Category Archives: Design

Shapeways helps Coca-Cola celebrate 100th anniversary of iconic design with 3D printed bottles

Today, we are thrilled to announce our work with Coca-Cola as part of their 100th anniversary celebration of the iconic Coca-Cola bottle. On February 28th, a new exhibit will open to the public at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta featuring more than 500 3D printed bottles suspended from the ceiling, all 3D by Shapeways.

The 3D printed bottles at the High Museum before being hung up.

The 3D printed bottles at the High Museum before being hung up.

The iconic Coca-Cola bottle was originally designed by the Root Glass Company in 1915 as a result of a competition that challenged manufacturers to develop a design that would be recognizable even if broken or being grabbed in the dark. The winning design ultimately had a huge impact on visual art and culture, and is one of the defining shapes that represents the global company.

The only thing we love more than hearing stories about product iteration is actually being a part of the process. 3D printing is becoming more of a staple in the iteration process, and has helped countless designers perfect their products. As the original designers surely went through various iterations on their way to the perfect bottle, we worked with Conran and Partners on various designs before finding the right one.

The final version of the bottle next to an earlier iteration.

The final version of the bottle next to an earlier iteration.

Initially the bottle silhouette was printed in the fully expanded shape of the bottle. However,  we quickly discovered in testing that once hung the bottle ornaments would stretch and distort. Shapeways, Coca-Cola and Conran and Partners worked closely over the next three days producing four new iterations of the bottle to perfect the design, ensuring that once it was hung, it would perfectly retain the iconic Coca Cola bottle shape without any color or branding. In the final design, the bottle is actually printed in a compressed shape to both compensate for stretching and increase packing efficiency in our printers.

3cokebottles

In order to ensure the bottles printed and processed without fail, we designed a cage that would enclose the actual bottle as it printed so that each bottle could be “opened” and revealed individually after being processed. Check out the video below to see how the bottles looks when they come out of the printer!

Shapeways is so proud to be a part of this celebration with one of the most iconic brands in the world. Their bottle really set the bar for efficient product design, and we are thrilled to be able to use modern 3D printing technology to celebrate this traditional design.

For any community members in Atlanta (or planning a trip there), the exhibit will be open from February 28 through October 4th and will showcase original design illustrations, historical artifacts and experimentation with the iconic Coca-Cola bottle.

What do you think about the design of the Coca-Cola bottle? What other iconic designs would you love to see 3D printed?

 

 


 

Products in the Press

Posted by in Design, Product 1 Reply

Seeing a product you designed in the press is an amazing feeling. It validates all the hard work that goes into making your product, while giving more people an opportunity to discover and ultimately purchase! Products on Shapeways are special because they cover a range of industries and genres. From tech gadgets on tech blogs, to sculptures featured in design outlets, there’s plenty of room for PR!

The products featured below were noticed for various reasons. Whether it was because it fit within a pop culture moment or just showcased amazing design, these products caught a reporter’s eye and inspired them to write. Always keep in mind that beautiful photos, design stories and customer engagement will help to make your products stand out across the board.

Tardigrade (Water Bear)

The water Tardigrade from Raw Legends Collaborations was featured in 3D Printing Industry after “it became a bit of a minor 3D printing viral sensation, making it onto the editor at Popular Science’s Twitter feed and countless science blogs.” Read More

Ittyblox

Ittyblox was written about in CityLab for all the model fans. “At least some pieces, like the 1:1000-scale Guggenheim Museum and Tudor City building, are based on real-life structures. And all are cut with fantastic detail.”  Read More

Blooming Zoetrope Sculptures


For products that require a video, a few 1-2 minutes can go a long way. Dezeen Magazine wrote a piece on designer John Edmark‘s incredible Blooming Zoetrope Sculptures. Read More

Left Shark

Before the law got in the way, Left Shark was featured as a new meme in various outlets including The Star. “A surprising MVP emerged from Sunday’s Super Bowl — or, more appropriately, MVM — and now you can get your very own 3D-printed “Left Shark” mascot.” Read More

Steampunk Themed Accessories


Steampunk has a lot of fans, and 3DPrint.com included multiple Shapeways products in their roundup of designs. “Steampunk machines, devices, etc., usually consist of a lot of gears and analogue mechanisms. Today you see all sorts of unique designs, such as steampunk jewelry, clocks, clothing, and just about anything else that you can think of. 3D printing is a technology which has taken things to the next level, as designers can now fabricate their own unique, extremely complicated, steampunk creations.” Read More

Chopstick Holders & Crayon Creatures

Quartz featured Chopstick Holders and several of Bernat Cuni’s products in their story on “some of the coolest and most interesting things you can 3D-print right now.” Read More

Wave Cable Holder

marieclaire

Urbano Rodriguez’s Wave Cable Holder was included in a roundup of tech accessories perfect for the office in the March issue of Marie Claire, on newsstands now.

