Category Archives: Design

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

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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.

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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!

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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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3DP4E Launches 3D Printing for Young Artists Exhibition

Shapeways is proud to support start up 3DP4E (3D Printing for Everyone) and their mission to empower through design, technology and entrepreneurism. Founded by visionary and tech enthusiast Ronald Rose, 3DP4E strives to bring 3D printing to schools, libraries and museums.

Part of 3DP4E’s mission comes to fruition today, with the opening of a new exhibition presented in tandem with the Children’s Museum of the Arts, entitled INTO THE THIRD DIMENSION: 3D Printing for Young Artists. The show features works from museum’s permanent collection alongside a 3D-printed element or detail from each selection. The juxtaposition of the two-dimensional works with the three-dimensional replications encourages the viewer to compare and contrast the two forms. There’s also a educational film that shows the steps taken to turn a 2D-drawing into a 3D-printed object will be shown, allowing visitors to learn more about the process and unique quality of the 3D printing process.

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On most Saturdays throughout the exhibition, CMA visitors will have the opportunity to take part in a drawing workshop called “Experimenting with Dimensions,” led by a CMA Teaching Artist. A handful of CMA visitors will be selected at random at the end of each workshop and will have their own drawings turned into a three-dimensional Shapeways-printed sculpture.  The 20 individuals selected will be invited for a presentation ceremony at CMA in January or early February once the three-dimensional prints have been completed. Check out www.cmany.org for more information about hours and specific workshop times.

Also launching this week is Kid’s Creation Station, a new website presented by 3DP4E that provides young artists with a platform to create, share and take their artwork to a new dimension. The website translates the fantastic creatures and things created by children from flat drawings to actual figures, giving children’s drawings new depth. The online portal will provide the opportunity for kids to scan drawings into a portfolio management system, tag and share their images, view other children’s artwork, and ultimately print a 3D model of their artwork.

Check out the family friendly exhibit at the Children’s Museum of the Arts through January 11th.


 

Shapeways in Italy: Inspiring students at the Crea©tivity Summit

We are thrilled to be part of the 9th edition of Crea©tivity, which is being held in the Piaggio Factory in Pontedera, Italy on November 20th and 21st. A conference focused on students of design, we will have a small exhibition and our very own Sara will speak in one of the keynotes and Ruud will participate in the Pecha Kucha Night.

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Furthermore we are happy to see community member and Shop Owner Silvia Nencini speaking at the Pecha Kucha night as well. You might remember her joining us in our booth earlier this year at the Mini Maker Faire Trieste with her 3D Printed algorithmic coral-like jewelry so it’s great to see how much she has grown in the past months. We hope to run into more community members from the area as we would really like to hear your stories in 3D design, definitely drop us a line if you’re visiting Crea©tivity.

Also – as a small tradition we are hosting a Meetup. We’re planning to host this on Saturday, 22nd of November in Firenze. For details check out the event on Meetup.com (we still need a location so if you have a good suggestion feel free to reach out!).

If you are in Italy, we hope to see you at these events this weekend:

Thursday 20th & Friday 21st of November Crea©tivity in the Piaggio Museum in Pontedera
Saturday 22nd of November we’ll be in Firenze for a casual 3D printing meetup. RSVP here

Italy, see you soon!


 

Software for Artists Day Sunday November 16th

Shapeways is proud to sponsor Pioneer Works first Software for Artists Day on Sunday November 16th. The day-long event in Red Hook, New York will bring together artists and developers to illustrate the many new software and hardware tools available to contemporary art practice.  It will involve lectures, demonstrations, and conversations which will demystify the most sought-after technology in use today.

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Participants will be able to attend four 45-minute lectures over the course of the day and will also be able to participate in “soapbox sessions” in which they will have 3 minutes to present a project in order to attract interest and/or advice from other artists and technicians.

Shapeways will be on site with some products to show and tips and tricks about using the free software on our site.

Pioneer Works, Red Hook, New York

Sunday November 16th

10am – 7pm

Register here - hope to see you on Sunday!

If you can’t attend, here’s a brief preview of the software available on Shapeways now:

Shapeways API - The Shapeways Upload API enables web and desktop applications to submit 3D models and harness the power of the Shapeways marketplace. You can control pricing, available materials, and add markup to models that are for sale to our community. Read more about the Shapeways API  or join us in our developer forum.

ShapeJS - This tool makes parametric 3D modeling accessible for programmers. If you know Java Script, you can use this tool to generate 3D printable geometry, ias simple as a few lines of code. Read more about the power of ShapeJS here, or jump into the discussion on our developer forum.

