Shapeways now has hundreds of thousands of 3D models just waiting to be 3D printed. Sometimes it can be a little hard to find exactly what you are looking for (unless you design it for yourself). Giving your design a descriptive title will help people find your product in both Shapeways and Google search, adding your model to a category is essential to them appearing in the galleries and adding tags makes it easier for people to discover products around a very specific theme.
To help make it worth your while to head in and tag your products, we are going to feature a new tag every Tuesday, and so, Tag Tuesday is born. This week we are featuring products tagged meme.
Sketchup is a great choice if you're new to 3D modeling: it's free, easy to learn and there are TONS of free tutorials available. Even so, you may need to know a few things before you can get your models 3D printed.
Categories & Tags. How can you help us help you get discovered in search? Categories and tags! On the model edit page, under the material picker, you can choose two categories to put your model into, and then create an infinite number of tags.
Categories are the indisputable "what" that defines a product, and they are mutually exclusive or at least have one primary purpose. Tags will still be used to share other attributes, like the occasion (e.g., holidays, gifts), suggested recipient (e.g., for him, for her, for mom), qualities (e.g., geeky, whimsical), or even potential uses (e.g., driving, photography). The wider the net you can cast, the more potential buyers you can catch!
Two great examples are jewelry and homewares. For a bracelet you would choose the categories Jewelry and Bracelets and then create tags to describe them: the color, the style and who they might appeal to.
Best Practice Examples. Kevin Wei has done a great job with the Cosma Silver Bangle using these tags: art, arabesque, architecture, facet, filigree, floral, lace, lattice, mosaic, romantic, silver, white, Valentine's day. These tags describe his design, and even suggest which occasion it might be appropriate for.
For a coffee cup, the categories For Your Home and Dining are perfect. For the Aero Cup, Kioro Design has used these tags to cover a broad range of searches: art, for your home, dining, ceramics, coffee cup, cup, espresso cup.
The more tags you use, the more likely someone looking for something like your product will find you. It is not redundant to use both the tags coffee cup and espresso cup, it just increases the chances that someone will find it in search, either on the Shapeways site or using a search engine like Google.
Do you have any other tips for getting found in search? Any questions? Feel free to share them here!
Stay tuned for next week's tip: the role of personalization and custom gifts in 3D printing.
Welcome to Design for 3D Printing 101: Intro to Design for 3D Printing.
When you are designing for 3D printing there are two main factors that you really need to take into account before you start.
What application to design with
What material you are designing for
In this first introductory session, we are going to look at choosing the right type 3D modeling software.
There are now many 3D modeling applications you can use to 3D model your designs to 3D Print, ranging from very expensive professional engineering software to free online tools to get you started. Choosing the right software is an important first step in ensuring you can realize your ideas with 3D printing.
If you want to create organic, sculptural forms and characters to 3d Print, you may want to start with freeform surface modeling software. This modeling process represents the surface of the object, not its volume. With this method you will manipulate the surface of the model to create the form with points and curves. This gives you the freedom to do flowing forms, but can sometimes make it harder to achieve tight tolerances if your design is made to integrate an external object.
If you are looking to engineer a product (or robot) for 3D Printing, you are better off using Solid Modeling Software. This process defines the volume of the object you wish to model, by creating solid geometry, which you then modify by extruding or cutting away mass. The "Design for 3D Printing 101" image above was modeled using TinkerCad, a browser based 3D modeling application with drag and drop functionality to make it very easy to get started.
You can of course experiment with each to to find what works best for you, but often the tools within the application are designed for a specific kind of geometry. There is a relatively steep learning curve when you start to learn to 3D model, but once you hold your first design in your hand, it makes those challenges a pleasure.
There are a number of free applications in each type that you may want to download and play around with to get a feel, watch tutorial on YouTube and ask questions in the Shapeways forums as there is a wealth of knowledge within the Shapeways community.
In the next Design for 3D Printing 101, we will look a little closer at some of the 3D modeling software options available to get you started 3D printing.
