Got a great idea? Or an invention that simply must be created? Then have we got a contest for you! littleBits, Shapeways, and a host of other communities have teamed up to help get your side project off the shelf and into the real world. From music to hardware and writing to visual arts and more, everyone has a great idea or a passion project they’ve dreamed of doing.
The 12 most-voted projects will get hands-on mentorship from the Kickstarter team. The grand prize winner will be selected by a panel of judges and gets $2,000 in backing and a suite of maker tools worth $3,000.
STEP 1 INVENT deadline is July 7
Submit an idea for something awesome. Anything. Just make sure it’s exciting and share-worthy.
STEP 2 SHARE begins July 8
Send your invitation link to all of your friends and family. Show them your great idea!
STEP 3 VOTE closes July 21
Get people to vote to bring your invention to the top of the charts. The top 12 ideas will be paired with a mentor and go head-to-head for the grand prize.
Blog post contributed by community member Brian Wilkins
In 1979, there were 19.5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs, the most in the country’s history, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That represented 22 percent of all nonfarm jobs at the time. Today there are only 12.3 million U.S. manufacturing jobs, as recessions, excessive regulations and cheap labor abroad make it more practical for companies to set up shop overseas. But additive manufacturing (3D printing) is about to change all that.
The Strati, Local Motors’ 3D-printed car, has been buzzing all over the internet since one was printed right on the floor at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this past January.
The first Strati, printed at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago last September showed the world that a 3D-printed electric car is possible. But a cool-looking, economical vehicle is just the tip of the iceberg as to how direct digital manufacturing is changing the automotive industry and the manufacturing sector as a whole.
The first test mule, known as Strati Version 1, consisted of 3D-printed seating, as well as a bonded, fastened-on rear structure for suspension and drivetrain components. “The front suspension was bolted to aluminum brackets that were bonded and fastened to the 3D-printed material,” said Dave Riha, lab manager at Local Motors. “The first mule was fully developed from a functional point of view. It didn’t have styling or a ‘body.’ But test drives proved it to be a very quiet, rigid structure.”
The IMTS Strati was the “mid-model refresh.” The attached aluminum substructures were eliminated in favor of the drivetrain and rear suspension being fastened directly to the 3D-printed structure. Lighting, upholstery, armrests, wind screen and several other features were added as well. The same 20% carbon-filled ABS thermoplastic polymer was used for the expanded body.
The possibilities 3D printing technology brings to the manufacturing industry were put on full display with the updated version. “We changed major design elements very quickly without new tooling,” Riha said. “The refresh followed similar construction and layout to the first Strati, but differed primarily in contours and shaping of the outer visual layers.”
Co-Creation and the Future Of Manufacturing
Disruptive technologies are historically met with resistance from the established power structure. The rapid ascent of personal computers is an example most can relate to.
There were about 250 devices on Earth that could be classified as “computers” in 1955. The first computer was a giant machine invented by John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert in Pennsylvania, according to the University of Rhode Island. You would need a home the size of a warehouse to own one, along with good pest control measures (the term “bug” for computer programs came from these large machines attracting moths). The subsequent decades saw companies like Commodore International (PET), Tandy Radio Shack (TRS-80) and Apple (Apple II) put the power of computing into the hands of the general public versus being monopolized by large corporations.
3D printing technology will disrupt manufacturing in much the same way, particularly in the automotive industry. One machine can now create a wide range of parts and products without drastically changing processes or needing additional equipment. Additive manufacturing requires a fraction of the manpower needed in traditional factories, can utilize many different raw materials and is much more environmentally-friendly. While 3D printing has been a boon for producing small parts, tools and products, there is still a lot of work to do when it comes to large scale applications.
“One area where 3D printing is still in it’s infancy is Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM),” said Nyko dePeyer, the co-creation community manager for Local Motors. Larger printers require more space, time and of course money to build. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Dutch-design company MX3D developed computer-guided robotic arms that will build a steel bridge over a canal in Amsterdam by 2017. This same type of ambition can change automotive manufacturing and the world at large.
“We could potentially deploy a set of Mobifactories to developing areas, or even areas torn by war or natural disaster, and use our BAAM technology along with our global community and online platform to rapidly design, engineer, develop and print vehicles that could meet the specific needs of the people,” dePeyer said. “While we are still in the early stages of developing the technology, procedures, and plans for this, the potential for BAAM to change lives is just as significant as the potential for nano-3D printers to change our lives.”
Road-Ready 3D-Printed Car
Local Motors, along with its partner Oak Ridge National Laboratory, plans to unveil a highway-ready 3D-printed car by the end of 2016. PROJECTED [REDACTED] challenged the co-creation community to develop the majority of this 3D-printed road-ready car. The winning entry could be the foundation for what will become the road-ready vehicle.
Voting will continue through June 25. All you have to do is create a profile at LocalMotors.com to vote on your favorite design.
A few weeks ago we announced our partnership with DJI, and today we’re excited to tell you about a new contest we’ve launched to enable the Shapeways community to design even more amazing drone accessories.
With the support of DJI and Adam Savage, we are accepting entries for accessories for the DJI Inspire 1 or DJI Phantom 3 from now until July 1st. After narrowing down the Top 10, Adam Savage will pick a winner who will receive a Phantom 3 and $1,000 in Shapeways credit. Three designs will be chosen as runner-ups and will receive 50% off a DJI Phantom 3 and $500 in Shapeways printing credit.
Design a drone accessory – Use your favorite 3D modeling software to create an accessory for DJI Inspire 1 or DJI Phantom 3. From battery holders to lens hoods, the options are endless for fun, useful accessories.
Upload your design – Make sure to set your product as public and tag with ‘TakeFlight’ so we can see your entry.
Describe your design – In the product description field, tell us about your design. What was your inspiration? In what way does it enhance the drone? Also be sure to include any instructions on how to attach the product.
Share your entry – Take a screenshot on your ‘My Models’ page and share it with @Shapeways and @DJIGlobal on Twitter and Instagram!
We can’t wait to see what you all come up with. Winners will be contacted on July 31st.
I do not envy their position, as all entries were really wonderful (and cute!). But they’ve narrowed it down to the four winners! And the awards go to…
Gold $125 Credit: Otterine
Silver $75 Credit: Alice Miniatures
Bronze $50 Credit: Paper Doll Miniatures
Shamrock Luck of the Draw $25 Credit: Mod Pod Miniatures
Thank you so much to all the participants and a big thanks to Megan, Kacie and Carol for their hard work and time on this. It’s so wonderful to see a community take so much pride in their work, while incorporating others’ products! Keep up the great work and congrats to all the winners! If you have ideas for more contest, let us know! We love to see all the creativity come to life thanks to 3D printing, but more importantly, thanks to you!
We all love memes — they’re hilarious, introspective, and sometimes downright deep. It’s time for us to expand our collection in the Shapeways marketplace, and we want you to help us pick our next meme!
Share your favorite memes on Instagram & Twitter with the hashtag #SHAPEWAYSMEMES until April 30th. We will choose one of the memes with the most shares to be modeled by one of our community all-star designers and put it up for sale in the Shapeways marketplace. Be sure to check if we already have your favorite meme in our marketplace before you share!
To help you build your meme collection in preparation for the new model, we’re giving you $5 off all memes and figurines in the Shapeways Memes Gift Guide until April 30th. Simply use the promo code SHAPEWAYSMEMES at checkout to save $5 when you order one of our memes.
The fine print: Offer is for $5 off any order containing any selected figurines. Eligible products are listed on shapeways.com/gift-guide/memes-and-figurines. SHAPEWAYSMEMES code cannot be combined with other discounts and is valid 5 times per customer. If you return your purchase, you will be refunded the amount paid. Expires April 30, 2015 at 11:59pm PDT. The winning meme will be determined by Shapeways using criteria chosen at Shapeways’ discretion.
It’s almost Easter, which means people are getting ready to paint some eggs. Last year we partnered with Sketchfab for a fun contest, and we’re doing the same this year!
You don’t need to be an experienced designer to join in on the fun. Just visit Sketchfab’s Egg Painter app, paint on the egg with your mouse and save the model to your Sketchfab account. From there you just need to share it with the world! Get as many views/likes/comments/etc. as you can.
How the Egg Painter works:
Visit the Egg Painter app. Use your left mouse button to paint on the egg, and click and hold your right mouse button to look around your egg and reach other parts.
While painting, you can select different brush sizes and colors with the Radius, Intensity and Color options.
When your egg is ready, click the ‘Publish to Sketchfab’ button and log in to your Sketchfab account. It will automatically be tagged with #Easter2015
Paint your egg with the Egg Painter. No external tools are allowed.
After saving, share it on Facebook and Twitter to get more views (more views and likes = better chance of winning a 3D print!).
Enter as many times as you’d like!
Contest ends on Wednesday, April 8th at 12 p.m. EST.
This week we are pleased to feature Carol Mitcheson, of the blog Mitchy Moo Miniatures, and some of her inspired displays that use 3D printed miniature furniture and accessories. Carol is one of the judges for our Mini House Contest, where you have until April 10 to share photos your mini house or display with 3D printed details for a chance to win Shapeways printing credit and a feature on our blog.
Introduce yourself and tell us how did you get interested in mini houses and what inspired you to launch your blog?
My name is Carol Mitcheson, but my friends call me Pepper and my interest in miniatures started after a rather tongue-in-cheek comment about my husband’s action figure collection. A friend suggested I make a pub for them so they would have somewhere to hang out. I hated dusting them every week so I thought “why not.” It wasn’t until I started furnishing the pub that I realized modern miniatures where hard to come by and I ended up making many of them from scratch. I started the blog to record my progress and share anything I’d learnt with other miniaturists.
What inspires you to create your houses and rooms?
I probably do this the wrong way around but I collect miniatures, find I have nowhere to display them and then design a home for them. I get inspiration from everywhere – other miniaturists, interior design magazines and real-life buildings.
How did you discover Shapeways and 3D printed miniature accessories and furniture?
Another blogger, Megan from ModernMiniHouses, opened a shop on Shapeways and did a post about it. I was just fascinated by the technology. I realized then, that at last, there was a way to create complicated, scalable items that didn’t cost the earth.
You’ve collaborated with designers using Shapeways to design accessories like a toolbox. Can you talk about how these collaborations came about and your process for creating them?
There are certain things in real-life that a very hard to replicate in miniature. I was building a miniature shed at the time and keen to fill it with as many realistic items as I could. I wanted to create an opening toolbox and some stacking boxes. Every miniature shed needs a miniature tool box, right? I read through the Shapeways forum to find a designer for hire and settled on a design team that had good feedback. Over two months I emailed my ideas, measurements of the life-size objects and received a work-in-progress report as the project developed. I received the designs in a file format that I could upload to Shapeways. The items were printed and received within a week.
Once you receive a 3D printed item, how do you work it into a display? Do you do any additional painting or finishing?
The first items I received were already painted and good to go. I bought another tool box later that I wanted to look like the ones sold by a well known DIY store in the UK. I painted it in the stores colours and added decals to make it look as realistic as possible. The addition of miniature tools and painting techniques to age the items make them look at home in the scene.
Carol’s display featuring a miniature stag head by Dotsan
If miniature enthusiasts wanted to get started with 3D printing, what advice would you give them?
There is a lot of information on the Shapeways forum to get you started with 3D printing. If you don’t feel confident enough to design it yourself, there are many sellers and designers happy to help. It’s an exciting time for miniaturists – I feel the only restriction to our hobby now is our own imagination!
Saturday morning was a glorious day in NYC, and we gathered at the lovely littleBits HQ for a full day of fun at the 3D + IoT Smarter Gadgets Hackathon, hosted by Shapeways & littleBits. Over 30 people of all ages and backgrounds from teachers to tinkerers arrived with an everyday object and their imagination at the ready. Here’s what went down…
After some bagels and coffee, our awesome judges each presented their work and their thoughts on how to approach design. Each one had a key tip for the day, and for design in general.
Ron Rosenmann of Frog Design told us about coffee time at Frog and how it helps them to make time to brainstorm together. Heidi Farrell of Smart Design quoted Jonathan Ive’s maxim that “So much of our manufactured environment testifies to carelessness” and urged us to constrain assumptions at the beginning of a project to help focus our creativity.
Oscar Salguero of Kid O Toys advised us to invite your friends to a workshop to make lots of ideas for you. He warned that you’d better “make something that works or they’ll be annoyed!”. As a toy designer, he reminded us that kids have no fear! So be a kid! Lastly, Emily Tuteur from Littlebits showed examples of how Littlebits come together and got us all excited by the CloudBit and IFTTT. Then it was playtime! We split up into five teams and two family projects.
Diego (8 years old) made a three phase adapter to trigger a catapult and his sister Sophia (6) made a windmill with pompoms to simulate a candy cane machine. Alexandra (8) made an awesome catapult too, using a completely different technique, to dislodge a block to trigger the spring.
At the end of the day, Everyone uploaded their projects to littleBits and we had some fun demonstrations. Here’s what each group made:
Sheet Saver is a smart toilet paper dispenser. Bianca, Chris, Daniel, Jude, Nick & Stephanie put their heads together to fix the simple problem of toilet paper efficiency…by controlling how much you can use. Enough is enough! Saving trees one sheet at a time.
Brush-R brush with music! Mason, Maren & Bastiaan hacked a music box to make a song timer to help you brush your teeth for the optimum time of two minutes.
Take A Chill Bit is a responsive office that calms you when you’re angry. Ilya, Mitul & Noel came up with two projects using the Jawbone UP App. The three makers created a circuit that tracks their attitudes throughout the day. “The device detects the problem, reports it on Jawbone UP App and reduces the level of stress by stimulating sensory channels” using a fan and an MP3 player. If you get stressed, it activates to calm you down with soothing light, sound and a fan. Their other project was a way to easily send caloric information to your phone to track your intake. Using a pressure sensor and the cloud, this group turned a box of oatmeal into a smart device!
Tooth Doodle: a seismograph machine integrated into the toothbrush! Marj & Boian made a seismograph machine integrated into a toothbrush to make brushing fun, you can make art while you brush or if you’re data-driven, match your strokes to an ideal brushing curve!
Conflict News is Eric’s news delivery service that delivers news through an interactive diorama, instead of cluttering your phone, you get a visual of what’s happening.
Soundmail plays your favorite song when you come home. Shannon, Cortlan, Soo, Tharit & Reed gave a professional presentation, featuring beautiful slides of the UI of their new creation that works with the Spotify API and is a new service designed to connect people’s emotions through voices and song.
Remorse Code.: mitigates communication disconnect with your partner. Alecia, Caroline & Adele thought there were too many communication apps so they devised a way to visually share their feelings using the cloudBit and a bargraph. “Set secret messages with your partner and dial in when you need to say something important. Just think of your bar graph as a BAE graph and let your secret communication fly”.
We had Andrew and Ed from Shapeways on hand to give each team advice how to best incorporate 3D printing into the next phase of their project, from creating custom cases to house the electronics to integral design components like fun characters that animate.
We are so excited to partner with littleBits for a unique design challenge: How can you make your home smarter using the Internet of Things and 3D Printing?
Find something in your house that you consider mundane. A coffee mug, a pair of old gloves a floppy disk. Now ask yourself, how can you make it smarter? With littleBits and 3D printing, of course! Upcycle that object into something smarter and cloud-connected. Start doodling ideas and check the rules below.
What better way to get your creative juices flowing than a hackathon? Join us at littleBits beautiful offices this Saturday for the 3D + IoT: Make Smarter Gadgets Make-a-thon with Shapeways & LittleBits. Hear from inspiring speakers, tinker with materials and meet like-minded folks to get your projects started.
The contest takes place in 2 phases: Ideas and Finalists.
Ideas Phase: Deadline to submit is March 28th.
Submit concepts for your creation including a rough 3D model and a layout of how you would incorporate littleBits. Upload your projects to the littleBits project page using the hashtag #shapebits.
Make sure in your upload, you include:
- The inspiration and impetus behind your concept
- Reflect on what you did 1st, 2nd and 3rd
- List the resources you consulted to help others in the future
*Remember we are a community who loves sharing work in progress. Don’t be shy to share your piece even if it is not finished yet and ask in the Project Buzz category in the littleBits forum for help.
Finalists Phase: Deadline to submit is April 30th.
After the final deadline, our expert panel of super star judges will be invited to review the entries and select 5 contestants for the “Finalists” phase.
During this phase contestants will receive free bits to create their projects and a coupon from Shapeways to print them out. Final projects will need to be uploaded by April 30th on the Shapeways & littleBits sites both using the hashtag #shapebits.
The maker behind the smartest, most awesome project submitted will get a Workshop Set, which includes 100 Modules ($1,547 value) and $500 in 3D printing credit from Shapeways.
In addition, the top three entries will be showcased in our MakerFaire booth in San Francisco this May and featured in our newsletters and the littleBits Community Hall of Fame.
We have a fantastic lineup of judges who will rank entries across these measurements of awesomeness:
Creativity — how inspired is your creation, how close to the theme is it.
Technological achievement – how well does this project incorporate the potential of littleBits + 3D Printing
Aesthetics- how well designed and polishes is your final object
Surprise- how original and unexpected is your final project
Here they are:
Heidi Farrell, Design Engineer at Smart Design, NY
Heidi Farrell is an engineer who designs mass-produced, everyday products. She has worked on things like kitchen tools for OXO and camera gear for Joby x Lowepro. Based in Brooklyn, Heidi studied product design at Stanford, has worked in SF and Stockholm, and is currently a design engineer in Smart Design’s New York studio.
Ron Rosenmann, Senior Design Technologist, Frog NY
Ron focuses on interaction prototyping and building UX simulations as part of the design process at Frog. A nice sampling of his awesome work can be found here.
Andrew Mager, Developer Evangelist, Smart Things, SF
A developer evangelist at SmartThings in the Bay Area, helping developers all over the world integrate their devices and code into their home automation schemes.
Oscar Salguero, Senior Designer at Kid O Toys, NY
Industrial designer by training, Oscar has worked on products ranging from high end furniture in Tokyo to energy generating soccer balls for developing communities in Nigeria and Brazil. He’s currently leading a new line of sensory oriented & developmental toys for kids under 6 years of age.
That’s all folks! Have questions? Ask away here or on twitter using #shapeBits. Happy making!
Miniature houses are big on Shapeways! To celebrate our miniature community, we’ve launched a contest in conjunction with the fabulous blog Modern Mini Houses to invite mini house fans to share the beautiful displays they’ve created that incorprate 3D printed furniture and accessories. You have until April 10th to share your mini house or display with us on Facebook for a chance to win Shapeways 3D printing credit. Visit the contest page for more information on how to enter and read on for more mini house inspiration and to meet the contest judges.
Living room by Megan Hornbecker with 75 mm stag head by Dotsan
To kick off the mini house contest we wanted to highlight the work of the contest judges: Megan Hornbecker of Modern Mini Houses, Kacie Hultgren of Pretty Small Things, and Carol Mitcheson of Mitchy Moo Miniatures. I am constantly delighted by their attention to detail and the imaginative ways they incorporate 3D printing into their displays. When I look at these mini houses I want to move right in!
Carol Mitcheson is a miniature maker and collector based in the UK and the author of the blog Mitchy Moo Miniatures. She also co-designed some mini accessories on Shapeways, including the mini tool box featured below.
Shed by Carol Mitcheson
Living room by Carol Mitcheson
Kacie Hultgren is a designer who uses Shapeways to create miniature furniture and accessories in her Pretty Small Things shop. She also spoke about marketing and branding at the Shapeways Small Business Bootcamp.
Paralogical Design won $500 in Shapeways credit and we hope all the gamers out there get their hands on this awesome case ASAP. We couldn’t stop playing with it here at HQ, and we had multiple visitors to our offices fall in love with it too.
Thank you all for your patience! We promise not to keep you in suspense like that again .
Remember that iPhone 6 3D Printed Case Contest we hosted a few weeks ago? We waited to print the cases until the backlog of repricing orders had been cleared, and finally have them in-hand! I took the time to review the top 10 semi-finalists, and am proud to announce the final four. Everyone who participated did a great job, but like all initial prototypes, some need a few design adjustments to be ready for the main stage.
Curious as to which cases are making their way to Ethan Imboden at Frog Design in California for final review? You’ll have to watch the video to find out:
Now that you’ve seen them, which case would you like for your phone?
On behalf of Team Shapeways: Congrats to our winning students at MTU!
We have our Campus Battle winners! After a tough competition for the last 6 weeks, Michigan Tech University came out the winner and every student at MTU who registered during the contest will receive an additional $75 in print credit and a prize pack from Shapeways and friends! With over 200 schools competing it was close race. The runners up included:
We wish everyone could be a winner but luckily you’re still ahead with our 10% Education Discount. And don’t forget you can get further support for specific projects by applying to the Shapeways Education Grant or get in involved with our Shapeways Crew Campus Representative program. Check out more information on our Education page!
DINOVEMBER has taken over and things are getting crazy at Shapeways HQ! After all our recent news about 3D Printing in Space with our friends Future Engineers, Grumpy Cat, Doge, Jebediah and some other 3D printed friends blasted off to see what the buzz was all about.
Upon arriving in a land far, far away, they were greeted by their pal Rawr Dinosaur. As they all gathered around to catch up and talk about space life, something truly magical happened. A bacon mobius descended from the atmosphere and provided endless space bacon!
See all the fun unfold in this stop motion film:
On a slightly more serious Dinovember note, did you know they uncovered new dinosaurs this year? Giant vegans, no less! How cool is that? You can check out these featured dinos and many others on our dinosaur featured page! If you’re feeling extra inspired, you can enter our Dinovember weekend contest and model your own dinosaur!
Our friends at About.com Home their Experts put together a beautiful curation of home products. A few weeks ago, we opened up voting for members of both the Shapeways and About.com communities and let you decide which product you wanted in your home. The voting was extremely close, the winner only separated from the other top few products by a few votes!
Our 48 lucky voters have been notified that they’ve won and will receive their pencil bowl in time for holiday, and Neeharika Ilavala, our grand prize winner, will receive all 10 products from the About.com Home curated collection.
Big thanks to everyone who voted and all the Shop Owners who decided the beautiful products in the curation!
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