Category Archives: Product

Unique gifts for every cyclist in your life

We all know someone mad about bikes, ever eager to get out and ride even when its cold, wet or uphill. To help you celebrate their passion with them, here’s our spin on gifts for every type of bike snob, from the fixie fan to Fred.

garm

No garmin, no rules? They can decide with this Garmin-mount compatible iPhone case because sometimes no Garmin, no idea where you are. This mount also keeps the camera handy for all the cycle photography that happens on long road rides. They’ll love that they can get all the #lightbro shots.

Do they enjoy getting covered in mud every weekend? It’s likely cross ruins everything around them, so here’s a replaceable chain guide/ front derailleur for their next cyclocross race. You can also find replacement cable guides and more bike parts.

bike

On the other end of the spectrum, for the Sunday riders who dote on their vintage steel, you could get them this decorative tiny Italian for their collection.

vintage

For the single speed commuter, help them maintain the Zen with this multipurpose tool, good to fix just about every mechanical issue.

tool

CitiBiker’s know sharing is caring, but letting them keep both hands on the bars with this cup holder attachment is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

citi

Lastly, some say that life’s too short to ride boring* bikes…so choose from fancy accessories like this stylish crane cable guide, handlebar bike planter, novelty blow-fish valve caps or commission a custom head badge.

collage

Whatever you gift your cyclist friend, remind them to ride safe, and stay rubber side down.

 


 

The Best 3D Printed Gifts For Geeks

Are you looking for the perfect unique gift for a geeky friend or loved one (or even yourself)? Look no further than Shapeways this holiday season. If you’re like me, a tech geek who is experiencing electronics overload and is looking for a cool geeky gift to buy this year that doesn’t run of batteries, I’d suggest exploring a 3D printed product this year. I’ve taken the time to curate some cool 3D printed products that any geek would love this year. Here are my picks!

1) A Personalized 3D printed Wire Frame Astronaut by VidalCris

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 11.48.02 AM

2) Mobius Nautilus by JoaBaldwin

Why not give the gift of a Mobius Strip of Mobius strips?

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 12.13.00 PM

3) Wave by Egant - Wave is a toy that can unexpectedly transfer liquid using the physics of a syphon.

4) Wyvern Skeleton by Brian Richardson

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 12.10.30 PM

5) Stereographic projection grid by Henry Segerman

Do yourself a favor this year and give a product that makes your friends and family appreciate the technology of 3D printing, while making you look awesome for doing it!


 

Shop Owner Bootcamp: Quick Email Marketing to Boost Sales of Your 3D Prints

Love-Letter-Target-Shapeways-3DP

This is the ninth in a 10 part Shop Owner Bootcamp series counting down to black friday. Last week we focused on Supercharing Your SEO and this week we’re talking Email. Pictured above is Love Letter: Square by Target. Learn more about our partnership with them here

Are you beginning to feel the heat of Holiday Season yet? If you’re not, let me be the first to tell you, it’s go time, Shapies! We just released our holiday gift guide are in full-steam-ahead holiday mode. If you do no other marketing for your Shapeways shop today, do this: remind your friends, family and former customers that you make awesome products through 3D printing and that just about anything can be personalized through your skills and the technology. If you’re concerned that it will come off as spammy, we are happy to take a look in our Holiday Messaging Help forum. I also ask that you trust me when I say, your network will be interested. While it’s no longer new to us, 3D Printing, especially in our unique material portfolio, is still very cool and new to most folks outside the Shapie universe.

The email can be simple: 

Hi friends, 

2014 has been a great year, and I’m grateful you were a part of mine. I just wanted to share the 3D printed products I’ve created this year, and let you know that if you’d like any of them or any other custom products for holidays I’m here to help. 3D Printing is very cool and personal, and it’s not just plastic. Shapeways prints in Steel, Brass, Silver, Gold and even Platinum, too. Holiday season is fast approaching.  

(Insert a few photos of your work)

(link to your shop) 

Cheers, 

I bet you’ll be surprised how few people are aware of what you’re truly capable of, and what’s more fun than supporting a friends business and also giving a great gift? We see so many touching stories and personalized products come through our factories, I can’t help but encourage you to let your network know you’re there.

For those of you with Existing Email Newsletters:

I get many of your independent newsletters each month and enjoy them all. The one thing that all Shapies have in common is how genuine your passion is. This comes through in your communications and in your work. Keep it up! And don’t worry, if you don’t have an email list yet, Holiday is a great time to make one. Just add a link to a google form (or whatever signup mechanism you prefer) in your shop description and watch it grow!

Two Emails You Should Send:

  1. Next week, ideally Tues-Thurs (higher open rate): Holiday preview and/or reminder about your shop including top sellers & latest creations. You can even offer design services.
  2. Small Business Saturday: A holiday mostly celebrated in the US, but one worth letting your customers know about. Black Friday is historically retail centric, Cyber Monday (a great day to send an email as well) is all about digital, but SMB Saturday offers a different unique opportunity to showcase how 3D Printing is enabling your Small Business and say thank you to those contributing to it’s growth.

Here’s a great example from Somersault 18:24‘s Monthly Newsletter:

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 10.34.39 AM

 

Their message goes on to include links to their shop and updates about the science and 3D printing world. It’s helped grow them to one of the most successful shops and collections on Shapeways.

Would it be helpful if included easy to share news stories you could include in your emails in our Shop Owner Newsletter? What emails that we send do you like best? And worst? Be honest with us the way you want your customers to be honest with you :) .


 

Full Color Plastic 3D Print Material Torture Test Video

We are testing Full Color Plastic 3D Printing at Shapeways and what better way to test than with material torture videos.  We 3D printed a few basic parts to test for strength, flexibility, water and fire resistance.

Take a look at the video above to see the material under all of the different torture tests (oh, I was gentle as I wanted to test some of the parts in real world applications).  Overall while the material is not as refined or durable as SLS Nylon, which is the benchmark to which I compare all 3D printed materials, you can still do interlocking parts AND it is in almost full color (CMY, no K).
Shapeways Full Color Plastic 3D Printing is Flexible ish

The material is not as strong as our popular Nylon SLS material but is definitely less brittle then Full Color Sandstone.  At 3mm thickness the material is relatively stiff with only a small amount of flexibility (depending on geometry) yet at 1.5mm thickness the parts flex quite easily, to the point where the material may fail after just a few cycles of bending.  At 1mm thickness of wires, the prints can be very easily broken with very little effort so I really recommend at least 2mm walls/wires unless you never, ever intend to  touch your 3D prints.

Shapeways Full Color Plastic 3D Printing is machinable

I also gave the material a quick grind with a Dremel which the full color plastic held up fairly well to.  If you have a printed part that fits on an existing component that is too tight, you could easily and reliably grind away excess material with a clean finish.  I imagine it would respond to sanding with similar success as the color is impregnated approximately 2mm into the surface of the 3D prints, you could smooth the parts without removing all the color as long as you are not too heavy handed.  I am still experimenting with the parts in a tumbler to see if we can automate the smoothing process.

Shapeways Full Color Plastic 3D Printing is Waterproof

I am quite excited that the full color plastic is entirely waterproof, after soaking for over 24 hours there is no bleeding of colors, no degradation of material strength, stiffness or any swelling.  I have not had a chance to really UV test the pigments but as far as moisture is concerned this could be used for outdoor applications.

Shapeways Full Color Plastic 3D Printing is flamable

Another concern may be exposure to heat, the material feels as though it will deform under high temperatures but it definitely catches fire easily and stays alight emitting a terrible smell. So please do not expose you full color plastic 3D prints to exposed flames.

If you have any other tests you would like me to do to our Full Color Plastic, please leave a comment in the blog.


 

Shaping the Future of How We Buy: Introducing Beta & First to Try Products

People are demanding more from the products that they spend their hard earned money on. More and more, they are seeking out products created by people they know and trust, made in the cities and towns they call home. In research we did earlier this year, we found that nearly 50% of Americans know someone who is making and selling their own products. From the friend who quit her day job to create beautiful jewelry to someone who wants to make a better bike helmet, there’s no shortage of innovative products being created by independent designers around the world. In large part, they are enabled by the power of the Internet, which has made it even easier for people to sell their own products over the past 20 years.

Product design is also becoming more collaborative. Entrepreneurs are working with their friends and customers to get the support they need throughout the product development process.

Today, we’re excited to officially announce two big additions to Shapeways that we hope will make it easier (and more fun!) for people to create their own products by inviting friends and fans into the creative process.

Now on Shapeways, you’ll see a two new kinds of products: Beta & First to Try.

What’s Beta?

One of the most critical steps in designing a great product is iteration: tweaking a product to perfection by testing and refining the design. You can be a part of the creative process by giving designers feedback when their products are in Beta. Share your thoughts on the design, the aesthetics, the fit, or anything else you think will help make the product even better. There are already over 500 products in Beta on Shapeways — check them out and start collaborating!

Beta products on Shapeways

What’s First to Try?

If you’re the kind of person who can’t wait to get your hands on the latest gadgets, or if you wait in line for movies on opening night, read on.

In the past, you’d have to wait until a product has gone through months or years of development to try it out. With 3D printing, there’s no need to wait. Help bring a product to life by buying it in “First to Try.” These products are in earlier stages of development, so sometimes there are some kinks (no matter how beautiful the render, the laws of physics still exist. In those cases, not to worry, the refund is on us!). Most of the time, though, they’ve been 3D printed in a few of our materials and it’s your chance to try them out in others. Platinum, anyone?

Here at Shapeways, we’re trying to shake up how products are made and by whom. We have makers and designers from all over the world in our community, some of whom are making their first product and others who have been professional product designers for their whole lives. They’re creating everything from jewelry to rocket ships, GoPro accessories to chess sets. It’s your turn to join them.

Note for all the designers and creators out there!

In the short term, here are a few things you can do to take advantage of these new features:

1. Create Your New Material Renders
For all of the materials that you are offering for sale, you can now create realistic renders of each material. You can pose & generate renders for all of your products, regardless of if they have been printed before. Learn more.

2. Tag Materials in Your Photos
If you have photos for each material you are offering for sale, you can tag them so they show up when shoppers select a material on your product page. Learn more.

3. Explore First to Try & Beta
You can learn more about how you can use these new tools to bring your products to market using 3D printing.

We also shared these features with our community a few weeks ago and got some great feedback, some of which is already implemented in this latest iteration. But it’s not too late to join the discussion! We’re in Beta too :) Sign up for future usability testing here.


 

LaMetric: Using 3D printed prototypes for product development and crowdfunding

3D printing has already had a huge impact on the future of how products are conceptualized, designed and developed. Smart Atoms, a group of tech visionaries, designers and engineers, has created LaMetric, a standalone, customizable, hackable smart ticker that tracks key life and business metrics and displays them in real-time. Before launching their Kickstarter campaign, Smart Atoms prototyped LaMetric using Shapeways. Smart Atoms CEO Nazar Bilous discussed the process of developing LaMetric and how 3D printing is a key component of product, and hardware, development.

LaMetric - track what's important to you

LaMetric – track what’s important to you

What inspired you to create LaMetric?

Most of our team used to work in a digital agency before forming Smart Atoms. Every day each of us was curious about the most important digital product numbers including app’s ranking, downloads, website stats. It took a lot of time getting them from different slow loading sites and we decided to solve it by having a simple device that saves our time, tracks the key numbers autonomously and shows them fresh for the whole team.

Nike+ Fuelband was a huge inspiration at LaMetric concept stage. Its amazing screen made the highest impact. We wanted to get the screen that looks like it is a part of the black casing when the device is switched off and clearly projects the screen across a large physical space with bright, sharp, square pixels. Most people that saw the 3D model doubted it’s even possible. Which motivated us even stronger to reach it.

How did using Shapeways help you develop the LaMetric prototype?

In the course of several prototype iterations, we moved from an ugly brick-like box to a rounded bar, after which most of the early adopters wanted to put LaMetric at home or office. We now understand Apple’s passion for rounded corners, this works well in the 3D world, too. Initially, we created the casing using an average domestic 3D printer, but the quality was not good enough for us to get profound feedback from beta testers, especially “look and feel”. We discovered the Shapeways service that quickly transformed our model into high quality device parts.

LaMetric parts prototype: homeprinter left, Shapeways right

LaMetric parts prototype: homeprinter left, Shapeways right

What need will the product fulfill?

In the age of information overload it’s important to have personal information radiators or status panel to be more productive. Main indicators like weather warnings, amount of new emails, amount of daily tasks and how much you’ve already solved, money balance, time to meeting and others give you immediate understanding of where you are and what to do next.
LaMetric eliminates the need to check multiple apps or news sites for the information you need. Instead, you receive everything at a glance, all in one place, in real-time.

If you have a family or small business it’s twice important to track shared indicators and boost group productivity via getting communal experience and discovering something together. It can be tracking important dates(events, deadlines, anniversaries), profit numbers, product rankings, social metrics, leads amount, sales figures, visitors amount, youtube subscribers, mentions and others. In this day and age of personalised devices and individuals with their heads buried in their smartphone screens, people crave these shared experiences, a sense of belonging, a sense of greater purpose that make them more motivated and productive.

In a digital world, why develop hardware?

By developing hardware you can discover new tangible interactions and experiences. The digital world doesn’t give this.

Final LaMetric prototype

Final LaMetric prototype

How does having a well developed prototype help when launching a crowdfunding campaign dedicated to hardware?

We added photos of all our prototypes to the Kickstarter campaign page to show people our understanding of quality and where we’ve spent a year of hard work before launch. It builds relationships with your backers. It’s very important in crowdfunding, and it’s all about transparency.

How do you think that 3D printing will help the future of hardware design, iteration and development?

3D printing helps quickly build iterative prototypes, test with your early adopters and get feedback on idea, form, size etc. It increases the speed of building hardware products and gives not expensive tool for everyone to create things. For us, prototypes built with Shapeways additionally allowed get feedback how LaMetric looks and feels. 3D printing will have a significant impact on IoT industry and bring a lot of new exciting devices in the near future.


 

What the Oculus Rift Acquisition by Facebook means for 3D Printing

The tech world collectively gasped and gossiped yesterday as Facebook announced its purchase of Oculus, a virtual reality headset originally launched on Kickstarter, for a cool $2 Billion Dollars. Safe to say that their 21 year old CEO and his team of are set for life, but what does this mean for the rest of us?


Our very own Brad Dickason rocking his Oculus Rift

In sum:
  1. Hardware is back
  2. People powered product > other stuff
  3. Communities are empowering the future of design meaning innovation is no longer dictated by big brand hegemons
  4. Shapeways, like Oculus, is at the epicenter of this next industrial revolution

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Bitcoin inspired 3D Prints

Posted by in Product
You’ve probably been hearing a lot about Bitcoins in the news recently but the truth of the matter is that many of us don’t really know what Bitcoins are or what they do. Bitcoin is the first decentralized digital currency. They’re essentially coins that you can send over the internet as a form of digital currency. Bitcoins can be generated by anybody running a free application called a Bitcoin Miner. Bitcoins are transferred anonymously peer-to-peer and function without any type of central authority. Bitcoin is changing finance the same way Shapeways and 3D printing is changing manufacturing.
In the meantime, Bitcoins have a really cool and recognizable symbol. Have a look at a few Bitcoin inspired 3D prints. 

With this you can blow Bitcoin bubbles because it’s more fun to blow bubbles than money. 

Bitcoin Ring by goebat

Let everyone know you’re a Bitcoin user by wearing this cool ring.

Bitcoin Address Keeper by AyameDeude

This coin has the generally accepted BTC Sign, as well as a latin phrase that roughly translates to “Equality we can verify.”


 

Dinovember Feature: An Interview with 3D Printing Dinosaur Design Master David Krentz

Are you a fan of Dinosaurs? Or a recent #Dinovember bandwagoner? If you just answered yes, and should you like your Dinos in cinematic form, you’ve likely seen the work of David Krentz. Given his feature in our recent Bronze launch, the timely nature of viral heartwarming dinosaur stories, and in an effort to showcase some of the Shop Owners we’re so grateful for, I give you…

Interview with David Krentz: “I still pinch myself that someone pays me to make dinosaurs.”

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Make Eggs fun with these 3D Prints

Posted by in Product

Seriously who doesn’t love eggs? Lay them, eat them, or decorate them; Eggs are an essential part of our everyday lives. Chances are that you have eggs sitting around in your refrigerator. Until you’re ready to use them you might as well rest them on some of these awesome 3D printed egg sculptures and apparatuses. 

Eggbot by mygadgetlife 

A boring egg transforms into a robot with this ceramic food safe sculpture. 

Bird Nest Eggcup by Gijs

Hold your egg with this simple eggcup design made from flexible plastic material. 

Egg House by aton

You will love the design and detail of this apparatus and it makes a great case for eggs. 

Eierbecher by Froland

Eierbecher means egg cup in German. This one is wrapping the egg in a very sturdy Voroni structure.

Bird Nest Egg Holder by mkermol

This small and sturdy nest designed egg holder is a fancy way for holding the egg before consumption. 

Egg holders are pretty popular on Shapeways. If you’re a egg lover or enjoy spending time in the kitchen do yourself a favor and get one of these. Which came first the chicken or the egg? HUMPTY-DUMPTY #MindBlown 


 

Rocket Cups Launch into Stores

Posted by in Product

Last July, we saw Isohedral’s Rocket Espresso Cup go viral. We were excited about the espresso cups, and clearly we weren’t the only ones! The espresso cups also caught the attention of Fred, of Fred and Friends, and now, a year later, a mass produced version the cups will be hitting shelves worldwide. We are very happy that Shapeways was able to play a part in the process, and we asked Craig a few questions about his journey from idea to mass market product.

Check out the interview below!

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