Together, we are about to make history. Today marks the beginning of manufacturing in space. Are you ready to take on the #MissionPrint Challenge? Here’s the launch video of SpaceX-4 that just successfully carried the Made In Space Zero-G 3D Printer to the ISS:
Video courtesy of SpaceX
Hearing mission control say “…and we have liftoff of SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket and Dragon. CRS-4 is underway. A US commercial spacecraft launching from American soil delivers new technology and science to the International Space Station,” gives me and hopefully every other space lover chills. Knowing that that “new technology” is one that we all are fortunate enough to experiment with every day, the ability to additively manufacture on demand through 3D Printing, is inspiring. Remember, there is no overnight shipping to space; and it is physically impossible to traditionally manufacture parts in a space environment. We really are witnessing, and taking an active part in, making history.
Screen Shots here and below courtesy of FutureEngineers.org
This is the first in a series of NASA developed 3D Space Challenges that Future Engineers and our other out-of-this-world partners are happy to share with the Shapeways community. Encourage every K-12 student you know interested in 3D Printing to check it out, and remember, ALL students (university, college, trade schools, and professors too) get 10% off ALL their prints at Shapeways ALL the time. What a great excuse to “ground print” and prototype your space tools with us.
Tools designed for this challenge are judged on the following well-rounded criteria:
40 Points – Innovation and Creativity of the Solution
20 Points – Ability to communicate the design through the Text Description and/or Finalist Interview
20 Points – Quality of the 3D Modeled Geometry and compliance with the Design Guidelines
20 Points - Usefulness of the design in a Space Environment
Kids are powering innovative developments in 3D Printing across the unique web of our industry’s reach. They are opening shops on Shapeways, printing on desktop printers in their classrooms, and mod-ing their toys at home. There are dozen of touching stories of kids literally enabling the future of 3D printed prosthetics. And perhaps most profound of all, they can see what we can’t. Young minds aren’t limited by the bounds of conventional design and manufacturing constraints. Freed of this parameter, they are capable of leveraging the technology and materials available in unique new ways. Inspired by their potential, Future Engineers has an awesome lineup of prizes for the top contestants. The winner of the challenge will even have their tool printed in Zero-G’s on the ISS and get to watch live from Mission Control. While the #MissionPrint Future Engineers contest is for K-12 students in the US only, we will be featuring innovative designs by makers of all ages on our blog between now and when winners are announced on January 30th, 2015.
Are you ready to accept the #MissionPrint Challenge, stop dreaming and start doing? Keep us posted on your progress in our Space Forum and be sure and tag your space tools #MissionPrint. The best way to ensure your products will be astronaut-ready is to prototype on the ground, and we can’t wait to help.
“Maker” is a feature-length documentary on the Maker Movement and its impact on society, culture and economy in the U.S.
The ‘Maker Movement’, sometimes called the ‘Third Industrial Revolution,’ subverts traditional manufacturing by building on innovative concepts such as open source, local manufacturing, crowd funding, and digital fabrication. Breaking the hobbyist movement stereotype, ‘Maker’ delves deep into this ecosystem of design and manufacturing in the Internet era. The film explores the ideas, tools, and personalities that are driving the Maker Movement – and returns with a timely snapshot of one of the transforming influences of the current age.
The documentary is a series of interviews with leading thinkers in the maker movement, their motivations and the future as they see it evolving. You can request a screening for your local area, school, hacker space or find a screening that is already happening in your area. Also screening from September 26th on Netflix is the Print the Legend movie, following the growth of Formlabs and Makerbot as they raced to bring 3D printers to peoples homes.
This should be listed under ‘do not try this at home’ as many territories have different laws on who and how to you can get tattooed. To follow their process so you can see exactly how not to try this at home, Pierre Emm and friends have shared their how (not) to on Instructables.
We are testing Full Color Plastic 3D Printing at Shapeways and what better way to test than with material torture videos. We 3D printed a few basic parts to test for strength, flexibility, water and fire resistance.
Take a look at the video above to see the material under all of the different torture tests (oh, I was gentle as I wanted to test some of the parts in real world applications). Overall while the material is not as refined or durable as SLS Nylon, which is the benchmark to which I compare all 3D printed materials, you can still do interlocking parts AND it is in almost full color (CMY, no K).
The material is not as strong as our popular Nylon SLS material but is definitely less brittle then Full Color Sandstone. At 3mm thickness the material is relatively stiff with only a small amount of flexibility (depending on geometry) yet at 1.5mm thickness the parts flex quite easily, to the point where the material may fail after just a few cycles of bending. At 1mm thickness of wires, the prints can be very easily broken with very little effort so I really recommend at least 2mm walls/wires unless you never, ever intend to touch your 3D prints.
I also gave the material a quick grind with a Dremel which the full color plastic held up fairly well to. If you have a printed part that fits on an existing component that is too tight, you could easily and reliably grind away excess material with a clean finish. I imagine it would respond to sanding with similar success as the color is impregnated approximately 2mm into the surface of the 3D prints, you could smooth the parts without removing all the color as long as you are not too heavy handed. I am still experimenting with the parts in a tumbler to see if we can automate the smoothing process.
