Our RC community gets bigger every day. Soon, you’ll be able to find almost any replacement part on Shapeways. Check out two awesome new RC Car shops that are setting the standard — and providing parts you won’t find anywhere else:
MC3 — Mini-Car Club of Canada
The 1/28th scale Mini-z racers have been a popular class at Shapeways for a while, with many upgrade parts available in our marketplace. One of the latest shops to join is MC3, which is short for Mini-Car Club of Canada. These guys have developed their own Mini-z based open-wheel Formula racer with a 2017 style body and wings, and realistic double wishbone front suspension, bringing back Formula racing to the Micro RC world.
Another brand-new shop is Thundershot Pit Stop. While RC car manufacturer Tamiya has been re-releasing many of their vintage models, Tamiya Thundershot fans have been left chasing hard-to-find and brittle 30-year-old original parts to repair their beloved cars. With no re-released parts available, Shapeways user Badaboom49 has designed spare parts for the Thundershot and Terra Scorcher, often with improved geometry and extra options. Now, anyone can repair and race their car again as if it were a brand-new release.
Top-selling products are not always the most beautiful or impressive-looking designs on Shapeways. A product that sees consistently strong sales usually solves a problem that you, or more often, the manufacturer of your favorite thing, didn’t plan for. Whether it’s a holder for a fan to cool a high-performance motherboard (designed by ASUS and compatible with its parts), or a part that fastens your Moverio BT-300 controller into a DJI drone mount, clever mods tend to stick in the top 10.
But, what’s the most popular product of them all?
Not so fast — first, let’s look at the runners-up, each of which represent handy hacks to products our community already loves:
This top-selling Cannon Adaptor is compatible with the Titans Return Voyager Galvatron figurine
Why do people love this adaptor, designed to be compatible with the Sony Smartwatch 3, so much? Because it delivers something that almost everyone who comes to Shapeways is looking for: self-expression. A simple snap-on cover that re-skins the face of the watch in the color of your choice (while allowing you to attach any strap you’d like), the adaptor is a clever hack that takes a mass-produced product and makes it endlessly customizable. We think it sums up the ingenuity — and creative drive — of our community perfectly, despite its unassuming appearance.
Do you have an idea for improving a product you love? Why not make it real? Let us know in the comments what you’d tweak on your favorite toys and gadgets.
Sales data covers rankings over the past 13 months
Last week’s snow is still grey on the ground, but it’s official: Spring is here! Along with blooming trees and green grass, spring also brings the holiday that, for some reason, is all about eggs and rabbits — Easter. For many people, it’s a gift-giving holiday, for others, a religious observance; and for some, it’s just a way to celebrate the renewal of spring. Thankfully, our community is full of ideas for capturing the spirit of the season, however you celebrate. Find a selection of freshly-hatched accessories in this list by our head curator Aimee, or read on for five designs that will get you in the mood for egg-hunting and wildflower-gathering.
This Mosaic Egg is printed with an icosahedrally symmetric pattern of 180 triangular shapes, repeated outside and inside the egg, but you don’t have to know what any of that means to find it beautiful.
Houses got built in a day, the hot-but-flawed new Nintendo console got crowdsourced fixes, neon plastic met medical science, and car companies got additive — all this week in 3D printing.
We’re gonna need bigger printers
This 3D printed house went viral this week — with good reason. Built in a day for only $10,000, it’s not only incredibly cute (who doesn’t love a tiny house these days?), but it was also built by an unbelievably cool, enormous Apis Cor printer that had to be moved with a crane. Plus, the house was built in a snowy lot during a Russian winter, which should qualify it to work on Mars, at least in theory.
When you buy the latest toy way too soon
The Nintendo Switch made waves last week for being, well, the latest Nintendo console to hit the market. But, as Gizmodo reported, it’s might not have been… ready — at least as far as the design is concerned. Enter the internet’s most resourceful 3D designers, who’ve been sharing 3D printed solutions for everything from a faulty kickstand to a missing d-pad and inadequate joysticks. Maybe Nintendo wanted people to hack together fixes? Or not?
Fighting cancer with PLA
TechCrunch brought us the story of candy-colored tumors, set in silicone, that are helping doctors practice tricky laparoscopic liver cancer surgeries before operating on real patients. Never before has practicing dangerous life-saving surgeries been so… cute.
Drive it off the print bed
OK, we’re not exactly there yet, but according to Forbes, the largest car manufacturers — including the literal inventor of the assembly line — are starting to incorporate 3D printing into production processes in a typically large-scale way. It might be a while before 3D printing moves beyond the prototyping stage for most cars, but super-high-end rides will likely see more and more 3D-printing-enabled customization. In the meantime, I’ll stick with custom 3D printed cars I can actually afford:
A whole stable of sweet (N scale) 3D printed rides… courtesy RAILNSCALE
Two months ago, inspired by our amazing — and growing! — RC car community, I set out on a journey into the world of RC cars. Colleague Tijs Lochbaum and I took a Tamiya Hornet completely apart and gave it a whole new look. We’ll be ready for the big reveal soon, but in the meantime, we’re taking a look back to see how far we’ve come.
