Can you enlarge or shrink your model to another size? Yes! It takes only seconds to mathematically change the computer model from one size to another. But, to ensure you are happy with the results there’s a few factors to think about. In this tutorial Stony Smith explains what to consider when scaling a 3D model for 3D printing. You will learn how to scale your model considering polygons and price in this tutorial. Looking for more 3D printing tutorials? You can visit the Shapeways tutorial hub.
There’s a lot of speculation and guesswork circulating about Intellectual Property as it applies to 3D printing so here is a very general overview of what Copyright means for you, for Shapeways and 3D printing in general. While this is a fascinating topic, please keep in mind this blog should not be construed as legal advice and the author is not a lawyer (as much as she wishes she was!).
What is Shapeways Content Policy?
While we want to enable people to 3D print whatever they can imagine, this does unfortunately occasionally includes things that already exist and may be covered by copyright. In our Terms and Conditions, we ask that our community respects the rights of other designers and only upload their own original work or work that is freely available through a Creative Commons license. While we do what we can to ensure the content on Shapeways is appropriate, we cannot realistically review every model uploaded for a possible copyright infringement. We are also unable to determine whether the user has obtained a license for copyrighted content. As a service provider, our liability is protected by the Digital Millennium copyright Act under their Safe Harbor provision.
Shapeways is a safe harbor under the DMCA, and thus acts much like YouTube. In order to comply with the DMCA and protect intellectual-property-right owners, we follow a takedown process when we get a Takedown Notice. You can read all about it in our Content and Takedown Policy.
Ryan Kittleson’s success kid is a real life licensing success story
What are all these legal terms?
Very briefly, Intellectual Property covers a broad range of various legal terms:
- Copyright: protects any expression that’s embodied in a tangible medium. Your child’s drawing is protected by copyright and STL’s are protected by copyright.
- Trademark: protects symbols, words, designs, logos, and even trade dress of products and services when used in commerce, like Coke or Apple.
- Patent: protects inventions that are novel and non-obvious.
- Right of Likeness / Publicity: protects the right of an individual to control the commercial use of his or her name, image, likeness, and to keep it from being commercially exploited without permission.
For a brilliant 5 minute explanation about how all these terms differ, I’ll let a fellow jeweler, and real life lawyer Sarah Feingold explain, using Ring Pops.
For this post, let’s focus on Copyright. What is a Copyright anyway?
In the US, copyright is a form of protection for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright protects, for example, literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as paintings, sculptures, poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. You’ll be glad to know copyright also covers STL (and other 3D printable) files, much like it covers MP3′s and other digital creative media. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works. With exception, copyright protection exists from the moment of creation and lasts until 70 years after the death of the creator. Fascinated? Read Copyright Basics on the website of the United States Copyright Office to learn more.
What does this mean for you?
If you create and upload a 3D model on Shapeways or anywhere else on the internet, it is copyrighted. You don’t have to do anything, except choose how to enforce protection of your work. You may choose to do nothing, a celebrity may choose to hire a legal firm.
What about other people’s Copyright? How can I tell?
If you see something on the internet and want to create a 3D model of it, it’s best to ask permission first. On many sites like Thingiverse, TurboSquid or Sketchfab you can see if someone has put their work under Creative Commons – which may allow you either share it on other sites, to print it for yourself, or in some cases, sell it. The distinctions are clear, and worth checking. Designers may well be flattered you want to turn their artwork into a tangible format, others may not want you to profit from their ideas. Ask! On other parts of the internet, like blogs or reddit, it may be harder to quickly establish who the author (and thus copyright holder) is. More often than not, somebody owns the copyright. Shapeways can neither be judge or jury in this case, as we cannot know the entire catalog of copyrights on earth, so it’s up to you to do your research.
But I see other people designing copies on Shapeways!
If in your research you see other models on Shapeways that seem to be using copyrighted work, that is not an incentive for you to create your own. Remember, Shapeways is a safe harbor of user generated content, so we do not (and can not) check every upload for copyright infringement. Those models may well be the original creations of their authors, or the designers may have licensing agreements in place (SuperFanArt models for instance have licenses with Hasbro). It is also very possible that there are infringing copies on our site and they may well receive a takedown notice.
So what are these Takedown Notices?
