If you want to learn how to get started designing for 3D printing we are running an introductory class in New York City on Thursday the 14th of February, 2013. The class is suitable for anyone, of any age who is interested in getting started 3D printing.
The Intro to Design for 3D Printing class will cover the basic principles behind design for 3D printing, the free tools available to get started and the materials and processes used to make your ideas real. Bring your Mac or PC laptop your charger, and an external mouse and create an account on Shapeways prior to the event and download free 3D modeling software 123D Design from Autodesk prior to the class so we can run through some of the basic tools, and maybe even design a little something.
Sign up via Skillshare and be sure to bring your laptop and mouse.
If you've got an interest in 3D printing and can wrangle a 2D image
then we've got something for you to try!
On January 15th at 7pm at
Office Nomads in Seattle we'll be letting you play with the software, have some
drinks and discuss 3D printing.
If you'd like to run the software during the session then please
bring a laptop and some image software. We've been working with
Illustrator, Photoshop, Inkscape and Gimp so far. The software takes in
JPEG or PNG images. A good resolution to use 300 DPI images.
Jrey's wife is from the Bahamas so he designed a sea shell ring and set of earrings to remind her of home and had them 3D printed in Sterling Silver by Shapeways. The jewelry looks beautiful and she absolutely loved them. Now this is the only jewelry of it's kind in the entire world, made especially for one woman designed for her alone by her husband. This is the kind of gift that will be passed on for generations, with the grandmother telling the granddaughter the story of it's creation, and the depth of meaning that far exceeds any item bought off of the shelf.
Another family 3D printing project to hit Shapeways is the Controller Pendant by stop4stuff. Not only is it a story of a father and son, working together on a creative project, but also a story entrepreneurial spirit. If the design sells, the boy get's his pocket money without doing any additional work, but most importantly, the boy get's his pocket money without it coming out of his father's pocket.... Win, win.
Some time last year (2012) my 13 year old son, Nath, was trying to think up ways to make a bit of extra pocket money. Knowing Nath's artistic flair, I suggested a design of something he could have 3D printed. Nath drew up the design on paper, I did the 3D model work and between us we came up with the style of the pendant based on an Xbox games console controller.
Ordered on the 15th December, the pendant arrived on the 2nd January, in plenty of time for his birthday next week.
This is Nath's first design and any markups from this model all go to Nath.
So, if you want an awesome pendant for yourself or your gamer friend, go for the Controller Pendant and support teenage entrepreneurship. Happy Birthday Nath...
We are seeing more and more requests in the Shapeways forums joining the rising number of requests we receive at Shapeways HQ from people looking for 3D modelers to help them 3D print their ideas. Sometimes they have an idea, sometimes they have a napkin sketch, sometimes they have a SketchUp model in the wrong scale that needs a lot of love, sometime they just need advice.
If you have 3D modeling skills and you would like to help others realize their ideas with 3D printing, take a look at the 3D modeler needed forum and maybe you can work out a deal that benefits you both. You can also showcase your skills in the 3D modeler for hire section of the Shapeways forums, being sure to include links to your Shapeways products and any other portfolio you may have on sites like Coroflot or Behance Network.
We are also getting more and more requests from fashion designers, artists, advertising agencies, animators, prop makers, jewelers and regular human beings that need to find someone to help them 3D model their concepts ready for 3D printing.
If you are interested in us passing on your details, please post your username and a link to your Shapeways shop in the comments of this blog post.
We will keep an eye on the post and keep you in mind when the next request comes in.
Back in May 2012, we featured designer PsychoBob's incredible project to create Atlas from Portal 2. He detailed the steps on his blog, and now, he has completed the project with a 3D printed base and circuitry to bring Atlas to life!
Read all about it on his blog and check out this video detailing the process
There is little more rewarding then giving a loved one something that you have made especially for them. The value of the item far exceeds the sum of it's parts, as the act of making embeds meaning into the object far beyond a mass produced item, or a unique item you may have chosen from as artist or craftsperson. Your participation in the item adds a level of depth to the story and meaning behind the gift, that simply cannot been bought. The item becomes priceless, not in a Mastercard advertisement kind of way, but the item is embedded with genuine meaning.
Designing a gift using on demand 3D printing with Shapeways may not mean you are hand forging every atom in the item, but the thought and emotion behind your design, the time spent 3D modeling (if you can), along with any post production you do increases the social value of your gift.
There are many beautiful stories in the Shapeways forums of people 3D printing gifts for loved ones. One of the most recent stories to capture our hearts at Shapeways is an age old story:
Boy meets girl
Boy falls in love with girl
Girl mentions she loves a pendant that is no longer for sale (the impossible mission is set)
Boy becomes the hero, locks his mission into his sights and decides he must design, 3D print and assemble the pendant to give to her (in 2012 the hero fabricates the Holy Grail)
Not knowing how to 3D model so well he enlists the help of a designer from the Shapeways forums (cutting the Gordian Knot with a little help from 3D superstar Kevin Wei)
Shapeways 3D prints the design in Sterling Silver and sends it to our hero's door where he then has a crash course in setting jewels as he glues 150 Swarovski Crystals into the pendant
Once complete he packages up the pendant and sends it across the ocean, nervously anticipating how she will receive the gift he has invested with so much time and energy.
Oh well, right now it's being transported...
so I don't know yet whether she likes it. But honestly, when I send it
off... it felt like I was sending a piece of myself... the amount of
work and dedication that goes into making this... really made it the
most special gift I have ever given somebody.
Chopper automatically partitions a given 3D model into parts that are small enough to be 3D printed and assembled into the original model.
A recent paper by Linjie Luo, Ilya Baran, Szymon Rusinkiewicz, Wojciech Matusik of Princeton University presented at SIGGRAPH outlined software designed to partition large 3D models into smaller 3D printable ones. Check out the video of the 3D printed parts being assembled, fairly seamless.
3D printing technology is rapidly maturing and becoming ubiquitous. One of the remaining obstacles to wide-scale adoption is that the object to be printed must fit into the working volume of the 3D printer. We propose a framework, called Chopper, to decompose a large 3D object into smaller parts so that each part fits into the printing volume. These parts can then be assembled to form the original object. We formulate a number of desirable criteria for the partition, including assemblability, having few components, unobtrusiveness of the seams, and structural soundness. Chopper optimizes these criteria and generates a partition either automatically or with user guidance. Our prototype outputs the final decomposed parts with customized connectors on the interfaces. We demonstrate the effectiveness of Chopper on a variety of non-trivial real-world objects.
This is a great step forward for desktop 3D printers that sometimes have a relatively small build area. We do not see too many projects that are too large to be printed in Shapeways 3D printers other than the occasional architectural model.
Would you use this tool if it were made available?
This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Isaie Bloch, an incredible artist who uses the capabilities and limitations of 3D printing to inform his designs.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I'm a Belgian architect and CG artist under the name of Eragatory. After receiving my first master degree in architecture, I joined the postgraduate program Excessive in 2010 lead by Hernan Diaz Alonso, at dieAngewandte, Vienna, Austria. My ongoing research and design ambitions are focused on the correlation between craftsmanship and additive manufacturing within several creative domains including Architecture, Fashion and Plastic arts and the digital methodologies blending in between them. I have been working as an artist in the field of hyperrealism exhibiting in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, China, Dubai and the USA, creating a range of art-pieces reaching from small prints, to 3D printed sculptures and huge hand manufactured installations. I have also been working together with designer Iris van Herpen on several sculptural dresses which have been shown on the catwalks at the Mercedes-Benz fashion week in Berlin and the Paris Haute Couture Show.
What's the story behind your designs?
I generally seek to design pieces dedicated to the geometrical capacities of 3D printing. In my opinion it does not make sense to use 3D printing for the production of regular objects unless they are intended to be prototypes. Just like all production methods all of them have specific characteristics 3D printing offers the incredible advantage of being able to produce almost any type of intricate geometry. And that specifically is the characteristic that I want to project in my work as much as possible. Highly ornamental, specific geometrical conditions and subverted aesthetics are elements which will always be found in my work. The Floralia vases are a design that balances on the edge in-between functionality, digital aesthetics, mass customization and object-oriented eclecticism. In contrast to contemporary thought and design, which views things as the aggregation or assembly of smaller bits and parts, in Object Oriented Design new objects emerge out of an ecology of interaction of multiple and heterogeneous objects. Through a process of formation or computation, highly differentiated, contradictory concepts and structures can become one object, without resulting in an incongruous collage.
