Category Archives: Design 101

Gravity Sketch Launches a Kickstarter Campaign

We’ve been huge fans of what the Gravity Sketch team has done to make 3D design more accessible to everyone through their iPad app, Gravity Sketch iOS, which is being used by thousands of creators across the world.

As a result of all the user feedback from the app, the Gravity Sketch team embarked on developing a more advanced tool to even further lower the barriers to 3D literacy by creating a desktop and virtual reality version and have just launched a Kickstarter to fund the project.

The new experience offers users a “what you see is what you get” interface where users can interact with 3D creations in real time, in a truly three dimensional space. The team was inspired to extend this fully immersive creation experience, allowing you to tap (literally) into simple tools that enable you to create complicated shapes in seconds– all of which are sketched the exact size as you see it.

Ready to take 3D modeling into your own hands? Gravity Sketch is ready to make this possible with this VR experience. As a fun bonus, for a limited time, backers that support the Kickstarter campaign for about $19 (£15), you’ll be able to pick and receive a Shapeways 3D printed ornaments that was designed by a Gravity Sketch artist, right in time for the holidays! Check out the gorgeous options below, they’re printed out of strong and flexible plastic, with some nifty little interlocking parts!

 

Jewelry Prototyping Tips

An idea emerges and you hop to the drawing board itching to see what comes to life. In most scenarios this first iteration is probably not what you had in mind. Rather, the design will be modified for any number of reasons. This can be especially true when designing jewelry. A ring, bracelet, necklace or any accessory must fit, hold an appropriate scale, meet your personal aesthetic, and retain important details. All of these facets of the design can be perfected when brought to life with prototyping.

Ring Set

The cycle of designing has no beginning or end because your process may start at any given point and continue any number of times. Prototyping is one step within this iterative process, and it allows you to take a step back and consider how you can improve your design.

The Iterative Design Process

When should you prototype?

Consider it necessary to prototype when you are looking to create jewelry with custom sizes or settings, such as stone settings. By prototyping these products you can ensure that the piece of jewelry or stone will fit correctly for your final iteration.

In the early stages, it is best to prototype your jewelry design before selling to the public. Printing in a more low cost material to start gives you the opportunity to evaluate the scale and fit of your product, and will save you from returns and excess spending. Once you’ve approved your prototype, you can move onto some of our precious metal materials.

The difference between a render and a physical object is greater than one may anticipate. Although measuring your model will provide you with concrete dimensions, there is nothing like holding a design in your hand. In my experience the scale of certain design features or even the entire product are always larger or smaller than I prefer. With this intermediary step, I get the opportunity to correct and improve upon this.

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What material should you prototype in?

While your final design will most likely be printed in a cast metal or steel, your initial prototypes will not require one of these materials with a longer lead time and higher price point. Instead, initial prototyping can be printed with frosted ultra detail or strong and flexible. These materials are great for quick turn around and a fair understanding of the overall look and fit of your final product.

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Frosted Ultra Detail:

This material is great for a clean and high detail finish, particularly if you are looking to print your final model in a cast metal.

Strong and Flexible:

For a lower price point prototype, you can print in strong and flexible. This material is also offered in rush production, for those who need to move quickly.

TIP: Please do keep in mind that different materials have similar but different guidelines. Make sure that while you are prototyping you are following the guidelines of the material you will ultimately be printing in.

Now after the initial prototypes are completed and you have made another cycle through the Iterative Design Process, a final prototype can be created in a beautifully polished or unpolished cast metal such as brass or bronze. These are particularly beneficial when looking to print your final model in silver, platinum, gold, or a precious plated metals.

final brass

Brass or Bronze:

Brass  and bronze are significantly less expensive and go through a similar production process as the other cast metals. These cast metal prototypes will demonstrate the extent of polishing you can expect and which tiny details will be able to make it through the production process.

three ring set

A prototype can be the stepping stone to a finalized design or even an inspiration for your next project. Skipping this step can be a missed opportunity to creating that perfect piece of jewelry.

If you are looking to learn more about the design process and the materials at Shapeways, take a look at the Back to the Basics for designers.

Make a 3d printed pendant in 15 minutes out of 14K Gold! No 3d modeling experience needed.