Shapeways as a company is bound by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and we are a “Safe Harbor” meaning we have a harbor where anyone can put their boat. This is what’s known as “User Generated Content.” Under the DMCA, to keep being a safe harbor, Shapeways agrees to a Notice-and-Takedown process. If a copyright holder identifies an unauthorized use of their work on our site, they must notify us with a proper DMCA Takedown notice, as detailed in our Content Policy. Rest assured, this is not something we take lightly. A DMCA Takedown is a specific legal document that contains statements of good faith made under the penalty of perjury. There could be costly penalties if the sender makes material misrepresentations about the infringement. We investigate and correspond with each and every notice we receive. We then notify the designer and remove the model from Shapeways within a reasonable amount of time.
If a designer feels the takedown is in error, they have the option to send us a Counter-Takedown, the process is also detailed here. Legal defenses such as “Fair Use” which take into account things like valid commentary, criticism, parody, news reporting, and teaching, consider many different factors, and can be quite difficult to prove. Unfortunately, Shapeways is not the one to prove it to. We can not consider any defenses a designer may have as we’re not a judge or jury, we can only introduce you to each other and let you work things out. Since we can not provide legal advice, we suggest you reach out to legal experts in your area.
But don’t despair! Some of the outcomes we have seen in the past range from a designer showing they have the rights to a design, a copyright holder upholding their rights, a community member getting a job at the accusing party’s company, a profit-sharing scenario on a model and, ideally, an opening up of Intellectual Property by a major brand: SuperFanArt with Hasbro.
So what CAN I do?
If you get a takedown notice, don’t panic! Use it as an opportunity to learn about what is and isn’t copyright, and to develop your own work. Use your imagination! Making original content is the best way to avoid any legal issues. Taking the time to create your own original content, including 3D modeling, taking product photographs, writing creative descriptions and marketing your products, not only prevents infringement, it showcases your creativity and will set your shop apart.
Here at Shapeways, we provide the tools and YOU bring the magic, and we love seeing what you create! Like this incredible bacon mobius strip.
Still need inspiration? Take a look at public domain works! Many artworks in museums are in the public domain, which means copyrights on them have expired. There are people who may never have expressed an interest in art now excitedly walking around the Met 3D scanning art! The Met has embraced it, so has the Smithsonian, so maybe it’s time for a museum meme mashup?
Use 3D printing to solve a problem! We’re seeing an explosion of drone parts and gadget acessories – making add-ons to your favorite hardware is creative innovation at its finest. Solve a problem! Have you seen the e-NABLE hands helping children? Incredible.
Ultimately, we see 3D printing as a technology full of creativity and not about copyright infringement. With any new technology that’s democratizing access to a tool, infringement is possible, but what we’re enabling at Shapeways is a community in which original innovation triumphs.
This post probably raises more questions than it answers so please lets continue the discussion in the comments. If there are other topics you want us to cover, let us know!
This information is for educational and informational purposes only. The content should not be construed as legal advice. The author and Shapeways disclaim all responsibility for any and all losses, damages, or causes of action that may arise or be connected with the use of these materials. Please consult a licensed attorney in your area with specific legal questions or concerns.
Selling and telling the story behind your Shapeways 3D printed product can be difficult when the consumer cannot see or experience that product in their hands. One way to make the buying experience easier for customers is having high quality, creative, and short videos of your products. Product videos can provide a accurate assessment of the product featured on your product page and should achieve the following: form, function, scale, and purpose. Your product video should be no longer than two minutes long and should provide essentially a 360 overview and elevator pitch of what your product is, what it looks like, and what use case it is intended for.
I’ve curated a few examples of well made product videos you can use a reference for creating your next product video.
1) Strandbeest Video by Theo Jansen
2) Mortal Coil video by Ryan Kittleson
3) Ghost Spinning Top by Michiel Cornelissen
4) Sprout video by Egant
5) Microsoft Band Charging Stand by Idle Hands Development
Eric Ho here, Social Media Strategist at Shapeways and most recently the shop owner of the Shapeways shop Raw Legend Collaborations. One of my most recent collaborations was with designer Kostika Spaho and we worked together to create a 3D printed Tardigrade figurine and bring it to market. In this post I’ll walk you through the design process from 3D model to sale and share my tips for 3D printed success.
I first became fascinated with the Tardigrade, which is also known as the ‘Water Bear’ or ‘Moss Piglet’ when a segment about it aired on the hit science show COSMOS hosted by Neil Degrasse Tyson. Tardigrades are resilient microscopic creatures that can survive some of the harshest living environments, such as the vacuum of space, boiling water and near absolute-zero temperatures. They even can survive doses of radiation lethal to humans!
