Category Archives: 3D Printing

Shapeways Launches SVX, a Voxel Based File Format for 3D Printing

Shapeways has created a new SVX format for transmitting voxel data for 3D printing. After much research we found no existing format that satisfied our requirements. Our primary design priorities are simple definition, ease of implementation, and extensibility. There are plenty of things you could dislike about the STL format, but it’s brevity and simple implementation are not one of them.

svx_large

A voxel is a 3D dimensional pixel. Most 3D printers work internally with voxel like representations. Your 3D model is sliced into 2D image slices, each pixel represents a dot of material that the printer builds your object with. Voxel formats allow direct control over those dots. One promise of 3D printing is that complexity is free. Sadly with STL files we’ve had the disconnect that more complexity equals more triangles equals larger files. Above a certain limit you just can’t use triangles to specify the details you want in a 3D printed model. Whether that information be material allocation, density, RGB color both internal and external or a custom id that could be used for another variable, not yet available in the 3D printers on the market.

Another area that is interesting for voxel usage is in making printable objects. A mesh for 3D printing needs to meet certain mathematical properties. It is easier to write voxel software that meets these demands. This makes the barrier to entry much lower for writing creators and its especially easy to include 2D imagery into your designs. See ShapeJS for some examples. One area that is typically tricky is turning voxels into triangles. We’ve worked hard to provide some nice routines for much high quality conversion to triangles when necessary. When you upload a voxel model to Shapeways you’ll be leveraging that work, just concentrate on making the voxels right and we’ll handle the triangles if needed.

You can view the new format specification at: SVX Format. We’ve added support for voxel uploads at Shapeways so you can start sending full resolution voxel files now!


 

Enter The “You Are How You Eat” Design Contest

Like to eat? Like to design? Combine those two passions by entering the “You Are How You Eat” design contest! We’ve partnered with Design Milk, Adobe, and Alessi to bring you this contest, which asks you to reimagine the everyday tools we use to eat.

Design Milk contest

To enter, create a design that:

- Is a completed design product concept;
- Is designed for the average adult male and female consumers in any country, who eat food using a utensil;
- Demonstrates an innovative approach to eating;
- Demonstrates your abilities as both a designer and communicator to convey new ideas through one image, title and description.

The contest will be open through October 19, and then judging for finalists will begin. The judges, including our very own Designer Evangelist, Lauren Slowik, will be looking for innovation, creativity, functionality, completeness of design, and adherence to creative brief. Then you – the design community – can vote for the winners!

The Grand Prize winner will receive $1,000 cash courtesy of Alessi, 1 year of Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography plan (includes Photoshop), $200 of credit to Shapeways so you can 3D print your design*, and your design prominently included in a feature on Design Milk

Two (2) Runners up: 1 year of Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography plan (includes Photoshop), $100 of credit to Shapeways so you can 3D print your design*, and your design included in a feature on Design Milk.

To see the full contest description, read the rules, and to enter, go to: http://design-milk.com/enter-eat-design-contest/.

Happy designing!

*Note that the designs 3D printed by Shapeways will not be food safe


 

Fascinating 3D Printed Animatronic Honey Bee

At Shapeways we’re accustomed to seeing incredible 3D printed designs and DIY projects using Shapeways 3D printing. Today we wanted to highlight a nature inspired 3D printed animatronic Bee project by designer Jonny Poole of innerbreedFX. Jonny was contacted by his local bee sanctuary seeking to add some animatronics to their tour.

Jonny took it upon himself to take advantage of Shapeways 3D printing and SLS technology to design a fully articulated Bee using the Shapeways strong and flexible nylon material. Here are some photos of from project.

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3D modeling of the Bee design

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Animatronic Bee fully articulated printed in nylon plastic 

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The wings were printed in Fine Ultra Detail

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 12.05.01 PMThe final result of the Bee! You can purchase the articulated honey bee on Jonny’s shop here.

We’ve noticed a few amazing 3D printed insect designs on Shapeways. For example check out the articulated mantis by designer Brian Chan and the Bee Keeper Chess set by designer Ricky McRae. Do you have a DIY project you’re working on that you want to share with the community? We’d love to see it, share it on the “Work In Progress” section of our forums here.

 


 

How Shapeways is Tackling Challenges to Manufacturing in the 3D Printing Industry

Hello to all.  My name is David Gillispie, I’m the Vice President of Manufacturing for Shapeways and I thought I would start by telling you a little about myself.  I’ve worked in engineering and manufacturing for over 20-years in both start-ups and medium sized companies running their operations.  I consider myself a lifelong learner and a dedicated practitioner of lean manufacturing and continuous improvement.  I’m super excited to start a series of discussions on manufacturing with our community.  I would like to preface my discussion by first saying how delighted I am to interact with our community.  One of my goals will be to keep my topics relevant and accessible.  In the future I will cover topics on manufacturing to include lean manufacturing, innovation, processes, and manufacturing strategy.  Your feedback and suggestions are welcomed and I’ll try to make these posts informative.

Shapeways 3D Printing Factory

Factory floor at our Long Island City facility.

One of our core values at Shapeways is fun.  We take pleasure in transforming the skill and imagination of creative individuals into tangible products.  I would like to start with a general discussion around manufacturing challenges and strategies we use to improve our processes.

Some of the challenges facing Shapeways and other 3D manufacturers for the consumer market is the lack of benchmark data.  While Business to Business 3D printing has been going on for years, the consumer market is less established.  There are enough similarities to make decisions on printers, materials, and some processes.  The challenge is around the high product mix, post production, and the speed at which products must be delivered on a large scale.

Our community is an exciting and diverse collection of designers and consumers who make and buy really cool products.  As a result the products we produce seldom resemble a traditional manufacturing mix.  Creating an efficient and steady manufacturing flow or movement of material requires capacity planning that examines product mix, build times, and available post production resources.  Of the three, the more challenging aspect is post production.  Post production includes break out of the product, sorting, polishing, dyeing, quality check, and distribution.  Bottle necks or constraints in the post production process can occur with machines, material, or people.  To mitigate the potential impact we constantly review these areas and implement process improvements or add more capacity.  We also cross train our team members so they can flex up and down the manufacturing line.

This is an exciting time to manufacture in the 3D printing industry.  Shapeways is rewriting the book on manufacturing with the ultra-high mix, print on demand environment where quality, price, and delivery are being redefined.  Our community is pushing us to improve and we listen to your feedback by continually improving our processes.  If you have any questions about our materials like the white strong and flexible nylon, full colored sand stone or frosted detail; processes like polishing, dyeing, sorting; or our equipment like our printers   – please don’t hesitate to ask.  I look forward to hearing from you and answering your questions.


 

Mission Print: Shapeways Partners with Future Engineers to 3D Print Tools Designed by Students for Astronauts in Space

“Your Challenge, Should You Choose to Accept, Is To Design A Space Tool”

spacexlaunch

Photo courtesy of SpaceX

This weekend, the first 3D printer launched into space.  This week, we’re proud to announce our partnership with Future Engineers, ASME and Made In Space on a series of NASA developed Space Challenges meant to empower innovative youth to design tools that can be printed and used in space.

Video courtesy of FutureEngineers.org

Together, we are about to make history. Today marks the beginning of manufacturing in space. Are you ready to take on the #MissionPrint Challenge? Here’s the launch video of SpaceX-4 that just successfully carried the Made In Space Zero-G 3D Printer to the ISS:

Video courtesy of SpaceX

Hearing mission control say “…and we have liftoff of SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket and Dragon. CRS-4 is underway. A US commercial spacecraft launching from American soil delivers new technology and science to the International Space Station,” gives me and hopefully every other space lover chills. Knowing that that “new technology” is one that we all are fortunate enough to experiment with every day, the ability to additively manufacture on demand through 3D Printing, is inspiring. Remember, there is no overnight shipping to space; and it is physically impossible to traditionally manufacture parts in a space environment. We really are witnessing, and taking an active part in, making history.

ISS Prize

Screen Shots here and below courtesy of FutureEngineers.org

This is the first in a series of NASA developed 3D Space Challenges that Future Engineers and our other out-of-this-world partners are happy to share with the Shapeways community. Encourage every K-12 student you know interested in 3D Printing to check it out, and remember, ALL students (university, college, trade schools, and professors too) get 10% off ALL their prints at Shapeways ALL the time. What a great excuse to “ground print” and prototype your space tools with us.

Shapeways prints

Tools designed for this challenge are judged on the following well-rounded criteria:

  • 40 Points – Innovation and Creativity of the Solution
  • 20 Points – Ability to communicate the design through the Text Description and/or Finalist Interview
  • 20 Points – Quality of the 3D Modeled Geometry and compliance with the Design Guidelines
  • 20 Points - Usefulness of the design in a Space Environment

Astronaut Doug Wheelock explains further:

Video courtesy of FutureEngineers.org

Kids are powering innovative developments in 3D Printing across the unique web of our industry’s reach. They are opening shops on Shapeways, printing on desktop printers in their classrooms, and mod-ing their toys at home. There are dozen of touching stories of kids literally enabling the future of 3D printed prosthetics. And perhaps most profound of all, they can see what we can’t. Young minds aren’t limited by the bounds of conventional design and manufacturing constraints. Freed of this parameter, they are capable of leveraging the technology and materials available in unique new ways. Inspired by their potential, Future Engineers has an awesome lineup of prizes for the top contestants. The winner of the challenge will even have their tool printed in Zero-G’s on the ISS and get to watch live from Mission Control.  While the #MissionPrint Future Engineers contest is for K-12 students in the US only, we will be featuring innovative designs by makers of all ages on our blog between now and when winners are announced on January 30th, 2015.

Here’s a snapshot of the contest deadlines, for full details check out FutureEngineers.org.

spacedates

Are you ready to accept the #MissionPrint Challenge, stop dreaming and start doing? Keep us posted on your progress in our Space Forum and be sure and tag your space tools #MissionPrint. The best way to ensure your products will be astronaut-ready is to prototype on the ground, and we can’t wait to help.

To infinity… and 3D Printing beyond Earth!

 

 


 

Join Shapeways at the Designers of Things Conference and Meetup in San Francisco

Come and talk 3D Printing, Design and Groundbreaking I.P. in San Francisco September 23rd to 24th 2014.

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The Designers of Things conference is focused on Wearable Tech, 3D Printing and the Internet of Things, yes all of the cool things together at last.  Natalia Kasnodebska and Duann Scott from Shapeways will be presenting on Tuesday, September 23 | 4:00pm-4:30pm FANS + OPEN IP = INTERNET OF REALLY COOL THINGS (yes, we are so excited we used caps), discussing SuperFanArt, the groundbreaking I.P. initiative between Hasbro and Shapeways that enables designers and artists to create and sell 3D printed products based on Hasbro owned I.P.

Also join us on Wednesday the 24th to the Designers of 3D Printed Things Meetup at a mystery location in San Francisco.  It will be awesome, we will have 3D printed objects, bring along your 3D prints so you can show off your design skills and ask questions of Shapeways 3D printing experts.


 

Maker The Movie: A Documentary on the Maker Movement

Maker” is a feature-length documentary on the Maker Movement and its impact on society, culture and economy in the U.S.

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The ‘Maker Movement’, sometimes called the ‘Third Industrial Revolution,’ subverts traditional manufacturing by building on innovative concepts such as open source, local manufacturing, crowd funding, and digital fabrication. Breaking the hobbyist movement stereotype, ‘Maker’ delves deep into this ecosystem of design and manufacturing in the Internet era. The film explores the ideas, tools, and personalities that are driving the Maker Movement – and returns with a timely snapshot of one of the transforming influences of the current age.

The documentary is a series of interviews with leading thinkers in the maker movement, their motivations and the future as they see it evolving.  You can request a screening for your local area, school, hacker space or find a screening that is already happening in your area.  Also screening from September 26th on Netflix is the Print the Legend movie, following the growth of Formlabs and Makerbot as they raced to bring 3D printers to peoples homes.

You can check out the trailer for the Maker Documentary now.


 

A Day of 3D Printing and Politics in Washington D.C.

On Wednesday September 17th 2014, politicians, lawyers and 3D printing experts will converge on Washington to discuss the intellectual property challenges facing the 3D printing ecosystem as it matures, and enters mainstream culture.

3D Printing Politics Shapeways

Speakers will include

  • Bill Foster Congressman, 11th Congressional District of Illinois,
  • Rep. Tim Ryan Chair of the Congressional Makers Caucus,
  • Vikrum Aiyer Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Under Secretary for IP, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Andras Forgacs Co-Founder & CEO, Modern Meadow, Inc
  • Mark Hatch CEO & Co-Founder, TechShop
  • Michael Weinberg VP, Public Knowledge
  • and even Duann Scott Designer Evangelist, Shapeways

Topics will range from the Economic Impact of the Obama Leadership, to the intellectual property challenges & the changes to culture driven by bottom-up, peer-to-peer, democratized manufacturing.

If there is anything you personally think needs to be addressed, please comment on the blog and I will see if I can integrate it into the discussion at my panel, The Growing Global 3DP IP Market & How Much is at Stake.


 

Day of Action: Stop the Slow Lane

Earlier this summer, we wrote about Stopping the Slow Lane, a push back against the FCC’s intent to propose rules that would allow Internet service providers to charge websites to access a “fast lane” and slow down every site that doesn’t pay. Now, we’re almost at the deadline. September 15th is the last day that the FCC will accept public comments before they make their ruling. Shapeways submitted a formal appeal to the FCC, where we outlined how we support an open internet so we can continue to provide a platform where entrepreneurs like our 19,000 shop owners can flourish.

Today is an internet-wide day of action for Net Neutrality. You may have noticed some of your favorite sites have the “please hold, loading” spinning wheel on their homepage – is this the future you want? Neither do we!

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Here’s what you can do:

1. Take two minutes to sign the Citizen Petition on Battle for the Net

2. Tweet it out:

I support real #NetNeutrality. Sign the citizen petition www.battleforthenet.com  #InternetSlowdown

Startups need real #NetNeutrality to protect the open Internet. Call your Senators today and let them know! www.engine.is/netneutrality #InternetSlowdown

3. Part of a startup? Call your senator and tell them to support real Net Neutrality

Want to learn more?

Check out this great Mashable video explaining the proposed changes, and help keep the internet the open and innovative playground it should be.


 

HOW TO: Create a Rubber Prototype Using a 3D Printed Mold in 14 Easy Steps

Will Harris at Design That Matters has posted a fun tutorial on HOW TO: Create a Rubber Prototype Using a 3D Printed Mold that is a step by step process that is easy to follow and looks like the kind of fun that will have you pouring liquid rubber into 3D printed molds for months.

how to 3D print a rubber mold

You can flex your industrial design skills in software such as Solidworks or Inventor which both have great tools to help you boolean and split a mold from your designed part.  Will also includes practical design tips such as including registration pins and escape vents into your mold to ensure bubbles do not form and you can add extra material to your 3D printed mold if required.  (or you can mix colors and/or materials if you want to get a little more experimental).

The best materials for 3D printed molds are usually polished Nylon or Acrylic if you want to do smaller, higher detail molds from your 3D prints.  Some people also spray the molds with silicone as a mold release to ensure you do not end up simply gluing your mold together with the filler material.

Why stop at rubber, you can use your 3D printed molds for many materials, soap, crayons, wax, ice, jello, or even, mature cheddar cheese.

NOTE: 3D Printed materials may not be food safe, mature cheddar cheese molded from 3D prints are for decorative use only.

 

3D Print iPhone 6 and Apple Watch Accessories

Update: Apple has released the design files for the iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus! Page 16 and 17 of this pdf have everything you need to know to design a case for these awesome new phones. Be sure and enter our contest and be one of the first iPhone 6 cases ever 3D Printed!

Original Post: Did you watch the Apple announcement? Are you excited about the new iPhone 6/6plus? Are you counting the seconds until you can get your hands on the Apple Watch?

AppleWatchRender

UPDATE 9/11: Some amazing Shapeways Community Members put together a <beta> 3D CAD file of the Apple Watch! It’s based on the specs Apple announced, and while not Apple official, should serve as a great starting point for all interested in designing Apple Watch accessories. You can download the .stl of the Apple Watch design files here. Special thanks to Michael Christensen for sharing this in our Apple forum!
iPhone6
I’ve been counting the minutes for months now and seeing Phil show off the iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus and seeing Super Evil Megacorp’s gaming experience made me drool millions of pixels in anticipation of their September 19th launch into the world. The new iPhone camera has Focus Pixels, which means you’re essentially carrying a DSLR in your pocket. Just imagine, our 3D scans will be sharper than ever!
iphone camera
Shapeways has always been one of the first to market with accessories when new consumer electronics come out. Our communities ability to responsively create designs and leverage our short lead times is unparalleled by any other accessories company in the world. The cases that you’ll see in the Apple store were modeled months ago and have been in production all summer. Alongside the new phones, Apple announced a new line of silicone and leather cases, but I think we know our Nylon looks the coolest when it comes to pimping your iDevices. We are eager to see what cases, stands and accessories you make for this new line of apple products and will handsomely reward those who do it best (details to come when the design files are announced by Apple later in September).
iphones

Design files

Shapeways has a long history of being one of the first to market with iAccessories. We were keeping the iPhone classy back in early 2012 with this 4/4s MacPro Case:macpro case

We gave you the design files the moment they were available for the exciting new iPhone 5, hosting a contest around it. The Sweater Case by ArtizanWork that won is still a favorite of ours to show off at events and through our crew kits!
sweater case
We also brought you the iPad Mini files that same October. All in all, we power over 2600 products that fall in the iPhone category. Let’s round out our Apple Fan Boy and Girl offerings and incorporate all these awesome new products.

Now you can start brainstorming the iPhone 6 and iWatch cases you want to design in our Apple and iGadgets thread in the forum. Hit the sketchbook or the sketchup and get creative! The bigger form factor gives you more design real estate than ever before. We will update this post and announce a contest as soon as Apple releases the Design Files.

On a fun historical and sentimental note, this Apple Fan Girl can’t help but ask, 30 years after Steve Jobs announced the Macintosh (the anniversary is today) do you think Apple is still as innovative as they were under Steve?
timeandsteve


 

Designer For Hire: Scott Denton

If you are looking for a 3D artist to bring your ideas to reality with 3D printing, look no further than 3D modeler and all around 3D super star Scott Denton.  Scott has worked in the 3D modeling and animation industry for so many years he has a beard, that is also in 3D (at the time of writing). Contact Scott if you have an idea you would like to explore with 3D printing at Shapeways.

Name: Scott Denton

Shapeways User Name: Likesyrup

Shapeways Shop: https://www.shapeways.com/shops/Likesyrup

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 Bio:

I am currently a Freelance Modeler/Generalist living in Brooklyn, NY. I hail from Nashville, TN and studied 3D animation at Full Sail University graduating with an Associates of Science in Computer Animation. I have worked in this industry now for 9 years and continue to learn from everyone I work with as well as developing skills to make me more valuable to current and new clients alike. I really enjoy working with new teams of creative people and having a fun time in the process.

My current passions are modeling in Zbrush and i’ve been doing a lot with 3d printing. I look forward to where 3d printing is going to take us in the future.

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Services Offered:

3d modeling, file repair, Rendering/lighting, Design

3D Modeling Specialties:

character, organic, from photo, from sketch, Jewelry,Toys,

3D Software Used:

Maya, Zbrush, Mudbox, 3dcoat, sketchup, Meshmixer, Sculptris, Modo, C4D, Photoshop

3 Examples of projects undertaken:

https://www.behance.net/gallery/13762255/Swell-Ring

https://www.behance.net/gallery/13920287/Louboutin-display-at-Saks-Fifth-Ave-NYC

https://www.behance.net/gallery/12164961/Zbrush-Accessories

Scott Denton 3D modeling Expert on Shapeways

Pricing Structure:

by the hour/by project but also may do percentage of sales if they want the file, profit sharing

You can see more of Scott’s work at www.likesyrup.com or Contact Scott if you have an idea you would like to explore with 3D printing at Shapeways.

 


 

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

This is the last post in the series about Selective Laser Sintering Nylon. In this post I’m going to address the challenge of the cost of 3D printing in nylon and how to minimize it. Yes, we want to make it as affordable as possible for you to make your awesome designs come to life!

If you haven’t read the first and second posts, I would highly recommend that you do. I’m assuming you know some of the concepts introduced there.

To understand the costs involved in 3D printing using SLS, lets have a look at the process, which can be broken down into the following steps:

  • Checking the design
  • Planning the printing trays
  • 3D printing
  • Extracting the parts
  • Cleaning the parts
  • Sorting the parts
  • Postprocessing (tumbling, dyeing, sorting)
  • Shipping

Each of those steps has associated costs in labor involved in the process, machine cost and material cost. Let’s go through the steps and have a look at the cost drivers.

