Category Archives: 3D Printing

Full Color Plastic 3D Prints from the Shapeways Community

The first wave of full color plastic 3D prints are starting to appear on the Shapeways forums showing the level of color saturation, material strength and precision that you can expect with your full color 3D prints.

3D printed full color plastic flowers Shapeways

Barratomica seems to have the best results so far with his full color plastic flower rings showing a nice color palette and regular, organic forms.

Others are having less success with their full color plastic 3D prints including our very own Mitchell with his scale model trains.  The colors in his model are not as crisp with a sligthly faded look to them as Multihawk also found with his prints.

As you can see below his full color plastic 3D prints look quite faded with some white spots evident on the surface and colors bleeding.  This may be in part because of the relatively small size of Multihak’s mini figurines, it would be interesting to see the exact same models in full color sandstone to compare.

Multihawk also experienced some warping in the thin areas of his small model as did Lensman with his Icicle and Stalactite Pendants Models where the small tips of the pendants were warped.  These models are also relatively small with a total length of around 5cm and just over 1cm at the widest point.  From this we may be able to deduct that the parts may go through some thermal shock after the printing process that is introducing this warpage.  As we learn more about this machine and the post processing we may be able to reduce this warpage that some designers are experiencing.

Thank you to all that are sharing their results in the It Arrived forum on Shapeways, we really appreciate your feedback as the more you tell us the more we learn.  Keep them coming.


 

Watch Shapeways Elasto Plastic 3D Prints Burn (VIDEO)

Ok, before we move on to more 3D printed material tests, we need to burn all that lay before us, including Shapeways Elasto Plastic 3D prints. In this material torture test we set that bad boy on fire and watch it burn, dripping like flaming napalm onto the floor.  Please keep your Elasto Plastic 3D prints away from naked flames because it catches afire easily, stays alight and drips terrible flaming plastics that is not so easily extinguished.

 

 


 

SnowWhite a Low (ish) Priced ‘Cold’ SLS 3D Printer Currently in Development in Italy

The SLS 3D printer market is looking to be shaken up with yet another (relatively) low price SLS 3D printer currently in the research and development stage in Italy.  The SnowWhite is a cold SLS 3D printer by Sharebot that they are getting ready to unveil at the London 3D Printshow.

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Looking at the images they are still early on in the process, using a round piston as a print bed (round pistons are easier, ask Andreas Bastian with his Open SLS project) and a fairly small build area.  With the industrial 3D printers Shapeways uses for SLS 3D printing made by EOS, we heat the Nylon powder to just below melting point, then the laser raises the temperature only slightly to sinter the material from powder to solid.  Sintering the Nylon without pre-heating may cause greater thermal shock to the parts, and increase the power required of the laser, but it may also make it faster to cool down which could be a huge advantage to getting prototypes out faster.

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To get some insight from someone who has actually experimented with ‘cold SLS’ I asked Andreas Bastian to see if he could see an advantage over ‘pre-heated’ SLS.

I would be hard-pressed to list the performance advantages of cold SLS– while it saves on energy and BOM cost, the thermal gradient the material is subjected to is significantly larger (possibly leading to material degradation) and the curling/warping due to the massive thermal contractions of the material require support (really restraint) structures.  It’s the heated chamber in SLS that allows such freedom of form and geometry– an unheated SLS machine will have nearly all the same geometry constraints as an FDM machine, including the necessity of adhering the print to a build surface.  That being said, support/restraint structures for SLS are new territory and there may be viable options there.  As many of the low-cost FDM machines have demonstrated, it may not be necessary to fully replicate the process used at the industry level (heated chambers).  That being said, I would like to see some ASTM D638 tensile testing data before I print any functional parts on their system.

Sharebot are pitching the SnowWhite SLS 3D printer to sell for under $26,000 USD when it hits the market to join the Ice 1 & Ice 9 by Norge Systems  in the first wave of relatively low cost SLS 3D printers that may spread in a similar manner as FDM 3D printers have over the past 4 years.