After doing many weeks of research I was inspired to bring this amazing animal to life as a 3D printed figurine. I reached out to my friend and talented 3D designer Kostika and he quickly sculpted the Tardigrade in ZBrush and I ordered and received the prints in the Full Color Sandstone material a week later. I do not have the 3D modeling experience to create such a great 3D model myself, but I did provide the creative direction for how I wanted it to look and it came out amazing. I posted the render in my Shapeways shop and even before the test prints arrived there were a few sales coming in, which demonstrated to me that there was a demand for this product.
Once Kostika and I were satisfied with the design and print quality it was time for me to apply my social media and marketing experience to get this product out to the right, targeted audience, which for this model is the science, animal, and nature community. I did a simple Google Trends search on the Tardigrade and saw that the Tardigrade was still trending since it was featured in the COSMOS episode. I also used a Twitter listening tool called Topsy to track how many people were tweeting about the Tardigrade. I also identified current community members who were influential in the science community. For example, I asked shop owners Somersault1824 if they would help showcase our 3D printed Tardigrade to their social audience of over 460k fans on Facebook. After sharing it across my own personal social media channels and 3D printing / 3D modeling Facebook groups I followed the social media tips highlighted in my previous shop owner bootcamp blog post here.
Within two weeks sales were beginning to come in and I continued researching niche science blogs to get the 3D printed Tardigrade featured in. It got picked up by The Featured Creature and I was even able to get my Tardigrade in the hands of Paul Adams, senior editor at Popular Science who tweeted about it.
It has been a great experience going from an idea to physical product to actual demand and sales for that product, all fueled by my passion for natures most fascinating creatures and Shapeways 3D printing. What is your favorite fascinating animal? And will you bring it to life or bring it back from extinction with 3D printing?
Let me know in a comment below!
This is the ninth in a 10 part Shop Owner Bootcamp series counting down to black friday. Last week we focused on Supercharing Your SEO and this week we’re talking Email. Pictured above is Love Letter: Square by Target. Learn more about our partnership with them here.
Are you beginning to feel the heat of Holiday Season yet? If you’re not, let me be the first to tell you, it’s go time, Shapies! We just released our holiday gift guide are in full-steam-ahead holiday mode. If you do no other marketing for your Shapeways shop today, do this: remind your friends, family and former customers that you make awesome products through 3D printing and that just about anything can be personalized through your skills and the technology. If you’re concerned that it will come off as spammy, we are happy to take a look in our Holiday Messaging Help forum. I also ask that you trust me when I say, your network will be interested. While it’s no longer new to us, 3D Printing, especially in our unique material portfolio, is still very cool and new to most folks outside the Shapie universe.
The email can be simple:
2014 has been a great year, and I’m grateful you were a part of mine. I just wanted to share the 3D printed products I’ve created this year, and let you know that if you’d like any of them or any other custom products for holidays I’m here to help. 3D Printing is very cool and personal, and it’s not just plastic. Shapeways prints in Steel, Brass, Silver, Gold and even Platinum, too. Holiday season is fast approaching.
(Insert a few photos of your work)
(link to your shop)
I bet you’ll be surprised how few people are aware of what you’re truly capable of, and what’s more fun than supporting a friends business and also giving a great gift? We see so many touching stories and personalized products come through our factories, I can’t help but encourage you to let your network know you’re there.
For those of you with Existing Email Newsletters:
I get many of your independent newsletters each month and enjoy them all. The one thing that all Shapies have in common is how genuine your passion is. This comes through in your communications and in your work. Keep it up! And don’t worry, if you don’t have an email list yet, Holiday is a great time to make one. Just add a link to a google form (or whatever signup mechanism you prefer) in your shop description and watch it grow!
Two Emails You Should Send:
- Next week, ideally Tues-Thurs (higher open rate): Holiday preview and/or reminder about your shop including top sellers & latest creations. You can even offer design services.
- Small Business Saturday: A holiday mostly celebrated in the US, but one worth letting your customers know about. Black Friday is historically retail centric, Cyber Monday (a great day to send an email as well) is all about digital, but SMB Saturday offers a different unique opportunity to showcase how 3D Printing is enabling your Small Business and say thank you to those contributing to it’s growth.
Here’s a great example from Somersault 18:24‘s Monthly Newsletter:
Their message goes on to include links to their shop and updates about the science and 3D printing world. It’s helped grow them to one of the most successful shops and collections on Shapeways.
