Category Archives: Community

Introducing RUSH 2 & 3 Day Production on Shapeways Regular White Strong and Flexible Plastic!

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Have you ever wished your 3D prints would arrive faster? That you could order on a Tuesday and receive parts the same week? Today we have some very exciting news for you:

Introducing RUSH 2 & 3 Day Production on Shapeways Regular White Strong and Flexible Plastic!

You’ve convinced us to give it a try. You’re all invited to sign up for our Rush Pilot! Anyone can sign up, and we’ll slowly let users over the coming weeks in accordance with our capacity. You’ll be notified via email when you’re in.

Important Details about 2 & 3 Day Rush:

  • Rush offering is for unpolished White Strong & Flexible only with a bounding box < 150x150x200mm

  • Target Ship Day for North America, Australia, and New Zealand:  Leaves our factory in 3 business days for orders made before 2pm CET / 8am EDT. Orders placed after that time will be counted towards the next business day.

    • i.e. Order placed on Tuesday 7am EDT, parts are shipped end of day Friday. Order placed on Thursday 4pm EDT, parts are shipped EOD following Wednesday.

  • Target Ship Day For All Other Geographies: Leaves our factory in 2 business days for orders made before 2pm CET / 8am EDT. Orders placed after that time will be counted towards the next business day.

    • i.e. Order placed on Tuesday 7am EDT, parts are shipped end of day Thursday. Order placed on Thursday 4pm EDT, parts are shipped EOD following Tuesday.

  • Rush orders are twice the price of regular WSF (pricing may change in the future)

  • You can use the  ‘Print it Anyway’ option along with Rush if you choose.

  • Beta users will have a rush option added to checkout flow. All rush parts will need to placed in a separate shopping cart in order for the rush option to appear.

  • Check the material status page before you order to make sure we have capacity before placing your rush order. This is an experiment, and we physically have a daily-maximum volume capacity for Rush.  While we will always do our best to make it happen, we may not always have room to accommodate your order. If you place an order that we won’t be able to deliver on time, customer service will reach out so you can cancel your order and place it again as regular White Strong & Flexible.

  • To ensure your order arrives as fast as possible, you still need to select Next-Day-Shipping (or fastest available) in your region.

What do you look forward to making faster with RUSH?


 

Five Social Media Tactics That Will Drive Traffic And Sales For Your Shapeways Products

We all want more sales and exposure for our Shapeways business and products but in order for that to happen we have to put in the effort to make it happen. Social Media has made selling and marketing online so much easier in the digital age, and with the right tactics and practice you can begin seeing sales and traffic to your Shapeways products increase immediately. In this blog post I will highlight five specific tactics and channels that will help get you in the mindset of being your own sales person and sales lead generator.

1) Facebook Fan page direct Messaging

Whether you’re selling miniatures, jewelry, figurines, or tech accessories there are Facebook fan pages and brand pages associated with that specific product category. By doing a simple search on Facebook and filtering out your search to “pages” you will see a list of fan pages. From those search results you can find a blog fan page that might be interested in sharing your content. In this case I will use my Thorgi as an example, I searched “Corgi” on Facebook, filtered out the pages related to Corgis and began direct messaging the fan page owner asking in a kind and respectful way if they would be interested in sharing my 3D printed product with their audience. It’s ok if you don’t get a response back or they say no. My philosophy for why we share on social media is that we tend to share content that makes us look good to our audience. If the content you’re asking them to share isn’t relevant or interesting, don’t be offended if it doesn’t get shared.

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2) Creating albums and uploading your photos to Imgur

Imgur is a online photo hosting service where users can upload their photos and create photo albums that can be easily shared across the internet. With a click of a button you can upload your product photos to Imgur, share with the Imgur community, and then share across your own social media channels, and Reddit. Sharing Imgur photos and albums is now the preferred way to share photos on Reddit which is a great platform to drive hundreds to thousands of visits to your Shapeways product page. Here is my previous blog post for Reddit best practices for showcasing your work.

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3) Instagram – Search hashtag and Comment

Instagram is becoming more and more a platform where brands and small businesses go to attract shoppers. By searching the right hashtags and commenting on relevant photos, you can go straight to your customer and make a direct sale. In this example I will use my Tardigrade as an example, I searched #Tardigrade and found hundreds of photos of die hard Tardigrade fans. I began commenting on a few photos letting these Tardigrade fans know I made the World’s first 3D printed Tardigrade and before you know it users were commenting on the photo of my Tardigrade and buying them a few days later. A important tip for promoting your products on instagram, when someone comments on your photo and says things like “This is awesome” or “I need this”, they have expressed interest in purchasing and it is YOUR job to ask for the sale and engage those users letting them know where to find and buy your product.

