Category Archives: Inspiration

3D Printed VR Headset Will Mesmerize Your Eyes

The emergence of technology such as virtual reality, drones, and gadgets have always prompted a new market opportunity for designers to design custom 3D printed accessories and modifications for them. We’re always on the lookout for the coolest and eye catching 3D prints and this impressive designed 3D printed VR headset by designer Masaharu Ono caught our attention.

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(VR Headset Bloom)

Masaharu was inspired to create this awesome headset through his love of nature. He modeled this headset in Rhinoceros and Grasshopper. The VR headset is 3D printed in nylon plastic and is available for sale on Mashaharu’s shop for $10,000.

Below are some iterative sketches behind his 3D printed VR Headset.

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This cool VR headset is one of the more ambitious 3D designs we’ve seen from our community recently. We’re big believers in pushing the limits of product design and testing the potential of making creations that were once thought of as impossible before the existence of 3D printing capabilities.

What is the most ambitious design you’ve worked on? Let us know in a comment below or tweet us on Twitter @Shapeways.

 

Developing 3D Printed Assistive Tools For The Elderly

As we age and get older, especially for the elderly, ordinary actions become extraordinarily difficult such as writing, typing, or opening bottle caps. Japanese Designer Tatsuo Ishibashi was aware of these issues and has created 3D printed products aimed for assisting the elderly and people with a loss in muscular functioning.

Tatsuo’s Shapeways shop mizulabo specializes in “assistive technology”, simple and functional designs that lead to lightweight, low cost, and easy handling of functional activities. He models his designs in 123 Design by Autodesk and prints them through Shapeways. Below are some examples of his tools.

The writing assist tool is a tool for helping people write with a ballpoint pen.

Higaki” is the tool to remove caps and tabs from a plastic bottle and a can easily.

The Finger Input device is a for device for making tapping PC keyboard, remote controller, etc easier.

Tatsuo’s designs show that 3D printing can be used to make very attractive tools for assisting people and functional tools can be aesthetically pleasing and useful. What are some attractive 3D printed tools you’ve designed or come across? Let us know in a comment below.

What’s going on in 3D printing: June 2015

Tree Origins Bookmark by Aesthetic Office

Tree Origins Bookmark by Aesthetic Office

We love reading stories about how 3D printing is impacting people around the world. Today we want to share with you a few of our favorites from the past month. From how 3D printing is changing an industry to (literally) building bridges, this is what caught our attention recently.

7 Ways 3D Printing is Already Disrupting Global Manufacturing - Forbes

In this article, Rick Smith dives into how 3D printing is changing the way we think about manufacturing. We’ve talked about how we want to redefine the way products are made and usher in a world where anybody can get the products they want, and changing manufacturing is a huge part of that. As Rick says, ”…now, industrial 3D printing has reached its tipping point, and is about to go mainstream in a way that will revolutionize the economy.”

The Blade is a 3D Printed Supercar - Engadget

Car lovers, this one is for you! Andrew Tarantola wrote about “Blade,” the first ever additively manufactured car. Developed by Divergent Microfactories in San Francisco, this car weighs about 1,400 pounds and runs on both gas and CNG (compressed natural gas).

Scientists Built a 3D Printer That Can Print Objects Smaller Than Red Blood Cells. - Digital Trends

And we think Miniatures are small! In this piece, Lulu Chang writes about a new 3D printer that can print microscopic objects. According to the material science and engineering professor leading the project, Park Jang-ung, they “believe the technology has set a new paradigm for research using 3D printing and wearable devices.”

Gravity-defying 3D Printer to Print Bridge Over Water in Amsterdam - CNET

As if 3D printed homes weren’t cool enough, Amsterdam will now boast a 3D printed bridge. Michelle Star  details this cool new robot that can “draw” in the air and will print the bridge in steel. The coolest part? The robot will print its own supports as it goes so that it can operate independently.