Would it be helpful if included easy to share news stories you could include in your emails in our Shop Owner Newsletter? What emails that we send do you like best? And worst? Be honest with us the way you want your customers to be honest with you .
This is the eight post in a 10 week series leading up to our busiest sales weekend of the year. We’ve covered everything from getting press for your 3D printed products to how to promote your products on social media and much in our Shop Owner bootcamp series. This week’s post comes from our performance marketing pro, Jeanne, we’re focused on SEO.
5 Easy Ways (Under 5 Minutes) to Get Your Products Picked Up by Google
We’ve already talked about various ways to get customers to your shop, but today we’re going to dive even deeper and talk about the importance of search engine results (SEO). Currently, organic search results are one of the top drivers to Shapeways. The more you can get your products in search engine results, the more likely a potential customer will visit your product page and make a purchase. Below are five tips to get your products search engine optimized in minutes.
#1 Use Specific Keywords in Your Product Titles & Descriptions
Your model titles and descriptions are used not only on your model page on Shapeways, but in search engine search results – a two for one! So, titles and descriptions with specific, relevant keywords will help your products appear in and get people to click (which helps it to surface even more frequently).
Action: You can spend a lot of time on keyword optimization, but here are two easy ways to get started:
If you were to search for your product, what would you type in a search engine? Make sure those keywords are in both your title and description
Be as specific as possible with your description, including all the peripheral search terms that might be relevant (synonyms, the category that your product belongs in, types of customization or personalization, etc.)
For example, if I title my product “Holiday Ornament,” the likelihood that my product will show up on the first few pages of Google is very low (there are a total of 22.8m search results). Sucks, I know. But if I title it “Custom holiday ornament with initial,” I’m competing against 8.7m search results. And in my description, I’ll write “Christmas or holiday ornament can be customized with initials, monograms, names, images, and is a great unique gift for your loved ones.” Sounds wordy, but it works.
#2 Update Titles & Descriptions to a Certain Length
Anything too long or too short is suspected by search engines to be of low quality. There is a min and approximate max, and you are penalized with less opportunity to turn up in search results for it.
Action: Titles should be about 6 to 8 words (55 characters), with the most important words in the beginning. Descriptions should be at least 15 words (160 characters) with keywords described above in it, as that’s the snippet that gets viewed in search results so you want it to be enticing! Use natural language (the way you would normally talk or write) in your descriptions, including facts and statements to help viewers see the value of your product immediately.
#3 Give Your Images Captions with Keywords
A picture is worth a thousand words. More and more people are finding Shapeways products through image searches on search engines (i.e. Google, Bing, etc). Including a photo and a description with keywords will increase the likelihood it will get picked up in image searches (known as an “Alt text”).
Action: In the Details tab of your model, fill in the image caption with keywords, starting with the ones most relevant to your product. For example, for this ornament I created with Shapeways ornament creator, my caption is “Custom Christmas holiday ornament with organic design”
#4 Every Product is Unique, so its Title and Description Should Be Too!
Every model should have a unique title and description. Duplications are penalized by search engines because it assumes the viewer won’t have a good experience if there’s a lot of too-similar content. Unique titles and descriptions will help your products get shown by search engines.
Action: Give your product titles and descriptions. Your products are unique and their titles and descriptions should be too. little bit different is better than no difference at all.
#5 Your Shop Description is Prime for SEO Opportunity
Your shop page is full of opportunities for search engines to pick up, with your product and their titles, image alt text, and the robust area to write in a shop description.
Action: Update your Shop Description in your Shapeways Shop Settings with examples of your products types, your background and your expertise designing them. Feel free to elaborate on your designs and products, as the more relevant keywords on the page compared to non-relevant keywords, the better.
Bonus: Also add an extended description for your shop page.
Search engine optimization is a time-intensive and ever evolving process, but the key tenets are consistent: quality content, natural descriptions, and following basic guidelines will go a long way.
What keyword search do you wish you were the #1 result for?
Getting in the DIY spirit and want to hire a designer to bring your project to life? You’ve seen the directory of Designers for Hire, read about a designer you like, and now you’re ready to get started. Even if you’ve never hired a designer before, keeping the three C’s in mind is a good guide: Clarity, Communication and Cost.
Knowing what you want is half the project! The more specific you can be, the better chance you will get exactly what you want.
