatov, Shapeways 3D Graphics Researcher, said this as he explained why our newly launched 3D model Wall Thickness Tools were such a challenge to build. “I am a 3D modeler and when I first started thinking about automatically measuring and fixing a model’s wall thickness for 3D printing, I thought the problem was unsolvable.” How can designers continue to push the boundaries of design with 3D printing, unhampered by manufacturing guidelines? This challenge was too large for us to ignore, and we set off close to four (4!) years ago to solve what seemed impossible.
What are the Wall Thickness Tools?
3D printers, like any manufacturing tool or machine, have limitations on the minimum distance between two points, known as ‘minimum wall thickness.’ Designing with minimum wall thickness in mind is important but difficult, so giving designers feedback on their designs is critical, especially as 3D printing becomes more accessible.
Wall Thickness Tools are two innovations by Shapeways that are available for free to the entire 3D design and 3D printing community.
Wall Thickness Visualization automatically identifies the areas where your model might need adjustment in order to meet minimum wall thickness to survive 3D printing and post processing.
Wall Thickness Fixing automatically thickens your model’s walls to the minimum recommended thickness for a specified material. Fixed models can be printed or downloaded for further adjustment.
We don’t have the silver bullet, but we do think the tools will make a significant impact. As with other creative industries where feedback is critical, giving 3D designers immediate feedback is a leap. It was a substantial undertaking, so we’re sharing why it was such a difficult challenge, our discovery process, how it works, and ultimately how we hope it will impact the 3D print community.
Why is wall thickness such a difficult challenge to solve?
The goal was to create tools to help designers identify and fix potential problem areas prior to 3D printing. The solution had to provide accurate and relevant data, in order to help 3D designers speed up the design and iteration cycle.
Man vs Machine
Take, for instance, a triangle: at the very tip, the wall thickness gradually becomes zero. The same concept applies to the edges of a blade of grass. The wall thickness will eventually get below the minimum wall thickness requirement for 3D printing. Yet these objects are printable and a 3D Printing Engineer would know that. But is it possible to create an algorithm that provides exact wall thickness measurements only when it is a problem?
Another challenge is measurement complexity. For example, imaging drilling a hole into one side of a 1x1x1cm solid cube, but stop short just before the drill goes all the way through the other side. Looking at this model physically would not reveal that the bottom of the hole is too thin to be 3D printed. Thus, even if you were using software to measure wall thickness point by point, you would need to know to measure that particular point.
Furthermore, we see a lot of complex 3D models, designed by our community, that push the boundaries of design. In order for us to accept every creation by any designer, the Wall Thickness Tools can not be limited by complexity.
Our Discovery Process
The ideas of Alexandru Telea and Andrei Jalba, published in the academic paper, Voxel-Based Assessment of Printability of 3D Shapes were our starting point in developing the Wall Thickness Visualization Tool. Over the past four years, we developed three versions of the Visualization & Fixing tools, each building on the learning from the last.
The simplicity of the tool is deceiving, as the algorithmic power required to run the tools against a constant stream of 3D models require up to 25 computer servers running simultaneously. We host more than one million 3D models, receive thousands of model uploads per day, and, as a result, manage the biggest 3D printing database in the world. The breadth of 3D models uploaded by our community plays a critical role in our discovery process, as the designs span organic, geometric, architectural, parametric, and sculptural 3D models, representing a huge range of design complexities and needs. We run the wall thickness tool algorithms across thousands of uploaded models to validate the tool’s performance against actual printability as determined by our 3D Printing Engineers.
How it Works
Now let’s circle back to the question of: “Is it possible to create an algorithm that provides exact wall thickness measurements only when it is a problem?” We answered this question by changing it.
We shifted the question from “What is the wall thickness and is it too thin?” to “How do we enable designers?” The information that is valuable to a design isn’t necessarily the exact thickness of the wall, but to the visual identification of potential problem areas. When designers have information about potential problems, they’re empowered to decide whether it’s a problem worth solving.
The Wall Thickness Visualization Tool does this by automatically measuring the distance between two points, in real-time, through the entire model. It then classifies areas as ‘safe’, ‘suspect’, or ‘unsafe’, for the designer to determine which areas should be fixed (such as a thin wire) and not be fixed (such as details or edges).
The Wall Thickness Fixing Tool creates a ‘thin walls skeleton’ for area suspected of not meeting minimum wall thickness requirements. It then inflates this skeleton to what the minimum wall thickness should be (known as ‘fixes’ or ‘delta geometry’). The fixes are combined with the original model to create the ‘fixed model’.
Fixed models are just one way to adjust a model to ready them for 3D printing, but not necessarily the ideal way for the needs of the designer. The images below demonstrate how the the tool thickens a thin wall, but creates a potentially undesirable protrusion on the flat surface on the right side of the model. Thus, the tool’s value is in providing immediate guidance on preparing a model for 3D printing, as well as the fixes themselves, and are meant to empower designers to update their designs as needed and much more quickly.