2012 has been a massive year for 3D printing and the Shapeways community. We have seen many of your products go viral and get a lot of love from the internet. Following are the 10 most favorited 3D printed products of 2012. This does not mean they are the most sold or viewed items, simply the products that have been given the most love from the Shapeways community, either by being favorited, or added to a wishlist. What was your favorite 3D printed product of 2012? Did it make the list?
There is little more rewarding then giving a loved one something that you have made especially for them. The value of the item far exceeds the sum of it's parts, as the act of making embeds meaning into the object far beyond a mass produced item, or a unique item you may have chosen from as artist or craftsperson. Your participation in the item adds a level of depth to the story and meaning behind the gift, that simply cannot been bought. The item becomes priceless, not in a Mastercard advertisement kind of way, but the item is embedded with genuine meaning.
Designing a gift using on demand 3D printing with Shapeways may not mean you are hand forging every atom in the item, but the thought and emotion behind your design, the time spent 3D modeling (if you can), along with any post production you do increases the social value of your gift.
There are many beautiful stories in the Shapeways forums of people 3D printing gifts for loved ones. One of the most recent stories to capture our hearts at Shapeways is an age old story:
Boy meets girl
Boy falls in love with girl
Girl mentions she loves a pendant that is no longer for sale (the impossible mission is set)
Boy becomes the hero, locks his mission into his sights and decides he must design, 3D print and assemble the pendant to give to her (in 2012 the hero fabricates the Holy Grail)
Not knowing how to 3D model so well he enlists the help of a designer from the Shapeways forums (cutting the Gordian Knot with a little help from 3D superstar Kevin Wei)
Shapeways 3D prints the design in Sterling Silver and sends it to our hero's door where he then has a crash course in setting jewels as he glues 150 Swarovski Crystals into the pendant
Once complete he packages up the pendant and sends it across the ocean, nervously anticipating how she will receive the gift he has invested with so much time and energy.
Oh well, right now it's being transported...
so I don't know yet whether she likes it. But honestly, when I send it
off... it felt like I was sending a piece of myself... the amount of
work and dedication that goes into making this... really made it the
most special gift I have ever given somebody.
Take a look at TurtleWorks shop on Shapeways that does not contain any turtles, but does contain many more 3D printed miniatures that you can order in the material of your choice then customize by hand painting for yourself. We also have an entire gallery of 3D printed miniatures on Shapeways, if any of your models are suitable to be included in this category, be surte to assign them in your product page.
Many complained that iphone cases out there are really hard to put on and take off. Horror stories; girls breaking their nails, guys getting really mad and slamming their phones, just, really crazy stuff. So I decided to put an end to this madness by inventing an extremely simple way to fit the case around your iphone 5.
I haven't been able
to find any in stores, and it seems mind-numbingly obvious that this is
what people really want on their tree. A limited time offer, this model
is available THIS YEAR ONLY. A perfect, unique gift for zombie and tech
Digitally sculpted from scratch, this is not a modification of any
9. Pay for Play: An introduction to the advertising world
Once your shop is set up for holiday sales, you're well on your way to being optimized for selling into the new year. These last few tips are going to help you set up a longer term strategy for maintaining a good shop.
By now you've hopefully been running a successful shop, your friends and family flock to it, bloggers are driving traffic, and you've got good data from google analytics to show you whats happening and how to adjust it.
The next step is advertising. A quick and easy introduction to advertising is by using Google AdWords.
You create ads and choose keywords, which are words or phrases related to your products. Your ads appear on Google and when people search on Google using one of your keywords, your ad may appear next to or above the search results. This means you're advertising to an audience that's already interested in you. Read more and get started
Why bother with advertising you ask? Shapeways designer Seth Alexander of Masterworks shares his story:
I have a different ad with different keywords for each set of dice and more general ads for related products such as DND. I'm currently running 8 ads, each with 5 or more keywords.
For my Steampunk Dice ad I use these keywords:
Steampunk, steampunk shop, steampunk gear, steampunk theme, steampunk dice, steam punk shop, steam punk gear, steam punk dice, steam punk theme
Generally, you want to avoid very general keywords such as 'dice' or 'Shapeways' since these tend to draw a high click-through rate but no sales. This means you will be paying a cost per click but getting nothing in return. The keyword 'Steampunk' is debatable because it's so general but I decided to leave it because Steampunk itself is a niche market.
AdWords has doubled my sales from approximately 25 sales/month to 50 sales/month. It costs me approximately 25% of the monthly Shapeways income at my current settings. So the net profit is a 50% gain from AdWords. I would need more time to study the statistics as this is only a 3 month analysis, but I believe it is worth it!
As you probably already know, getting linked on major news sites and blogs has the largest effect and AdWords will add visibility, so those stories are more likely to appear.
What an inspiring story, thank you Seth!
And there you have it, our top tips for your shop. Happy shaping and wishing you lots of sales!
Check out the awesome space, bring 3D prints to share, mingle with other Shapies and meet our special guest all the way from Eindhoven... Mitchell Jetten, better known as our Customer Service agent extraordinaire, and creator of awesome model trains!
3DEA Pop Up Shop
Corner of 29th and 6th ave
RSVP on Meetup.com and sign up to hear about all our upcoming meetups. Sneak peak... 2013 will bring Factory of the Future tours!
This week we take a look at the animalistic 3D prints in the Shapeways galleries.
Every Tuesday we update the Shapeways homepage with your designs based on a particular tag. This week we are featuring products with the tag animal to curate the homepage, and show some of the massive diversity of designs within a set theme. Be sure to tag your designs so that we, and others can better find your designs. It only takes a few seconds and makes your design infinitely more findable. If we can find your design via your tags, and feature them on the Shapeways homepage you will see an immediate spike in traffic, and hopefully sales too. If your design on Shapeways has some animalistic qualities, be sure to tag it animal and it just may make it's way on to the Shapeways homepage too....