 

If you’re looking to get your products noticed, social media is a great place to start. While it doesn’t quite feel like “press,” all platforms are a space to share, and make it more likely for reporters to find your product and write about it. Shapeways social media guru, Eric Ho has given some great tips of how to get your products in the right platforms.

As always, don’t forget to post your products in our “Feature This!” forum. Our PR team loves to check out what’s new, and will reach out if there is a fit for a story we are working on!


 

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:

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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.

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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.

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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.


 

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?  

 


 

New Year, New Tools: Introducing Shapeways 3D tools

Whether you are creating something for yourself or designing something beautiful for your customers, making your product come to life is incredibly rewarding. 3D printing has continually lowered the barrier from having an idea to actually holding your product in your hands.

Ensuring your 3D model can be printed, and understanding how design and material choices impact how you make your model can however be challenging.  The team at Shapeways constantly strives to make that easier, so with the new year, we’re thrilled to introduce a suite of 3D tools to empower you further. The Shapeways 3D tools give you more transparency into how we check your models and to help you check, visualize, and fix potential issues yourself before purchasing your model.

With the success of our wall thickness fixing tool in March of last year, we were inspired to invest in expanding the ways you can view your model against what our 3D Printing Engineers at Shapeways are looking at when you upload a model – our material design guidelines.  So we built 15 tools that let you view your model against our material-specific guidelines: mesh integrity and repair, bounding box, loose shells, part count, wire thickness, details, text, part clearance, escape holes, machine space, weak geometry, texture, interlocking parts, our content policy, and improved our wall thickness tool with a heatmap view.

Heatmap Wall Thickness 3D tools Flower

Each tool enables you to view your model against our design guidelines and clip your model along the x, y, and z axis for x-ray vision so you can identify any potential issues faster and with confidence.

Our tools are grouped into two types: ‘On upload we automatically check…’ and ‘After purchase we manually check…’ Our wall thickness, bounding box, mesh integrity and repair, loose shells, and part count tools in the first group have automatic checks that will show you a green check, yellow warning sign, or a red ‘X’ indicating our initial level of confidence that you will pass that check upon manual inspection post-purchase.  Every automatic check is still subject to a manual check post-purchase.

Machine space, loose shells, and wall thickness tools will also visualize any detected issues on top of your model.  The improved wall thickness and part count tools offer ‘fixes’ to change your model related to the issue in the tool in addition to a heatmap view.  You can also ‘sintershell’ a multi-part model in the part count tool, which encloses your parts inside a mesh, making it easier to handle and sort.  Adding a ‘sintershell’ can sometimes reduce the labor cost of a multi-part model.

Three Visualizations 3D tools Machine Space Loose Shells and Sintershell

Machine Space Visualization, Loose Shells and Sintershell example

These tools are not only helpful before you purchase, but also after you purchase if your model gets rejected.  If your model is rejected, you will receive the email with the detailed information explaining why, as always, but it will be viewable in our 3D tools right next to your model, and directly above our design guidelines – so you can see all the information you need to take action to fix and re-upload your model.

Rejection Inline with Guidelines in 3D tools Flower (1)

We hope that you’ll be as excited by these tools as we are and find them helpful as you design and get ready to 3D print. Upload a new product and read the 3D tools Tutorial or check out 3D tools with your existing models. This is just the beginning of the 3D tools so we’d love to hear about how you are using them, what you find them helpful for and if you have any suggestions. Post a comment or head over to the forum to tell us what you think!

 

 


 

Coco Rocha & Sebring Studio Bring 1,000 Poses to Life in “Study of Pose,” and in 3D with Shapeways

Supermodel Coco Rocha is not only fashion forward, she’s tech forward. And in her latest innovative feat, she collaborated with world renowned photographer Steven Sebring on Study of PoseThe book is an incredible 2,032-page volume of 1,000 unique poses that celebrates the beauty and versatility of the human form.  Each pose is captured from 100 different angles on Steven’s experimental 360 degree “rig.”

Study of Pose hardcover and iPad app, alongside 3D prints from Shapeways. Image credit to Steven Sebring Studio.

In the book’s forward, Steven Sebring explains, “I wanted to document the fluid, ever-changing beauty of the ever-flexible human form…I had always planned on shooting the one thousand images with just one camera and one model.”

If the book were not dynamic enough, Coco and Steven brought the book to life with 3D printing. Because the rig took photos at 100 different angles, those photos were easily stitched together into 3D models.

3D prints of Coco Rocha printed by Shapeways. Image credit to Steven Sebring Studio.

3D print of Coco Rocha alongside image from Study of Pose. Image credit to Steven Sebring Studio.

Coco Rocha explains, “A few years back I got to personally tour Shapeways facilities in Long Island and see their capabilities. To be honest I’ve been itching to find a way to work with them ever since! When we were in the process of creating a whole exhibition around my new book with Steven Sebring, ‘Study Of Pose,’ we realized that the data we had from the 360 degree poses could easily allow us to create fully formed 3D renderings of all 1,000 poses in the book. That’s when the proverbial light bulb went off and we took our idea directly to Shapeways. Seeing those images from the book come to life in tangible three dimensions was so amazing for me, and it proved to be a great source of conversation at the art exhibit we had at Milk Gallery. We are talking about making ‘Study Of Pose’ book ends, candelabras, toy solders… the sky is the limit with a partner like Shapeways!”

Coco Rocha visiting the Shapeways factory in 2013.

The book is on display at Milk Gallery in New York until December 21st, where you can see gorgeous images from the book as well as interpretations of Study of Pose by local artists. You’ll also find our collaboration with Coco and Steven, a display of 500 3D prints of Coco’s form.

Congratulations to Steven Sebring, Coco Rocha and the whole team on bringing this idea to life!

3D prints of Coco Rocha by Shapeways. Image Credit to Zlatko Batistich | Milk Made

3D prints of Coco Rocha by Shapeways. Image Credit to Zlatko Batistich | Milk Made

3D prints of Coco Rocha by Shapeways. Image Credit to Zlatko Batistich | Milk Made

3D prints of Coco Rocha by Shapeways. Image Credit to Zlatko Batistich | Milk Made

3D prints of Coco Rocha by Shapeways. Image Credit to Zlatko Batistich | Milk Made

Study of Pose exhibit at Milk Gallery. Image Credit to Zlatko Batistich | Milk Made

Study of Pose exhibit at Milk Gallery. Image Credit to Zlatko Batistich | Milk Made

Study of Pose exhibit at Milk Gallery. Image Credit to Zlatko Batistich | Milk Made

Study of Pose exhibit at Milk Gallery. Image Credit to Zlatko Batistich | Milk Made

Study of Pose exhibit at Milk Gallery. Image Credit to Zlatko Batistich | Milk Made

Study of Pose exhibit at Milk Gallery. Image Credit to Zlatko Batistich | Milk Made


 

Bigger is Better for Shapeways 3D Printing Bounding Box

box

 

Have you had to update everything from your case to your jean pocket size since upgrading your phone? We too have adapted to the bigger-is-better trend taking the product world by storm.

Announcing a Bigger Polished Strong & Flexible Bounding Box!

Thanks to a little R&D, we are excited to expand our current bounding box limitation for Dyed & White Strong & Flexible Polished from 150 x 150 x 150mm to 150 x 150 x 200mm!

This means that our entire Strong & Flexible Plastic family is iPhone 6 Plus case friendly! We look forward to seeing the colorful creations you polish with this expanded bounding box.

What other bounding boxes do you wish would expand?


 

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

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

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

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

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Kinematics Dress in motion. Image courtesy of Nervous System

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

How did the Kinematics Dress come about?

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

What was your inspiration?

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

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

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

nervous system 3d printed dress

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

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

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

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Kinematics Dress. Image courtesy of Nervous System

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

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

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

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

How does this fit into your broader collection?

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

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Kinematics Dress. Image courtesy of Nervous System

How did MoMA get involved?

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

What’s next for Kinematics?

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


 

A Conversation with Target Designer: Stephanie Grotta

As we announced last month, we’ve been really excited to work with Target this holiday season on a special, exclusive holiday collection available in their Target Shapeways Shop. The collection features a variety of beautiful pendants, rings and ornaments that make for amazing gifts. We love hearing more about a designer’s process and after seeing all the products ourselves, we just had to hear from a Target designer on what inspired this collection!

IMAGE_GROTTA-STEPHANIE-Target

Who are you?

Hi, I’m Stephanie Grotta, a Landscape Architect and Product Designer. I work for Target, where I lead a team of designers and engineers who create all of our kitchen, table, and organization products.

Where are you located?

I live and work in Minneapolis, MN.

How long have you been a designer?

I’ve been a designer for thirteen years, not including a lot of school!

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What inspires you?

