Category Archives: Shop Owner

How to Turn Your Hobby into 7000 Items Sold

Grant 4-4-0 Metal - Zscale by Stony Smith Designs

Grant 4-4-0 Metal – Zscale by Stony Smith Designs

What do you doodle on the margins of your notes? Stay up late reading about online? Build communities around? Whatever it is, chances are you have something 3-dimensional to contribute to it.

For Stony Smith, who just sold his 7,000th scale model railroad accessory on Shapeways (!!), the seeds of that hobby were planted early on. His parents “were both very crafty, and very strongly into Do It Yourself,” he told us. Today, Smith is a uniquely Shapeways kind of success story – one that proves that, with the right tools, an individual’s hobby can end up enriching a whole community.

As we celebrate his 7000th sale, we thought it was a great time to ask him about the secrets of his success. Take note!

Start With What You Love, and Make It Better

Stony Smith took his love of drawing, combined it with his love of architecture, and then, went 3D. “I’ve worked with 3D design/drawing since 1974, but it was always limited to just 2D renders until 3D printing came along. In 2008, I started building a Zscale (1:220), but I found that the choices for buildings in that scale are extremely limited. I fumbled for a good while with trying to make paper model buildings. Sometime in 2009, I read about Shapeways on the HackADay.com website, and thought, ‘I wonder if 3d printing would work?’ I built a model [of a house], uploaded it, and received a ‘Manifold Error’ message. After several misdirections, I redrew the house using OpenSCAD, and poof! It worked!” OpenSCAD is a great way to create 3D models if you have some programming experience, or have zero 3D modeling experience. Learn more here.

The real-life house that inspired Stony's first 3D printed design

The real-life house that inspired Stony’s first 3D printed design

Get to Know Your Community, and Follow Their Lead

Stony was immersed in a community of makers who all loved scale models, and who challenged each other to create and innovate. “Since 2008 I’ve participated in a forum of fellow ‘Z-heads’ and [I] showed the model to one of the members, Steve Van Til (RIP), who then asked me the crucial question: ‘That’s cool, but can you make one of these?’ That’s where it all started. I could blame all of this on Steve. It’s been a never-ending cycle of ‘That’s cool, can you make one of these?’ ever since.”

Stony's response to "That's cool, but can you make one of these?" The Taconite Orr Car II

Stony’s response to “That’s cool, but can you make one of these?” The Taconite Orr Car II

Embrace Making as a Pure Hobby (Unless You’re Looking to Become a Brand)

Sometimes, you want to make a huge mark on an industry. Sometimes, it’s better to let your day job be your job, and your hobby be purely fun (even if it makes you money). Stony stresses, “This is a HOBBY for me. There’s enough ‘work’ in my day job to keep me fully active. I get a significant amount of relaxation and satisfaction just while doing the drawings, and that’s why I only work on designing things that look interesting to me or catch my attention. I don’t need the distraction of trying to become dependent on the income. That would make this a ‘job’ not a ‘hobby.’ And when someone takes one of my items, paints it properly and places it on their layout, then if I see it in a photo or IRL, the thrill of ‘I did that!’ is what keeps me going.”

Let Your Other Passions Inspire You

For Smith, a career that he truly enjoys inspires how he manages his Shapeways Shop. “My day job is in high-powered big data analytics. Throughout my career, I’ve always been ‘the computer guy.’ There are a number of methods/tools from the day job that I bring over to watching the status of my shop here at Shapeways, like knowing that I’ve sold 7000 items!” He’s also surpassed $10,000 in sales, as we reported last year.

So, what are you waiting for? Do you have a hobby you’d like to take to the next level, but you’re not quite sure how? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll be happy to connect you with the resources you need. Ask away!

Cover image: Ferris Wheel – Zscale by Stony Smith Designs, photo by Karin Snyder

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

Designer Spotlight: Nikolay Vorobyov — Disculpt

From his childhood in a small rural village to a career in cutting-edge 3D design, Nikolay Vorobyov of Disculpt proves that inspiration — and  innovation — can come from unlikely places. We were floored by his detailed, soulful depictions of wild animals, and we were even more impressed by his passion for creating them. Read on to find out how Nikolay bridges the gap between the digital and physical worlds.

Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! How did you decide to focus on these animal-inspired designs?
I grew up in a small village in the north of Russia on the banks of the river, on all sides surrounded by forests. In my childhood, I was always around a lot of animals, both domestic and wild in the nearby forest. Later, in my work, my interest in animals sculptures grew from real custom orders.

Deer Head Ring by Disculpt

Deer Head Ring by Disculpt

Having studied architecture, was it difficult to transition into creating natural-looking animal sculptures?
I tried a few jobs, from architecture to 3D game character design and animation, and eventually, digital sculpture. It was at a time when 3D printing had become more accessible.

How did you approach prototyping your jewelry?
Gradually, in my work with clients, the priority has shifted to sculpture for 3D printing instead of real-time models, and I like it, not depending on polycount, textures, or game engines. And most importantly, the possibility of seeing my own creation as part of material world. Now I have a little studio, and I can work at my pleasure. Modern technologies like 3D printing gave me this possibility. I hope sometime in the future I will be able to maintain my own production, instead of only digital sculpting.

Of course, when I became aware of the existence of Shapeways, I wanted to try to make something in metal or plastic. I had not thought too long what it could be, so naturally animals are my first experiment, in jewelry and wall-mounted heads.

Two Ravens Ring by Disculpt

Two Ravens Ring by Disculpt

Were there any particular challenges you needed to approach in the design of any of your products?
Was it difficult? I think i just went to what I’ve always wanted. I had much to learn by myself for many sleepless nights, but it was worth it.

I think I am a perfectionist. I dive into the fine details, trying to make the model more realistic. Sometimes i want to shout to myself, “Enough, stop it, go do something else already!”

To work with Shapeways was very, easy, and the latest updates makes it even easier. Shapeways gave me a chance to offer my digital art to people from around the world. And it has already ceased to be only “digital.” Now it is “real,” “material,” “actual.”

Proud Wolf Head by Disculpt

Proud Wolf Head by Disculpt

Thanks for sharing your process with us, Nikolay! Don’t miss his full range of designs in his Shapeways shop, and leave a comment below if you’d like to be featured in a future Designer Spotlight.

Celebrating Alienology’s Academy Award Nomination!

Sometimes, you stumble across a story that instantly needs to be shared. Yesterday evening, long-term community member Alienology announced out that he, as part of the Art Department team of the movie “Passengers” led by Production Designer Guy Hendricks Dyas, has been nominated for nothing less than an Academy Award for Best Production Design. The movie, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, tells a story of 5000 people making a 120-year long intergalactic journey — with the two main characters waking up from their hypersleep while only 1/4 of their way through the trip. An enormous starship called Avalon is their carefully (3D) designed carriage for the trip across the vast nothingness of space.

Back in 2009, Igor Knezevic joined the Shapeways community as Alienology. Over the years, he’s featured an impressive variety of futuristic designs in his shop, offering products ranging from jewelry to lamp shades. While we were already impressed by his designs, we were thrilled to learn that Igor’s design skills had made their way into Hollywood. HUGE congratulations to Igor for his work and for being recognized by the Academy! Check out more of Igor’s work below:


Recent work “Living Pods” together with Anouk Wipprecht for SOMFY. Read the full story behind this project here.

Alienology 1 Clothoid.A Lamp – Also featured in WIRED Magazine (US Edition – October 2012). Photo courtesy of Alienology.

Alienology 2 Dualnexus Bracelet. Photo courtesy of Alienology.

Alienology 3 Guilloche Necklace. Photo courtesy of Alienology.

Give Dice Worth Showing Off

You keep them in a special pouch. You imbue them with luck to protect you from eldritch powers. And, you definitely mind when others ask to use them. Dice are a game lover’s secret sauce. So, as we celebrate all the ways our loved ones Geek Out this holiday season, we’re highlighting some of the most uniquely beautiful dice we’ve seen, by one of our community’s most prolific gaming designers, Chris Vos of Tiny Tokens.

His D20 Balanced Gaming Die, as featured in the Gamemaster collection in our Holiday Gift Guide, is designed in the visual style of the Kaladesh Magic the Gathering expansion. Its unusual artistry is sure to set apart anyone lucky enough to own it. As a regular D20 die, this piece works for Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, and other RPGs. A spindown version that can be used as a life counter is also available.

D20 Balanced Gaming Die by Tiny Tokens

D20 Balanced Gaming Die by Tiny Tokens

And, if you’re looking to spoil your favorite gamemaster, the Starry Gaming Die Set below will set them up for whatever the game’s adventures bring.

'Starry' Gaming Die Set: D20, D12, D10, D8, D6, D4 by Tiny Tokens

‘Starry’ Gaming Die Set: D20, D12, D10, D8, D6, D4 by Tiny Tokens

3D printing has allowed for an explosion in creativity in the world of game design, resulting in intricately detailed collectors’ items like Chris Vos’ creations — perfect gifts for players who want to stand out from the crowd.

Discover even more incredible dice and gaming accessories in our Gamemaster collection, and check out our full Holiday Gift Guide for everyone else on your list.

When Skulls Meet Holiday Gifting

Skull motifs have long been used as a way to express a unique identity, whether for goths, punks, or bohemian hipsters. So, it’s only fitting that in a week that’s all about self-expression, we’re taking a closer look at a designer who transforms CT-scanned skulls into personal accessories.

Great Horned Owl Pendant by Skeletal Skulpture and Mathematikal Artifakts

Great Horned Owl Pendant by Scott Camazine

Scott Camazine, a biologist with a passion for “the incomparable designs found in nature,” tapped into 3D printing to express his artistic side. Now, he turns CT-scanned skulls and shapes derived from algorithms into beautiful objects and jewelry, all available in his Skeletal Skulpture and Mathematikal Artifakts Shapeways shop.

Jacaré Alligator Skull by Scott Camazine

Jacaré Alligator Skull by Scott Camazine

Whether human or animal in origin, Scott’s anatomically correct skeletal jewelry makes for perfectly offbeat holiday gifts for those unafraid to make a style statement. With the rise of Southwestern-tinged style over the last several years, they’re also on-trend for anyone who might be inclined to use bleached skulls as wall décor. Plus, when 3D printed in gorgeous metals, they’re both elegant and ethical.

For more gifting inspiration for all the unique tastes and personalities on your list, check out our Holiday Gift Guide and this week’s Express Yourself collections.

Jewelry From the Future

Fashion’s love affair with geometric design shows no sign of letting up, making geometry-inspired pieces perfect holiday gifts for the fashionistas in your life. At Shapeways, we see a lot of incredible geometric jewelry from our designers. The 3D design process makes manipulating mathematical shapes a natural fit. But, sometimes, a designer comes along who takes a simple idea — the polygon — and uses it to make a fashion statement that seems to come to us from the future.

Ring Poly One by AKK

Ring Poly One by AKK

AKK designer Aleksandar Kovacevic’s Poly series of rings, bracelets, and earrings started from a simple place. “In the beginning was the Polygon … the whole idea was about entering the world of jewelry design and 3D printing with a collection developed from one single polygon,” he told us.

Bangle Poly Nine by AKK

Bangle Poly Nine by AKK

“I wanted to design statement pieces for all individuals who aren’t afraid to show that they are different,” Aleksandar said of his “harmonic compositions” of polygons. Whether worn as multiple cascading, stacking pieces, or alone, the rings and bangles in the AKK shop seem to have a life — and a movement — all their own.

Earrings Poly Eleven by AKK

Earrings Poly Eleven by AKK

The groundbreaking look of AKK’s 3D printed pieces is no accident. “Without today’s 3D printing possibilities, having my own jewelry collection would still be just a thought. 3D printing technology really helped me express myself the way I could never imagine.” We hope you’ll be as inspired by Aleksandar’s creations as we were, whether you’re shopping for cutting-edge holiday gifts for stylish friends, or looking to try your hand at 3D design.

And, for even more gifting inspiration, dig into our Holiday Gift Guide, where you’ll find hundreds of ways to help your loved ones express themselves all year long.

The Surprising Menorah That Remixes Tradition

While exploring the beautiful Judaica in this year’s Holiday Gift Guide, I was struck by the modernist geometric menorahs, yarmulkes, and kippahs in Craig Kaplan’s Mathematical Art Shapeways shop. Hanukkah is often associated with traditional Judaica, but Kaplan takes it to a new place altogether.

Craig Kaplan's Framework Menorah

Craig Kaplan’s Framework Menorah

When I asked Craig about the inspiration behind his modernist menorahs, he echoed what many of our designers have shared: that their designs are as much about experimenting with new forms as they are about bringing a vision to life. “I love menorahs as designed objects. It’s an interesting space in which to explore, because there are many beautiful and unusual forms that can fulfill the basic functional needs of a menorah. Of course, I also turned to these objects because I have a certain nostalgia for them from my childhood,” he shared.

yarmulke

Kaplan’s Yarmulke One

Fusing ritual objects, graphical exploration (Craig is a computer science professor at the University of Waterloo, Canada), and the warmth of the holiday, Craig Kaplan’s Mathematical Art can help you celebrate The Festival of Lights in a way that fits your family’s unique tastes and traditions.

For more holiday décor and inspiration, be sure to visit our Holiday Gift Guide. And, in the comments, let us know how your family puts their own spin on Hanukkah.

Christmas Ornaments Inspired by the Beauty of Math

Trimming the tree as fluffy snowflakes fall outside. It’s a vision of Christmastime that always inspires the warm fuzzies. But how often do we think about the math behind a snowflake’s beauty? Designer Sarah Berube of Diametric Arts does. Her gorgeous Snowflakes series of ornaments, sculptures, and jewelry uses icosahedral symmetry to emulate nature’s frozen works of art.

Designer Sarah Berube's Octahedral Snowflakes 2

Designer Sarah Berube’s Octahedral Snowflakes 2

In her Entangled Snowflakes, Berube takes 20 identical snowflakes (you can also buy the individual pieces here), connecting them at 12 different nodes to create a dense interlocking object — one that couldn’t have existed before 3D printing. Through an experimental design process, Berube explores and discovers new forms.

Berube's Entangled Snowflakes (Full Version)

Berube’s Entangled Snowflakes (Full Version)

Whether hanging from your Christmas tree or tucked beneath it in a gift box, Diametric Arts’ Snowflakes make for perfectly brilliant holiday accessories. Discover more of Sarah Berube’s creations in her Shapeways Shop. And check out our Holiday Gift Guide for hundreds of gifting ideas from independent designers, from Christmas décor to presents for all the unique personalities on your list.

How Does a Microbiologist Turn Into a Jeweler?

Today’s guest blog comes from Gabriel Guzman of 3D to the 3e. Gabriel, a professor of microbiology and a jewelry designer, has found a perfect way to combine his passion for science with a love of design. He lets us in on how his Crochet Pendant went from concept to reality — and helped him go from scientist to designer.

guzman

Designer Gabriel Guzman’s Crochet Pendant and Earrings

To me, a biochemist and a microbiologist, the design process for 3D printing has a lot in common with designing an experiment in the lab. First there is a general idea that generates a possible solution — a hypothesis. Then there is the use of design tools to shape that idea into something printable. And, of course, continuous prototyping to explore different versions of the design. Finally, one of the iterations will have the aesthetics, balance, and curiosity, if you will, that might make somebody ask, “How did you do that?”

When I first began to design the Crochet Pendant, I did have a pendant in mind, but the final design didn’t emerge until after I played with a number of different iterations. The name, however, came after looking at the final design — and a crochet piece that I saw on a table. My mother used to have a lot of doilies and other table covers made with crochet.

In terms of the technical design process, I was getting my hands wet with an experimental app from Autodesk called Project Shapeshifter, which allowed for the creation of generative designs. Generative design is a method in which the final model is generated by a computer program following a set of rules or an algorithm. I started with a general shape that I had in mind, but I didn’t know what I would end up with in terms of the final object. So, I tested different parameters in Shapeshifter, until one of the many iterations had everything I wanted to see in the pendant.

I began with the idea of a circular object, with details based on the repetitive pattern of a honeycomb. Shapeshifter only generated the file to be printed, but a pendant needs a loop, a bail, or something to pass a chain through. I chose Tinkercad for that purpose because the software was free and easy to use. I designed a very simple loop, which wasn’t circular but followed the shape of the pattern, and the end result was a piece that has generated a lot of comments, but more important, a piece that I was satisfied with. Perhaps the most important lesson for me is that none of my finished designs are exactly as I first imagine them, and they really don’t have to. Every finished design is a result of tweaking, and rethinking possibilities.

The reaction from people, especially if they don’t know anything about 3D printing, is of amazement that a machine can make jewelry. The metal version of the pendant didn’t happen until about three months after I printed the first version at home in a mint-colored plastic. My wife wore the pendant during that year’s commencement ceremony and my colleagues kept asking her about the piece, and then kept asking me about how it was made. I never imagined that a piece made in plastic could draw that much attention!

For those with experience designing jewelry the old-fashioned way (by sculpting wax), they recognize what 3D printing technology can do for their own creativity. It helps them go beyond the traditional wax sculpting into digital sculpting. But, for the novice, this technology is also a way to democratize art. Perhaps the most common question I get is, “How does a microbiologist turn into a jeweler?” If people consider me a jeweler, I take that as a big compliment! After all, I didn’t go to art school, although I do have some background in graphic design, but I never fancied myself a jeweler until I began experimenting with 3D printing.

Shaping Dutch Design: Eva Poulopoulou

In celebration of Dutch Design Week 2016, our Shaping Dutch Design series will take a closer look at a few of the dozens of Dutch designers who are part of the Shapeways EXPO this year and, of course, our global maker community all year round. Make sure to visit us in person if you’re in Eindhoven this week, and follow us here, on InstagramTwitter, and on Facebook for live updates from #DDW16.

Architect Eva Poulopoulou, the designer behind PULU, began her career in digital arts and 3D animation. With a background that includes building both real-life structures and virtual worlds, it only makes sense that her designs display the influence of digital design on functional objects.

The best expression of her design ethos may be her striking Pineapple Lamp, a hit at this year’s Shapeways EXPO at Dutch Design Week. Digital modeling allows her to create a shape that appears delicate, almost paper-like — but has surprising strength. Tiny cutout petals, evoking a pineapple’s skin, rise from the surface of the lampshade, casting an intricate pattern of light.

PULU designs at Dutch Design Week's Shapeways EXPO

PULU designs at Dutch Design Week’s Shapeways EXPO

Other PULU pieces that borrow from natural forms include the Urchin Bracelet and Pendant. These pieces manage to be at once soft and spiky, like the sea creatures that inspired them.


Stop by Shapeways EXPO at Dutch Design Week to see Poulopoulou’s designs, or visit her Shapeways shop any time. And make sure to follow PULU to keep up to speed on the future fruits of her creativity.

Five Easy Ways to Supercharge Your SEO

To help our shop owners get ready for the busiest sales weeks of the year, we’re re-sharing this post from our Shop Owner bootcamp series. All insights courtesy our performance marketing pro, Jeanne, who shows us how to make your SEO airtight — and drive shoppers to your store.

eggbot-mygadgetlife-shapeways

Scottish Shapie Shop Owner MyGadgetLife has some of the best product descriptions on Shapeways. Check out his eggbot (above) and his moon mobius to get inspired for your shop!

5 Easy Ways (Under 5 Minutes) to Get Your Products Picked Up by Google

We’ve already talked about various ways to get customers to your shop, but today we’re going to dive even deeper and talk about the importance of search engine results (SEO). Currently, organic search results are one of the top drivers to Shapeways. The more you can get your products in search engine results, the more likely a potential customer will visit your product page and make a purchase. Below are five tips to get your products search engine optimized in minutes.

#1 Use Specific Keywords in Your Product Titles & Descriptions

Your model titles and descriptions are used not only on your model page on Shapeways, but in search engine search results – a two for one! So, titles and descriptions with specific, relevant keywords will help your products appear in and get people to click (which helps it to surface even more frequently).

Action: You can spend a lot of time on keyword optimization, but here are two easy ways to get started:

  • If you were to search for your product, what would you type in a search engine? Make sure those keywords are in both your title and description

  • Be as specific as possible with your description, including all the peripheral search terms that might be relevant (synonyms, the category that your product belongs in, types of customization or personalization, etc.)

For example, if I title my product “Holiday Ornament,” the likelihood that my product will show up on the first few pages of Google is very low (there are a total of 22.8m search results). Sucks, I know. But if I title it “Custom holiday ornament with initial,” I’m competing against 8.7m search results. And in my description, I’ll write “Christmas or holiday ornament can be customized with initials, monograms, names, images, and is a great unique gift for your loved ones.” Sounds wordy, but it works.

#2 Update Titles & Descriptions to a Certain Length

Anything too long or too short is suspected by search engines to be of low quality. There is a min and approximate max, and you are penalized with less opportunity to turn up in search results for it.

Action: Titles should be about 6 to 8 words (55 characters), with the most important words in the beginning. Descriptions should be at least 15 words (160 characters) with keywords described above in it, as that’s the snippet that gets viewed in search results so you want it to be enticing! Use natural language (the way you would normally talk or write) in your descriptions, including facts and statements to help viewers see the value of your product immediately.

Description

#3 Give Your Images Captions with Keywords

A picture is worth a thousand words. Your product photos should be clear, product-focused, well-lit, show materials variety, and be in as high a resolution as possible. More and more people are finding Shapeways products through image searches on search engines (i.e. Google, Bing, etc). Including a clear photo and a description with keywords will increase the likelihood it will get picked up in image searches (known as an “Alt text”).

Action: In the Details tab of your model, fill in the image caption with keywords, starting with the ones most relevant to your product. For example, for this ornament I created with Shapeways ornament creator, my caption is “Custom Christmas holiday ornament with organic design”

Image caption

#4 Every Product is Unique, so its Title and Description Should Be Too!

Every model should have a unique title and description. Duplications are penalized by search engines because it assumes the viewer won’t have a good experience if there’s a lot of too-similar content.  Unique titles and descriptions will help your products get shown by search engines.

Action: Give your product titles and descriptions. Your products are unique and their titles and descriptions should be too.  little bit different is better than no difference at all.

#5 Your Shop Description is Prime for SEO Opportunity

Your shop page is full of opportunities for search engines to pick up, with your product and their titles, image alt text, and the robust area to write in a shop description.

Action: Update your Shop Description in your Shapeways Shop Settings with examples of your products types, your background and your expertise designing them. Feel free to elaborate on your designs and products, as the more relevant keywords on the page compared to non-relevant keywords, the better.

Bonus: Also add an extended description for your shop page.

Shop Description

Search engine optimization is a time-intensive and ever-evolving process, but the key tenets are consistent: quality content, natural descriptions, and following basic guidelines will go a long way.

What keyword search do you wish you were the #1 result for?

 

This post has been updated by Angela Linneman.

Designer Spotlight: Cynthia Breheny – President Guinea Pig & Co.

Cynthia Breheny’s President Guinea Pig & Co. shop on Shapeways is full of whimsical designs which are illustrated not only by super cute product shots but also in the inspiration behind the products. We chatted with Cynthia to find out more — and obviously to learn the story behind her shop name.

How did you come up with the shop name President Guinea Pig & Co.?
The name for my shop is a remnant from an old comic I used to draw as a kid. I would get my class work finished early and draw comics in my notebook. Unfortunately, it kept the kids around me from finishing their work!

Can you let me in on the inspiration behind a few of your pieces? Let’s start with Charles the Great White Hair Comb.
Charles was inspired by my sister. She had a close encounter with a manatee who came up to say, “Hi” while she was floating on her back. Thinking it was a shark, she bolted out of the water, screaming like a banshee. Many inside jokes later, the manatee became an imaginary shark named Charles who can be blamed for all false alarms.

pgpac2

How about the Hana Tentacle Hair Comb?
The Hana Tentacle Comb was partly inspired by my husband’s Japanese heritage and partly by an octopus at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I spent a long time watching it in the exhibit on our anniversary last year and found out they recognize people by “tasting” them with their tentacles. I thought that was cute — in an admittedly creepy way. Combine that with cherry blossom paintings done by my husband’s grandmother and you’ve got yourself a hair comb!

pgpac3

Any other items you feel have a compelling or fun story/background behind them?
One piece I’ve always been proud of is my first successful interlocking print – the Heart Charm Ring. It’s modeled after a ring my grandmother gave me when I was four. It was my favorite ring and I wore it every day. Being that my fingers have grown since then, I couldn’t wear it anymore, so I made it (with slight modifications to the design that I liked better) with 3D printing! That’s what really solidified my love for the process. The fact that you can recreate something you lost or make a better version — your idealized recollection of a treasured possession is so amazing. We can literally manufacture dreams now.

It sounds like your style is influenced by your family. Tell me more!
My grandfather is a former Disney employee. He worked there for 27 years as a handyman after bringing his wife and kids here from Cuba. During his time working there, he won multiple awards for designing tools and fixtures that increased efficiency in the hotels and rides. He paints, writes music and poetry, and makes instruments out of dried fruit. It’s because of him that I learned to draw inspiration from pretty much everything.

Definitely check out Cynthia’s shop on Shapeways for a gorgeous example of a shop that’s leveraging incredible product shots to highlight her designs.

Shaping Dutch Design: Anna Ruiter

In celebration of Dutch Design Week 2016, our Shaping Dutch Design series will take a closer look at a few of the dozens of Dutch designers who are part of the Shapeways EXPO this year and, of course, our global maker community all year round. Make sure to visit us in person if you’re in Eindhoven this week, and follow us here, on InstagramTwitter, and on Facebook for live updates from #DDW16.


Anna Ruiter of Tjielp Design creates intricate jewelry that brings traditional shapes into the future. Many of her playful, stylish pieces might never have existed without 3D printing. Like her Russian doll-inspired Wireframe Heart pendants and earrings, which feature an open geodesic heart enclosing a smaller, solid faceted heart. With traditional manufacturing, creating such an object-within-an-object would be almost impossible. With 3D printing, the entire piece is created in a single print.

In Ruiter’s Heart Facet pieces, the heart becomes solid, its geometry at the forefront. The timeless symbol of love meets design’s cutting edge. Now that’s a future we can get behind.


If you’re in Eindhoven this week, come see Anna Ruiter’s designs in person at Shapeways EXPO at Dutch Design Week. If not, you can still pick out your favorite pieces from her Shapeways shop. In timeless metals or playful plastics, we promise that you — or a friend — will heart them.

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Anna Ruiter’s Wireframe Heart and Heart Facet jewelry on display at Shapeways EXPO at Dutch Design Week