When talking about your idea, sketches, photos, Pinterest boards, magazine clippings and even screenshots of elements you like are all really helpful in communicating what you like. Photos are especially useful whether it be similar items that represent your idea or elements of different objects that you would like to incorporate.
It also helps to be specific about your preferred style, finishing touches and how your completed product will be used. If you know what material you would like the finished product to be made it, that helps immensely, as the 3D printing guidelines vary between materials and may influence the design itself.
If you’re still in the ‘concept’ phase (say if you are designing a new functional product) and are seeking project guidance or inspiration, be sure to choose a designer who has those skills listed as their specialty.
Designers are creative problem solvers. Once you have given them a clear outline of your requirements, let them do their creative thing and come up with creative solutions.
Designers are experts in bringing ideas to life, and most of this magic happens through effective communication. Throughout the creation process, it’s important to communicate openly and frequently with your designer to ensure that they have a clear understanding of what you want, and you know their schedule. They should be asking you just as many questions are you are listing specifics.
Throughout the process, be honest but polite. If your designer is making something that isn’t going in the direction you were imagining, let them know. Many designers are more than happy to modify their designs as long as they have clear direction. I recommend highlighting what you liked (the more specific the better) and exactly what they need to improve on. Don’t just say “I don’t like the hard edges”. Explain why: “The hard edges make it feel minimalist and modern, I am looking for a romantic, organic feel”. The latter statement is much more useful.
In the end, designers like being able to use their own creative judgment to improve ideas. So while it is important to be specific, leave them some space to work their magic to delight you.
Depending on your project, it may be a good idea to formalize your agreement in writing. This digital contract should include all of the specific details that you and the designer agreed upon, including timing and pricing.
Which brings us to the last and most important point: Money. Two things to keep in mind here are how much you are willing to spend and understanding the design process.
Part of having clarity around your idea is knowing how much are you comfortable spending. Three things to consider may help you get an estimate beforehand:
1. Finished product or 3D file? Do you want just a 3D printable file that you will upload and order yourself? Or do you want a finished item? Material cost comes into play here – if you want a silver ring, part of the cost will be made up of the silver itself, and part for the design.
2. Time and labor. Larger or more detailed projects can sometimes take more time to complete, and therefore cost more.
3. One of a kind design. If this is a one of a kind item, it’s not something that you could buy in a store even if you wanted to, so the price may be a little higher than you would expect. If you are working on a brand new product, it’s worth investing in a good design. There is really no way to put a price on how incredible it is to hold something that you imagined, so keep that in mind!
4. Similar items.To get a sense of the general cost of an item before you hire a designer, look for similar items and get a sense of the price. For instance, if you want to make a piece of jewelry, browse our jewelry category section to find a handful of custom items that are of a similar size and scope. The average cost of those items is often a good starting point for you to discuss your budget with a designer.
It also helps to understand the process. Designing is a process that takes time and effort. You may not be aware of all of the “behind the scenes” work that takes place including creative brainstorming, sketching, drafts, revisions and renders. Asking your designer about the process involved in making your specific idea will help you understand the level of work involved.
Communication is key here as well! Talk to your designer as some charge by the hour, some charge by project and the complexity of your design will influence this. The more detail you can give them, the better they are able to estimate a price for you.
3D printing gives us the unique ability to make custom things to order, helping you get exactly what you want, and not just what is available. While we at Shapeways do what we can to give access to the best materials at the lowest prices, ultimately the design is what sets a product apart, and this is where the skill lies. Translating an idea into a physical object is a designers skill, and this alchemy is worth paying for!
How you work with a designer comes down to your project but keeping in mind the Three C’s should help you minimize stress and get exactly what you want. Have you hired a designer on Shapeways? Tell us about it in the comments! If you are a designer, what other tips would you offer for potential clients?
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.
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.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has a very friendly policy with 3D scanning. The museum not only allows 3D scanning but they had design graduate student Decho Pituckcharoen create a guide book to help you learn how to do it properly. As a collaboration with the Met Media Lab, Decho created this friendly guide to help visitors do exactly that. Not only did he set about to create an accessible manual for visitors interested in digitizing the art but he also had to learn how to use the technology himself. It is this type of enabling research and sharing that we’d like to see more of.
Below we asked Decho a few questions about his process of designing for and explaining this new technology to beginners.
What is it about the 3D scanning process that made you want to make this guide book?
As a designer who has worked with print medium for a long time, I’m interested in 3D printing technology. Right away Don, the manager of media lab, introduced me to the 3D scanning software 123D catch, which isn’t exactly a scanning program but photogrametry, which is really easy to use. What I really need is just a digital camera or phone camera to take pictures of art piece and the software converts them to 3D models.
