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:
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.
Friends who have very specific interests are generally pretty easy to shop for, right? If they love to cook, you can never go wrong with a fun new kitchen gadget. Have an artistic friend? Get them something that will really showcase their creativity. And for those friends who rarely miss a workout, we’ve got unique gifts for them right here on Shapeways!
Help them accessorize their fitness tech, without missing a step. Below are some of our picks for the fitness buffs in your life.
Are you looking for the perfect unique gift for a geeky friend or loved one (or even yourself)? Look no further than Shapeways this holiday season. If you’re like me, a tech geek who is experiencing electronics overload and is looking for a cool geeky gift to buy this year that doesn’t run of batteries, I’d suggest exploring a 3D printed product this year. I’ve taken the time to curate some cool 3D printed products that any geek would love this year. Here are my picks!
We’re really excited to share a new, exclusive material at Shapeways: 3D printed porcelain.
3D Printed Porcelain R&D
For the past year and a half, we’ve been exploring new options for ceramics based on the feedback we’ve heard loud and clear from our community. You told us that you want ceramics that are faster, more durable, more functional, and more colorful. This material didn’t exist, but that didn’t stop us. We created an R&D taskforce who have been working hard in our secret lab to develop a new way of 3D printing beautiful, durable porcelain. This is our first major investment in end to end material R&D.
The new 3D printed porcelain is groundbreaking, with quality and detail that mirrors traditional ceramics processes and the design flexibility of 3D printing. Utilizing a castable porcelain body created by Dr. Stuart Uram of Core Cast Ceramics with the support of Albert Pfarr, we developed an innovative process for producing 3D printed porcelain products. By combining the SLS printers that produce our Strong and Flexible Plastic with an innovative porcelain casting process, we can create detailed and durable products that are fired and glazed just like conventional ceramics. Using the best of 3D printing and traditional ceramics, we’re able to create the sort of quality you could only find in high end, handmade porcelain.
Here’s what you can expect from 3D printed porcelain, only available at Shapeways:
Amazing Colors – From cobalt blue to matte black, 3D Printed Porcelain will be available in classic colors that call upon the porcelain tradition.
Durable & Functional – Porcelain is dishwasher, oven, and microwave safe. You can even make baking dishes and pizza stones!
Gorgeous Detail – Porcelain enables you to design with very high detail and thin, translucent glazes.
Big & Bold – The strength enables thick and larger products, so we’ll be able to help you scale to the whims of your imagination.
Community R&D and Pilot
To start, 3D printed porcelain will be available in a limited pilot with the goal of improving our process and design guidelines. When we are ready to deliver amazing results to the masses, we’ll open this up as a material available for sale to shoppers in our marketplace.
If you are an experienced designer and would like to be considered for the pilot, Sign up here. We’ll start with a small group and expand as we learn more.
What does this mean for the current 3D printed ceramics?
You have probably noticed that ceramics has been plagued with problems for a while. For the last several months, our production partner for ceramics has been operating with significant delays. In order to ensure we set the right expectations, we’ve had to increase lead times from 13 days to 18 days to 22 days over the course of the last year.
At 22 days, our production partner was only shipping at 30% on time, which is simply unacceptable. We increased lead time to 45 days in October to set more accurate expectations, but whether you’re creating products for your business or waiting for a gift, these delays are unacceptable.
Given the uncertainty and delays, we had to make a hard decision and, as of today, will stop offering the current ceramics materials for the foreseeable future. Designers selling in ceramics are in the loop and will be key partners for us in the pilot and future R&D. We’re incredibly disappointed to have to take this step, but you deserve better.
Our goal is to make 3D printing affordable and accessible so that you can make amazing products. Unfortunately, current 3D printed ceramics just didn’t cut it anymore. We’re excited to bring an entirely new material to the design community and more than anything else, we cannot wait to see what you make! Here’s a teaser of porcelain in action:
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!
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.
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):
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.
You can see the full list of top viewed Shapeways products from October of on 3dprint.
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!
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 .
Isn’t it fun to see Shapie products on a site as cool as About.com? Which product did you vote for?
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.
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
The historic first drive of the #3DPrintedCar – Enjoy!
This is the third in a 10 part Shop Owner Bootcamp series counting down to Black Friday. We’ve covered reputation and photography in our last two posts and are looking at branding and collection building today. This is last post in the polishing your shop for holiday phase, next week we’ll begin talking about building the relationships necessary to optimize your sales over holiday.
