Author Archives: Lise Keeney

Designer Spotlight: Jin Kyeom – VITAMIN-IMAGINATION

When I was a child, I wanted to be a paleontologist (a scientist who studies fossils) because I thought dinosaurs were absolutely incredible. My parents took me to the Museum of Natural History here in New York, where I discovered that paleontologists slept in tents during their digs — and promptly changed my mind on that career. Alas. Over twenty years later, at my post as PR Lead here at Shapeways, I stumbled upon Jin Kyeom’s Shapeways’ shop and felt positively giddy; Jin’s incredible 3D designs bring dinosaurs back to life (in the artistic sense, obviously). Jin lives in South Korea and works as an educator teaching people of all ages about dinosaurs.

Sifting through the array of models in Jin’s shop, it’s impossible not to let your imagination run a little wild, assisted by the fact that many of the designs are paired with an animation of the 3D modeled dinosaur in action (running, attacking – it’s all there). Due to my weakness for awkward-looking animals, the Carnotaurus model is my favorite  look at its tiny little arms! How does that dinosaur give hugs? Scratch its head? Do anything, basically?

Carnotaurus (Medium / Large size) by VITAMIN IMAGINATION

Carnotaurus (Medium / Large size) by VITAMIN IMAGINATION

Obviously wanting to fangirl, I asked Jin lots of questions about his models for this Designer Spotlight, so without further ado:

What do you use to guide the dinosaur designs?
Because dinosaurs are extinct, restoring them in a scientifically accurate way is not an easy task. I collect not only the skeleton pictures of the dinosaurs I want to make, but also skeleton data of similar animals. In addition, since extinct dinosaurs are steadily studied, I review the latest academic information. If the collected scientific data and my imagination are in the wrong combination, we can create a strange monster so I review skeletal data of existing animals that are similar to the dinosaurs that I want to restore. The skin patterns of reptiles, for example, are extremely beneficial in guiding the creation of my dinosaur designs.

I use ZBrush for dinosaur-making, Rhino3D for product structure, and KeyShot for rendering. When I prepare a lot of materials, I make the dinosaurs with a ZBrush. In the middle, I get advice from a dinosaur researcher in South Korea. So I try to make nice designs of scientifically accurate dinosaurs.

Tyrannosaurus vs. Triceratops Skeleton by VITAMIN IMAGINATION

Tyrannosaurus vs. Triceratops Skeleton by VITAMIN IMAGINATION

Your dinosaur designs are now incredibly complex and highly detailed. How long did it take you to master 3D design?
I have been studying ZBrush since 2011 and have been using it until now. In the beginning, my ability was a mess. Recent dinosaurs I have made are better in design and scientific knowledge than my past dinosaurs.

The dinosaurs I had studied and worked on for about two years were the first to receive praise. While I’m much more knowledgeable than when I first started, I continue to study, learn, and strive to improve my skills because there’s always room for growth.

Jin’s earliest Breeding Kit models

How long does it take to model each design?
Typically, I invest a week to design one dinosaur, but it’s a continuation of a long process of research, collecting data, and consulting experts. When the print has been completed, the work is post-processed with paint.

Ceratopsian small package by VITAMIN IMAGINATION

Ceratopsian small package by VITAMIN IMAGINATION

Check out Jin’s shop – it’s a very realistic-looking blast from the past (which is also what probably killed the dinosaurs, womp womp). There are also Jin’s adorably cartoonish baby dinos in the New Breeding Kit section, for all your cuteness needs.

Triceratops Head skull flower pot by VITAMIN IMAGINATION

Triceratops Head skull flower pot by VITAMIN IMAGINATION

The Week in 3D Printing

With Valentine’s Day approaching, it’s appropriate that hearts are being 3D printed around the globe. Hands are also being printed, and bridges, and fish-grabbers… honestly, it’s been a pretty exciting week in the world of what’s being digitally manufactured. We feel a little bad for the fish, though.

Bridging the gap

The Daily Dot’s John-Michael Bond wrote about the unveiling of the world’s first 3D printed bridge which has been built in Castilla-La Mancha park in Alcobendas, Spain. The structure, designed by the The Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), was specifically inspired by complex forms found in nature, which helped to optimize the bridge’s strength in proportion to the material used (micro-reinforced concrete). The final result was a 40-foot-long footbridge constructed from eight separate 3D printed parts. Appropriately, it’s pretty odd-looking as bridges go, but it’s an incredibly cool application of 3D printing in the field of civil engineering.


Video courtesy The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia’s YouTube page

A story with a whole lot of heart

CTV News covered the story of a group of doctors at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children using a 3D printed replica of a six-month-old’s heart to practice before a complicated heart surgery. The model was created using scans of the patient’s heart and allowed for a successful surgery– making it a perfect example of the ways in which 3D printing is literally saving lives. This practice is becoming more common around the world:  Thompson Reuters Zawya also recently covered the way in which doctors in India are using 3D printed replicas of hearts.

Let’s give these kids a hand

Jesse Leavenworth at the Hartford Courant wrote about a group of twenty middle school students in Connecticut volunteering to assemble “raptor hand” prosthetics as part of The Hand Challenge, a branch of the e-NABLE Community, a global network that leverages volunteers to create prosthetic hands using their 3D printers.

Go Fish

Nathaniel Scharping at Discover Magazine describes how researchers at MIT have 3D printed some squishy robots which are not only mostly composed of water (and polymers), but are also powered by pumped water. The resulting robots are strong, flexible, and fast, allowing them to grab a (very confused looking) goldfish. These machines are going to be key for medical applications in the future, so it’s a development to keep an eye on.

Designer Spotlight: Lizz Hill — Toolry

One of my favorite thing about Shapeways designers is that their work is sometimes very “meta.” A perfect example is the work of Lizz Hill, the Brooklyn-based designer behind Toolry. Combining complex artistry with the expanded design possibilities of digital manufacturing, she creates products that take a lighthearted look at the tools behind the design process. It makes sense, considering how immersed in the design process she is: By day, she’s a hardware and jewelry 3D modeler for a major NYC fashion accessories company, and her spare time is filled with embroidery, soapmaking, origami, painting, and of course, Toolry.

The designer with a couple of her favorite things

The designer with a couple of her favorite things

In your shop description, you say, “These statement pieces are meant to engage you and poke fun at their counterparts.” Which pieces in particular capture this spirit?
The first personal pieces I had made for myself were based on tools, hence “Toolry“! I loved the idea of taking something that has a specific use, like a wrench or a caliper, taking away its function and purpose, and wearing it as jewelry. The Calipers Pendant was the first tool that I modeled for myself. I use digital calipers for work, modeling hardware and jewelry, so I’ve always been very intrigued by the original, fully manual calipers that preceded their modern, digital counterpart. I love to find the beauty in utility.

caliper pendant

The Calipers Pendant by Toolry

What was the inspiration behind the Troubled Waters trio?
I’ve recently taken up embroidery as a hobby, and one of my more ambitious projects was embroidering a pair of Converse sneakers. I’ve always been very intrigued by old sailor tattoos and iconography and had chosen this theme for my sneakers. As I was designing my embroidery layout I realized that the theme would lend itself very well to some small icon rings. I had also been seeing more and more midi rings worn by the women of NYC so decided to model a trio that would mirror the imagery of my Troubled Waters Converse.

Lizz Hill's Troubled Waters embroidered shoes and Rings Trio

Lizz Hill’s Troubled Waters embroidered shoes and Rings Trio

Your tooth cufflinks and ring were modeled based on real human teeth. How did that come about?
I’ve always been quite fascinated by the morbid things that make most people cringe. I have a collection of bones, antlers, teeth and animal horns that show up in various ways in my apartment: on the wall, on necklaces and as succulent planters! My husband recently found his wisdom teeth which he had kept after their removal, and gave them to me as a gift. I joked with him that in place of my sapphire engagement ring, that I would instead set his tooth into a ring setting and wear that instead. That imagery stuck in my head for awhile, and I finally gave in and modeled one of the teeth and set it into a ring for myself and a pair of cufflinks for him.

Tooth Ring by Toolry

Tooth Ring by Toolry

Tell me about the teddy bear ring and pendant.
Ha! These are my favorite! The Teddy Bear Pendant was another one that followed an embroidery piece. Like my jewelry, my embroidery is all about taking themes and icons and turning them upside down. The teddy bear embroidery was about taking something sweet and traditional and adding a disturbing twist. I have the piece framed on my bathroom wall but loved the bear so much that I wanted to create a piece that I could wear. The Teddy Bear with Turnkey Ring was the second piece I created using my bear and I have at least one more version of the bear that I’ll be posting soon.

teddy

Teddy Bear Embroidery and Pendant with Open Stomach by Toolry

Can you share a little more about your inspirations or design process?
My entire career thus far has been about taking hardware designs and ensuring they are functional, affordable, and mass-producible, aside from just being aesthetically pleasing. I’ve seen so many ideas quieted or cast aside because they couldn’t be made within those parameters. Now, thanks to Shapeways and other emerging vertical manufacturers utilizing 3D printing as part of their manufacturing process, the range of product that is available to the end consumer has begun to expand rapidly. As a designer and a product developer, I have fewer limitations on what I can make and offer to my customers because minimums, manufacturing limitations, and capital investment are no longer major hurdles for me. I have so much more creative freedom, and that drives me to act on the ideas that may have been riskier or impossible in the past.

What are you waiting for? Go check out Lizz’s brilliant designs at Toolry!

This Galentine’s Day, Treat Yo Self

A Shapeways 3D printing engineer by day and a jewelry designer by night, @Yung_Crowley recently launched the winter collection of STONEDALONE on Shapeways. The collection is an assortment of digital talismans created to help conquer your digital universe… with some trinkets specifically geared towards the single ladies. The line was created to boost the wearer’s confidence and empower them to attract more positive vibes online (and off). Obviously, better juju for 2017 can’t hurt. Because this collection screams “Treat yo self”, I’ve decided to gift myself some of these pieces for Galentine’s Day:

ANDROMEDA ARM CUFF

andromeda

This is the physical manifestation of the “spell for enchanting every person you message to make ghosting impossible.” Hello, I’ll take whatever precautions I can to avoid ghosting. Apparently there’s also a new trend called “breadcrumbing,” which is like ghosting, but with occasional texts after disappearance. Cosmo pegs it as “savage AF.” I’m just going to go ahead and assume this cuff will protect me from that too.

