Category Archives: Designer for Hire

Custom-Designed 3D Printed Gifts for the Animal Lover

Looking for a gift for a loved one who adores their pet? Get their pup or kitty immortalized in an unforgettable 3D form. In full color sandstone or even in bronze, silver, or gold, these pet-inspired pieces are perfect for collectors — adding a familiar face to their dollhouse or train set — or for any pet parents who can’t stop Instagramming their furry friends.

Designers Cuddle Clones and Minichua Design specialize in creating incredible pet mementos in 3D.

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A cute example of the type of custom 3D design that can be made from a picture of a pet, by Cuddle Clones.

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Cat lovers will fall in love with Sleeping Kitty 1, 2, and 3 by cheerioboy.

labrador pendantPay tribute to their favorite breed of pup with a pendant like this Labrador dog full body silhouette pendant by Custompendants.

Design it yourself with 3D printing apps like Pup Workshop or the Keychain Creator which doubles nicely as a custom dog tag creator.

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Click for More Custom Pet Gifts

Custom 3D Printed Beads and Charms – Gifts for the Jewelry Collector

Charm and bead bracelets are timelessly popular gifts because they tell the story of the wearer. Each of the charms represents something, someone or some occasion: anniversaries, first dates, first overseas trip, birthdays, seasons, you name it!

Camino bead

Camino de Santiago Pandora Charm Bead by Paralogical Design

While many companies do a valiant job of covering every possible story, working with a Designer For Hire would allow you to make a truly unique bead just for your giftee. If you know someone who is collector this is your chance to give them that token they can’t buy anywhere and truly reflects your thoughtfulness.

For starting design tips you can easily search for measurements. Most beads are approximately 6mm long, 3mm along chain. The hole is 3.5mm in diameter. Please check the measurement of the end your chain carefully to make sure the bead will fit! The end of your bracelet or chain should be no larger than 3.3mm in diameter.

Some existing designs by our community of designers to get your thoughtful engines firing:

 

psychology beads

Psychology Bead Charm by The Copper Serpent

fuji camera bead

Fujifilm X100s Pandora Bead by 3dkonceptsketcher

brain bead

Brain European Charm Bracelet Bead by Widegarns

Click For More Stunning Beads

Discovery Channel Star of Big Giant Swords and 3D designer Team up to bring Awesome Minifigure Swords to Shapeways

One of our favorite things about Shapeways is that we’re a digital maker space for creative minds to meet and collaborate. One exciting new project we’ve seen is between designer Nate Ryan and Swordsmith / TV star Mike Craughwell aka Michaelcthulhu. They teamed up to recreate Mike’s huge metal swords as 3D printed toys for mini figures

Mike Craughwell MikeChthulhu Big Giant Swords Discover Channel 3D printing Shapeways lego minifigures

Mike and Nathaniel reviewing some models over Skype

How did this project get started? What inspired you to work together?

Nate Ryan: ”I was watching Irish Mike’s show on Discovery Channel called Big Giant Swords. I was so inspired from Mike, this guy living his dream and sharing it with the rest of us. The swords were impressive to say the least, but for me I was more inspired with Mike, the person. You can tell he is authentic, a great father and husband so for me those qualities drew me in even more than the swords. I created Dragonsbreath as the first prototype and reached out to Mike on Twitter and Facebook that I could make 3D models of his swords. I was so excited when he responded and from there we have had several Skype sessions to talk about designing swords on a smaller scale where fans of the show that couldn’t buy a custom build at actual size might want a small scale version. The idea was to make replicas of the swords on the tv series scaled down to a size that would fit into a lego guy or other figurines.”

How did you get started with 3D design for 3D printing?

Nathaniel Ryan: “I use Blender 3D for all my modeling and used the swords to also learn how to print them, it took some trial and error, but have been extremely satisfied with the quality and precision that Shapeways printing provides. I have also been doing 3D modeling for several years as freelance. you can find some of my work at ArtStation, Pinterest, Facebook, or FullyCroisened.

What are the challenges you find in recreating Mike’s swords for mini figures?

Nate Ryan: “Due to the small scale, to maintain thickness, etc, sometimes I need to take some liberties on the actual details of the 3D printed versions. I try to get as close as possible to the original giant swords. Also before we enable it to the public, we print several versions until we get it to a quality level we are happy with. That process can take some time, but we want to get a repeatable and reliable print design before we make it available for purchase.

For me, I love the metal options but the plastic ones are safe for children and putting them into a lego man or some other figurine is too much fun!”

Check out the great video by Mike out on Youtube promoting the store:

Mike Craughwell MikeChthulhu Big Giant Swords Discover Channel 3D printing Shapeways lego minifigures

A collection of the swords printed in various materials

Mike, how did you feel when you saw the swords printed as miniatures for the first time?

Michaelcthulhu:I get a massive kick out of seeing the tiny swords, obviously. Not everyone can afford a massive sword, so it was cool to finally have a small piece of Mikemorabilia that people could actually afford. The wonders of the age we live in or whatever, even if I could make small stuff with this fine of detail (which is questionable when your primary tool is an angle grinder) it would still be out of most peoples price range cause of the time it would take me to do it. I’ve gotten messages from people who have bought these for their kids, warm cockles etc. They’re so much cooler than a Michaelcthulhu T-shirt or Mug, in my humble opinion.

Mike Craughwell MikeChthulhu Big Giant Swords Discover Channel 3D printing Shapeways lego minifigures

Mike Inspecting and using the sword

Also bonus for me: Nate did all the hard work! The 3d modeling work done by Nate is just as baffling to me as what I do is to most people. Let’s say Nate had never sent me his Rahab model pictures, at some point it might have occurred to me to pay some random guy to make the model, uploaded it to a Shapeways account and prayed it all worked. But if there was a problem with the model? Or if I wanted to modify the model in some way later on? Not a hope, I would have been totally stuck. These little swords only exist because of Nate. Is there a moral? Keep sharing your stuff with people I guess?

Also I have always secretly wanted to be an action figure far more than a real person, and this lines up with that nicely. Mike action figure– Nate get on it! (although that might be just the lack of sleep talking I went to bed at 6am).”

We love hearing about how designers are teaming up with other creative people. You can find their swords available for sale here. If you’re had a cool collaboration, let us know in the comments below! If you’re looking for a partner to work with, check out our designer for hire page here.

Make That Monogram Gift: Mymo.is Personal Monograms In 3D

You don’t have to know how to 3D model to print something really cool and special as a gift. If you’re in the hunt for that special someone check out Mymo.is, the monogram gift creator for the 21st century. The creators of this app developed the site from scratch and even the font was designed to be 3D printed, possibly the first font of it’s kind!

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Available in silver or steel, in keychain, mini monogram necklace or statement necklace Mymo is a great way to commemorate a memorable event with simple, elegant design.

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So head to their app page and get started making a one-of-a-kind 3D printed gift today: MYMO.is

Designers and coders: interested in getting your easy creator app featured on our site? Connect with our API team to show us what you’ve made or e:mail Dan directly at dan@shapeways.com.

Hire A Designer to Help You Design the Perfect Unique Gift

Designers For Hire can really take your holiday gifting ideas to the next lever. We have an incredible community of talented designers waiting to work with you on creating special gifts for your game- and tech-loving family friends this holiday season. Below are some project ideas and how to connect with designers who can help you realize these 3D printed projects.

The Miniature or Scale Model Enthusiast

Work with a designer to copy your model train-loving loved one’s home or other meaningful building at scale. It’s a unique way to include a bit of the real with the miniature.

Helpful hint: be sure to find out in what scale their model setup is made. Here’s a guide to the different sizes and their names
Designer search terms: Miniatures, Architecture

The Gadget Enthusiast

You could go a step further in personalizing that iPhone case and cord keeper and work with a designer to create a one-of-a-kind motif for all their accessories.

Helpful hint: be sure to find out what type of smartphone they have. Once you know it’s easy to find the gadget specifications, specs for short, with a quick search. Here’s one resource that lists popular phones.
Designer search terms: Product Design, Tech

The Table-Top Gamer

And finally an idea for the avid gift giver (this gift idea is quite a project) for the avid gamer, a 3D scanned scale chess set. Of course you’ll need their participation but the experience is part of the gift! You can do low resolution scans yourself with software like 123D Catch or work with a designer to modify existing human models with photographs of yourself and others.

Designer search terms: Scanning

image by reddit user pancuco

Whatever your friends and family are into there’s an idea out there that a Designer For Hire can work on with you to create a truly one-of-a-kind and memorable holiday gift.

Check out all of our talented Designers For Hire here

Teach 3D Design On Skillshare, Earn $100

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Shapeways and Skillshare challenge you to create the 3D printing class you wish you could have taken when developing your design skills. From top tips for using CAD, to how to design 3D printed jewelry, to the best 2D to 3D design tools, we want you to share your 3D printing expertise with a global community of students two million strong. Go to Skillshare for more information and to sign up your class for “More Than Plastic: Teach 3D Printing and Design on Skillshare”.

As a teacher on Skillshare, you’ll build your brand and reputation as a designer while earning money for every student who enrolls in your online class. No prior teaching experience or special equipment is needed. To make a class, all you need is your passion and computer and Skillshare will give you the support and resources you need to create your curriculum.

Now is the time to jump in. If you complete and publish a class in June, you’ll be eligible for a $100 cash bonus.  And if your class is truly extraordinary,  it could also get featured here on Shapeways.

Designer For Hire: Resource Review of “The Freelancer’s Bible”

We expanded our Designer For Hire program so that great 3D design talent could connect with client demand. But designing “for hire” can come with different rules and challenges than designing in-house or as part of an agency. For designers looking to dip a toe or jump all the way into working as a freelancer, this is the resource for you.

Divided into five distinct sections, between which author Sara Horowitz says you will move nonlinearly as that is the way of the freelance life, The Freelancer’s Bible offers readers a well-considered, thorough guide through the challenges of driving your own career and being your own boss. As Sara writes, “Freelancing’s inherent flexibility may offer unprecedented freedom to live life on your own terms[.] With research and planning, you may find an exciting new life is within reach.”

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The book begins with advice for finding your strengths and listing your goals for pursuing freelance work. From there the book dives deep into the five major categories: Getting Started, Getting Work, Growing Your Business, Managing Your Business, and Your Business and Your Community.

One of the most thoughtful chapters is devoted to the topic of finding, and keeping, clients. The chapter begins with outlining six fundamentals of influence and persuasion. Social psychologist Robert Cialdini has recognized that we all use them and once you know to look for them you will see them everywhere.

  • Reciprocity: Sharing information and connections will grow your network and more importantly, as Sara writes, will “build your love bank account.” An example of reciprocity is talking up and referring others in your industry; they will likely reciprocate.

  • Consistency: Showing a sustained interest in certain elements of your work will always build towards trust as well as naturally grow your network.

  • Social Validation: This can be shown in the form of testimonials from previous clients, references and even your social media presence. These all can suggest that you are worth choosing because others have chosen you.

  • Liking: When you meet new clients look for a common connection but be genuine. Ask them questions. This usually leads to finding something in common and builds trust.

  • Authority: Be proud of your qualifications which you can showcase in your resume, your website or portfolio, your Designer For Hire profile, your memberships and your client list.

  • Scarcity: Limited editions, small class sizes, busy schedules–scarcity is used in all of these scenarios to drive action and it works for driving people to book you too.

In addition to the crazy amount of tips Sara and co-author Toni Sciarra-Poynter provide, they also include a healthy list of additional resources, such as:

I highly recommend this book for anyone, even industry veterans, pursuing the freelance life.

Designer For Hire: Who Gets the Files?

With the relaunch of the Shapeways Designer For Hire program, we are seeing more and more designers and clients coming together to create amazing 3D printed objects. While that is unquestionably a good thing, more people coming together also means more opportunities for misunderstandings. (Buzzkill sentences like that are a reason that lawyers aren’t always invited to parties.) Lauren covered some of big areas of misunderstanding with her 8 Questions Your Client Doesn’t Know to Ask You. This post is going to only address one area: who owns the files and the copyrights at the end of a design job? Continue reading

Designer For Hire: 8 Questions Your Client Doesn’t Know to Ask You

When you embark on a design project with a client, often the client is new to the process of hiring a designer in addition to being new to 3D printing. Below we’ve collected some questions that the client will have but perhaps won’t know or think to ask until it’s too late. If you are able to address these questions from the start of your collaboration both you and your client will be more likely to have a great experience.

1. What material can I print this design in?

Clients may only think of plastic when they think of 3D printing. Being aware of all their material options might change the direction of the project.

2. What size/scale is possible?

For some projects this will be self evident, i.e. a ring. For many clients you will need to break down their options based on what they want to do. The answer to the previous question is important too as each material has its own design guidelines and requirements for successful printing.

3. Does this project necessitate being 3D printed or is it something I can do myself?

Sometimes a design doesn’t need to be 3D printed! It’s okay to let them know about their other options. Or if they can use a 2D to 3D app or something in the custom maker library to make it themselves, it is reasonable to suggest they check that out first. This is up to your discretion as a trained designer.

4. Does your price include prototypes and the final printing?

Many times the design process will be very new to your client and they may assume printing costs are included in your fees. You should break down your fee structure and what is and is not included in it. Please see our previous post on this very topic. Remember this is your chance to give them a great experience and create return customers; being clear up front sets the stage for that.

5. I don’t just want the print, I want the digital design file. Does your fee include handing that over?

This is a subject best addressed in your contract, which should cover who owns the IP connected to the file that is created, as well as who gets to keep the file after the work is done.  If the client gets the rights and the file, it is reasonable to charge an additional fee for that.

6. How frequently can I contact you/how often will I get updates from you?

Be clear about how you’ll be contact with them over the course of the project, whether you’ll have regular check-ins and on what platform. Phone, Google hangout, Skype, email, and in-person meetings all work; choose whatever works best for you and the project. Also, spell out the number of design iterations or rounds of edits included in your fees to set expectations appropriately.

7. Are you comfortable with the timeline that I have presented?

This question goes both ways. Do they understand how long it will take you to deliver? Have they considered that they will also need time to provide feedback or deliverables to you? Be honest about timelines from the start and always build some padding into the final schedule.

8. If I need updates or changes to this design in the future is that something you can help me with?

Be clear about whether or not you’ll be available to work with them in the future. It is okay to say that once the work is completed, a new contract will need to be in place before design updates can occur.

Have other questions you wished your client knew to ask upfront? Please share them in the comments for an open discussion about how to set proper expectations for your work with clients. Happy designing!

fast cheap good

 

Designer For Hire: Tips for Setting Your Rates

One of the best advantages of taking on freelance 3D design work is being able to do the work you love on your own terms. If you are just entering the world of Designer For Hire then you are probably new to figuring out what those terms are. Luckily there are numerous resources for for figuring out how to set your rates as a designer. We haven’t included numbers in this post because determining your fees, rates or pay structure is an individual endeavor. It pays to do you research and to talk with others in your industry, and fortunately we’ve a great community of them here on our forums!

Tips

–It’s your job to communicate your value and educate your customer.
In addition to doing “the work” once the brief is agreed upon and the contract is signed, a big part of your job as a designer for hire is to educate your client on their options, processes, costs and most importantly, the value of what you do. The client is hiring you because they are not a designer and they may not always understand how the design process works.

–Create a formula for determining your basic hourly rate.
What you charge will depend on the demand for your 3D modeling and printing skills, your level of experience with the type of product and materials, and will vary from client to client. To begin charging prices that you are confident in, it’s worth doing a quick calculation of how much you’d ideally like to make. The equation, which is adapted from Freelancers Union’s excellent resource on the topic, is this:

(annual salary + annual profit) ÷ annual billable work hours = your basic hourly rate

Annual salary should what you would pay yourself if you were your boss. Annual profit is what you would like to make in compensation on top of being paid for time working. Billable hours should be determined by how much you will actually be working, so factor in weekends and having full-time job if that’s your scenario. This will give you a starting number with which you can work.

–Decide if you want to charge by hourly rate, daily rate or by project/package rate.
With their calculator, Freelancers Union has a rather simple comparison list for each of these rates along with this advice: “After you figure out your basic hourly rate, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to present this fee to clients in a contract. (Yes, contract! All freelancers need contracts. Please work with a contract.)” Once you have used the equation to price your time, skill and you can choose to provide a quote in the form of an hourly, day, or per project rate. The summary is that an hourly rate is good for simplicity and a job scope that may change. A day rate is good for taking on a small project that wouldn’t be cost-effective otherwise. A per-project or package rate is helpful if you want to publicly post your prices and lets the client feel in control of the costs.

–Get a budget from client but also do market research.
It seems obvious but knowing what percentage of their budget they’ve allocated for design will help you set your price. If they are new to hiring a 3D designer they may not have an idea of what they should budget.

TL;DR? Communicate your value, determine your basic day rate, evaluate each job with your criteria, use a contract. We’ll have more tips on successful designing for hire along the way but here’s hoping this will get you started confidently pricing your skilled work. Happy designing!

Become a Designer For Hire

Exciting news in the custom design world of Shapeways! I’m happy to tell you that today Shapeways has launched an updated and expanded version of the Designer For Hire program. This program connects people with product ideas but who have little 3D modeling knowledge with skilled 3D designers to help bring those ideas to life. Since launching this program about two years ago, the number of requests coming in daily has outstripped the availability of the designers currently in the program. A more robust platform was needed for these talented designers to display their skills and services. That new platform is now live and all qualified designers are invited to sign up for the program.

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How does a designer qualify? Community members who have an open shop, have first and last name visible in their profile and who have successfully shipped three different models or model versions will be able to post their services for hire. These checks have been put in place to ensure familiarity with the Shapeways system. Having a shop makes it easy for the final design to be printed and shipped to the client without the designer having to manage those details.

  • To join the program and start designing you can check your profile settings here.
  • If you’re someone looking to hire a designer you can do that here.
  • For help from the community go to our forums here.
  • As a starting point, read this article from our blog archive about how to successfully collaborate on design: The Three C’s of Designing.

 
An important program like this needs a dedicated manager and that’s me! I’m Lauren, Design Evangelist here at Shapeways, and I’m thrilled to officially be the point of contact for questions, feedback and support of the program. Before working at Shapeways I was with Apple and Etsy.com helping their creative communities. I also teach in the Design + Technology MFA program at Parsons School of Deign here in NYC. I have spent the past three years at Shapeways teaching 3D modeling and coding so that new users can bring their ideas to life.

Me at the Shapeways factory with Levar Burton during a shoot for Reading Rainbow!

Me with Levar Burton when Reading Rainbow visited the Shapeways factory!

Hire a 3D Modeler & Designer: The Three C’s

Getting in the DIY spirit and want to hire a designer to bring your project to life? You’ve seen the directory of Designers for Hire, read about a designer you like, and now you’re ready to get started. Even if you’ve never hired a designer before, keeping the three C’s in mind is a good guide: Clarity, Communication and Cost.

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Clarity

Knowing what you want is half the project! The more specific you can be, the better chance you will get exactly what you want.

When talking about your idea, sketches, photos, Pinterest boards, magazine clippings and even screenshots of elements you like are all really helpful in communicating what you like. Photos are especially useful whether it be similar items that represent your idea or elements of different objects that you would like to incorporate.

It also helps to be specific about your preferred style, finishing touches and how your completed product will be used. If you know what material you would like the finished product to be made it, that helps immensely, as the 3D printing guidelines vary between materials and may influence the design itself.

If you’re still in the ‘concept’ phase (say if you are designing a new functional product) and are seeking project guidance or inspiration, be sure to choose a designer who has those skills listed as their specialty.

Designers are creative problem solvers. Once you have given them a clear outline of your requirements, let them do their creative thing and come up with creative solutions.

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Communication

Designers are experts in bringing ideas to life, and most of this magic happens through effective communication. Throughout the creation process, it’s important to communicate openly and frequently with your designer to ensure that they have a clear understanding of what you want, and you know their schedule. They should be asking you just as many questions are you are listing specifics.

Throughout the process, be honest but polite. If your designer is making something that isn’t going in the direction you were imagining, let them know. Many designers are more than happy to modify their designs as long as they have clear direction. I recommend highlighting what you liked (the more specific the better) and exactly what they need to improve on. Don’t just say “I don’t like the hard edges”. Explain why: “The hard edges make it feel minimalist and modern, I am looking for a romantic, organic feel”. The latter statement is much more useful.

In the end, designers like being able to use their own creative judgment to improve ideas. So while it is important to be specific, leave them some space to work their magic to delight you.

Depending on your project, it may be a good idea to formalize your agreement in writing. This digital contract should include all of the specific details that you and the designer agreed upon, including timing and pricing.

The process of bringing an idea to life

 

Cost

Which brings us to the last and most important point: Money. Two things to keep in mind here are how much you are willing to spend and understanding the design process.

Part of having clarity around your idea is knowing how much are you comfortable spending. Three things to consider may help you get an estimate beforehand:

1. Finished product or 3D file? Do you want just a 3D printable file that you will upload and order yourself? Or do you want a finished item? Material cost comes into play here – if you want a silver ring, part of the cost will be made up of the silver itself, and part for the design.

2. Time and labor. Larger or more detailed projects can sometimes take more time to complete, and therefore cost more.

3. One of a kind design. If this is a one of a kind item, it’s not something that you could buy in a store even if you wanted to, so the price may be a little higher than you would expect. If you are working on a brand new product, it’s worth investing in a good design. There is really no way to put a price on how incredible it is to hold something that you imagined, so keep that in mind!

4. Similar items.To get a sense of the general cost of an item before you hire a designer, look for similar items and get a sense of the price. For instance, if you want to make a piece of jewelry, browse our jewelry category section to find a handful of custom items that are of a similar size and scope. The average cost of those items is often a good starting point for you to discuss your budget with a designer.

It also helps to understand the process. Designing is a process that takes time and effort. You may not be aware of all of the “behind the scenes” work that takes place including creative brainstorming, sketching, drafts, revisions and renders. Asking your designer about the process involved in making your specific idea will help you understand the level of work involved.

Communication is key here as well! Talk to your designer as some charge by the hour, some charge by project and the complexity of your design will influence this. The more detail you can give them, the better they are able to estimate a price for you.

3D printing gives us the unique ability to make custom things to order, helping you get exactly what you want, and not just what is available. While we at Shapeways do what we can to give access to the best materials at the lowest prices, ultimately the design is what sets a product apart, and this is where the skill lies. Translating an idea into a physical object is a designers skill, and this alchemy is worth paying for!

How you work with a designer comes down to your project but keeping in mind the Three C’s should help you minimize stress and get exactly what you want. Have you hired a designer on Shapeways? Tell us about it in the comments! If you are a designer, what other tips would you offer for potential clients?

Happy creating!

Six New 3D Designers for Hire

Excited by 3D printing, you’ve got an idea but don’t know how to make it? We’re got an ever growing list of Designers for Hire to help you! Sometimes, the best way to get what you really want is to make it yourself, or better yet work with one of our talented designers.

Whether you are looking to make that custom piece of jewelry, have a killer product idea or just need help with getting your 3D file repaired there’s a designer who can make your dream come to life.

We’re adding new designers regularly, and this weeks roundup includes six new faces:

First up, jeweler Kathy Cherry has 14 years experience designing jewelry for brands such as Jessica Simpson, Vince Camuto and Guess. She enjoys challenges and unusual projects, so give her your best ideas!

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Urbano Rodriguez is an Art Director, Designer and 3D Modeler at mkt1, a Digital Agency based in Sao Paulo, Brazil and has over 14 years experience. Contact him with your product design ideas like his fun desk urchin.

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Justin Armstrong has a degree in 3D Design & Animation and a certification in 3D commercial design. He has worked commercially with well-known companies, like Budweiser, for a over decade and specializes in character modeling.

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Jeffrey Keiffer has over five years experience 3D modeling jewelry, architecture models, personal accessories, and other inventions. He specializes in woven or Celtic knot-like patterns,  and can help you design specifically for ceramic, metals, plastics and resins.

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On the materials note, former Shapeways employee Kat Kinkead has an extensive knowledge of our materials, and can help you with your industrial design projects from jewelry to hardware.

Last but not least, José Miguel has been the 3D content director for Vórtice Digital Media since 2000. His skills cover every step of an audiovisual production, from modeling to rendering. He can help you with portrait modeling and taking your ideas from sketches into 3D.

Ready to get started? Browse our Designers for Hire now! If you’re a 3D designer and wish to be considered, apply here.

What will you make this weekend?

Shop Owner Bootcamp: Building Your 3D Printing Brand & Collection Through Market Research

This is the third in a 10 part Shop Owner Bootcamp series counting down to Black Friday. We’ve covered reputation and photography in our last two posts and are looking at branding and collection building today. This is last post in the polishing your shop for holiday phase, next week we’ll begin talking about building the relationships necessary to optimize your sales over holiday.

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Do you ever wonder what to design next? Or what makes a product sell? Do you have a product in your shop that outsells all the others and wish that you could get more products on that level? This week we’re focused on building your brand story and developing your collection through market research. I know that “market research” sounds boring and stale to the creative mind, but it doesn’t have to be! Shapeways Shop Owner mentor Vijay Paul is back this week to discuss how he became Dotsan, and how walking around Scotland inspired his stag and the “wired life collection” that followed.

Building Your Brand: Why it’s Personal (and Should Be)

Vijay highlights in this video how going from VDesign to Dotsan was a big turning point for his business. It was when he realized that this was going to be more than a hobby, and a place that people could come for products and art that he created for them. Many of you have developed your brands and logos, but are you giving your shoppers all of the story?

Every time someone buys something from your shop you have the opportunity to create a new brand evangelist. If they love your work, they’re going to come back to your shop time and time again, likely referring others who are interested in your products. They will expose your products, and in turn your brand, to their in-real-life communities. Ask yourself, have I highlighted my design process and inspiration in my shop? Have I armed consumers with a story they can tell about the creation of this product and increase the likelihood they’ll send others to my shop? If you have to hesitate, take this opportunity to refresh your shop and product descriptions. Your brand should tell your story.

Many of you have already developed great brands, so I challenge you to think about how that can be illustrated through out your shop. Perhaps watermarking your photos or integrating your brand into your avatar. People see your designer cards on every product page now, use that opportunity to remind them how awesome it is to buy from you.

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Market Research: It’s as Easy as Going to Look at Beautiful Things

Every successful business has conducted market research at some point in their growth; and if they’re smart, likely multiple times at regular intervals. Vijay knew he wanted to design something that would appeal to a lot of people, and wandering around Scotland he noticed there were Stags everywhere. He saw them in museums, on signs, buildings and iconic Scottish settings. This observation drove his design decisions and gave birth to the Stag, which originally was a 3D render meant to live in 2D. After creating the render he was curious to see if it could work as a wireframe 3D print, I think it’s very clear that it did :) .

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Think about your audience: are you trying to sell to people in your region/country or are you trying to sell to people who like a specific category of things? What is popular in the culture your products speak to? For example, if you are making masks, you should always be up on the latest cosplay fashions. If you’re doing household products, keeping up with industrial design trends can be clutch. If you’re modeling drone accessories, you should pay attention to what drones people are buying. I don’t believe Vijay ever expected to sell as many stags across as many countries as he has, but he went into designing it with the confidence that at least locally, he would receive some interest.

Build Your Collection: Your Best Customer is One Who Buys Again

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There’s a famous marketing stat that 20% of your customers will be responsible for 80% of your future business; and Shapeways is no exception. Our marketplace is full of passion, and folks who have a great buying experience from you once are likely to brag about it. How can you keep them coming back? Ask yourself, what other types of things to people interested in your subject matter like? Have you ever asked your customers what other products they think would compliment the one they already purchased from you? Think about ways you can expand the collection and have multiple top-selling products. Our Interest Group forums are a great place to get the conversation going.

Sets are very appealing during the holiday season. Think about which of your products could go together and that could expand the story of your work/brand.

Alright everyone, we’re now just 7 weeks from Black Friday- we’ll be focused on building digital and physical relationships that will help your holiday sales in the coming weeks, so take advantage of the opportunity now to ‘dust the shelves’ and put a fresh coat of paint on your ‘open’ sign.

What brands and designers on Shapeways do you look up to?

Designer For Hire: Scott Denton

If you are looking for a 3D artist to bring your ideas to reality with 3D printing, look no further than 3D modeler and all around 3D super star Scott Denton.  Scott has worked in the 3D modeling and animation industry for so many years he has a beard, that is also in 3D (at the time of writing). Contact Scott if you have an idea you would like to explore with 3D printing at Shapeways.

Name: Scott Denton

Shapeways User Name: Likesyrup

Shapeways Shop: https://www.shapeways.com/shops/Likesyrup

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 Bio:

I am currently a Freelance Modeler/Generalist living in Brooklyn, NY. I hail from Nashville, TN and studied 3D animation at Full Sail University graduating with an Associates of Science in Computer Animation. I have worked in this industry now for 9 years and continue to learn from everyone I work with as well as developing skills to make me more valuable to current and new clients alike. I really enjoy working with new teams of creative people and having a fun time in the process.

My current passions are modeling in Zbrush and i’ve been doing a lot with 3d printing. I look forward to where 3d printing is going to take us in the future.

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Services Offered:

3d modeling, file repair, Rendering/lighting, Design

3D Modeling Specialties:

character, organic, from photo, from sketch, Jewelry,Toys,

3D Software Used:

Maya, Zbrush, Mudbox, 3dcoat, sketchup, Meshmixer, Sculptris, Modo, C4D, Photoshop

3 Examples of projects undertaken:

https://www.behance.net/gallery/13762255/Swell-Ring

https://www.behance.net/gallery/13920287/Louboutin-display-at-Saks-Fifth-Ave-NYC

https://www.behance.net/gallery/12164961/Zbrush-Accessories

Scott Denton 3D modeling Expert on Shapeways

Pricing Structure:

by the hour/by project but also may do percentage of sales if they want the file, profit sharing

You can see more of Scott’s work at www.likesyrup.com or Contact Scott if you have an idea you would like to explore with 3D printing at Shapeways.