 

Vote Now for Shapeways to Talk 3D Printing at SXSW 2015

Help us spread the 3D printing love at SXSW 2015 by voting for our panels, from 3D Printing & Intellectual Property, to the Truths vs Myths, and an overview of how YOU can use 3D printing now.

sxsw panel picker Shapeways

Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen is proposing a panel entitled What YOU can really do with 3D printing,

You don’t have to be an engineer or professional designer to use 3D printing – anyone can do it! In this session, we will not only talk about what 3D printing really is (not just plastics!) in a way that everyone can understand, but also share how it is relevant to anyone. Whether you’re looking to recreate a family heirloom, make a spare part for a broken remote control, or just play around with design, 3D printing is truly accessible to anyone to make anything.

Kenny Davis from Hasbro will join Michael Weinberg from Public Knowledge, Natalia Krasnodebska and Duann Scott from Shapeways for the How 3D Printing Will Change Brands’ IP for Good panel.

Submit your 3D prints to Superfanart on SHapeways

By opening up their Intellectual Property to interpretation, major brands can enable their fans to create new derivative works. This user generated content adds value to the brand, gives the designer both social and financial capital, and generates new revenue for the brand. Allowing fans to interpret their favorite brands legitimizes and elevates the culture of fan-art and gives designers new freedom to create sought-after content.  Using the Hasbro/Shapeways SuperFanArt as a case study, we will discuss how 3D printing enables companies to capitalize on their brands’ long tail, and how the design community will benefit.

Bringing it home with some honest insight and debunking the myths, 3D Printing: Myth vs. Truth with TJ McCue of Forbes along with Savannah Peterson of  Shapeways and Andreas Bastian of  Autodesk.

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The technology is decades old, but now there’s an ecosystem in place that moves it beyond the maker edges to mainstream center. This panel will provide an insider’s view on the myth vs. truths of 3D printing and where the industry is heading.

Log in now and vote for all of your favorite Shapeways people to represent the 3D printing community at SXSW


 

More Videos of Shapeways 3D Printed Materials Torture Testing with FIRE

In the previous Shapeways Material Torture Test I set fire to our base materials in the Shapeways Sample pack.  Today I want to share a few more detailed videos showing how each material burns using a larger 3D print.   In this post we will take a look at our SLS Nylon, SLS Metallic Plastic (Alumide) which is a Nylon and Aluminum composite, and Full Color Sandstone which is made of Gypsum powder, bound together with an adhesive then soaked in Cyanoacrylate (super glue).

Take a look first at our most popular material, 3D printed Nylon (WSF).

It does catch fire fairly easily but seems to extinguish itself after a short time based on this geometry.  The Nylon melts into a hot, smelly napalm type form then cools and hardens fairly quickly.  Do not try this at home. Do not expose your Nylon 3D prints to fire.

Next we set fire to the 3D Printed Metallic Plastic (Alumide) which is a Nylon and Aluminum powder based 3D printing process.  It does catch fire very easily and stays alight, dripping a really nasty powdery, smelly hot napalm type goop, literally dripping fire.  You should really keep your Metallic Plastic (Alumide) 3D prints away from exposed fire. Really.

Setting fire to Shapeways 3D Printed Full Color Sandstone (Gypsum Powder, Binder, Ink and Cyanoacrylate) which is a powder based 3D printing process developed by Zcorp.  It does catch fire quite easily and stays alight, burning slowly and steadily.    The smell is not to noxious, smelling a little like burnt paper or cardboard.  After 6 minutes the 3D print was still burning so I blew it out to save the boredom.

All three of these 3D printed materials should definitely be kept away from naked flames.


 

3D Print in Nylon with Selective Laser Sintering – Part 2

This is the second post in a series of three about Selective Laser Sintering Nylon. In this post I’m going to focus on the challenges we have encountered and some solutions. It would be great to get your thoughts in the comment section, since we want to learn and are always working to improve our processes to better suit the needs of our community!