Pink Floraria vase printed in Full Color Sandstone
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
For me personally Shapeways offers the ideal balance in between a very good online service (which is really hard to find) quality, price, materials and production time. Being able to get a direct quote and first checkup of your 3D model instantly is very useful. It speeds up your design process a lot, since you don' need to wait for several days in order to know if you should make this or that differently according to your estimated price. The whole website is so clear and easy to use, the web shops are pretty good looking and not complicated in any way.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
As an architecture student I was confronted with the possible use of 3D tools. We were not forced to use any of them but it was very clear for me that these tools were going to be a great help according to my own aesthetic and geometrical preferences. So I started to instruct myself using a lot of tips and tricks that I found on the internet. Because of my attraction to ornamental overload and high resolution geometries I acquainted myself to the types of softwares which would not be directly related to architecture like 3DS Max, Z brush and Meshlab.
How do you promote your work?
I try to get as much exposure as possible by publishing my work on design and 3D printing related blogs and magazines. I organize workshops once in a while and during those I lecture about my work as well. All my work is published on my Eragatory blog as well.
Green Floraria vase printed in Full Color Sandstone
Who are your favorite designers or artists?
My interest is pretty wide according to artists I follow. Differing in physical or digital disciplines and status, some are very known and could be on the edge of being commercial and others might just be students or unknown artist with a very good oeuvre. But all of them have a touch of absurdness, eccentric material usage, high resolution intricacy and would preferably have a high level of tolerance for mistakes. Abhominal, Barry x ball, Henrique Oliveira, Jan Manski, Jerry Judah, Mrmann, Katsuyo Aoki, Lebbeus Woods, Michael Hansemeyer, Juliaan Lampens, Wolfgang Tschapeller, Stephan Balleux, Mack Scogin Merril Elam Architects would be a good representation of what I seek for in the creative industry.
Anything else you want to share?
I can not stipulate it enough, despite all the magical 3D tools on the market it is still very important to have a design intent at the beginning. I use these tools as a new set of crayons impowering me to form my ideas not as a series of digital trics generating random geometry. It happens way too often that people get mislead by automated fuctions in 3D software, generally resulting in mainstream/predictible/d?j? vu results. We should be subverting the logic of perfection: what used to be about mastering the perfect result of non-perfect processes should now be about the production of misfit and the grotesque through perfected processes.
That's some incredible advice for budding 3D designers, thank you Isaie! You can see more of his work on his Shapeways Shop or his blog.
This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Stijn van der Linden, the creator of one of our most popular items on Shapeways: Gyro the Cube. He is an avid and prolific designer, and he also finds time to answer questions on the forum as one of our moderators.
Hi everyone! My name is Stijn van der Linden, probably better know as Virtox around here . I live in Tilburg, in the Netherlands together with my lovely wife and son. I am a work-at-home dad, so I juggle my time between housekeeping, changing diapers and late night sessions of tinkering, designing and programming. I have a college degree in Electrical Engineering and worked as a software engineer for several years, but shortly after discovering 3D printing and Shapeways, I switched careers to my life long passion of 3D Art & Design.
What's the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
Initial sparks often come from the intrinsic beauty found in nature, science and life: a twig, an atom or a kitchen sink. I have a particular fondness for using primitive shapes, such as circles, cubes and spheres and morphing them into the desired forms.
How did Gyro the cube come about?
I have a great love for trying to create the impossible and this is clearly visible in Gyro the Cube. At the time I had just discovered the real power of 3D printing and the possibility to make stuff with moving parts. So, while I was playing around with morphing cubes into spheres and vice versa, I noticed that two of these closely nested cubes could rotate freely about a diagonal axis. I could then repeat this and change the axis for each one and make this impossible looking gyroscopic sculpture, that could (theoretically) move and spin straight from the printer! I was quite anxious after ordering, whether I had made any calculation errors and if it would actually work. It did spin (phew!) and the ease of movement exceeded all my expectations! I still keep one handy near my desk.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
I am mostly self-taught, as a young kid I started with simple 2D graphics and programming in C64 BASIC. This quickly went on to more advanced programming languages and working with 3D in PovRay, a very elegant scripted 3D rendering engine. During college I had access to more advanced software, like 3D Studio Max which had even more powerful scripting languages and programming APIs. All this evolved to the point that I stopped using off-the-shelf software and I currently make most of my work with home-brew software built in C++.
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
In August of 2008 I saw a mention of Shapeways somewhere and I signed up for the closed Beta. At the time I thought it was mostly expensive and very complicated, but I kept a close eye on the newsletters and forum and started to learn about the wonders of 3D printing. I tinkered about on the site, uploaded some models and tried the shop feature. To my shock and amazement, I sold something within mere days! Someone had actually bought Holey, a model I had designed years before and now someone, somewhere, was actually going to hold something I had once designed to be impossible to make. And worse, they beat me to it! So this led me to quickly place my first order and ever since I've been hooked on 3D printing.
How do you promote your work?
It has never been my strong suit, and it's hard to find the time, but I try to post updates to social networks as much as possible, such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, my own blog and occasionally to design blogs and websites such as Designspotter and Behance. But all things marketing, I learned from the Shapeways blog, as it contains a goldmine of tips, tricks and hints on how to promote your designs and shops.
Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
My all-time favorite artists are Salvador Dali, M.C. Escher and H.R. Giger. Their mind-bending work really sparked my love for art and I am very fond of surreal and impossible looking stuff! After four years of being part of this community, I must say there are so many great members helping and inspiring others, I could not hope to name them all! So a big thank you to ALL for making this place the success it is today! A special shout-out to Youknowwho, Magic, StonySmith and Stop4Stuff for driving the community forward and to Nervous System, Bathsheba, Unellenu and Opresco for making the most inspiring works. And apologies to all that escape my mind at the moment!
If you weren't limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
Oh wow, well just about anything and everything! I can't wait to sink my teeth into an impossibly shaped designer steak, sit down in a fully personalized chair and strap on that pair of extra robotic arms to get things done. But this technology is evolving so quickly I really do not feel limited. If anything, 3D printing just seems to be the ultimate addition to any toolkit.
Thank you to all Shapies for all your efforts to make the impossible possible, you are changing lives and the world with it!
Check out Stijn's incredible designs on his Shapeways Shop, his website, or hop onto the forums and chat with him and the rest of the Shapeways community.
We see many architects 3D printing their models using Shapeways 3D printing service but most of them remain behind the scenes and never make it onto the Shapeways site or blog so it is always cool to see architectural 3D prints in the Shapeways marketplace to share what architects are doing.
Sketchup is a great choice if you're new to 3D modeling: it's free, easy to learn and there are TONS of free tutorials available. Even so, you may need to know a few things before you can get your models 3D printed.
Yes, the free, awesome and easy 3D modeling app 123D has now been extended to 123D Design, available for OSX, PC, iPad AND Web App. That's four times as fantastic with interoperability between all four and the rest of the 123D suite making it easy for you to design for 3D printing with Shapeways.
With Autodesk 123D Design, anyone can have fun designing and making things. Whether it's a new design of your own, replacing a part of something you already have, or reimagining something so that it's just right for you, with 123D Design you can create a digital model of your idea and then directly 3D print or fabricate the things you want, just the way you want them. And the way you work with 123D Design is similar to how you work in other everyday software you're familiar with, so you can avoid frustrations and enjoy the process of making things.
I have had the opportunity to play with an early edition of the software and it is easy to learn and export to 3D print with Shapeways. This is a perfect tool for someone starting to design their own products as we will be sure to cover in our Design for 3D Printing 101 series.
Welcome to Design for 3D Printing 101: Intro to Design for 3D Printing.
When you are designing for 3D printing there are two main factors that you really need to take into account before you start.
What application to design with
What material you are designing for
In this first introductory session, we are going to look at choosing the right type 3D modeling software.
There are now many 3D modeling applications you can use to 3D model your designs to 3D Print, ranging from very expensive professional engineering software to free online tools to get you started. Choosing the right software is an important first step in ensuring you can realize your ideas with 3D printing.
If you want to create organic, sculptural forms and characters to 3d Print, you may want to start with freeform surface modeling software. This modeling process represents the surface of the object, not its volume. With this method you will manipulate the surface of the model to create the form with points and curves. This gives you the freedom to do flowing forms, but can sometimes make it harder to achieve tight tolerances if your design is made to integrate an external object.
If you are looking to engineer a product (or robot) for 3D Printing, you are better off using Solid Modeling Software. This process defines the volume of the object you wish to model, by creating solid geometry, which you then modify by extruding or cutting away mass. The "Design for 3D Printing 101" image above was modeled using TinkerCad, a browser based 3D modeling application with drag and drop functionality to make it very easy to get started.
You can of course experiment with each to to find what works best for you, but often the tools within the application are designed for a specific kind of geometry. There is a relatively steep learning curve when you start to learn to 3D model, but once you hold your first design in your hand, it makes those challenges a pleasure.
There are a number of free applications in each type that you may want to download and play around with to get a feel, watch tutorial on YouTube and ask questions in the Shapeways forums as there is a wealth of knowledge within the Shapeways community.
In the next Design for 3D Printing 101, we will look a little closer at some of the 3D modeling software options available to get you started 3D printing.