I love watching people, and I love watching people in cities. You can learn so much about a place and a culture just by sitting, observing, walking around and getting a little lost. There is something great about every city, but some of my favorites are Copenhagen, Denmark; Austin, Texas; and Truckee, California. I also love out-of-the-way places. A few years ago I bicycled across Idaho and Montana, that trip and all of the small towns continue to be a great source of inspiration for my work.

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What do you love the most about 3D printing with Shapeways?

I love that Shapeways makes the ‘making’ process so accessible and so democratic. Accessible in that the tools for creating and prototyping are truly available to all; and democratic in that the same design can be printed in affordable plastic to rare platinum. This to me is very exciting as it flips the concept of scarcity on its head – which is compelling.

How is designing in 3D different than what you’ve done in the past?

The immediacy is powerful. In my other work, a design is not realized for at minimum a year. And as a landscape architect, those projects were many, many years in the making.

With the 3D aspect,  designing in 3D gives access to forms and connections which are not always achievable by traditional making or designing methods, which is cool. But the best part is then figuring out what to do with them. For me, it’s all about how you abstract the forms and connections so they make sense, have purpose, and communicate a larger vision.

What are your favorite pieces from the Target Shapeways Shop?

My favorites are the friendship keys, the love letters, and the menorahs.

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What’s the story behind your designs?

This first jewelry collection is about the idea of giving and receiving, and how memorable that experience should be whether you are a giver or a getter. We all know gift giving can be incredibly stressful, and often it’s not memorable (in a good way). I like the idea that this collection could add a bit of magic and anticipation to the experience, while resulting in beautiful and very personal pieces for a friend, loved one, or yourself. For me personally, the friendship keys and love letters are my favorite expression of the give and receive concept. The collection of holiday pieces was a natural extension of these ideas.

Who are your favorite designers or artists?

My favorite artists are Ed Ruscha and the photographers Wolfgang Tillmans and Wing Young Huie. My favorite designers are Michael Maltzan (Architect), and Roberto Burle Marx (Brazilian Landscape Architect). I also am in awe of the roasters at Spyhouse Coffee and the brewers at Surly Brewing, both here in Minneapolis where Target is based.

Everyone on my list has a clear vision and point of view which isn’t influenced by trend.

Are there any 3D modelers who you are inspired by?

In Product Design at Target, we have three amazing modeler guys: Stacy, Sam, and Terrence. They model almost all of the designs my team dreams up (1000s of products a year), and they are integral to making everything and anything work. They each have their own style and approach which influences the end result in great and unexpected ways. Stacy was the maestro behind our jewelry collection.

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If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?

I would want to figure out how to 3D print seeds. I like the idea that someday we could use new technology to bring back lost heirloom plants and trees.

Anything else you want to share?

We are at such an exciting crossroads of technology, anywhere/anytime access, and a growing societal interest in design. It’s the perfect time to try making something if you haven’t yet dipped your toe in the water!


 

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

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

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

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


 

The Best 3D Printed Gifts For Geeks

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

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

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2) Mobius Nautilus by JoaBaldwin

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

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

4) Wyvern Skeleton by Brian Richardson

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5) Stereographic projection grid by Henry Segerman

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


 

Be Extravagant With These Beautiful 3D Printed Home Accessories

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, our community of designers make some seriously beautiful products. Some of our favorite gifts to give this season are those that truly showcase the unique properties of 3D printing and turn anyone into a fan. These are the type of gifts that demand to be seen, and are perfect for your friends and family who need a little help sprucing up their home!

ZooM lampshade

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Hyphae lamp

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Quaternary tree mobile

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Warthog bottle stoppers

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Twist lamp

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What’s your favorite 3D printed home decor piece? Tell us below!


 

Movember Madness for Friday Finds

As we hit mid-November, how are your mustaches shaping up gents? In case Movember-Mania missed you, it’s an annual event held around the world are to raise awareness of men’s health issues. Community member Rick Stringfellow decided to make 3D printed Movemeber really special at his work….

Each year EA’s Art Department in Canada hosts a charity show to raise money for the Movember foundation. Along with growing as many real mustaches as possible, we hold the ‘Moshow’ where our artists create and present mustache inspired art.

This year I decided to use 3D printing to build a series of art pieces that are inspired by the seven deadly sins. Each Mustache was modeled in Modo3D then printed in detailed plastic with Shapeways. I then finished each printed model using Krylon acrylic paints and primers. The ‘Lust’ mustache was covered in gold leaf and then sealed with a clear Krylon finish.

Having worked in 3D for over 30 years this is my first venture into 3D printing for pure art – I learned a lot during this process and will definitely be working on some more creative adventures with Modo3D and Shapeways.

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Though we can’t compete with these artistic marvels, here’s some of our team clowning around with some 3D printed ‘stache attachments. Happy Friday!

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