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4) YouTube Influencers and unboxing videos 

Youtube is the largest platform for video content creators. In this previous blog post I speak on the importance of having a engaging product video to showcase and sell the product. A tactical way to get your product seen by thousands of potential shoppers is to reach out to a Youtube channel relevant to your niche and contact them about featuring your product whether that’s through a giveaway, unboxing video, or product review video. You can find Youtube influencers simply by doing a simple search on Youtube, browsing their channel, and often times their business contact information is on their Youtube channel information page under “contact”. Here is an example of a product review done by Scott Manley on 3D printed dice designed by Avandius.

 

5) Product browsing website outreach

A great way to get your products seen by shoppers is to get your products featured on sites where shoppers browse products in a form of entertainment. One of my favorite sites to browse cool and interesting products for geeks are ThisIsWhyImBroke, DudeIWantThat, CoolThingsAddicted, and Nerd Approved. There are hundreds of them out there for your specific niche that if you were to reach out with a great product design it might get featured. A great way to get in contact with the editors of those websites is through their contacts page or following tactic #1 on this blog post.

 

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Give these new marketing tips and tricks a try and you just might see a big increase in exposure, awareness, and sales for your 3D printing business. If you haven’t done so already read my previous blog post on how to make each social media platform work for you and your Shapeways business here.


 

Shapeways Crew: a dynamic, worldwide 3D printing community

Shapeways Crew is a group of Shapeways community members who exemplify all that we stand for: they are creative, inspiring, helpful to others, and a lot of fun! We launched this initiative mid- 2014 and I’m excited to share more about what we have accomplished so far!

Shapeways Crew members share skills, ideas and inspiration through regular online hangouts, at in-person events and in a private Facebook group. They also showcase their knowledge and products through writing blog posts, tutorials and hosting and attending events on behalf of Shapeways and get the inside track on all that’s new here. Here’s a look at this talented group of people accomplished in 2014: 

Shapeways Community 3D printing Crew

Are you someone who is excited and inspired by the possibilities of 3D printing? Do you want to share what you have made and learned with others around the world and attend events on behalf of Shapeways? Sign up for Crew here – we’d love to have you aboard! 


 

#SWPaws: The Cutest Downtime in History

Did you notice the flood of cute creatures in the Shapeways social media feeds over the last 10 days? Did you catch yourself smiling at some #SWPaws?

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On December 20th our Data Center had unexpected issues that shut our site and many others down. While this was a very unfortunate and unexpected occurrence, we seized the opportunity and asked our wonderful community to share their #SWPaws during our “pause.” The results were unreal, you literally shared 100′s of your animals in just a few hours! The Grand Prize went to Kai, the Reindeer and Santa, when they visited our factory on Christmas Eve as a result of this campaign. You can search #SWPaws on Instagram, twitter and facebook to see all the entrants, and find multiple curations on our tumblr page.

Shante, the bearded dragon seen in the Christmas hat above and below here with all his 3D printed friends won First Place in our contest. The creativity and 3D Printing combined in these photographs delighted our whole office. Thanks to Michael Molaticho for submitting these!

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John Allwine‘s pup was as confused with the snow as we were with our Data Center! This sweet face earned John & Maggie 2nd Place.

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We haven’t forgotten our feline friends, and coming in 3rd is the adorable kitty posted by Richard Vagen. Meeoooowwwww!

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I’d also like to give an Honorable Mention special shout out to Jeremy Burnich of Joy Complex for hacking his branding to fit the occasion. Great job, Jeremy! Winners: If I haven’t gotten ahold of you through facebook please shoot me an email, Savannah@Shapeways.com to redeem your prize!

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And here are some more just for fun:

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Cutest-Paws

 

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That face, though…

 

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This is linky.

 

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Yes, Gregory Wheeler even shared his Red Cherry Shrimp and 3D Printed Star Citizen Space Helmet!

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Just because the site works now doesn’t mean #SWPaws stops! It was such a hit, we’ll pick a #SWPaws winner every month, so keep those cuties coming! Remember, bonus points for 3D prints in the photo.

Which paws were your favorite?

 


 

2014 in Review: Shapeways Community 3D Printing Stories

What was your 2014 3D Printing Highlight? There are so many great Shapeways stories to tell from 2014, the team here has had a hard time narrowing it down for our Year in Review. Really, what matters to us is what mattered to you! We asked the community what their 3D Printing highlights of 2014 were, and here are some of your great responses:

Inspiring Quotes from Top Shop Owners:

The entrepreneurial mind behind Joy Complex and 3D RacetracksJeremy Burnich, saw his business grow and had “sales every month!”

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He also noted, Small Business Bootcamp was definitely a highlight for me personally. Was amazing to be in a room with so much talent and knowledge in one place. The HP color printing announcement was pretty exciting. Looking forward to seeing how that pans out for HP and Shapeways.”

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Corretta Singer, who lives in Jamaica but somehow managed to meet up with us in London on our UK roadshow and in New York City also agreed, “Shapeways Small Business Bootcamp was Awesome.” Corretta is the Queen of the Caribbean as the regions top Shop Owner and as an island hopping 3D evangelist and educator.

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For Shop Owner and beloved forum moderator Stony Smith, it was hitting an important Shop milestone “September 5th, 2014: 5000th unit sold.” Full steam ahead, Stony!

Fernando Sosa, a Shapie veteran, launched a new Shop and brand this year, Political Sculptor. He confirmed 2014 was “the birth of 3D Printed Political Satire,” all starting with his hilarious Chris Christie Bridgegate Sculpt.

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Gil Rivera, a rising Shapeways star said “being recognized by the white house! also being selected as a Shapeways “designer for hire!” were his Shapeways highlights. Some of ours too, Gill!

Quotes From and About the Wonderful Maker Community:

I am a closet anatomy nerd and when I read Rachel Case’s tweet it gave me chills. Her highlight was “making custom brain jewelry for my neuroscientist wife — from an MRI scan of her brain!” 

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Rachel was so inspired by the experience, she even opened up a Shop! Good thing Valentines day is on the way (hint hint, babe).

For many, it’s about 2014 was the year they introduced their friends to Shapeways. Shapie legend Ryan Kittleson was one such example, “A lot of my friends already know how to do 3D modeling, so it was only natural that they get involved with printing their work on shapeways.” Also, he added, “getting that Shapeways package in the mail is like Christmas day any time of the year!” Much Agree, Ryan.

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Mark Greenwood, an Englishmen and avid coffee drinker needed a serious solution when the bracket that holds the milk in his refrigerator broke. His highlight was “designing and 3D printing the bracket to help keep milk in the fridge!” An ingenious Shapeways hack, Mark, nice work. He was even kind enough to blog about the experience. 

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Chic Testimonials from the Front Lines of Digitally Fabricated Fashion:

For Alexis Walsh, her 2014 3D Printing Highlight was “exhibiting the SPIRE DRESS at 3D Printshow London and 3D Printshow Paris. Designed by me & @rossleonardy

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Alexis and Ross used our White Strong and Flexible Plastic and made the dress out of 400 individual pieces!

Designed by Isis was most excited by “the birth of my lily bracelet” this year. We can see why!

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Quotes About the Gift of Giving Custom, Personal Gifts Through 3D Printing:

Many of you know the magic of giving a 3D Printed gift and this time of year we’re lucky enough to hear many of them. This one from Thom May was particularly fun. “I made this figurine of my niece and gave it to my sister for xmas. seemed like a hit!” We were also happy to hear that appreciates the quality, it came out great! the printed steel is so cool: definitely anxious to try more!”

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One of my favorites comes from Tommy Serrien on Twitter, who said that his highlight was “the face of my girlfriend when i gave her these one of a kind 3D Printed earrings! :-) We know the feeling, Tommy!

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What was your 3D Printing Highlight of 2014? Share yours in the comments here or with us on twitter @shapeways for a chance to be featured on an upcoming blog.


 

Santa Visits Shapeways Factory, Brings Reindeer and 3D Printed Swag

Posted by in Community

This isn’t a marketing stunt. This is story is so unbelievable and so magical, I know no other way to present it than to lay out the facts before you and let you marvel in their fun.

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Photos by Silas Pelsmaeker, whom I thank for being able to do this so last minute and so early in the morning. 

On Saturday, when our website unfortunately went down due to data center issues out of our control, I asked you all to share your #SWPaws. Dozens upon dozens of great animals photos streamed in through our social media channels, immediately turning our frowns upside down. One such photo, from our new friend Roel, featured Kai, the Reindeer and the “Boss” (Santa) wearing a Shapeways 3D Printed belt buckle and hat broach inspired by Kai.

