Category Archives: 3D Printed

Celebrate 3D Printing Day With Us and Win $250!

For 3D printing fans, December 3 is basically Christmas, Hanukkah, and Thanksgiving combined. It’s a day to celebrate, welcome new makers — and show everyone how versatile, fun, and inspiring 3D printing can be. Today only, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook and reply to our #3DPrintingDay posts with what YOU want to 3D print, and include the hashtags #3DPrintingDay and #contest. You’ll be automatically entered to win one of three prizes of $250 in Shapeways credits. Every purchase you make on the site will also enter you to win. Fine print is after the jump.

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Shapeways Sweepstakes Rules

  1. Eligibility. This contest is operated by Shapeways.  It is open to Shapeways users in the United States over 13 years of age at the time of entry who live in a jurisdiction that does not prohibit this contest.  Employees, officers, and directors of Shapeways and their immediate family are not eligible to enter.  Individuals may enter more than one entry into the competition but may not do so by way of automated means.  By entering this contest, you agree to be bound by these Rules.

 

  1. Prize. Each of the three winning entrants will receive $250 in Shapeways printing credits.

 

  1. Contest period. This contest is open from Dec. 3, 2016 at 12:01 a.m. US Eastern Time to Dec. 3, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. US Eastern Time.  All entries must be received by Dec. 3, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. US Eastern Time.

 

  1. How to Enter.  There are two ways to enter the contest.  First, you can enter the contest via Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram by replying to contest announcements tagged #3DPrintingDay with a description of what you want to 3D print and following Shapeways on the entry platform by the end of the contest period.  All public responses must include the hashtags “#contest” and “#3DPrintingDay” in order to be valid and eligible to win.  Second, you can enter the contest by completing any purchase on Shapeways during the contest period.  All purchases on Shapeways are eligible for contest entry.  Eligible participants can enter the contest multiple times.

 

  1. Winner Selection.  Shapeways will select the winner from the pool of applicants on Dec. 6, 2016.  There will be three total winners.  Shapeways will be prepared to award any of the three prizes to a runner-up in the event the winner cannot be contacted in a reasonable amount of time.  Shapeways will determine the winner by randomly drawing an applicant from the entire pool of applicants.

 

  1. Winner notification. The winners will be notified via private message to their social media account if they entered by way of that account, and by way of the email address associated with their Shapeways account if they entered by way of a purchase on Shapeways.  Upon contact, Shapeways may need to obtain confirmation of the winners’ eligibility.  If Shapeways cannot contact a winner in a reasonable amount of time, a runner-up will receive the prize originally designated for that winner.  If a runner-up cannot be contacted, Shapeways will select a third place finisher to receive the prize.

 

  1. Taxes.  The winner will be solely responsible for paying all federal, state, and local taxes that may be due on winnings and, as a condition of receiving the prize, Shapeways may require the winner complete tax documentation.

 

  1. Liability and Jurisdiction.  All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply; void where prohibited.  All disputes arising out of or connected with this Contest will be resolved exclusively by a court located in Manhattan, New York, USA.  Decisions by Shapeways regarding the interpretation of these rules are final.  By participating in this contest, you agree to release Shapeways and its agents from any and all liability, claims, or actions of any kind of injuries, damages, or losses to persons and property which may be sustained in connection with the receipt, ownership, possession, use, or misuse of any prize.  Shapeways reserves the right to amend these official rules and to permanently disqualify from this contest any person it believes has intentionally violated these official rules. Shapeways reserves the right to suspend or cancel this Contest in the event of hacking, security breach, or other tampering.  Any questions regarding this contest should be directed to seth@shapeways.com.

 

  1. Other Restrictions. Users discovered creating multiple Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Shapeways accounts in order to enter this contest will be disqualified from entry.

 

  1. Additional Considerations.  Sponsors are not responsible for (i) any typographical or other error in any communication relating to the Contest; (ii) lost, illegible, late, misdirected, or incomplete, entries or emails; (iii) interrupted or unavailable satellite, network, server, Internet Service Provider (ISP), websites, telephone, cable or other connections; (iv) any technical failure or jumbled, garbled, corrupted, scrambled, failed, delayed, or misdirected transmissions; (v) hardware, software or network malfunctions; (vi) other errors of any kind whether human, mechanical, or electronic; (vi) any damage to Participant’s or any other person’s computer resulting from participation of the Contest or downloading or uploading any materials.

 

Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to (a) abbreviate, modify, suspend, cancel or terminate the Contest, without notice or other obligation, in the event that Sponsor is prevented from continuing with the Contest or the integrity or feasibility of the Contest is undermined in any respect, including due to fire, flood, epidemic, earthquake, labor dispute, tampering or other unlawful act, or if, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, the Contest is not capable of running as planned by reason of infection by computer virus, worms, bugs, tampering, hacking, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures or any other causes which, in sole opinion of the Sponsor, corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this Contest; (b) determine winners from entries received prior to action taken, or as otherwise deemed fair and equitable by Sponsor; and/or (c) disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry or judging or process or operation of the Contest.

 

This contest is not sponsored, endorsed, or administered by Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.  By entering this contest you agree to release Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook of all liability related to the contest.

Never Drop Your Phone Again

As clumsy as it makes us feel, most of us drop our phones. Every. Day. What if there were a way to avoid it? And what if that solution was also fun — and multifunctional? Meet Knuckies - Phone Stands, With a Twist. The 3D printed phone stands, fidget toys, and phone-grippers make perfect holiday gifts, whether you’re stuffing stockings or adding handy accessories to a big-ticket tech gift purchase. Check out all they can do in the video below:

Knuckies attach easily and securely to any device with a simple double-sided mounting sticker. With a range of designs, there’s also a Knuckie for everyone from cat lovers to minimalists. And, while Knuckies make excellent phone stands, they also fold flat — keeping your device low-profile.

Anchor by Phone Stands, With a Twist

Anchor by Knuckies – Phone Stands, With a Twist

Triple Ring by Knuckies – Phone Stands, With a Twist

Check out the full collection of Knuckies here. And for more ways to give your holiday giftees a Technical Advantage, don’t miss all of our gadget-lover gifts in the Holiday Gift Guide. Let us know in the comments how you keep a grip on your phone.

Fitbit + Fashion = Bytten

Cases for gadgets are usually purely a necessity. Sure, they can be gorgeous, but for the most part, they’re there to protect. But, what if a case could actually make your tech more useful? Startup bytten aims to do just that, creating stylish Fitbit covers that slide right on — taking the wearable from gym casual to sleekly stylish. This week, as we focus on holiday gifts that offer a Technical Advantage, we’re taking a closer look at a small business that wants to give your wearable technology a fashion upgrade.

True to bytten’s mission to “bring your fitness tracker’s style and personality to a whole new level,” the Lucas slide for Fitbit Flex takes inspiration from computer circuitry to create an intricate, cutting-edge look.

Lucas slide for Fitbit Flex by bytten

For the minimalists on your list, The James Slide for Fitbit Flex is like wearable modern architecture.

James slide for Fitbit Flex by bytten

The Rasa slide for Fitbit Flex allows you to make their tech a personal statement, with custom text options available at no extra charge.

bytten 3

Bytten’s Fitbit cases are available for multiple models of the popular fitness trackers. The designers also enjoy experimenting and creating pieces in response to feedback from the Shapeways community. The image below shows the symbol collection, which was inspired by requests from bytten’s customers.

The Symbol Collection by bytten

Check out bytten’s full collection in their Shapeways shop to make your fitness-tracking friends more stylish than ever. Plus, don’t miss our Technical Advantage collections for gift ideas that let you personalize, modify, and improve their favorite gadgets.

Make Their GoPro Go Further

The little action camera that can go almost anywhere has inspired a serious following, from newbie adventure-seekers to serious videographers. Some of the GoPro’s biggest fans are makers whose accessories help achieve professional-grade results. Like designer Dan Newman of My GoPro Kit, whose mods range from filter attachments to tools for capturing aerial 3D shots. As we shine a spotlight this week on holiday gifts that offer a Technical Advantage, discover a few tools that will help your favorite GoPro fans get truly pro results.

Capturing 3D shots using GoPro’s Dual Hero System can be a challenge for objects that are more than 10 feet away. The GoPro HERO 3+ 3D System allows for wider lens separation, ensuring crisp coverage of subjects between 10 and 50 feet away — perfect for wider-parallax shooting like aerial photography.

GoPro HERO 3+ 3D System: Wider Lens Separation by My GoPro Kit

GoPro HERO 3+ 3D System: Wider Lens Separation by My GoPro Kit

This base for a motion-control rig lets you capture dynamic time-lapse photography using a model train track. At the link above, Dan also shares full plans for the time-lapse rig system, so get making!

Train-lapse rig for GoPro by My GoPro Kit

The Sun hood and 37mm filter holder for GoPro not only helps you attach filters to your camera, it also ensures that you maintain resolution while using ND filters, even in bright sunlight. Add this to your toolkit for flawless full-sun coverage.

Sun hood and 37mm filter holder for GoPro by My GoPro Kit

Sun hood and 37mm filter holder for GoPro by My GoPro Kit

Follow My GoPro Kit to keep up to speed on all of Dan’s innovations, and find dozens more ways to give everyone on your list a Technical Advantage this holiday season in our Holiday Gift Guide. What are some of your favorite high-performance GoPro accessories? Let us know in the comments below.

Better Their Tech With These 5 Gifts

Tech lovers like to stay on the cutting edge. But, traditional mass-produced devices have their limitations. The truly gadget-obsessed require unique accessories and modifications to take their tech to the next level. Thankfully, Shapeways offers hundreds of gifts that can personalize, modify, and improve almost any popular gadget. This week, as we focus on ways to give everyone a Technical Advantage, we’re taking a closer look at five clever add-on gifts for your tech-obsessed friends.

1. Anchor Their AirPods

EarPod attachments for active people by Amznfx

EarPod attachments for active people by Amznfx

When Apple announced those indispensable accessories for the iPhone 7, wireless AirPods, opinion was split on whether it’s possible to avoid losing the tiny devices. Shapeways designer Fernando Sosa decided to turn that issue on its head with his EarPod Attachments for Active People. Help your favorite Apple-lovers hold onto their AirPods with these handy accessories.

2. Make Their Fitbit Wearable Anywhere

Lucas slide for Fitbit Flex by bytten

Lucas slide for Fitbit Flex by bytten

Designer Bytten has some brilliant ideas on how to make the FitBit more useful. This piece, designed by Lucas Goossens, takes inspiration from computer circuitry to create a cover that takes your tracker from fitness tool to fashion statement.

3. Help Them Track Their Tracker

Wallet for Tile (Tracking Device) by Dearborn 3D Design

Wallet for Tile (Tracking Device) by Dearborn 3D Design

The Tile is an ingenious tracker for your most important items, but… how to keep track of the Tile itself (if you want to keep tabs on something other than keys)? This Tile-compatible wallet solves that problem, while providing an efficient, compact place for your money and cards.

4. Keep Their GoPro’s Vision Sharp

Lens Cover for GoPro by 3dprintingdog

Lens Cover for GoPro by 3dprintingdog

GoPro has given us a technology that can go anywhere — but its curved lens can lead to scratches that can ruin the view. This customizable GoPro-compatible lens cover will help your adventure-loving friends protect their cameras while leaving their mark.

5. Give Their Photography a Boost

Bounce Buddy - Bouncer for the internal flash! by Wile's Wonderbox

Bounce Buddy – Bouncer for the internal flash! by Wile’s Wonderbox

The Bounce Buddy diffuses the harsh light of a camera’s flash, creating a perfectly soft look for those times when only a flash will do. This allows shutterbugs to leave the external flash at home and still capture the moment.

