Category Archives: Community

The next frontier: Meta augmented reality and 3D printing

We’re excited to collaborate with Meta, the first wearable, Augmented Reality computer, for a hackathon in San Francisco March 6 and 7, 2015. In anticipation of the hackathon and for inspiration about how Augmented Reality and 3D printing can complement each other I asked Soren Harner, Chief Product Officer at Meta, to tell me more about how Augmented Reality be a tool for designing 3D printed products.

Interested in attending the hackathon on March 6 and 7 in San Francisco? For 50% off the registration enter the code MetaShapewaysHacks.

Please introduce the Meta products and tell us a little bit about how you have been developing them.

Meta is the first wearable Augmented Reality computer that lets you create and share digital objects in the real world. Meta’s Augmented Reality (AR for short) platform has attracted thousands of development groups who are building professional and gaming applications for numerous industries and we are currently shipping the Meta 1 Developer Kit.

Like most hardware startups, we are incredibly indebted to 3D printing. We created early functional prototypes using 3D printers. In fact, we couldn’t have shipped our first product without them. In the early days, we were creating a new prototype every day.

Augmented Reality, like 3D printing was a few years ago, is a technology that has been in the works for awhile, but is only just now becoming more available to the “average” person.

Augmented reality meta 3D printing

The Meta 1 Developer Kit

How do you foresee augmented reality will develop in the next few years?

Steady as she goes; our chief scientist, Steve Mann, has been working on AR since the 1970s. What we see now, more than ever, is smaller components at more affordable price points and more readily available. Advancement of GPUs and the miniaturization of emerging technologies, like displays and cameras, in cell phones makes it easier to create powerful AR devices.

However, as with VR, we understand we’re embarking on a journey. In the next few years we will see form-factors improve and an ecosystem of augmented reality apps develop and evolve. We feel this maturation is required before wide-scale adoption happens.

What connections do you see now, or hope to see, between augmented reality and 3D printing?

We see AR and 3D printing in complimentary and very similar fields. Just as 3D printing speeds up the manufacturing prototyping feedback loop, AR can speed up the modeling feedback loop before sending it to a 3D printer.

We’ve used Meta as a print-preview function for 3D printing. You can do more than see the object: you can place the object, at scale, in the physical location where you plan to use it. This gives you a sense of live perspective – a CAD model doesn’t do that.

The real benefit is after you have the model. For example, if you were designing jewelry you could easily design, edit, size, resize, change materials and colors customized for the designers body shape. It comes down to having a perspective of objects within the actual physical space. You can see your model in the environment instead of just on a 2D screen.

3D design augmented reality meta

Can you explain some of the design applications that have been built for Meta and how they could create files that are 3D printable? What else do you hope developers will create to bring together augmented reality and 3D printing?

We’ve built a 3D viewing application which allows for intuitive interaction with objects. It is available as part of our SDK in our developer portal. It allows you to select a 3D model from a library of objects and interact with them. We also provide the source code in the dev portal. We’d love it if someone at the upcoming hackathon would extend the app to allow for STL export (hint hint). Even better, we’d like the app to have basic mesh editing so that you could morph the model from within Meta.

We’d like to see tighter integration between Meta and CAD systems. Currently, files need to be converted to the .obj format for use in Meta. Another opportunity is to look at how individually printed pieces fit together into larger assembled parts. Imagine testing joints and how various parts fit together; that would really smooth out the end-to-end use-case.

It would be interesting to close the loop: 3D photocopying. Use the Meta depth camera to create a 3D scan of an object and then print it on the 3D printer. In a sense, this would be like duplication from the mere sight of an object.

Meta augmented reality 3D printing

Ultimately, we are part of the same 3D ecosystem. As depth cameras and light-field cameras become more commonplace, I think we’ll see an explosion of 3D content. This ecosystem is just going to get bigger. We also believe 3D printing combined with AR will be especially powerful in education and training. Imagine visualizing molecules in a lesson, printing them and then passing them around.

We’d really like to urge people to come to the hackathon. We’re bringing together developers, hackers, AR enthusiasts, and leading minds in the AR industry. Uber talented Meta engineers will be on hand for the two day event at the gorgeous Wix lounge in San Francisco’s SOMA district. Attendees will present their apps to possibly win a Meta 1 Developer Kit and a 1 year Unity Pro license, as well as Shapeways credit for the Design Award. You can register now and use the code MetaShapewaysHacks for 50% off registration.

 

 


 

Shapeways Crew all stars: 3D printing community events around the world

2015 has kicked off with a bang thanks to the efforts of our amazing Shapeways Crew members who have hosted 3D printing focused events all around the world! In their roles as 3D printing community leaders and ambassadors for Shapeways, Crew members have hosted workshops, exhibitions, a TedX talk, and meetups. I’m also exited to announce that Crew is nearly 60 members strong and we’ve recently welcomed Crew members from England, Germany, Australia, Finland, South Korea, as well as all over the United States!

Here’s the some of the highlights from our Crew members from the past two months:

3D printed heart, anatomical model, science

3D printed hearts in Frosted Ultra Detail and White Strong Flexible plastic

The NIH Science in 3D exhibition spear headed by Chris Leggett, who also shared more about his experience on this blog;

An introduction to 3D modeling at the East Brunswick Public Library organized and facilitated by Jeffrey Keiffer;
An introduction to toy design online course led by Christian Brock;

3D printing workshop Tedx Gijon Spain

3D printing workshop at TedX Gijon

An introduction to 3D printing at TedX Gijon in Spain by Mariel Diaz Castro. Shapeways printed keychains with the TedX Gijon logo;
A talk with employees of the digital agency Huge by Melissa Ng at the Shapeways LIC factory;

3D printing meetup Singapore

3D printing meetup in Singapore

A 3D printing meetup in Singapore led by Ariel Lemon;

Nervous System's Hyphae lamp at Stacking Layers

Nervous System’s Hyphae lamp at Stacking Layers

Thomas Jackson represented Shapeways at the Stacking Layers conference at Florida State University in Tallahassee and helped facilitated a meetup at maker space Making Awesome.

Idoya and Luk of Somersault 18:24 at Biotech Day in Ghent, Belgium

Idoya and Luk of Somersault 18:24 at Biotech Day in Ghent, Belgium

The ever inspiring Luk and Idoya of Somersault 18:24 presented about 3D printing to a group of students in Peers, Belgium. They also represented Shapeways last year at Biotech Day in Ghent, Belgium;

Students with Somersault 18:24 3D printed designs

Students with Somersault 18:24 3D printed designs

Display of Shapeways models at the Columbus Idea Foundry

Display of Shapeways models at the Columbus Idea Foundry

Finally, Tom  Hanson, based in Columbus, Ohio has been attending the monthly 3D printer meet up at the Columbus Idea Foundry to talk about Shapeways and how a 3D printing service can augment what you can make with a desktop printer.

Want to get involved in Shapeways Crew to bring dyanamic 3D printing events to your community, hang out with other 3D printing leaders and get the inside track on what’s happening at Shapeways? Apply now by filling out this quick survey. Are there 3D printing or design events in your community you’d like to be a part of?

 


 

Shapeways+littleBits 3D+IoT Gadgets Contest

We are so excited to partner with littleBits for a unique design challenge: How can you make your home smarter using the Internet of Things and 3D Printing?

SmarterThanYourHome

DESIGN CHALLENGE

Find something in your house that you consider mundane. A coffee mug, a pair of old gloves a floppy disk. Now ask yourself, how can you make it smarter? With littleBits and 3D printing, of course! Upcycle that object into something smarter and cloud-connected. Start doodling ideas and check the rules below.

HACK-A-THON

What better way to get your creative juices flowing than a hackathon? Join us at littleBits beautiful offices this Saturday for the 3D + IoT: Make Smarter Gadgets Make-a-thon with Shapeways & LittleBits. Hear from inspiring speakers, tinker with materials and meet like-minded folks to get your projects started.

shapeways-makeathon

RULES

The contest takes place in 2 phases: Ideas and Finalists.

Ideas Phase: Deadline to submit is March 28th.
Submit concepts for your creation including a rough 3D model and a layout of how you would incorporate littleBits. Upload your projects to the littleBits project page using the hashtag #shapebits.

Make sure in your upload, you include:
- The inspiration and impetus behind your concept
- Reflect on what you did 1st, 2nd and 3rd
- List the resources you consulted to help others in the future

*Remember we are a community who loves sharing work in progress. Don’t be shy to share your piece even if it is not finished yet and ask in the Project Buzz category in the littleBits forum for help.

Finalists Phase: Deadline to submit is April 30th.

After the final deadline, our expert panel of super star judges will be invited to review the entries and select 5 contestants for the “Finalists” phase.
During this phase contestants will receive free bits to create their projects and a coupon from Shapeways to print them out. Final projects will need to be uploaded by April 30th on the Shapeways & littleBits sites both using the hashtag #shapebits.

drawboat

PRIZES

The maker behind the smartest, most awesome project submitted will get a Workshop Set, which includes 100 Modules ($1,547 value) and $500 in 3D printing credit from Shapeways.

In addition, the top three entries will be showcased in our MakerFaire booth in San Francisco this May and featured in our newsletters and the littleBits Community Hall of Fame.