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Santa’s Kai Inspired 3D Printed Belt Buckle in Gold Matte Steel

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Santa Models His 3D Printed Hat Broach in Gold Matte Steel

I was elated! This was unbelievable! I know more than most how delightful our community is, but even I never could have anticipated that we had printed swag for Santa and his Reindeer! I had to know more, so I asked Roel where they were located and how exactly this photo came to be.

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Photo Roel Ruwaard posted to our Facebook Page for #SWPaws

Turns out, Roel, Santa and Kai all live only an hour away from our factory in Eindhoven, in The Netherlands! On top of that, Roel informed me that Kai is actually quite portable, and that they would love to come visit our factory sometime. Mind blown, I immediately reached out Ruud, a priceless member of our European team. He was just as astounded as I, and we immediately began plotting what had the potential to be the greatest Christmas miracle in Shapeways history.

We knew we had to act fast. It was now the wee hours of Sunday, December 21st and we knew Kai & Santa’s schedule’s had to be packed. After our initial attempts to get ahold of Roel failed, Ruud reached out personally on facebook and managed to schedule a call.  Tuesday morning Ruud and Roel connected, and in one fateful chat, the dreams of many Shapies came true. Turns out Santa and Kai were ecstatic about the invitation to the factory, and were willing to carve out two hours early this morning, make the drive, and come by to spread some Christmas cheer.

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Santa Getting Ready for the Big Shoot at our Eindhoven, Netherlands Factory.

At 7am today, Ruud welcomed Santa and Kai to our factory. Kai was very comfortable around people and heavy machinery, not surprising given his work at Santa’s factory. In a rare inside look, Santa prepared for his big day in our distribution center, is there a more fitting place to get in the sleigh riding zone?

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Santa Putting on the Finishing Touches to his Ensemble

They were then given the full tour, and did a VIP pickup of Shapeways holiday gifts. They even let us have this epic photo shoot in front of our biggest Strong & Flexible Plastic printers as they selectively laser sintered away. Has Santa ever been more high tech or hip?

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Sleigh Packed to the Brim in Front of our Biggest 3D Printers

Ruud was nice enough to Skype me in for a chat with the big man, too!

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On Skype with Santa, Kai and Ruud from Shapeways HQ in New York City – Can You Tell How Happy We Are?

Their special sleigh loaded to the brim, Santa and his reindeer slipped out the back and on to the rest of their Christmas Eve pickups, leaving a factory full of Shapeways employees simply enchanted. 

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To think that this beautiful experience arose from unexpected site downtime is unreal. It is truly a testament to the incredible individuals that make up the Shapeways community. You, yes YOU, and Kai, and Roel, and everyone else our service and products touch, define the Shapeways spark. Christmas Eve is historically special for us all, as we wait to hear stories about the thousands of Shapeways powered packages under trees around the world. Today, however, is one we’ll never forget:

As we look to the sky,
Hoping to catch sight of Santa’s great sleigh,
We can turn to our loved ones,
And let them know where he started this day…

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A admittedly misty eyed, very proud, Shapeways Global Community Manager here, hoping some of this same magic may reach you this holiday season.

From all of us at Shapeways,

Merry Christmas to All!

A very special Thank You to Roel Veldhuyzen for originally posting these one of a kind #SWPaws, Santa for following up and making the journey (also named Roel Ruwaard), Kai the Reindeer, Ruud, and entire Eindhoven team for being just as big of children as I inside and working hard to make this magic happen at the last Christmas minute. You can learn more about Kai and Roel’s awesome animal family (and how to meet them) here.


 

Call for Shapeways 3D Printing Stories: Share Yours!

Do you have a Shapeways story to tell? Has something you made an impact on someone else? Have you learned something you think others would benefit from? Now is the time to let us know. Consider this your official invitation to share your #SWStories for a chance to be featured on the website and win Shapeways credit. Have a story you’d like to share with us but don’t want the world to know? That’s okay too, just check the anonymous box :) .

Share your Shapeways Story!

Every year you never cease to amaze us, and this past Saturday was no exception. In an effort to keep the positive holiday spirit up despite our site downtime, we asked you to share your #SWPaws. I’ll be recapping the experience in full later this week, but here’s a story I cannot wait to share with you any longer.

