Walter Smith of Walt’s Trains and Things recently shared some incredible scale models in the Model Train Thread in the Shapeways forums.
Beginning with simple block forms like those shown below (courtesy Stony Smith), Walter evolved his design, achieving some amazing results.
Walter started with simple structures like those pictured above. He then cut out windows and doors, before moving on to adding details like bricks. That’s when experimentation and ingenuity came into play. The cost of printing the design was rising, so, in order to save on material costs, he cut the thickness of his main walls in half. He then added the bricks, ensuring he’d met the minimum wall thickness. The bricks are standard-sized bricks, scaled down to 1:220 (Z) scale. The results are stunning.
After design iterations:
Thanks for sharing your amazing work with the community, Walter! Make sure to check out Walter’s shop for hundreds of detailed Z scale models.
If you have a project you’d like us to feature on the blog, or any questions for Walter, let us know in the comments!
Shapeways may be an online platform, but we love to go out and meet our Community in person. For those of you who are into wargaming and scale miniatures, Shapeways will be in Schaumburg, Illinois (just outside Chicago) for AdeptiCon from March 23 to 26. AdeptiCon is an annual tabletop gaming convention with tournaments, workshops, and cosplay, all around popular games. If you’re lucky enough to attend, come check out 3D printed products by Pop Goes the Monkey, and create your own Hero Forge minis.
We’ve been busy crafting and getting ready all weekend. Check out the terrain and cosplay armor we made, below:
Can you guess what our cosplay is? Leave your guesses below, and keep up with our Instagram this weekend to find out!
Where can you go when you need help with a model or mesh? If you’re like Lise, you can ask your colleagues at Shapeways. But, what’s the next best thing? The Shapeways Forums! They’re a great place to ask for advice, check out what community members are working on, and help other other people with their questions. The Shapeways forum community is super active, and many contributors are more than willing to lend a helping hand. This week, we’ll talk about our favorite Shapeways forum groups for designers and modelers.
Help With Design
Three of the Shapeways forums are especially helpful for design questions: First, the Design and Modeling Forum, where you can ask questions about converting models for 3D printing, repairing meshes, or solving design issues. Or, you can answer other designers’ questions if they overlap with your areas of expertise.
Second, the Software and Applications Forum is a great place to ask program-specific questions. You’ll find people talking about software like Fusion 360, Blender, and Netfabb, or discussing software-specific tools and techniques.
Finally, for questions about customizing your designs with CustomMaker or other tools, check out the Customizable Products & Design Forum. This is a great forum to explore if you’re considering making your designs easily personalizable.
Help With Printing
There are also specific forums focused on questions about 3D printing and physical post-processing. Here are three that are of particular interest to designers and product creators.
To ask questions about printing with Strong & Flexible nylon, Alumide, plated metals, or any other types of materials, visit the Materials Forum.
And finally, to learn more about the various post-processing options you could apply to your models after they are printed, check out the Finishing Techniques Forum.
If you’re stuck on a design or printing issue, try looking through the forums for answers. If you can’t find one, just ask a new question. Chances are, a kind soul from the Shapeways community will come to your rescue! And, if you’re an expert or can solve problems, then pay it forward by answering other people’s questions. Do you have a favorite forum on Shapeways? Let us know in the comments!
Shapeways designer Gafsa Design has a shop full of incredible jewelry, gadgets, and accessories, most of them miniature versions of familiar objects. But, he recently shared a project on our forums that brings him solidly into RC car territory: amazingly realistic off-road wheels, printed in black Strong & Flexible nylon plastic:
Gafsa Design’s off-road wheels
The wheels were commissioned by a customer of Gafsa, who also shared some exciting in-progress glimpses of the Land Rover Defender 110 under construction:
The wheels post-installation, inspiration in the background
The body of the Defender
Gafsa created the wheels in SolidWorks and Rhino. Thanks for sharing these incredibly realistic off-road wheels, Gafsa! We can’t wait to see the finished product.
Do you have a cool project to share? Post a comment below for a chance to be featured on the blog!
Last weekend, Community Manager Andrew Thomas and I were in Boston, Massachusetts for PAX East 2017, the festival that’s all about gaming. It was an amazing opportunity to check out the latest and greatest in video games, tabletop, and overall hot tech trends.
I went full cosplay
To give you an idea of the scene, there were tens of thousands of people in the Boston Convention Center, dozens of panels (ranging from how-to video game creation to tips on creating the best D&D campaigns), cosplayers galore – even the signage was in character:
We checked out a bunch of tabletop games and booths of designers who use Shapeways for prototyping. It was pretty incredible seeing how Shapeways enabled these designers to bring their tabletop games to life, letting them physically conceptualize the games before moving toward mass production. We spent some time in particular with the Dragoon and H.E.A.D. Hunters teams — stay tuned for interviews with both.
While Andrew and I are no strangers to cosplay (trust me, just click the link), this time, I wanted to wear something that really showed the magic of 3D printing. In my quest, my knight in shining armor was Lumecluster’s Melissa Ng, who let me borrow eight pieces of her Sovereign Armor. This was enough that I could mix and match the parts to create different looks, all easy to travel with. Thanks to Melissa I, got to cosplay like the best of them (and I did – check out my dance with the Yip Yip aliens).
On the subject of dressing to impress, Andrew and I ran into some cosplayers we’d met at 2016’s New York Comic Con. Among the friendly faces was Thomas DePetrillo of Extreme Costumes, wearing his Reinhardt cosplay from Blizzard’s Overwatch. We met Tom at Kotaku/iO9’s Cosplay Ball last year (where we scanned him). We learned some amazing things about the Reinhardt costume:
It measures 9’6” / 2.89m and weighs 85 pounds / 38.55 kgs.
It took three people working nine weeks to create it.
The original costume was seven feet tall, but it’s since been rebuilt four times.
The only parts that remain of the original are the top part of the skeleton, the upper half of the external chest, the hammer, and the feet.
Tom DePetrillo’s Reinhardt cosplay
We met another member of Tom’s Extreme Costumes team, Nick (of Squiby Props fame), and he joined us for a Facebook Live, where he shared how he used 3D printing for his Ornstein from Dark Souls cosplay. He 3D printed his mask by himself, which took a whopping 200 hours.
There were so many things to see and do, we could never have done it all, but we met some amazing cosplayers— many using 3D printing in ways that blew our minds. Let us know in the comments if you use 3D printing to bring your cosplay to life.
On the floor at PAX East — until next year, Boston!
Two months ago, inspired by our amazing — and growing! — RC car community, I set out on a journey into the world of RC cars. Colleague Tijs Lochbaum and I took a Tamiya Hornet completely apart and gave it a whole new look. We’ll be ready for the big reveal soon, but in the meantime, we’re taking a look back to see how far we’ve come.
We started with a dream of taking a classic Tamiya Hornet and making it our own. During this whole process, Tijs Lochbaum, who is a well-known European RC drifting expert, was our guide. As it turns out, I had a lot to learn about how to make a custom RC Car. I always thought you could only buy a complete car in a toy store, so a whole new world opened up for me. For one thing, I never thought so much manual polishing was involved to make the parts look good. I could go on all day about what I didn’t know — but instead, let’s take a look at what we’ve done so far:
Today we are happy to announce the Shapeways transparency report for 2016. This report is designed to give everyone in the Shapeways community insight into how our systems governing intellectual property disputes and third party access to Shapeways user information work.
What is a transparency report, and why publish it?
A transparency report is a public document that sheds light on how internal processes here at Shapeways work in practice. While the entire Shapeways community is impacted by our policies covering things like copyright disputes and privacy, in most cases individual disputes over those issues happen behind closed doors. This is a good thing in specific cases – community members should be able to resolve their differences outside of the spotlight. However, it can also make it hard for people who are not directly involved in a dispute to understand how the process works, or how those processes are working in aggregate.
The transparency report helps to summarize how our processes work and to give the entire community a better understanding of the trends emerging from them. It also helps the larger public and policymakers understand how systems grounded in law play out in reality. As we note in the report, it is impossible to evaluate the laws that control how Shapeways operates without understanding how those laws impact Shapeways and the Shapeways community. You can also compare the 2016 report to the 2015 report, which is available here.
What’s in this report?
I encourage you to check out the report itself, but three high level points are worth mentioning. The first is that intellectual property-related takedown requests almost doubled in 2016. This may not be a surprise since our community was larger in 2016 than it was in 2015. However, it is noteworthy.
The second is that 20% of trademark-related claims were withdrawn after low levels of scrutiny. As we have advocated for some time, there are real problems with current statutory safe harbors related to trademark infringement claims. As a result of these weaknesses, we evaluate most trademark takedown requests for facial reasonableness. In practice, this means verifying that the model targeted by a takedown requests has not been obviously misidentified (for example, if the trademark incorporates a common noun and the model just represents that common noun) or that the trademark is not being used in a way that merely connotes compatibility. It is something of a shock that 20% of all trademark claims fail what should be an exceedingly low bar for accuracy.
The third point of note is a positive one. In the 2015 report, we raised concerns around takedown requests that ambiguously claimed that a model infringed on a number of different types of IP. These types of requests — often as a form letter— made it hard for users to determine exactly what type of infringement was being alleged. One of the results of this ambiguity was to remove the disputes from the user protections in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) process. In 2016 we saw a dramatic reduction in the use of these sorts of combined notices (from 70% in 2015 to 9% in 2016). We appreciate that rightsholders are using more specificity in notices.
That’s the high-level summary of the report. The whole thing has more details, numbers, and even some graphs and charts. We encourage you to take a look and let us know if you have any thoughts in the comments below.
Over the weekend, we attended Genericon XXX, hosted by students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, for 48 hours straight of cosplay, anime, sci-fi and gaming. It was an amazing weekend. Just a few of the highlights were:
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.
Clothoid.A Lamp – Also featured in WIRED Magazine (US Edition – October 2012). Photo courtesy of Alienology.
Since launching the RC Customization Series last week, we’ve been super excited to see such a positive response to this Tamiya Hornet customization project! In case this is the first time you’re hearing about the Shapeways RC Customization Series, together with our RC expert Tijs and Adéla behind the camera, the three of us have set out on a journey into the world of customizing remote-controlled cars for the best look and performance.
In the back you can see the assembled original Tamiya Hornet, in front all the parts printed in White Strong & Flexible plastic.
In the previous Lap of the series, we started with a default Tamiya Hornet and a set of 3D printed parts designed by Alberto Massarotto, better known as AMPro Engineering. But in order to use the 3D printed parts, we first need to make sure they fit on the original body of the Hornet. In this second Lap of the RC Customization Series, Tijs gives tips on how to remove the sprues, which drills you have to use to make sure the right screws fit, and how to tap the screw thread in the Strong & Flexible plastic parts without breaking them. While Tijs was busy preparing the parts for pre-assembly, I had a chat with Alberto in which he explains his design process and why he started in the first place! See how this all went Lap 2: RC Engineering in the video below.
Want to build your own AMPro Super Hornet? The list of parts we use for this car can be found here.
After all the preparations, the parts fit nicely on the Hornet. Next step is finishing them with colors and stickers.
EDIT: Tijs did a massive update of the building with lots of close up images on our forums – read more here!
Note we release new episodes regularly, so if there’s anything you’d like to see, make sure to share that with us in the comments below and maybe we can explore that in the next Lap of the RC Customization Series.
Our new RC Customization Series takes us inside a very cool Tamiya Hornet customization project, headed up by Shapeways’ Eindhoven Distribution Specialist Tijs Lochbaum and European Community Manager Ruud van den Muijzenberg. Tijs and Ruud show us how exciting (and surprisingly easy) it can be to use 3D printing to make your mark on RC racing.