So, I did some research to find tutorials or how to use this technology to produce your own projects. Mostly the tutorials that I found were serious looking or had lots of text to read. That was when I had an idea that why don’t I make it friendlier than a usual one.
I got my inspiration from a simple IKEA instruction that lets pictures describe step by step of assembly. I think it would be a easier if users can understand how to use 3D scanning for their projects with user friendly information graphic that might be practical for non-tech savvy users to use. By combining simple 3D scanning software + user friendly instruction, I believe that my guide book will have a potential for anyone who is interested in 3D printing area.
Did you learn anything unexpected about working in 3D?
After scanning objects, 3D scanning software algorithm will calculate and simulate over all shapes for a 3D model. I was amazed that it actually filled and completed a part that I couldn’t scan. For example, on the very top past of a big and tall sculpture.
I also learned about digital 3D community while I was researching about my project. There are a tons of open source objects and projects that they share to us. For example, If I need a business card stand, I will just download it and print it out from my 3D printer. That is like a magic place to me to see many makers who want to contribute useful resources for us.
Do you think that being able to 3D scan will add value to a museum visitor’s experience?
I personally think that it will definitely add more benefits about educational purpose to visitors. They can scan objects form the museum and keep them into digital formats in order to study at home or everywhere else. Moreover, visitors can see art in different angles from 3D files that they can’t do in the museum. Therefore, they can observe more details about each art piece to use for their research.
After scanning, art piece from the museum can be presented to different formats. For example, story telling animation, interactive websites or kinetic figures that will be attractive to young audiences.
It’s true that seeing an actual art piece you can feel more authenticity, but for some audiences they don’t have a chance to go to have their own experience at the museum; for example, people who live abroad or disabilities. With 3D scanning technology, they can take advantage by seeing art pieces through virtual 3D world from everywhere or on the internet instead. More over, it will add more value to disabilities especially blind people since they can experience by touching shape and texture of each replica art piece that is scanned from the museum.
How do you imagine this scanning and printing technology will be used in the near future? say, in 10 years?
I imagine scanning and printing technology will be used to produce more and more objects with verity of new materials. Importantly, for medical profession filed that human organs can be reproduce with very fine details and quality. Maybe, It will be awesome that we can use 3D scanning to keep our identity instead of taking pictures on our ID cards. I predict that 3D printers and scanners will also be apart of household objects. they’ll be very portable. If you break something in your house, you can reproduce it again and again. I hope that 3D printing industry and community will grow bigger to wider audiences and people will think that it’s not a complicated things to learn and use.
For more info on digital happenings are the Met check out their Digital Underground Blog.
Submission are now open for you to submit your 3D prints to sell with SuperFanArt, the Shapeways and Hasbro collaboration to enable fans to make and sell designs based on Hasbro licensed brands.
As mentioned previously, SuperFanArt is now accepting anyone to submit their 3D printed designs based on Hasbro owned IP including:
- Dungeons & Dragons
- G.I. Joe
- My Little Pony
- Scrabble (to be sold in US and Canada only)
Full details and instructions for both new designers, and existing designs can be found on the Shapeways SuperFanArt page.
Most importantly, when you submit your design, please be sure to include the tag SuperFanArt so that we can find and include your submission. For inspiration, take a look at some of the submissions that we have received so far.
We can’t wait to see what you create!
When I started working at Shapeways earlier this year, I knew that I wanted to model something to make for sale in our marketplace. It had been years since I last tried my hand at 3d modeling, so I wanted to make something simple and practical that was something I would use on a day to day basis. I decided at last that I was going to model a keychain bottle opener.
I set out with a few small goals for my bottle opener: I want to be able to attach it to my keychain, must be able to print in our stainless steel and cast metals, and the base model must cost less than $30 to keep it within a reasonable price range to sell after my markup is added.
Initially I thought the process would be easy: make a quick model, upload to Shapeways, order a prototype for myself and make it for sale. As anyone who has created a product from scratch would know, it is never that simple. After firing up Blender and recalling how to 3d model I was fairly happy with my prototype: the model looked like a bottle opener, it had a hole in the handle to reduce material and add to a keychain. After then uploading to the site I realized that I broke one of initial goals: it cost around $35, more than my plan of under $30 . Back to the drawing board.
When making a 3d printed product the easiest way to reduce the cost of the product is to reduce the amount of material that is being printed. This can be done by making the product itself smaller or by removing material from the product, for example hollowing out a solid object. My bottle opener was already a little smaller in size than the bottle opener I already had attached to my keychain, so I was a little worried about making it smaller. However, I took another look at the design of the product and found a few places where I could easily remove some material in the handle and in the opener head. So I was able to remove a large portion of material from the handle while still keeping the overall shape of the model.
With version 2 ready, I upload and see that the price is now under $30, while still allowing the model to be printed in stainless steel and cast metals. Awesome! This is the part where I wanted to make my bottle opener for sale to the world and wait for people to start buying. However, working at Shapeways and all of the challenges with making sure products are printable and functional, I couldn’t just leave it there.
How do I know if this thing actually works? What if it is too small? What if it snaps in half when someone tries to use it? I had to order a prototype for myself first and check the integrity of the model. I ordered my first prototype in White Strong and Flexible Plastic, as it has a shorter lead time and is cheaper, making the prototyping process faster than with Stainless Steel.
After waiting about a week for my prototype to arrive I was ready to unbox and test. I checked the bottle opener all over for design imperfections. I held it in my hand and of course I tested it out on a bottle. I did not actually expect the plastic prototype to be able to open the bottle since the material is way too flexible (in fact the handle easily bent in my hand), but I needed to check was how it fit onto a bottle. Does it catch on to the cap how I expect? Unfortunately, this prototype did not. The opener was not curved enough to fit on the cap exactly as I would have liked, so back to the drawing board to curve the model up a little.
Great, version 3 now ready, back to the site to upload and check pricing and printability. Everything here is perfect again and in fact the price dropped slightly on this new version since curving the opener made the bounding box a little smaller. I again printed another prototype in White Strong and Flexible Plastic. Another week later I received the new prototype and gave it the same checking over I did the first. This time however, it fit much better on the bottle opener, perfect.
Now this is where I wanted to just enable the product for sale to all. I was able to print it, the design seems like it works and it is in the price I wanted. However all that I have done was still not enough. I needed to order a test print in the target material family I wanted to enable for sale. I knew the product would never cut it in the plastics, it would just bend and break, I needed to make sure the same thing didn’t happen when printed in Stainless Steel. So, I ordered the model again, this time in Stainless Steel and again waited for the prototype to arrive.
The Stainless Steel version in hand and now to give it the same, but more rigorous, checks as the previous 2 prototypes printed. The first and most important test I tried to do was bend it in half and luckily I failed. After trying and trying to break the product I finally gave in and decided to try and open a bottle with it. Success, works as advertised. I now have the final product I was looking for. Having the final working product ready I went right to my account and enabled the product for sale in all of the various offers of Stainless Steel.
I chose to make my product for sale just in the Stainless Steels as they share the same printing process, so I knew if one worked well and was printable that print success rate is shared among all stainless steel materials. I could have also made available for sale in the Precious Metals, but I was not confident in their ability to print and be functional without ordering a prototype for myself and the price of a test print in gold or platinum slightly higher than I was willing to spend. However, luckily enough for me, I had a co-worker who loved the design of my bottle opener and wanted to order it in Raw Bronze. I was a little worried since I have heard the material is softer than stainless steel, but my co-worker was more than willing to be the first to try my design in raw bronze.
A few weeks later after my co-worker received his print of the product we gave it a try. It looked beautiful! We were excited to try it out and we soon discovered remembered why it is important to test in many materials– the handle was too thin for bronze and bent the opener instead of opening the bottle. I felt bad that he went out of his way to help me try my product in a new material and it did not work. I wanted to fix it for not just him but anyone else who might want to purchase in one of the Precious Metals, so I went back to create a new version with a slightly thicker handle, I uploaded and ordered for myself in Raw Bronze to see if I fixed the issue.
Another few weeks later after receiving my new version in Raw Bronze, time to test. Unfortunately again the handle was too thin and it bent easily, less easily than the last, but still much more than anyone would want for a bottle opener. I then decided to give up on trying for the Precious Metals. It would be nice to be able to have my product printable in those materials I would have to again make the handle thicker to try and get it to work which would continue to raise the price of the model which was something I wanted to steer away from.
However, at last I now have what I am calling my final product. A design that meets all of the original goals I set out to accomplish which is also printable and functional for the end user. Even though I now have this “finished” product for sale I am not done quite yet. I am still awaiting for both good and bad feedback from shoppers on how I can continually iterate on this design to make the product better and better. You can see my final product here: Keychain Bottle Opener.