Do you ever wonder what to design next? Or what makes a product sell? Do you have a product in your shop that outsells all the others and wish that you could get more products on that level? This week we’re focused on building your brand story and developing your collection through market research. I know that “market research” sounds boring and stale to the creative mind, but it doesn’t have to be! Shapeways Shop Owner mentor Vijay Paul is back this week to discuss how he became Dotsan, and how walking around Scotland inspired his stag and the “wired life collection” that followed.
Building Your Brand: Why it’s Personal (and Should Be)
Vijay highlights in this video how going from VDesign to Dotsan was a big turning point for his business. It was when he realized that this was going to be more than a hobby, and a place that people could come for products and art that he created for them. Many of you have developed your brands and logos, but are you giving your shoppers all of the story?
Every time someone buys something from your shop you have the opportunity to create a new brand evangelist. If they love your work, they’re going to come back to your shop time and time again, likely referring others who are interested in your products. They will expose your products, and in turn your brand, to their in-real-life communities. Ask yourself, have I highlighted my design process and inspiration in my shop? Have I armed consumers with a story they can tell about the creation of this product and increase the likelihood they’ll send others to my shop? If you have to hesitate, take this opportunity to refresh your shop and product descriptions. Your brand should tell your story.
Many of you have already developed great brands, so I challenge you to think about how that can be illustrated through out your shop. Perhaps watermarking your photos or integrating your brand into your avatar. People see your designer cards on every product page now, use that opportunity to remind them how awesome it is to buy from you.
Market Research: It’s as Easy as Going to Look at Beautiful Things
Every successful business has conducted market research at some point in their growth; and if they’re smart, likely multiple times at regular intervals. Vijay knew he wanted to design something that would appeal to a lot of people, and wandering around Scotland he noticed there were Stags everywhere. He saw them in museums, on signs, buildings and iconic Scottish settings. This observation drove his design decisions and gave birth to the Stag, which originally was a 3D render meant to live in 2D. After creating the render he was curious to see if it could work as a wireframe 3D print, I think it’s very clear that it did .
Think about your audience: are you trying to sell to people in your region/country or are you trying to sell to people who like a specific category of things? What is popular in the culture your products speak to? For example, if you are making masks, you should always be up on the latest cosplay fashions. If you’re doing household products, keeping up with industrial design trends can be clutch. If you’re modeling drone accessories, you should pay attention to what drones people are buying. I don’t believe Vijay ever expected to sell as many stags across as many countries as he has, but he went into designing it with the confidence that at least locally, he would receive some interest.
Build Your Collection: Your Best Customer is One Who Buys Again
There’s a famous marketing stat that 20% of your customers will be responsible for 80% of your future business; and Shapeways is no exception. Our marketplace is full of passion, and folks who have a great buying experience from you once are likely to brag about it. How can you keep them coming back? Ask yourself, what other types of things to people interested in your subject matter like? Have you ever asked your customers what other products they think would compliment the one they already purchased from you? Think about ways you can expand the collection and have multiple top-selling products. Our Interest Group forums are a great place to get the conversation going.
Sets are very appealing during the holiday season. Think about which of your products could go together and that could expand the story of your work/brand.
Alright everyone, we’re now just 7 weeks from Black Friday- we’ll be focused on building digital and physical relationships that will help your holiday sales in the coming weeks, so take advantage of the opportunity now to ‘dust the shelves’ and put a fresh coat of paint on your ‘open’ sign.
What brands and designers on Shapeways do you look up to?
It is with great excitement that we announce that there are now more than 20,000 Shops open in the Shapeways marketplace! WOOHOO! Cheers to you! This is truly an inspiring milestone for all of us here at Shapeways.
Shapeways set off a mission to help people make the products they actually wanted over six years ago. After seeing the design potential and talent in our community, we knew there had to be more people who would appreciate and value your work. Since then, our marketplace has matured into an entrepreneurial ecosystem of Shop Owners. Everyday we work hard to give you the tools and the exposure that you need and deserve to build your 3D Printing business.
Our Shop Owner community has doubled over the last 15 months! When I started working at Shapeways in May of 2013, we were just crossing the 10,000 Shops mark; to think we’re now over 20,000 is incredible. It’s thrilling to see more and more artists, designers and entrepreneurs making money off sharing their 3D printed creations with the world.
Congratulations! Pat your self on the back! You’re a valued member of the largest community of creatives innovating in 3D printing. We are proud and grateful to call you a Shapie.
Not a Shop Owner yet? Open a Shop today! For the existing Shapies, how long ago did you open your shop?