A Look at the Colors We Launched Earlier This Year.
Earlier this year we launched some new colors and improved the process for our existing colors to make your 3D prints smoother, with more reliable colors. We just wanted to share some images of the current colors across variable geometry, from curved to flat surface, angular sections, emboss and engraving. You can see that the color is quite consistent across the diverse range of geometries. The only significant difference being where the text is engraved or embossed, where small details look to hold slightly more color. We have also noticed that some thin, wiry parts can look slightly darker, with more saturated color than solid, flat surface.
Now that we have these colors locked down, what color Nylon would you like to see us introduce next? Let us know with CMYK or Pantone colors?
We do not always know exactly what everyone is 3D printing with Shapeways, Every now and then we see some odd forms coming out of the 3D printers and we speculate what they might be. A sliding bracket to connect a camera to a dog, a rolling half mount to amplify bird calls, or a weirdly flapping crawler to take flight over Japan? Check out the videos of the ornithopter that was modeled in Autodesk 123D and 3D printed with Shapeways as it is first tested, then launched into outdoor flight. If anyone understands Japanese and would like to translate the site, please feel free to share more information on the project.
This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Isaie Bloch, an incredible artist who uses the capabilities and limitations of 3D printing to inform his designs.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I'm a Belgian architect and CG artist under the name of Eragatory. After receiving my first master degree in architecture, I joined the postgraduate program Excessive in 2010 lead by Hernan Diaz Alonso, at dieAngewandte, Vienna, Austria. My ongoing research and design ambitions are focused on the correlation between craftsmanship and additive manufacturing within several creative domains including Architecture, Fashion and Plastic arts and the digital methodologies blending in between them. I have been working as an artist in the field of hyperrealism exhibiting in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, China, Dubai and the USA, creating a range of art-pieces reaching from small prints, to 3D printed sculptures and huge hand manufactured installations. I have also been working together with designer Iris van Herpen on several sculptural dresses which have been shown on the catwalks at the Mercedes-Benz fashion week in Berlin and the Paris Haute Couture Show.
What's the story behind your designs?
I generally seek to design pieces dedicated to the geometrical capacities of 3D printing. In my opinion it does not make sense to use 3D printing for the production of regular objects unless they are intended to be prototypes. Just like all production methods all of them have specific characteristics 3D printing offers the incredible advantage of being able to produce almost any type of intricate geometry. And that specifically is the characteristic that I want to project in my work as much as possible. Highly ornamental, specific geometrical conditions and subverted aesthetics are elements which will always be found in my work. The Floralia vases are a design that balances on the edge in-between functionality, digital aesthetics, mass customization and object-oriented eclecticism. In contrast to contemporary thought and design, which views things as the aggregation or assembly of smaller bits and parts, in Object Oriented Design new objects emerge out of an ecology of interaction of multiple and heterogeneous objects. Through a process of formation or computation, highly differentiated, contradictory concepts and structures can become one object, without resulting in an incongruous collage.
Pink Floraria vase printed in Full Color Sandstone
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
For me personally Shapeways offers the ideal balance in between a very good online service (which is really hard to find) quality, price, materials and production time. Being able to get a direct quote and first checkup of your 3D model instantly is very useful. It speeds up your design process a lot, since you don' need to wait for several days in order to know if you should make this or that differently according to your estimated price. The whole website is so clear and easy to use, the web shops are pretty good looking and not complicated in any way.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
As an architecture student I was confronted with the possible use of 3D tools. We were not forced to use any of them but it was very clear for me that these tools were going to be a great help according to my own aesthetic and geometrical preferences. So I started to instruct myself using a lot of tips and tricks that I found on the internet. Because of my attraction to ornamental overload and high resolution geometries I acquainted myself to the types of softwares which would not be directly related to architecture like 3DS Max, Z brush and Meshlab.
How do you promote your work?
I try to get as much exposure as possible by publishing my work on design and 3D printing related blogs and magazines. I organize workshops once in a while and during those I lecture about my work as well. All my work is published on my Eragatory blog as well.
Green Floraria vase printed in Full Color Sandstone
Who are your favorite designers or artists?
My interest is pretty wide according to artists I follow. Differing in physical or digital disciplines and status, some are very known and could be on the edge of being commercial and others might just be students or unknown artist with a very good oeuvre. But all of them have a touch of absurdness, eccentric material usage, high resolution intricacy and would preferably have a high level of tolerance for mistakes. Abhominal, Barry x ball, Henrique Oliveira, Jan Manski, Jerry Judah, Mrmann, Katsuyo Aoki, Lebbeus Woods, Michael Hansemeyer, Juliaan Lampens, Wolfgang Tschapeller, Stephan Balleux, Mack Scogin Merril Elam Architects would be a good representation of what I seek for in the creative industry.
Anything else you want to share?
I can not stipulate it enough, despite all the magical 3D tools on the market it is still very important to have a design intent at the beginning. I use these tools as a new set of crayons impowering me to form my ideas not as a series of digital trics generating random geometry. It happens way too often that people get mislead by automated fuctions in 3D software, generally resulting in mainstream/predictible/d?j? vu results. We should be subverting the logic of perfection: what used to be about mastering the perfect result of non-perfect processes should now be about the production of misfit and the grotesque through perfected processes.
That's some incredible advice for budding 3D designers, thank you Isaie! You can see more of his work on his Shapeways Shop or his blog.