When I started this adventure I assumed having the idea was the hardest part of the process. I didn’t yet recognize all of the necessary steps for making a good product. Product development is not a linear process. It is iterative and usually requires more than one attempt to get everything perfect. This process can easily be both time consuming and expensive depending on what you are trying to make. I personally decided to take on this entire iterative trial and error design process by myself, but the good news is you do not have to go it alone. Now with features like Beta Products Shapeways is working to make that iterative process more collaborative between designers, shop owners and shoppers. As I found out, collaboration and feedback helped me make a better product. Have you bought a product on Shapeways and offered the designer feedback? For designers, how have you further refined a product based on user testing and feedback?
You may recall back in January, we announced our partnership with Adobe, who enabled 3D printing directly through Photoshop Creative Cloud to Shapeways.
Using this feature, artists, photographers, designers, and other Photoshop users can create and prepare designs for 3D printing.
Adobe has created two custom video tutorials to help you use Photoshop CC for 3D printing:
To get more hands-on, this Photoshop Creative Cloud Tutorial on 3D Printing is a three-part video course that takes you through an entire design-to-print project in Photoshop.
No matter what your level of design experience, we encourage you to check out the tutorials and give it a shot because they’re super informative and easy to follow.
We recently added Twitter to your Shop Owner profiles to allow you to share updates with your followers. You can have a shop/brand handle on your Shop page and your personal handle on your profile page. As the social media specialist at Shapeways, I believe that Twitter is an exciting platform for Shapeways Shop Owners and users to showcase work, market products, and generate conversation around your Shapeways Shop.
If you’re already on Twitter and follow @Shapeways, I’m often the eyes that get to see all of your tweets. My favorite part about Twitter is that it’s only 140 characters and it’s a great way to provide frequent updates to your followers. If you’re a Shop Owner or designer looking to tweet about your work, following these best practices for composing a tweet will significantly increase the likelihood of engagement (retweets, favorites, mentions, replies).
Here’s an example of a quality tweet by Brandon George, the owner of the Shapeways Shop 3by3D. Let’s breakdown what makes this tweet a great tweet in my opinion.
1) It includes a quality photo relevant to his tweet. Everyone is competing for eyeballs on your Twitterfeed so having a attractive visual image in your tweet gets twice the response rate than a tweet without a photo.
2) The tweet uses hashtags like #Flower #mensfashion #Style which relate to the product being promoted, and using popular hashtags increases the chance of exposure of your for people searching for that hashtag.
3) The tweet includes a shortened URL linking back to his Shapeways Shop where interested followers seeing the tweet can be directed to find his shop.
(Shop Owner Jeremy Mallin tweets about his Mobius Cinquefoil Knot Pendant)
I plan to continue to share more social media tips and tricks to help the Shapeways community win on social. In the meantime I can be reached at email@example.com if anyone needs any advice on social media strategy.
Remember to tweet your best tweets forward and you can engage with us on all of our other social media channels below!
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Shapeways
Follow us on Instagram: http://instagram.com/shapeways
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Shapeways
Find us on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/shapeways
Subscribe to us on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Shapeways
Follow us on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/shapeways
If you are active on Facebook, joining a 3D printing or 3D modeling group would be a great way to show off your work on Shapeways, share ideas, or find inspiration through what others are doing.
Facebook is the largest social networking site on the planet and is a goliath platform for engaging and interacting with people who share the same interest and hobbies that you do. One of the very early features of Facebook prior to the fan page were Facebook groups. There are still millions active of Facebook groups out there which you can join and be part of to interact with people around the world who share common interests.
By doing a simple search on Facebook you can find a list of groups that best fit your interest. Before joining a group be sure to read the “about” section of the group to make sure you know the rules for posting and participating on the group.
Joining a 3D modeling group is a great way to show off your 3D designs and get feedback from the fellow members in the group. It’s a great way to see what people think of your work before you upload your work to Shapeways.
Think of Facebook groups as an open platform like our Shapeways forum where collaboration and discussion related to 3D printing is encouraged.
How are you currently showcasing your shop and 3D printed work on social media? Let us know! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check this this video from Facebook about finding your niche because whatever you’re into, somewhere out there is a group for you.
Have you been pondering 3D modeling something but afraid to take the plunge? Unsure of where to start or what programs to use?