Category Archives: Customization

How 3D Printing Is Revolutionizing Surgery

One of the most-common ways professionals use 3D printing is as a method to create rapid prototypes of potential products. But the ability to produce quick, affordable, and precise models can have a much bigger impact than getting the fit of an iPhone case just right. Over the last year, doctors have started using 3D-printed body-part replicas to help them prepare for complicated surgeries that they might not have otherwise been able to perform.

For doctors, capturing 3D models of surgical sites is already part of normal medical-imaging procedures, but printing those images allows doctors to see the sites with more clarity than ever before. The typical treatment for kidney cancer, of which there are 64,000 new cases in the U.S. each year, is surgery. The procedure is extremely delicate and must be completed quickly. Earlier this year, a team of doctors at Kobe University in Japan converted CT (computer tomography) scans of tumor-containing kidneys into 3D-print-ready models. Practicing on 3D models has allowed doctors to more-precisely target the affected areas, and cut the time that they must restrict blood flow from 22 minutes down to 8. As of April, the team had produced individualized scale kidney models for ten patients.

In more extreme cases, practicing on scale 3D models gives doctors the confidence necessary to operate on otherwise inoperable tumors. Surgeons at the Hospital Sant Joan de Deu in Barcelona, Spain had been through two failed attempts to remove a child’s tumor before they decided to try working with a 3D-printed likeness of the tumor. The patient has a common childhood cancer called neuroblastoma, which forms in nerve cells in the adrenal glands (which sit above the kidneys), chest, spine, and neck.

Doctors used a multi-material 3D printer to produce two models: a replica of the tumor with surrounding organs and a version of the patient’s abdomen without the tumor, so they could see what he should look like after a successful surgery. The team practiced on the 3D model for about a week-and-a-half before successfully removing the tumor. The hospital has since commissioned 3D models for two more patients.

Credit: Hospital Sant Joan de Deu

Credit: Hospital Sant Joan de Deu

In some instances, 3D prints can offer surgeons insight that might change their surgical plans for the better. Cardiologists at the Children’s Hospital of Illinois at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center study and treat congenital heart disease in children. After 3D printing a model of a three-year-old patient’s heart last July, doctors Matthew Bramlet and Karl Welke realized that they could perform a surgery that would leave the child with two ventricles (the main chambers of the heart), while the previous plan would have left him with only one. According to Welke, traditional imaging techniques, including MRIs and echocardiograms, give doctors only vague shadows of what the heart looks like; 3D printing, on the other hand, presents a level of detail of that’s much closer to what doctors will actually encounter in the operating room.

Bramlet’s ultimate goal is to build a Library of Hearts that other doctors can use as a reference for congenital heart defects. He’s asking for pre- and post-op CT scans and MRIs of defects, which he will upload into a database of 3D-print-ready models. Other cardiologists with access to a 3D printer (ahem, or a 3D printing marketplace like Shapeways) can reproduce them.

3D Printed Bone Model

Right now, most of these hospital-based 3D prints are pricey and/or require partnership with another technical institution to complete. The neuroblastoma team in Barcelona worked with Polytechnic University of Catalonia. Meanwhile, making a 3D-printed at Kobe University can add as much as $1,500 to costs. So ingenuitive doctors are turning to more-affordable DIY methods to replicate necessary body parts. Mark Frame, a doctor in Glasgow, used freely available 3D modeling software to convert CT scans of a patient’s fractured bone into a print-ready model. He uploaded his design to Shapeways and received a scale model of the forearm bone within a week and for only £77 (about $132). A scale model would have otherwise cost him around $1,200.

Often doctors are unable to experiment with new techniques freely, as time, cost, and availability work against them. But the increased accessibility of 3D printing through services like Shapeways is removing all of those barriers in one fell swoop, giving practitioners—and their patients—chances they’ve never had before.


 

Inspiring the Next Generation of Creators: Announcing Our Collaboration with Google on Made with Code to Inspire Millions of Girls to Code & Create

I’ve been coding since I was 13 years old. I’d spend hours taking apart computers, putting them back together, and creating worlds of my own. Technology has not only impacted the way I solve problems, it’s framed the way I view the world. First with coding, and later with 3D printing, I found that my imagination was my only limitation.