I have always wanted to make jewelry around specific interests I have without having them look homemade but I’m just not that talented at beadwork and still tackling the steep learning curve for 3d modeling from scratch.   However, I have made several pendant charms for myself and gifts for friends with the Shapeways EZ Pendant Creator.   It is truly a DIY dream come true if you are brand new to 3d printing.

Here is my first project; a lion pendant charm in 14K gold in honor of my son who was born in August and is a Leo.

Lion pendant

I got so many compliments on it, I videotaped a quick step by step tutorial.   Check it out and start making pendant charms for yourself and don’t forget this is a great personal gift for loved ones.   I sent my best friend a cat charm last Christmas and a Buddha charm to my daughter for her birthday.   Before long, my family and friends might start putting in orders and I will have to open a shop on Shapeways!

Fascinating 3D Printed Animatronic Honey Bee

At Shapeways we’re accustomed to seeing incredible 3D printed designs and DIY projects using Shapeways 3D printing. Today we wanted to highlight a nature inspired 3D printed animatronic Bee project by designer Jonny Poole of innerbreedFX. Jonny was contacted by his local bee sanctuary seeking to add some animatronics to their tour.

Jonny took it upon himself to take advantage of Shapeways 3D printing and SLS technology to design a fully articulated Bee using the Shapeways strong and flexible nylon material. Here are some photos of from project.

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3D modeling of the Bee design

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Animatronic Bee fully articulated printed in nylon plastic 

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The wings were printed in Fine Ultra Detail

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 12.05.01 PMThe final result of the Bee! You can purchase the articulated honey bee on Jonny’s shop here.

We’ve noticed a few amazing 3D printed insect designs on Shapeways. For example check out the articulated mantis by designer Brian Chan and the Bee Keeper Chess set by designer Ricky McRae. Do you have a DIY project you’re working on that you want to share with the community? We’d love to see it, share it on the “Work In Progress” section of our forums here.

 

3D Print iPhone 6 and Apple Watch Accessories

Update: Apple has released the design files for the iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus! Page 16 and 17 of this pdf have everything you need to know to design a case for these awesome new phones. Be sure and enter our contest and be one of the first iPhone 6 cases ever 3D Printed!

Original Post: Did you watch the Apple announcement? Are you excited about the new iPhone 6/6plus? Are you counting the seconds until you can get your hands on the Apple Watch?

AppleWatchRender

UPDATE 9/11: Some amazing Shapeways Community Members put together a <beta> 3D CAD file of the Apple Watch! It’s based on the specs Apple announced, and while not Apple official, should serve as a great starting point for all interested in designing Apple Watch accessories. You can download the .stl of the Apple Watch design files here. Special thanks to Michael Christensen for sharing this in our Apple forum!
iPhone6
I’ve been counting the minutes for months now and seeing Phil show off the iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus and seeing Super Evil Megacorp’s gaming experience made me drool millions of pixels in anticipation of their September 19th launch into the world. The new iPhone camera has Focus Pixels, which means you’re essentially carrying a DSLR in your pocket. Just imagine, our 3D scans will be sharper than ever!
iphone camera
Shapeways has always been one of the first to market with accessories when new consumer electronics come out. Our communities ability to responsively create designs and leverage our short lead times is unparalleled by any other accessories company in the world. The cases that you’ll see in the Apple store were modeled months ago and have been in production all summer. Alongside the new phones, Apple announced a new line of silicone and leather cases, but I think we know our Nylon looks the coolest when it comes to pimping your iDevices. We are eager to see what cases, stands and accessories you make for this new line of apple products and will handsomely reward those who do it best (details to come when the design files are announced by Apple later in September).
iphones

Design files

Shapeways has a long history of being one of the first to market with iAccessories. We were keeping the iPhone classy back in early 2012 with this 4/4s MacPro Case:macpro case

We gave you the design files the moment they were available for the exciting new iPhone 5, hosting a contest around it. The Sweater Case by ArtizanWork that won is still a favorite of ours to show off at events and through our crew kits!
sweater case
We also brought you the iPad Mini files that same October. All in all, we power over 2600 products that fall in the iPhone category. Let’s round out our Apple Fan Boy and Girl offerings and incorporate all these awesome new products.

Now you can start brainstorming the iPhone 6 and iWatch cases you want to design in our Apple and iGadgets thread in the forum. Hit the sketchbook or the sketchup and get creative! The bigger form factor gives you more design real estate than ever before. We will update this post and announce a contest as soon as Apple releases the Design Files.

On a fun historical and sentimental note, this Apple Fan Girl can’t help but ask, 30 years after Steve Jobs announced the Macintosh (the anniversary is today) do you think Apple is still as innovative as they were under Steve?
timeandsteve

5 Things You Already Do That Mean You Can 3D Print

by Corinne Iozzio

When you look at some of the intricate custom designs 3D modelers are printing these days, it might seem like getting into rapid prototyping is too complicated for any beginner to tackle. Not so. Even with only the most basic set of art and graphic design skills, you’ll be able to create your first 3D model in no time. Don’t believe us? Read on for some extra convincing. 

You Doodle

The simplest 3D designs start on paper. You might set out to jot down an idea for a pair of earrings or a bottle opener, but if you’re prone to doodling, you probably have dozens—even hundreds—of designs dotted throughout your notebooks and sketchbooks. Each one of those is a kernel of an idea for a 3D design. Use our tool to convert any doodle to 3D, or watch our Skillshare class ($9) to learn how to tweak and improve doodles digitally.

A simple Sharpie drawing became this loopy pendant. Corinne Iozzio

You Work in Photoshop

Photoshop isn’t just about touching up flat images anymore. You can use all your favorite (and familiar) image-editing tools, such as brushes and gradients, to tweak the color and texture of existing 3D designs. (If you’re feeling adventurous you can even start a new model by “extruding” a 3D design from a 2D picture.) Bonus: New 3D printing tools in the latest version of Photoshop Creative Cloud includes an option to print directly to Shapeways.

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How I Made video: #icant Personalized Necklace

#icant personalized 3D printed pendant

Follow along with our merchandizer Aimee in this 2 minute tutorial. Aimee shows you her process for designing a custom pendant using nothing more than a pen, a piece of paper, a camera phone and our 2D to 3D creator app.

Try for yourself with the 2D to 3D creator app here and a tutorial: How to use the 2D to 3D converter app. We’ll be seeking more entries to the series How I Made so if you’ve got an idea for a short video add it in the comments or contact education [at] shapeways [dot] com. Happy making!

Welcome to the Golden Age of 3D Printing: Introducing 14 Carat Gold to Shapeways

Update: As of May 22nd, Gold is now available worldwide and can be set as the default material for the products in your shop. 
Featured models from left to right: Hibiscus Ring by alaswadi, Cousin Gabriel Ring by cousingabriel, Rock Ring by thefuturefuture, and Arrow Ring by courtneyetc

Today, we’re proud to welcome the most precious of metals to the Shapeways family - 14k Gold. We’ve been inspired by the accessories and jewelry you’ve made with our Silver, Brass, Bronze, and Steel; and we have heard your requests for more premium metal options. 


Droplet Pendant by LIFIC

Our solid, hand-polished 14k Gold is simply stunning. It’s meticulously polished to a beautiful, smooth sheen. With a high-shine look that’s perfect for rings, cufflinks, pendants, earrings, charms, or whatever you decide to create. Not to mention, wedding season is right around the corner, ladies and gents!
Greek mythology deemed the people of the Golden Age the “golden race” of humans who came first. You’re all part of the Shapeways Golden Age, so which one of you fearless designers will try our Gold first?

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Design for 3D Printing 101: Intro to Design for 3D Printing

Welcome to Design for 3D Printing 101: Intro to Design for 3D Printing.

Design for 3D printing 101 Shapeways

When you are designing for 3D printing there are two main factors that you really need to take into account before you start.

  1. What application to design with
  2. 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. 

Test Sculptris "mostro"

Above is a screenshot from Sculptris, free surface modeling software. Image via Flickr

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.

Autodesk 123D to 3D Print wit Shapeways

Above is Autodesk’s 123D App, a solid modeler with which you can 3D Print direct to Shapeways. 

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.