World’s First 3D Printed Office to Go Up Layer by Layer in Dubai - Gizmag

Okay – this is story technically came out in July but it’s too fun to wait another month to talk about! Darren Quick writes about Dubai’s plans to build a 3D printing building. It will be printed in layers that will then be assembled. The building will serve as the office for staff members of the “Museum of the Future” (so fitting, right?) and is the museum’s first major initiative.

Have you ready anything really interesting recently? Share it with us in the comments below!

3D printed case turns your micro drone into a wasp

Drone parts and drone accessories are a popular design category on Shapeways. Customizing drones has become a fun hobby for 3D printing enthusiast, especially with SLS and Shapeways 3D printing, designers are able to design for accurate and sophisticated  upgraded parts and accessories.

German designer Kai Bracher, of the Shapeways shop Cabrada has taken his love of drones to the next level by designing this eye catching 3D printable case for the drone for the Micro Drone. This 3D printed clip on case for the microdrone 2.0 and 3.0 from Extreme flyers turns your done into a wasp.

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Wasp case designed in Zbrush

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Micro Drone in flight with the 3D printed Wasp Shell add on

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The Wasp Drone case currently sells for $31.50 USD on Kai’s Shapeways Shop and is available in various colors in our Strong and Flexible nylon material.

There is also a video shows the mounting of the wasp to the Micro Drone

Have you modded out your drone with 3D printed parts or accessories? Let us know in a comment below or share your photos with us on Twitter and Instagram by tagging @Shapeways.

Shapeways at National Maker Faire

Last week, the second-ever National Maker Faire was held at the White House in Washington DC.  Shapeways crew members, Vicky Somma and John Fitzpatrick, were live on the scene on behalf of the Shapeways team. Let’s hear what our team members had to say about the experience.

“The great thing about Maker Faires is that someone responds to almost every design on the table.  That said, my impression is moving/interlocking parts seemed to stand out (completely understandable—they are so interactive).  The cast metals are, of course, captivating (being shiny and all).  The porcelain provided a great wow factor because it bucks people’s perceptions of what can be done (“That opens a lot of doors”, one woman said).  And a sleeper favorite- the Escher Knot (by designer ShapeKays) got a lot of positive attention.”

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Of course, 3D printing isn’t just for adults. It can be an amazingly engaging tool to get kids excited, as our crew member experienced while in DC.

“ I underestimated the moving part Jack-O-Lantern and John’s moving part Decision Maker.  John also brought some home prints in a UV-sensitive filament. Kids enjoyed running those to the sunshine and watch them change colors.  Squeezing the elasto plastic seemed fun as well. Oh and the full color sandstone proved to be resilient.  I watched kids vigorously shake the Schrodinger’s Cat in his box (I could be calm about it because I’ve seen it survive my three year old).”

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We want to thank our Crew members helping us get set up and representing us at National Maker Faire.

Remember: You too can be a part of the Shapeways Crew! If you’ve got an idea for an event, or would like to contribute to the Shapeways community, shoot us an e-mail at Crew@Shapeways.com – we look forward to hearing from you!

Why I’m a Maker: Peter Heldal

Today we’ll be diving into the design inspiration of one of our incredibly talented community members: Peter Heldal. You can check out Peter’s store, SketchFox, which is filled with foxes, fishbones and hashtags – he’s clearly a man of many interests!

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Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m a young guy from Denmark.  My love for designing and making comes from an introverted childhood where most of my time was spent fiddling with little inventions rather than hanging out with the other kids. As I’ve always been a deep thinker I really enjoy observing, pondering and solving problems. I haven’t found the path I want to walk in life so I’ve been a bit around many things: Electronics, Jewellery, digital illustration, 3D modelling, photography and videography as well as music production. I settled on Graphic Designer shortly before I found Shapeways. I am super excited about the opportunities that Shapeways gives in terms of designing things and not worrying about the sales, manufacturing, shipping and customer service. I’m now focusing on my Shapeways shop, hoping that it will flourish. I would love to settle my future here!