Together, we are about to make history. Today marks the beginning of manufacturing in space. Are you ready to take on the #MissionPrint Challenge? Here’s the launch video of SpaceX-4 that just successfully carried the Made In Space Zero-G 3D Printer to the ISS:
Video courtesy of SpaceX
Hearing mission control say “…and we have liftoff of SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket and Dragon. CRS-4 is underway. A US commercial spacecraft launching from American soil delivers new technology and science to the International Space Station,” gives me and hopefully every other space lover chills. Knowing that that “new technology” is one that we all are fortunate enough to experiment with every day, the ability to additively manufacture on demand through 3D Printing, is inspiring. Remember, there is no overnight shipping to space; and it is physically impossible to traditionally manufacture parts in a space environment. We really are witnessing, and taking an active part in, making history.
Screen Shots here and below courtesy of FutureEngineers.org
This is the first in a series of NASA developed 3D Space Challenges that Future Engineers and our other out-of-this-world partners are happy to share with the Shapeways community. Encourage every K-12 student you know interested in 3D Printing to check it out, and remember, ALL students (university, college, trade schools, and professors too) get 10% off ALL their prints at Shapeways ALL the time. What a great excuse to “ground print” and prototype your space tools with us.
Tools designed for this challenge are judged on the following well-rounded criteria:
40 Points – Innovation and Creativity of the Solution
20 Points – Ability to communicate the design through the Text Description and/or Finalist Interview
20 Points – Quality of the 3D Modeled Geometry and compliance with the Design Guidelines
20 Points - Usefulness of the design in a Space Environment
Kids are powering innovative developments in 3D Printing across the unique web of our industry’s reach. They are opening shops on Shapeways, printing on desktop printers in their classrooms, and mod-ing their toys at home. There are dozen of touching stories of kids literally enabling the future of 3D printed prosthetics. And perhaps most profound of all, they can see what we can’t. Young minds aren’t limited by the bounds of conventional design and manufacturing constraints. Freed of this parameter, they are capable of leveraging the technology and materials available in unique new ways. Inspired by their potential, Future Engineers has an awesome lineup of prizes for the top contestants. The winner of the challenge will even have their tool printed in Zero-G’s on the ISS and get to watch live from Mission Control. While the #MissionPrint Future Engineers contest is for K-12 students in the US only, we will be featuring innovative designs by makers of all ages on our blog between now and when winners are announced on January 30th, 2015.
Are you ready to accept the #MissionPrint Challenge, stop dreaming and start doing? Keep us posted on your progress in our Space Forum and be sure and tag your space tools #MissionPrint. The best way to ensure your products will be astronaut-ready is to prototype on the ground, and we can’t wait to help.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Calling all jewelry lovers! We’ve teamed up with some of our wonderful designers to host not one but two contests this month.
Daily Facebook Giveaway:
We are giving away 10 amazing pieces of jewelry on Facebook! Visit our Facebook page each weekday through the end of September for a chance to win. We want to spread the word about our incredible designers, so all we’re asking is that you “like” our posts. Check back each day to see the newest giveaway!
Pin Your Favorite Jewelry on Pinterest:
Our designers are getting ready for fall and the holidays, so we want to see what inspires you for the season. Pin your favorite fall jewelry from Shapeways and beyond for a chance to win $500 of your Shapeways picks!
How to enter:
Create a Pinterest Board titled “Fall Finds”
Pin at least 10 fall flavored accessories by September 30, 2014
At least 5 must be Shapeways products (your prize, if you win!)
Tag each pin #ShapewaysJewelryContest
Five (5) winners will be selected! Winners will receive their Shapeways pinned products, up to $500 in value. If you pin more than $500 of Shapeways products, we will work with you to select your prize products.
Don’t know where to start? Check out some of our favorite 3D printed jewelry in gold, sterling silver, stainless steel, and even colorful nylon plastic.
The Fine Print: If your Shapeways products cannot be successfully 3D printed, we will work with you to select alternative prize products. Shapeways employees and their families are not eligible to win. Contests end September 30, 2014.
Earlier this summer, we wrote about Stopping the Slow Lane, a push back against the FCC’s intent to propose rules that would allow Internet service providers to charge websites to access a “fast lane” and slow down every site that doesn’t pay. Now, we’re almost at the deadline. September 15th is the last day that the FCC will accept public comments before they make their ruling. Shapeways submitted a formal appeal to the FCC, where we outlined how we support an open internet so we can continue to provide a platform where entrepreneurs like our 19,000 shop owners can flourish.
Today is an internet-wide day of action for Net Neutrality. You may have noticed some of your favorite sites have the “please hold, loading” spinning wheel on their homepage – is this the future you want? Neither do we!