Category Archives: 3D Printed

Meet Two Women Changing the Face of Cosplay

TheLaserGirls (Sarah C. Awad and Dhemerae Ford) are powerhouses of cosplay, 3D design, and general badassery. On their podcast and blog, they show in vivid detail how two creative people have turned their love of fantasy, sci-fi, and cosplay into incredible 3D printed costumes and accessories – while empowering others to do the same. Last week, I had a chance to take a deep dive into what drives TheLaserGirls.

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I really admire you, and I’m sure many of your fans do as well, for showing that cosplay and fantasy/sci-fi can be welcoming, creatively inspiring spaces that women can help define. How do you see yourselves in terms overcoming traditional gender dynamics in those worlds?

The characters we portray and our undying love for them are just two parts of what we do with cosplay. Obviously, we choose to portray women that have shaped us through our lives, and to us represent strength in more nuanced and unique ways. One could say that the “Strong Female Character” is now a trope in itself that has become overly-simplified, and we want to open the box again and reintroduce diversity to that definition.

For Dhemerae, it is also about paying homage and thanking these characters for the impact that they had had on her, and for Sarah, it is also about giving them the attention and portrayal she wanted for them. Many of the characters Sarah loves, she feels were foundationally incredible, but were lessened by either a lack of exposure publicly or storylines that smothered them. Through cosplay, she hopes to give them a new platform to showcase their amazingness!

The other huge portion of this is our focus in making. What we want show is that making is meaningful – more accessible than one would think – and just [show] the joy of creating and building something: here’s a project, and this is how we made it, and it’s awesome, and it’s fun, and it’s challenging, and it betters you, and you can do it too, and here’s how. 3D printing has a wide and deep context that we have found turns many people away because they do not feel they are capable of unlocking it. We want to show and help people clear that wall; it is less about the final product (because if you love what you’re doing, you will look great!) and more about being creative and learning how to build something functional that makes you feel amazing and that gives back to your influences.

How did you get interested in cosplay? Did you each have a separate journey to where you are today, or did you draw inspiration from each other and get involved in creating costumes after you met?

S: I’ve always been interested in cosplay. I was a big anime fan as a tween/teen and I was also a performer, so cosplay was the ultimate marriage of the two. I did a few smaller cosplays with my siblings when I was younger, but never ended up pursuing it like I do now. I think fondly on those days, because when I started cosplaying again in my 20s, I remembered the sense of confidence I felt when I created it and wore it, and witnessed how I affected other people through it. It is a full circle moment for me.

I think working with Dhemerae has helped me unlock a completely different side of making within me that I would have never been able to access on my own, and that has hugely influenced and opened up my mind to what I’m capable of doing with cosplay.

Sarah in Queen Knight cosplay

Sarah in Queen Knight cosplay

D: I’ve always been interested but never had the confidence while I was younger to actually do it. Once I got involved with 3D printing, met Sarah, and began to hone my skills, I really proved to myself that I could in fact do it! This is sort of my time to revisit that interest and finally realize the characters that I always admired and loved.

Tell me about the moment you first used 3D modeling and 3D printing to trick out your costumes. What was your early process like?

D: The first thing I made was San’s mask from my favorite animated film, Princess Mononoke. I had this idea to use the ProJet 660 (sandstone printer) to create a lightweight hollow mask that mimicked the look and feel of a handmade mask. I also wanted to add my own artistic spin by creating some sinister looking cracks in the surface for a weathering effect. I had to print three iterations before I got the size right, and the mechanical component I spent hours designing to keep the mask on my head completely failed. It turns out the best solution was to simply epoxy an elastic band and wear it like a plastic Halloween mask. That process really taught me a lesson in over-engineering. The simpler solution was the most elegant one, and the costume turned out a lot better than expected. I also came up with a crazy idea to attach the ears to my piece of fur using screws inset into the powder prints, which worked beautifully. That was another lesson learned in experimenting with new fastening techniques using 3D printing. So, overall the process was frustrating, but probably the most rewarding to date.

Dhemerae in her San Mask

Dhemerae in her San Mask

S: For my first 3D printed cosplay, I decided to go all in and build body armor. I had never made anything like that ever, and I selected it for that very reason. With each project I choose, I try to give myself a new challenge to explore in order to always be learning and growing, and if I went into everything I learned and experienced during this process, it would be a book (Check out the Sarah’s Comic Con Chronicles on thelasergirlsstudio.com)!

