Take your vacation memories to the next level with loci, a 3D Printed sculpture of your flights.
With loci, users are able to highlight important flights to them, such as their
honeymoon or a memorable summer adventure, through a custom software.
The software also connects to Tripit or Foursquare data to help make the
tracking process a bit easier.
Each loci comes with a special card with a map featuring all the airports flown to in order to help the user visualize his or her travels. The card also displays a chosen title, total distance traveled, number of airports visited and the number of flights taken.
The product is currently a prototype made by Netherlands based interaction and sound designer Andrew Spitz, who also co-created a soon-to-be-released iPhone app called Flying. A large part of the app is the ability to track one's flights, so he hopes to eventually include loci directly in the app.
Today marks a milestone for Shapeways. On behalf of the
Shapeways team, we are truly excited to announce a new round of financing of $30 million led by
Andreessen Horowitz, with Chris Dixon joining our executive board. Our existing investors – Union Square Ventures, Index Ventures, and Lux Capital – also participated in this round.
All of our investors believe, like us, that 3D printing has the potential to completely change the world. With this funding, we will grow our team (we’re hiring!), build more factories around the world, and solve challenging technology problems. Though many people have heard about 3D printing, we have a ways to come. We will make our service much easier to use. We will explore the frontiers of 3D printing materials, enabling YOU to make and purchase any product imaginable.
As we embark on this next phase in our company’s journey, we wanted to take this opportunity to look back at how far we’ve come.
3D Printing is Changing the World
When we started in 2007, very few people had even heard of 3D printing outside of the engineering and design communities. It was mainly used for prototyping. Today, 3D printing has taken the manufacturing industry by storm and everyone is talking about this groundbreaking technology. President Obama even recently called out 3D printing as one of the important technologies that can bring manufacturing back to the USA.
We believe that 3D printing is fundamentally changing the manufacturing ecosystem in its entirety – how and where products are made and by whom. For the last century, big companies were in charge: they determined what consumers wanted and made those products in large quantities using mass manufacturing. Now, thanks to 3D printing, those days are over. This technology enables everyone to create unique products on demand, putting the customer in control and localizing the manufacturing process.
How Shapeways Fits In
We founded Shapeways in 2007, but weren’t a typical startup: we made things. And we built our business around four key elements:
We want to enable everyone to turn their ideas into reality. We pioneered the first customization software called Creators, or 3D printing apps, and we’ve now made this technology accessible through our API. Over 1 million designs have been uploaded to Shapeways.com to-date. And not only can you work with a designer to customize a product, you can also create a product from scratch with easy-to-use templates.
Back in 2007, 3D printing was expensive. We knew that if we wanted to make the technology affordable for everyone, the price needed to drop. We’re proud that we have already succeeded in lowering prices significantly, but we‘re not stopping there. Remember, the cost of an iPhone case was about $70 in 2008. Today, it’s below $20. We believe we can lower the cost much further and this will result in lower prices for everyone using Shapeways.
In the early days, in addition to higher costs, the variety of materials was limited and the quality of the products made was quite low. Today, we offer over 30 materials and finishes, including high-quality sterling silver and food-safe ceramics. We plan on adding many more.
Shapeways Shops enable anyone to launch a business and sell products worldwide. Today, the Shapeways marketplace is comprised of over 10,000 shop owners. They are the future of small business: they don’t have inventory, they rapidly iterate on products, and they have direct access to customer feedback. We will continue to invest in tools and resources to ensure they become even more successful.
Our community is a very important part of Shapeways. You share the belief that 3D Printing is incredible and are as passionate as we are about making products. In the forums and during meetups, you continually surprise us with the ideas that you bring to life. We are thankful for your passion and inspiration.
Looking back, we are encouraged by how far we have come. But we are even more excited for the incredible journey ahead. We hope you will join us for it!
This weekend we sponsored the NASA International Space Apps Challenge in New York. All around the world, over 9000 people collaborated to work on 50 different challenges ranging from a chicken farming in your backyard to lassoing asteroids.
This class has evolved greatly over the past year and a half. This is an extended version that is essentially two classes: Foundations of 3D Printing, and Introduction to 3D Modeling. The goal of the class is to give a complete primer on printing processes and software, then show how you can apply that knowledge to create your own designs and manufacture them at home or from a service bureau like Shapeways. You will also learn about selling items from your Shapeways shop, custom object co-creation, and the logistics of re-selling printed items through other venues like Etsy and Ebay.
We'll be spending a fair bit of time in Great Britain this week. Traveling from the London College of Fashion to Maker Faire in Newcastle, and having several user meetups along our way.
Check out our schedule below, come over to say hi and meet fellow community members!
London - April 25
We land on Thursday, April 25. Our first stop is the London College of Fashion, where Shapeways sponsors the 'Layer by Layer' exhibition on 3D printing. The College wants to show the diversity of our materials and printed a large series of shoe lasts. Bart will also be giving a lecture to a group of 50 students.
That evening we're planning to have drinks with you guys (we still need a good spot - some help would be great!). There's space for about 20 people, so be sure to RSVP quickly on our Meetup page for this event.
Newcastle - April 27-28
In the weekend of April 27 and 28 Bart and Kevin (from our unbeatable Customer Service team) are at Europe's largest Maker Faire in Newcastle. And we're not alone! Four well-known British community designers are traveling up to Newcastle to help us out: On Saturday, you'll find Peter Chapman of Tofty and Andrew Walker of UniquePlastique on our booth. Steven Gray of MyGadgetLife and Richard Gain of microcubology will be joining us on Sunday.
And did I mention we'll have balloon car races at our booth? Without doubt, Maker Faire Newcastle is THE most brilliant maker event in Europe. Come and visit it if you have a chance!
And what's Newcastle without some drinks? Let's meet up on Saturday evening and spend some 3D printing quality time. Again, we're still looking for a good spot. If you know the area well, please leave your suggestion onthe meetup's page.
Start your own meetup!
Are London and Newcastle just too far away and can't you join us? Then why not start your own meetup? It's easy, head over to the Shapeways Community Meetup page and search for your location. If there's no meetup for your town yet, just add one so other people can join you and help you with organizing the event.
Also send an email to email@example.com and tell us where you are! We'll hook you up to other people in your area and give you the low down on hosting a meetup, no experience necessary, just a willingness to meet likeminded people.
Today we have launched the first stage of the Shapeways Educational Program with an awesome 10% discount on 3D printing for all students and educators with a Shapeways account registered with an .edu email address.
This is our first step at helping students and educators have better access to high quality 3D printing through Shapeways. We will be rolling out more features as part of the Shapeways Education Program so that everyone from elementary to post graduate students can use 3D printing to help them learn, understand and communicate their ideas whether they be technical, artistic or conceptual.
3D Printing isn't just about photorealistic bulldogs, beautiful jewelry and iPhone cases, it is also a way to design, prototype and produce more complex products by integrating other components. Check out this working stepper motor constructed around a Shapeways 3D printed frame along with some nails, magnet wire, neodymium magnets and a digispark microcontroller.
If a simple motor can be constructed, what is the next step? (pun intended)
Every now and then we see an object that is hard to believe it is 3D printed, in this case it is the Bulldog 3D printed in Full Color Sandstone byMISS3. This is by far the most realistic 3D printed object we have seen so far and now the challenge is on...
Can you design something so realistic we will not know that it is a 3D print?
Meet David Basulto, an iPad enthusiast who just realeased the iOgrapher, a 3D printed accessory that transforms your iPad mini into a filmmaking piece of equipment.
The idea for the iOgrapher came about after Basulto realized the lack of products available to help carry out different video projects on the iPad mini. There was no easy way to attach the iPad to a tripod, to use different lenses, or to add additional lighting and audio equipment.
So, he created an accessory that addresses all of these needs. The iOgrapher has a 37mm lens mount to attach wide angle, macro, and
fisheye lenses, handles on both sides for steady camera shots, and cold shoes to mount external microphones
and lighting on top. It can also be attached to a tripod.
After sketching the iOgrapher model on his iPad mini, Basulto and a mechanical engineer perfected it before sending the design to Shapeways for printing. He plans to create the product for all iOs devices in the future.
Making great use of the super light yet strong 3D printed Nylon on Shapeways they have constructed cages that can safely carry a smartphone up into the sky to record with either video or photos. There are already a whole range of 3D printed GoPro camera mounts on Shapeways for a wide range of uses but this is one of the first mounts we have seen designed to take the smart phone to the skies. Each of the kits are available in hobbiestoomany's Shapeways shop with simple instructions in the video below how to assemble the cage and send your phone into the sky in a playful mash-up of Benjamin Franklin's kite experiments and a modern surveillance drone.
Check out the video of the test, amazing images and how to assemble then the second video whale watching with a kite...
Fridays at 5 in the Factory (NYC time) is a Google Hangout to give you an opportunity to ask the Shapeways 3D printing engineers your questions about Shapeways materials, processes and how to design for success. We had an impromptu hangout last Friday that included a brief introduction to some of the Shapeways team along with a shaky, noisy virtual tour of the factory.
The replacement part is not available from the manufacturer but he has the existing broken part that will be relatively easy to copy for someone with basic 3D modeling skills. If you are a 3D modeler who is capable of helping baerfoot keep his wife caffeinated drop him a line in the Shapeways Forums. While you are there you may as well submit your portfolio in the 3D Modelers for Hire section too.
UPDATE: It seems like our experiment worked for one day only, Happy April Fools Day.
While looking for a way to recycle our excess Nylon powder we found a way for anyone to 3D print at home with an iPhone and a magnifying glass.
At Shapeways we recycle most of the Nylon powder from our industrial 3D printing process but sometimes the powder does not meet the standard required for use in our 3D printers. We were looking at the testing process when we made a really exciting discovery, with a tightly focused beam of light you can solidify the Nylon powder into a solid.
We did some experiments and discovered a way that anyone can 3D print at home using an iPhone and a magnifying glass with our Nylon powder. Take a look at the simple video below and email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can send you (for the cost of shipping) some of our excess Nylon for you to try at home.