Need more inspiration? Check out these amazing 3D creator apps that have been made so far. Got a cool app you’re working on? Tell us about it in the comments!

 


 

Shapeways October Top Sellers & Viewed 3D Printed Products

Have you ever wondered what products sell best on Shapeways? What products are going viral and getting the most traffic? Well, thanks to your feedback and with some help from friends of ours at 3Dprint.com we’ve started a new series. Every month, we’re going to share the top 10 marketplace sellers on Shapeways as well as our top 10 viewed products. Below is a peek at last month’s leading models.

Shapeways October Top Sellers

1. & 2.  Moto 360 Bumper Case by Raelx

These are some of the first and only Moto 360 bumpers on the market and they are only $8! We were very excited to see these take off and get picked up by all the gadget media. Our only hope is that Raelx makes additional versions (he has a short and tall currently) in our premium metals… Here Shapie shopper Michael Shulteis shows off his in our red strong and flexible plastic (found on twitter):

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3. Itty Bitty Sad Keanu by neuralfirings

A Shapeways veteran all-star, Sad Keanu saw a huge bump in traffic after we helped celebrate Keanu Reeve’s 50th Birthday by throwing him a 3D Printed party on vine:

You can see the rest of the Top Sellers in October over on 3DPrint.com

Shapeways October Most Viewed Products

2. Origami Crane Skeleton by Joabaldwin 

Joaquin Baldwin’s crane is very well designed, and this fantastic image tells the story immediately. It’s hard not to be a bit mesmerized when you see it for the time:

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8. Spitfire My Little Pony by Christophe Vidal

The new additions to the SuperFanArt family have been incredible, Spitfire being one of the fan favorites! Christophe has designed many products on Shapeways, and his My Little Pony modeling is helping him reach new audiences.

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You can see the full list of top viewed Shapeways products from October of on 3dprint.

What do you hope to see make Novembers list?


 

Design Contest: Help Shapeways & Occipital Bring 3D Scanning to iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus

Shapeways has teamed up with our friends at  Occipital, makers of the Structure Sensor & Skanect, to bring you a design contest:  the Structure Sensor Case Design Contest for iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus!

Occipital is calling on the Structure & Shapeways communities to help extend the  3D scanning power of the Structure Sensor by coming up with a great 3D-printed attachment case for iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus, so you can scan anywhere, right from your phone.

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There’s $1000 in prizes from Shapeways & the Structure Sensor Store for the best designs! They’ll also be made available right here on Shapeways, with no added markup, and Creative Commons CC0- licensed for everyone in the community to print or download.

You have until Wednesday, November 12 at 11:59pm PST to submit your entry. Don’t miss out – there’s only one week left! Find the full contest details, starter materials, and how to enter here. I’ll be judging your designs so show me what you’ve got and GOOD LUCK!

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One of the thousands of 3D scans made with the Structure Sensor

 

 


 

Target Opens Up Shapeways Shop With Customizable, Exclusive 3D Printed Gifts for Your Holiday

 

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We’re excited to announce today that Target is the first major retailer to embark on 3D printing with Shapeways, debuting an exclusive holiday collection of customizable charms, rings and ornaments in the Target Shapeways Shop.

Shapeways and Target share a philosophy of making great design available for all, whether you know how to 3D model or prefer to tweak and tinker. You can choose from over 150 exclusive, one-of-a-kind products created by Target’s design team. The best part? You can personalize your product, from the material to color to engraving. The keepsakes can be shipped anywhere in the U.S. and can be purchased for as low as $7.99, so you can find and create the perfect gift at any price point.

This partnership marks big steps for the 3D printing industry, helping people see the amazing benefits of technology and create more easily:

  • Target’s products can be easily customized, making getting what you want even easier. Like other customization and DIY tools we offer, this marks a big step in giving everyone the ability to design their own product.
  • 3D printing is proving to be a viable option for product development across all stages, for independent designers to larger teams. Moving beyond prototyping, the Target at Shapeways Shop features finished 3D printed products in materials including Steel and Silver.
  • Target’s designs are being displayed side by side with those of our vibrant community. This highlights just how talented our community is and the amazing products that are made every single day through 3D printing.

In order to create customizable products, Target is using ShapeJS, a developer tool we launched earlier this year that makes adding your personal touch to products even easier. Using this technology, Target enables you to “be the designer,” truly styling products without having to open up CAD. If you’re interested in using ShapeJS to customize products, try it out here.

Our goal has always been to make 3D printing more accessible and affordable, and we’re thrilled to partner with Target to make this possible for more people this holiday season.


 

Hire a 3D Modeler & Designer: The Three C’s

Getting in the DIY spirit and want to hire a designer to bring your project to life? You’ve seen the directory of Designers for Hire, read about a designer you like, and now you’re ready to get started. Even if you’ve never hired a designer before, keeping the three C’s in mind is a good guide: Clarity, Communication and Cost.

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Clarity

Knowing what you want is half the project! The more specific you can be, the better chance you will get exactly what you want.

When talking about your idea, sketches, photos, Pinterest boards, magazine clippings and even screenshots of elements you like are all really helpful in communicating what you like. Photos are especially useful whether it be similar items that represent your idea or elements of different objects that you would like to incorporate.

It also helps to be specific about your preferred style, finishing touches and how your completed product will be used. If you know what material you would like the finished product to be made it, that helps immensely, as the 3D printing guidelines vary between materials and may influence the design itself.

If you’re still in the ‘concept’ phase (say if you are designing a new functional product) and are seeking project guidance or inspiration, be sure to choose a designer who has those skills listed as their specialty.

Designers are creative problem solvers. Once you have given them a clear outline of your requirements, let them do their creative thing and come up with creative solutions.

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Communication

Designers are experts in bringing ideas to life, and most of this magic happens through effective communication. Throughout the creation process, it’s important to communicate openly and frequently with your designer to ensure that they have a clear understanding of what you want, and you know their schedule. They should be asking you just as many questions are you are listing specifics.

Throughout the process, be honest but polite. If your designer is making something that isn’t going in the direction you were imagining, let them know. Many designers are more than happy to modify their designs as long as they have clear direction. I recommend highlighting what you liked (the more specific the better) and exactly what they need to improve on. Don’t just say “I don’t like the hard edges”. Explain why: “The hard edges make it feel minimalist and modern, I am looking for a romantic, organic feel”. The latter statement is much more useful.

In the end, designers like being able to use their own creative judgment to improve ideas. So while it is important to be specific, leave them some space to work their magic to delight you.

Depending on your project, it may be a good idea to formalize your agreement in writing. This digital contract should include all of the specific details that you and the designer agreed upon, including timing and pricing.

The process of bringing an idea to life

 

Cost

Which brings us to the last and most important point: Money. Two things to keep in mind here are how much you are willing to spend and understanding the design process.

Part of having clarity around your idea is knowing how much are you comfortable spending. Three things to consider may help you get an estimate beforehand:

1. Finished product or 3D file? Do you want just a 3D printable file that you will upload and order yourself? Or do you want a finished item? Material cost comes into play here – if you want a silver ring, part of the cost will be made up of the silver itself, and part for the design.

2. Time and labor. Larger or more detailed projects can sometimes take more time to complete, and therefore cost more.

3. One of a kind design. If this is a one of a kind item, it’s not something that you could buy in a store even if you wanted to, so the price may be a little higher than you would expect. If you are working on a brand new product, it’s worth investing in a good design. There is really no way to put a price on how incredible it is to hold something that you imagined, so keep that in mind!

4. Similar items.To get a sense of the general cost of an item before you hire a designer, look for similar items and get a sense of the price. For instance, if you want to make a piece of jewelry, browse our jewelry category section to find a handful of custom items that are of a similar size and scope. The average cost of those items is often a good starting point for you to discuss your budget with a designer.

It also helps to understand the process. Designing is a process that takes time and effort. You may not be aware of all of the “behind the scenes” work that takes place including creative brainstorming, sketching, drafts, revisions and renders. Asking your designer about the process involved in making your specific idea will help you understand the level of work involved.

Communication is key here as well! Talk to your designer as some charge by the hour, some charge by project and the complexity of your design will influence this. The more detail you can give them, the better they are able to estimate a price for you.

3D printing gives us the unique ability to make custom things to order, helping you get exactly what you want, and not just what is available. While we at Shapeways do what we can to give access to the best materials at the lowest prices, ultimately the design is what sets a product apart, and this is where the skill lies. Translating an idea into a physical object is a designers skill, and this alchemy is worth paying for!

How you work with a designer comes down to your project but keeping in mind the Three C’s should help you minimize stress and get exactly what you want. Have you hired a designer on Shapeways? Tell us about it in the comments! If you are a designer, what other tips would you offer for potential clients?

Happy creating!