I have been 3D modeling, uploading files and printing through Shapeways for around six months now and wanted to share my journey of how and why I got into 3D modeling. I work in the Finance industry, but studied industrial design for one semester straight out of school. So the interest in design has been ticking away in the back of my mind for some time now.
I reached a point where I was seeking a new challenge, but with a mortgage and a baby I didn’t feel I could make a bold leave-my-job-pursue-crazy-idea type move without being completely irresponsible. I had a few product ideas and looked at Kickstarter to fund one – however when I reached the point of actually launching a campaign I realized my heart wasn’t in the product. And if I couldn’t get excited about it, how could I expect anyone else to?
So looking to products that I could get excited about, I decided to attempt to make coffee cups. I worked on designs and tried (rather unsuccessfully) to model some cups out of clay as prototypes. I had planned to use the clay cups to make molds and cast coffee cups in resin – however none of the commercially available resins were food safe, which I felt was a necessity for something containing hot coffee! I briefly looked into using an overseas supplier to make my cups for me, so I could just design and sell. The barrier was the requirement to order a minimum amount of each design – even stocking only a few designs would be very expensive and take up precious space in my house!
Around this time I started thinking about 3D printing, of which I had very limited knowledge. A few Google searches gave me some names and I discovered Shapeways!
Initially I was designing different coffee cups, but before I could get an order ceramic production ceased. I like to look for the silver lining and in this case it encouraged me to look at different materials and the different ways I could use them.
There have been a few highlights in my Shapeways journey so far:
- Uploading my first model and seeing the renders make it look oh so nice onscreen.
- Receiving my first shipment in a Shapeways box.
- Setting up my shop Madasu Designs in January this year and receiving my first sale.
Right now I am working on building out my product range, growing my social media presence and trying to get some more sales. It is interesting to reflect on the journey that brought me to Shapeways, particularly that in hindsight Shapeways would be useful in the different steps I took:
- Prototyping to prepare for a crowdfunding campaign and making a working model.
- Prototyping for mold creation for materials not available through 3D printing like silicone and resins.
- Product development and iteration before committing to order through a mass-manufacturer.
That said, I am very happy with utilizing Shapeways 3D printing to build my business at this stage. It allows me to focus primarily on the design side, which is what I really enjoy, while Shapeways takes care of production and shipping.