Meet Kai, a Reindeer in the The Netherlands. He’s here with the “boss,” who has a 3D printed Kai inspired belt buckle and hat broach. Yes, this is real, and more importantly it is a story we never would have heard about if we hadn’t asked you to share.

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So please, tell us what we don’t know :) .

(If you’re just dying to see some more #SWPaws, you can take a peak here)


 

Nervous System Creates Kinematics Dress 3D Printed by Shapeways & Acquired by MoMA

Today we are excited to unveil an amazing dress designed by Nervous System and 3D printed at our New York City factory. Using Kinematics – Nervous System’s 4D printing system that creates complex, foldable forms composed of modules – designers Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg created a completely wearable dress that prints in one single folded piece. It is made of thousands of panels connected by hinge joints and fluidly folds and conforms to the body as it is worn. Both the dress and Kinematics software have been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art for their permanent collection.

We’ve been working closely with Nervous System since 2009. They have been instrumental in showing the world the potential of 3D printing with their beautiful designs, and in helping us push the limits of our production capabilities and design guidelines. This dress definitely pushes the limits of what’s possible today. Given the file size and complexity, our 3D printing engineers worked with Jessica and Jesse to plan the build and closely check for printability before it went into production. The dress, while folded, is still a relatively large print and required a longer build time than our normal production process (44 hours!)…so we really only had one shot.

Our CEO Pete likes to say, shoot for the stars and you’ll reach the moon. In this case, we definitely reached the stars. Congrats to Jessica and Jesse. You guys have thrown down the gauntlet in what’s possible with 3D printing.

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Kinematics Dress in motion. Image courtesy of Nervous System

We spoke with Jessica to hear more about the inspiration behind this dress and what she thinks the future of 3D printed fashion is…

How did the Kinematics Dress come about?

We first prototyped the idea for Kinematics on our Makerbot as a way to print something flat that could become three dimensional and wearable. We loved the materiality and movement of the hinged triangular components. Our first thought was that it would be amazing to produce something larger, like an entire dress, with this system on our little desktop printer. We quickly realized that making an entire dress out of tons unique 8” panels that would have to be flattened for printing and then assembled was crazy. There would be more work in the design process to panelize the dress and lots of manual labor to put it together. So we flipped the idea on its head. Instead of using the flexibility of the design to make something three dimensional that is produced flat, we simulate the movement in the computer to take something very large and 3D and make it flatter and more compact, so it can be 3D printed in one piece.

What was your inspiration?

This project really started from the limitations and opportunities of 3D printing. We were thinking about how we could harness the ability of 3D printers to make interlocking parts and very complex structures to create customized wearables.

In general, all our work is inspired by how patterns and forms emerge in nature. We take a systems approach to design. We don’t craft individual objects; instead, we create architectures for growing, sculpting or generating whole families of designs. For this project, we were more interested in designing a process and material than a garment.

In terms of other garments, we were definitely influenced by Janne Kyttanen and Jiri Evenhuis’s 3D printed chainmail dress. It set the standard for 3D printed garments not only by being the first but also by being one of the only ones that appears wearable and textile-like in its construction. If we were going to create a dress it was certainly going to a durable, comfortable, wearable piece. We were also inspired by the work of Issey Miyake, which often explores folding and structure in fashion.

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An x-ray view rendering showing the hinges which structure a Kinematics design. Image courtesy of Nervous System

What are the benefits of the Kinematics approach versus traditional modeling?

Kinematics represents a new approach to manufacturing, which tightly integrates design, simulation, and digital fabrication to create complex, customized products. Our approach is completely different from traditional modeling and CAD software. The whole system is built up around the logic of a mechanism, in this case a hinge, which has been optimized for 3D printing and whose behavior we can simulate. Users interact with kinematics at a high level through an online design tool that lets them sculpt clothing shapes and “paint on” density and styles. Meanwhile, in the background the system is taking care of generating and connecting together all the geometry with our hinge mechanism. At the end of the design process, we have a 3D-printable piece of clothing made of thousands of panels interconnected by hinges. Rather than just ending up with big heavy file containing a bunch of “dumb” geometry, we end up with a smart structure that we understand as rigid panels connected by hinges. Because we understand the behavior of the geometry, we can use simulation to compress it down for efficient 3D printing.

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Kinematics Dress. Image courtesy of Nervous System

What do you see for the future of 3D printing in clothing and fabrics?

We are particularly intrigued by how 3D printing applies to clothing in two areas: new meta-fabrics and customization.