Because of the global drone hype, I didn’t realize other remote-controlled vehicles were still a thing. But that was before I found out that my colleague Tijs Lochbaum, who works in our Eindhoven distribution center, is a national champion in RC car drifting!
Watch Tijs drifting with his own RC car:
Boy, was I wrong! Tijs proved to me that RC Cars are being used more than ever, in totally different ways than I expected, and that customizing them is the best way to enhance your performance in competitions. Accompanied by Tijs, I’ll deep-dive into customizing RC Cars and share the process with you via videos and blogs in our RC Customization Series. With us cruising on the first Lap of the series, we begin our journey at the beginning, showing you how we got started — and hopefully inspiring you to take on your own customization projects.
Adéla, Tijs and I on the first recording day of this project
Of course, we need a car to begin with. RC cars have been around for decades, so Tijs recommended we start this project with a classic: the Tamiya Hornet. Watch the awesome 1980s commercial below:
After ordering the original car online, we received a box filled with components a few days later. I was expecting to get a fully operational car, so I was a bit surprised, but Tijs reassured me this is normal (yup, I’m really exploring new territory). The big advantage of getting a car in separate components is that it’s easier to replace some of the mass-manufactured items with new custom parts, while still keeping the original essence. The box the Tamiya Hornet arrives in. It has an appropriately vintage look.
We now have our own Tamiya Hornet assembled in its original state, even with all stickers in place. Considering that the design itself is over 30 year old, calling it a classic buggy is an understatement. But then comes the question: you can’t go wrong with a big refresh after so many years, right?
Tijs brought the AMPro Engineering store on Shapeways to my attention as one of the go-to places for new, fresh designs of Tamiya Hornet parts (and for many other RC cars too). We ordered a bunch of AMPro products that we 3D printed in our White Strong & Flexible material at our factory in Eindhoven, as you can see in the overview below. You can find a full list of the products printed here. From here, our customization journey begins!
The designs offered by AMPro Engineering are perfect for the adjustments we have in mind, but other brilliant engineers such as James Knight from Knight Customs (read his Designer Spotlight here) offer a great digital inventory of RC car (and other RC vehicle) parts on Shapeways.
So, now we have a car, and we have a lot of 3D printed components. The next thing we need to do is prepare the printed components for assembly — but we’ll look into that in the next Lap of the RC Customization Series. Don’t forget to shoot us questions by commenting below or on our social media channels. We’ll be adding more Laps to the series soon, and we’ll make sure to take your input into account.
Late last year, we made our Black High Definition Acrylate (BHDA) available for sale by our Shop Owners, enabling them to market incredibly detailed models. Since then, we’ve been watching with a ton of excitement as miniature makers prototype and iterate their concepts to prepare them for sale. Shapeways Shop Owner Gareth Nicholas, the multitalented 3D designer and award-winning miniature painter, shared his thoughts and process around designing for and finishing BHDA on his blog, and we were so blown away that we had to share.
Nicholas took his already expert-level experience in painting Warhammer and Reaper miniature figurines to the next level by creating his own figures with 3D printing. On his blog he explains:
“Concept-wise there’s nothing particularly original here. Games Workshop have been starving me of High Elves recently (at the moment it’s starting to look doubtful they’ll ever return, but I live in hope) so I decided to make my own. As I usually do when I sculpt something, I spent a while with a pencil and paper sketching various designs for armour and so on. I rejected a few designs that I thought looked cool on the grounds that they probably wouldn’t print very well or look good when painted.”
To start the design, Nicholas blocked out the character with simple shapes in (free software) Blender. We strongly recommend emulating his process here because he kept the overall model at the same level of finish throughout his process. This allows him to make good judgements as he improves the model through iterations, working from the most general forms to the most finely detailed.
“I roughed out the proportions in Blender and spent a fair bit of time viewing the model from every angle until I was happy that the anatomy wasn’t too awful. I then went back and refined each element, and made decisions about how the hair and the cloak would flow.”
“I elected to go with non-metallic metal when painting as there are some interesting shapes and I wanted to explore the reflections. For the steel parts I used my tried and tested method of highlighting with cyan and shading with red added to the mix.
“Overall I am quite pleased with how the miniature has turned out for a first effort at this scale and I’ve learnt a lot that will hopefully lead to better results in the future.”
Finally, check out the finished product below, and find more of Nicholas’s original miniatures in his Shapeways Shop here. This High Elf would be an impressive addition to your next Warhammer battle or Dungeons and Dragons campaign.
Looking for more custom-made miniatures? Check out Gareth Nicholas’ shop here, Tabletop & Wargaming accessories here, and the Miniatures marketplace here. And, let us know in the comments what figurines you’d like to see in the marketplace in the future!
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. 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
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:
Perched on the western side of India sits Ahmedabad University, the site of the fourth annual Maker Fest Ahmedabad. This past weekend Shapeways attended the three-day event which welcomed over 30,000 attendees from Gujarat and around the world.
Maker Fest was founded by Asha Jadeja, an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and philanthropist. Jadeja’s vision for the festival is “to catalyze innovation and entrepreneurship in India at the grassroots level.” Maker Fest is fulfilling this vision through the incredible artisans, makers, and hobbyists who showcased. These included everyone from ceramicists with wheel-throwing tutorials to local drone startups. The diverse group of regional and international makers offered over 45 workshops throughout the three-day event.
The author at Maker Fest
Lauren Slowik (Shapeways Design Evangelist) and I represented the Shapeways community at the event. We featured a bevy of Shapeways designers and offered a variety of workshops from 3D scanning to hand-dyeing 3D printed products. The visitors, of all ages and expertise, were introduced to the different 3D printing methods and the possibilities of the technology.
Lauren Slowik demonstrates 3D scanning
The Maker Fest included over 15 speakers with a keynote by Jan Jannink, Stanford professor and entrepreneur. The lecture covered the importance of A.I. to modern society and what the future may hold.
To learn more about this continuously growing event, click here. Let us know in the comments what local maker events you love, and where you’d like to see Shapeways go next.
One question we get all the time is: What’s the best way to learn how to 3D design? Did you learn the tools and processes in an academic setting like school? Did you teach yourself though experimenting? Did you watch tutorials or take online classes?
Experiments with MagicaVoxel software
We posed these questions to our community on the Shapeways forums and got some amazing responses. Here are some of these learnings that could serve as a great guide for others interested in starting their journey in digital manufacturing.
“I have always loved to draw with pencil and paper as a hobby. But I am a Mechanical Engineer and I started my professional career as a CATIA application engineer at IBM in 1992, and did that for more than 15 years. I had taken several CATIA training classes and spent many hours studying by myself. ” – Shapeways Shop owner Glehn
In the forums, our community has a range of backgrounds, from fine arts to science to engineering. Most reported learning the design software themselves from online tutorials and YouTube. They were creative prior to learning 3D design, and had begun their journey earlier with other hobbies like drawing and model building.
Many started learning before academic classes in 3D design were available. Personal digital manufacturing is still in its infancy and the educational infrastructure around it is still forming. Those who taught themselves are leading the charge to start educating the next generation of designers.
Most importantly, community members have learned to come to design with a creative, can-do mentality. By working on specific problems, like wanting to create a necklace or a robot, they’ve experimented with the tools at hand — and found solutions. Design always requires a combination of patience, problem-solving, and elbow grease. They’ve learned to value hard work, and that making something yourself pays off.
“My parents instilled in me the belief that it’s better if possible to craft something on your own than to buy it pre-built. 3d printing just gives me better construction tools” – Shapeways shop owner Stony Smith
How did you learn to 3D design? Did you learn in school or pick it up yourself? Let us know in the comments below.