Today, I’m thrilled to share that Shapeways is collaborating with Google on Made with Code to inspire girls to code. Our goal has always been to give everyone access to the best technology in 3D printing, and we’re now investing in that access for girls — a group that has historically been underrepresented in science and technology.

Made with Code offers fun and simple projects aimed at helping girls take the first step in learning how to code. The premier project of the initiative is a coding project based on Blockly, Google’s visual programming editor, in which girls can create a custom bracelet that we will 3D print in our New York City factory using EOS printers.

Made with Code and Shapeways

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DIY With Raspberry Pi And 3D Printing

Today we’ll be showcasing some creative ways people in the Shapeways community are using Raspberry Pi with 3D printing. Raspberry Pi is a small and capable mini computer that can fit in the palm of your hands. The Raspberry Pi is essentially a caseless computer board which serves as a base where you can construct your own DIY computer from parts like the keyboard and USB outlets, to configuring its operating system.

For makers, designers, and tech enthusiast; Raspberry Pi is a way to create creative DIY projects. Raspberry Pi can serve as a customizable general purpose computer, media device, or even as part of robotics / electronic experiments. Watch this video to see more on what you can do with Raspberry Pi.

If you own a Raspberry Pi we’ve got some awesome 3D printed cases for them. Here are a few Raspberry Pi inspired 3D prints from our community.

Pi Dish by duckandflea

 

 

Raspberry Pi: Standard Case by FreakyShape

Raspberry Pi cases by pilarian

For more inspiration on how people in the community are using Raspberry Pi here’s a wonderful example of how a father built a custom rig and scanner to do a 3D scan of his son using raspberry pi, then sent the 3D file to be 3D printed with Shapeways. You can read about his story on Instructables here.

Do you have a project that you’ve done with Raspberry Pi or with 3D printing? Share them with us by tweeting @Shapeways using the hashtag #Pi3D with a photo or link to your creation and we can showcase them to our community!


 

2013 Shapeways 3D Printing Year in Review

Each year at Shapeways, we like to do a roundup of amazing accomplishments in the rapidly evolving 3D Printing world, often powered by your innovations and creativity. We’ve been digging in and must admit, 2013 was quite the year!

To date, we’ve 3D Printed 2.2 million products — that’s 61,000 boxes worth of Tic Tacs! We are so proud to have 13,500 Shapeways shops…and counting (a growth of 75% from 2012). And the number of people creating products on Shapeways has doubled in the past year.

Shapeways 2013 3D Printing Year in Review in Numbers

The 3D printing industry as a whole has also experienced incredible growth. We’re seeing more retailers, like our friends at UPS, offer in-store 3D printing. The price of 3D printers for the home and office continues to drop. And 3D printing is constantly making stock market headlines.

Basically, this incredible technology is shaping industries far and wide—from healthcare and electronics to aerospace and home construction. And we’ll continue to see this impact in the coming years.

We couldn’t make such strides without wildly imaginative, creative, thoughtful, and fearless people like you, our community, who continue to upload nearly 100,000 new products per month. You help us push the limits of what’s possible to 3D Print, creating products from gorgeous to quirky to functional, and continue to wow us with how you use new materials.

It’s a beautiful world when anyone can create and get what they want, not just what’s available in stores.

Check out our Slideshare for 3D printing trends, stats & more of our exciting year in review.


 

 

MYMO: The Beautiful Pendant Generator Built on the Shapeways API

Did you know Shapeways has an API? New companies are forming around it everyday!

MYMO is a great recent example of Shop Owners taking advantage of the API. I sat down with them at their office to discuss the launch of their jewelry app, MYMO, that lets users combine any two letters or numbers in an elegant form factor. Our Alan Hudson helped them set it up, has worked with them a lot. He even connected them to a geometry generator. Rex, their developer, built MYMO off the Shapeways API which let him leverage his existing coding database.

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Nervous System Releases ‘Kinematics’ Jewelry Customization Apps (VIDEO)

Nervous System have just released a new Kinematics jewelry range coupled with a customization app to create unique 3D printed jewelry based on interlocking components. While this is a beautifully simple interface to create customized 3D printed jewelry, it is the potential for draping and compression to fit a large design within a small 3D printer build size when using a process such as Shapeways Selective Laser Sintering that really makes this an impressive application for 3D printing.

Kinematics is a system for 4D printing that creates complex, foldable forms composed of articulated modules.

The system provides a way to turn any three-dimensional shape into a flexible structure using 3D printing. Practically, Kinematics allows us to take large objects and compress them down for 3D printing through simulation. It also enables the production of intricately patterned wearables that conform flexibly to the body. Kinematics produces designs composed of 10’s to 1000’s of unique components that interlock to construct dynamic, mechanical structures.

Each component is rigid, but in aggregate they behave as a continuous fabric. Though made of many distinct pieces, these designs require no assembly. Instead the hinge mechanisms are 3D printed in-place and work straight out of the machine.

Above for example, you see a full scale dress design that would be far too large to fit into even our largest printer that can take parts up to 650x350x550mm in Nylon.  By converting the structure into a series of self folding connections the entire dress could be compressed down to the smallest possible form (whilst maintaining enough distance so parts do not sinter together) and then be 3D printed in our EOS slective laser sintering 3D printer in one entire print.  We would then unfurl the dress from the print build, air blast the excess Nylon powder out of the dress and it would be ready to wear.

This project evolved out of a collaboration with Motorola’s Advanced Technology and Projects group which challenged Nervous System to create in-person customization experiences for low cost 3D printers. The genesis of the project is discussed at length in The Making of Kinematics post on the Nervous System blog.

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Create your own holiday gifts: Part 1

With the holidays approaching, now’s a better time than ever to design your very own 3D Printed gifts. Never designed anything before? Not to worry. We’re here to help. This is the first of our three-part series on our easy-to-use apps that’ll have you creating in no time. No tricky modeling skills required!

We’ve all gotten dad a mug, bought a tea set for grandma, or perhaps a vase for a friend. But have you actually designed a gift for them? With the Sake Set Creator app you can do just that. Your creation will be 3D Printed in Ceramics, our only food-safe material. Did we mention you won’t even have to get your hands dirty?!

The tool enables you to select a base design, then adjust shape, smoothness, and twist intensity. You can design everything from cups and saucers to tumblers and vases. Then choose from 5 different colored glazes to personalize even further.

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Learn Awesome: Man Saves his Bird with Design

Sebastian Schild had a problem: His bird Jim was stressing out and everything Sebastian tried to do to help him just didn’t do the trick. Then an .stl and some ingenuity came to the rescue. Here is Sebastian describing his process:

“The names of our birds are Jim and Knopf, after characters in a German TV show for children. Our male bird, Jim, needs the collar because he started to pick out all of his feathers. It started about 2-3 years ago and in the meantime he had picked out nearly all feathers from his front, his legs and under his wings. That must be a psychological problem (perhaps with his “wife”) because the veterinarian did not find any other cause.

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Custom Business Card Case

Last year at SXSW we handed out these awesome 3D printed business card cases designed by Salokannel- and the crowd seemed to love them as much as we do! We are now happy to announce that anybody or any company can customize their own case.

One side of the case is textured with a funky pattern, and the other side has a perfect space for your logo or name! Available in a variety of colors the cases can easily be designed to coordinate with your business cards. They also work great as promotional gifts!

The first custom case is $59.99, but after that they drop to only $25 each. Buy one here


 

Need to Repair Your 3D Printer? Use Shapeways to 3D Print Replacement Parts

Anyone who owns a desktop 3D printer knows that sometimes you need to replace some of the components to optimize performance.  In many cases you can simply 3D print a replacement part with your 3D printer which is an incredibly rewarding process of self sufficiency but when it is a critical component that stops the 3D printer from functioning properly it can quickly become frustrating dead end.  

Shapeways 3d prints 3D Printer Parts

Shapeways community member Schlem discovered the extruder gears that came with his Printbot Kit were warped and his 3D printer was not functioning properly.  Of course a non functioning 3D printer can not 3D print repair parts so he used Shapeways to 3D print his replacement parts in laser sintered Nylon.  By using Shapeways to 3D print the parts for his 3D printer he now has a more durable, higher resolution part that will make his desktop 3D printer more accurate and reliable.

He also made it possible to make the 3D printer even more awesome by designing the Skulltruder, adding a little gothic bling to what is essentially an engineering project.

3D Printed Skull-Truder 3D Printer hack

If you have any 3D parts to share on Shapeways, be sure to tag them ‘3D Printer‘ and the type of 3D printer they are for so others can easily find them and repair their 3D printer too.


 

Designer Spotlight: Bo Lorentz

This week’s Designer Spotlight focuses on Bo Lorentzen, a photographer whose creative upbringing has led him to create custom mounts and accessories for the popular GoPro camera.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?

I am Bo, originally from Denmark, now living and working in Hollywood, California. My background is photography and graphic design.

What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you to design for the GoPro?

My designs are mostly created to solve my own needs and wants.  The GoPro for me is a amazing camera, which truly shows how scale and technology affect how we do things, because it creates images with quality better than my broadcast cameras of years ago.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
Shapeways is an absolutely fantastic concept, I was printing parts for customers myself on my UP! printer, constantly having to check on prints and files,  using Shapeways is the only logical way to do this,  I upload a file and let Shapeways deal with fulfilling orders. It is brilliant! (Ed-thanks, we think so too!)

shapeways gopro drone mount

How did you learn how to design in 3D?

I did actually take classes in 3D animation in the nineties, but 3D product design is something I have slowly figured out the hard way. I probably learned to think in 3D from my mother who is very artistic and “forced” us as kids to draw, to work in clay, and generally hammer together and build whatever we were thinking. So when we saw a TV program about pirates, we would later be building a pirate ship in the backyard.

How do you promote your work?

I don’t really promote like I should,  most of my sales are from word of mouth, from happy customers using my designs. I write a blog, where I share my thoughts about photography.

shapeways gopro hero mount

Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
EVERYBODY, the Shapeways community is truly amazing and one of a kind, there are so many creative people using technology to make hard-copies of their imaginative concepts. To mention one maybe Theo Jansen’s amazing moving sculptures might be one, I look at those weekly.
If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
I am very excited about printing with multiple materials in one project in the future.
GoPro fan? Check out Bo’s camera accessories in his Shapeways Shop, or explore the range of GoPro add-ons that people are creating.

 

Shop Owner Holiday Tips Series: #4 Personalization & Shapeways Co-Creators

We’re back with the fourth in our series of Shop Owner tips to help you get your shop ready for the holiday season.
Personalization is one of the most popular ways to make a gift special. Not coincidentally, it is one of the greatest things we can do with 3D printing! Luckily, it’s easy too.
If you have a model that can be personalized, you can turn it into a co-creator. Good models that could be personalized include rings, tags, keychains, company logos, business card holders, and iPhone cases. The list is endless!
Making a model into a Co-Creator is easy. On your My Models page, under the description there is a link to make this model a Co-Creator

You will get this pop-up where you can specify what is able to be customized on your model whether it is adding text, adding an image or even changing the size. You also indicate how long it will take you to make these changes once someone has ordered your model.

Best Practice Examples. Kaetemi makes this customizable keychain that can have custom images.

This is the what the customer sees for kaetemi’s model:

Another example is Ovidu Opresco’s ring which is able to be customized with text and for ring size.

For more instructions, see this tutorial page on Co-Creators and consider if any of your models could become co-creators. 

As always, if you have tips or any questions, share them here! 


 

First 3D Printed iPhone 5 on Shapeways

It Arrived!!!

The first 3D Printed iPhone 5 has landed at Shapeways and along with it an update to the design for the iPhone 5 case templates for the contest we are running at Shapeways where you can win $500 worth of 3D Printing by designing an accessory for the iPhone 5.

There are already over 30 3D Printed products already available on Shapeways to fit the iPhone 5, enter your design in the contest to win.

We have updated the downloadable files for customization now that we have been able to test the fit, especially around the corners for the iPhone 5, the case can be downloaded here, and the bumper here