JUDGES

We have a fantastic lineup of judges who will rank entries across these measurements of awesomeness:

  1. Creativity — how inspired is your creation, how close to the theme is it.

  2. Technological achievement – how well does this project incorporate the potential of littleBits + 3D Printing

  3. Aesthetics- how well designed and polishes is your final object

  4. Surprise- how original and unexpected is your final project

Here they are:

heide

Heidi Farrell, Design Engineer at Smart Design, NY

Heidi Farrell is an engineer who designs mass-produced, everyday products. She has worked on things like kitchen tools for OXO and camera gear for Joby x Lowepro. Based in Brooklyn, Heidi studied product design at Stanford, has worked in SF and Stockholm, and is currently a design engineer in Smart Design’s New York studio.

 dude

Ron Rosenmann, Senior Design Technologist, Frog NY

Ron focuses on interaction prototyping and building UX simulations as part of the design process at Frog. A nice sampling of his awesome work can be found here.

 andrew

Andrew Mager, Developer Evangelist, Smart Things, SF

A developer evangelist at SmartThings in the Bay Area, helping developers all over the world integrate their devices and code into their home automation schemes.

 oscar

Oscar Salguero, Senior Designer at Kid O Toys, NY

Industrial designer by training, Oscar has worked on products ranging from high end furniture in Tokyo to energy generating soccer balls for developing communities in Nigeria and Brazil. He’s currently leading a new line of sensory oriented & developmental toys for kids under 6 years of age.

That’s all folks! Have questions? Ask away here or on twitter using #shapeBits. Happy making!


 

Unleash The Dragon With This Epic 3D Printed Dragon Door Handle

Looking for an upgrade to your average and boring door handle? Kai Bracher of the Shapeways shop Cabrada has designed an epic detailed dragon door handle 3D printed in stainless steel.

Here are some of the amazing photos of the dragon door handle which are also available for sale on his Shapeways store here.

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 10.56.51 AMScreen Shot 2015-02-18 at 10.57.04 AM

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 10.57.17 AMScreen Shot 2015-02-18 at 10.57.26 AM

Dragon door handle video by Kai Bracher

Do you have an epic eye catching design that utilizes the amazing technology of Shapeways 3D printing? Share them with us on the feature this section on our forums.


 

Mini houses, maximum inspiration: Meet our mini house contest judges

Miniature houses are big on Shapeways! To celebrate our miniature community, we’ve launched a contest in conjunction with the fabulous blog Modern Mini Houses to invite mini house fans to share the beautiful displays they’ve created that incorprate 3D printed furniture and accessories. You have until April 10th to share your mini house or display with us on Facebook for a chance to win Shapeways 3D printing credit. Visit the contest page for more information on how to enter and read on for more mini house inspiration and to meet the contest judges.

3D printed dollhouse mini house

Living room by Megan Hornbecker with 75 mm stag head by Dotsan

To kick off the mini house contest we wanted to highlight the work of the contest judges: Megan Hornbecker of Modern Mini Houses, Kacie Hultgren of Pretty Small Things, and Carol Mitcheson of Mitchy Moo Miniatures. I am constantly delighted by their attention to detail and the imaginative ways they incorporate 3D printing into their displays. When I look at these mini houses I want to move right in!

Megan Hornbecker chronicles her obsession with miniatures and dollhouses on her blog Modern Mini Houses and was recently featured in our Designer Spotlight. She also shared her process of creating a 3D printed miniature pendant light in a special “How I Made” tutorial.

3D printed dollhouse modern mini house living room

Living room by Megan Hornbecker

Modern mini house 3D printed dollhouse kitchen

Kitchen by Megan Hornbecker

Carol Mitcheson is a miniature maker and collector based in the UK and the author of the blog Mitchy Moo Miniatures. She also co-designed some mini accessories on Shapeways, including the mini tool box featured below.

3D printed dollhouse mini house shed toolbox

Shed by Carol Mitcheson

3D printed dollhouse mini house living room

Living room by Carol Mitcheson

Kacie Hultgren is a designer who uses Shapeways to create miniature furniture and accessories in her Pretty Small Things shop.  She also spoke about marketing and branding at the Shapeways Small Business Bootcamp.

Need some more inspiration to design or discover the perfect piece for your mini house? Megan, Kacie and Carol have curated selections of their Shapeways favorites and they are featured on our miniature furniture page.

Want to make a 3D printed mini dream house and win Shapeways credit? Read more on the mini house contest page and share your creation with us!


 

Welcome back Left Shark!

So, what’s the deal with Left Shark? He became a star, his fame spread across the globe, his copyright was disputed, he went into hiding…and now he’s back?

As we’ve outlined recently, Shapeways takes intellectual property very seriously, and while we respect the intellectual property of copyright holders, we also strive to put community first. We do due diligence on every single takedown we get, inform designers how to issue a counter DMCA if applicable, give them a 24 hour warning before removing models, and offer to put them in touch with the other party.

As a service provider, our liability is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act under their Safe Harbor provision. We outline this detailed process and guidelines, and encourage all our designers and any copyright holders to follow it to ensure swift action on our part.

In the case of Left Shark, Fernando, the designer, chose to send us a counter DMCA Notice, disputing Katy Perry’s rights to Left Shark. You can read all about it on his blog. As per our Content Policy, once we receive a counter DMCA, we can reinstate the model while the two parties decide what to do. In this case, we encouraged Katy Perry to send us a properly formatted DMCA Takedown instead of a cease and desist. While we wait to see their response, Left Shark is practicing his moves for his next appearance.

Long live Left Shark, and may he herald in the proliferation of crowd-generated content!


 

Unique 3D printed celebrations of love

A few months ago we invited our community members to share how they were commemorating and celebrating their unique love with 3D printing. Needless to say, we loved the creative ideas that they came up with. This Valentine’s Day, as you celebrate love, friendship and treat yourself, we hope that these ideas from our community will inspire you!

3D printed wedding take topper tea set

From Harry of Lightbringer Designs

Our shared affinity for loose leaf tea was one of the first things that brought us together and it has become a recurring design element in our wedding. My Shapeways store focuses on wax seals, so of course we needed a very special seal for our wedding invitations. Liz, being an artist, drew the initial concept sketches, which became the seal. We each wanted our own, so one is cast bronze and the other brass. We hope to have enough time to make chocolate seals to go with the wedding cake too!

3D printed custom wedding wax seals

Borrowing from the seal design, I made cufflinks for the men in the bridal party with each person’s initials replacing the heart and the E&H. This way, they can still use them after the wedding. Also, most monogrammed cufflinks are engraved – as far as I know, Shapeways is the only way to get them embossed. 7 groomsmen, FoB, FoG, and myself – 10 sets in Shapeways polished silver.

3D printed custom wedding cufflink

To, ahem, top it all off, we made our own wedding cake toppers from Shapeways stainless steel. The shorter tea pot with the Stars and a cat tail is for Liz, while mine is a taller wire frame.

I make customized wax seals and cufflinks to order on my Shapeways store, send a a PM to arrange for a similar order.

3D printed cufflink custom wedding

From Erin Baker

3D printed custom wedding favor

I am a graphic artist and wanted to create something unique for our guests to take home with them. I decided on making a 3D ambigram of our initials in a heart, that would represent our marriage. You can view the negative space as two people holding hands, and you can view the positive space as the letters “e” and “g” for Erin and Greg.

3D printed custom wedding favors

by Jo Ann Manolis Photography

From Alejandro Guzman Aguado

Custom 3D printed jewelry

I have created several models for Nancy, but I have only printed 3 pieces, as she is not very fond of jewelry. However, when she can wear something special created just for her I think she enjoys the idea and the gesture just as much as the object itself.

Custom 3D printed engagement ring

When I create a model for her, I feel again as a teenager doing origami for the girl I like. But this object endures far longer than paper and it’s beautiful to watch being worn by the woman you love. The most important piece I have created is her engagement ring. While it may not be the most expensive or elegant ring, but it is a beautiful piece and there is nothing more exciting than creating the object you will deliver when you ask the question that will define your life together.

What would you like to design for someone you love?


 

Love in 3D: From Wedding Contest Winners to Newlyweds

Just in time for Valentine’s Day we caught up with Bastiaan and Alicia Ekeler, the winners of our Love in 3D wedding contest from earlier this year. They 3D printed their wedding bands and gifts for the wedding party and we wanted to catch up with them to hear about their special day and what they have been making since!

3D printed wedding rings

How did you design your 3D printed wedding rings? What inspired you to put your finger prints on the inside of the bands?

I designed the rings using Photoshop and Rhinoceros 3D. I have a background in industrial design so I am very familiar with these software packages. Rhino has been my favorite 3D modeling tool for a long time and was the perfect candidate for this project. The rings started with an ink pad, an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper, a lot of fingerprints and a scanner. The scanned image was prepared in Photoshop and converted into a 3D surface in Rhino. I modelled the rest of the ring around the fingerprint relief and exported the whole thing to STL. There was a lot of experimentation to get all the variables right but the whole process worked pretty well.

The idea of using fingerprints stems from the inherent capability for 3D printing to customize any product. Even without having won the contest, it was clear to me that our wedding rings would have to be unique and personal. No off-the-shelf design would do. Fingerprints seemed pretty unique and personal and the finger has an innate connection with the ring to begin with. They were an ideal match to be brought to life using additive manufacturing. So, the idea was born to have my left ring finger’s print embedded in my wife’s ring and vice-versa.

You might be interested to know that we have actually decided to start offering custom designed rings on Shapeways! We like ours so much that we feel we should share the design with the world and opened out first Shapeways store.

Did you 3D print any special favors for the bridesmaids and groomsmen?

Yes, we actually did design gifts for the members of our wedding party. For the bridesmaids, we created a tiny little infinity symbol, loosely modeled after a precisely curved twig. It is a little hard to see from the picture but the pendant has some knots and imperfections on it, making it a little more organic than mathematical. I even went into Zbrush and textured the outside to mimic tree bark, although this detail got polished out in the finishing process. It is always hard to resist the temptation of getting lost in modeling details when zoomed in 1000% on a 1cm wide model. The infinity symbol was chosen for it’s obvious marriage / friendship related symbolism and the branch element was based on the outside, farmhouse wedding location.

3D printed wedding favors neckalce

For the groomsmen, all high school friends of mine, I designed a pair of cufflinks with the logo we’ve been using since college to symbolize our group. I will leave the interpretation of the abbreviation as a exercise to the reader.