CASSIOPEIA RING

cass ring

Described as “magnetizing your DMs to attract prospective suitors and opportunities,” I figure this ring will inspire more witty, endearing messages on any dating apps you’re on. I bet it also makes sure the messages are authored by people that are exceptionally good at the distinction between “you’re” and “your”.

AUGOEIDES RING

aug ring

This ring “makes you immune to negative haters and trolls.” Assuming the designer means those of the online variety, not bridge ones, that’s pretty helpful in today’s world of social media.

You can check out the whole collection at STONEDALONE for the perfect bling to fit your life goals. There’s even a set of earrings that help you network online, make bank, and prosper. How can you say no to that?

The Week in 3D Printing

Welcome to our latest series, The Week in 3D Printing. We’ll be rounding up the juiciest tidbits from the world of 3D printing, so you don’t have to scour the internet to keep up to speed. Without further ado….

The hottest 3D printing news this week’s roundup reads like a juicy episode of a Shonda Rhimes show — there’s sex, politics, and some scandal (okay, so maybe we’re being a little dramatic). Yes, yes, yes, let us tell you all about it.

The birds, the bees, and 3D printing

As Mashable’s Katie Dupere reported yesterday, 3D printing is helping to make sex ed more accessible to blind students, something which has been otherwise impossible through traditional teaching materials (photos, video, etc). Benetech, a nonprofit using technology to drive social change, is creating 3D printed anatomical models that can be used in the classroom — eventually aiming to make the files open-source for educators.

Venus De Space by Obsidiana

Maybe Benetech can make use of Obsidiana’s astro-naughty Venus De Space…

There’s definitely skin in this game

As covered by Aatif Sulleyman at The Independent, there have been some immense developments on the ability to 3D print lab-made skin — a serious game-changer in the medical field. There are two key components we’re particularly excited about. One is that the printed skin is comprised of three layers, taking full advantage of multi-material printing. Two, digital manufacturing is all about customized creation, so it enables the material to be developed from a patient’s cells, ensuring the resulting material isn’t rejected when transplanted. The full report is here, if you want to get seriously technical.

…and in related news

Folks are holding their breaths waiting to see how Trump’s hiring freeze could affect the FDA’s advancement in medical product development. Bloomberg BNA’s Jeannie Baumann explores the specific implications of the hiring freeze and what it means for key technologies like 3D printing, big data, informatics, and more.

Ending on a wheely well done idea

Writer Bianca Britton at CNN Tech documented how Layer is using 3D digital data and 3D printing to create bespoke wheelchairs, designed to individuals’ specific biometric data and needs. With customizable mattresses, shoes, and bikes already so accessible, it’s about time someone is making the same possible for such an important product.

Introducing: Out of Shape

I obviously love wearing jewelry from our marketplace, but I want to start making my own!
I obviously love wearing jewelry (and 3D printed crowns, naturally) from our marketplace, but I want to start making my own!

Being surrounded by brilliant people at Shapeways every day — and seeing the incredible designs available in our marketplace — it’s impossible not to catch the design bug. That being said, I fall into the segment of the population that’s super excited about 3D printing, but simultaneously intimidated by the world of 3D modeling. Since we’re starting a new year (and there’s no way I’d ever resolve to eat less), I’ve added 3D modeling to my list of “wanna learn” resolutions.

image1

Like most people, I’ve always been better at sticking with things when I’m publicaly held accountable. So, Out of Shape will be the column where I document the joys and struggles of my 3D design journey. This is the place where I get to share my weird, wonderful attempts to learn the world of 3D modeling while also trying to inspire others who find themselves in my shoes to do the same (but only after they give me back my shoes).

I’ll be using the tools and tutorials available on Shapeways so that I can attempt this self-taught thing as much as possible. But, if I really, really, reaaaally need help, I’ll tap my colleagues, Community Manager Andrew and Design Evangelist Lauren Slowik. My hunch is that once I get started, it’ll be a pretty manageable effort. The problem is that I’m definitely overthinking where to start. I’m overwhelmed by the possibilities: Do I want to create a cute little figurine for my desk? Should it be a series of personified feelings? Is hungry a feeling? Or maybe, do I want to design a jewelry line? Deep breath. Okay.

I’m going to start by just opening up some free applications like Tinkercad, Meshmixer, and 123D Catch, and start futzing around, getting familiar with the tools, and drawing some basic shapes. That being said, I’m gonna make sure these are the most awesome shapes ever.

Is this post a bit of an excuse to delay diving in? Yep! But it worked, didn’t it? So… anyone have any advice for a newbie venturing into the world of 3D printing? Or any tips on whistling with fingers? I need all the help I can get!

