Category Archives: Education

From Ugly Sweaters To Pretty Pendants: A Maker Story

Having recently joined the Shapeways team as PR Lead I was extremely excited to be delving into a world of digital design and manufacturing. While my DIY background was limited to making Halloween costumes and very, very ugly Christmas sweaters (actual creations below)– the possibility of taking more complex ideas and printing them was something I couldn’t wait to tackle.

The problem was that I was a little apprehensive of where to start with tackling the world of 3D design, because it’s kind of a huge departure from my familiarity with hot glue and felt. Fortunately Shapeways has some pretty cool tools to help ease beginners into the world of digital manufacturing. My colleagues suggested that I start with the easy Custom Pendant Creator– a tool that would allow me to create a pendant either from a drawing or using one of their existing templates. Being in the market for a new signature necklace, I immediately was intrigued by the possibility of being able to create something that was undeniably something “me”. The inspiration stemmed from a PR pun I’d made, that while by no means the first, was something that became a bit of a cheeky mantra, “Pitch, please.”

While I’d been wanting to create something with this pun for years, I never had the tools or capabilities to create something quality-enough that I’d feel comfortable wearing. The pendant creator and digital manufacturing seemed like it would do just the trick here. Because I’m not particularly proud of my handwriting, I recruited my boss to write out “pitch, please” in Sharpie on a blank piece of white paper. She also added two little loops, one on the first “p” and the other on the last “e” so that I’d be able to turn it into a necklace.

I snapped a photo of the design and used Afterlight to crop the image and improve contrast between the paper and ink, ensuring the pendant creator would have an easy time identifying the outline I wanted printed.

After uploading it to the pendant creator, the automatic system check identified a few issues with my design– namely that the walls were too thin for printing in most materials. Fortunately the creator also makes it effortless to fix, giving me the option to automatically “Fix Thin Walls” at the click of a button.

Once my design was fixed and passed an initial check for printing in polished brass (my choice for this one), all I had left to do was order it and wait for my package. Two weeks later…

Yahoo! I got to hold my sassy, classy little pendant in my hand! I’m extremely excited to find the perfect chain to turn this into a necklace and proudly tell everyone, “I made this”– because it’s a huge upgrade from my DIY ugly Christmas sweaters.

Get Schooled: Featured Student Grant Recipient – New Materials

Are you an undergraduate or grad student pushing the boundaries of 3D-printing technology? Apply now for the Shapeways EDU Grant and you could receive up to $1000 in Shapeways credit to realize your idea. Learn more about the Shapeways EDU Grant and apply at shapeways.com/education

Grant winners Alexandra Ion, Johannes Frohnhofen, Ludwig Wall, Robert Kovacs, Mirela Alistar, Jack Lindsay, Pedro Lopes, Hsiang-Ting Chen, and Patrick Baudisch from the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany have recently published the completion of their research on Metamaterial Mechanisms and boy, were we blown away!

To put it succinctly Metamaterial Mechanisms is an exploration of material forms as a way of building a mechanical behavior in to the material structure of a solid object. With this custom-developed software the students were able to generate 3D-printable mechanisms out of what is essentially a solid unit of material. The research group calls them metamaterials but they prefer “to think of them as machines. We demonstrate metamaterial objects that perform a mechanical function. Our metamaterial door latch, for example, transforms the rotary movement of its handle into a linear motion of the latch.”

The software allows “users to place different types of cells, including the shear cell, to add mechanical functionality to their objects. To help users verify their designs during editing, our editor allows users to apply forces and simulates how the object deforms in response.”

meta material software

 

The research team explained that nothing about this project could have been realized without access to 3D printing. “Being able to experiment with more complex structures printed on Shapeways’ SLS printers helped shape our understanding [of the direction of the project]. This research has taught us that materials can be machines and materials at the same time. Materials can be ‘smarter’ than what we think they can be—without the need of batteries, motors or microchips. ”

Are you an undergraduate or grad student pushing the boundaries of 3D-printing technology? Apply now for the Shapeways EDU Grant and you could receive up to $1000 in Shapeways credit to realize your idea. Learn more about the Shapeways EDU Grant and apply at shapeways.com/education

Get Schooled: Featured Student Grant Recipient – Problem Solving

Posted by in Education

Every year, about 2,000 children are born missing at least part of one leg, and every year, about 185,000 people lose part of their leg to unforeseen circumstances. These adults and children have historically missed out on many athletic activities, including swimming, because of their disability. While there are prosthetics available for running and walking, and others with a flipper for swimming, there does not exist one prosthetic that can function as both, making it cost-prohibitive for most people to buy the separate flipper prosthetic for swimming.

Shawn Jones, a Shapeways education grant recipient from Spring of 2016, has set out to fix this problem and give children born as congenital amputees, as well as those who have lost part of their leg later in life, the opportunity to walk, run, AND swim. Inspired by his own love of scuba diving and experience with amputees during his military service, he designed a prosthetic flipper-foot hybrid that can be fully submerged in water for diving and swimming, as well as function as a traditional prosthetic leg for land use without any modification.

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Shawn learned how to scuba dive through a non-profit organization called Operation Blue Pride (OBP). Through OBP, Shawn teaches paraplegic, blind, and veterans with amputations how to scuba dive as a way to cope with both the physical and mental trauma of combat. Seeing how therapeutic scuba diving could be for these vets, yet also how difficult and expensive it was for them to learn, Shawn wanted to make scuba diving more physically and financially accessible for amputees all over the world.

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Because Shawn is a designer by training and not an engineer, he had to teach himself 3D modeling in order to take his sketched 2D prosthetic designs to the next digital level. Nevertheless, Shawn was committed to his cause and quickly became an expert in 3D design.

In fact, Shawn has already created his second prototype and is moving quickly towards a finished and fully functional product, which he hopes to make available to the public by December 2016. He plans to use his Shapeways grant to print this final design and launch his foundation on a scalable level. Soon, thanks to Shawn, children and veterans all over the world will be able to explore the underwater world– and come up for a walk in the sun after.

Are you an undergraduate or grad student pushing the boundaries of 3D-printing technology? You could receive up to $1000 in Shapeways credit to realize the designs of your dreams through the Shapeways Education Grant program. Learn more about the Shapeways Education Grant and apply at https://www.shapeways.com/education.

National Parks 100th Anniversary

Posted by in Education

It just so happens that today in 1916 the US government signed into law the National Parks Service Act. That means today is the 100th anniversary of the US National Parks. You can read more on the National Parks Centennial website.

We’ve chosen a list of some our favorite parks. Let’s start with Acadia National Park, the nation’s first national park on the east coast. A noted stop for migratory birds in spring and fall.
Poly Red Robin
Poly Red Robin
by edrice

Next we fly off to Arizona where the world-famous Grand Canyon National Park draws some five million visitors a year. Now you can take a tiny version of this UNESCO World Heritage Site everywhere you go.
Grand Canyon Terrain Model
Grand Canyon Terrain Model
by TinyMtn

Next stop, Denali National Park in Alaska, home to North America’s tallest mountain at 20,310 feet. Keep a token of the Arctic on your bookshelf with this gorgeous porcelain bookend.
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Arctic Bookend
by sidnaique

Before email, before text, before telegraph even(!) there was the Pony Express, preserved in the Pony Express National Trail. Take a taste of the sites with you everywhere with this wheat bracelet.
wheat bracelet
Wheat Bracelet
by kasiawisniewski

Statue of Liberty National Monument is the Shapeways HQ national park of note and what better way to celebrate Lady LIberty’s welcoming stance than with your very own torch ice cream cone.
statue of liberty ice cream cone
Statue of Liberty Ice Cream Cone
by JoyComplex

We’ve got more products to celebrate your love of nature:

Click For More Wilderness-Inspired Goods

Get Schooled: Featured Student Grant Recipients – Fashion

Throughout time, the fashion industry has evolved with each industrial revolution. The clothing production process embraced new technology with the invention of the cotton gin, the creation of factories and mass production techniques, and, more recently, the Silicon Valley tech boom. Finally, our Nike sneakers could track our mileage thanks to those new, crazy Apple iPods.

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However, the fabrics and design processes themselves have more or less stayed the same for hundreds of years. Though men no longer wear bloomers and women now don jeans and t-shirts, the fashion industry still used the antiquated practices of sketching on paper and producing with traditional fabrics from the days of petticoats– until now. Now, we are at the precipice of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” a period characterized by rapid change in industry as a result of new physical, digital, and biological technology.

In this new era, even fashion is keeping up with futuristic methods of manufacturing and materials, leveraging 3D-printing technology to bring innovative designs and production processes to the fashion industry. Here at Shapeways, many of our education grant recipients have created “fashion of the future” and helped to revolutionize the industry as a whole.

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Continue reading

Students Compete in the Campus Battle 2016!

Posted by in Education

Hello students! It’s that time of year again. Yes yes, we’re all going back to school and starting a new semester and all of that but more importantly it’s the beginning of another…

Shapeways EDU Campus Battle Sign-up Challenge!

The gig is simple: Tell you friends and classmates to sign up for the Shapeways Education 15% discount program at shapeways.com/education and you could win free shipping for your school for the rest of the school year!

  • When a new student joins during the Campus Battle they get their First Print Free with Shapeways, up to $25.
  • The top three schools with the most new signups during the Campus Battle period will win Free Shipping for the rest of the academic year for all students enrolled there (not just those who signed up during Campus Battle).
  • All EDU members get 15% off orders of their own models all year round.

 

students working on a 3D print

The Campus Battle of First Print Free offers are available until October 31, 2016 so get to sharing! If you’re already a member of the Shapeways EDU program, recruit your classmates so they can benefit from the Shapeways Education discount also, while giving you the chance to win free shipping for all of your school and personal projects.

The campus battle shipping contest is only available to students in the US. First Print Free offer and EDU discount is available to students globally.

National Week of Making and Shapeways

The maker movement is no secret anymore and that’s a good thing. People the world over are recognizing the power of applying creative thinking to solve their unique challenges. Digital manufacturing tools like 3D printers only expand on the endless possibilities.

That’s why it’s exciting to be part of the 3rd annual National Week of Making (June 17-23). In his declaration President Obama states that “During National Week of Making, we recommit to sparking the creative confidence of all Americans and to giving them the skills, mentors, and resources they need to harness their passion and tackle some of our planet’s greatest challenges.” Our CEO Peter Weijmarshausen is at the White House for the Maker-to-Manufacturer Stakeholder event today to discuss the needs of makers looking to turn their ideas into full-time commitments. We’ll be sure to share notes from the event with our community once it concludes.

In direct response to the White House call to action for National Week of Making that encourages organizations to empower a nation of inventors and entrepreneurs by providing access to technology, Shapeways EDU and the The New York Public Library’s TechConnect Program announced a partnership to introduce creative minded patrons of the New York Public Library to the entrepreneurial side of 3D modeling and printing technology through a free, open-source curriculum. Among the many goals is to educate the public so they can further engage in the current digital era and become entrepreneurs of their own 3D creations. The collaboration will kick off in the fall with a pilot program offering multiple courses over a ten-week period.

Shapeways is also proud to have sponsored the Department of Education Career and Technical Education Makerspace Makeover Challenge contest. All participants of the contest, some 300 schools from all 50 states, participated in the bootcamp to learn the skills needed to have successful careers in the 21st century. The trophy was designed by Shapeways community member Ashley Zelinskie. In addition to the trophies we are also giving a 3D printing scholarship to one of the ten winning schools that has shown a commitment to 3D printing in education.

You can check out other projects and add to the celebration on social media with the tags #NationOfMakers and #WeekofMaking.

 

Shapeways and New York Public Library to Launch Open Source 3D Printing Curriculum

We are announcing an exciting partnership with the New York Public Library TechConnect program to develop an open source curriculum for libraries and other public institutions to teach 3D modeling, printing and digital entrepreneurship skills. Below is our press release about the course. We will be keeping you updated on the progress as we make the program available:

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In response to the White House call to action for National Week of Making (June 17-23), encouraging organizations to empower a nation of inventors and entrepreneurs by providing access to technology, Shapeways EDU and the The New York Public Library’s TechConnect Program today announced a partnership to introduce creative minded patrons of the New York Public Library to the entrepreneurial side of 3D modeling and printing technology through a free, open source curriculum. Among the many goals is to educate the public so they can further engage in the current digital era and become entrepreneurs of their own 3D creations. The collaboration will kick off in the fall with a pilot program offering multiple courses over a ten-week period. Continue reading

Teach 3D Design On Skillshare, Earn $100

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Shapeways and Skillshare challenge you to create the 3D printing class you wish you could have taken when developing your design skills. From top tips for using CAD, to how to design 3D printed jewelry, to the best 2D to 3D design tools, we want you to share your 3D printing expertise with a global community of students two million strong. Go to Skillshare for more information and to sign up your class for “More Than Plastic: Teach 3D Printing and Design on Skillshare”.

As a teacher on Skillshare, you’ll build your brand and reputation as a designer while earning money for every student who enrolls in your online class. No prior teaching experience or special equipment is needed. To make a class, all you need is your passion and computer and Skillshare will give you the support and resources you need to create your curriculum.

Now is the time to jump in. If you complete and publish a class in June, you’ll be eligible for a $100 cash bonus.  And if your class is truly extraordinary,  it could also get featured here on Shapeways.

Designer For Hire: Who Gets the Files?

With the relaunch of the Shapeways Designer For Hire program, we are seeing more and more designers and clients coming together to create amazing 3D printed objects. While that is unquestionably a good thing, more people coming together also means more opportunities for misunderstandings. (Buzzkill sentences like that are a reason that lawyers aren’t always invited to parties.) Lauren covered some of big areas of misunderstanding with her 8 Questions Your Client Doesn’t Know to Ask You. This post is going to only address one area: who owns the files and the copyrights at the end of a design job? Continue reading

3D Modeling At Your Fingertips with Gravity Sketch

Drag. Pan. Scale. Rotate. Orbit. Pan. All these terms to match all these different key and mouse movements! 3D software can be a challenge to pick up quickly. Luckily our friends at Gravity Sketch have created an incredible app to make 3D design almost as intuitive as finger painting.

They have even gone one step further and created this awesome playlist of short tutorial videos to get you rolling with their innovative 3D modeling iOS app. (Android users don’t fret, they’ve got an app for you in their pipeline.)

Shapeways on Capitol Hill: 3D/DC 2016

It’s easy to think that great technology advances are inevitable, that they will flourish and provide the best possible world for the people making them. But in reality paradigm shifts like 3D printing are aided by a host of people working to make a future they think will be an improvement. This week Shapeways got to participate in discussions with hard working people who see the potential for 3D printing to improve our lives in miraculous ways. In a series of 5 panels, 3D/DC took place on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. By providing a platform for discussion in front of Congressional policy makers, myself and the other participating in the panels got to have a voice in the discussion about where 3D printing will go next.

Led by Public Knowledge, a group that promotes freedom of expression, an open Internet, and access to affordable communications tools and creative works, hosted the fifth 3D/DC at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington D.C. on April 13-14, 2016. My panel was all about discussing the best ways that students and teachers can promote STEAM education. My fellow panelists were high school educator Joseph Williams, 3D education software developer Sophia Georgieu of Morphi App, and student makers Becky and John Button.

In short, 3D printing will only be effective in education if students like Becky and John have unfettered access and qualified help from educators to pursue their inventions. Children are already taking to technology learning tools like Minecraft and littleBits to augment their understanding of concepts. During this panel all of us stressed that the community around makerspaces, that having access to other interested people, is equally important as getting your hands on some 3D modeling software. As you can see, kids like John will make the most of anything you put in from of them, but they need our help to use it in the right learning environment.

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Thx to @publicknowledge for letting me join my panel-mates @einsteinunicorn @MorphiApp @jswilliams at #3DDC2016 - via  @laurenlacey April 14, 2016

Shapeways EDU Spring 2016 Grant Winners!

Posted by in Education

We are pleased to announce the Spring 2016 EDU Grant Winners. The Shapeways EDU Grant is $1000 in printing support awarded twice a year to university level students and professors whose proposals push the boundaries of the materials and technology available in the 3D printing. This spring’s grant recipients are:

Shawn M. V. Jones - Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Shawn will be prototyping a SCUBA flipper for amputees that can also function as a prosthetic device on land.

Pablo Gonzalez – Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, NY
Pablo will be employing 3D scanning along with printing and traditional fabric draping for his senior fashion show.

Jonathan Gerhard – James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Jonathan is transforming complex mathematical knot studies from theoretical 2D problems into tangible objects mathematicians can hold in their hands.

Akshay Goyal - Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Akshay’s project Soft Tectonics investigates systems for design and production of
transformative objects through a study of structural collapse and functionally graded material.

Tom O’Mahoney - University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
Tom is creating scientifically accurate reconstructions of fossil humans for use in research and academics and sharing his research via open source.

Past grant recipients have completed projects in the fields of applied psychology, product design and mathematics, to name a few. The fall 2015 grant recipients Shanna Chan, Catherine Zheng and Melissa Zucker reflect on how they implemented their project Lunar Gala 2016 Strain – Abraxas and what challenges they overcame and learnings they gained.

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What part of this project could not have been realized without 3D printing?
We would not have been able to realize our vision for our finale dress, which involved intricate parametric patterning that could not have been made with any other fabrication method.

How did support from Shapeways enable you to realize this project?
The Shapeways Grant allowed us to increase our budget and physically be able to 3D print the more detailed pieces within the last look. This helped us realize our whole concept of our line, which depended on a transformation of flowing geometric lines into more complex parametric form. Without the grant, we wouldn’t have had the materials to successfully create such complex

How did this project contribute to your growth as an artist or designer?
We explored alternate ways of fabrication and learned to expand our knowledge of both digital fabrication and mixed media design. We pushed ourselves to learn and use digital modeling software and to design various design iterations that allowed for any buffer room within modular 3D printed pieces.

What was one challenge that you needed to overcome or one thing that surprised you when you were working on this project?
For our fashion line, each article of clothing was custom fit to its respective model. For the pieces made with more traditional fabrication methods, fitting was simple. However, for our 3D printed pieces (and with the breastplate especially), ensuring a good fit was challenging since we were creating 3D models on Rhino software. Because we did not have access to 3D scanners, measurements had to be extremely exact and modeled on our software with great precision. From this work, we learned to be accurate about dimensioning and to be proactive about timing, since we were a little pressed for time with the 3D prints.

Enter the iD Tech 3D Model contest!

Posted by in Education

Like most technologies, 3D printing has gotten to the point where students are learning about it at a younger age and it’s becoming an engrained part of their lives. From hands-on experience with desktop 3D printers at their schools to introductory lessons with 3D modeling software, students are quickly becoming a part of the maker movement. We are committed to helping more students learn through our Education program, and now we’re excited to partner with companies who truly encourage learning at a young age.

Recently, we introduced a contest that encourages students to explore their creativity through 3D printing. In partnership with iD Tech and Dremel we are inviting students to model their own Minecraft-inspired design. Using Autodesk software, students K-12 (in the US only) can create products inspired by the beloved game. Three winners will be chosen, and each will receive prizes to continue their education of technology and 3D printing.

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We’re thrilled to be working alongside companies like iD Tech and Dremel who are focused on bringing tech to students and encouraging those of all ages to pursue STEM-related fields. As younger generations learn more about 3D printing we’ll see the industry move forward in ways like never before.

To learn more, check out the contest page on iD Tech!

Shapeways EDU $1000 Grant – Deadline Extended!

Posted by in Education

Attention university students: Apply to receive up to $1000 in 3D printing to support your project!

The Shapeways EDU Spring 2016 Grant deadline has been extended to Thursday, March 31st! So you still have two weeks to get your application materials together and submit them to education@shapeways.com

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A piece from previous grant recipient Alexis Walsh’s graduate collection ‘Lysis’ from Parsons School of Design.

Not a designer or engineer? No worries, we’ve awarded grants to students doing work in psychology, computer graphics, fashion and more. If you’re pushing the boundaries of 3D printing or experimenting with new applications for 3D printing and design then your project more than qualifies. See shapeways.com/education for complete grant application details.