Category Archives: 3D Printing

Celebrate 3D Printing Day With Us and Win $250!

For 3D printing fans, December 3 is basically Christmas, Hanukkah, and Thanksgiving combined. It’s a day to celebrate, welcome new makers — and show everyone how versatile, fun, and inspiring 3D printing can be. Today only, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook and reply to our #3DPrintingDay posts with what YOU want to 3D print, and include the hashtags #3DPrintingDay and #contest. You’ll be automatically entered to win one of three prizes of $250 in Shapeways credits. Every purchase you make on the site will also enter you to win. Fine print is after the jump.

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Shapeways Sweepstakes Rules

  1. Eligibility. This contest is operated by Shapeways.  It is open to Shapeways users in the United States over 13 years of age at the time of entry who live in a jurisdiction that does not prohibit this contest.  Employees, officers, and directors of Shapeways and their immediate family are not eligible to enter.  Individuals may enter more than one entry into the competition but may not do so by way of automated means.  By entering this contest, you agree to be bound by these Rules.

 

  1. Prize. Each of the three winning entrants will receive $250 in Shapeways printing credits.

 

  1. Contest period. This contest is open from Dec. 3, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. US Eastern Time to Dec. 3, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. US Eastern Time.  All entries must be received by Dec. 3, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. US Eastern Time.

 

  1. How to Enter.  There are two ways to enter the contest.  First, you can enter the contest via Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram by replying to contest announcements tagged #3DPrintingDay with a description of what you want to 3D print and following Shapeways on the entry platform by the end of the contest period.  All public responses must include the hashtags “#contest” and “#3DPrintingDay” in order to be valid and eligible to win.  Second, you can enter the contest by completing any purchase on Shapeways during the contest period.  All purchases on Shapeways are eligible for contest entry.  Eligible participants can enter the contest multiple times.

 

  1. Winner Selection.  Shapeways will select the winner from the pool of applicants on Dec. 6, 2016.  There will be three total winners.  Shapeways will be prepared to award any of the three prizes to a runner-up in the event the winner cannot be contacted in a reasonable amount of time.  Shapeways will determine the winner by randomly drawing an applicant from the entire pool of applicants.

 

  1. Winner notification. The winners will be notified via private message to their social media account if they entered by way of that account, and by way of the email address associated with their Shapeways account if they entered by way of a purchase on Shapeways.  Upon contact, Shapeways may need to obtain confirmation of the winners’ eligibility.  If Shapeways cannot contact a winner in a reasonable amount of time, a runner-up will receive the prize originally designated for that winner.  If a runner-up cannot be contacted, Shapeways will select a third place finisher to receive the prize.

 

  1. Taxes.  The winner will be solely responsible for paying all federal, state, and local taxes that may be due on winnings and, as a condition of receiving the prize, Shapeways may require the winner complete tax documentation.

 

  1. Liability and Jurisdiction.  All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply; void where prohibited.  All disputes arising out of or connected with this Contest will be resolved exclusively by a court located in Manhattan, New York, USA.  Decisions by Shapeways regarding the interpretation of these rules are final.  By participating in this contest, you agree to release Shapeways and its agents from any and all liability, claims, or actions of any kind of injuries, damages, or losses to persons and property which may be sustained in connection with the receipt, ownership, possession, use, or misuse of any prize.  Shapeways reserves the right to amend these official rules and to permanently disqualify from this contest any person it believes has intentionally violated these official rules. Shapeways reserves the right to suspend or cancel this Contest in the event of hacking, security breach, or other tampering.  Any questions regarding this contest should be directed to seth@shapeways.com.

 

  1. Other Restrictions. Users discovered creating multiple Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Shapeways accounts in order to enter this contest will be disqualified from entry.

 

  1. Additional Considerations.  Sponsors are not responsible for (i) any typographical or other error in any communication relating to the Contest; (ii) lost, illegible, late, misdirected, or incomplete, entries or emails; (iii) interrupted or unavailable satellite, network, server, Internet Service Provider (ISP), websites, telephone, cable or other connections; (iv) any technical failure or jumbled, garbled, corrupted, scrambled, failed, delayed, or misdirected transmissions; (v) hardware, software or network malfunctions; (vi) other errors of any kind whether human, mechanical, or electronic; (vi) any damage to Participant’s or any other person’s computer resulting from participation of the Contest or downloading or uploading any materials.

 

Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to (a) abbreviate, modify, suspend, cancel or terminate the Contest, without notice or other obligation, in the event that Sponsor is prevented from continuing with the Contest or the integrity or feasibility of the Contest is undermined in any respect, including due to fire, flood, epidemic, earthquake, labor dispute, tampering or other unlawful act, or if, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, the Contest is not capable of running as planned by reason of infection by computer virus, worms, bugs, tampering, hacking, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures or any other causes which, in sole opinion of the Sponsor, corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this Contest; (b) determine winners from entries received prior to action taken, or as otherwise deemed fair and equitable by Sponsor; and/or (c) disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry or judging or process or operation of the Contest.