What inspires you to create?

I love to immerse myself in the creation of a design or gadget, because I’m creating something I like, can relate to and care for, as well as offer to others who may find it rewarding in any way. It’s a way to bring people together. You can discuss your design or creation and share ideas and techniques. When you make a design, there are no limitations to what you can do. You can create an illusion of another reality if you like through which you can express yourself. I feel that designing and creating is like giving the world something that it can benefit from, whether it’s just a smile on a person’s face, or a new invention. Everything matters.

What’s your favourite part of 3D printing?

As much as I love to design and make 3D models on the computer, I have sometimes thought “it would be so cool to see this as an actual physical product that I can share with others!” I love the process of making models on the computer. Making the curves nice and smooth or sculpting in virtual clay and seeing how a ball becomes a mountain, so to speak. So for me the fascinating part of 3D printing is when a virtual product becomes a physical product. It’s a whole different experience and you can proudly say: “I made this!” I am not very familiar with the actual 3D printing process, but I’m sure I would find that just as fascinating.

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What does being a maker mean to you?

Being a maker to me means that I can share all my ideas with others, and with that I carry a responsibility to make it interesting, expressive, useful, beautiful and cute. Anything that, in one way or another, can give other people value in their life. I feel that sharing my designs is also like sharing a part of me.

Tell us about your favourite design.

My favourite designs are the animal related jewelry. I carry a deep passion for canines in particular, but also all other animals, because they are not human. Animals have their own personalities and ways of being and I think it gives great variation to the world we live in. Animals can be beautiful, cute, funny, clumsy or even very intelligent and noble. A dog cares for his master giving him unconditional love and I really feel that we owe animals that in return.

Check out some of our favorite finds from Peter’s shop:

Why I’m a Maker: Ian Dwyer

In honor of National Week of Making, we will be featuring makers here from our community at Shapeways! First up, is designer Ian Dwyer (Nvenom8). Ian finds his inspiration from a number fantastical things: from Dungeons & Dragons to Lord of the Rings, and then makes them into beautiful 3D printed gaming accessories.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a Marine Science PhD student, but my 3D work has almost nothing to do with that. I started 3D modeling as part of a job I had in college, animating shows for a digital planetarium. I moved on to 3D printing just before I graduated. In all, I’ve been 3D modeling for about four years, but have only been working in the 3D printing industry for the last year or so.

What inspires you to create?
I mostly just make things that I would want, and then try to find people like me to buy them. Sometimes that goes well, and sometimes I realize that I’m the only one who would ever want the product.

What is your favorite part of 3D printing?
Only through 3D printing would a person in my position ever be able to bring products directly from imagination to reality. It’s made product design into a much more casual and accessible process.

What does being a maker mean to you?
Being a maker, to me, means that I don’t have to endure the torture of ideas bouncing around in my head forever. I can get them out and bring them to life. It’s borderline-cathartic.

Tell us about your favorite design (it could be yours, or someone elses). What about it really speaks to you?
My favorite design of my own is probably my Elvish D20, mainly because it’s just so elegant and organic in appearance. It really looks like something elves would make, and I’m proud of capturing that aesthetic.

My favorite design of someone else’s remains Ceramic Wombat Thorn Dice set. I received it as a gift a few years ago, and it was one of the big factors that made me look seriously into Shapeways and 3D printing. The dice in the set push the boundaries of dice design, and at the time there was nothing else like them out there. Wombat was also super helpful when I was starting out as a designer, and gave me some excellent advice regarding the limitations and abilities of the medium.

 

Help build Amsterdam (the Ittyblox way)

Posted by in Community, Inspiration

Many of you already know Shapeways is a Dutch company (with a factory in Eindhoven), so imagine our delight when we realized Ittyblox is working on a new complete Amsterdam set. The collection of Ittyblox cities is constantly growing, but we’re especially excited to see one so close to home!