Additive manufacturing has to ability to create very complex structures. In the world of clothing and fabrics, this is particularly intriguing because we are already talking about constructed materials. Fabrics produced from fibers that are aggregated and connected to create cloth with certain properties. For instance, knit cotton has stretch and woven cotton does not. Typically these material properties are constant throughout a whole piece of fabric. With 3D printing, we can start to create really weird fabric-like assemblages or mashups. We can print a textiles with gradations of material properties like stretch, flex, warmth, color, etc.

3D printing also favors the production of hyper-customized, one of a kind goods. We will see more apps like Kinematics that create custom-fit clothing and accessories from body data.

How does this fit into your broader collection?

Nervous System’s goal is to use computation and new fabrication techniques to make products that push the boundaries of what is possible. Most of our work starts with an inspiration from nature that eventually is translated into some sort of digitally fabricated, customized product. In this project, we actually started on the other end, being inspired by the technology itself and ultimately creating our own material system and form generating process.

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Kinematics Dress. Image courtesy of Nervous System

How did MoMA get involved?

We met Paula Antonelli, the Senior Curator of Architecture & Design of the Museum of Modern Art, at an event this year where were demoing an early version of Kinematics Cloth app and displaying our Kinematics Bodice. She expressed interest in acquiring a Kinematics Dress for the MoMA collection… the only problem was we hadn’t made one yet. There were actually a number of design and technological hurdles we had to overcome before we could make a full dress. Even up to the last moment, just days before they needed it, we weren’t sure we would be able to deliver their final piece.

What’s next for Kinematics?

There are a lot of possible directions for Kinematics including new products, improved software and incorporating different mechanisms and structures. We’re doing more material experiments to explore how different types of connections can lead to different fabric behaviors. There are also still many improvements we can make to our folding algorithm to increase speed, accuracy and generality for other shapes. Another avenue we’d like to explore is creating a locking joint that would allow us to print a folded object that would snap into a rigid configuration when unfolded.


 

Shapeways Celebrates You This Small Business Saturday

Did you know today is Small Business Saturday? A day focused on supporting your community and the independent businesses within that. Online small businesses count too, and that’s why today is my favorite of this wild holiday weekend. There is a lot to celebrate today, alongside the over 22,000 small business owners powered by Shapeways 3D Printing. Remind your friends and family when they shop from you store on Shapeways, not only are the getting a great deal this weekend, they’re also supporting the maker movement and the small businesses within that.

Learn more about the people behind Shapeways 3D Printing powered businesses through our Designer Spotlight series. Celebrate your creative independence and remind others to #ShopSmall! What small business on Shapeways is your favorite?

 


 

Video: iPhone 6 Case Semi-Finalists Reviewed, Finalists Announced!

Remember that iPhone 6 3D Printed Case Contest we hosted a few weeks ago? We waited to print the cases until the backlog of repricing orders had been cleared, and finally have them in-hand! I took the time to review the top 10 semi-finalists, and am proud to announce the final four. Everyone who participated did a great job, but like all initial prototypes, some need a few design adjustments to be ready for the main stage.

Curious as to which cases are making their way to Ethan Imboden at Frog Design in California for final review? You’ll have to watch the video to find out:

Now that you’ve seen them, which case would you like for your phone?


 

The Best 3D Printed Gifts For Geeks

Are you looking for the perfect unique gift for a geeky friend or loved one (or even yourself)? Look no further than Shapeways this holiday season. If you’re like me, a tech geek who is experiencing electronics overload and is looking for a cool geeky gift to buy this year that doesn’t run of batteries, I’d suggest exploring a 3D printed product this year. I’ve taken the time to curate some cool 3D printed products that any geek would love this year. Here are my picks!

1) A Personalized 3D printed Wire Frame Astronaut by VidalCris

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2) Mobius Nautilus by JoaBaldwin

Why not give the gift of a Mobius Strip of Mobius strips?

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3) Wave by Egant - Wave is a toy that can unexpectedly transfer liquid using the physics of a syphon.

4) Wyvern Skeleton by Brian Richardson

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5) Stereographic projection grid by Henry Segerman

Do yourself a favor this year and give a product that makes your friends and family appreciate the technology of 3D printing, while making you look awesome for doing it!


 

Shop Owner Bootcamp: Own Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday

This the tenth and final post in our Shop Owner Bootcamp Series counting down to Black Friday. Appropriately, today’s tips are all about how to win Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. We make an effort to embrace all global traditions in our community, but given that a significant portion of our shopper traffic comes from the United States, we want you to be prepared.

