Category Archives: 3D Printer

The First Desktop SLS 3D Printer Now on Kickstarter

We have seen many FDM 3D Printers, a couple of SLA and even a few DLP 3D printers launch on Kickstarter, now the first of the much awaited SLS machines are starting to test the ravenous market for 3D printers.

DIY SLS 3D Printer on Kickstarter

SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) is the core technology behind our 3D Printed Nylon (white strong & flexible) 3D printing at Shapeways, one of our most popular materials.  The SLS process is by far the most versatile as the powder surrounding a sintered part acts as support material, so you can make complex, interlocking parts, with overhanging parts, cantilevers, holes in multiple directions, and hinged parts fully assembled, the excess powder is then brushed and blown away to reveal the part.  No nasty support material or structures to deal with.  In short, it is an incredibly versatile process.

The process is called Sintering, because the layer of powder is heated up to just below melting point, the laser then follows and melts the powder turning it into a solid, without it going to liquid form first.  This helps to control the material warpage and thermal shock so the 3D prints are accurate and strong.

The Ice 1 & Ice 9 by Norge Systems may be the first SLS 3D printer available at a price that is affordable for a small design firm at just over $8,000 USD at current exchange rates for the smaller Ice 1 on Kickstarter which has a Build volume: 200x200x250 mm Layer thickness: 0.1 – 0.15mm.  Not Shabby.  The Ice 9 promises a Build volume: 300x300x450 mm at a price point closer to $35,000 USD.

Ice9, the first low budget 3D SLS printer! from Norge Ltd on Vimeo.

To temper excitement, (oh, and I am VERY excited) the units are proposed to ship in December 2015 which is quite a wait if you have dropped $8,000 as a backer, coupled with the tendency for hardware on Kickstarter to ship late.  The video shows the printer in action, but does not show the printed part as traced by the laser, they do show a different 3D printed part being pulled from the powder so perhaps the machine is not quite fully functional yet.

If you have the cash and patience I would really love to see this unit hit the market so please do support this project and the designers behind it.  Meanwhile there seems to be another play flirting with the desktop (ok, maybe a little big for your actual desk) market with an eerily similar logo to Norge. The videos by Sintratec look to be a little further on in the machine development.

Keep your eyes peeled, either way, the SLS market is going to change, maybe not in the exact same way as the FDM 3D printer market, but it will change.


 

Announcing the Winners of the Prototype to Product Contest with Formlabs

We had a huge response to the Prototype to Product Contest we ran with our good friends at Formlabs. Entries ranging from highly detailed ZBrush sculpts through to complex, interlocking mechanical parts, architectural models to 3D printed fashion and jewelry,  through to the whimsically weird.  We even received a submission all the way from Gran Canaria (yes we had to google the location, and yes it is crazy remote).

Although we received nearly 300 designs, only one person will have a brand new Form 1+ 3D printer shipped to their door.  The judges deliberated against the criteria, there were was tension, there was joy, they argued long into the night.  The Formlabs team pumped some serious excel magic to tally the votes, Shawn Sims from NotCot cast his well trained eye over the entrants,  The Shapeways team checked that the designs would withstand the 3D printing test and together they deemed the winner of the grand prize to be…

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New Matter partners with Frog Design and Launches Desktop 3D Printer for Under Two-Hundred Dollars

Today, New Matter, launched their new and elegant desktop 3D Printer, MOD-t, on Indiegogo. There are a lot of Desktop 3D Printers on the market, and many companies and creatives have one for home iteration and leverage our million-dollar machines for the high-resolution, premium quality we ensure with our designs. New Matter’s entrance into the space with MOD-t caught my eye for a few reasons…

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2013 Shapeways 3D Printing Year in Review

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

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

Shapeways 2013 3D Printing Year in Review in Numbers

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

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

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

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

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


 

What Does the 3D Printer and the Synthesizer Have in Common

In a recent interview for Dezeen, architect, industrial designer and artist, Ron Arad stated that 3D Printing is abused by designers, in much the same way as musicians used synthesizers in the past.

“Synthesisers were abused completely and so is this technology we’re talking about” Ron Arad

Now while this statement may have have an element of truth, it is worth exploring the comparison in the context of Ron’s position in the design world, and what this concept opens up.

First, let’s compare the 3D printer and the synthesizer.

The first analogue synthesizers made it possible for one instrument to make a massive range of sounds. Professional musicians used these expensive synthesizers to emulate existing instruments in a recording studio and on stage, to broaden their palette of available sounds, whilst only needing to know how to play the keyboard, not strings, woodwind, brass, etc.  At the same time some more experimental musicians started to experiment with the synthesizers to make sounds that were otherwise impossible, tweaking resonant filters and using effects to make sounds that were unique to the synthesizer.

The first 3D Printers (or rapid prototyping machines) made it possible to make a massive range of shapes. Engineers and designers used these expensive 3D printers to emulate products quickly in their studios and workshops, to test parts before manufacturing.  For many years this remained the case, the 3D prints were expensive and only used to emulate other materials and processes.  

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China Builds Giant Laser 3D Printer While Foxconn Boss Calls 3D Printing a Gimmick

The manufacturing landscape has changed massively in the past sixty years, evolving from hand crafted products to becoming one of the heavyweights of mass manufacturing nations churning out a large percentage of the products in the world today, from children’s toys to high tech devices.  Many of those high tech devices are manufactured by Foxconn using advanced technologies but according to Foxconn chief 3D printing is just a gimmick.

“3D printing is a gimmick,” Gou said. “If it really is that good, then I’ll write my surname ‘Gou’ backwards [from now on].”

Gou (or Oug as he will soon be known) goes on to state that the inability to 3D print multi materials and leather(?) is what he sees as a barrier to the mass adoption of 3D printing for manufacturing.  While that may be the case for industrial 3D printers now, research is currently being undertaken to make both multi material, (and leather) 3D printing a reality in the near future. Foxconn have been using 3D printing for the past 30 years though it was not stated in what capacity.

At the same time The Asian Manufacturing Association in mainland China announced its plans in May to invest 200 million yuan in building 3D printing manufacturing centres across the country and the Dalian University has built the world’s largest laser 3D printer while Panasonic are already using 3D printing as part of the process to manufacture consumer items such as their 3D TV (I know) and also plan to continue to use 3D printing in consumer products to shorten the manufacturing lead time while reducing the need stock of semi-finished products.

This on demand manufacturing, reducing the need for inventory and giving the ability to quickly iterate and improve a product is a massive advantage that Mr. Gou/Oug will soon adopt, or see his competitors in China and the rest of the world pass him by.  Multi-material 3D printing is a technical barrier that will be overcome, and perhaps surpassed with processes far more advanced such as self assembling materials that will make current mass manufacturing techniques look like Neolithic masonry. 


 

Gravity Defying 3D Printing Robot (Almost) Makes Objects Appear in Thin Air

Mataerial by Petr Novikov, Saša Joki?, Joris Laarman Studio and IAAC is a 3D printing robot that instead of building an object layer by layer, draws forms from any surface out into thin air.

Working in the same manner as the “3D printing pen” except instead of your shaky hand trying to make a recognizable shape from an ooze of hot plastic cooled by a fan, this process uses two thermosetting polymers which set when combined by a precision robot actually 3D Printing in space.  The team also state that CMYK colors can/could be combined in the same manner to create full color 3D printing using the same method.  The same process could of course be used at a much smaller scale and theoretically multiple robots could 3D print different materials simultaneously onto any surface such as a conductive material and a non conductive material to create electrical pathways.  This is definitely a technology to watch and hopefully their patent application is not so restrictive as to restrict its potential.   

Mataerial is the result of the collaborative research between Petr Novikov, Saša Joki? from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) and Joris Laarman Studio. IAAC tutors representing Open Thesis Fabrication Program provided their advice and professional expertise. During the course of the research we developed a brand new digital fabrication method and a working prototype that can open a door to a number of practical applications. The method that we call Anti-gravity Object Modeling has a patent-pending status.

via Dezeen


 

The Lyman Filament Extruder May Drop the Cost of Desktop 3D Printing Forever

The Desktop Factory Competition launched in June 2012 challenged makers to design a cheap, open source method to turn plastic pellets (which sell for $10 kg) into filament suitable for a desktop 3D printer (that currently sells for $50 per kg).  83 Year old inventor Hugh Lyman developed the Lyman Filament Extruder II which for under $250 in parts can take standard plastic ABS pellets and squeeze them into filament.

The fact that this device is released as open source hardware means that others can modify and improve the mechanism to lower the cost and increase the efficiency, just as we have seen with the open source desktop 3D printers based on the RepRap.  

Not only will this result in a massive reduction in the cost of raw 3D printing media, but it is also a very small step away from being able to grind and reuse failed 3D prints to feed into fresh new filament, or perhaps adding conductive media into the hopper to create filament suitable for making basic elctronic circuitry, or any type of tweak to customize the base material.

LYMAN FILAMENT EXTRUDER II

The speed of innovation in the open source 3D printing world is making many of the large industrial 3D printer manufacturers appear to be moving in slow motion.  We are not seeing the same rate of innovation in machines nor materials and we at Shapeways would LOVE to have new materials to share, or have a way to drop the material cost by a factor of five or ten as we see made possible by innovations like the The Lyman Filament Extruder.  

Congratulations to Hugh Lyman who scored a giant $40,000 cheque for his invention and the respect of thousands of makers around the world.

via Time.com


 

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

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

Shapeways 3d prints 3D Printer Parts

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

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

3D Printed Skull-Truder 3D Printer hack

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


 

3D Printed Zombie Santa Claus

it’s a Zombie Santa Claus Christmas tree ornament!

I haven’t been able
to find any in stores, and it seems mind-numbingly obvious that this is
what people really want on their tree. A limited time offer, this model
is available THIS YEAR ONLY. A perfect, unique gift for zombie and tech
enthusiasts.

Digitally sculpted from scratch, this is not a modification of any
existing design.

Sculptor: Justin Cissell         

3D Printed Zombie Santa

3D Printed Zombie Santa


 

Take a Look at Some of the Machines Behind the Scenes

We share loads of images of 3D prints and our 3D printers, but here is a peak at some of the machines behind the scenes at our production facility in NYC.

We are continuously installing new machines both our production facilities in New York City and Eindhoven. We are hiring super talented people to run the 3D printers, sort and ship your 3D prints around the world.  Take a look at our jobs page if you want to smell the magic of sintered Nylon and get to see some of the amazing prints that come through our production line every day.
Check out some other Shapeways blog posts about our manufacturing facilities.
Bloomberg 3D Printing Shapeways
Shapeways 3D Printing Factory
Mayor Bloomberg Cuts the Ribbon to The Factory of The Future at Shapeways with 3D Printed Scissors, Of Course (VIDEO)
New York Shapies: We’re now shipping from your back yard!

 

 

3DEA, it’s Alive

It’s ALIVE!!! Well, it’s in the process of coming to life. The mastermind pop-up creators behind Openhouse have just finished the outside wrap on 3D printing holiday pop-up, 3DEA. Isn’t it beautiful?

If you happen to find yourself in New York over the holidays, stop in the shop!

Details: 3DEA is opening on Thursday, November 29th and will be open from 11am-7pm.

Location: The Eventi Hotel, on the corner of 29th St. and 6th Ave.

Be sure to visit the pop up’s website for class schedules and more detail! 


 

 

Kiosk 2.0! Get Your fresh 3D Printed Models!

Mobile printing at its most accessible…on the street corner between the hot dog guy & the mime.  Unfold Design Studio (also known for their 3d printed ceramics) follows up their orignal Kiosk project with a new & improved verison…Kiosk 2.0.  They state “Kiosk is a project that explores a near future scenario in which digital fabricators are so ubiquitous, that we see them on street corners, just like fast food today sold in NY style mobile food stalls.”  The mobile printing station features a Bits to Bytes FDM printer, multiple filament spools, & an onboard scanner all mounted to a sweet ride with an umbrella.

They ask “How does this scenario challenge our perception of authorship, originality, design, what the role of the designer when goods are moved around in the form of digital blueprints and appropriated in ways beyond our control?”  These are good questions to be asking as we move forward at the quickening pace of the 3d printed future.  

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