This week we'll be sharing suggestions on function and form, namely how to choose the right materials for your products. If you are making a product for yourself, it's great to have unlimited choice and to be able to experiment with various materials. But if someone is buying your product, you want to help them choose the best material for your product so they have the best experience possible. For example, your customer probably wouldn't want a ceramic iPhone case or a wedding ring in Frosted Ultra Detail...
To get started, when you upload your model to your shop, all materials are automatically
enabled. It is important to check if all the materials are
appropriate. Ask yourself:
1. Does my design meet the design rules for this material? 2. Would this product make sense in this material? 3. Do I have all materials selected still? If so, can I help customers decide by limiting the choices?
To select materials for your product, the easiest thing to do is to make a material selection when you are editing your product page for markup, description, or other details.
Overall, there are three things to keep in mind: design with the material in mind, use images that reflect the material options, and less is more.
Every Product Page on Shapeways has a Favorite button to the right so that you can let designers know just how awesome they are. The Wishlist Button helps you to keep track of the 3D Printed goodness you want to have and hold. Clicking either button will send love to the Feed, so everyone can see what 3D Printed products are popular at any one point in time. Let's take a look at the 10 most popular 3D printed designs for the past week in order of popularity from number 10 up to number 1.
There's one thing that a Shapeways shop owner loves (almost) as much as sales, and that is data. A few weeks ago we introduced an improved 'My Sales' page. Today, we're improving the Sales Overview Download (XLS) and it is full of data. The Sales Overview Download (XLS) is going to allow you to see exactly what models you're selling in which material, when it has shipped, and which country it was shipped to. With this data you will be able to create your own shop analytics which can help you improve the performance of your shop.
We will of course be improving the tools on your Shapeways Shop page to make it much easier for you to have insight into what is selling in your shop so you can optimize for sales.
We first launched our Material Sample Kit over two years ago and much has changed since then. We have more metals, more colors, more finishes with MUCH more to come. To make room for all of these new materials we are introducing a whole new range of 3D Printing Material Sample Kits to Shapeways.
The Basic Kit for $29.99 will replace the current kit and contain:
White Strong Flexible (nylon)
Full Color Sandstone
Black Detail (Acrylic)
Frosted Ultra Detail (Acrylic)
You will also receive $25 3D Printing Coupon to get you started with the new materials.
The Colors & Finishes Kit priced at $19.99 is for you to get your hands on the latest colors and finishes (hence the name) including:
White Detail (Acrylic)
Polished White Strong Flexible (Nylon)
Black Strong Flexible (Nylon)
Along with our range of colored strong flexible (Nylon) including:
The Metals Kit for $79.99 includes a range of our metal finishes including:
Polished Bronze Stainless Steel
Polished Gold Plated Stainless Steel
For each material in each pack you will also receive a material detail card with specifications, limitations and recommendations. This, along with the samples will help you to design for each specific material.
As we roll out with new materials and colors over the coming months we will include them to the relevant sample pack and you will be able to order each sample individually to add them to your sample kit.
Short answer, no, 3D Printed nylon is not microwave safe.
We were testing the water fastness of our dying process, the usual office experiments of soaking it in a glass of hot water for a couple of days (looking good) and then we wanted to dry it quickly, but maybe we dried it a little too quickly.
As per the WSF material page the 3D printed nylon is dishwasher safe and heat resistant to 80c / 176f degrees, clearly the microwave was a little hotter....
Sorry for melting your Rodin Pendant Nat, I will print you another one..
If you submit a link to your design on Reddit you have the chance of exposing your designs to thousands of people and increasing the sales in your Shapeways shop. We know of one Shapeways user who made the daily average of their annual salary in one day of sales on Shapeways when their design was going viral on Reddit....
We look forward to seeing your designs on Reddit soon.
TinkerCad is a perfect tool to get started designing for 3D Printing thanks to it's drag and drop capabilities. Because it is browser based you never need to download or update the software. You always have the latest version.
Thanks again to the team at TinkerCad for putting the video together...
We have updated the downloadable files for customization now that we have been able to test the fit, especially around the corners for the iPhone 5, the case can be downloaded here, and the bumper here.