For even more ways to help your giftees better their tech, check out the Technical Advantage collections in our Holiday Gift Guide. And, let us know in the comments how you would modify your favorite devices with 3D printing.

Hacking Arts Conference 2016

Last week, Shapeways sponsored the Hacking Arts Conference at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Hosted by the MIT Media Lab, the three-day conference brings together students and professionals from technology and the arts to discuss interdisciplinary creativity.

Shapeways’ Community team was there to greet panel goers and give them a chance to get their hands on some of the 3D printed materials and products available in the marketplace.

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The conference also included a hackathon and some amazing performances. Below is a moment from audio/visual artists the Holladay Brothers during the opening ceremonies.

#hackingart2016

A video posted by Andrew Thomas (@andrew.s.thomas) on


 

The Hacking Arts Conference was also a great opportunity to see old friends. Artist and Shapeways Shop Owner Bathsheba Grossman came by to play with some of her math-inspired Klein Bottle openers, printed in a variety of materials.

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We had a great time talking to hackers, artists, and lifelong learners at the Hacking Arts Conference. Are you a student combining design and technology? You can sign up for our education program here.

 

Celebrate Giving Tuesday With 5 Gifts That Give Back

Giving Tuesday is here! It’s our annual chance to celebrate the generous spirit of the holidays by giving to our favorite charities. On Shapeways, there are plenty of ways to turn holiday gifting into an opportunity to give back, with many designers passing on their profits to good causes. From breast cancer research to marine conservation, the Shapeways community cares deeply — and their creations make perfect holiday gifts for your friends and family. Read on for five ways to give back this Giving Tuesday.

1. Give a bauble that makes a big impact

The Hate Project: BEAD by The Hate Project

The Hate Project: BEAD by The Hate Project

The HATE project turns negatives into positives, crowdfunding important organizations like Make a Wish and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Your purchase, along with those of thousands others, supports these and other worthy causes. Learn more about the HATE project here.

2. Pin on a rose gold ribbon for breast cancer research

Ribbon Pin - Design by Debbie Claxton by Shapeways Ribbons

Ribbon Pin – Design by Debbie Claxton by Shapeways Ribbons

For a gorgeous, permanent way to show your support for victims of breast cancer, opt for this rose gold pin. Designed by Debbie Claxton, part of the proceeds from each pin purchase are donated to Pink Ribbon.

3. Show a wave of support for marine conservation with an ocean-inspired ring

3 Dolphins Dancing Ring by Joy Complex!

3 Dolphins Dancing Ring by Joy Complex!

The WDC, or Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society helps protect whales and dolphins aound the world. This beautiful aquatic-inspired ring will show your support while funding the WDC’s valuable conservation efforts.

4. Fight climate change and show your love for the planet with this poignant pendant

Climate Change Pendant by Ontogenie

Climate Change Pendant by Ontogenie

To draw attention to climate change, designer Ontogenie created this melting-earth pendant. Aside from showing your love for the planet, 10% of the profits will benefit the Environmental Defense Fund.

5. Help make racing safer with this racing track replica

Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli by 3D Racetracks

Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli by 3D Racetracks

Based on the Misano Adriático race circuit near Rimini, Italy, the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli track replica commemorates Simoncelli, who died while racing in 2011. All profits benefit  The Roadracing World Action Fund, helping to prevent such racing tragedies.

As you shop for everyone on your list this year, don’t forget to make this Giving Tuesday count with gifts that give back. Let us know in the comments what charities you’re supporting this year.

Designer Spotlight: Tatsuo Ishibashi – MizuLabo

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

"Shippo", Input Assist Device by mizulabo

“Shippo”, Input Assist Device by mizulabo

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

Eating Utensil Holder by mizulabo

Eating Utensil Holder by mizulabo

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

"Higaki", Cap & Tab Opener by mizulabo

“Higaki”, Cap & Tab Opener by mizulabo

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

Finger Input Device by mizulabo

Finger Input Device by mizulabo

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

4 Hacks to Help Tech Lovers Stay Ahead of the Curve

At the top of most wishlists, there sit a few dream gadgets: the latest wearable, a next-gen phone, a high-end camera. But, chances are the true tech lovers in your life have already found their perfect devices (after months of research, of course). That’s why, this week, we’re offering them a Technical Advantage in the form of accessories that will better their tech, taking gadgets from standard-issue to one of a kind. Read on for four ways to keep them happy this holiday season.

1. Personalize their gadgets with custom covers

Apple Watch Gold Cover Case 42mm by iMotion

Apple Watch Gold Cover Case 42mm by iMotion

Sanabelle Fitbit Flex Bracelet by Sanabelle

Sanabelle Fitbit Flex Bracelet by Sanabelle

2. Get down and nerdy with playful nods to their techie obsessions

Webcam Cover "Konijntje" by eli5e

Webcam Cover “Konijntje” by eli5e

Bitcoin Cufflinks by Cufflink Junkie

Bitcoin Cufflinks by Cufflink Junkie

3. Share some clever lifehacks they’ve never tried

Coin Filter by OliveBird

Coin Filter by OliveBird

Clip on vase by Aleksandar Dimitrov

Clip on vase by Aleksandar Dimitrov

4. Help them take their best shot with 3D printed camera accessories

Genghis Pattern - Premium Camera Hot Shoe by Designs by Genghis

Genghis Pattern – Premium Camera Hot Shoe by Designs by Genghis

M1X PRO IPhone 6 & 6s GoPro Mount by Alton Newton

M1X PRO IPhone 6 & 6s GoPro Mount by Alton Newton

Find these and dozens more ways to keep tech lovers happy and inspired this holiday season in our Holiday Gift Guide. And, don’t forget to make and share your own wishlists with everyone on your list this year.

All Aboard With Boxcar Models

Earlier this week, we showed you how to take 3D printed model trains from raw prints to gorgeous finished pieces. It’s all part of our holiday celebration of how our designers and makers bring Tiny Worlds to life. Two of the gorgeous trains we featured in that post were created by Alexander Clark of Boxcar Models.

CNSM 203 - 214 MD by Boxcar Models

CNSM 203 – 214 MD by Boxcar Models

Like many of our model train designers, Alexander’s pieces fill a need not met by the market — and his process for creating them has been a journey of discovery. “Railway modelers always want ‘that’ model that is not available commercially, and that’s how I got started… if I wanted them, I knew I was going to have to make them myself,” he told us.

This desire led him down the path of 3D design. “Having an engineering background, I knew my way around a drawing and knew how to use a computer, so I learned how to draw a model that could be 3D printed. I started simple and produced what is basically an electrical cabinet. From there, things just grew to more larger and complex models,” he added. Those models don’t come directly from Clark’s imagination, but they aren’t always easy to source: “If I am lucky there is an engineering drawing of the model. If not, I have to either measure the real thing or source endless photographs and make a best guess at dimensions.” That’s when the design work really begins.

When creating the designs themselves, he strives for maximum accuracy, opting to draw his models in true-to-life 1:1 dimensions. Using additive fabrication software Netfabb, he then checks his models for printability, making any necessary fixes manually before scaling them down for printing. The final tweaks come after, when he makes a few adjustments for the material design parameters, “so there has to be a bit of compromise between 100% accuracy and what will actually print.”

Amtrak Horizon Cafe V2 Doors by Boxcar Models

Amtrak Horizon Cafe V2 Doors by Boxcar Models

We’re grateful that Alexander took on this unusual design challenge. Boxcar Models’ exquisitely detailed coaches, freight cars, and accessories not only allow enthusiasts to find models that wouldn’t exist otherwise, they also make for utterly unique gifts for collectors looking for rarer-than-rare finds.

CNSM 250 - 255 Combine by Boxcar Models

CNSM 250 – 255 Combine by Boxcar Models

Check out Alexander’s full range of trains and accessories in his Shapeways shop. And whether you’re looking to recreate the past through scale models or create mods for your favorite miniatures, don’t miss the trains, trucks, figurines, and more in the Tiny Worlds collections of our Holiday Gift Guide. Let us know how your holiday projects are shaping up in the comments.

Gifts to Supercharge Their Slot Cars

For slot car enthusiasts, it once took complex custom mods to improve the performance of their racers — until 3D printing made it painless. As we continue to zoom in on the Tiny Worlds our designers bring to life, we’re taking a look at a maker who makes it easy to create perfect holiday gifts for the slot racers in your life.

1/32 Spirit BMW 2002 Chassis for Slot.it pod by OLIFER Performance Slot Car Parts

1/32 Spirit BMW 2002 Chassis for Slot.it pod by OLIFER Performance Slot Car Parts

One of the most respected names in slot racing, Olifer Performance Slot Cars, began its life as Olifer Racing, a champion 1970s slot car team. A second generation of Olifer racers decided to share their know-how with other enthusiasts, choosing to offer 3D printed chassis, motor mounts, and dozens more accessories on Shapeways.

Long Can motor mount - Slot.it compatible by OLIFER Performance Slot Car Parts

Long Can motor mount – Slot.it compatible by OLIFER Performance Slot Car Parts

Olifer’s accessories and modifications, like this 1/32 MRRC Chaparral 2F Chassis for Slot.it pod, work with many popular models. They also improve a car’s performance and speed while remaining easy to add — and remove — in minutes with a small screwdriver and allen key.

1/32 MRRC Chaparral 2F Chassis for Slot.it pod by OLIFER Performance Slot Car Parts

1/32 MRRC Chaparral 2F Chassis for Slot.it pod by OLIFER Performance Slot Car Parts

Check out Olifer’s full line of performance parts here, and don’t miss our full selection of gifts to help you Race to the Holidays, whatever Tiny Worlds your giftees are into. And let us know in the comments: What are some of your favorite slot car mods?

How to Make It a Model (Train) Holiday

CNSM 741 – 776 Silverliner Series Coach by Box Car Models

The holidays always evoke nostalgia for family traditions. For my family, one of these traditions was to put a model train set around the base of the Christmas tree. It was that finishing touch that said the holidays were really here. This week, we’re offering gift ideas from all the Tiny Worlds our designers create, and I hope you’ll be inspired to make model trains a part of your family’s holiday traditions.

Shapeways offers an enormous variety of model trains that are as detailed as those you’d see on tracks around the world. But, 3D printed models do require a few finishing touches. Model trains are printed in a number of scales and sizes, and generally produced in Frosted Detail Plastic. The post-processing of these trains in Frosted Detail requires a few tools:

  • Acetone or Simple Green

  • Primer

  • Synthetic Paint Brush Set or Airbrush Kit

  • Acrylic or Enamel Paint

  • Matte or Satin Varnish

Once the tools are assembled, you are well on your way to getting your perfect model train ready.

1. Model Prep

If there is any residual oil or wax support material left over from the production process, this can easily be removed using acetone or Simple Green solvent. You can simply dip and air dry the model. Or, using a paint brush, you can lightly spread the solvent on the train and air dry.

**TIP** If you notice an excess amount of residual support material or details are distorted, this may call for a reprint. Please send an image and order number to service@shapeways.com.

2. First Coat – Prime

Primer is added as a first coat in order to provide a uniform surface and offer a stronger hold for your paints. Recommended primer colors include black, grey, or white. Your primer color selection will depend on the colors you decide for your top coat.

In order to keep the finest details visible, it is best to use a thin primer. For example, Krylon Color Master Primer will do the job.

3. Paint

Models can be painted in a variety of ways. The most common methods for painting a high-detail finish include airbrushing and hand-painting.

Airbrush painting is a great method for coating large areas of your design more quickly. This will require a fine-tip sprayer kit and masking to cover the areas that are not intended to be painted.

Hand-painting might be a bit more accessible to those who don’t want to invest in an airbrush kit. For this method, a range of small-sized synthetic brushes are recommended. The synthetic hairs do not fray, have a longer life span, and allow for finer points due to their stiffer structure.