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Take a deep breath. Look around at the products you’ve created before you. And get in the zone. We are entering the highest traffic time of the year here at Shapeways, and we want you to capture as much of it as possible, bringing excited new customers to your shops. We try hard to showcase the diversity of great products on Shapeways, but with nearly 3 million models uploaded, it’s impossible to feature everyone. Below is a guide for how you can optimize every day in the holiday shopping weekend coming up. If you’re looking for personalized shop advice, be sure and sign up for our Shop Owner Sessions over the weekend and next week.

Three Golden Rules:

  • Schedule posts on your preferred social platforms: Shapeways shoppers come from around the world – you never know when they’re watching. Buffer is my favorite for this, and Tweetdeck works great as well.  Both are free and work seamlessly with all your twitter accounts. This will help pace your content if you get caught up with a customer during the day.
  • Respond to People Quickly: People are looking to buy between Black Friday-Cyber Monday more than any other time of the year.  This also means they’re looking to transact quickly. Be extra responsive to private messages, product comments, and engagement on social media. Showing people they matter goes a long way.
  • Be Shameless: Yes, we all want to avoid being spammy. Telling people about something they want or would be interested in however, isn’t spammy. Include educational tips and designer scoop on how you make your creations, how we 3D Print them etc. and include a product in every post. By giving your audience something (awesome behind the curtains info) you appear as much like an educator as you do a business oriented person. We’ll be looking to share your posts with the greater Shapie community, so keep ‘em coming!

Three Important Days

  1. Black Friday: Historically the theme of Black Friday is “doorbusters” aka Early-Bird deals for shoppers. Take advantage of the buzz online by including #BlackFriday in your communications. Consider experimenting with lower prices on a few of your pieces early in the morning to see if you can increase demand. If you’re putting an item on Sale, be sure an indicate in the product descriptions so your shoppers know to take advantage of this special deal! Historically very popular in the US.
  2. Small Business Saturday: A lovely day branded initially by AmericanExpress, #SmallBusinessSaturday is meant to celebrate the Independently owned businesses in our communities, both digital and IRL. Take the opportunity to tell people about your business, the collections you have available now, and the direction you would like to take it in the future. Though started in the US, it has spread across the globe. Take this day to tell your story through your products.
  3. Cyber Monday: The mother of all online shopping days. A global phenomena that brings more people to E-commerce land than any other day. Schedule the most posts across the most networks on this day. We’ve got some great surprises in store on-site, so be sure and check it out. #CyberMonday is the tag to go with, and discounts are the currency. Don’t feel like you have to have a sale, however, as many of you are already so modest with your markups.

Alright, what final questions can I help you with Shapies?

 


 

3DP4E Launches 3D Printing for Young Artists Exhibition

Shapeways is proud to support start up 3DP4E (3D Printing for Everyone) and their mission to empower through design, technology and entrepreneurism. Founded by visionary and tech enthusiast Ronald Rose, 3DP4E strives to bring 3D printing to schools, libraries and museums.

Part of 3DP4E’s mission comes to fruition today, with the opening of a new exhibition presented in tandem with the Children’s Museum of the Arts, entitled INTO THE THIRD DIMENSION: 3D Printing for Young Artists. The show features works from museum’s permanent collection alongside a 3D-printed element or detail from each selection. The juxtaposition of the two-dimensional works with the three-dimensional replications encourages the viewer to compare and contrast the two forms. There’s also a educational film that shows the steps taken to turn a 2D-drawing into a 3D-printed object will be shown, allowing visitors to learn more about the process and unique quality of the 3D printing process.

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On most Saturdays throughout the exhibition, CMA visitors will have the opportunity to take part in a drawing workshop called “Experimenting with Dimensions,” led by a CMA Teaching Artist. A handful of CMA visitors will be selected at random at the end of each workshop and will have their own drawings turned into a three-dimensional Shapeways-printed sculpture.  The 20 individuals selected will be invited for a presentation ceremony at CMA in January or early February once the three-dimensional prints have been completed. Check out www.cmany.org for more information about hours and specific workshop times.

Also launching this week is Kid’s Creation Station, a new website presented by 3DP4E that provides young artists with a platform to create, share and take their artwork to a new dimension. The website translates the fantastic creatures and things created by children from flat drawings to actual figures, giving children’s drawings new depth. The online portal will provide the opportunity for kids to scan drawings into a portfolio management system, tag and share their images, view other children’s artwork, and ultimately print a 3D model of their artwork.

Check out the family friendly exhibit at the Children’s Museum of the Arts through January 11th.


 

Shapeways sponsors Cranksgiving charity bike ride

We’re taking part in Cranksgiving, a nationwide “food drive on bikes” where participants cycle to multiple grocery stores around the city, purchase non-perishable goods and donate them to those in need. Running since 1999, this charity race has spread to over 60 cities around America, helping provide thousands of needy families across the country with a wealth of food during the week of Thanksgiving. This year, it’s even being backed by news anchors from the TODAY Show.

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Shapeways is proud to sponsor Cranksgiving! Six lucky winners will ride away with custom 3D printed head-badges, designed by Scott Denton and printed in our Long Island City factory.

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Join some of the Shapeways team on Saturday November 22nd in NYC, or take part in the 60 other events happening across America. You’ll be joined by anchors from the TODAY Show who are supporting Cranksgiving and food banks around the country.

Love the idea of Cranksgiving, but don’t want to ride through NYC streets? Consider making a donation! All funds raised will be split 80/20 between City Harvest, and the New York Bike Messenger Foundation.

Some of the Shapeways team will be riding on Saturday – so give us a shout if you see us on the course!

 


 

Introducing 3D Printed Porcelain & Saying Goodbye to Our Current Ceramics Offering

We’re really excited to share a new, exclusive material at Shapeways: 3D printed porcelain.

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3D Printed Porcelain R&D

For the past year and a half, we’ve been exploring new options for ceramics based on the feedback we’ve heard loud and clear from our community. You told us that you want ceramics that are faster, more durable, more functional, and more colorful. This material didn’t exist, but that didn’t stop us. We created an R&D taskforce who have been working hard in our secret lab to develop a new way of 3D printing beautiful, durable porcelain. This is our first major investment in end to end material R&D.

The new 3D printed porcelain is groundbreaking, with quality and detail that mirrors traditional ceramics processes and the design flexibility of 3D printing. Utilizing a castable porcelain body created by Dr. Stuart Uram of Core Cast Ceramics with the support of Albert Pfarr, we developed an innovative process for producing 3D printed porcelain products. By combining the SLS printers that produce our Strong and Flexible Plastic with an innovative porcelain casting process, we can create detailed and durable products that are fired and glazed just like conventional ceramics. Using the best of 3D printing and traditional ceramics, we’re able to create the sort of quality you could only find in high end, handmade porcelain.

Here’s what you can expect from 3D printed porcelain, only available at Shapeways:

  • Amazing Colors – From cobalt blue to matte black, 3D Printed Porcelain will be available in classic colors that call upon the porcelain tradition.
  • Durable & Functional – Porcelain is dishwasher, oven, and microwave safe. You can even make baking dishes and pizza stones!
  • Gorgeous Detail – Porcelain enables you to design with very high detail and thin, translucent glazes.
  • Big & Bold – The strength enables thick and larger products, so we’ll be able to help you scale to the whims of your imagination.

 

Community R&D and Pilot

To start, 3D printed porcelain will be available in a limited pilot with the goal of improving our process and design guidelines. When we are ready to deliver amazing results to the masses, we’ll open this up as a material available for sale to shoppers in our marketplace.

If you are an experienced designer and would like to be considered for the pilot, Sign up here. We’ll start with a small group and expand as we learn more.

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What does this mean for the current 3D printed ceramics?

You have probably noticed that ceramics has been plagued with problems for a while. For the last several months, our production partner for ceramics has been operating with significant delays. In order to ensure we set the right expectations, we’ve had to increase lead times from 13 days to 18 days to 22 days over the course of the last year.

At 22 days, our production partner was only shipping at 30% on time, which is simply unacceptable. We increased lead time to 45 days in October to set more accurate expectations, but whether you’re creating products for your business or waiting for a gift, these delays are unacceptable.

Given the uncertainty and delays, we had to make a hard decision and, as of today, will stop offering the current ceramics materials for the foreseeable future. Designers selling in ceramics are in the loop and will be key partners for us in the pilot and future R&D. We’re incredibly disappointed to have to take this step, but you deserve better.

Still reading?
Our goal is to make 3D printing affordable and accessible so that you can make amazing products. Unfortunately, current 3D printed ceramics just didn’t cut it anymore. We’re excited to bring an entirely new material to the design community and more than anything else, we cannot wait to see what you make! Here’s a teaser of porcelain in action: