Looking for the perfect gifts to celebrate the Dads and Grads in your life? They can be a real challenge to shop for, aside from the traditional fare. Veering off the beaten path can be extremely rewarding though, and especially for 2021 as the 3D printing realm presents some awesome gift ideas for both Father’s Day and graduations too.

Ten Million Colors to Choose From in 3D Printing

With the ability to 3D print parts in ten million colors using Mimaki technology, Shapeways produces incredibly vibrant, detailed models with High Definition Full Color. Designers are able to take advantage of intense detail for the tiniest of features—including facial hair or feathers on miniatures. The incredible potential for photorealism makes High Definition Full Color enticing for 3D modelers interested in 3D printing with vivid colors.

Credit: Ten 24 Digital Capture

High Definition Full Color is also used for serious applications like medicine, creating 3D printed medical models capable of demonstrating unprecedented realism for anatomy and organs. Architects are also using High Definition Full Color for creating intricate and tangible models of homes, offices, hotels, and can even design a full representation of a city block, complete with accompanying infrastructure.

Find out more about 3D printing in full color.

Chess is Hot Right Now: 3D Print All Types of Gaming Accessories

There has been an unsurprising resurgence in games like chess due to the popularity of Netflix shows like The Queen’s Gambit. 3D printing designers have enjoyed making all sorts of game pieces and gaming figurines for years ahead of this latest trend. For the tabletop gaming enthusiast, there are so many different ways to customize pieces—creating entire 3D printed sets that are not only completely functional but are also works of art in themselves.

3D printed Hyperbolic Chess Set by Martineau Arts
Credit: Martineau Arts

Shapeways customers like Jason Martineau are passionate about games like chess, along with the geometry and mathematics involved, leading to an interest in technology like 3D printing too:

“Inspired by my long-time interest in chess, geometry, and a background in 3D modeling, I wanted to remove the personifications typically found in chess sets (King, Queen, etc.) and reimagine the pieces as purely geometric forms, which align with the movements they can make in the game,” explained Martineau.  “While chess is certainly a game of strategy, underneath it is clearly also a game of geometry.”

Combining creativity with love of the game, a variety of different materials, technology, and finishes are available for gamers who enjoy 3D printing—or those who just might love a unique graduation or Father’s Day gift!

Now, check out some of the exceptional businesses working with Shapeways to 3D print a variety of amazing products. Many of these innovations could be perfect for Dads or grads, along with serving as inspiration for other 3D models to be uploaded.

The 3D Printed Hydrometer from Tilt Perfects the Beer-Brewing Process

Before helping his own customers get the craft beer just right, Noah Neibaron, CEO of Tilt Hydrometers, was on a serious road to perfection himself, working with Shapeways to 3D print his free-floating hydrometer. Going back to the drawing board without inhibition, Neibaron went through 110 iterations before he was satisfied with his design for the complex free-floating device, meant to measure sugar levels during fermentation.

Brewing really good craft beer is not as easy as it seems, which is why so many enthusiasts simply head to the store and buy it ready-made. Perseverance and patience are important to the process, which can be nicely enhanced by advanced technology, and tools like the 3D printed Tilt Hydrometer are an excellent example.

Tilt Hydrometers in multiple colors
Credit: Tilt Hydrometer

Neibaron patented the design for the hydrometer upon the advice of an engineering friend, who saw its initial promise.

“The inventive part of it is that instead of floating vertically or floating higher or lower depending on sugar levels, it floats at a different angle, almost off-center,” said Neibaron.

“The Shapeways part really helps dial in where that center of gravity is going to be,” said Neibaron. “It’s very sensitive, and that’s one of the big reasons we have used 3D printing. With Shapeways we were able to try various centers of gravity with different prints, quickly.”

The alternative to 3D printing the hydrometer was in milling plastic, which is not only a lot slower, but more expensive too. For both prototypes and end-use parts, Neibaron chose Nylon 12 [Versatile Plastic] due to its flexibility, the quality of both the surfaces and eventual finishes, and the ability to 3D print in a wide array of colors.

Get further inspired to create gift designs by reading this case study, or ordering a kit to give as a gift.  

3D Printed Drones Offer Versatile Fun & Function

That infinite expanse of sky above us is beginning to see more traffic these days as drones continue to increase in popularity. Drone owners on every level enjoy taking advantage of the benefits of 3D printed drones in making fast, lightweight aircraft versatile for racing, exploring, and so much more.

Kespry has been building their 3D printed drones with Shapeways since their inception, focusing on applications in surveying and mapping. Kespry drones have cut out the legwork for surveyors, creating UAVs that can cover hundreds of acres in mere hours.

kespry drones
Credit: Kespry

Scalability and reliability have always been a key focus for Kespry:

“When we started with Shapeways, it was before we even had our first customer, and now we have hundreds of drones going out every quarter,” said Jordan Croom, Kespry’s lead mechanical engineer.

“Leveraging 3D printing and Shapeways allowed us to get things out there faster without paying an exorbitant premium to do it. And it also allows us to make modifications and improvements to our product without interrupting shipping them out to customers.”

Check out this case study on Kespry for further inspiration in drone development and manufacturing—and find out more about the Kespry Aerial Intelligence Platform and products here.

Quantum Systems is another company that relies on 3D printing in developing and manufacturing their drones. Founded in 2015 and specializing in advanced eVTOL (electric vertical take off and landing) drones, Quantum Systems rapidly progressed from prototyping to relying on Shapeways for complex, lightweight 3D printed drone parts manufactured with both Nylon 12 [Versatile Plastic] and MJF Plastic PA12.

Using their Trinity F90+ model, Quantum Systems has also been testing their drones for transport of medical samples, flying them from a medical site to a laboratory in less than seven minutes—showing the potential to cut courier services for time-critical items exponentially.

Credit: Quantum Systems

Quantum Systems CEO Florian Seibel, explained to Shapeways that they have many new projects planned for their drones in the future:

“Fortunately, all projects require the use of 3D printing. The drones sector still offers a lot of room to pack more features into smaller and more flexible products.”

For more details and inspiration in drone design, download this case study on Quantum Systems and find out more about eVTOL drones and products from Quantum Systems here.

3D Printed Accessories for the Off-Roading Thrill Seeker

67 Designs has come up with some great ideas for adventure seekers by developing extremely durable 3D printed dashboard mounts for tablets. Working with Shapeways, 67 Designs CEO Gavin Stener was able to stick with his continued dedication to 3D printing, and see a third-generation product manufactured—in the form of the MagMount, a high-quality mounting system.

67 designs MagMount product
Credit: 67 Designs

“There’s only two types of quality,” said Stener. “There’s the quality of design, and then there’s the quality of conformance to design—and you must have both of those.”

“Sometimes you can look at a product and it seems really cool, but during the manufacturing process or due to the materials that have been used, it doesn’t last very long. That perhaps is a sign that there wasn’t good conformance to the design.”

Durability and quality finish were the two biggest reasons behind Stener’s choice to go with Nylon 12 [Versatile Plastic] for the MagMount, continuing on with their reputation for offering problem-free products; in fact, in five years of providing accessories for rental products, they have not had one issue reported.

Learn more about 67 Designs in this case study with Shapeways for inspiration in creating unique 3D designs, or shop at 67 Designs for vehicle accessories here.

There are so many great products to choose from this year, but we encourage you to upload your own designs too. It’s as easy as creating an account, uploading a 3D file, and receiving an instant quote for your order.

Shapeways has worked with over 1 million customers in 160 countries to 3D print over 20 million parts! Enjoy the benefits of advanced technology and a wide range of materials from Shapeways for 3D printing with accuracy, complex detail, and no minimum or limits in terms of mass customization or single part orders.