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Just like with the Flatiron Building, a Kickstarter was created to help fund these designs. While the campaign has already surpassed its goal (!), it’s still worth checking out to see how you can get your hands on this new collection before the rest of the world.

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We’ve talked a lot about using crowdfunding for your 3D printing projects, and this is a great example of how they can be successful. It’s not just about funding the final design, they can also help with prototyping, photographing and promotion. It’s important for designers and shop owners to try new things and continue to elevate their business – crowdfunding is one way to help get you there.

We’re excited to get our hands on this new Amsterdam set. In the meantime, what cities or buildings would you love to see 3D printed?

3D printing beautifully disturbing masks for JiHAE’s “It Just Feels”…on a crazy deadline

About six months ago, actor Norman Reedus came to our offices to get scanned. We couldn’t say much at the time (which was incredibly hard) but now we’re pleased to be able to let you know that Shapeways had a part in the new JiHAE music video “It Just Feels.”

The music video was directed by film director Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo, with words and music by Leonard Cohen, Dave Stewart and JiHAE. Agnieszka came up with the amazing mask concept for the video and worked with designer and shop owner, Melissa Ng of Lumecluster,  to create five masks for the music video – one for the artist and four for Norman.

What an amazing opportunity, right? Well, the only catch was that they all needed to be designed and printed in just three weeks. Anyone familiar with 3D printing knows that the process can take a little time, so Melissa was definitely up against a crazy deadline. Being the pro she is, she tackled the challenge with grace and created amazing masks that are featured in the music video.

Below are a few excerpts from a piece Melissa wrote on her blog Lumecluster. Definitely check out the full piece to learn more about her process (and what she did when the deadline turned from three weeks to three days!).

“This was a new challenge I wasn’t sure I was ready for. I also still felt like a newbie since I only spent a few months learning how to 3D model in Blender and was active in the 3D printing world for a little over 10 months. All I kept thinking was, “This is impossible for me. I can’t do this.”

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(From left to right). Lumecluster style Dreamer Mask: Breakthrough in white, strong, flexible plastic. It Just Feels Demonic man mask in full color sandstone (not at all my usual style). Photo courtesy of Melissa Ng.

“One mask down, four more to go. We’ve got time, right? Wrong.

A few days after Thanksgiving, Agnieszka told me the bad news. It turned out we only had THREE DAYS to complete the four masks for Norman Reedus (not counting the days required for 3D printing).”

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3D printed full color sandstone JiHAE mask. Photo courtesy of Melissa Ng.

“The second day, after endless Skype conversations and iterations with Agnieszka, I finally pulled together some skin texture mockups for the four masks. While we were making good progress, there was one big problem…we still didn’t have Norman’s measurements.

On the third day, the four masks were only 50% complete and we needed Shapeways to start 3D printing them the next morning. We only had one shot.

There was no time to waste. Agnieszka knew what she needed and she was trusting me to help bring this vision to life.

JiHAE also miraculously managed to bring Norman into the Shapeways office (despite his crazy schedule). Soon enough, Savannah got me the 3D scans and photos I needed to ensure these masks would fit and match his skin tone. Again, the scan wasn’t super clean but it helped me correct my measurements on Norman’s masks.”

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(From left to right). My mask sculpt over Norman’s 3D scan and Savannah Peterson getting reference photos at Shapeways headquarters. Photo courtesy of Melissa Ng.

“Within about two weeks, I had grown immensely and learned more than I could have imagined when it came to building skill, trusting myself, and trusting others. Shapeways also really came through for me and I can’t thank them enough.

Learning to love (and overcome) the challenge comes down to whether or not you are willing to identify and strengthen your weak foundations. In the end, dreams thrive or crumble depending on how far you choose to venture out of your comfort zone.”

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(Clockwise starting from the top left). Norman Reedus mask, JiHAE mask, Angry man mask, Demonic man mask, and Arrogant man mask. Photo courtesy of Melissa Ng.

Congratulations on such amazing designs, Melissa! We just love the concept that Agnieszka created and are so happy we were able to help you both with that vision. To read her full account on the process make sure to check out her site.

Japanese Designer Creates 3D printed Transforming ‘STINGRAY’ Toy Kit

Artist and Designer Tomoo Yamaji who was inspired by the Transformers cartoons from the 80′s and 90′s has designed a fully functional, detailed, 3D printed, assemble yourself transforming robot. Tomoo felt that there was a need for a grown up version of transforming robot toys and decided to use Shapeways 3D printing to bring this impressive design to life. The product comes in kit form and needs to be assembled by the customer. All parts already have the screw holes, so they can be easily assembled with screws. No adhesive is required.

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(The kit is printed in White, Strong & Flexible nylon plastic unpolished) 

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 (STINGRAY kit unassembled) 

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Tamoo’s robot kit and parts were designed using the 3D CAD software Rhinoceros

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Here is a video of his transforming sculpture

Tamoo Yamaji’s STINGRAY kit currently sells for $190 US on his Shapeways shop. You can find the instructions on how to assemble it on his website here. We have seen a growing number of talented digital artist designing custom 3D printed toys and figurines, especially designs that are aesthetically pleasing and challenges traditional manufacturing methods.

What are some custom toy ideas you’d love to see designed by our community members for the Shapeways marketplace? Let us know in a comment below.

3D Printing + Veterans = A Better Life

3D printed rotary mount

Today the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is launching a challenge initiative to help improve prosthetics and assistive technologies.  As part of the Innovation Creation Series Challenge, the VA is pushing for rapid innovation around the development of personalized technologies to improve care and quality of life for Veterans.  Of course, when you hear personalization and innovation you know 3D printing can’t be far behind.

The goal of the initiative is to use 3D printing and distributed creation to contribute to an open ecosystem of prosthetics and other assistive technologies.  Think of an entire universe of e-nable type devices and prosthetics for people with disabilities and  you can begin to imagine why this is a big deal.

3D printed device

The VA has rolled out a list of specific challenges to kickstart the initiative:

  • Develop novel upper and lower extremity devices at the end of the prothesis for daily use.
  • Create a medication pill box that allows the flexibility to hold medications that need to be taken up to 8 times a day with a reminder system for each time medication needs to be taken.
  • Create a device that can dampen tremor when a Veteran is performing fine motor tasks.
  • Design a device to remotely change the speed and grip strength of a prosthetic device for our Veterans with upper extremity injuries.
  • Create a way to reassign motions and buttons on the Nintendo Wii controller to allow for alternative methods of access to games for Veterans with physical disabilities.

The entire challenge is running on an accelerated timeline designed to turn ideas into reality as quickly as possible.  After launching today, collaborators and participants will work together to create, refine, and improve designs through May, June, and July.  The challenge ends with a two-day makeathon on July 28th and 29th at the Hunter Holmes VA Medical Center in Richmond, VA.

These types of challenges help showcase the best of 3D printing’s potential to make the world a better place.  If you want to get involved, make sure to head over to the challenge website.  And if you do get involved, tweet at me to let me know how it goes!

This 3D Printed Steel Sculpture Is Amazing!

San Francisco based Designer and Artist Tareq Mirza has a passion for exploring the possibilities in traditional metalwork and 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing for artistic and educational purposes. We recently came across his blog and instagram where we discovered his amazing 3D printed metal sculptures. This Shadow Self sculpture really caught our attention, the sculpture was designed in Zbrush. The sculpture itself was 3D printed in steel through a local metal 3D printing provider and the centerpiece was printed in brass with Shapeways.

 

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3D Printed Shadow Self Sculpture by Tareq Mirza

 

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 Brass center piece printed by Shapeways with garnet stones

Tareq is also the owner of the Shapeways shop Ektera where he sells this cool Vampire Head Bottle Opener.

We enjoy seeing community members that push the boundaries and create jaw dropping designs. We want to see more of your designs, especially on instagram where we discovered Tareq’s incredible work. Follow Shapeways on Instagram @Shapeways and tag us in your photos and your designs might get reposted on our page.

What is the largest design you’ve 3D printed and in which material? Let us know in a comment below!

Using 3D Printing to Recreate a Lost Sculpture

We say this a lot, but we are always in awe of our community and excited to see the projects you are working on. One we’re really excited about is from UK-based designer, Matt Smith, who has launched a campaign on Kickstarter to raise funds to recreate a sculpture by Umberto Boccioni that was destroyed nearly 100 years ago. Shown in 1913, all that is left of the sculpture is a collection of original photographs and sketches.

Using those sketches, Matt will recreate the original piece using digital sculpting techniques and 3D technology to exhibit the work at various galleries, with the first showing in London.

Single image Launch

For background: Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916) was a prominent Italian artist of the Futurist movement, who rejected traditional materials and embraced technological advances. Several of his plaster sculptures were destroyed, leaving an important gap in his artistic legacy. It seems appropriate that the contemporary technologies of digital sculpture and 3D printing, which Boccioni would have probably embraced, are now being used to recreate his lost work. Replacing his missing work will be an invaluable contribution to the art world; benefiting scholars, researchers, artists and the public .

Matt discovered Boccioni’s work as an art student and was immediately inspired. During a trip to Italy, Matt discovered Boccioni’s own photographs of the lost sculptures and began an exhaustive investigation of the remaining records of the missing artwork. As he states in his press release:

“I wanted to understand more about this unique sculpture, to study the work. As it no longer existed, that was going to be a challenge. The photographs taken by Boccioni over 100 years ago are an invaluable guide. I saw the possibility of piecing the fragments together and sharing what I learned with others. I believe I have found enough evidence, photo references, drawings and research to help me recreate the work in 3D as the artist intended.”

Matt became an avid 3D designer thanks to constant inspiration from 3D in all its forms; at Art School it was clay, then 3D computer graphics. Having worked in the virtual 3D world of games, using Maya, Lightwave and ZBrush, 3D printing allowed him to use his experience to make virtual objects physically real. His first 3D printed object actually  was Umberto Boccioni’s ‘Unique Forms of Continuity in Space.’ This was before 3D scanning was feasible, so he took reference photographs and sculpted it in ZBrush.

3D print rewards MSmith

He believes the “all or nothing” funding approach of Kickstarter makes the most sense for his project, and is sure backers will make a significant different (he’s already raised almost half his goal!). If the target goal is reached Matt is offering some great rewards to those who make pledges. Be sure to check it out and support a fellow 3D designer!

 

3DPrintingDog Creates 3D Printed Kinetic sculptures

Some of the best designs we come across on Shapeways are the ones that take advantage of the printers we use to create incredible unique products we’ve never seen before. A Digital design studio called 3DPrintingDog based out of Philadelphia, PA uses the power of Shapeways SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) printing to make 3D printed Kinetic sculptures that come out of the printer with no assembly required. Here are a few examples of the designs that they’re making designed with Solidworks.

Deconstructed Bicycle Freewheel

 

Deconstructed Bicycle Freewheel

What are some of your favorite fully articulated designs you’ve come across on Shapeways? Let us know in a comment below or tweet us @Shapeways.

Happy National Beer Day!

Today is National Beer Day in the US, so we figured it was about time to revisit some of the fun bottle openers available in our marketplace. Whether or not you choose to celebrate this “holiday,” there is never a shortage of unique tools designed to help you open bottles of any kind.

Last year Shapeways Crew member, John Fitzpatrick, put together a list of his favorite 3D printed bottle openers. Check out a few more below!

Vampire Head Bottle Opener

Skull Bottle Opener

Ethanol Molecule Bottle Opener

Poop Emoji Bottle Opener

Beerhead Bottle Opener

There you have it! Do you have a favorite 3D printed bottle opener? Share it in the comments below!