Category Archives: Education

Celebrating the National Week of Making!

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We at Shapeways are excited to join in the celebrations for the National Week of Making.  With so many makers in the Shapeways community, it would be impossible for us to simply let this week slip by.

We work hard so that Shapeways can be a home for makers from across the country and around the world. One of the most exciting things about being at the forefront of 3D printing is that we get to watch makers and making evolve in real time.  There are countless designers on Shapeways who first came to our community to make things for themselves and then quickly realized that other people liked what they were doing and decided to open a shop.  This ability to share and grow is key to the maker movement.

Of course, we’re going to keep working hard here at Shapeways to empower makers.  Whether it is a mod for your drone, a case for your pi, or the body of a self-balancing robot, Shapeways is a place where makers can come to iterate and create.  A big part of making is making solutions that are customized for your needs.  And nothing is better for custom solutions than 3D printing. Enjoy the week of making.  If you make something great, share it with us on twitter @Shapeways and @MWeinberg2D.

Don’t forget, if you are new to Shapeways, use the promo code FIRSTFREE and get free shipping in the US on your order until June 30th!
Start Making Today

New Shapeways classes on Skillshare

We’ve heard from our community that videos are one of the best ways to learn about 3D printing. From tutorials to our How I Made It series, they are a great visual to use when picking up tips and tricks to up your 3D printing game.

In the past we’ve worked with our friends over at Skillshare to create videos that show you the ins and outs of 3D modeling. Today we’re excited to announce the launch of another series of videos that anyone can use to learn about running a small business on Shapeways.

An Online Skillshare Class by Lauren Slowik, Shapeways Designer Evangelist for Education

Enroll For Free

Our marketplace is growing everyday (there are more than 23,000 shops!) and that means thousands of people have used their 3D design talent to start a small business. While we try to make things as easy as possible for our shop owners, there are still a few ways they can make sure their shop stands out from the crowd. From crafting a shop description to merchandising your products to rocking social media, these short, fun videos will give you all the tips and tricks to creating and running a shop on Shapeways.

As if that wasn’t good enough, Skillshare is offering our community the chance to sign up for a one-month Premium account for just $.99! Use code SHAPEWAYS when signing up.

Check them out and let us know what you think!

How To Make A 3D-Print Of Your Brain

A few weeks ago, I made a 3D model of my brain and sent it to Shapeways to get 3D printed. My little brain arrived a few days ago and I’m blown away by how good it turned out. I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but I think this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. The whole process was relatively straight forward once I figured out the best program to use. I wrote a step-by-step tutorial of what I did below in case you want to print your brain too.

And if you want a brain on your desk and you don’t care whose it is, you can order a 3D model of my brain here.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 10.37.04 AM

 

INSPIRATION

I have a deep fascination of the human brain and I’ve wanted a 3D model of my brain for quite some time. I considered using a modeling software (like Blender) to create my own 3D brain model based on my MRI scans, but I quickly abandoned that idea when I imagined manually outlining the cortex one slice at a time.

A few months ago, one of my friends posted a link to a company that sells custom brain models that range from $165.00 (for half scale models) to $342.00 (for full scale models). I was tempted to order a model, but I finally decided that it was too expensive. I love brains, but not quite that much.

Then, a few weeks ago, I came across this blog post that included do-it-yourself instructions for creating a 3D model of your brain for 3D printing. The neuroscientist and cheapskate in me rejoiced. My computer was being serviced so I bookmarked the page and waited until I got my laptop back.

When I finally sat down to follow the tutorial, I found that it left out some crucial steps and required a lot of manual editing. I spent a few hours looking at other tutorials, downloading software packages, and trying to create a halfway decent 3D model, but none of the models I created had anywhere near the level of detail I wanted.

Finally, I found this tutorial which describes how to create a 3D model using Freesurfer. I had been wanting to learn how to use Freesurfer for awhile, so it was a win/win. The tutorial is pretty thorough, but it didn’t explain the installation of Freesurfer, which ended up being somewhat complicated. In case you’re like me and haven’t used Freesurfer before, I added detailed information about how to download and install Freesurfer below. If you already use Freesurfer, you are in luck! You are only a few steps away to creating your own 3D brain model (you can skip to the “Create the 3D brain model” section).

GET YOUR BRAIN SCANNED

    1. First, you need to get a T1 anatomical scan of your brain with MRI. I understand that that’s easier said than done, but there’s no way around it.
    2. Add all of your DICOM files from the T1 anatomical scan into one folder. My folder is named “t1_mprage_DICOM.”

DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL FREESURFER
If you already have Freesurfer installed, skip to the next section. 

    1. Download Freesurfer here. I downloaded the freesurfer-Darwin-lion-stable-pub-v5.3.0.dmg file.
    2. If you don’t already have XQuartz installed, you’ll have to download and install it in order to use Freesurfer. Download the latest release here.
    3. Install Freesurfer by following the detailed instructions here. You should come to a screen that looks like this:

 

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 10.45.22 AM

 

In order to get everything set up correctly, you have to modify two files (the first time I tried to install Freesurfer I didn’t read this this page (oops), and I ran into trouble later on). Your computer may be set up differently, so these steps may not apply to you.

4. Create a .cshrc file in your root directory by typing the following commands into the terminal window:
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 10.46.31 AM
A new text file should pop up.  Copy the first two commands from the READ ME section of the install window, paste the text in the new text file, and save. Your file should look like this:
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 10.48.00 AM
5. Modify your .profile file by typing the following commands in the terminal window (I already have a .profile file that is named .bash_profile so I opened that file):
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 10.50.48 AM
Copy the second set of command lines from the install window and paste it at the bottom of the file that pops up. My file looks like this:
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 10.53.52 AM
6. Get an installation key by filling out the form here. You will receive an email containing information about your license. Copy the text in between the –CUT HERE– lines and paste them into a new TextEdit file. Convert the file into a plain text file by clicking Format –> Make plain text. Name the file ‘license.txt’ and save it in the Freesurfer folder.

CREATE THE 3D BRAIN MODEL

1. In your terminal window, type the following command to set up Freesurfer:

 

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 10.58.55 AM

2. We will use the function called recon-all to create the 3D brain model. Detailed information about the recon function is available here.
The function uses the following format:
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.00.02 AM
Replace the <DICOM file> part with the path to any one of your DICOM files (and not the folder that holds all the files). Replace <folder name> with the name you want to call the folder that will contain all of the output files. The folder will be added to the same directory that your DICOM folder is in. My function looked like this:
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.01.06 AM
Enter the command into terminal and press enter to start the analysis. The analysis takes a long time. The reconstruction took 8 hours on my computer, but others estimate that it can take between 10 and 20 hours. Make sure that you turn off your computer’s sleep mode so that it won’t go to sleep while the analysis running.
3. After the analysis is completed, all of the output files should be located in the folder you named. In the folder, you should have another folder called “surf” which contains the surface reconstructions. We need to transform these file formats into  a format that is used in 3D printing. To do so, navigate to the surf folder in the terminal and enter the following commands:
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.07.48 AM

3D PRINT YOUR MODEL

If you don’t have access to a 3D printer, you can get your brain 3D printed by a 3D printing service. I used Shapeways so I’ll show you how to order from them.

  1. Go to the Shapeways website.
2. Click “Design” in the top navigation menu. Then click the blue “upload” button underneath the Shapeways logo.

3. Sign in to your account or create a new one and click “UPLOAD” again. A box should appear that looks like this:

 

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.09.06 AM

 

4. Click “Select file” and load the “lh.pial.stl” file that you just made. The model units are in millimeters so keep that radio button checked. Click “UPLOAD.” The model should take a few minutes to upload. Once the model finishes uploading, you should see a screen like this:

 

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.55.22 AM

 

5. If you scroll down, you can see the prices for creating a 3D printed model in different materials. A full size brain replica costs about $250.00 per hemisphere. If you want to scale your brain down (and save a lot of money), click the “SCALE” button and change the SCALE % from 100 to 50. This will create a 3D printed replica of you brain that is 1/8 of the actual size.

6. At this point, you can decide what material you want to use to print your brain. I went with the strong & flexible material in polished white.

7. Click the “View 3D tools” link under the name of the material you want to use.

 

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.57.09 AM

 

8. Shapeways 3D tools will analyze your model and identify potential problems with printing. For one of my models, I had a wall that was too thin. To fix thin walls, click on the “Wall Thickness” menu item on the left of the page, then click the red button that says “FIX THIN WALLS.” Shapeways will automatically adjust your model for you.
9. Go back to the model editing page and add your desired model to your shopping cart. Now repeat these steps for your right hemisphere model. Check out when you’re ready and your little brain will be on its way! I got my brain in less than two weeks.
Here’s what my model looks like in Shapeways:
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.58.40 AM
And here are more images of my final 3D printed brain:
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.59.47 AM
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.59.56 AM
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 12.00.11 PM

 

Shapeways March European Road Trip

Posted by in Education

ShapewaysEDU is heading out on a European three week road trip! We’ll be starting with the 3D Print Show Madrid starting March 12th and heading to Barcelona then northward! See below for locations and dates and keep your eye out for events and meetups announcements as the month of March continues.

EDUeurope
Madrid, ES – 3D Print Show   3/12-3/13
Barcelona, ES  3/14-3/15
Paris, FR 3/17-3/18
Amsterdam, NL 3/19-3/20
Eindhoven, NL 3/23-3/24
Berlin, DE – 3D Print Show 3/26-3/28

If you have an event going on or are interested in attending  and will be in these places send an email to education@shapeways.com to let us know about it. Let’s grab a drink and talk shop.

ShapewaysEDU and California Universities Roundup

Posted by in Education

Shapeways EDU recently wrapped up a road trip visiting university students in California who are pursuing 3D printing and oh boy were we impressed! After talking with all these passionate students and professors and. At Shapeways our biggest concern is enabling others to realize incredible things with 3D printing. Part of enabling is providing access to these powerful tools and machines. University students have more access than they may realize so here are some ideas to help YOU get started 3D printing on your campus:

You can incorporate 3D printing into an existing club theme. At UC Berkeley the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society members are investigating the career opportunities related to 3D printing and design.

Greetings to you too, TBP Berkeley!

California College of Arts lab manager Zane Murray encourages students to seek out facilities on campus and get help from the knowledgable technicians working their. For the very interested student many of these labs offer campus jobs running these facilities, a great way to get hands on experience before you graduate.

Stanford University students use their Product Realization Lab to do everything from test an idea to develop a new beta product in their cross-disciplinary facility.

UCLA and the University of Southern California have joined forces by forming the 3D4E, or 3D For Everyone, club which is comprised of students across majors to using 3D printing in their competitions and club activities.

Student check out Shapeways material samples at the Stanford Product Realization Lab

Southern California Institute of Architecture and Art Center College of Design in LA have more facilities than you can shake a stick at but lab manager David Cowley at Art Center encourages the students to really use as many types of production processes before they graduate. You won’t always have access to such top notch stuff once you’re out in the real world!

Art Center connects the tools with the outcome

If you are a student, teacher or staff of a school make sure to register your Shapeways account for our 10% education discount. Also students should keep an eye out for our upcoming ShapewaysEDU grant deadline coming up on April 1st. You can apply for up to $1000 in printing credit to support your 3D printing project or research. As always, more details on shapeways.com/education

Two New Visualizations in Shapeways 3D tools: Bounding Box and Parts

Designing for 3D printing is more than just making a 3D model.  It’s understanding how big you want your figurine to stand on your desk, how thin your ring can be in plastic versus gold, and keeping track of all the details on intricate models while making sure all the parts are connected.  We launched Shapeways 3D tools in January to help bridge the gap between creating and designing a 3D model and actually  having it printed by giving you more confidence to know when your model is ready for the printers.

Today we are launching two new visualizations in 3D tools to help you further understand what your model will look like when it lands in your hands: a bounding box visualization and a part count visualization.

 Understanding Model Size: Material Specific Bounding Box Visualization

Understanding how big or small your model is physically and what materials you can print it in based on it’s size can be challenging when you are staring at your model on a screen and can easily zoom in and out.  This is especially true if you are designing for multiple materials – what’s the right size model that lets you print in all your favorites? Understanding how to change your model to make it the right size – is one part of the model too long? Do I just need to scale it slightly smaller? – can be tricky without being able to see the maximum and minimum size you can print in for a specific material.

By clicking on the bounding box tool in 3D tools, you can understand both how large or small your model is in relation to the bounding box for a specific material, and what part of your model is too big or small. Our visualization combines two elements: coloring parts of the model that are too big or too small red so you know which parts have issues, and visualizing the maximum and minimum bounding box oriented around your model as a transparent box.

When your model is within the size guidelines to be printed, you will see it inside the maximum bounding box.  So if you were thinking of making it a bit bigger or smaller, you can get a sense for how much you could change the size of your model.

size, bounding box, visualization, shapeways

If your model is too large, the part of the bounding box where the model is sticking outside the maximum bounding box will turn red to help you identify along which dimensions your model is too large.  If you have a multiple part model, only the parts of the model that exceed the bounding box size restrictions will turn red. Parts of your multiple part model that are OK in size will remain grey.

bounding box, size, too big, shapeways, visualization

If your model is too small, you will see it colored red inside a minimum bounding box.  By moving your model around, you can see which dimension(s) of your model are too small.

bounding box, size, too small, visualization, Shapeways

Identify Accidental Loose Shells: Part Count Visualization

Building detailed, complex models can result in incredible creations that are a marvel to hold and see.  Sometimes though, with so many details and parts, loose shells can accidentally be created.  Loose shells are pieces of your model that are separate and unconnected from the base part of the model. These can be intentional, but are often unintentional.

Our new part count visualization helps protect you from ordering a model you expect to come in one piece, but actually receive in many pieces because it uniquely colors each and every part. For example, in this model made of connected stars, all the stars were intended to connect to each other except two of them were slightly misaligned.  With the part count visualization, you can clearly see the accidental loose shells – the two unconnected stars – and fix your model appropriately.

part, multiple parts, part count, 3D tools, Shapeways

Go to 3D tools today from My Models or Model Edit and check out your models in the bounding box and part count tool to see how big or small your models are or if you have any accidental loose shells!

 

I Spent My Weekend Learning to 3D Model with ShapeJS, Here’s How It Went

Written by community member Daphne Laméris, and you can see her key sleeve here.

ShapeJS, ever heard of it? I did, but it took me a long time to actually look at it and try to understand it. The whole idea of using code to model a part looked really hard, and is not what I am familiar with. I can use SolidWorks to model, tried Blender twice and Rhino once. In the end, I always stuck to what I knew, SolidWorks. It became time to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.

The great thing about 3D printing is the option for mass customization. For a lot of designs, I already use the co-creator options. This way, I can offer rings in difference sizes and a key sleeve that can be adjusted in size and with text. But every order still takes time to make and that order cannot be produced until I make the model. Therefore, I looked into ShapeJS.

shapeJS key label

With ShapeJS you can use javascript to make models. Numbers and texts filled into  textboxes can be used as parameters in your code. For my key sleeve, this could be the diameter of the key and the key thickness. For a better explanation you can check out the Shapeways.com shapeJS introduction.

So I set the goal to make my key sleeve in ShapeJS. It is a simple shape that needs multiple values of the user as input. The first problem is that I had no experience whatsoever with javascript before I started. Luckily, there are some examples available as well as some text. I read all the text and look at all examples, not understanding most of it. But I changed some values in the examples and saw what it did. Especially the example with the picture is fun, it’s easy to just upload a photo and see what it does. The next step was sketching the key sleeve. How could I build my design from simple shapes with  the Booleans? The original key sleeve was made with SolidWorks. Using code is a different way of modelling. It still works with solids, but you can’t make a sketch as with SolidWorks (well, at least not that I’m aware of). So I wrote down what the code should do:

pseudocode for shapeJS

The picture above was a first rough sketch (made without the intention to show it to anyone else, this is often referred to as “pseudo code” where you write out in plain words what you want to code to do and in what order). I wanted a hollow cylinder by subtracting a small one from the big one. Next a part should be cut out – this is the opening for the key. So I need to make a box, give it a position connected to the key radius and subtract it from the hollow cylinder. The design also needs a hole for the key ring. The position is determined by user input as well as the size of the hole. Finally, the key has some text that needs to be on the front. With this, I had my recipe for what I wanted to make. And then I realized I did not know what my ingredients were. The examples showed how to make a box, but how to make a cylinder? I couldn’t really find a list with explanation of all shapes and functions that would be useful for modeling. I did find more examples, and from that I used the cylinder. I’m not going to describe every step I took to create my model. But I can tell you how it went globally: like creating Frankenstein’s monster. Copy here, paste there. Use a part of this example, use a part of that example. Adjusting things to see how it works. Deleting stuff if I didn’t know what it did. If the script stills runs, okay. If not, put it back. It’s not a sustainable approach for creating very complex shapes, but it is a great way to learn new stuff.

shapeJS

In the end, it worked! With the set input from the user (key diameter, key thickness, keyhole diameter, distance keyhole to top) a key sleeve is created. It took most of my Sunday afternoon and evening (and a bit of my Saturday). Next step is getting in the ShapeJS co-creator pilot so this could actually be used for sale. And then it’s time to learn and create more!

Learn New 3D Printing Skills in 2015

It’s a new year and we’ve jumped on the annual bandwagon and resolved to improve ourselves. What better way to do that than to improve how our talented designers use Shapeways? Earlier today we told you about the new Shapeways 3D Tools - our new suite of tools that will enable you to check your designs using the same guidelines our 3D Printing Engineers do. Here’s a quick video tour of the automatic checking tools.

We’ll be diving deeper into these new features for the rest of the month, talking about tips and tricks to get yourself inspired, up to speed and printing like never before.

In the meantime, we’re dying to know: What are you most excited about making this year?

Free UArtsy 3D Modeling Course for the Shapeways Community Plus a Discount!

wireframe dog

Wireframe Dog designed by CINEMO

The folks at UArtsy have created a free 3D modeling course called Learn Maya: Polygon Modeling with Michael Mckinley. All you have to do is follow the link and register. They’ve also got a great offer for the Shapeways community: 20% off of any course you choose. Simply register and enter the code SHP20OFF upon checkout. The staff at UArtsy recommends 3D Printing for Artists With Joseph Drust and Jewelry Sculpting In ZBrush Fundamentals With Tomas Wittelsbach, as two great starting courses for Shapeways designers.

UArtsy.com is a 3D modeling and sculpting course site started by Ryan Kinglien, the first product manager for ZBrush. The site offers a on-demand and live courses in several techniques.

Go ahead and learn a new 3D skill and make 2015 your year!

How To Make Amazing Videos For Your Shapeways Products

Posted by in DIY, Education, How To

Selling and telling the story behind your Shapeways 3D printed product can be difficult when the consumer cannot see or experience that product in their hands. One way to make the buying experience easier for customers is having high quality, creative, and short videos of your products. Videos can provide an accurate assessment of the product and should achieve the following: form, function, scale, and purpose. Your product video should be no longer than two minutes and should provide essentially a 360 overview and elevator pitch of what your product is, what it looks like, and what it is intended for.

I’ve curated a few examples of well made videos you can use a reference for creating your next product video.

 1) Strandbeest Video by Theo Jansen

2) Mortal Coil video by Ryan Kittleson

3) Ghost Spinning Top by Michiel Cornelissen

4) Sprout video by Egant

5) Microsoft Band Charging Stand by Idle Hands Development

Do you have a great product video you wish to share with us? Share them with us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

Shapeways 3D Printing Campus Battle Grand Prize Winning School Is…

Posted by in Contests, Education
Congrats to our winning students at MTU from team Shapeways!

On behalf of Team Shapeways: Congrats to our winning students at MTU!

We have our Campus Battle winners! After a tough competition for the last 6 weeks, Michigan Tech University came out the winner and every student at MTU who registered during the contest will receive an additional $75 in print credit and a prize pack from Shapeways and friends! With over 200 schools competing it was close race. The runners up included:

  • Princeton University
  • University of California – Los Angeles
  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • Maryland Institute College of Art

 

Grand prize partners include General Assembly, Autodesk Tinkercad, and Skillshare.com

We wish everyone could be a winner but luckily you’re still ahead with our 10% Education Discount. And don’t forget you can get further support for specific projects by applying to the Shapeways Education Grant or get in involved with our Shapeways Crew Campus Representative program. Check out more information on our Education page!

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.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 9.34.30 AM

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 is Committed to Supporting Education–there’s a discount and so much more!

Hello there! My name is Lauren and I’ve been lurking around the Shapeways world as Designer Evangelist for the last year. Today, I want to let the world and the Shapie community know about the commitments we’re making in education and 3D printing.

Shapeways Education Program Benefits include:

10% Discount – We always offer students and educators a 10% discount on their own model prints. Students & educators can register a school email address with Shapeways and save 10% all orders in any of our 40+ materials. Students, head to Shapeways.com/education. Teachers, check out Shapeways.com/educators.

Campus Battle – We’re serious about supporting student work. University students who register on shapeways.com/education between now and November 15, 2014 will receive $25 in printing credit towards their own designs. Students at the school with the most signups will receive an additional $75 in Shapeways credit.

Education Grant – Everyday we hear about how Shapeways is helping students create awesome work such as product development, architecture, and engineering projects. Now we want to help you make those projects really come to life by announcing the Shapeways Education Grant. Each semester we will make up to $5,000 available in Shapeways printing credit awarded to student projects. The application process is detailed on shapeways.com/education.

Shapeways Crew Student Representative Program – Become part of the Shapeways community (and get free stuff)! We love for students to represent us on their campus, and by joining our Shapeways Campus Crew Representative program, You’ll get exclusive offers from Shapeways. Whether you’re printing maquettes for your architecture studio, sculpture materials for Fine Arts, custom arduino enclosures – you name it we can 3D print it!

3D Printing Tutorials – In an effort to help everyone learn 3D design, we’ve assembled one of the largest collections of 3D printing tutorials out there, covering everything from design tools to selling on Shapeways. Whether you’re still in school or a lifelong learner, there are tips for all levels from our team and community of experts.

API and Shape.js – CS Majors are facing a world of competition in apps and services. Today, Shapeways opens entirely new vertical markets for physical products via our Shapeways API and ShapeJS. ShapeJS let’s you create interactive and customizable digital blueprints of physical products and the Shapeways API let’s you price and sell those products to customers around the world.

Shapeways supports education

So I’d like to welcome students, teachers to Shapeways where we’re committed to educating everyone on the ins and outs of 3D printing and giving you all the skills to print your very own ideas. Scope out the education information page and register for your discount and perks. Happy printing!

Please 3D Scan the Art: Design Student Creates a How-To Manual for Metropolitan Museum Visitors

Posted by in 3D Scan, Art, Education, How To

3Dprintingbook2

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has a very friendly policy with 3D scanning. The museum not only allows 3D scanning but they had design graduate student Decho Pituckcharoen create a guide book to help you learn how to do it properly. As a collaboration with the  Met Media Lab, Decho created this friendly guide to help visitors do exactly that. Not only did he set about to create an accessible manual for visitors interested in digitizing the art but he also had to learn how to use the technology himself. It is this type of enabling research and sharing that we’d like to see more of.

Below we asked Decho a few questions about his process of designing for and explaining this new technology to beginners.

What is it about the 3D scanning process that made you want to make this guide book?

As a designer who has worked with print medium for a long time, I’m interested in 3D printing technology. Right away Don, the manager of media lab, introduced me to the 3D scanning software 123D catch, which isn’t exactly a scanning program but photogrametry, which is really easy to use. What I really need is just a digital camera or phone camera to take pictures of art piece and the software converts them to 3D models.

So, I did some research to find tutorials or how to use this technology to produce your own projects. Mostly the tutorials that I found were serious looking or had lots of text to read. That was when I had an idea that why don’t I make it friendlier than a usual one.

I got my inspiration from a simple IKEA instruction that lets pictures describe step by step of assembly. I think it would be a easier if users can understand how to use 3D scanning for their projects with user friendly information graphic that might be practical for non-tech savvy users to use. By combining simple 3D scanning software + user friendly instruction, I believe that my guide book will have a potential for anyone who is interested in 3D printing area.

3Dprintingbook1

Did you learn anything unexpected about working in 3D?

After scanning objects, 3D scanning software algorithm will calculate and simulate over all shapes for a 3D model. I was amazed that it actually filled and completed a part that I couldn’t scan. For example, on the very top past of a big and tall sculpture.

I also learned about digital 3D community while I was researching about my project. There are a tons of open source objects and projects that they share to us. For example, If I need a business card stand, I will just download it and print it out from my 3D printer. That is like a magic place to me to see many makers who want to contribute useful resources for us.

Do you think that being able to 3D scan will add value to a museum visitor’s experience?

I personally think that it will definitely add more benefits about educational purpose to visitors. They can scan objects form the museum and keep them into digital formats in order to study at home or everywhere else. Moreover, visitors can see art in different angles from 3D files that they can’t do in the museum. Therefore, they can observe more details about each art piece to use for their research.

After scanning, art piece from the museum can be presented to different formats. For example, story telling animation, interactive websites or kinetic figures that will be attractive to young audiences.

It’s true that seeing an actual art piece you can feel more authenticity, but for some audiences they don’t have a chance to go to have their own experience at the museum; for example, people who live abroad or disabilities. With 3D scanning technology, they can take advantage by seeing art pieces through virtual 3D world from everywhere or on the internet instead. More over, it will add more value to disabilities especially blind people since they can experience by touching shape and texture of each replica art piece that is scanned from the museum.

How do you imagine this scanning and printing technology will be used in the near future? say, in 10 years?

I imagine scanning and printing technology will be used to produce more and more objects with verity of new materials. Importantly, for medical profession filed that human organs can be reproduce with very fine details and quality. Maybe, It will be awesome that we can use 3D scanning to keep our identity instead of taking pictures on our ID cards. I predict that 3D printers and scanners will also be apart of household objects. they’ll be very portable. If you break something in your house, you can reproduce it again and again. I hope that 3D printing industry and community  will grow bigger to wider audiences and people will think that it’s not a complicated things to learn and use.

 

For more info on digital happenings are the Met check out their Digital Underground Blog.