Checking. At checking, we need to evaluate every new file ordered to see if we can make it. We use automated checks, but a final human check is still required to get the best results. It’s actually not every file, but we check every part in a file since we are printing physical products and each file may contain multiple parts. As discussed earlier, some files contain hundreds of parts and you can imagine the amount of work involved. The cost involved here is labor, namely the time spent checking each part.

Example of multiple parts in a file

Individually checking the 55 parts in KidMechanos “New! ModiBot RhinoNychus: Reptobeast

Planning. After checking, we need to plan all checked parts in the 3D printer trays. We want to plan as many parts as possible in a tray, since the cost to run a printer is pretty much fixed regardless of the amount of parts. Today, we run over 20 printers every day and each print on average has over 100 parts per tray, so you can see how packing becomes a challenge. However every extra part we can cram in the tray, reduces machine cost. The packing process itself requires an hour or two of of work and some 10-20 minutes of computer calculations to optimize.

The cost involved in planning is labor, or the time spent selecting the right parts for each tray

SLS Tray ready to 3D print

62 models packed into a single tray of our smallest printer

3D printing. Step 3 is the printing process. When a printer finishes it’s previous job,we make sure we are ready to quickly remove the ready tray, clean the machine and refill the powder. Ensuring the printer starts running as soon as possible after it’s previous job is complete reduces cost further. The printer costs money whether you use it or not (from a business perspective this is called depreciation), so running it all the time and thereby maximizing the amount of products made every month is the only way to reduce cost. The complexity of the products or the size has almost no impact on the print time. The most important driver of the time a build needs is the height of the tray. The machines can print roughly 1cm (or 0.4″) per hour. To limit the time it takes to print we try to build trays that are no higher than 25cm. This conveniently means we run the printers with 1 job every day.

Another element of the print cost is the amount of powder used. If the printer is completely empty it would still build layer upon layer of powder. As the powder is heated it ages. The industry standard is to run each build with 50% new and 50% old powder. Each tray has roughly 5% of volume in parts so after each build you are left with 95% old powder. Of this old powder you can re-use 50% in the next build. The material cost is the new powder. Obviously using more old powder reduces material cost, but the problem is that too much old powder will cause the parts to look less defined and sometimes they discolor (orange peel). We (everyone using SLS) need to figure out how to make it possible to reuse all powder since this is the most wasteful part of the process. The cost involved in 3D printing is some labor to clean the machines before each run and mostly machine and powder cost. To calculate actual cost per part is quite difficult, since it depends on the other parts in the tray. Amazingly, if we print a part one week, and then again the next week, it can cost twice as much the second time only because of the other parts in the tray along with it. One of the reasons that we’ve never charged for machine space before is that we had to build up a huge amount of experience to properly control for this and charge you the right price.

Cooling, Cleaning & Sorting. After printing, the tray needs to cool as much time as it has printed (again typically 24 hours). And then the break out, cleaning and sorting starts. The costs here are mostly part based since every part needs to be dug out of the powder, cleaned and then made sure it goes into the right box. The cost involved is labor per part. Each part needs to be broken out of the powder, cleaned and then sorted.

Models with many similar looking parts are among the hardest to track and sort properly

Post Processing. The polishing and dyeing process again are mostly labor. The tumbler is fast and can polish many parts a time, so there is almost no machine cost involved. The cost involved is mostly labor. To put the parts in the polisher, remove them and then sort. Or dyeing the parts for a few minutes, remove, let the parts dry and re-sort. Much of the cost of post processing isn’t the processes themselves, but constantly combining and re-sorting the parts at each step.

As you can see, the cost in making a product using SLS can be broken down into 4 main categories:Fixed cost like utilities and rent of the factory; Labor cost to do the actual work involved; Machine cost to pay for machine depreciation; and material cost, based on how much is used.

It’s our challenge to reduce these costs by automating certain parts of the process, make sure the machines are always running, and are run at close to maximum capacity, and that we re-use as much powder as possible. It’s also clear that our cost is based on labor per part, cost of the amount of space the part utilizes in the machine and the amount of actual material consumed.

Next week I will cover how our current price model covers these costs and how we can optimize.

As always, let me know if you have questions or suggestions. In general I like to hear from you!

Pete / CEO Shapeways


 

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.