Designer Spotlight: Guy McCann – 3D Body Jewelry

Guy McCann's Brain Half Left-side Pendant

The hidden beauty of the brain, transformed into a pendant

What would you give to glimpse the invisible? Guy McCann has given his career to it — but he’s held on to his sense of humor. As a total sucker for puns, I fell in love with the intricate, gorgeous designs in his 3D Body Jewelry and Academic Gift Products shop. Especially when he asks, “Have you ever wanted to give a colleague, friend, or loved one ‘a piece of your mind?’ Well, now you can! Choose your thought (and mood) with one of our Brain Mood Gifts.“

Guy is a tenured professor of the Physical Sciences and has always been fascinated by the hidden beauty of nature. For fifteen years, he was the director of an electron microscope imaging laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania — where every day they worked to glimpse the 3D structures of nature that were invisible and smaller than the wavelengths of light! He points to his pioneering work in the field of 3D electron imaging, capturing never-before-seen structures in nature, as what’s guided his life for the past twenty-five years.

What led you to make the leap from 3D electron imaging to designing jewelry? I love that you took a literal approach to giving someone a piece of your mind, by the way.
It was more of an organic artistic growth rather than a leap. The hidden beauty of nature within us has been a focus of my life for over forty years. In the 1960s, electron microscopes gave us our first chance to glimpse the invisible. In the 1980s, computers were linked and now we could create digital 3D CAD rendered screen images. With the advent of 3D printing, an entirely new medium opened to the teaching industry. Initially, I was designing special 3D models for teaching purposes on body parts that are hard to visualize without anatomy. Boring indeed, however, 3D printing rekindled my artistic love of human symmetry and a desire to create something new and unique. Hence a product line of 3D Body Jewelry and Academic Gifts. My inspiration is our slogan “The invisible beauty of Nature made visible  and printable.”

A second principle in my design of pendants is that I seek to express the duality of our hidden nature by making creations that can be displayed and worn forward or reversed — revealing our yin and yang — whenever I see the possibility in the structure. The Fear Monitor Lobe Neurons is also shown in its two display positions, for example.

 

McCann's Fear Monitor Lobe Neurons Pendant

McCann’s Fear Monitor Lobe Neurons Pendant

Do you see a specific type of customer frequenting your shop? Do you see a trend of medical or psychology students buying these pendants, perhaps?
Yes, I see the academically inclined to be much more interested than “regular” jewelry buyers. If I continue to market correctly, I want to direct it towards women of all ages, with specializations in the Academic, Executive, and Professional worlds. I want to see a trend of medical, psychological, and every other academic field: they are my primary market. My view is that this “Academic, Executive, and Professional” field is an overlooked market. What do you give an egghead in medicine like an otolaryngologist for a birthday gift? (That would be Ear Nose and Throat doctors to the rest of us.) How about some nose bones together as an aesthetic desk paperweight gift? Ridiculous to ordinary people. But these people have spent at least eight years of their life studying these beautiful bones hidden inside our nose! What do you give to the tens of thousands of medical students who graduate every year as a graduation gifts?

 

McCann's Palatines and Vomer Bone Ornament

McCann’s Palatines and Vomer Bone Ornament

I would bet that some of your customers really relate to your products on a deeper level than simply buying it because they like the aesthetic. I could imagine someone buying the Fear Monitor Lobe Neurons as a reminder to conquer a fear, for example.
Yes, your example of emotions connected to the given product, as fear in Fear Monitor Lobe pendant, is exactly the type of consumer interplay I am receiving and seeking. I have a polished sterling silver pendant, “Emotion Control Center.” Some people have purchased it to say and show that they have control over their emotional center. The “Consciousness” pendant is endless in its emotional appeal and it possesses an elegance of design completely hidden from the ordinary world of objects, bringing forth new visions of natural beauty.

The Consciousness Pendant

The Consciousness Pendant

Check out Guy’s creations for yourself — his shop is perfect proof that beauty really is on the inside.

Oculus Medium Sculpting the Beast

The adorable Beast and mini Beast

The adorable Beast and mini Beast, courtesy Facebook

We were super excited to see Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook video of an artist at Oculus creating a 3D model of Beast, Mark’s ridiculously cute pup (who, might I add, is more of a celeb than I can ever aspire to be). The video has us excited for a number of reasons:

  • One, the sculpture was created with Oculus Medium, a tool that we’re incredibly excited about because of the potential for it being a game-changer in making 3D modeling more accessible. Pete talked about the possibilities in this Mashable article and Mark’s video is the perfect example of the technology in action (and obviously leveraging some serious design talent).

  • Two, we know from first-hand experience how challenging it can be to capture a quality scan of a beloved pet using 3D scanning technology, thanks to our adventure with Franklin the Pig. While the Structure Sensor from Occipital works well on people, pigs are wiggly and aren’t the best subjects for a physical scan.

Kinda jealous of Beast’s mini-me figurine? Our partners Cuddle Clones and Arty Lobster create mini figurines of pets using photos of your favorite little fur-baby. And, stay tuned, because we’ll be using them to do Franklin better justice than his 3D scan did.

Have you used Oculus Medium yet? If so, let us know in the comments what you’re designing.

An Oculus designer using Medium to sculpt Beast

An Oculus designer using Medium to sculpt Beast

Designer Spotlight: Ethan Chodos – Piece of Mind Design

Closing out 2016, we’re thrilled to be featuring Ethan Chodos as our last Designer Spotlight of the year. In his own words, “With so much negativity going on in the world, creating something unique and beautiful brings light into the world. I want to be part of that.” With this year having been so chaotic, we’re totally onboard with this mission!

Ethan’s Piece of Mind Design Shapeways shop is a lighthearted collection of game pieces, rings, and coffee mugs. Ethan takes inspiration from creative plays on words — and a few of his rescue pups. Check out our Q&A with him below for more details (and a super cute photo of his dogs).

You have a number of great, cheeky game pieces. How did you decide to model and design the ones you’ve done?
I wanted to create pieces that are unexpected, irreverent, thought-provoking and most of all, fun.

Knucklehead by Piece of Mind Design

Knucklehead by Piece of Mind Design

Are these generally used as game pieces, desk toys, etc?
All of those things. My thought at the time was that they could be used in a game like Monopoly, make a cool chess set, or be placed on your desk as a gag “trophy”.

Are there any others in the works?
Right now I am focused on making cups and rings. Just like those original game pieces, I try to infuse my latest designs with the same qualities.

Train Kept A Rollin' Ring- Size 12 (21.49 mm) by Piece of Mind Design

Train Kept A Rollin’ Ring- Size 12 (21.49 mm) by Piece of Mind Design

Your Hangin’ Pitbull Pendant is great and seems to have lots of fans.
I have four rescue dogs. Two are pitbulls. We all know they can get a bad rap. Yet, if you have one, you know how special they are. I just wanted to put that out there for my fellow dog lovers.

Hangin' Pitbull by Piece of Mind Design

Hangin’ Pitbull by Piece of Mind Design

The inspiration

Love Ethan’s creations as much as we do? Check out his Shapeways shop to see the full line of game pieces, mugs, and rings.

Designer Spotlight: Daren Strange – East Tower Design

Daren Strange is the designer behind East Tower Design, a Shapeways Shop that boasts some beautifully designed architectural models and cityscapes from around the world. We’ve asked him about his work below, which lends some incredible insight into his design process and what it might mean for architecture.

Speaking of being illuminated about Daren’s work, we love that you can take a lamp (or even just your phone flashlight) to light his city models from below (check out his photos of it here).

Which cities have been among the most popular for customers?
I have sold more Houston and Los Angeles models. The scale of the cities was very important. I try to print the smallest buildings I can without them failing to resolve. I have tried to test most of the materials at Shapeways, determining the limits of the machines and allowing me to minimize the amount of material required. Chicago is one of the models I scaled where it really requires the space of two models to print well, and I have not submitted for sale.

Los Angeles, California by East Tower Design

Los Angeles, California by East Tower Design

How do you decide which monuments to design?
I am developing a model of New York that covers the size of 12 of the printed cities, but I am only done with three out of the twelve parts. I also have several more cities ready to be printed. If I sell 100 of the city models I will take requests, and develop more choices.

You’ve designed a few stand-alone buildings and structures. How did you decide to do that?
The choices I have made with my architectural projects is directly related to my ability to remove as much solidity as I can, in other words, skeletonize the building. If you reference my model of the John Hancock building in Chicago, and my model of the Bank of China building in Hong Kong, you can see they are perfect candidates, since they are iconic in form with either the actual structural steel in the case of the John Hancock, or configuration with the Bank of China. Currently the John Hancock building received a 67% print success which means I have to update the file for sale. I see this as a setback, but it also means that I am on the literal cutting edge of the tolerances for your machines. As a designer, that gives me an advantage.

Concerning my model of the Burj al Arab in Dubai, it is unique in its ability to remove the entire habitable space and still have a model that is easy to understand and recognize, especially with a helicopter pad with a scale helicopter. I keep this model in the corner of my office and the sun hits it directly during the day. It is absolutely stunning, and represents the future of printing for architects and owners.

Burj Al Arab, Dubai by East Tower Design

Burj Al Arab, Dubai by East Tower Design

What’s next for your modeling and designing?

I am experimenting with projecting real-time information onto the models, such as current weather, or traffic. The idea of having a 3D printed solid model with animated information is fascinating to me.

I am also developing a paper box with led lights to place the city models on top of.

What inspires you to design?
As to my inspiration, I love architecture. It is the ultimate in sculptured reality, and it has to provide the Vitruvian principles of firmness, commodity, and delight. The complexity of a city and all of its buildings, rivers and geography is comforting. In the same way the complexity required to produce a building is also comforting. If you have seen a working model file from the Autocad Revit software you know what I am talking about.

I am removing myself from the traditional process of architecture and hopefully inserting a useful addition for communication between architects, themselves and their clients. My endgame is consulting business where I deliver 3D printed models to architects for internal use after which they can sell them to the client, or donate them to schools. My focus in development is being able to convert a 3D file for delivery (scale 3D printed model) well within the schedule of each phase of an architectural project.

Architects use varying pieces of software to produce construction documents. Currently, the process to just “print out a building” is fraught with failure and expectations unfulfilled. The size and material demand for scale 3D printed models are prohibitive in nature, although they do not compare to traditional methods of architectural interns using exacto knives to produce paper models. I have consulted on several architectural projects, where the architects wanted a 3D printed model and ultimately the cost of production (including my fee) is the limiting factor. If I can lower the cost of the 3D print by removing irrelevant information and by skeletonizing or even hollowing an entire building I can bring the cost into play for useful models that architects will happily pay for.

Boston, Massachusetts by East Tower Design

Boston, Massachusetts by East Tower Design

We’re excited to see all that Daren will achieve with 3D architectural models. In the meantime, check out his incredible shop here, and let us know in the comments what buildings or cities you’d like to hold in your hand.

Designer Spotlight: Scott Ryan – Reaper Media

This week, we’re highlighting fun, unexpected last-minute gifts that you can still get in time for the holidays. Scott Ryan of Reaper Media creates just such personality-infused designs, resulting in a ton of fun products — ranging from frames to keep fortune cookie fortunes to intricate dice to mini monster figurines.

There’s a wide variety of types of products in your shop, what inspires your designs?
I have… a wide ranging and eclectic set of interests. And I tend to jump around from one to another a lot. One moment I’m obsessed with Celtic knots and the next it’s flowers. To tell the truth, I’m just a weird mix of unfocused and obsessive.

Love your fortune frames — how did you get that idea?
The fortune frames developed from a conversation with my brother during a family meal at a Chinese buffet. We’ve always liked to read the fortunes out loud after the meal and have a laugh at the more interesting ones. I said some of them were good enough that they ought to be framed. Then it hit me that I could do exactly that with Shapeways. My brother said that if I ever made them he’d definitely buy one, but instead I gave him one of my original prints for Christmas.

Fortune Frame (2.25" by .625") Standing - Five by Reaper Media

Fortune Frame (2.25″ by .625″) Standing – Five by Reaper Media

There are some incredible dice in your shop, how did you come up with such wide variations?
Usually I make things for the fun of it or simply because I haven’t made one yet, and then later try to see what I can do with it on Shapeways, but my dice are one of the few things I have ever sat down and tried to come up with ideas for. I’d make lists of things of a similar nature that come in different numbers, like how many loops in a Celtic knot or the number of lobes on a leaf. The trickiest one was my Legs Die, which I don’t sell because I’m not entirely satisfied with. I used a man with a cane for the number three and it feels like cheating. I don’t suppose you know any animals with three legs, do you?

Gear Die by Reaper Media

Gear Die by Reaper Media

Do you generally advise people to paint the dice models?
I’ve only tried painting one set of dice and I wasn’t happy with the results, though that was primarily due to my own lack of skills when it comes to painting. The only thing I’ve painted and been happy with have been my Emotional Robots because they were designed to look a bit run down and low budget.

Speaking of which, what’s the story behind the overly-emotional robots?
The Emotional Robots began with a name. For some reason I just thought Depressed Robot Productions would be a hilarious name for a company. To go along with the name I sketched out a quick and sloppy drawing of a moping robot on a stool. Normally I clean things like that up in Illustrator but for some reason I liked the loose style of it and even put it on a t-shirt. Making a 3D printed version came much later, and the idea to do a series came even later still.

You’re up to 50 pint-sized monsters! What inspires these little creations?
The monsters first came to me while I was half asleep one night. Cute, cartoony little creatures that could be made quickly and without too much detail just seemed like a fun idea, but what kept me going was when I made up rules and turned it into a game with myself. I would make them in groups of five. Each monster would have one primary color and not share that with any other member of the five. I came up with categories like Ancient, Bug, Cryptid, Joke, Space, Spooky, Winged, etc. Each monster would express primarily one of those and no two monsters in one batch could share the same category. And finally there had to be at least two female monsters in each batch. The challenge of following those arbitrary rules has kept my interest for well over fifty monsters. I’ve nearly filled a shelf with them and I hope to fill a few more before I’m done.

Wandering Eye by Reaper Media

Wandering Eye by Reaper Media

Your shop is full of variety, what ultimately drives your inspiration behind producing all these different things?
The variety is really just my refusal to get bored with what I do. I take an interest in one topic for a while and before I get sick of it I move on to something else. Later I may return to further mine out an older theme for new ideas. Other things are specifically for people I know. Christmas gifts that I later decide might have a larger audience. And I’m always happy to take requests. My father used to make z-scale train sets in briefcases. He wanted cacti for an old west set and couldn’t find what he wanted, so I offered to make him some. Now they’re one of my best sellers.

Check out Scott’s shop on Shapeways and see his eclectic array of products. With his wide collection of mini monsters, the selection promises to be scary good.

 

Designer Spotlight: Tatsuo Ishibashi – MizuLabo

This week, we’re focusing on holiday gifts that offer a Technical Advantage — making tech both better and easier to use. Sometimes, this means making tech more accessible for everyone. Designer Tatsuo Ishibashi’s Mizu Laboratory does just that, developing beautiful, useful assistive gadgets that can help ease our interactions with everyday technology.

"Shippo", Input Assist Device by mizulabo

“Shippo”, Input Assist Device by mizulabo

What inspired you to start creating assistive technology through 3D printing?
Muscle force of the elderly decreases over 50% from that of youth, and I also sometimes feel weakness of grip strength. There are many self-help devices on the market to assist our daily life. But, it is difficult to find a favorite device to use because design and usability are not thoroughly considered. Existing mass-production methods cannot be adopted to make specific structures that satisfy both design and usability for the assistive devices. A 3D printer can do it easily!

Eating Utensil Holder by mizulabo

Eating Utensil Holder by mizulabo

How do you identify the types of products that can be developed to make everyday items easier to use for the elderly (and others)?
It’s a general method that involves product, market, and patent research. Now we can take in a variety of information through networks, so I also often test products in a real market. And there are lots of needs in our daily life. I started from a relatively simple item, a cap and tab opener.

"Higaki", Cap & Tab Opener by mizulabo

“Higaki”, Cap & Tab Opener by mizulabo

While these are assistive devices, they’re also incredibly beautifully designed, so that they’re basically utilitarian art. Tell me more about the design process and how you picked patterns for each item.
It’s a result of trial and error. First I simplify a function of a device. Next, I make a simplified prototype by using a desktop 3D printer. I then evaluate the function and durability. Afterward, I design it based on the simplified prototype. I usually repeat that process until a satisfactory result is obtained.

Finger Input Device by mizulabo

Finger Input Device by mizulabo

Check out Tatsuo’s Shapeways shop here. His gadgets are snazzy little gizmos that are more like life-hacks, suggesting that 3D printing is changing the assistive device game  creating tools that are more useful, affordable, and beautiful than before.

Designer Spotlight: Dmitry Ustinov – Forpost D6 Miniatures

As we take a deep dive this week into the Tiny Worlds our makers bring to life on Shapeways, we’re taking a closer look at a designer whose miniatures add dimension to tabletop gaming. Dmitry Ustinov of Forpost D6 Miniatures focuses on Warhammer, 40000 Mordheim, and Necromunda, designing incredible characters, tiny accessories (from milk jugs to helmets), cannons, and war vehicles.

1/100, 1877 de Bange cannon, 155mm by Forpost D6

1/100, 1877 de Bange cannon, 155mm by Forpost D6

How do you find inspiration for your more creative models?
In the first place, I look for models that are in-demand by miniatures collectors and game players. Most of my models I originally created for myself and some were made at the request of other people. It’s an interesting challenge — to combine the desired appearance, printability and practical shape-form. Many good ideas come from searching custom models, which are produced by conventional methods such as resin casting. Some models were quite simple to remake using 3D modeling, and some (such as people’s faces and bodies) become challenging. Of course, when you hold the printed model in your hands, you get a better idea of how to improve the design and which new products will turn out better next time. Sometimes users of Shapeways suggest interesting ideas, but it’s difficult to make the designs by myself and I have to hire third-party modelers. I’ve commissioned designs of Cultist Chan, for example.

What’s your process behind creating miniature tanks? Do you base them on historical models?
The process of model tank design begins with a studying of the drawings, blueprints, and photographs. To begin, you have to determine the size of the vehicle which depends on material consumption and the amount of detalization. I usually make the body hollow and without a bottom panel to reduce the cost of production. Some tanks I design with movable turrets, but in a small scale, this is usually not required. The main problem is the representing of machine gun barrels because printing rules requires them to be thick. But otherwise, 3D printing technology competes with the traditional casting process.

For the majority of “railroad” scales such as 1/220, 1/160, 1/144, I do historically accurate models. For tabletop scales such as 15mm and 28mm I mostly make fictional vehicles.

1/144 Renault FT tank (3 pieces) by Forpost D6

1/144 Renault FT tank (3 pieces) by Forpost D6

You said you have a long to-do list of requests from people. What are some of the most popular requests you get?
I get a lot of requests to make a model on a different scale. So now I’m trying to publish a design at multiple scales. I’m often asked to make a head to create an unusual conversion for their Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard armies. Also, they ask to make weapons for action figures. A long list consists of requested historic tanks and artillery pieces. Sometimes people need to alter the model for easy copy-casting.

One of your models is not like the others. What’s the story behind Peter the Piglet and his tractor?
I am interested in challenging myself in different subjects, not just miniatures. I have noticed that there are popular memes printed in colored sandstone. Peter the Piglet is one of the Russian internet memes. It was originally a character from a children’s book, to which a blogger came up with their own story, changing the essence of what is happening in the pictures. Somehow, one of the pictures became widely spread among Internet users. Thus the image of a piglet Peter has become a symbol of the emigrant who leaves their country for whatever reasons (political, economic), taking with him something of value (in this case, the tractor).

Peter the Piglet and His Tractor by Forpost D6

Peter the Piglet and His Tractor by Forpost D6

Discover more miniatures in the Tiny Worlds collections in our Holiday Gift Guide. And, to learn more about miniatures in general, Dmitry suggests joining the Facebook group where folks share game and collector miniatures available on Shapeways. Members not only share their own creations but also post things they’ve found while clicking around the site. We also encourage you to check out the array of awesome miniatures in Dmitry’s Shapeways shop.

We 3D Scanned a Famous Brooklyn Pig — And It Was Oinkredible

The team took a short break from holiday gifting magic this week to take a field trip to Crest Hardware in Williamsburg — and visit their resident Garden Keeper, Franklin the potbellied pig, and his dad Joe. The mission of the trip was to 3D scan Franklin while documenting the experience on Facebook Live.

Screenshot 2016-11-18 15.17.00

Franklin’s a beloved local celebrity. He’s often mobbed by fans, and his 2.4k Instagram followers are increasing their ranks every day.

The team had an amazing time hanging out with Franklin and his dad while we scanned both of them at once. Keeping Franklin still was surprisingly easy while he had some pig food to eat, but he also liked to wag his little tail and lift his head to check out what we were doing.

IMG_2586

Despite being famous, Franklin was great to work with. Some of the challenges we encountered were the typical obstacles involved in working outside (meh lighting and spotty wi-fi) and trying to capture a scan of the leash between Joe and Franklin. We captured a few scans of the two of them standing near each other, but it was tricky capturing the two of them both in still poses. All things considered, we managed to snag some decent scans and are hoping to mesh a few scans together.

Screen Shot 2016-11-18 at 2.07.44 PM Screen Shot 2016-11-18 at 2.09.26 PM

Sad you missed it? No worries! You can still catch the adventure (and questionable pig puns) here! What else would you like to see us attempt to 3D scan? Let us know in the comments!

Designer Spotlight: Jady Swinkels – Swinks

This week, we’re celebrating the many ways that Shapeways lets us geek out this holiday season, whether it’s by creating (and gifting) D&D game pieces or developing arcade game mods. Jady Swinkels’ shop Swinks is a perfect example of how a designer is using 3D printing in innovative ways to do just that — creating accessories and modifications for pinball machines. We wanted to find out more about how this pinball wizard got his start.

Congo Pinball Hippo (Schleich 14681) Mount by Swinks

Congo Pinball Hippo (Schleich 14681) Mount by Swinks

How did you become interested in pinball machines?
I was part of the era in the ’80s when there were pinball machines in the arcades near the movie cinemas and fish & chip shops here in Australia, and I really enjoyed playing them. Then, in 2010, I discovered that lots of people bought them for their homes, so I purchased my first game.

Over the last six years I have bought eight different games, but at the moment I’m back down to two games, which are the first two games I purchased. The first was a 1976 Gottlieb Surf Champ, a surfing pinball game, and the second was a 1992 Bally Creature from the Black Lagoon which has great art and is a fun game with a cool drive-in movie theme in which I have produced many different custom designs for.

How do you determine the types of accessories and add-ons to create?
Custom accessories in the pinball world are known as pinball modifications (shortened to “mods”). They’re accessories that enhance a feature of a game that it could be lacking, usually by adding a 3D touch or more character. Many people like to personalize their own games with mods. I strive to design a mod that has a purpose and looks cool, but is fairly simple to install. A good mod is one where people are wowed by it and comment that the game should have had the mod as a standard feature when the game was made, though this is personal and hard to achieve as everyone is different. A good mod is also one that is removable and allows the game to be reassembled back to original if desired.

Then there’s another side to pinball parts, which is that older games often suffer from having no parts available anymore due to stock running out and then not being remade. So, in some cases, fellow pinheads have asked if I can help them out with a replacement part. I like to help them and others where possible to keep an old game playable — it’s rewarding.

How personalized or custom-designed can one make a pinball machine?
Some people like their games to stay stock/original. Others like to personalize it with a few quality features, and some like to fill it up. It really is a personal taste thing, and that’s the great thing about pinball mods: there is variety out there. Currently, at a rough guess, there are probably 40-50 people around the world designing quality pinball mods, each with a unique flare or game preference, from older games to newly released games and certain themes. Some specialize in casting, others in decals, and some experiment with 3D printed parts while others prefer machining parts. Some games are really popular for mods, and people could spend above and beyond $2k on mod accessories for their games when a game itself costs $5-6k.

CFTBL Tail Light Mod - Tail Light Lens by Swinks

CFTBL Tail Light Mod – Tail Light Lens by Swinks

Are there any modifications you’re particularly proud of?
Custom Flipper Bats are one of my cool designs as traditionally pinball machines have a cast, one-piece fixed-length bat. I wanted to approach it differently. Traditionally, the bat’s post passes through the playfield and is fastened to a mechanism. For a beginner, it’s a component that stays in there for years as the bats are awkward and sort of a pain to change out. My solution has 3 benefits:

  • It’s still is a pain to change out the first time, but now the bats can be swapped out in a few minutes instead of an hour for a beginner, all without lifting the playfield due to the designed-in square drive .

  • People can put in standard-length bats, shorter ones to make a game harder, or longer ones to make a game easier.

  • People can customize with custom colors or features.

Designer Jady Swinkels of Swinks

Designer Jady Swinkels of Swinks

Check out Jady’s shop and see the way he’s totally pimping out people’s pinball machines with his custom modifications. If you’re a pinhead, leave a comment here and let us know of your dream mod!