 

This contest is not sponsored, endorsed, or administered by Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.  By entering this contest you agree to release Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook of all liability related to the contest.

Celebrate Giving Tuesday With 5 Gifts That Give Back

Giving Tuesday is here! It’s our annual chance to celebrate the generous spirit of the holidays by giving to our favorite charities. On Shapeways, there are plenty of ways to turn holiday gifting into an opportunity to give back, with many designers passing on their profits to good causes. From breast cancer research to marine conservation, the Shapeways community cares deeply — and their creations make perfect holiday gifts for your friends and family. Read on for five ways to give back this Giving Tuesday.

1. Give a bauble that makes a big impact

The Hate Project: BEAD by The Hate Project

The Hate Project: BEAD by The Hate Project

The HATE project turns negatives into positives, crowdfunding important organizations like Make a Wish and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Your purchase, along with those of thousands others, supports these and other worthy causes. Learn more about the HATE project here.

2. Pin on a rose gold ribbon for breast cancer research

Ribbon Pin - Design by Debbie Claxton by Shapeways Ribbons

Ribbon Pin – Design by Debbie Claxton by Shapeways Ribbons

For a gorgeous, permanent way to show your support for victims of breast cancer, opt for this rose gold pin. Designed by Debbie Claxton, part of the proceeds from each pin purchase are donated to Pink Ribbon.

3. Show a wave of support for marine conservation with an ocean-inspired ring

3 Dolphins Dancing Ring by Joy Complex!

3 Dolphins Dancing Ring by Joy Complex!

The WDC, or Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society helps protect whales and dolphins aound the world. This beautiful aquatic-inspired ring will show your support while funding the WDC’s valuable conservation efforts.

4. Fight climate change and show your love for the planet with this poignant pendant

Climate Change Pendant by Ontogenie

Climate Change Pendant by Ontogenie

To draw attention to climate change, designer Ontogenie created this melting-earth pendant. Aside from showing your love for the planet, 10% of the profits will benefit the Environmental Defense Fund.

5. Help make racing safer with this racing track replica

Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli by 3D Racetracks

Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli by 3D Racetracks

Based on the Misano Adriático race circuit near Rimini, Italy, the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli track replica commemorates Simoncelli, who died while racing in 2011. All profits benefit  The Roadracing World Action Fund, helping to prevent such racing tragedies.

As you shop for everyone on your list this year, don’t forget to make this Giving Tuesday count with gifts that give back. Let us know in the comments what charities you’re supporting this year.

We 3D Scanned a Famous Brooklyn Pig — And It Was Oinkredible

The team took a short break from holiday gifting magic this week to take a field trip to Crest Hardware in Williamsburg — and visit their resident Garden Keeper, Franklin the potbellied pig, and his dad Joe. The mission of the trip was to 3D scan Franklin while documenting the experience on Facebook Live.

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Franklin’s a beloved local celebrity. He’s often mobbed by fans, and his 2.4k Instagram followers are increasing their ranks every day.

The team had an amazing time hanging out with Franklin and his dad while we scanned both of them at once. Keeping Franklin still was surprisingly easy while he had some pig food to eat, but he also liked to wag his little tail and lift his head to check out what we were doing.

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Despite being famous, Franklin was great to work with. Some of the challenges we encountered were the typical obstacles involved in working outside (meh lighting and spotty wi-fi) and trying to capture a scan of the leash between Joe and Franklin. We captured a few scans of the two of them standing near each other, but it was tricky capturing the two of them both in still poses. All things considered, we managed to snag some decent scans and are hoping to mesh a few scans together.

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Sad you missed it? No worries! You can still catch the adventure (and questionable pig puns) here! What else would you like to see us attempt to 3D scan? Let us know in the comments!

New Dieselpunk Miniature Robots Kickstarter

This week, we’re going full geek to bring you the best 3D printed holiday gifts for the gamers, roleplayers, puzzle masters, fantasy builders, and meme makers on your list. Some of the best geeky gifts are those that let giftees paint, customize, and play. Enter Noah Li’s miniatures. To help expand the options he can offer into full kits, he’s set up a Kickstarter. Read on to learn more.

A few months ago, we featured an awesome design by Noah Li, the miniature Russian Walker tank.

Since he shared that design with us, he’s been hard at working expanding the tank’s options into a series of interchangeable, customizable kits of parts for these robotic war machines. To finish the project, he’s raising money via a Kickstarter, which you can support here.

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Noah set out to create a series of customizable miniature tanks inspired by a science fiction, dieselpunk setting. Representing designs in an alternative World War II reality, each tank is based on a different country. The parts are totally interchangeable, allowing for endless creative combinations.

Below are some process photos documenting Noah’s post-processing and painting of his French- and Russian-themed tanks.

First, the raw Strong and Flexible Plastic is cleaned of any remaining powder:

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Then it gets a base coat of paint:

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Finally, metallic paint is applied to show wear, and brown tones are rubbed on to show dirt, giving the impression of a well-used machine:

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The final parts are interchangeable and can be assembled and mixed together:

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Examples of how the tanks can be assembled:

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And reassembled:

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The obligatory banana to show scale:

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For more check out Noah Li’s shop and Kickstarter campaign here. Looking for more paint-it-yourself pieces to satisfy the miniatures lovers on your list this holiday season? Check out our Paint it Collection here.

5 Ways to Geek Out on Holiday Gifting

Gamemasters. Puzzle builders. Meme queens. Fantasy fans. We all love to geek out on the stuff that obsesses us, but some of us take it to the next level. With Geek Out week in our Holiday Gift Guide, we’re celebrating those of us who play in whole new worlds, unlock puzzling mysteries, and win the internet. Read on for five ways to satisfy the unique obsessions your loved ones geek out on.

1. Build out your favorite Gamemaster’s party with 4 new heroes

A painted Fantasy RPG Heroes Miniatures Set by Small Ox Miniatures

A painted Fantasy RPG Heroes Miniatures Set by Small Ox Miniatures

2. Push all the right Video Gamer buttons with the D-pad-inspired Ring of the Gamer

Ring of the Gamer by FORMA Laboratory

Ring of the Gamer by FORMA Laboratory

3. Give them Puzzle Pieces they didn’t know they were missing with this Centrifugal Puzzle Box

Present - Centrifugal Puzzle Box by Maundy

Present – Centrifugal Puzzle Box by Maundy

4. Transport them to a world of Fire & Ice with this Embraced Snakes Pendant

Embraced Snakes Pendant by Pookas

Embraced Snakes Pendant by Pookas

5. Give them the internet’s best, IRL, with a #winning MemeSuccess Kid

Success Kid by Ryan Kittleson's Sculpture

Success Kid by Ryan Kittleson’s Sculpture

Find dozens more gift ideas to Geek Out on this holiday season here. Then, check out our full Holiday Gift Guide for memorable gifts for everyone on your list. And, don’t forget to make your own wish list, filled with whatever it is you geek out about.

When Skulls Meet Holiday Gifting

Skull motifs have long been used as a way to express a unique identity, whether for goths, punks, or bohemian hipsters. So, it’s only fitting that in a week that’s all about self-expression, we’re taking a closer look at a designer who transforms CT-scanned skulls into personal accessories.

Great Horned Owl Pendant by Skeletal Skulpture and Mathematikal Artifakts

Great Horned Owl Pendant by Scott Camazine

Scott Camazine, a biologist with a passion for “the incomparable designs found in nature,” tapped into 3D printing to express his artistic side. Now, he turns CT-scanned skulls and shapes derived from algorithms into beautiful objects and jewelry, all available in his Skeletal Skulpture and Mathematikal Artifakts Shapeways shop.

Jacaré Alligator Skull by Scott Camazine

Jacaré Alligator Skull by Scott Camazine

Whether human or animal in origin, Scott’s anatomically correct skeletal jewelry makes for perfectly offbeat holiday gifts for those unafraid to make a style statement. With the rise of Southwestern-tinged style over the last several years, they’re also on-trend for anyone who might be inclined to use bleached skulls as wall décor. Plus, when 3D printed in gorgeous metals, they’re both elegant and ethical.

For more gifting inspiration for all the unique tastes and personalities on your list, check out our Holiday Gift Guide and this week’s Express Yourself collections.

How Does a Microbiologist Turn Into a Jeweler?

Today’s guest blog comes from Gabriel Guzman of 3D to the 3e. Gabriel, a professor of microbiology and a jewelry designer, has found a perfect way to combine his passion for science with a love of design. He lets us in on how his Crochet Pendant went from concept to reality — and helped him go from scientist to designer.

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Designer Gabriel Guzman’s Crochet Pendant and Earrings

To me, a biochemist and a microbiologist, the design process for 3D printing has a lot in common with designing an experiment in the lab. First there is a general idea that generates a possible solution — a hypothesis. Then there is the use of design tools to shape that idea into something printable. And, of course, continuous prototyping to explore different versions of the design. Finally, one of the iterations will have the aesthetics, balance, and curiosity, if you will, that might make somebody ask, “How did you do that?”

When I first began to design the Crochet Pendant, I did have a pendant in mind, but the final design didn’t emerge until after I played with a number of different iterations. The name, however, came after looking at the final design — and a crochet piece that I saw on a table. My mother used to have a lot of doilies and other table covers made with crochet.

In terms of the technical design process, I was getting my hands wet with an experimental app from Autodesk called Project Shapeshifter, which allowed for the creation of generative designs. Generative design is a method in which the final model is generated by a computer program following a set of rules or an algorithm. I started with a general shape that I had in mind, but I didn’t know what I would end up with in terms of the final object. So, I tested different parameters in Shapeshifter, until one of the many iterations had everything I wanted to see in the pendant.

I began with the idea of a circular object, with details based on the repetitive pattern of a honeycomb. Shapeshifter only generated the file to be printed, but a pendant needs a loop, a bail, or something to pass a chain through. I chose Tinkercad for that purpose because the software was free and easy to use. I designed a very simple loop, which wasn’t circular but followed the shape of the pattern, and the end result was a piece that has generated a lot of comments, but more important, a piece that I was satisfied with. Perhaps the most important lesson for me is that none of my finished designs are exactly as I first imagine them, and they really don’t have to. Every finished design is a result of tweaking, and rethinking possibilities.