As you may remember from my first post, which covers the process of 3D printing, checking is the first step and it also presents the biggest challenge. We want to ensure that the final product looks like the design on the computer screen and that we can reliably make it. Within checking we see four main categories of problems: Thin walls, thin wires, disappearing details, and fragile parts.

Let’s talk about thin walls and thin wires first. When the walls of your design are extremely thin or the design has very thin wires (see example below) our 3D printers might not be able to print them. If we find a problem during the checking process, we make screen shots to indicate what the problem is. But, in some cases it is difficult to assess whether there is a problem. Let’s say you’ve designed something like the edge of a wing that gets thinner and thinner. The thick edge of the design might certainly be printable, whereas the thin edge might not be. The only way to know is to try it. Since we like to push what is possible, we sometimes print the design to see whether it looks great or not. If we then find out that the product fails during printing or post-production, we still have to tell you, and this will already be a few days after ordering, which is not great for either of us. Together we have lost time, we lost machine capacity and some powder, but hopefully we learned something.

Thin wires example

An example of extremely thin wires 3D printed using Selective Laser Sintering

Another design issue we see is when parts are too fragile. We can’t always predict which product will be strong enough and which product is not strong enough. In this case especially we often take the gamble and 3D print it because we want you to get your product. Sometimes this leads to a suboptimal result or we find out after trying that we simply cannot 3D print the design.

The last challenge in checking is disappearing details. A little car might have an antenna, which looks great on the computer, but the printer can’t make it. A ring might have an engraving (see picture) so small that after printing the engraving is invisible or unreadable. Sometimes these issues are clear and sometimes it’s right on the edge of what’s possible.

Almost unreadable engraving

Almost unreadable engraving made using Selective Laser Sintering

As a result of all these checking challenges we launched a massive internal effort to make sure we optimize the experience for you, our customers. The effort resulted in new features like “Print It Anyway” and visualization tools. We also refined our internal processes. The result is that we have been able to reduce the amount of rejections in the checking process by a factor of three!! Also, we learned that making sure we clearly communicate to you about our concerns or reasons for rejecting your design helps you a lot.

Print orientation of a product is another challenge. Depending on how the product is placed in the machine the result varies. The most obvious solution is to give the designer the freedom to orient the part, but s/he might not know what is best, and it also limits us in optimizing the packing of the print tray. Reducing optimization causes the printing to be more expensive. Since it totally depends on other parts in the same tray, estimating how much more it costs to fix orientation is very hard or perhaps impossible. Otherwise an increased price to set print orientation would be another solution.

The last topic I would like to address is multiple products in a single file. Since we started Shapeways, we always assumed that a design file would hold one (interlocked) part. This is not always the case in reality and we understand why. How else would you easily make puzzles (see picture below), chess sets and earrings available in your shops or organize them neatly? For us on the other hand, having multiple parts in a single file presents a substantial issue. As you may remember from my first post, we need to sort all parts (and sometimes multiple times). If there are multiple parts in a file (sometimes over 100!) that sorting becomes very hard. We first have to figure out how many parts there are in the file, and then individually separate them if they are all different. Since we have standardized our processes on files this is not easy. One solution is putting all parts in a file into a “sinter box”, a small mesh box around the parts. This makes the sorting super easy, BUT since the box is square and large it is suboptimal to fill trays with. It is much better to put the small parts into other parts than have them sit together in an encased volume. The trade-off here is more work in sorting versus higher machine and material costs. Neither option is great.

Design of twisty puzzle

Design of twisty puzzle for 3D printing – “Rhomdo Transformer

Next week in my last post, I will talk about the cost of Selective Laser Sintering. Please let me know what you think by commenting and leave suggestions on what else I should address in next week’s post!

Pete / CEO Shapeways


 

Autodesk Meshmixer Updated to Make 3D Printing Easier (and Funner) Than Ever

The latest version of Meshmixer is now ready to download for free from the Autodesk 123D App site.

MeshMixer started as a super fun and intuitive way to mash-up multiple STL or OBJ files so you could make mutant models to 3D print.  With time and investment by Autodesk, MeshMixer has evolved to become an incredibly powerful tool to create, modify, color and prepare a 3D model to 3D print, and, it is still free.

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With MeshMixer, you import base geometry, whether it be a simple sphere or a more complex 3D mesh such as a 3D scan you can then choose from a series of tools to sculpt the form by pushing and pulling the geometry around like virtual clay, in an organic matter in a similar way to software such as Sculptris and ZBrush. Because of this organic, sculptural surface modeling process, Meshmixer is not really suitable for 3D modeling an engineered product such as an iPhone case, a camera mount or anything the connects to another thing from scratch.  You can however import an STL file of an engineered product, and add some sculptural, organic components. Or mash it up with another 3D mesh. Like so.

meshmixer

Meshmixer is useful way beyond making odd cups with your face scan and a monkeys leg, the post processing tools to boolean, make solid, shell, scale, pattern and paint make it a really valuable tool in your 3D arsenal.

Meshmixer integrates with Shapeways 3D printing service so you can get an instant estimate on the cost of 3D printing your model within Meshmixer, you can then upload your 3D model from within Meshmixer to your Shapeways account or save the 3D file to your computer and upload it to Shapeways to 3D print.

Version 2.5 of MeshMixer is now available to download for both PC and OSX.


 

SIGGRAPH 2014 – a Recap from Vancouver

Last week, the Shapeways team traveled to Vancouver for SIGGRAPH’s 41st Annual Conference. At the Shapeways booth, we featured various 3D printed products from our community, highlighting some of the almost 50 materials now available.

The Shapeways booth before the doors open...

The Shapeways booth before the doors open…

Some products featured on-site…

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We also demonstrated a sneak peek of the new Printability Center, designed to be a shared canvas where customers and 3D Print Engineers can work together to create manufacturable products. Look for more news on this to come!

Sneak peek of the new Printability Center

Sneak peek of the new Printability Center

Throughout the exhibition, we did various giveaways: a daily drawing for $200 in Shapeways 3D print credit; and a raffle for the Dodecahedron VIII, designed by Bulatov Abstract Creations. The beautiful mathematical sculpture is valued at more than $700!

Dodecahedron VIII by Bulatov Abstract Creations

Dodecahedron VIII by Bulatov Abstract Creations

Here are the winners – Congratulations!

  • Dodecahedron VIII: Kevin McAllister, Vancouver, BC

  • $200 Daily Drawings:

    • Tuesday, 8/12: Dunnivan Perry, Mobile, AL

    • Wednesday, 8/13: Paul Lesser, Portland, OR

    • Thursday, 8/14: Andre Lin, Vancouver, BC

Overall, the team had a fantastic time speaking to community members, and introducing new designers to the power of 3D printing with Shapeways. Visit our events page to see more of the products that were featured on-site, and to see where we’ll be next!

- The SIGGRAPH Team

 


 

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.

ArmyWhole_LR

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

Continue reading


 

3D Print in Nylon with Selective Laser Sintering – Part 1

It’s now been almost six years since we started offering White Strong and Flexible (WSF) to you, our community and it’s a good time to share what we have learned.

So, this is the first of a series of three blog-posts that I am writing about Strong and Flexible 3D-printing. Please share your feedback by commenting, we would love to learn your thoughts and ideas!

First and foremost we are extremely happy to see the result of what you have made with WSF and later the color variants (together called Strong and Flexible Plastic). Over the last six years we have printed more than 2.5 million parts in Strong and Flexible. These part range from jewelry to cases for the iPhone, quad-copter accessories (see picture), to the fabulous Animaris Geneticus Parvus (see picture), lighting shades and more.  White Strong and Flexible Plastic and the colors have been and are still by far the most popular material on Shapeways.

Animaris Geneticus Parvus

3D print of Animaris Geneticus Parvus or Strandbeest

DJI Phantom accessories

3D printed DJI Phantom accessories

Let me share what it means to make something in Strong and Flexible Plastic. The current system on Shapeways is based on files. After you buy 1 or more copies of a product represented in a file, the work for us starts.

First, for new products, we have to check whether the products in the file are printable. Are the printers capable of producing the details? Are the products strong enough? Are the walls thick enough? Checking each new file is done by software and by hand to make sure you get what you want. If we believe we cannot print something, our team makes a clear report about the issues, including screenshots. As you can imagine this takes quite a bit of time. The checking and rejection process has become quite a challenge, more about this in the post next week!

After checking we plan the files into the tray of the machine. Depending on the size of the machine, each tray can hold hundreds and sometimes thousands of products. If the files hold multiple parts, here’s where it becomes hard. We sometimes need to increase separation of the parts (to prevent them to melt or fuse together) or reorient or simply separate them to optimize maximum tray fill. As we put more parts in a single tray, it increases the efficiency of the print run and in turn enables us to offer reasonable prices.

Now that we have planned the tray the file containing all parts for the print, called a slice file, is sent to one of our big SLS printers (picture below shows one of our massive EOS P7s). One printing run typically takes 24 hours, but our big P7 machines can print for up to 3 days! When the printing is done we quickly remove the full tray to let it cool. Cooling takes as much time as printing.

EOS P7 SLS printer in Shapeways factory at LIC

EOS P7 in our factory at LIC

After the tray is cooled down to room temperature, we retrieve the parts from the tray, which is now filled with nylon powder and parts. Digging the parts out of the powder one by one is actually a super fun process. You never know what you are going to find! The hardest to find are the very small parts, since distinguishing them from little plastic lumps is challenging. At one time someone tried to print parts as small as 1x1x1 mm!!

Now we need to remove the excess powder from each part, which is done with compressed air. Then we sort all parts. Some will be ready to go to our packing stations and be shipped, while others need post production. We either polish (see pic below of our polisher), or polish and dye the parts. After each step we need to sort again, since polishing and dying puts all parts together in batches again. So we spend a lot of time sorting parts and luckily we have gotten quite good at it ensuring everyone of you, our customers, get the right parts with the right finish. Files holding multiple parts are hard to sort. Our systems use the file as the unit and if it contains multiple parts its hard to recognize and to make sure we have all parts. Some files hold over 100 parts and even counting them takes a lot of time!

Shapeways Polisher in LIC

One of our big polishers at our LIC factory

We can typically do all the above steps in less than four days, which is quite miraculous given the amount of time the printing itself takes. Once all of these steps are complete, the products are ready to ship and are collected in the distribution wall of bins (see picture below). When the order is completed, our distribution team packs them up and sends them to you our customers to enjoy.

Shapeways Distribution Area wall of bins

Our distribution area with the bins holding parts ready to ship

Next week I’ll spend time diving a bit deeper in the specific challenges we face and how they influence the cost of 3D printing in nylon using Selective Laser Sintering.

Please feel free to ask questions in the comments below, or make suggestions for the deeper dive next week!

all the best,
Pete / CEO Shapeways


 

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.

SONY DSC

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)


 

The 3D Printshow Global Awards – Vote for Shapeways

The 3D Printshow Global Awards acknowledge inspirational work that has helped develop and elevate the art of additive manufacture, as well as those businesses that have risen to the challenges of the marketplace, flourishing in what is a highly competitive industry.

This year, we at Shapeways are thrilled to be nominated for two categories for the 3D Printshow Global Awards: Brand of the Year and Best Online/App Based Service.

London 3DPrintshow

 

To vote, all you need is your name and your email – just click on the awards:

SHAPEWAYS

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Thank you for all your support and stay tuned for our London Meetup and events in September!

For those of you who will be in London, we look forward to seeing you at the party on Thursday 4th September, you can get tickets here.

 


 

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.  Find out more details on the Shapeways SuperFanArt page.

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.
Find out more details on the SuperFanArt page on Shapeways.

 

Jewelry and Science: Using 3D printed jewelry to spread science awareness

by Idoya Lahortiga and Luk Cox of somersault18:24 and Shapeways Crew members

3D printing is a disruptive technology, it allows you to spread awareness about almost anything, including science. We’ll show you how we do it in this field, because that is our area of expertise, but it holds true for every other industry you’re in.

Awareness starts at knowing something exists and ranges all the way up to full comprehension. It is a funnel. The more people will be aware, the more will end up understanding the subject matter deeply.

Astrocyte pendant by somersault18:24

Astrocyte pendant by somersault18:24

Let’s take the internet as an example. It is something we’re all aware of, otherwise we couldn’t even read this blog post, but a few of us truly understand the fine details of this technology, how it really works. This is the awareness funnel at work.

Nevertheless we all understand the importance of the internet, no matter where you are in the funnel. This underlines the necessity to spread awareness about things you care about. We can only value things if we are aware about them.

You can make people aware of things by integrating it in their daily lives. If the technology of the internet would have stayed in the military environment, where it was invented, not many of us would have been using the internet today, we simple wouldn’t be aware of it.

Science is something we’re all aware of, but the funnel narrows very fast. Everybody knows it exists, but for most people it stops there. It doesn’t penetrate into our daily lives. The slope is too steep.

As a consequence science has an image problem. Science is often seen as boring, too difficult, for a selected few, far away from our own world. But the truth is that is fascinating, beautiful and closer to our hearts than we might realize. Moreover if we could adopt a scientific mindset and think following the scientific method of experimenting and testing, we could thrive in many other aspects of our life.

Phylogenetic Tree pendant by somersault18:24

Phylogenetic Tree pendant by somersault18:24

At somersault18:24 we care very much about this. We are scientists for as long as we can remember and want to give science the attention it deserves. For obvious reasons we adopt to the scientific method and go step by step. A key step in this process was the implementation of 3D printing of science-inspired jewelry.

We decided to start spreading awareness via scientist like ourselves. But instead of motivating them to talk about their passion and spread the word, we turned things around. What if we could motivate laymen to engage with scientists and show interest in the first place, wouldn’t that work much better?

But how? That is when 3D printing of science-inspired jewelry comes into play. Everybody wears jewelry, even scientists. We wear it to look nice and beautiful, we wear it for ourselves to be different and unique. We wear it to get noticed. BANG! or “Eureka!” as you wish. What if we could give dedicated scientists jewelry and accessories symbolizing their passion? Their friends will notice it and possibly comment on it or ask what it is. Now the scientist has the perfect entry to engage more people into this fascinating world.

But we had a problem, one that was not so easy to overcome. How could we make the jewelry with no expertise nor skills in jewelry manufacturing whatsoever? 3D printing was the solution. It is rather simple for everyone to build computer generated designs these days. Personally we use Blender, a free open source 3D modeling package. It takes a bit of practice to get the hold of it, but certainly worth the effort.

Neuron pendant by somersault18:24

Neuron pendant by somersault18:24

The possibilities are endless. There is so many beauty in science that is often unexplored. Take for example this neuron pendant. We have billions of neurons in our own body, but if you’re not a scientist familiar with the subject, you were not able to appreciate its beauty… until now.

This type of jewelry certainly also has its place in the fundraising to combat diseases. We believe that it is a very efficient method to spread awareness about these topics too.

So, if you have a passion, a cause or you are on a mission to spread awareness. Think about the fascinating possibilities of 3D printing next time.

How did you create your “Eureka!” moment?


 

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.

Map_of_Australia_and_New_Zealand

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.