A detail of Sarah's body armor

A detail of Sarah’s body armor

I can say generally speaking, my early process is always the same: I do a ton of sketching, 2D blueprint making, and calendaring in order to set the structure for my workflow. I am a wildly imaginative person which can very easily make me lose my focus, so I need that structure to balance me and make the way I work more effective.

What 3D printed accessories are you most proud of?

D: I am most proud of my Buster Sword from the Lightning As cosplay. For me it was a feat of engineering to be able to 3D model and print a sword that could be assembled in that way, at that scale; I was also proud of the magnet mechanism I designed to join the pieces!

Dhemerae with her Buster Sword

Dhemerae with her Buster Sword

S: Definitely my Fenrir pieces from this year’s Lightning As cosplay; the pauldron, the earrings, and the bag embellishment. I made all of those pieces from one model, which to me shows the usefulness and versatility of 3D printing. Also, the buttons that I printed for my pants – simple but so effective!

Sarah with her Fenrir pieces

Sarah with her Fenrir pieces

What advice would you give to cosplayers who might not be using 3D printing now, but are interested in exploring new ways to bring their visions to life?

When we took a 3D modeling class in college, our professor had us start by choosing a specific object we wanted to make, and we always recommend that others start in this way as well. Choosing an object you love and want to make will not only keep you motivated to finish through the more frustrating parts of learning, but will also make it easier to choose a software package to begin with, and a context under which to work. We also recommend when choosing your first project, to either select one large object or several smaller objects in order to not overwhelm yourself out of the gate!

In terms of where to find learning resources, we actually have a whole blog post on that we recommend you check out- also, Shapeways’ forums are fantastic!

Intro to 3D Modeling:

pt1: http://bit.ly/2kqXwtv

pt2: http://bit.ly/2lsFfMH

I’m curious about your relationship with your fans. Do you work actively to grow your fanbase? How do your fans inspire or inform your work?

From people just getting started in 3D printing to those with experience, the reason why we started thelasergirlsstudio.com was because we wanted to provide a resource and a perspective on the process that can hopefully inspire our followers to get involved in the community, or try new ventures in their process. We Have always genuinely loved to share our work and knowledge, and in a world where people hold onto their content for dear life, we strive to focus on sharing in hopes that others can learn from us, and start their own journeys into 3D.

We do our best to provide helpful feedback to those who contact us via any of our social media channels, and hope to build a positive community filled with productivity, experimentation, creativity, and joy.

Any big projects on the horizon that you’re excited about?

We recently announced that we’re going to I-Con in March in cosplay. Sarah is going as Re-L from the anime Ergo Proxy, and Dhemerae is going as Ripley from the first Alien film. We picked these characters specifically because they’ll have only one major prop print. We’re also considering attending other cons in the fall.


Other than cosplay, we’re working on a bunch of new and exciting content for the blog, which should include some good tutorials and maybe a few vlogs. We may have a couple of teaching opportunities on the, and we are hoping to potentially release a collection of pieces in the Summer/Fall of this year.

Luckily, you can actually buy a selection of TheLaserGirls’ accessories in their Shapeways Shop. And for more learnings, incredible photos, and insights, check out their blog, Instagram, and podcast.

 

This Dog-Sized 3D Printed Robot Might Haunt Your Dreams

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:

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Check out all the winners (and download their designs) at Instructables, and share your latest projects with us in the comments.

The Ultimate Football-Lover’s 3D Wishlist

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:

Jackie’s Football Ring

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Football Field Phone Case

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Football Laces Koozie

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Football Webcam Security Cover

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BONUS: Show your team pride!

Georgia State Earrings

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Massachusetts State Earrings

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The Week in 3D Printing

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

Bridging the gap

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


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

A story with a whole lot of heart

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

Let’s give these kids a hand

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

Go Fish

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

Designer Spotlight: Lizz Hill — Toolry

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

The designer with a couple of her favorite things

The designer with a couple of her favorite things

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

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The Calipers Pendant by Toolry

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

Lizz Hill's Troubled Waters embroidered shoes and Rings Trio

Lizz Hill’s Troubled Waters embroidered shoes and Rings Trio

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

Tooth Ring by Toolry

Tooth Ring by Toolry

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

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Teddy Bear Embroidery and Pendant with Open Stomach by Toolry

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

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

Designer Spotlight: Knight Customs RC Cars

RC cars are hugely popular worldwide, and the RC car community on Shapeways is growing bigger every day. Designer James Knight of Knight Customs is a highly respected creator of RC car accessories. He shares with us how he got started, and how anyone interested in RC cars can use 3D printing to bring their dream cars to life. Let us know in the comments what parts you’d like to see James tackle next.