The reaction from people, especially if they don’t know anything about 3D printing, is of amazement that a machine can make jewelry. The metal version of the pendant didn’t happen until about three months after I printed the first version at home in a mint-colored plastic. My wife wore the pendant during that year’s commencement ceremony and my colleagues kept asking her about the piece, and then kept asking me about how it was made. I never imagined that a piece made in plastic could draw that much attention!

For those with experience designing jewelry the old-fashioned way (by sculpting wax), they recognize what 3D printing technology can do for their own creativity. It helps them go beyond the traditional wax sculpting into digital sculpting. But, for the novice, this technology is also a way to democratize art. Perhaps the most common question I get is, “How does a microbiologist turn into a jeweler?” If people consider me a jeweler, I take that as a big compliment! After all, I didn’t go to art school, although I do have some background in graphic design, but I never fancied myself a jeweler until I began experimenting with 3D printing.

Scanning Stories: 3D Selfies Are All Around You… and They’re Amazing

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In our new Scanning Stories series, Shapeways’ 3D Scan Engineers Brigitte and Astrid will share tips and tricks to help you make the most of 3D scanning.

Selfies are as old as photography itself. But lately, miniature clone-like 3D printed figurines — better known as 3D Selfies — are taking the world by storm. People are always amazed to see themselves or their loved ones appear in miniature for the first time. But, actually making one of these figurines can be tricky, so we (Brigitte and Astrid, Shapeways 3D Scan Engineers) are here to show you around the world of 3D scanning and 3D Selfies, and share our knowledge about this new industry.

First, let’s get back to basics. Think about where you want to start. Would you like to be 3D scanned or would you like to start your own 3D scanning business?

GET SCANNED!

If you want to be 3D scanned, you can visit one of our certified 3D scanning retail partners, all listed at this link. Get it touch with one of them and make an appointment.

Make sure to wear a colorful, fun outfit that you’ll feel great immortalizing yourself in. You can also bring an object that represents your hobby. This enables a 3D Selfie to capture your personality, making it truly a miniature you.

Once the file is created, your scan will be sent to Shapeways, and you’ll get an email prompting you to choose a material, then purchase your own miniature 3D Selfie.

GET SCANNING!

As members of the scanning team, we will focus more on the scanning itself in the Scanning Stories series. To help you get comfortable with 3D scanning, we’ll be posting blogs in the coming months to provide inspiration for your own scanning business.

Over the course of scanning hundreds of people, we came across a few recurring hurdles. Here are some of the things we will go over in this series:

  • The best software to use for scanning and/or editing

  • Do I buy expensive software, or use freeware?

  • How to create the highest-quality selfies and edit colors, shapes, etc.

  • How to share selfies with my customers

  • Materials

  • Scanning events we participate in

  • The future of 3D scanning

  • And lots more!

When you want to start your own 3D scanning business, it only takes a few small investments. Buy a handheld 3D scanner and software, research the market, and go!

Tips for using handheld scanners:

At the moment, we use the occipital handheld scanner. This device is very easy to set up and quite user-friendly. We also use software (Skanect) that works well with the occipital sensor. It has an upload link to the Shapeways site, so your scan can immediately go from scan to product. Both the software and the scanner are accessibly priced.

Visit this link for more information about the handheld scanners we use.

We’ve made a workflow for you with all the settings and best practices while scanning with the occipital sensor and the skanect software. You can find this workflow here.

If you’d like a more guided approach, here is a series of video tutorials you can follow:

Skanect Tutorials

In our next installment, we’ll talk more about how to improve your scans after scanning. And if you have a subject in mind that we should address in a future Scanning Stories post, please get in touch.

In the meantime, enjoy the amazing world of 3D Selfies!

Tips for Designing in Porcelain

Porcelain is an ancient technology that has been transformed by modern machinery and 3D printing. Designs once impossible to create by hand are now possible using 3D printers. At Shapeways, we launched our very own porcelain process in 2014 that uses your 3D design file to print a mold and cast using our own porcelain material.

As expected with all new technologies, there are limitations. To understand how to optimally design for 3D printed porcelain, it is important to understand the production process as well as the caveats of the material. Read on to learn about each stage of production and find tips on how to design in porcelain to make your finished objects just right.

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How is 3D printed porcelain created?

1.  3D printing engineers check your design

Once you place your order, your model file is sent over to our 3D printing engineers who specialize in porcelain. They inspect the model to ensure that the mold of the design can be printed and continue through the production process.

2.  The mold is generated and printed

We have developed software that generates a mold of your 3D file. You can imagine the mold as a shell or the negative space of your design. We will also generate a small funnel that will be used to cast your product.

3.  The mold is cut and cleaned

Once the model is taken out of the printer, it must be cleaned of all residual support material. In order to completely clear out all of the material, the mold must be cut to reach the interior. Imagine the mold as the “skin” of your model or the negative space. The mold and overall design must be able to hold together in order to eventually cast in porcelain.

4.  The mold is reassembled

After the mold has been cleaned out, it must be glued back together in order to cast. This creates a seam where the model has been cut and glued. However, this will later be sanded and repaired by hand.

The exterior funnel will be glued to the mold for the next step in the process, casting.

5.  Porcelain is cast in the mold

The porcelain material is poured into the mold through the exterior funnel. The porcelain material within the mold will settle and harden.

6.  The mold is removed

Once the porcelain is fully hardened, the mold will be removed and the porcelain model will remain.

7.  Model goes into first firing

Immediately after the mold has been removed, the design goes into the kiln for its first firing. This hardens the design so that the model may be repaired and glazed.

8.  Model is repaired and hand finished

With the first firing complete, the model is strong enough to repair. There are a few types of repairs that may be performed. First, the porcelain team uses a variety of tools to carefully remove the seam lines left by the mold. Second, if the porcelain has not reached all ends of the mold or has generated any air pockets, these minor imperfections will be patched and repaired by hand.

9.  Model goes into second firing

If your model needed to be patched, the product will go in for a second firing. This cycle of repairs and firings can happen a few times in order to get your design just right.

10.  Product is glazed

Your design will be hand dipped in a liquid glaze. Any excess glaze on the base of the design will be wiped away in order to avoid the glaze from sticking to the kiln.

11.  Glaze firing

Once the base has been wiped clean, the model enters the kiln for the glaze firing. This will solidify the food-safe coating of glaze on the design. In some cases, the model may need to be re-glazed and fired due to unpredictable surface issues, such as small pin holes or patches that were not glazed fully. A re-glaze may cause pooling of glaze on the model.

12.  Finished model

The model is then packaged carefully and sent to the distribution center to be shipped off to you.

What do you need to consider before designing in porcelain?

There are two aspects of porcelain to consider before you begin to design your product. First, the glaze that will coat your design. Second, the properties of the production process.

GLAZE

During the glazing process, your model is dipped in the thick glaze liquid. Excess glaze drips off and the base is cleaned so that it may rest on the kiln shelf without fusing to the bottom. While the model is in the kiln the glaze becomes molten. After cooling, the result is a stronger, hardened layer of colored food-safe glass.

FIT AND HOLE CLEARANCE

Our glazes run a thickness of 1 to 2 mm. This means that if precise fit and unobstructed holes are important to your model, ensure you have left at least 2 millimeters of clearance on EVERY wall.

In the image below you can see two differently sized holes. The hole on the left is larger than 5 mm wide. This will allow the glaze to coat the inside without closing the hole. The hole on the right displays a 4 mm hole, the glaze will completely obstruct this hole eliminating the ability for clearance.

UNOBSTRUCTED HOLE                          OBSTRUCTED HOLE

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The same logic applies for lids that fit onto containers. The lid should account for the glaze that will be applied as well as the container itself. Meaning, your design should have at least 4 mm of space between the lid and the container.

DESIGN DETAILS

Details of a design can get lost under a layer of glaze. It is necessary to consider the depth, height, and width of the detail of before submitting your design. On our porcelain material page, we recommend a minimum of 1 mm height and width of detail. If you are aiming for sharp details, consider making them greater than this minimum.

We have published a previous post depicting examples of details after being glazed in each of our color options. As mentioned, each color has a slight variation of thickness. For the clearest text or imagery, please ensure you accommodate for the glaze.

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SUPPORTIVE STRUCTURES

Adding feet to your standing designs are useful for avoiding fully unglazed bases. While designing these decorative and useful features, there are couple aspects to keep in mind:

  • The height of the feet should be greater than the thickness of the glaze. Otherwise, the base will be required to go unglazed.

  • Long spindly feet can break during casting. Please ensure that the height and thickness of the feet are comparable or that the thickness can allow for the feet to fully cast

ROUND vs. SHARP EDGES

Sharp edges and rounded edges will affect how the glaze rests on the model after firing. In the images below, you can see how a sharp edge will split the glaze whereas a rounded edge will allow the glaze to roll over the edge. One is not better than the other; they are merely aesthetically different.

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ORIENTATION

All models must be able to stand on their own, as they will be fired with other models in a single kiln. At this time stilts and supports are not included in the production process. This means that the model must have a base or feet to rest on. With designer-selected orientation, you have the power to determine which side of the model goes unglazed and rests on the kiln during the firing process.

During the upload process, a render is provided to select the top and bottom of your design. Arrows may be selected to rotate the design in the proper orientation. Top and bottom indicators are located on the render image. NOTE: The orientation in the render will be the orientation in production.

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PRODUCTION PROPERTIES:

BOUNDING BOX

The bounding box for porcelain states the limits of how large or small your design can be. These limits are important to consider before taking the time to completely design your item.

Minimum: 40 × 40 × 10 mm

Maximum: 125 × 125 × 200 mm

WALL AND WIRE THICKNESS

In order for a model to cast completely and reach the very edges of the design, walls and wires must be thick enough for the comparable length.

The smaller the model or shorter the wire, the thinner it may be. This is demonstrated in the image below. If the model is 2 mm thin and very short, it is easier for the porcelain to make it to the end of the mold. Otherwise, if the design is long and thin, it is nearly impossible for the porcelain to fill the mold completely.

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With extremely thin wires, holes, and walls, cleaning out the mold by hand can cause breaks with insufficient thickness. So it is especially important to consider making these features larger than 3 mm for the best result. This does not increase pricing greatly as porcelain is priced by surface area. Adding thickness does not increase price as it does with other materials.

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Elevate your porcelain ideas by using these tips and techniques. Let those details shine through and make sure your design glides through the production process. Once you’ve printed your design, you can begin selling on the Shapeways marketplace!

Symbols + Science = Jewelry Styles for All

Looking to revamp your jewelry collection?  Symbols are one way to make a statement without going overboard.  They also lend as great conversation pieces for history buffs, trendsetters, and Biochem masters alike.  Our community across the globe has designing symbols down to an art and we’re showing you the creations you don’t want to miss. 

As the masterminds behind Shapeways shop somersault1824, Belgium designers Idoya and Luk make science look sleek. Their minimalist necklaces are perfect for channeling your inner lab geek and make for surprising, sweet gifts.

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Phi pendant from somersault1824

There is more than meets the eye with Phi! This letter is the basis for the Golden Ratio, a principle frequently found math and science which can be dated back to sacred architecture and art.  Another important fact to know: Products from somersault1824  support science education. For every pendant sold, the designers invest $5 of the profit in educational resources for scientists, students and teachers with the aim to make these resources available to everyone. Read more about the cause here.

astrocyte pendant

Neuron pendant from somersault1824

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DNA pendant from somersault1824

If you like this double helix, you may want to experiment with spirals from other Shapeways shops.  Just don’t get it twisted!  Instead, wear the Twisted Pendant by Jaacov Molcho, one of our featured designers in Sparks Across the Globe.

We also love the pendants Antonios Bliss of Athens, Greece created. His designs reflect a modern adaptation of symbols rooted in native New Mexico.

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Native America Zia Sun Symbol Jewelry Pendant from Symbolica.

Any idea what the four parts of this pendant might represent?  Here’s a hint: up to twenty different meanings can be found in total. Read more about the multifaceted design here and discover other fascinating symbols in Symbolica.

Be sure to check out other jewelry designers on Shapeways to find the symbol that suits you and explore all the beautiful options for everyday wear.

Sparks Across the Globe

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“Creating things local for a global village is fascinating.”

- FWPompe, Amsterdam, Netherlands

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This August we leave the shores of America to celebrate creativity around the globe. Here at Shapeways, you have personal access to thousands of local artists from every corner of the world who fuel creativity on our platform through sharing their unique experiences and products.

Our inventors, designers, artists, mathematicians, and engineers share their passions for technology and new materials as they bring their “abstract minds” (as one community member said) to the physical world to make their friends smile. We are proud of our commitment to providing you with a comprehensive platform offering that not only enables making and distribution of products globally, but also gives our community permission to become their own global brands.

The “sparks” of inspiration shared this month will continue to show the immense passion and breadth of creativity made tangible by digital manufacturing as we share stories, puzzles, jewelry, and miniatures like you have never seen before.  We are equally enthused by the way our global community has elevated Shapeways to be a truly universal platform by inviting others to join their causes. Kjeld Pedersen Junior from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil creates playful products with purpose: “I’m inspired to create cute lively animals which are endangered species from the Amazon jungle so that the new generation and ours know about them and therefore value them, so they remain roaming the jungle for centuries to come!”

Kjeld Pedersen

Globally accessible creation allows us to open our minds, take a walk in someone else’s shoes, and come home (metaphorically or physically) even more inspired than we were before. There has never been a better time to adventure beyond your usual stomping grounds and set your sights on Sweden, Brazil, India, Australia and beyond.

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Find a local designer in a country you have always dreamed of visiting or want to return to someday in our Sparks Across the Globe map.  Follow your favorites on Shapeways so you will always know when they have added more creations or start making wish lists for the holidays. Personal and thoughtful gifts from local artists and inventors are meaningful in two ways – to the gift recipient and to the artist you personally supported.

We hope you enjoy the global journey this month! Happy Making!

Mastering 3D printing : Why Orientation of Parts Matters

Shapeways is committed to making this process easy, but we also want to make sure you get you have control over quality. Last week we launched a new feature to help with this: the ability to set 3D printing orientation for SLS materials.

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orientation fail, this stepping could be avoided by laying the phone case flat in the printer

But why does this matter? How the file is built up in the printer can affect the dimensional accuracy and legibility of details of any given part. Parts printed in the Z axis, or “up” dimension tend to be slightly less accurate in the X and Y. That said, parts angled sideways may show less stepping depending on the geometry. Check out the video below to learn more.

 

Is 3D Printing the Next Industrial Revolution?

“Is 3D printing the next industrial revolution, or just hype?”

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We get asked this question a lot. The answer, as Peter Weijmarshausen, Shapeways Founder and CEO, has been sharing this past month in talks at SxSW and Inside 3D Printing NYC, and in interviews with Xconomy and 3DPrint.com, is a resounding yes—digital manufacturing will be the third industrial revolution and will change the who, what, where and when of how goods are made.

Until now, several factors have been holding this manufacturing revolution in check: 3D printing needs to be less expensive, have faster turnaround, offer more materials, produce better quality, and print in full color. The very things we hear regularly from you! 3D printing technology has not innovated fast enough to keep up with demand and not at the rate we’ve grown to expect from software. The same 3D printing machines Shapeways started printing on eight years ago still run today, and run as well as new machines on the market.

But that’s about to change.

“The fact [that] we see huge corporations with huge budgets and resources starting to take industrial 3D printing very seriously means that the qualities and capabilities of those machines will start to rapidly evolve, which is exactly what the industry needs,” Pete told Xconomy.

“We also see a lot of money pouring into new startups, which is something I also asked the investment community to do, into companies like Carbon3D, Desktop Metal, and Formlabs. We see big companies and small companies starting to tackle the technology challenges the industry faces. As a result, the end user will get much better products exactly as they want them.”

HP, and possibly Canon, is coming out with new 3D printing technology this year that will be 10-100x faster than current machines. It will print more materials, print them at a fraction of the current cost, and the quality will be significantly higher. Not to mention, they’ll also print in full color.

Combine these innovations with three major trends—the rise of megacities, globalization and digital disruption—and the grounds for an industrial revolution have been set.

Who produces products will shift from major brands that mass manufacture goods based on market research to individuals who will design what they want when they want it or who will work with designers to create what they want.

It will change what gets produced. With the ability to produce goods on demand, the huge investment to mass manufacture disappears and more experimentation can occur. A variety of new products will come into existence—with digital files sent from around the world to be printed locally.

Factories will no longer need to be enormous and located where labor is cheap with products shipped worldwide from these central locations, putting a strain on environmental resources like the crude oil used to fuel container ships. Instead, small factories can be housed in or right outside of major cities, with products customized to suit that city’s needs and culture.

And time to market will be drastically reduced—shrinking from months or years of lead time to research, test and market products to mere days.

We already see this revolution happening at Shapeways, but it’s not real for most people yet. They may be aware of 3D printing, but they haven’t tried it because they don’t see why they should. There are two killer apps evolving this year that, added to the innovations in 3D printing technology, will make 3D printing mainstream.

  • 3D scanning—The reaction we’ve seen to being able to create scans of people at parties or of loved ones to send to family members has been overwhelming. There is an instant emotional connection, as well as an intellectual understanding of how a digital file can be turned into a tangible, physical object. With the next generation of phones being equipped with scanners, wide spread adoption is close at hand.

  • Customization—The time and expense needed to make customizing mass produced goods, like sneakers, a good experience has been enormous. We’ve been developing tools, like CustomMaker, that enable people to customize designs on Shapeways, such as adding your name or picture to a product. Since CustomMaker’s launch, over 2,000 customizable products have been added to the site with more being created every day. By opening up product customization on this level, more and more people will expect to be able to put their personal stamp on the items they buy and will seek out 3D printed goods.

And there is so much more to come. What we make is defined by how it can be assembled, but with the evolution of 3D printing technology and of new materials, how materials and shapes merge will change completely. Even 4D printing could become a reality—where items assemble themselves out of the box due to a reaction with light, or heat, or a chemical being added to it.

As Pete shared with 3DPrint.com, “People have been led to believe that 3D printers as they are today are close to what is possible — I think the opposite is true. We are at early days in this technology. So many things will become possible that people haven’t thought possible, it’s going to revolutionize how we make products.”

To read more about Pete’s keynote at Inside 3D Printing NYC, check out his interviews with 3DPrint.com and Xconomy.

Tell us what you think about the next industrial revolution in the comments, or share your thoughts with Pete on Twitter: @Weijmarshausen.

 

Shapeways on Capitol Hill: 3D/DC 2016

It’s easy to think that great technology advances are inevitable, that they will flourish and provide the best possible world for the people making them. But in reality paradigm shifts like 3D printing are aided by a host of people working to make a future they think will be an improvement. This week Shapeways got to participate in discussions with hard working people who see the potential for 3D printing to improve our lives in miraculous ways. In a series of 5 panels, 3D/DC took place on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. By providing a platform for discussion in front of Congressional policy makers, myself and the other participating in the panels got to have a voice in the discussion about where 3D printing will go next.

Led by Public Knowledge, a group that promotes freedom of expression, an open Internet, and access to affordable communications tools and creative works, hosted the fifth 3D/DC at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington D.C. on April 13-14, 2016. My panel was all about discussing the best ways that students and teachers can promote STEAM education. My fellow panelists were high school educator Joseph Williams, 3D education software developer Sophia Georgieu of Morphi App, and student makers Becky and John Button.

In short, 3D printing will only be effective in education if students like Becky and John have unfettered access and qualified help from educators to pursue their inventions. Children are already taking to technology learning tools like Minecraft and littleBits to augment their understanding of concepts. During this panel all of us stressed that the community around makerspaces, that having access to other interested people, is equally important as getting your hands on some 3D modeling software. As you can see, kids like John will make the most of anything you put in from of them, but they need our help to use it in the right learning environment.

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Thx to @publicknowledge for letting me join my panel-mates @einsteinunicorn @MorphiApp @jswilliams at #3DDC2016 - via  @laurenlacey April 14, 2016

3D Printing for Fashion: Interview with Alexis Walsh

Fashion Week may be wrapping up here in New York City, but that doesn’t mean that we’re finished exploring all the great work our fashion-driven community members are producing here at Shapeways. Today, we’ll be exploring the work of Alexis Walsh, a fashion designer turned 3D modeler who designed the LYSIS collection and the Spire Dress, recently featured in the Nire - Hopscotch music video.

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Spire Dress, Designed by Alexis Walsh and Ross Leonardy

Alexis Walsh is a New York tri-state native that studied at Parsons the New School for Design until 2014. During her time at Parson’s, Walsh took a combination of fashion and product design courses. As her primary focus was in fashion, she became interested in exploring ideas about wearable sculptures, and utilizing non-traditional materials and techniques to create fashion items.

“Throughout my academic career, I’ve been interested in the idea of wearable sculpture. I’ve explored using materials like metal and plastic to create garments, even welding a dress out of steel rods and making a corset out of aluminum paneling. All of this was very rooted in the notion of handcraft. After doing some research and discovering that 3D printing allowed for the creation of incredibly complex forms, I decided to pursue it for fashion design. With additive manufacturing, you are enabled to create structures that would be impossible to produce through any other medium, and this seemed like the perfect vehicle to experiment with fashion design.” – Alexis Walsh, 2016

It was around this time that Walsh began to conceptualize The Spire Dress, which was one of the first 3D printed projects that Alexis worked on. The dress was printed at Shapeways in our White Strong and Flexible material, constructed out of 400+ individual tiles that were assembled by hand using metal ring connectors. While this is quite an ambitious project for anyone just getting started in 3D modeling, we asked Alexis about her experience teaching herself the tools of the trade.

“The idea of learning CAD modeling from scratch was definitely intimidating. There are so many programs, and there’s a pretty steep learning curve when first attempting to 3D model. It took countless hours of YouTube video tutorials, trial and error, and reading online troubleshooting forums before feeling comfortable with Rhino and Grasshopper. But once you get a handle on it, you can begin to learn everything fairly quick. You need to simultaneously be concerned with creating a model and with how the model will function as a physical printed object. 3D printing generally involves plastic, which takes some creativity to work into a wearable piece.” – Alexis Walsh, 2016

Realizing the tactile limitations of using only 3D printed plastic, Walsh set out to create her next fashion line, the LYSIS collection. The LYSIS collection features handmade garments that are combined with 3D printed components to give structure to each of the pieces. These works were able to come to life after she received the Shapeways Education Grant in Fall 2014.

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Piece from the LYSIS Collection, 2016

Alexis is certainly not afraid of pushing the limits when it comes to combining materials and techniques to create fashion items. The LYSIS collection was created using a combination of software and hand-touch techniques to apply the fabric and leather. Alexis even went to far as to use the 3Doodler 3D printing pen to apply details to her smaller accessories, such as belts and chokers.

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LYSIS Collection, Alexis Walsh

Alexis is one of the few designers that we’ve seen successfully created an entire collection of fashion items using 3D Printing, and we wanted to hear about her projections for the future of this budding industry are. How will this technology evolve, and what are her hopes for the future?

“3D printing for fashion is undeniably in its early stages. There has already been so much innovation happening within the past couple of years, and this will only further continue into the future. I’m very excited to see how the capabilities of printing textiles will progress, specifically softer and elasticized textiles that behave like fabric. There are enormous possibilities for 3D printing within the performance and athletic-wear industries. It’s been great to see iconic brands like CHANEL embracing 3D printing in their runway shows, and I’m looking forward to seeing more 3D printing in high fashion.” – Alexis Walsh, 2016

And finally, as we mentioned in last week’s blog post, we posed the question to Alexis about her thoughts on the viability for 3D printing as form for fashion manufacturing.

“There’s potential for 3D printing to be a viable method of fashion manufacturing, but I don’t think that the current technology is there yet. There’s a huge market for 3D printed jewelry and accessories right now, and in that regard additive manufacturing is a great method of production. With the way the industry is evolving, fashion is sure to follow suit, as soon as more advanced printing capabilities can be developed.” Alexis Walsh, 2016

On that note, within our conversations with Alexis she teased a few of her upcoming projects that specifically focus on jewelry and accessories. We’re so excited to see what she comes up with next!

Stay tuned for our continuing series of blog posts as we continue to talk with designers about the future of Fashion, Tech + 3D Printing.