I am quite excited that the full color plastic is entirely waterproof, after soaking for over 24 hours there is no bleeding of colors, no degradation of material strength, stiffness or any swelling. I have not had a chance to really UV test the pigments but as far as moisture is concerned this could be used for outdoor applications.
Another concern may be exposure to heat, the material feels as though it will deform under high temperatures but it definitely catches fire easily and stays alight emitting a terrible smell. So please do not expose you full color plastic 3D prints to exposed flames.
If you have any other tests you would like me to do to our Full Color Plastic, please leave a comment in the blog.
The playful project to send Karlie Kloss around the world as a 3D print is another example of the fashion world recognizing the value of 3D printing, even if it is not to make a garment or an accessory. With projects like the Dita Von Teese Gown and the Victoria’s Secret Angel Wings, we worked with designers to push the current 3D Printing materials to the absolute limits. This project is a more lighthearted step in the direction of exploring how 3D scanning and 3D printing can be used to document a person, object or place, to then explore the form in 3 dimensions, to print as is, or to modify and/or enhance.
The american supermodel was 3D scanned in a number of classic outfits, and playful poses by Direct Dimensions’ 20 foot diameter booth with over 100 cameras firing simultaneously to capture the raw data to 3D print. 3D technicians then painstakingly prepared the 3D point clouds so that Shapeways could 3D print the 6 inch high figurines in our Full Color Sandstone material in our New York factory, you can see footage of the print process in the video below..
The 3D prints were then sent to exotic locations around the world to be photographed by fashion photographers in each locale, you may see a few on instagram with the hastag #whereskarlie.
Ok, before we move on to more 3D printed material tests, we need to burn all that lay before us, including Shapeways Elasto Plastic 3D prints. In this material torture test we set that bad boy on fire and watch it burn, dripping like flaming napalm onto the floor. Please keep your Elasto Plastic 3D prints away from naked flames because it catches afire easily, stays alight and drips terrible flaming plastics that is not so easily extinguished.
In the previous Shapeways Material Torture Test I set fire to our base materials in the Shapeways Sample pack. Today I want to share a few more detailed videos showing how each material burns using a larger 3D print. In this post we will take a look at our SLS Nylon, SLS Metallic Plastic (Alumide) which is a Nylon and Aluminum composite, and Full Color Sandstone which is made of Gypsum powder, bound together with an adhesive then soaked in Cyanoacrylate (super glue).
Take a look first at our most popular material, 3D printed Nylon (WSF).
It does catch fire fairly easily but seems to extinguish itself after a short time based on this geometry. The Nylon melts into a hot, smelly napalm type form then cools and hardens fairly quickly. Do not try this at home. Do not expose your Nylon 3D prints to fire.
Next we set fire to the 3D Printed Metallic Plastic (Alumide) which is a Nylon and Aluminum powder based 3D printing process. It does catch fire very easily and stays alight, dripping a really nasty powdery, smelly hot napalm type goop, literally dripping fire. You should really keep your Metallic Plastic (Alumide) 3D prints away from exposed fire. Really.
Setting fire to Shapeways 3D Printed Full Color Sandstone (Gypsum Powder, Binder, Ink and Cyanoacrylate) which is a powder based 3D printing process developed by Zcorp. It does catch fire quite easily and stays alight, burning slowly and steadily. The smell is not to noxious, smelling a little like burnt paper or cardboard. After 6 minutes the 3D print was still burning so I blew it out to save the boredom.
All three of these 3D printed materials should definitely be kept away from naked flames.
We have seen many FDM 3D Printers, a couple of SLA and even a few DLP 3D printers launch on Kickstarter, now the first of the much awaited SLS machines are starting to test the ravenous market for 3D printers.
SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) is the core technology behind our 3D Printed Nylon (white strong & flexible) 3D printing at Shapeways, one of our most popular materials. The SLS process is by far the most versatile as the powder surrounding a sintered part acts as support material, so you can make complex, interlocking parts, with overhanging parts, cantilevers, holes in multiple directions, and hinged parts fully assembled, the excess powder is then brushed and blown away to reveal the part. No nasty support material or structures to deal with. In short, it is an incredibly versatile process.
The process is called Sintering, because the layer of powder is heated up to just below melting point, the laser then follows and melts the powder turning it into a solid, without it going to liquid form first. This helps to control the material warpage and thermal shock so the 3D prints are accurate and strong.
The Ice 1 & Ice 9 by Norge Systems may be the first SLS 3D printer available at a price that is affordable for a small design firm at just over $8,000 USD at current exchange rates for the smaller Ice 1 on Kickstarter which has a Build volume: 200x200x250 mm Layer thickness: 0.1 – 0.15mm. Not Shabby. The Ice 9 promises a Build volume: 300x300x450 mm at a price point closer to $35,000 USD.
To temper excitement, (oh, and I am VERY excited) the units are proposed to ship in December 2015 which is quite a wait if you have dropped $8,000 as a backer, coupled with the tendency for hardware on Kickstarter to ship late. The video shows the printer in action, but does not show the printed part as traced by the laser, they do show a different 3D printed part beingpulled from the powder so perhaps the machine is not quite fully functional yet.
If you have the cash and patience I would really love to see this unit hit the market so please do support this project and the designers behind it. Meanwhile there seems to be another play flirting with the desktop (ok, maybe a little big for your actual desk) market with an eerily similar logo to Norge. The videos by Sintratec look to be a little further on in the machine development.
Keep your eyes peeled, either way, the SLS market is going to change, maybe not in the exact same way as the FDM 3D printer market, but it will change.
Ever wondered what would happen if you set fire to your 3D prints? Yeah, me too.
Following is a video of a quick flame test of five of shapeways core 3D printing materials including Alumide, Acrylic (FUD + Detail) , Full Color Sandstone, and Nylon (WSF). Watch this 3 minute video to see how each of these materials reacts to a quick encounter with a blow torch. Please do not try this at home.
A little surprisingly the Alumide was the first to melt down like a powdery napalm candle. Both of the Acrylics (both of which are UV cured resins) caught fire super easily and burnt steadily emitting a terrible odor. The full color sandstone did not really want to stay alight with this geometry. It is actually the Cyanoacrylate (super glue (Kragle)) final sealing process that really burns in the full color prints, I tried other prints that had not been dipped in Cyanoacrylate and they would not stay alight at all. Finally the Nylon caught fire but did not maintain the flame for very long. In other geometries I have seen the Nylon keep alight for longer, again dripping like napalm whilst still on fire.
In the end, these materials are in no way resistant to fire, keep them away from naked flames as it will most likely result in a hot dripping, smelly mess.
I will share more videos of each of the materials with different geometries so you can see in detail how each material reacts.
And, what material torture test would you like to see next?
The Retro Populator is anything but retro, it may well be the future of digital manufacturing. We all know that 3D printing is all kinds of awesome, but it does have limitations, namely anything other than the material you are printing in. Now, if we combine a 3D printer and a Pick and Place machine, we can make all sorts of amazing products, with integrated components such as electronics, batteries, motors, magnets even insect larvae, though I am not sure why.
The Retro Populator is an electronics pick-n-place retrofit for 3D printers. Take your RepRap based desktop 3D printer (ie. most of them) add a few of the shelf components and you are now at the very forefront of digital fabrication. Note: Actual effort may be greater than brief overview given in superficial description.
Now this first prototype is not yet the 3D Print and Pick and Place all at the same time, but it is an indicator that it will be very possible in the relatively near future.
Check out their video of the first iteration in action and keep an eye out for their project as they flirt with the avalanche of success that may very well bury them on Kickstarter.
3D printed custom headphones are now available through the Normal app by former Quirky insider Nikki Kaufmann thanks to $5 million in venture backing.
The super simple app guides you through a photo based ear and face scanning process to configure the headphones to exactly meet your ear shape. This is possibly the first 3D printing apps designed to make functional products, not a figurine or toy, a major step towards the ubiquity of 3D printing to power customized products.
Follow along with our merchandizer Aimee in this 2 minute tutorial. Aimee shows you her process for designing a custom pendant using nothing more than a pen, a piece of paper, a camera phone and our 2D to 3D creator app.
Try for yourself with the 2D to 3D creator app here and a tutorial: How to use the 2D to 3D converter app. We’ll be seeking more entries to the series How I Made so if you’ve got an idea for a short video add it in the comments or contact education [at] shapeways [dot] com. Happy making!
What better way to wake up in the morning then with the chirping of birds and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. The team at NOTLABS have collaborated with Publicis Mexico with a little help from Shapeways 3D printing to create the Nescafe Alarm Caps.
The alarm awakens you with the soft sound of chirping birds and a ring of LEDs illuminating the cap, to turn the alarm off you must unscrew the cap (and make yourself a cup of Nescafe). This elegantly simple idea was realized thanks to Shapeways 3D printing and Arduino based electronics that are accessible to anyone.
It is a prefect example of a major brand taking inspiration from the maker movement, using innovative design firms to create short run products to keep their brand fresh and agile. Nescafe do not need to invest in 10,000 units to meet minimum order quantities to take their product to market. Like Shapeways shop owners who understand one of the key assets of 3D printing, that supply exactly meets demand, Nescafe can inspire and supply a key market, whether they be Nescafe lovers, influential celebrities or Folgers fanatics.
We are seeing more and more major brands start to approach 3D printing to connect with their customer base in a more bespoke way, with the democratization of manufacturing with digital fabrication, the biggest firms need to act small to keep up with the rapid innovation possible with smaller agile design firms and even individuals.
Check out the video to see the Nescafe Alarm Cap in action, is that how you would like to start your day?
Check out this sexy video from New Balance showing the process of 3D printing their shoes using the exact same 3D printer you have access to through Shapeways.
By giving anyone access to the exact same machines, materials and post processes, Shapeways gives everybody to prototype and create products with the same material qualities as the biggest brands in the world, with access to the best technology. Where companies such as New Balance need to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to access these 3D printers, in this instance laser sintered Nylon using an EOS 3D printer, the same as in our factories in NYC and Eindhoven. These 3D printers are just a mouse click away with no investment on your part.