One of the most popular RC cars to upgrade, the Axial SCX10 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. The image shows the following Knight Customs parts: AJ40011 Halo Light Bucket Set (frosted ultra detail) AJ30006 Skull Face Grill & Mount (White strong & flexible polished) AJ10030 Smittybilt XRC M.O.D. Bumper & Stinger (Stainless Steel) AJ10018 Hood Latch (Black strong & flexible) AJ10023 Smittybilt XRC JK Front Fenders AJ10020 Snorkel Tall (frosted ultra detail) AJ10037 Smittybilt Stingray Hood

One of the most popular RC cars to upgrade, the Axial SCX10 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. Jump to the bottom of this post for a full list of 3D printed parts used.

How did you get started creating custom RC car parts?
I have been a fan of RC cars since a very young age. Many of the cars I have collected were based on full-sized models but didn’t always have all the details of the full-sized vehicle. I started making custom parts to add those missing details and to create my own unique versions of a particular model.

Were you always using 3D printing, or did you begin with a more manual process?
Early on, I used a lot of traditional model-making techniques, glue and plastic, but it was very time-consuming to create multiple copies of certain parts. I also found that by using certain 3D printed materials I could create parts that were much more durable than if they had been created with traditional techniques that were available to me.

What inspired you to open your shop and offer your products to the RC car community?
People within the RC community often asked me to build them a copy of some of the parts I had created, so it just made sense to open a shop so they could purchase one of my creations.

Are there any designs that are proving particularly popular? What need do you see these designs filling for the community?
The most popular designs have been those that allow you to add more realistic details, such as working LED lights to your RC model. This is a popular upgrade for many RC vehicles and if you have ever seen an RC with working lights, they look awesome (see picture of our Halo lights fitted to the Axial Jeep®). Other popular parts allow the modeler to give a fresh new look to a stock vehicle. Just like in the 1:1 world, everyone wants their car to look a little different from the stock showroom model.

How did you determine which brands to offer parts for?
I take inspiration from the 1:1 world. I am a fan of off-road vehicles so I look at the classic and modern vehicles to see which are the most popular and what sort of modifications the 1:1 communities make to those vehicles. I partner with the real 1:1 companies to create officially licensed replicas of many of the popular off-road parts from great companies like Magnaflow, Smittybilt, RotopaX, Front Runner Outfitters, and Ripp Superchargers.

SOR Graphics make our licensed T-shirts and RC vehicle graphic wraps. We also have relationships with leading RC companies Axial, RC4WD, and Vanquish Products.

A few of Knight Customs licensed products

A few of Knight Customs’ licensed products

What advice would you give to RC car fans who are just starting to customize?
I would say make sure you pick a good base for your project. When you decide on the car you want, then check to see if anyone already makes that model as a kit. There are some great base models to use from the top manufactures like Axial and Tamiya. There are many great RC forums to go on to find information and inspiration on building your custom project. My favorite is www.scalebuildersguild.com. Doing a little research online will show you what parts are already available to customize your rig, and of course a search on Shapeways shows you all the great parts the community here have helped create. If you want to learn to create some parts yourself, I recommend Rhino CAD software. It has great functionality for the price and there are many great tutorials on YouTube teaching you how to create models.

In the Axial SCX10 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon model featured at the top of this post, Knight Customs parts include:

AJ40011 Halo Light Bucket Set (frosted ultra detail)
AJ30006 Skull Face Grill & Mount (white strong & flexible polished)
AJ10030 Smittybilt XRC M.O.D. Bumper & Stinger (stainless steel)
AJ10018 Hood Latch (black strong & flexible)
AJ10023 Smittybilt XRC JK Front Fenders
AJ10020 Snorkel Tall (frosted ultra detail)
AJ10037 Smittybilt Stingray Hood

Thanks for sharing your story with us, James! We can’t wait to see what you decide to work on next.

This January, Make 100 With Kickstarter

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Ready to start making your 3D printing New Year’s resolutions come true? Shapeways is all about making your ideas a reality, and we’ve got the perfect opportunity to jumpstart your newest project.

Our friends at Kickstarter are inviting people to launch a new series of new mini-campaigns called Make 100. Throughout January, they’ll be featuring artists and creators running quick projects that offer backers an edition of exactly 100 items. This is the perfect way to reach out to your friends and fans and offer them a small run of special, 3D printed gifts. And, it’s a great way to share and develop a new idea — while providing friends and fans with a unique, limited-edition design.

And, after your Kickstarter ends, bringing your vision to life through Shapeways means:

  • Iterations go directly to market

  • Low barrier to entry — just design it and print

  • No setup costs compared with traditional manufacturing

  • Unlimited unique, custom items

  • Over 50 high-quality, consumer-ready materials (and if you have a home printer, Shapeways can take your prototypes to final version quality)

  • Direct shipping and fulfillment

  • Prints ready to post-process (where applicable)

  • Strong community support and inspiration

Whether you’re making miniatures or jewelry, art or practical tools, if you have an idea for a Make 100 campaign, sign up here.

Learn more about making with Shapeways here.

A Visionary Artist Takes on the Smart Home

This year’s Amsterdam Light Festival is putting Dutch artist and Shapeways designer Anouk Wipprecht’s designs in the spotlight. Her Living Pods exhibit asks us to rethink the smart home as something more than purely functional, with interactive clothing and flower-inspired pods that welcome visitors “home” by reacting to their presence.

Mechatronic “LIVING PODS” – Anouk Wipprecht x Somfy Home Automation from Anouk Wipprecht on Vimeo.

Wipprecht is already well-established in the Fashion-Tech world, and her current exhibit expands on past work around reactive and wearable tech. The Pods are part of The Art of Motion, the artist’s ongoing collaboration with connected home company Somfy, Michael Sagan of Autodesk’s Fusion 360 team, and LA-based concept designer Igor Knezevic. The project envisions a time when all the objects in our homes become sensory and smart. While Wipprecht’s fashions focus on interaction with (and mediation between) the human body and the outside world, the Pods aim to bring humanity and soul to home electronics.

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Visitors to the Amsterdam Light Festival take in Wipprecht’s work

To articulate the concept, she created an one-piece hanging mechanical gripper structure with hooks that allowed 3D printed leaves to be connected. The gripper mechanism was created in Fusion 360 by the designer during her residency at Pier 9 — Autodesk’s maker-workshop in San Francisco. The Pier 9 Artists in Residence program allows artists, makers, and fabricators to work with high-end tools and machinery in Autodesk’s digital fabrication workshop, bringing dream projects to life. The final pieces were printed at Shapeways, each in a single piece, using SLS for strength and rigidity. The Pods light up, and a linear motor moves their petals in response to a sensor, emulating a living flower’s reaction to the sun.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Amsterdam this week, check out Anouk’s exhibit at the Amsterdam Light Festival, now through January 8, and let us know in the comments what smart home tech you’d like to see in the future.

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Living Pods designs for Somfy in Fusion 360, printed at Shapeways

Living Pods designs for Somfy in Fusion 360, printed at Shapeways

Bonus: Check out the video below to go behind the scenes of the Living Pods’ creation. Behind The Scenes // LIVING PODS [Mechanic Flower lamps in Fusion360] from Anouk Wipprecht on Vimeo.

We Have the Droids You’re Looking For

For Star Wars fans, this is a huge week. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opened across the country and, for Shapies, there’s even more Star Wars action in the galaxy. Because now, you can now create your own personalized Star Wars droids with the 3D Print Studio at Disney Store, powered by Shapeways. The 3D Print Studio allows collectors to customize their own droids, choosing the droid model, size, material, and even custom text. These custom Star Wars droids are only available through DisneyStore.com. So harness the power of The Force — and the amazing power of 3D printing — to create your own custom droids.

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Dream team: 3D printed R2-D2, C-3PO, and BB-8 droids

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A pair of 3D printed Astromech droids in stainless steel

1 Gift = 6 Brilliant Ways to Unleash Their Creativity

If you’re like me, you still have a few people on your list who are proving literally impossible to shop for. Your little niece who gets every toy she desires. Your crafter mom who, if she wants it, she makes it. Even your gearhead uncle, who would rather start a project in his garage than ever buy a new vehicle. Good news: Shapeways Gift Cards are perfect for all of them. They open the door to limitless creativity, whether your giftees have never heard of 3D printing or are advanced 3D modelers. Below, discover six easy ways that everyone on your list can start making on Shapeways, thanks to Shapeways Gift Cards for every budget.