3D printed wedding favors cufflinks groomsmet

Now that you are married, have you designed anything together to commemorate your wedding or your time together since?

We haven’t done any 3D modeling together since the wedding but I would like to share one last Shapeways item we had made: a cake topper. We went through a lot of designs for this but in the end decided to keep it pretty simple and elegant, matching those same qualities of the cake itself. Yet another use for the white, strong an flexible nylon!

3D printed wedding cake topper

Can you share one piece of advice for newlyweds or couples who are about to get married?
I don’t know if we’re really in a position to be giving out advice as fresh newlyweds. From our short experience, I’m afraid I can only talk in clichés, so here we go: Never take each other for granted, pick your battles and always keep communicating.

Thank you again for allowing us to have the best wedding we could have had through the power of 3D printing!

wedding 3D printed

Bastiaan + Alicia Ekeler

Congratulations again, Bastiaan and Alicia! For our lovebirds out there, what do you plan on 3D printing for your sweetheart?  

 


 

How I Made a mini 1:12 scale pendant light for my dollhouse in SketchUp

Written by Megan Hornbecker

I’ve been fascinated with miniatures for as long as I can remember. 8 years ago I became addicted to modern miniatures. I had been carting around the dollhouse my mom made for me as a kid and thought it would be a fun project to redo the Country Victorian interior into something more contemporary. I searched online and found a few blogs that showcased modern miniatures and I was hooked. The only problem was there are very few artists out there making them. I started a blog, Modern Mini Houses, to feature the artists and designers I found making modern miniatures.

Megan-Headshot

Since I couldn’t find some of the decor and furniture I’d see in designer stores and magazines, I figured I should try to make them in miniature. The next problem was I knew nothing about 3D modeling. I found Shapeways and tried out a few of the free 3D modeling programs they recommended and had the most success with SketchUp 8.

By no means am I an expert modeler, I taught myself by trial and error. I’d have an idea of what I wanted to make and would search for videos and tutorials until I figured out how to do it. I’m writing this tutorial to share some tips and tricks for beginners to get started making 3D models in SketchUp. I was using SketchUp 8. It has been updated and the new free version is SketchUp Make 2015. The tool icons look a little different but they work the same as in this tutorial.

3D printed dollhouse light 1:12 scale

My designs are inspired by modern décor I want in full scale and by small pieces I find online or at random stores. I find something I like, work out the dimensions in 1:12 scale and then start designing. I found these LED battery operated earrings that I thought I could make into a cool light. The above two full-scale hanging lights inspired me to make a modern hanging pendant light with my LED lights, I like the structural supports on the bottom and the tall pendants.

I cut the clip-on earring attachments off the backs, arranged them where I thought they would work and measured the perimeter = 2.5″ x 1.25″. Each light is about 12mm wide by 10mm tall. To make sure the lights fit in the pendants I added 1mm of wiggle room and 1mm for each side of the wall so the pendant needed a 15mm diameter. I guessed the pendant should also be 15mm tall to hide the LED with room on top to be lit up by the light.

The Basics: Getting started in SketchUp

When you select the tool you want to use, the first mouse click in the drawing space starts the action that the tool is supposed to do and the second mouse click stops the action wherever you clicked. This works great for freehand design. If you want an exact measurement, click once where you want the action to start, move the curser the direction you want it to go, then type whatever dimension you want and hit Enter. There is no need for a second click, Hitting Enter will stop the action. Typing will fill in the dimension field in the bottom right corner field without having to click in that box. This field changes depending on which tool you have selected. If you select a tool, click once, but when you start to move the curser something crazy happens you didn’t want, just move the cursor back to the tools and click on another tool and the action will disappear. Undo/redo will be your friend as you get started figuring out how everything works.

Step 1: Add guides to define the perimeter of the light. Start to make first pendant.

3D modeling SketchUp dollhouse light

1A Select the Tape Measurer tool. Click once anywhere on the Green Axis, move the curser to the right to move the guide, type in 2.5 and hit enter (the default is inches so you don’t need to type the “ symbol).

1B Zoom in so you can see the line. (On a Mac: 2 finger scroll up on our track pad to zoom in, down to zoom out. On a PC: Select the Zoom tool. Click and drag anywhere in the drawing area. Move the cursor up to zoom in and down to zoom out.) Click once anywhere on the Red Axis, move the cursor up to the right, type in 1.25 and hit enter. Now we have guides marking the perimeter of the light.

1C Select the Circle tool. Type 100 and hit enter. (This changes the Sides to have more line segments making the circle’s edge smooth and round. Sides set to 24 or 48 will print corners or ridges on the circle’s edge. If you zoom in really far, you’ll see that the circle is actually made up of lines). Click once anywhere outside of your guides and move curser to the right.

1D Type in 7.5mm and hit enter to set the Radius (=15mm diameter divided by 2).

Step 2: Make base of pendant

3D modeling SketchUp dollhouse light

2A Select the Push/Pull tool. Click once on the circle to select it, drag the curser up to make the base.

2B Type 1mm and hit enter to set the distance. Note the default is inches so sometimes it will change the Dimension to inches like ~ 3/64″ after you hit enter, other times it keeps the Dimension in mm.

Tip: I make all of my miniatures at least 1mm – 1.5m thick so it can be polished and so it looks true to scale. Sometimes I do thicker, but under 1mm is too flimsy, the walls can bend, and everything I’ve tested under 1mm wasn’t high enough quality for me so I ended up redesigning to be over 1mm. Save yourself some time and just start at 1mm or thicker.

2C Select the Offset tool. Mouse over the top outside edge and click once when it says “On Edge”. Move the cursor towards the middle. Type 1mm then hit enter.

2D Select the Push/Pull tool. Click once inside the 1mm ring you just made and move the cursor up. Type 14mm then hit enter (the base is already 1mm, so add14 mm and that gives us the 15mm height I determined at the beginning).

Step3: Move pendant inside perimeter guides

3D modeling dollhouse light SketchUp

3A This will pull the walls up so we have the first pendant for our light.

3B Next, I want to move the pendant into position on the middle edge of the perimeter we measured out in Step 1. Select the Tape Measurer tool. Mouse over the intersection of the Blue, Green and Red Axis until the yellow “Origin” dot shows up, click once then move the curser up the Green Axis. Type .625 then hit enter (half the length of the 1.25″ side). If you haven’t saved yet, now is a good time.

3C Select the Orbit tool. Click and drag anywhere in the drawing area. Move the cursor to turn your perspective so you are behind the pendant. Select the Select tool (arrow in top left) and draw a box around the pendant to select the whole thing.

3D Select the Move tool. Find the most outer “Endpoint” on the pendant and click once, then move the curser to the “Guide Point” and click a second time to move it into the correct position.

Step 4: Copy and place second pendant

3D modeling SketchUp dollhouse light

4A Select the Tape Measure tool. I’m not exactly sure where I want to put the second pendant so I’m going to mark two distances. Click once on the Intersection of the Green Axis and the guide on the left of the pendant. Type 20mm then hit enter. Repeat and type 22mm then hit enter.
4B Since we already have the pendant selected in blue, copy and paste (under Edit tab, or Ctrl+c/Command+c and Ctrl+v/Command+v), then click once to drop the copied pendant farther away from our workspace.

4C Select the Orbit tool, click and drag to move around the side. Zoom in or try the Pan tool (white hand) to get the perspective you need.

4D Select the Move tool. Find and click on the outer Endpoint then move and click on the 20mm Guide Point.

Step 5: Copy and place third pendant

3D modeling SketchUp dollhouse light

5A The 20mm Guide was a little too close so I used the Move tool to put it on the 22mm Guide Point. I grabbed the wrong Endpoint so I used Orbit/Zoom/Pan tools to check on the bottom that the right Endpoint was on the Guide Point (if the pendant is on the line it’s perfect, if part of the pendant is over the guide line try grabbing the Endpoint that is over the line and move that to the Guide Point).

5B Orbit to the top, copy and paste the third pendant.

5C Orbit then select the Tape Measure tool. Click on Origin and move curser up the Red Axis, type 22mm then hit enter.

5D Move Endpoint to Guide Point.

Step 6: Copy and place other half of light

3D modeling SketchUp Dollhouse Light

6A Orbit/Zoom out, select all (under Edit tab, or Ctrl+a/Command+a). This will copy all three pendants and the guides.

6B & C Paste (under Edit tab, or Ctrl+v/Command+v) and move cursor outside the perimeter and click to place. Select the Rotate tool. Click once on the top guide line when it says “On Line” so the Rotate tool is flat, then move cursor parallel to Green Axis so it is drawing a green line when it says On Green Axis then click a second time. Type 180 then hit enter.

6D Select the Move tool and match guide lines to move it into the perimeter.

Step 7: Move and add center guide points

3d modeling SketchUp Dollhouse

7A Looking again, it seems too tight so I moved it more to the right half an inch.

7B Orbit to the bottom. Select Tape Measurer click on any Endpoint edge of any circle, then move curser towards the middle. Type 7.5mm then enter. Do this on all of the pendant bottoms so we have the middle point to attach the supporting beams.

7C Select the Tape Measure tool. Measure from center guide point of one end to the other, which equals ~2 9/32″

7D Select the Rectangle tool. Click once above and away from current model and move curser up and to the right. Type 2 9/32, 2mm then hit enter. (Tip: I’m making the support bars 2mm thick to be strong enough to connect all six pendants so everything stays together in the polisher, and 2mm looks the most realistic at this scale)

Step 8: Add support beam

3D modeling SketchUp Dollhouse

8A Select the Push/Pull tool and click on the new rectangle.

8B Move the curser up and type 2mm then hit enter. Use Select tool to draw a box around the new rectangle bar to select it.
8C Orbit to side view.

8D Select the Move tool. Click once on the Midpoint of the rectangle bar then move curser and click on the Guide Point in the middle of the pendant bottom.

Step 9: Fix length and measure cross beam

3D modeling SketchUp Dollhouse

9A Orbit to the other end of the rectangle bar and Zoom in. It’s a little short.

9B Select the Push/Pull tool. Click on the square end and pull forward then click on the Guide Point to line it up perfectly in the middle.
9C Orbit then measure the next center Guide Points = ~21/32″

9D Select the Rectangle tool. Click once above and away from current model and move curser up and to the right. Type 21/32, 2mm then hit enter.

Step 10: Add first cross beam

3D modeling SketchUp Dollhouse

10A Select the Push/Pull tool. Click on the rectangle, type 2mm then hit enter.

10B Select the Select tool and draw a box around new cross bar to select all of it.

10C Orbit to side. Copy and Paste. Click to the side of the first bar to place the copied bar next to it. Select the Move tool. Click on the Midpoint.

10D Move curser to and then click on the Guide Point. (You know it’s in the right place if the tops of the two bars are flat.)

Step 11: Add second cross beam and adjust length

3D modeling SketchUp Dollhouse

11A Repeat for the other cross bar. Use Select tool and draw a box around the other cross bar. (Tip: for any part you plan to move, it’s best to leave it far enough away from other components so you can easily draw the select box around it without selecting other things near it. You know it’s too close when you try to move it and things you didn’t intend to move go with it. Never fear, that’s what Undo is for. You will use it a lot. Just zoom in and adjust your perspective to be able to isolate a section you are trying to surround with the select tool in order to move only it.)

11B Select the Move tool. Click on the Midpoint of the bar, move curser to and then click on the Guide Point.

11C Orbit to the other side and we’ll see the bars are a little short again.

11D Zoom in and select Push/pull tool. Click on the end move curser to and click on the Guide Point.

Step 12: Add cross bars to attach hardware

3D modeling SketchUp Dollhouse

12A Orbit to the top. Almost done, but we need to add holes to be able to add hardware to hang the light. Measure between pendants (the two green dots in photo) = 5/32″. Select the Rectangle tool. Click once away to the left side of the light (sorry no photo, I didn’t take enough screen shots here) and move curser up and to the right. Type 5/32, 2mm then hit enter. Then use Push/Pull to grab the top and type 2mm then hit enter to create a small cross bar. Copy and Paste moving the second one out of the way.

12B Zoom in between where 3 of the pendants meet. The two horizontal lines are where the cross beam is connecting these two pendants and the dotted vertical line is the Guide we started with that runs down the middle. We’re going to add our new bar above this to create a hole. Select the Tape Measurer. Click on the Intersection of the middle guide and the lower horizontal line. Move the curser up until it is drawing a blue line parallel to the Blue Axis and sides of pendants. Type 2mm then hit enter.

12C Select the Select tool and draw a box around one of the new short cross bars to select all of it. Select the Move tool. Click on the Midpoint.

12D Move curser to the Guide Point and click to connect it. Orbit to the other side and repeat steps 12B C D to attach the second new short cross bar into place.

Step 13: Upload and print

3D modeling SketchUp Dollhouse

13A DONE!! Save if you haven’t lately. Then go to File > Export 3D Model… then select Format: COLLADA File (*.dae)

13B Go to Shapeways, set up an account and then click Upload. Select your .dae file. Make sure you set the Model Units to “millimeters”.

13C Once the file is uploaded you can see which materials it is printable in and if there are any issues that won’t allow it to be printed. (If there are problems Shapeways explains the issues and links to more details on guidelines for each material and has a cool option to Fix Thin Walls for you.) I selected to print this in White Strong & Flexible Polished.

13D I ordered it on Jan 12 and it was on my doorstep on Jan 24. Every time I get an order from Shapeways, I still get excited. It’s just so cool to hold something in your hand that you created in digital format.

3D modeling SketchUp Dollhouse

To save drying time, I painted the cross beams with a gold Sharpie (the strong & flexible material is very porous so GO SLOW as it easily sucks up the paint and spreads where you might not want it go. Or just use regular acrylic paint and a tiny brush). There was a little bit of powder residue in the holes to attach the hardware; I poked that out with a toothpick and then attached a wire to hang the pendant light 2.5” above the table (standard suggested height). Here is the finished pendant with the lights on and off in my dollhouse kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Why Opening Up Intellectual Property is Great for Brands and Fans

Shapeways is truly a community centric company, serving hundreds of thousands of designers who have uploaded over 2 million 3D models to date. From the wonderful to the wondrous, Shapeways enables anyone to bring their ideas to life, whether solving problems or making products more personal.

Last week, 3D printing was on everybody’s minds when a designer’s right to create was taken away due to copyright laws. It brought up great discussions on where the technology stands when it comes to making designs based on popular culture.

Anything is possible with 3D printing, and over the last few years we’ve increasingly seen the technology  being used by fans to engage with beloved brands. Our work with Hasbro to create SuperFanArt enables fans of Hasbro brands to showcase their inspired artwork and sell their 3D printed designs on Shapeways under a Hasbro license. Hasbro became the first major global brand to open up its Intellectual Property to the design community, which is only made possible by Shapeways and 3D printing. Designers on SuperFanArt can now confidently sell fully licensed versions of their works. The community gets the ability to share their creations, Hasbro gets to engage with fans on a deeper level, both get a cut of sales, and no one gets sued.

hasbro-blog-home-625x361

Allowing fans to interpret their favorite brands in physical form legitimizes and elevates the culture of fan art and allows designers new freedom to create sought-after content. 3D printing is uniquely placed to bring these products into being, not just for figurines and toys, but also for mass customization of functional objects. We can’t wait to see more brands embrace this potential. Michael Weinberg, Vice President of Public Knowledge, put it best when he said, “It would be an enlightened move on the part of brands to work with designers instead of against them. It may, in fact, be easier to harness the collective creativity of designers than try to stop it”.

Not only does opening up IP enable brands to build stronger relationships with their fans, it helps them make better products. Bringing a product to market historically was no easy or cheap feat, requiring a lot of upfront capital to invest in market research, manufacturing and distribution. With 3D printing, you can go to market quickly and at a lower cost. So by enabling fans to legally access brand IP, they can create new derivative works and brands can start to see what the market wants before investing a ton up front. Brands can see what niche products could be successful and potentially get an early signal of what could be a runaway hit. 3D printing becomes the new marketing platform – a way to create a conversation between brands and customers.

Hasbro and several other brands are starting to pave the way for what will hopefully be a reinvention of intellectual property for physical products. We take intellectual property very seriously — both that of independent designers and major global brands. It’s critical that the individuals and teams behind products are rewarded for their creative efforts. While we respect the intellectual property of copyright holders, we are also community first. We do due diligence on every single takedown we get, inform users how to issue a counter DMCA if applicable, give a 24 hour warning, and offer to put them in touch with the other party.

Our vibrant, creative community and open platform grants us the leverage to bring big brands into the mix. We pledge to continue to push the boundaries of the law to benefit all creatives and fully encompass what is actually happening right here, right now.

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 innovation triumphs.

 


 

3D printing, the NIH and the future of science

Last month I traveled to Maryland for the 2015 Bioinformatics & Computational Biosciences Festival, Science-In-3D.  The industry-wide festival featured presentations about the emerging role of 3D technology by noted experts in academia, government and the industry.  The event included speakers and, as a Shapeways Crew member, I was representing Shapeways in the exhibitor space and gave a talk during the final lightning round of presentations.

3D printed scientific models, molecules, DNA model

3D printed cell and DNA models at Science in 3D

I’ve used Shapeways to sell fashionable hats, goods, pen holders and color proteins through my Shapeways shop, but I have also used it to 3D print models which have enabled me to build incredible models for the science community, including the NIH 3D Print Exchange, and as proof-of-concept to secure business contracts for processing medical scan data for private commercial websites and corporations.

3D printed scientific models

Melanie Robinson of Molecular Jig Games and Michael Astra from XVIVO admiring 3D printed molecules at Science in 3D

While I enjoy freelancing as a designer and working on various collaborations, I love demonstrating how everyone can print anatomical models with very little investment using open source software packages and Shapeways.

For example, I created these hearts just for the NIH Science in 3D festival:

3D printed heart, anatomical model, science

3D printed hearts in Frosted Ultra Detail and White Strong Flexible plastic

I found the models on the NIH 3D Print Exchange, and 3D printed them with Shapeways in Frosted Ultra Detail (left) and white strong and flexible nylon plastic (right).

To learn more about how to use data like that available from the NIH 3D Print Exchange to create printable models, I created this tutorial specifically geared towards modelers interested in printing anatomical models.

How to Close Holes and Clean Large 3D Models – Part 1 from Christopher Leggett on Vimeo.

The exhibition featured many different models available from Shapeways, created by designers who are scientists and others who have a keen interest in science. You can see more in this display video I created with Jeremy Swan, a contractor with the NIH. The models you can see in the video below include: White and red blood cells by Somersault 18:24, DNA Molecule and Antibody model by FabMOL, Tardigrade by Raw Legend Collaborations, Gyro the Cube by Virtox, and a tree moth and Morton the Elephant by HiLobster.

I also presented Chris’s Histone Protein model renders, which are also available on the NIH 3D exchange.

3D printed, molecules, cells, science

The Shapeways table at Science in 3D

As the science and medical world continues to explore many different applications for 3D printing, I’m interested to hear from other scientists and science fans on Shapeways – how are you using 3D printing? How would you like to?

 

 

 


 

Copyright, 3D Printing and You: What does it all mean?

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.

Superfanart-landing-page

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.

Interested to learn more ? Check out these great articles about the state of 3DP and Intellectual Property from Michael Weinberg from Public Knowledge.

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.


 

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

rush-625x465-2

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.

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 4.16.35 PM

 

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

Posted by in Community, Shapeways

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!