We started with a dream of taking a classic Tamiya Hornet and making it our own. During this whole process, Tijs Lochbaum, who is a well-known European RC drifting expert, was our guide. As it turns out, I had a lot to learn about how to make a custom RC Car. I always thought you could only buy a complete car in a toy store, so a whole new world opened up for me. For one thing, I never thought so much manual polishing was involved to make the parts look good. I could go on all day about what I didn’t know — but instead, let’s take a look at what we’ve done so far:
Today we are happy to announce the Shapeways transparency report for 2016. This report is designed to give everyone in the Shapeways community insight into how our systems governing intellectual property disputes and third party access to Shapeways user information work.
What is a transparency report, and why publish it?
A transparency report is a public document that sheds light on how internal processes here at Shapeways work in practice. While the entire Shapeways community is impacted by our policies covering things like copyright disputes and privacy, in most cases individual disputes over those issues happen behind closed doors. This is a good thing in specific cases – community members should be able to resolve their differences outside of the spotlight. However, it can also make it hard for people who are not directly involved in a dispute to understand how the process works, or how those processes are working in aggregate.
The transparency report helps to summarize how our processes work and to give the entire community a better understanding of the trends emerging from them. It also helps the larger public and policymakers understand how systems grounded in law play out in reality. As we note in the report, it is impossible to evaluate the laws that control how Shapeways operates without understanding how those laws impact Shapeways and the Shapeways community. You can also compare the 2016 report to the 2015 report, which is available here.
What’s in this report?
I encourage you to check out the report itself, but three high level points are worth mentioning. The first is that intellectual property-related takedown requests almost doubled in 2016. This may not be a surprise since our community was larger in 2016 than it was in 2015. However, it is noteworthy.
The second is that 20% of trademark-related claims were withdrawn after low levels of scrutiny. As we have advocated for some time, there are real problems with current statutory safe harbors related to trademark infringement claims. As a result of these weaknesses, we evaluate most trademark takedown requests for facial reasonableness. In practice, this means verifying that the model targeted by a takedown requests has not been obviously misidentified (for example, if the trademark incorporates a common noun and the model just represents that common noun) or that the trademark is not being used in a way that merely connotes compatibility. It is something of a shock that 20% of all trademark claims fail what should be an exceedingly low bar for accuracy.
The third point of note is a positive one. In the 2015 report, we raised concerns around takedown requests that ambiguously claimed that a model infringed on a number of different types of IP. These types of requests — often as a form letter— made it hard for users to determine exactly what type of infringement was being alleged. One of the results of this ambiguity was to remove the disputes from the user protections in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) process. In 2016 we saw a dramatic reduction in the use of these sorts of combined notices (from 70% in 2015 to 9% in 2016). We appreciate that rightsholders are using more specificity in notices.
That’s the high-level summary of the report. The whole thing has more details, numbers, and even some graphs and charts. We encourage you to take a look and let us know if you have any thoughts in the comments below.
This week in 3D printing was all about kids, mystery-solving, and a magical spoon.
Color Us Impressed
Huffington Postwrote about how Act For Kids is using 3D printing to create monster-shaped crayons to help provide art therapy to children who have experienced child abuse or neglect. Because drawing can be extremely therapeutic, the idea is that these crayons will allow kids to “draw away their monsters,” said Christian McKechnie, Co-Founder of Act For Kids.
Image courtesy Act for Kids YouTube channel
NewAtlas covered how Rolls-Royce spent 400+ hours 3D printing a small missile that propels children at a blistering 10MPH through hospital corridors. No word if they actually use their blinkers to signal a lane change.
Hong Kong police used two 3D printers to reenact crime scenes to help with police investigations. CNet’s Zoey Chong opens up the article with a fitting Scooby Doo reference, “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids and your 3D printers.”
Finger Licking Good
PSFKgave us the skinny on a glass wand prototyped on a 3D printer that helps to enhance the sweet flavors in foods like yogurt, Nutella, and honey. May not work well for hot wings.
Shapeways Design Evangelist Lauren Slowik took part in the panel The Maker Movement and the New Administration, joined by a group that included members of governmental organizations that actively support Makers. The Congressional Manufacturing Caucus, Congressional Maker Caucus, U.S Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Marine Corps were all represented.
President Obama was never alone in his pro-Maker Movement initiatives. The bipartisan Congressional Maker Caucus, led by California Representative Mark Takano, has worked since 2014 to raise awareness around the potential of the Maker Movement to revitalize American manufacturing. Yesterday, Rep. Takano signaled a more proactive approach to stimulating the movement:
The panelists also focused on how the nature of manufacturing in America has evolved. Lauren stressed the importance of shifting the focus to building human capital. Said Jahanmir, Senior Legislative Fellow for Rep. Tim Ryan and co-chair of the Congressional Manufacturing Caucus and Congressional Maker Caucus, agreed, adding that the Maker Movement provides a powerful set of tools for job creation. Captain Chris Wood, Co-Lead for Additive Manufacturing, U.S. Marine Corps, shared that the military is setting up interesting pathways to becoming Makers, with a guiding educational philosophy that learning the technology of making isn’t something you can lecture to students, but something they must be shown how to do.
Dr. Jahanmir was optimistic about the potential of the movement, adding, “Old jobs disappear, but new jobs always come around,” but cautioning attendees, “You have to educate Congress on making. The public shouldn’t wait for the administration to do the work.”
Shapeways community members also spoke on the Extreme Applications of 3D Printing, 3D Printing and the Future of Education, and Women in 3D Printing panels. For full coverage of the 2-day event, follow Nation of Makers and Public Knowledge Policy Fellow Sara on Twitter. Cover image courtesy @NationOfMakers.
This past weekend, the team took a field trip to Capsule, a fashion and accessories trade show that’s more like a curated collection of incredible accessory microbrands. It’s basically a trendspotter’s mecca, and a great indicator of what accessories are making a splash this season and next. There was an endless variety of designs, but we spotted some solid trends that we thought might spark some serious inspiration.
While chokers have been definitely having a moment (for a minute), we spotted some gorgeous, unexpected iterations of the classic style. Below are some great grown-up versions for any fans of the tattoo choker necklaces from the ‘90s (I’ve recently brought mine back out).
We’re all about people thinking outside the box when it comes to rings (see office favorite the Cassiopeia) so we were particularly excited to spot some stunning statement pieces that are sure to make every gesture unspeakably fabulous. The accessories below deserve a hand (or two). And yes, every pun in this piece is 100% intended.
There’s always going to be something exciting about earcuffs because they lend themselves to the illusion that you have more piercings than you actually do. As a girl who nearly passed out from a cartilage-piercing experience at a mall (I know, it’s so bad), really love these little jewelry hacks that let me look tougher than I am.
This week, we learned what it will take to 3D print homes for humans on distant planets, how 3D modeling of your head and face can give you new hair — or just perfectly fitted sunglasses — plus, we found out how to turn used analog sound equipment into smartphone-connected wizardry.
Printing a New World
This is not a 3D printer, but one day, it will have 3D printer friends
Pioneering USC engineer Behrokh Khoshnevis told NBC how he’s working with NASA to use found materials on Mars to create 3D printed homes, machines, infrastructure… basically anything humans need to choose that Martian lifestyle. That means technologies like 3D-printing method Contour Crafting (CC), which Khoshnevis used to print a 2,500-square-foot building in less than a day — back in 2004. Our post-Earth future is looking up. Now, if we can just figure out how to get to TRAPPIST-1.
Trump Should Check This Out
ABC brought us the touching story of a woman whose upcoming wedding compelled her to address her thinning hair. Thankfully, a high-tech hairpiece created using 3D printing saved the wedding day. The result is so realistic, our hairdo-in-chief should probably know about this (please, someone tell him).
It’s definitely more realistic than this
Sunglasses, Sports, Mullets
In the search for the perfect-looking pair of sunglasses, it’s often impossible to find a pair that actually, literally fit your face. Not “too big or too small for my face shape” but rather “don’t dig into my cheeks, fall off easily, or squeeze my head oddly.” Guess what can help? 3D printing! Skelmet (they originally planned to make bike helmets) takes scans of your head and face and creates custom frames to your specific measurements, as TechCrunch reported. However, as they also noted, these frames are strictly sporty, so you’ll either end up looking like Lance Armstrong or Dog the Bounty Hunter, depending on your hair length.
Skelmet’s scanning-for-sunglasses app in use
Pump Up the Jams
Geeky Gadgets got a little less geeky this week when they pulled a DJ move, showing us how to mix vintage knobs and switches, 3D printed parts, and an Arduino to create a smart MIDI controller. Recycled, digitized, and made with 3D printing? Pump it up.
Safe Harbor by Flickr user Mark A. Vargas, used under CC license 2.0
Today, Shapeways, along with Kickstarter, MakerBot, and Meetup, filed comments in the U.S. Copyright Office’s multi-year study into how the copyright safe harbors that allow websites such as ours to function are working. You can read about prior developments in this study here.
The role of the safe harbors are reasonably straightforward. Websites (such as Shapeways) that allow users to post content do not know if the content being posted infringes on copyrights held by others. Without the safe harbor, this would require Shapeways (and Kickstarter and MakerBot and Meetup and Facebook and YouTube and every other site on the internet) to clear every model, comment, video, and other type of upload through the legal department before posting. In other words, without the safe harbor protecting sites from the potential copyright infringement of their users, none of these sites would exist.
Fortunately, the safe harbors allow sites such as Shapeways to assume that content posted by our users does not infringe on copyright until we hear from a rightsholder. At that point we quickly take the content down to initiate the notice-and-takedown process (details on how that process works can be found here).
These safe harbors were established as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (often abbreviated as the DMCA) in 1998. In 2015 the U.S. Copyright Office initiated a study of how well they were working.
In this current round of comments, we made two primary points:
First, we noted that the DMCA copyright process continues to be heavily influenced by trademark law. Including a claim of trademark infringement effectively removes an accusation of infringement from the DMCA process. Among other things, that makes it very hard for users accused of infringement to challenge that accusation. We believe any study on the DMCA copyright process should recognize that element of how the process works in the real world.
Second, we raised concerns about the framing of much of the discussion in the Study. In addition to an earlier round of comments, the Copyright Office held a series of roundtables (which, for reasons known only to the Copyright Office, it refused to record or allow to be recorded either in audio or video but did release transcripts of) to discuss the issues. In both the earlier round and at the roundtables, a great deal of attention was paid to how the largest online platform – Google – interacted with the safe harbors. In our second point we tried to remind the Copyright Office that the vast majority of websites protected by the safe harbor are not dealing with millions of automated takedown requests a year. We therefore suggested that shaping solutions or conclusions with that scenario in mind would overlook how the safe harbors operated in the vast majority of cases.
As far as we know, this will be the last round of comments in this proceeding. At some point it is likely that the Copyright Office will release their report on the safe harbors. When they do, we will make sure to update you on the blog. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions.
Our community is a giant melting pot of creative designers, where 3D design is only a fraction of what the designers, makers, engineers and creators are capable of. A while back we celebrated the Academy Award nomination of Alienology, and today we want to highlight community member Sylvain Georget (visit his Shapeways shop Tegroeg), as he took his extreme detailed drawing skills to the next level by launching his own video game Hidden Folks today.
Hidden Folks is an interactive search-find-and-click game. At first, the concept might remind you of Where’s Waldo, but Hidden Folks has much more to offer. The miniature landscapes you’ll navigate through have many funny elements you can control by simply poking. Open tents, slam doors, poke crocodiles — there is so much to explore, we recommend you try it yourself. What really defines this game (besides the hilarious sound effects) are the amazing black-and-white graphics, all hand-drawn by Sylvain. Don’t let the minimalistic look of the game fool you; the world of Hidden Folks is rich in an insane amount of small but great detail — and gimmicks.
Sylvain has been drawing miniature worlds for quite some time, and he’s translated some of them into 3D to sell in his shop Tegroeg.
During the past years we’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with Sylvain a bunch of times, in projects for Dutch Design Week and KunstVesting Heusden, plus we printed his designs for STRP-Festival 2015, and Sylvain even attended the official Eindhoven Factory Opening event back in 2014. Seeing Sylvain use his detailed drawing skills for a whole new platform is truly inspiring.
Sylvain, congratulations to you and Adriaan de Jongh in bringing Hidden Folks to life — we can’t wait to play again!
When Shapeways first teamed up with Instructables on their Design Now: 3D Printing contest in November, we couldn’t have dreamt of the level of ingenuity and innovation that would result. Not only would Grand Prize winner Brett Turnage rock the RC world with his 3D printed RC motorcycles, First Prize winner Scott Hatfield, alias Toglefritz, would shake things up in a different way.
Toglefritz’s 3D Printed Quadroped is one of the most fully realized DIY bots we’ve seen to use 3D printed parts. A Playstation 2 controller, hobby servos, and Arduino-compatible microcontrollers under the hood bring the dog-sized robot to life. And when we say life, we’re not exaggerating:
Check out all the winners (and download their designs) at Instructables, and share your latest projects with us in the comments.
Of course, when we think “football,” the next thought is “3D printing,” right? Ok, maybe that’s not exactly true. But 3D printing and football have a lot in common: they’re both heavily dependent on a grid, and they both create awesome communities that bring people together! See what we did there?
But seriously folks, the Big Game is almost here! And, for the jewelers, engineers, designers, and makers in Shapeways’ community, this is a big moment. Check out some of the awesome designs that football fans in our community have created, and add a comment if your favorite football-related product isn’t featured: