Many of you will likely remember that shortly after the Super Bowl there was a bit of a thing here on Shapeways in connection with a model of Left Shark. To briefly review and condense the timeline: person awkwardly dancing inside shark costume during the halftime show rockets to internet fame. Designer Fernando Sosa creates 3D model of the newly christened “Left Shark” and starts selling it on Shapeways. Katy Perry’s lawyers send Shapeways a nastygram asserting rights in Left Shark. Fernando Sosa responds, questioning if Katy Perry has any rights in Left Shark at all. Left Shark makes its triumphant return to Shapeways. (In a B story that foreshadows today’s news, Katy Perry then uses Sosa’s Left Shark as part of her trademark application).
Today the Left Shark IP story that never ends added a new chapter. As was widely reported, Katy Perry’s application to register the Left Shark costume as a trademark was denied by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). What does this actually mean?
As attorney Mark H. Jaffe (who has been all over the trademark angle of this story on twitter) reminded us this morning, this refusal by the PTO is an initial refusal. That means that Katy Perry still has an opportunity to respond, and to modify her application in order to improve its chances of being approved.
Another thing to keep in mind is that trademark is different from copyright. Trademark is all about helping consumers match a service to a service provider. That means that a big part of getting a trademark is showing that people use it to identify your services or goods, and to distinguish them from other services or goods in the marketplace.
Enough with the background – what actually happened?
Katy Perry (well, Katy Perry’s company Killer Queen LLC) applied to use the Left Shark costume as a trademark to identify Katy Perry-related goods and services in the marketplace. In refusing the application, the examiner essentially found that Left Shark does not identify Katy Perry’s “musical or dance performances” in the marketplace. Essentially, the examiner found that Left Shark represents Left Shark and not Katy Perry to consumers. When people see Left Shark figurines, or Left Shark on cell phone covers, mugs, and sweatshirts, they don’t think “Katy Perry.” They think “Left Shark.”
Now Katy Perry has some time to respond to the PTO for both the costume registration and the words “Left Shark.” Until she does, and until the PTO accepts the marks, Katy Perry does not have a trademark in Left Shark.
Surely the legal machinations surrounding Left Shark will outlast the half-life of Left Shark’s fame by a few orders of magnitude. So keep your eyes on the Shapeways blog for all of the latest news.
Tech is always evolving, but there are certain gadgets that don’t seem to be going anywhere. Phones and fitness gadgets seem to be here to stay, and with the new Apple Watch coming soon we might even see watches make a comeback (not that watches really went anywhere). Even better, we might see an onslaught of new watch accessories to make these wearables just a little more stylish.
We love when new gadgets are introduced, because it always spurs amazing creativity from our community. From new iPhone cases that extend the use of your phone to accessories for your fitness gadgets, 3D printing allows anyone to design their own custom accessories they can’t find anywhere else.
Gadget accessories continue to be popular on Shapeways. We love seeing what designers come up with, and what customers are drawn to. Below are some of the current popular items in this category, but we’re excited to see what you’ll come up with next!
What gadget accessory do you want to see next? Let us know in the comments!
Theo Jansen, the iconic creator behind the 3D printed Strandbeest collection on the Shapeways has launched the Animaris Geneticus Bellus. This new version of the 3D printed Strandbeest suits the new pricing system at Shapeways better therefore making the Animaris Geneticus Bellus not only much more affordable, but also more elegant and more efficient. A worthy addition to the 3D printed Strandbeest family.
This new version of the Strandbeest is now available for sale on Shapeways for $121 (USD) in white nylon plastic.
A video of the new Strandbeest in action can be seen here.
There is also new propeller propulsion add-on for the new version seen here.
The 3D printed Strandbeests continue to evolve and adapt to their environment and this new version has evolved and adapted to the Shapeways SLS printing constraints.
Today, we are thrilled to announce our work with Coca-Cola as part of their 100th anniversary celebration of the iconic Coca-Cola bottle. On February 28th, a new exhibit will open to the public at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta featuring more than 500 3D printed bottles suspended from the ceiling, all 3D by Shapeways.
The iconic Coca-Cola bottle was originally designed by the Root Glass Company in 1915 as a result of a competition that challenged manufacturers to develop a design that would be recognizable even if broken or being grabbed in the dark. The winning design ultimately had a huge impact on visual art and culture, and is one of the defining shapes that represents the global company.
The only thing we love more than hearing stories about product iteration is actually being a part of the process. 3D printing is becoming more of a staple in the iteration process, and has helped countless designers perfect their products. As the original designers surely went through various iterations on their way to the perfect bottle, we worked with Conran and Partners on various designs before finding the right one.
Initially the bottle silhouette was printed in the fully expanded shape of the bottle. However, we quickly discovered in testing that once hung the bottle ornaments would stretch and distort. Shapeways, Coca-Cola and Conran and Partners worked closely over the next three days producing four new iterations of the bottle to perfect the design, ensuring that once it was hung, it would perfectly retain the iconic Coca Cola bottle shape without any color or branding. In the final design, the bottle is actually printed in a compressed shape to both compensate for stretching and increase packing efficiency in our printers.
In order to ensure the bottles printed and processed without fail, we designed a cage that would enclose the actual bottle as it printed so that each bottle could be “opened” and revealed individually after being processed. Check out the video below to see how the bottles looks when they come out of the printer!
Shapeways is so proud to be a part of this celebration with one of the most iconic brands in the world. Their bottle really set the bar for efficient product design, and we are thrilled to be able to use modern 3D printing technology to celebrate this traditional design.
For any community members in Atlanta (or planning a trip there), the exhibit will be open from February 28 through October 4th and will showcase original design illustrations, historical artifacts and experimentation with the iconic Coca-Cola bottle.
What do you think about the design of the Coca-Cola bottle? What other iconic designs would you love to see 3D printed?
Are you loving the latest aerial videos shot by drones? Tempted to buy one yourself? Many of us in the Shapie family fly, and we love seeing how the communities of pilots and 3D modelers overlap.
Everyone here is a huge advocate for the safe flying of multirotors, quadcopters, drones and other fun RC devices. We, like many of you, cringe when we hear about incidents like the White House Drone crash landing. In the spirit of safe flying and us all working together to set good examples in our communities, here are 5 Accessories to prevent you and your fliers from suffering a similar fate.
Worth noting: This blog post has products embedded in it made possible by our new product widget. Learn more about it and share your products and those you love easily.
Ultralight Landing Gear by Brian Self Design
Prop Guard from Fusion Imaging
Video of the Prop Guard in action:
UAV GPS Holder by FDNYFISH
BIG Battery Door Upgrade by MaikelsDesign
Samsung Galaxy S5 Visor by Fusion Imaging
What other accessories will make our drones safer?
Have you ever wished your 3D prints would arrive faster? That you could order on a Tuesday and receive parts the same week? Today we have some very exciting news for you:
Introducing RUSH 2 & 3 Day Production on Shapeways Regular White Strong and Flexible Plastic!
You’ve convinced us to give it a try. You’re all invited to sign up for our Rush Pilot! Anyone can sign up, and we’ll slowly let users over the coming weeks in accordance with our capacity. You’ll be notified via email when you’re in.
Important Details about 2 & 3 Day Rush:
Rush offering is for unpolished White Strong & Flexible only with a bounding box < 150x150x200mm
Target Ship Day for North America, Australia, and New Zealand: Leaves our factory in 3 business days for orders made before 2pm CET / 8am EDT. Orders placed after that time will be counted towards the next business day.
i.e. Order placed on Tuesday 7am EDT, parts are shipped end of day Friday. Order placed on Thursday 4pm EDT, parts are shipped EOD following Wednesday.
Target Ship Day For All Other Geographies: Leaves our factory in 2 business days for orders made before 2pm CET / 8am EDT. Orders placed after that time will be counted towards the next business day.
i.e. Order placed on Tuesday 7am EDT, parts are shipped end of day Thursday. Order placed on Thursday 4pm EDT, parts are shipped EOD following Tuesday.
Rush orders are twice the price of regular WSF (pricing may change in the future)
You can use the ‘Print it Anyway’ option along with Rush if you choose.
Beta users will have a rush option added to checkout flow. All rush parts will need to placed in a separate shopping cart in order for the rush option to appear.
Check the material status page before you order to make sure we have capacity before placing your rush order. This is an experiment, and we physically have a daily-maximum volume capacity for Rush. While we will always do our best to make it happen, we may not always have room to accommodate your order. If you place an order that we won’t be able to deliver on time, customer service will reach out so you can cancel your order and place it again as regular White Strong & Flexible.
- To ensure your order arrives as fast as possible, you still need to select Next-Day-Shipping (or fastest available) in your region.
What do you look forward to making faster with RUSH?
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! Whether you like browsing the most unique pieces, or want to make something special yourself, it’s the perfect time to express your love in a personal way. Let us help you make this Valentine’s Day the best one yet. Keep shipping dates (below) in mind if you’re looking to customize or design products yourself!
While this #icant pendant isn’t exactly romantic, see how easy it is to create a pendant out of your own handwriting or design using 2D to 3D. From paper to pendant, you can easily make the perfect gift:
You don’t need design skills to make something special – our talented designers have done most of the work for you! All you do is choose a product, personalize, sit back and relax.
Make Your Own
There’s nothing quite like creating the exact product you want. It’s even more special when that product is for someone you love. Need some inspiration? Check out this engagement story from our Community Manager, Natalia.
Not looking to make something this Valentine’s Day? No problem! We have an array of products in our marketplace, even a Valentine’s Day Gift Guide, that will make for great gifts. Whether you’re looking for something traditional or not, we’ve got you covered!
For convenience, we’ve listed these order deadlines for February 13th delivery based on UPS Next-Day Shipping for customers in the US. If you are outside of the US, refer to shipping dates found on your cart page.
- January 22 – Gold Plated Brass
- January 27 – Polished Brass, Bronze, Premium Silver, Matte Black Steel, Polished Grey Steel, Matte Gold Steel, Polished Gold Steel, Polished Nickel Steel, Colored Strong & Flexible
- January 30 – Raw Brass, Raw Bronze
- February 2 – Platinum, Stainless Steel, Matte & Polished Bronze Steel, White Strong & Flexible, Polished
- February 3 – Metallic Plastic, Black Strong & Flexible
- February 4 – Gold, Polished & Raw Silver
- February 5 – Full Color Sandstone, White Strong & Flexible
In 2014, 3D printing was programmed into intricate soft-goods and embedded in your favorite software. It augmented the big brands you love and built new brands from scratch. It fueled Meme Mania, reigned supreme in responsive gadget accessory design, and was showcased at MoMA. From supermodels to SuperFanArt, 2014 was the year 3D printing went to infinity and beyond — literally, there’s now a 3D printer in space!
In 2014 the Shapeways community grew and we now have designers from 133 different countries. With nearly 500,000 Shapies, 23,000 Shop Owners and products shipped to over 140 countries, Shapeways and our community power not only the largest, but the widest reaching 3D printing service and marketplace.
Markets underserved by mass manufacturing flourish in our supply-meets-demand marketplace, allowing for product creation the world has never seen before. Responsively designed gadget accessories, custom jewelry, unbelievable miniatures and creative fan art saw the biggest rise this year. Here’s a roundup of our big picture thoughts on 2014 and predictions for the new year.
Notable Highlights from 2014
- Material Innovations: Wait, That is 3D Printed?
- The Transition from Prototyping to Complete Product Design
- 3D Printing is Niche-Tastic, Big Brands Want to Harness its Power Too
- Improving Production Capabilities
- Out of This World & Unexpected Applications: Fashion, Apps & Education
Material Innovations: Wait, That is 3D Printed?
3D printing is only as great as the materials you can use. In 2014, we saw companies big and small continue to innovate and introduce new materials that elevated what designers could make. We are constantly asking our community what they want and pushing the material boundaries to give you the best. We’re hearing more and more that Shapeways shoppers don’t even realize the products are 3D printed!
It’s not just drones we’ve been piloting, but materials too. From precious metals to beautiful porcelain, the materials are getting better and better:
Metals were a game-changer this year. We introduced Platinum, 18k & 14k Gold, 14k Rose Gold and 14k White Gold, enabling jewelers to create high-quality products without having to keep any inventory. The custom engagement rings we’ve seen have been incredible!
For the even more serious jeweler, we introduced Castable Wax. This has enabled creative casts that have been simply stunning.
We have been working on the R&D to 3D print Porcelain for over a year, and recently launched our pilot program. We’re excited to innovate with our community to introduce a high quality material to the world.
Full Color Plastic – In another feat of community R&D, we launched full color plastic in a pilot including hundreds of Shapeways designers. Your feedback is guiding this materials’ development as we learn more about it.
Also worth mentioning is the new printer HP introduced, which promises to deliver full-color products faster and at a better price. Shapeways is part of their Open Customer Engagement Program, and we are proud to host their printer in our factory to test out its capabilities. The fact that a Fortune 50 company chose us to work with and has has invested so much R&D in 3D printing signals that we’re likely to see a lot more innovation in the years to come.
What does this mean for 2015?
As material costs go down and quality continues to rise, we’ll see more and more 3D printed products, in stores and online.
Even more materials will hit the market, piloted and tested by the Shapeways community, and this will open up new product categories and designs that were never possible before.
While everybody might not get a 3D printer for themselves, we will see a 3D printed product in every home. From home decor to gadget accessories, everybody will be using 3D printed products in their daily life.
The Transition from Prototyping to Complete Product Design
3D printing is what makes rapid innovation possible. Before, this type of iteration was only available to prototyping industries historically limited to companies with large budgets. Now, with the rise of accessible 3D modeling software and Shapeways 3D printing services, anyone can take a product to market. Here are some examples of trends we saw in the prototyping and product development space this year:
Our marketplace reached 20,000 shops in September! Now, at over 23,000 this means that literally thousands of entrepreneurs are running their business and introducing products on Shapeways!
We launched Beta Products to help designers connect with customers, get feedback and tweak their final products based on customer needs and wants. Products like this Moto G phone case to hold a diabetes monitor and bhold sound pod are perfect examples.
In 2014 we really saw more educators take the step to introduce 3D printing into their curriculum from desktop 3D printers in schools to courses being offered at university. Our educational program has thousands of students and educators using 3D printing to bring their ideas to life. What may be prototypes now are the products of the future.
What does this mean for 2015?
Just as updates to software have become instantaneous (remember when “updates” were CD’s you had buy?), changes and improvements to physical products will happen far more quickly. As a result, traditional seasons and launch cycles will be disrupted.
Products developed based on user needs. Real-time responsive iteration after launch will allow designers to improve upon their products with the input of their friends, fans and customers.
Larger brands will start to realize that customers want more than what is offered. Companies making consumer products will see their customers turning to more customized products and investigate ways, like 3D printing, to solve this need.
3D Printing is Niche-Tastic, Big Brands Want to Harness its Power Too
2014 was a breakout year for brands on Shapeways, both those powered by our Shop Owners and partnerships with Fortune 100s. We were elated to see how many major brands really dove head first into 3D printing to extend their product offering and co-create with their customers. When brands listen to their fans and we create on demand, everyone wins. Here at Shapeways, here are some of the initiatives we saw have the most impact:
Hasbro Opened its IP Allowing for epic Super Fan Art, becoming the first global brand to do so and allowed designers to create their own custom versions of beloved Hasbro characters. Currently, designers can create products directly inspired by My Little Pony, Transformers, G.I. Joe, Monopoly and Scrabble. We look forward to continuing and expanding this partnership in the future.
Adobe integrated Shapeways into Photoshop in the Creative Cloud
This summer, we worked with Google on their Made with Code initiative to empower young girls. Hundreds of thousands of young women (and men) created a custom bracelet and had their first maker experience, leveraging code and 3D printing at the same time. The bracelets were all 3D printed in our NYC factory and we hope they inspired thousands of young designers.
Just in time for the holidays, Target introduced a limited-edition collection of 3D printed pendants, rings and more through their Target Shapeways Shop. This marked the first time a large retailer designed, marketed and sold 3D printed products.
About.com lent us experts from 10 of their verticals and curated a fabulous list for the home. We hope to see more guest collaborations like this from other visually and content diverse friends.
Future Engineers chose us as a partner for producing 3D “ground prints” of winning tools from a contest challenging kids to design tools for astronauts in space. Not only are we empowering folks on earth, but in space as well!
Some brands are still catching up, but in the meantime we’re seeing notable consumer-driven innovation around popular products. Shapeways top sellers include modifiers for drones, GoPros, Jawbone, FitBit, iPhone, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and a whole suite of popular consumer electronics. Fans aren’t willing to wait for for others to come out with the accessory or add-ons of their dreams, and they don’t need to thanks to 3D printing.
What does this mean for 2015?
Many more brands will consider how 3D printing fits into their customer engagement strategy. They can open up the conversation around product development, iterate in real time with their customers and grow their business as a result.
By the end of the year, innovative brands will have a 3D printing line item in their budget.
Brands with IP will take note from Hasbro and will hopefully open up their IP to enable 3D printed fan art rather than try to squash it.
Improving Production Capabilities
Manufacturing with 3D printing has evolved in leaps and bounds over the last decade, and new capabilities are being introduced on a consistent basis. In 2014, we continued to improve our production capabilities and grow our capacity to meet the needs of our community.
We opened the doors to our brand new factory in Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week. The new space now accommodates the explosive growth we’ve seen over the past few years and enables us to create even more of the amazing products that come through our printers every day.
This year we also introduced a new pricing structure for our Strong & Flexible Plastics and Steel products. This decision came as we learned more about the true cost of manufacturing and what is possible. With this new structure, we have witnessed our community expand their knowledge of design to create more amazing products.
What does this mean for 2015?
We’ll continue to make continuous improvements and breakthrough innovations in our production to enable designers to create amazing products that are more affordable for consumers to buy.
Lead times will continue to decrease and designs will come to life even faster.
Across the 3D printing industry, advancements in production will translate to advancements in additional fields, such as medicine, design, education and more.
Out of This World & Unexpected Applications: Fashion, Apps & Education
From 3D printing in space to Santa’s belt buckle, we saw some mind blowing inventions and innovations from the Shapeways community in 2014. 3D printing enables endless possibilities, and these dreams became a reality.
We’ve been reaching for the stars and thinking what we can create among them ever since being inspired by the the actual 3D printer that was sent into space in September, marking the beginning of manufacturing in space. While we wait to see what is possible, we’ve been working with Future Engineers, ASME and Made in Space empowering kids to design tools that can be printed and used in space.
We saw an explosion in wearable tech accessories, including the introduction of wearable bands, cases and fitness accessories. We had iPhone cases before the 6 was even on shelves, Moto 360 bumpers before Best Buy, and Microsoft Band Stand’s before Microsoft realized consumers wanted them.
The fashion industry saw 3D printing in a whole new way this year. Everybody wants to know when they will be able to proudly wear a 3D printed shirt, and while we’re not quite there yet we are SO close: Fashion Weeks around the world saw 3D printed clothes walk down the runway, thanks to designers like Katya Leonovich, Bradley Rothenberg and Iris van Herpen.
Accessories merging form and function became more customized as apps like Normal came to market. The first to scan the ear and face, Normal configures customized headphones that will actually stay in your ears.
Over the summer, in partnership with Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, Shapeways supported the first-ever group of Computational Fashion Masterclass Students. The finished designs from that class were displayed during Fashion Week in September.
Most recently, design studio Nervous System introduced the first-ever wearable dress that was 3D printed in one piece. The design and final product are so impressive, the Museum of Modern Art has acquired it for their permanent collection!
What does this mean for 2015?
Intense product innovation. There is less holding designers back and 2015 will be the year we see more 3D printed wearables, medical devices, tools for the kitchen and more.
Customers won’t settle for “one size fits all” accessories. Headphones, phone cases and other personal accessories will become customized to fit a specific person’s needs.
The manufacturing of 3D printed goods will step up more than ever before. As designers looks to create products that will appeal to a broader audience (like clothes, headphones, etc.), they will need a more efficient process that allows their designs to be created quickly and be less expensive than before.
Whew! 2014 was quite the year, but we’re so excited to see what 2015 has in store. Stay tuned on the blog for more roundups from 2014 and insights into next year.
While there is much for us to recap at the end of every year, it’s really an opportunity for all of us to reflect on how amazing our community is. YOU are what make Shapeways possible and it’s YOU we are most grateful for this holiday season. We would love know, as we’ve already shared a few, what are your favorite memories from 2014? What are your goals for 2015? We’re all ears and printers!
This post was made possible by the entire team at Shapeways, especially Mansee, Lauren, Carine and Savannah.
Do you have a Shapeways story to tell? Has something you made an impact on someone else? Have you learned something you think others would benefit from? Now is the time to let us know. Consider this your official invitation to share your #SWStories for a chance to be featured on the website and win Shapeways credit. Have a story you’d like to share with us but don’t want the world to know? That’s okay too, just check the anonymous box .
Every year you never cease to amaze us, and this past Saturday was no exception. In an effort to keep the positive holiday spirit up despite our site downtime, we asked you to share your #SWPaws. I’ll be recapping the experience in full later this week, but here’s a story I cannot wait to share with you any longer.
Meet Kai, a Reindeer in the The Netherlands. He’s here with the “boss,” who has a 3D printed Kai inspired belt buckle and hat broach. Yes, this is real, and more importantly it is a story we never would have heard about if we hadn’t asked you to share.
So please, tell us what we don’t know .
(If you’re just dying to see some more #SWPaws, you can take a peak here)
Derby, an adorable husky mix was born with underdeveloped forearms (or forepaws as I like to call them) and a hyper developed sense of adventure. Undeterred by his condition, Derby’s foster parents experimented with a few mobility mechanisms and elbow pads for him before turning to 3D Printed prosthesis. Derby’s custom paws just allowed him to run for the first time, an activity he and his adopted parents have every day since.
If this doesn’t warm your heart and show you the healing power of 3D printing… perhaps this story about Shapeways’ Designer Melissa Ng, of Lumecluster, and the custom prosthesis she made earlier this year will:
Know a pooch or person in need of prosthesis? Connect them to our community in the forums or reach out to me personally, Savannah@Shapeways.com. I’d love to help the dreams come true of our 2, 3 and 4 legged friends.
Have you had to update everything from your case to your jean pocket size since upgrading your phone? We too have adapted to the bigger-is-better trend taking the product world by storm.
Announcing a Bigger Polished Strong & Flexible Bounding Box!
Thanks to a little R&D, we are excited to expand our current bounding box limitation for Dyed & White Strong & Flexible Polished from 150 x 150 x 150mm to 150 x 150 x 200mm!
This means that our entire Strong & Flexible Plastic family is iPhone 6 Plus case friendly! We look forward to seeing the colorful creations you polish with this expanded bounding box.
What other bounding boxes do you wish would expand?
Friends who have very specific interests are generally pretty easy to shop for, right? If they love to cook, you can never go wrong with a fun new kitchen gadget. Have an artistic friend? Get them something that will really showcase their creativity. And for those friends who rarely miss a workout, we’ve got unique gifts for them right here on Shapeways!
Help them accessorize their fitness tech, without missing a step. Below are some of our picks for the fitness buffs in your life.
Don’t forget to check out our Gift Guide for other gift ideas!
Are you looking for the perfect unique gift for a geeky friend or loved one (or even yourself)? Look no further than Shapeways this holiday season. If you’re like me, a tech geek who is experiencing electronics overload and is looking for a cool geeky gift to buy this year that doesn’t run of batteries, I’d suggest exploring a 3D printed product this year. I’ve taken the time to curate some cool 3D printed products that any geek would love this year. Here are my picks!
1) A Personalized 3D printed Wire Frame Astronaut by VidalCris
2) Mobius Nautilus by JoaBaldwin
Why not give the gift of a Mobius Strip of Mobius strips?
3) Wave by Egant - Wave is a toy that can unexpectedly transfer liquid using the physics of a syphon.
4) Wyvern Skeleton by Brian Richardson
5) Stereographic projection grid by Henry Segerman
Do yourself a favor this year and give a product that makes your friends and family appreciate the technology of 3D printing, while making you look awesome for doing it!
We’re really excited to share a new, exclusive material at Shapeways: 3D printed porcelain.
3D Printed Porcelain R&D
For the past year and a half, we’ve been exploring new options for ceramics based on the feedback we’ve heard loud and clear from our community. You told us that you want ceramics that are faster, more durable, more functional, and more colorful. This material didn’t exist, but that didn’t stop us. We created an R&D taskforce who have been working hard in our secret lab to develop a new way of 3D printing beautiful, durable porcelain. This is our first major investment in end to end material R&D.
The new 3D printed porcelain is groundbreaking, with quality and detail that mirrors traditional ceramics processes and the design flexibility of 3D printing. Utilizing a castable porcelain body created by Dr. Stuart Uram of Core Cast Ceramics with the support of Albert Pfarr, we developed an innovative process for producing 3D printed porcelain products. By combining the SLS printers that produce our Strong and Flexible Plastic with an innovative porcelain casting process, we can create detailed and durable products that are fired and glazed just like conventional ceramics. Using the best of 3D printing and traditional ceramics, we’re able to create the sort of quality you could only find in high end, handmade porcelain.
Here’s what you can expect from 3D printed porcelain, only available at Shapeways:
- Amazing Colors – From cobalt blue to matte black, 3D Printed Porcelain will be available in classic colors that call upon the porcelain tradition.
- Durable & Functional – Porcelain is dishwasher, oven, and microwave safe. You can even make baking dishes and pizza stones!
- Gorgeous Detail – Porcelain enables you to design with very high detail and thin, translucent glazes.
- Big & Bold – The strength enables thick and larger products, so we’ll be able to help you scale to the whims of your imagination.
Community R&D and Pilot
To start, 3D printed porcelain will be available in a limited pilot with the goal of improving our process and design guidelines. When we are ready to deliver amazing results to the masses, we’ll open this up as a material available for sale to shoppers in our marketplace.
If you are an experienced designer and would like to be considered for the pilot, Sign up here. We’ll start with a small group and expand as we learn more.
What does this mean for the current 3D printed ceramics?
You have probably noticed that ceramics has been plagued with problems for a while. For the last several months, our production partner for ceramics has been operating with significant delays. In order to ensure we set the right expectations, we’ve had to increase lead times from 13 days to 18 days to 22 days over the course of the last year.
At 22 days, our production partner was only shipping at 30% on time, which is simply unacceptable. We increased lead time to 45 days in October to set more accurate expectations, but whether you’re creating products for your business or waiting for a gift, these delays are unacceptable.
Given the uncertainty and delays, we had to make a hard decision and, as of today, will stop offering the current ceramics materials for the foreseeable future. Designers selling in ceramics are in the loop and will be key partners for us in the pilot and future R&D. We’re incredibly disappointed to have to take this step, but you deserve better.
Our goal is to make 3D printing affordable and accessible so that you can make amazing products. Unfortunately, current 3D printed ceramics just didn’t cut it anymore. We’re excited to bring an entirely new material to the design community and more than anything else, we cannot wait to see what you make! Here’s a teaser of porcelain in action: