Category Archives: Community

The First 3D Printed Melodica

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When I first picked up a toy melodica, I was hooked. It only cost me £20, it was easy to play, and so small I could take it anywhere. I decided to devote a few years to it, and see if I could discover its full potential.

At first it was great fun, and quite a novelty to be playing a toy instrument to a high standard. But it had its drawbacks. You couldn’t play fast melodies without some of the notes dropping out, and the tone was so shrill, I felt sorry for anyone sitting next to me. But perhaps worse of all, I found it difficult to be taken seriously at music sessions when I pulled out a bright plastic instrument which was ultimately designed to appeal to kids.

I was ready for a professional melodica, but there wasn’t anything out there. That’s when I thought about making one. I’d heard of 3D printing, but it was something I know nothing about. How easy was it to learn?

I began the journey by getting some lessons in CAD software. Once I’d covered the basics, I took my melodica apart, and bit by bit, recreated it within a 3D environment. And once it existed in virtual reality, I could make all the changes I needed to create my dream instrument. I wanted something that sounded as good as any other professional instrument, with a clear tone, and I also wanted it to look a bit special, something I could be proud of.

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I ended up with the design for one large piece, a sort of frame which was 40cm long, and 32 small keys which slotted into it. I bought a Flashforge Creator Pro with the idea that I’d print the 40cm long frame in sections, and glue them together. After printing out some of the keys, it soon became clear that the accuracy wasn’t sufficient for building a melodica.

So, I sent my files to a printing company, 3D Alchemy, who printed the whole instrument in resin, on a Stratasys Eden 500V. This was much more accurate, but unfortunately, once the melodica was assembled, the keys began bending under the pressure of the springs I was using to keep them in place. It seemed my design and application didn’t suite the properties of the material. 3D Alchemy kindly offered to refund the keys, and took back the frame for extra UV curing.

I decided to get new keys printed in Nylon 12 (strong and flexible) from Shapeways, as I’d heard they were strong. Once they’d arrived, I put them together with the newly cured frame to see how the combination worked. Initially it was great, but over a few days, I was disappointed to find that the resin frame began to warp under the pressure of the springs, just as the keys had earlier. I needed a new frame, but what material should I print it in?

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I was so impressed with the strength and accuracy of the Nylon 12 keys, that I decided to reprint the 40cm frame in the same material. There was one potential problem – melodicas need to be airtight and watertight, and Nylon 12 is quite porous. I got around this by coating it in a few layers of acrylic sealant, before finishing it with paint and varnish. Once assembled, I could see that I had the right material. It was strong and light, and looked great with a layer of acrylic paint.

Once it was all working properly, it was time to turn it into an organic looking instrument that would look at home in a professional environment. So I carefully shaped some wood to fit on top of the black keys, and made some end pieces to give the instrument a traditional feel. I also stripped the ivory from some old piano keys to recreate the touch of a quality instrument. And I’m delighted with the result. I finally have a musical instrument that I can take out and play at professional concerts and recordings, and it looks just as good as it sounds.

Daren Banarsë is an artist and composer living in London. Read his blog documenting the making of the first 3D melodica here

 

3D Printed Father’s Day Gifts Designed by Dads For Dads

This Father’s Day give something unique, original, and aesthetically pleasing to show dad how much you care. For the modern dad, giving the gift of a 3D printed product from the Shapeways Marketplace can be thoughtful and personal. On Shapeways some of our community members are father’s themselves, so we’ve rounded up a few interesting products and gift ideas designed by Shapie Dads for Dads.

1) Fatherhood Knot Pendant by designer and Dad, Dan Foley

This Celtic design is sometimes referred to as a “fatherhood knot” or “father’s knot”, often it is a child that gets it as a way to remember their father. Occasionally a father and a child will both have one to represent that bond. It’s often done as a tattoo in this way

2) Ethanol Molecule Bottle Opener by designer and Dad, Steven Gray

Looking a little bit like a dog, this molecule model is made from steel and is an ideal gift for the beer loving dad in your life, or just anyone who loves beer!

3) Toothbrush Holder / Stand Submarine by designer and father, Kurt Drubbel

Remind your dad to be a kid again with this fun apparatus to put in toothbrush in when he’s done brushing his teeth.

4) Ghost Spinning Top by designer and father, Michiel Cornelissen

This is a a lightweight, 3D-printed stainless steel spinning top unlike any you’re likely to have seen. When it spins  it creates a fascinating, semi-transparent outline of a top. Show this to your dad and he will surely be impressed.

Michiel Cornelissen with his daughter living the good life. Can you spot the elephant in the background?

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5) Voodoo Doll by deigner and father, Edrice Waliyar

Now your dad can You can play with his own Guybrush threepwood voodoo doll!

6) Ll Bean Sonic Snow Tube GoPro Mount by designer and Dad Jeremy Mikesell

A video shot with a GoPro Hero2 on a 3D printed mount for the LL Bean Sonic Snow Tube featuring designer Jeremy and his kid.

7) Espresso cup holder by Dad and designer Henrik Sozzi

This cup holder apparatus will make your dad feel like he’s  drinking  coffee in a espresso cup at your home!

8) S’more pendant by Dad and designer Michael Williams

Give your Dad this adorable 3D printed S’more pendant (non-edible) to remind him of the times you two spent around the camp fire making S’mores. Who doesn’t like S’mores?

How are you spending Father’s Day this year? Did you design something special for your old man? Let us know in a comment below!

 

Japanese Designer Creates 3D printed Transforming ‘STINGRAY’ Toy Kit

Artist and Designer Tomoo Yamaji who was inspired by the Transformers cartoons from the 80′s and 90′s has designed a fully functional, detailed, 3D printed, assemble yourself transforming robot. Tomoo felt that there was a need for a grown up version of transforming robot toys and decided to use Shapeways 3D printing to bring this impressive design to life. The product comes in kit form and needs to be assembled by the customer. All parts already have the screw holes, so they can be easily assembled with screws. No adhesive is required.

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(The kit is printed in White, Strong & Flexible nylon plastic unpolished) 

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 (STINGRAY kit unassembled) 

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Tamoo’s robot kit and parts were designed using the 3D CAD software Rhinoceros

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Here is a video of his transforming sculpture

Tamoo Yamaji’s STINGRAY kit currently sells for $190 US on his Shapeways shop. You can find the instructions on how to assemble it on his website here. We have seen a growing number of talented digital artist designing custom 3D printed toys and figurines, especially designs that are aesthetically pleasing and challenges traditional manufacturing methods.

What are some custom toy ideas you’d love to see designed by our community members for the Shapeways marketplace? Let us know in a comment below.

This 3D Printed Steel Sculpture Is Amazing!

San Francisco based Designer and Artist Tareq Mirza has a passion for exploring the possibilities in traditional metalwork and 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing for artistic and educational purposes. We recently came across his blog and instagram where we discovered his amazing 3D printed metal sculptures. This Shadow Self sculpture really caught our attention, the sculpture was designed in Zbrush. The sculpture itself was 3D printed in steel through a local metal 3D printing provider and the centerpiece was printed in brass with Shapeways.

 

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3D Printed Shadow Self Sculpture by Tareq Mirza

 

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 Brass center piece printed by Shapeways with garnet stones

Tareq is also the owner of the Shapeways shop Ektera where he sells this cool Vampire Head Bottle Opener.

We enjoy seeing community members that push the boundaries and create jaw dropping designs. We want to see more of your designs, especially on instagram where we discovered Tareq’s incredible work. Follow Shapeways on Instagram @Shapeways and tag us in your photos and your designs might get reposted on our page.

What is the largest design you’ve 3D printed and in which material? Let us know in a comment below!

Mani Zamani’s Epic 3D Printed Toy Collection

Shapeways allows designers to leverage 3D printing in an interesting way, whether they are making innovative designs, custom products, or designs that are simply not possible without the use of 3D printing. A very eye catching Shapeways shop by designer Mani Zamani creates incredible SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) 3D printed toys that wouldn’t otherwise be possible without 3D printing technology.

Mani’s 3D printed toy collection called “Extra Terestri Aristocrats” are printed in our nylon plastic material and are available in various dyed colors. His toy designs are unique and take on complex and unimagined shapes. Some of his toy designs are printed with moving parts and are fully articulated without any assembly straight from the 3D printers.

 

 

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Here is a video of some of the models of Mani’s 3D printed toy collection which are also available for sale on his Shapeways shop.

Have you ever designed a 3D printed toy? If not our nylon plastic material is a great material for pushing the limits for what traditional toys are suppose to look like. Explore more 3D printed toys and creative designs from our community on our marketplace here.

Designer Proposes With Beautiful 3D Printed Crystalized Hearts Ring

When the love of 3D printing meets the love of another person, a marriage between the two usually occurs. Belgian designer Kurt Drubbel recently proposed to his long time girlfriend with a gorgeous 3D printed engagement ring he designed. This unique piece is covered with tiny crystalyzed hearts (visible up close only). The ring was prototyped in alumide and finally printed in polished silver.

Kurt and his fiancé have a 2 year old daughter together. He presented the 3D printed ring to her on a ferry on a rough sea at night, between the islands of Malta and Gozo. The answer was an overwhelming yes.

Here are some photos of the ring printed in polished silver

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Video showing the prototype and final ring

On behalf of the Shapeways team, we want to congratulate Kurt and his fiancé on their engagement! Do you have a 3D printed love story to tell? We’d like to hear it. Shoot us a email to community@shapeways.com.

Designer Turns Brain Waves Into 3D Printed Sculptures

Imagine if you can visualize your thoughts into brainwaves and then turn those brainwaves into a 3D print. Architect and Artist Ion Popian deals with human perception and how we understand our environment and what effect that has on the individual and the greater community. This is why he created The Mental Fabrication Project. The Mental Fabrication project uses a NeuroSkyelectroencephalogram (EEG) sensor  to capture data on the brain and creates a 3D model based on the brainwaves.

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Behind the Scenes. Mental Fabrications Project from Ion Popian on Vimeo.

Ion uses Shapeways to 3D print his brainwave sculptures and his work has been exhibited in galleries like SoHo’s HarvestWorks gallery. You can learn more about Ion and his work on architecture fabrication projects on his website here.

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Shapeways and DJI Take Flight

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Today we are excited to announce that we have partnered with DJI, the market leader in easy-to-fly drones, to further enable the Shapeways community to create unique 3D printed accessories for drone products. DJI hand-picked some of their favorite drone accessories on Shapeways for a special curated list to show support for the current (and future) maker community.

Why is this so exciting? It’s the first time a major brand has supported the maker community in this way. By acknowledging the unique creations Shapeways designers are making for their products, they are truly showing their support of the maker community and the innovation that is produced on a daily basis. Check out this page to see the amazing DJI-curated accessories!

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We’re also thrilled to announce that Adam Savage (host of Mythbusters!) is working with us and DJI to show his support of the 3D printing community. An avid DJI drone fan, Adam has been making his own modifications for years. He is a fan of 3D printing with Shapeways to bring to life durable, custom add-ons, creating more drone accessories that build off the incredible design of DJI drone products. He will be working with the Shapeways community of designers to create more accessories to offer to drone fans around the world.

Fresh off the announcement of their new Phantom 3, we’re excited to see what new designs and accessories show up in the future. We’re so glad that DJI is further supporting its customers’ passion and innovation by highlighting some of the best community-designed accessories and opening up co-creation to its whole fan base.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more exciting news and collaborations between us and DJI. In the meantime, keep creating amazing products!

 

 

The Hate Project

Posted by in Community, Shop Owner

With almost 25,000 shops on our site, we could spend all days browsing the amazing products our community has for sale. We’re always interested in seeing what new things pop up and how customers are finding new shops.

A few weeks ago we noticed a shop called The Hate Project was very popular. Obviously we were very curious and connected with the shop owner to find out more about the shop and how they attracted customers.

Tell us a little about yourself!

My Name is Rob Baptie and I started a small social experiment called the Hate Project based on selling goods via the internet from California and giving the money away to charitable causes.

What’s the story behind your shop?

The Hate Project is a crowdsourcing endeavor based on the idea that together, smaller donations that might be deemed insignificant can make a huge difference when lumped together.  This idea/project was born out of trying to help a friend whose nieces were stricken with Cystic Fibrosis raise money for their foundation.  This process is documented here: The Hatedust Project .

To date we have given away about $195,000 to different charitable groups like AlphaK9.org and The Make-A-Wish Foundation. Why HATE? I like the idea of repurposing a negative into a positive. HATE comes from what we decided your insides would do if you ate too much of our pepper concotion called Hatedust.

What’s the story behind your designs?

The designs mainly involve variations on my pig based theme. I started fundraising for Make-A-Wish by donating pig bbq’s for their charity.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by the good in others.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?

The ease of operation Shapeways brings to my efforts.

How did you learn how to design in 3D?

I don’t! I have a good friend, Wes Newman, do it for me and he is GREAT!

How do you promote your work?

I promote via my Facebook Group: The Hate Project https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheHateProject/

Anything else you want to share?

I’d just like to thank all the HATERs who have supported this idea over the last 18 months. 100% of our net proceeds have gone to helping others.  This idea is nothing without their ongoing support.

Thanks, Rob! We always love seeing our community use their creativity for good. Also, be sure to check out the website to learn more about the project (and to find out what Hatedust is!).

Introducing Improved Product Discovery

Today, we are proud to announce that we are further improving the way shoppers can discover great products on Shapeways. With improved sort capabilities, we’re offering a better way for shoppers to travel through our vast catalog and find products of interest.

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From the beginning,  Shapeways has allowed users to upload a 3D model and see it become a 3D print. This was the beginning of a new technology and a new community. As the community grew, so did the number of products coming out of our printers. This new library of products meant 3D printing was no longer just for those with modeling experience, but a place to create, buy and/or sell 3D printed products. Two years ago, with this in mind, we introduced a new way to discover and purchase products on Shapeways.

With the introduction of a marketplace, our community was quick to respond to the initiative and opportunity to be able to sell their products on the same platform they were able to create them on. They began filling up categories with iPhone cases, jewelry, drone accessories, miniatures and much more. We now have nearly 25,000 shops with thousands of products for public sale on Shapeways, and as these numbers continue to grow we will continue to improve upon our marketplace.

Today we are integrating a lot of the functionality people are familiar with when it comes to browsing an online marketplace in order to make it easier to shop. We are taking steps to ease browsing with tag filters, shop by material, and more.

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These new features also translate over to your mobile devices. We’ve taken more steps to make our site responsive and customers are able to browse and shop on any device.

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Here are some of the core upgrades of the new Shapeways Marketplace experience:

Ubiquitous category, price, material, customizable and Beta filters

  • Want to know what’s new in your favorite category and material combination? Or customizable products in a specific subcategory and in a specific material? We have you covered with the available facets on the left pane of any Marketplace view.

In-material product pictures or digital renders displayed in the results when using a material filter

  • Wondering how to easily compare products? Enable a material filter and watch the displayed results update with photos or digital renders in the specified material.

Narrow results with a tag

  • Looking for all Miniatures tagged at scale 1:144? Activate a tag filter to your view and the displayed results will reflect your choice.

Improved merchandising

  • This allows the Merchandising Team at Shapeways to better curate products on additional dimensions, such as subcategory, tag, material, featured products, shops, co-creator apps and more. This means more opportunities for shop owners to be featured in new places across the marketplace.

So what’s next? As with all major feature releases, we will be closely monitoring how the new marketplace is adopted and used. That data and feedback will be used to tweak things where needed, and we look forward to continuing to improve the experience. All of us here at Shapeways are inspired by the creations of our community. We strive to showcase them to the public in the best ways possible and we believe this new marketplace experience improves the discoverability of those creations.

Using 3D Printing to Recreate a Lost Sculpture

We say this a lot, but we are always in awe of our community and excited to see the projects you are working on. One we’re really excited about is from UK-based designer, Matt Smith, who has launched a campaign on Kickstarter to raise funds to recreate a sculpture by Umberto Boccioni that was destroyed nearly 100 years ago. Shown in 1913, all that is left of the sculpture is a collection of original photographs and sketches.

Using those sketches, Matt will recreate the original piece using digital sculpting techniques and 3D technology to exhibit the work at various galleries, with the first showing in London.

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For background: Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916) was a prominent Italian artist of the Futurist movement, who rejected traditional materials and embraced technological advances. Several of his plaster sculptures were destroyed, leaving an important gap in his artistic legacy. It seems appropriate that the contemporary technologies of digital sculpture and 3D printing, which Boccioni would have probably embraced, are now being used to recreate his lost work. Replacing his missing work will be an invaluable contribution to the art world; benefiting scholars, researchers, artists and the public .

Matt discovered Boccioni’s work as an art student and was immediately inspired. During a trip to Italy, Matt discovered Boccioni’s own photographs of the lost sculptures and began an exhaustive investigation of the remaining records of the missing artwork. As he states in his press release:

“I wanted to understand more about this unique sculpture, to study the work. As it no longer existed, that was going to be a challenge. The photographs taken by Boccioni over 100 years ago are an invaluable guide. I saw the possibility of piecing the fragments together and sharing what I learned with others. I believe I have found enough evidence, photo references, drawings and research to help me recreate the work in 3D as the artist intended.”

Matt became an avid 3D designer thanks to constant inspiration from 3D in all its forms; at Art School it was clay, then 3D computer graphics. Having worked in the virtual 3D world of games, using Maya, Lightwave and ZBrush, 3D printing allowed him to use his experience to make virtual objects physically real. His first 3D printed object actually  was Umberto Boccioni’s ‘Unique Forms of Continuity in Space.’ This was before 3D scanning was feasible, so he took reference photographs and sculpted it in ZBrush.

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He believes the “all or nothing” funding approach of Kickstarter makes the most sense for his project, and is sure backers will make a significant different (he’s already raised almost half his goal!). If the target goal is reached Matt is offering some great rewards to those who make pledges. Be sure to check it out and support a fellow 3D designer!

 

Help Shapeways 3D Print The Next Big Meme Contest!

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We all love memes — they’re hilarious, introspective, and sometimes downright deep. It’s time for us to expand our collection in the Shapeways marketplace, and we want you to help us pick our next meme!

Share your favorite memes on Instagram & Twitter with the hashtag #SHAPEWAYSMEMES until April 30th. We will choose one of the memes with the most shares to be modeled by one of our community all-star designers and put it up for sale in the Shapeways marketplace. Be sure to check if we already have your favorite meme in our marketplace before you share!

To help you build your meme collection in preparation for the new model, we’re giving you $5 off all memes and figurines in the Shapeways Memes Gift Guide until April 30th. Simply use the promo code SHAPEWAYSMEMES at checkout to save $5 when you order one of our memes.

The fine print: Offer is for $5 off any order containing any selected figurines. Eligible products are listed on shapeways.com/gift-guide/memes-and-figurines. SHAPEWAYSMEMES code cannot be combined with other discounts and is valid 5 times per customer. If you return your purchase, you will be refunded the amount paid. Expires April 30, 2015 at 11:59pm PDT. The winning meme will be determined by Shapeways using criteria chosen at Shapeways’ discretion.

 

 

Why Shapeways is Participating in 3D/DC

On April 29th, we’re heading down to Washington, DC for 3D/DC.  3D/DC is an event organized by the nonprofit organization Public Knowledge designed to introduce policymakers and the 3D printing world to each other.  Instead of waiting for a crisis, the goal of 3D/DC is to make sure that policymakers are familiar with 3D printing – and that the 3D printing community is familiar with policymakers – in an environment that facilitates education and understanding. (Full disclosure: I have helped to organize 3D/DC since the beginning and, even after leaving Public Knowledge last month, continue to be closely involved in its operation.)

This year the event (which is free and open to the public) will feature a full day of panels on various aspects of 3D printing, along with a demonstration reception so everyone can see and talk to people using 3D printers themselves.

So, why is Shapeways participating?  As the leading online service and marketplace for 3D designers and 3D printing, we sit at the intersection of a huge number of 3D printing-related policy issues.  With such a great view, we want to make sure that policymakers in Washington understand the amazing things that are happening in our community.

We are operating at the bleeding edge of 3D printing.  That means  the challenges facing our community today will be felt throughout the larger 3D printing community tomorrow.  That also means  the ways  we work to address current challenges will serve as a model for addressing challenges in the future.

We know  being in such a position gives us a special responsibility to explain to both our community and policymakers what we are seeing.  Good policy starts with good information, and Shapeways has some of the best information around on what people are doing with 3D printing.

We are looking forward to connecting with policymakers in DC, and with any of you in the DC area that want to come out to join us!

3DPrintingDog Creates 3D Printed Kinetic sculptures

Some of the best designs we come across on Shapeways are the ones that take advantage of the printers we use to create incredible unique products we’ve never seen before. A Digital design studio called 3DPrintingDog based out of Philadelphia, PA uses the power of Shapeways SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) printing to make 3D printed Kinetic sculptures that come out of the printer with no assembly required. Here are a few examples of the designs that they’re making designed with Solidworks.

Deconstructed Bicycle Freewheel

 

Deconstructed Bicycle Freewheel

What are some of your favorite fully articulated designs you’ve come across on Shapeways? Let us know in a comment below or tweet us @Shapeways.

Five 3D Prints To Celebrate International TableTop Day

Posted by in Community, Curation, Games

International Table Top Day is right around the corner and we wanted to curate some of the coolest 3D printed products on Shapeways designed by community members to help you take your table top gaming to the next level this year. Whether you’re into RPGs or card games, these 3D prints are sure to impress your family and friends.

1) Celtic Dice Set by eondesigner

2) ‘Twined’ Dice D20 Spindown Life Counter Die by Foxworks

3) Catan Card Management designed by Carpemortis

4) Role Playing Counter Blades Set designed by Berian

5) HeroForge Custom 3D Printed Miniatures - Making custom  3D printed tabletop gaming miniatures gets real easy with the Hero Forge App.

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We have a very active and engaged tabletop gaming community on Shapeways and you can always explore more tabletop game inspired designs on our game category on Shapeways. What are some of your favorite table top games to play? Let us know in a comment below or feel free to tweet at us @Shapeways on Twitter.