With hand-painting, we suggest using acrylic or enamel model paints. First, add your larger base details using a larger brush. Then, with a smaller brush, use the lighter colors to make your details pop. Once painted, let the material dry completely before moving on to the next step.

4. Clear Coat

The final step to finishing your model train is to add a varnish. This will seal the paints and offer the appropriate sheen. Choose a matte or satin finish depending on your glossiness preference.

The varnish should be thinly applied and set to dry. Once dried, the model is ready to be displayed.

HO scale 1:87 CSX SD40-3 Wabtec Cab by Boxcar Models

This year, we hope you’ll make model trains a part of your holiday tradition, whether you make and give them as gifts or set them up for all to see. Who knows? Maybe hand-finishing model trains can be your new favorite family holiday pastime.

And, for everyone on your list, make sure to check out our Holiday Gift Guide. It’s also full of ways to bring all kinds of Tiny Worlds to life.

Do you have any tips or tricks to finishing your model trains? We would love to hear them, so please share them with the community on our forum or in the comments below.

Designer Spotlight: Dmitry Ustinov – Forpost D6 Miniatures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter the Piglet and His Tractor by Forpost D6

Peter the Piglet and His Tractor by Forpost D6

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

4 Ways to Bring Tiny Worlds to Life

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It’s like traveling back in time. Or shapeshifting into a much tinier form. Miniatures are empowering and magical, and they capture our imagination like almost nothing else. Whether it’s a scale model of a train that hasn’t existed since the 19th century, a reborn dinosaur that stalks your desktop, a lightning-fast slot car, or a micro-scale camper and tent setup just like the one Dad used to have. This week in our Holiday Gift Guide, we’re celebrating the Tiny Worlds you bring to life, and helping you share the miniatures magic with your loved ones this holiday season. Read on for four ways to make the little things count this year.

1. Help them take a custom flight into the past with this Paint-It-Yourself N Scale Cessna by Stony Smith Designs

Cessna 172 - N Scale by Stony Smith Designs

Cessna 172 – N Scale by Stony Smith Designs

2. Build Their Train Set with this ultra-detailed Chicago Car by Traction Scale Models

3000/6000 series Chicago Cars - HO Scale 1:87 by Traction Scale Models

3000/6000 series Chicago Cars – HO Scale 1:87 by Traction Scale Models

3. Satisfy their love for Dinos with this adorable/creepy Compy Desktop Figurine by VFXguy’s desktop toys

Compy dinosaur desktop figurine by VFXguy's desktop toys

Compy dinosaur desktop figurine by VFXguy’s desktop toys

4. Join the Race to the Holidays with this model AC Cobra by 3DCerebro

AC Cobra by 3DCerebro

AC Cobra by 3DCerebro

More than just perfect gifts for imaginative loved ones, many of the creations featured this week wouldn’t exist were it not for the ingenuity of our community of designers. With their incredibly detailed scale models, Shapeways designers are miniaturizing things that have never before been recreated, satisfying unique interests in ways that would never have been possible without 3D printing. Discover more of their Tiny Worlds in our Holiday Gift Guide, and let us know in the comments what scale models you want to see more of on Shapeways.

Thanks to You

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We wouldn’t exist without you, our makers. Inventors, designers, artists, hobbyists, and, of course, all our small business owners that keep the printers running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And, we’re equally indebted to our shoppers for supporting these independent makers. So, this week, we want to say “Thank you.”

Thank you to our designers, for opening shops on our platform, creating microbrands, and for making our marketplace the world’s destination for the unique, wonderful things you can’t find anywhere else. And thank you to our shoppers for helping bring our designers’ visions to life by supporting their small businesses.

We know that there are a lot of options when it comes to holiday gifting. Thank you for choosing to make your gifts on a platform where craftsmanship, originality, and ingenuity are in our community’s DNA.

Together, we’re shaping and bringing these ideas to life, from 3D renders to amazing finished products — many of which would never have existed without digital manufacturing. Thank you for being there, every step of the way. We look forward to seeing all the incredible things you’ll make in 2017 and beyond.