1. Fund their first jewelry designs, from pendants…

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The Pendant Creator easily turns their 2D designs into pendants. They can customize details, add a bail for chains, and print in their favorite material.

2. …to gorgeous rings inspired by their favorite shapes

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Custom Ring lets them design their own custom, 3D printed rings. They can choose from beautiful preset patterns, or create their own.

3. Equip them to make a keychain they’ll never lose

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The Keychain Creator lets them easily turn 2D designs into keychains. Customize details, add a loop for key rings, and print in your favorite material.

4. Help bring their snapshots to life in 3D

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The Full Color Photoshaper takes any photo and turns it into a 3D memory.

5. Let them create their own intricate, personalized ornaments

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The Ornament Creator will help them make custom holiday ornaments by experimenting with template patterns or uploading their own 2D design.

6. Get them started in 3D modeling

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2D to 3D lets them easily turn 2D designs into 3D prints, whether they want to make jewelry, art, decorative objects — or just let their imaginations run wild.

Discover even more ways that Shapeways Gift Cards can help them start making on Shapeways here. And while you’re at it, give one of our Easy Creators a try yourself. You never know where your creative journey will lead!

Designers and Shapies Ring in the Holidays, Dutch Style

With the end of the year drawing closer, the holidays are nearly here. Last week, we felt the time was right to celebrate our Dutch designers who were true rock stars during Dutch Design Week. While unfortunately not all DDW participants were able to make it, we still had a blast and are looking forward to meeting up soon again!

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Designer Anna Ruiter of Tjielp Design shows Santa and Mrs. Claus her jewelry

Besides good food and drinks and a workshop full of Shapies on site, we were excited to once again welcome our special friends from the North Pole: Santa and his reindeer Kai! After their visit the last two years, Mrs. Claus couldn’t resist joining our early Holiday celebration as well.

Community members meet Mr. and Mrs. Santa and their reindeer

Community members meet Santa and Mrs. Claus and their reindeer

The designers had an exclusive meet and greet with our friends from the North Pole, and their designs got a thorough check to see if they’re ready to be gift-wrapped and delivered down your chimney. From all of us at Shapeways to all of you, happy holidays!

Check out the shops of all the designers featured in our holiday video:

Shapeways' Eindhoven factory team

Shapeways’ Eindhoven factory team

Gifts for Grown-ups, Inspired by a Toddler

As our last ordering deadlines for holiday gifting arrive this week, there are still lots of unique, beautiful objects available in our fastest-to-ship material: strong and flexible plastic. One shop in particular offers a selection of delightful gifts that fit the material perfectly, whether you want to print a pack of exotic animals on digital safari, a friendly robot who just wants to show his love, or totally unique, futuristic jewelry. Australian architects Elena Low and Kae Woei Lim of XYZ Workshop are the creative minds behind designs that live at the intersection of art, sculpture, technology, and playful fun. They shared some of their surprising influences with us.

Sitting Robbie by XYZ Workshop

Sitting Robbie by XYZ Workshop

Robbie the Robot and the Digital Safari are the most whimsical of XYZ Workshop’s characters, revealing the designers’ biggest source of inspiration — their toddler. “Our son, who is now now four years old, plays a pivotal role to influence a sense of playfulness in our work.” The husband-and-wife pair say they “spend a lot of time playing with him and his toys, reading beautifully illustrated children’s books. This takes your mind to a wonderful childlike space and allow you to indulge in pushing more whimsical ideas and let go of the day-to-day reality.”

Digital Safari - Giraffe (Medium) by XYZ Workshop

Digital Safari – Giraffe (Medium) by XYZ Workshop

Kae Woie and Elena launched XYZ Workshop in 2013, tinkering with a kit-made 3D printer from Ultimaker. Drawn in by “the potential of 3D printing as it fused aspects of art, sculpture and technology, their mission is “to create something beautiful, pragmatic, yet playful all in one.”

Thin Lena Bracelet - Medium (Strong and Flexible) by XYZ Workshop

Thin Lena Bracelet – Medium (Strong and Flexible) by XYZ Workshop

When it comes to modeling the pieces, the designers’ architectural experience has given them a solid basis in technique. “There is a rigor in thinking which is a balance of practicality and aesthetic. I believe we still apply this in our thinking in relation to 3D printing,” Elena told us. Drawing parallels with their architectural practice, she noted that “whilst ideas can be quickly converted from a sketch to a physical prototype, numerous tests are performed to achieve a response that is in line with the brief.”

Discover all of XYZ Workshop’s designs in their Shapeways shop. They make for perfectly unexpected gifts — and ideal stocking stuffers. Just remember to place your orders before our last order deadlines to bring home their whimsical creations in time for the holidays.

Designer Spotlight: Scott Ryan – Reaper Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gear Die by Reaper Media

Gear Die by Reaper Media

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

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

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

Wandering Eye by Reaper Media

Wandering Eye by Reaper Media

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

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

 

These Gifts Are Unlike Anything They’ve Seen

By day, Joaquin Baldwin works in feature film animation. In his spare time, he creates an incredible array of inspired 3D printed objects. With the holidays just days away, his designs are ideal last-minute gifts for those hard-to-shop-for friends who seem to have everything.

Bulbophyllum Gracilis Planter by Joaquin Baldwin 3D Printed Designs

Bulbophyllum Gracilis Planter by Joaquin Baldwin 3D Printed Designs

From the witty to the wondrous, Joaquin’s pieces draw upon unusual sources, resulting in beautiful, unprecedented works of art. “I find a lot of inspiration in mathematical and biological shapes. I try to blend the two for a lot of my work. I usually start with a simple compound concept idea (say, origami + skeleton, or mobius + bacon) and go from there,” he told us.

Mobius Maximus by Joaquin Baldwin 3D Printed Designs

Mobius Maximus by Joaquin Baldwin 3D Printed Designs

His explorations have included riffs on caffeine molecules, the skeletons of insects, the shape of orchids, and a stunning variety of mathematical objects.

Origami Crane Skeleton by Joaquin Baldwin 3D Printed Designs

Origami Crane Skeleton by Joaquin Baldwin 3D Printed Designs

Joaquin’s work is the result of personal creative explorations. His process begins with “a few mockups in Maya, and if I like the concept after that point, I create a final model.” He told us that his goal is “simply to make things I want for myself, and to challenge myself, and if the audience shows interest as well, to put in on my shop so I can have a self-sustaining hobby.”

Radiolaria Geodesica Planter by Joaquin Baldwin 3D Printed Designs

Radiolaria Geodesica Planter by Joaquin Baldwin 3D Printed Designs

Discover more of Joaquin’s work in his Shapeways Shop. If you order soon, one of his fantastical works of art can make it to you in time for Hanukkah and Christmas. You can view all of our materials ordering deadlines here, and make sure to explore our full Holiday Gift Guide for a last-minute dose of gifting inspiration.

10 Custom Gifts You Can Still Get by Dec. 24

The holidays are fast approaching — and so are the last days you can order to get unique, personalized gifts in time for the holidays. In addition to our huge selection of customizable gifts, most of our products are available in dozens of materials and finishes, adding an extra dose of personalization to your gifts.

For maximum flexibility and fastest fabrication times, choose to print your gifts in Shapeways’ Strong and Flexible plastic. It’s the most versatile material we print in, and can be used for a range of products including gadgets, cases, art, accessories, and jewelry.

Below, discover ten personalizable gifts that can still make it in time for Christmas or Hanukkah:

1. Candy Cane Sleigh by Crafted3D

Candy Cane Sleigh by Crafted3D

2. Tesselpus Charm by Kitten Corner

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3. Rocinante Horse Sculpture by Oyma 3D

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4. Brain Beer Twist Opener by Curiosity Lab

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5. Customizable 4/4S (5/5S available) Iphone Cat Case by raphaelvertices

Customizable 4/4S (5/5S available) Iphone Cat Cuto by raphaelvertices

6. Kitty Hairstick by Kitten Corner

Kitty Hairstick by Kitten Corner

7. Fidget Sphere – The toy that will help you focus! by Fidget Toys

Fidget Sphere - The toy that will help you focus! by Fidget Toys

8.  LoveSplash Custom 7 capital letters by numarul7

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9. Ribbon Bottlecage – Designed by Daan Mulder by Shapeways Ribbons

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10. Customizable w.Graphic Guitar Pick Toxic by raphaelvertices

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Don’t see the perfect gift here? All of our customization options are easy to view. Simply check the “customizable” box in the Shop section of the site. And let us know in the comments what custom options you’d like to see on Shapeways.