Category Archives: Design

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.

Oculus Medium Sculpting the Beast

The adorable Beast and mini Beast

The adorable Beast and mini Beast, courtesy Facebook

We were super excited to see Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook video of an artist at Oculus creating a 3D model of Beast, Mark’s ridiculously cute pup (who, might I add, is more of a celeb than I can ever aspire to be). The video has us excited for a number of reasons:

  • One, the sculpture was created with Oculus Medium, a tool that we’re incredibly excited about because of the potential for it being a game-changer in making 3D modeling more accessible. Pete talked about the possibilities in this Mashable article and Mark’s video is the perfect example of the technology in action (and obviously leveraging some serious design talent).

  • Two, we know from first-hand experience how challenging it can be to capture a quality scan of a beloved pet using 3D scanning technology, thanks to our adventure with Franklin the Pig. While the Structure Sensor from Occipital works well on people, pigs are wiggly and aren’t the best subjects for a physical scan.

Kinda jealous of Beast’s mini-me figurine? Our partners Cuddle Clones and Arty Lobster create mini figurines of pets using photos of your favorite little fur-baby. And, stay tuned, because we’ll be using them to do Franklin better justice than his 3D scan did.

Have you used Oculus Medium yet? If so, let us know in the comments what you’re designing.

An Oculus designer using Medium to sculpt Beast

An Oculus designer using Medium to sculpt Beast

D-School or Self-Taught: How did you learn to 3D design?

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

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.

How I Made It: 3D Printed Roller Coasters

Our new How I Made It series takes us inside the projects that have inspired our designers, shoppers, and makers. Last week, designer and Shapie Mitchell Jetten’s miniature roller coasters got lots of attention from the community. I asked him to share how they came to be. Leave a comment if you’re interested in having us feature your latest project.

Back in 2014, I got the idea to start 3D printing rides from a game I used to love, RollerCoaster Tycoon.

I had no idea how to paint this, and not having too much money in my pocket, I decided to make a small version in Full Color Sandstone.
Mitchell 1

I’m sure many people will still remember these rides and their iconic entrances and exits.

Same goes for these two renders of the burger and drinks stalls:
Mitchell 2

A couple of years ago I decided to go a bit bigger. I decided to 3D print a Boomerang Rollercoaster, which cost around $300.

Definitely worth every penny, as it was a staggering 60cm long.

I included some roller coaster cars, which as you can imagine were just static (you can move them by hand) as it wouldn’t be able to do a full run back and forth.
Mitchell 3
Mitchell 4

This was all great, but I didn’t expect that anyone would be willing to spend $350 on a 3D printed roller coaster.

Rescaling this roller coaster wouldn’t work; the rails would be too thin to print.

I designed around five or six rollercoasters back in 2014, but, with a Boomerang already coming out at $350, there was no way the others would be close to affordable.

This plan went in the fridge till last month.

It made me think about the issue: why couldn’t I rescale the coaster and sell it for a lot cheaper?

The tracks where too thin, so the the only option was to get rid of the detailed track, make a tube, and hope it would still have a coaster feeling.

As everything is done by using splines, changes were made easily to the track.

In the image below, on the left is the first prototype and, on the right, the second prototype with a flattened track.
Mitchell 5

The test print of the second prototype arrived just days later.

A quick picture of the model with a coin for scale and a post on Facebook in a roller coaster group was all it took to create a buzz — people loved it already.
Mitchell 6

Right away, I noticed that some supports had to be a bit thicker due to their length, but that wasn’t really a problem and it was fixed just minutes after detecting the problems.

Here is a picture of my first attempt to paint the roller coaster:
Mitchell 7

And a bonus picture of another coaster, the Raptor:
Mitchell 8

And the results:

Rougarou (1:1200)
Mitchell 9

Raptor (1:1200)
Mitchell 10

A few more rollercoasters can be found here:

https://www.shapeways.com/shops/miniaturized

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Mitchell! Remember to leave any questions for Mitchell below, and let us know if you have a project you’d like to share.

When Should You License Your Work?

As you launch into a year of designing, engineering, and selling your work on Shapeways, our top legal brain, Michael Weinberg, takes on a sticky question around licensing and IP. How do you best protect your intellectual property – while avoiding the pitfalls of over- or under-licensing your work? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Is it Better to Over-License?

Licensing is all about setting rules around what people can and cannot do with the stuff you create. If you make something that is protected by copyright, someone else needs your permission in order to make a copy of it. A license is one legal form that permission can take. In many cases, the license essentially says “I give you permission to make a copy of my work as long as you do X”. X can be “pay me $50”. X can also be “give me attribution.”

Technically, the reason that someone else would need your permission to copy your work is because the work is protected by copyright. If they do not get your permission first, you could (at least in theory) sue them for copyright infringement.

There is a flip side to all of this. Not all work is protected by copyright. For example, functional objects are broadly excluded from copyright protection. That means that someone else can copy the functional item you made without legally needing your permission first. They do not have to worry about a license on your work because it is not legally enforceable. In fact, putting a license on a work that is not actually eligible for copyright protection can create all sorts of unintended problems.

All of which means that if you are creating something that is eligible for copyright protection and want to share it with the world, you should release it with a copyright license. And if you are creating something that is not eligible for copyright protection, you should not release it with a copyright license.

Which is all well and good if the thing you create fits obviously into a copyright/not-copyright category. But what if the thing’s copyright status is a bit more ambiguous? Should you err on the side of releasing it with a license just in case? Or should you err on the side of not using a license so you don’t unintentionally complicate things?

This is a harder question than you might expect and this blog post does not try to answer it. Instead, this blog post is designed to try and lay out the costs and benefits of each path. It explains what happens if you over-license by applying licenses where no copyright exists, as well as under-license by not applying a license where a copyright does exist. It then ends with a plea for your input. The norms around 3D printing, copyright, and licensing are still being established. Although this is an easy question to ignore, there is a benefit to the community coming together to try and come to consensus about expectations. We here at Shapeways are going to try and work on this in 2017, and in order for that to end well we will need your help.

Wait, what?

Admittedly, this problem can be a bit abstract. In order to make the following a bit easier to follow, it will probably be helpful to have a specific product in mind. Ideally, it is an object where the copyright status (is it protected by copyright? Is it not protected by copyright?) is unclear. Since we have used this as an example of an object with an ambiguous copyright status in the past, let’s stick with studiogijs’ birdsnest eggcup.

(Note: none of this should be implied to attribute any sort of position about copyright to studiogijs. I am just using the eggcup as an example because it is a good illustration of the type of object that can trigger this kind of problem. The rest of this blog post also assumes that studiogijs wants to share the eggcup under some sort of sharing-oriented license such as Creative Commons, although the core issues are the same if studiogijs wanted to use a more restrictive license)

Birdsnest eggcup quattro by studiogijs

Birdsnest eggcup quattro by studiogijs

As you may recall, this eggcup combines functional (read: not eligible for copyright protection) elements that allow it to hold an egg and nonfunctional (read: eligible for copyright protection) elements that mimic the look of a birdsnest. Since there is currently a case being decided by the United States Supreme Court trying to determine if this sort of object that combines functional and nonfunctional elements is protected by copyright, it is probably safe to say that the copyright status of the eggcup is ambiguous.

That means it is not totally clear what happens if someone were to make a copy of the eggcup without studiogijs’ permission. If the eggcup is protected by copyright, making a copy without permission would be copyright infringement. If the eggcup is not protected by copyright, making a copy without permission would be (legally) allowed. In the first case – where copying without permission would be copyright infringement – a license would be really useful. In the second case – where copying without permission is totally legal – a license does not matter very much.

But studiogijs cannot do both. They either have to use a license or not use a license. That choice is not a simple as it might seem.

If it turns out that the cup is not protected by copyright, attaching copyright license to it would be an example of over-licensing. Conversely, if it turns out that the cup is protected by copyright, failing to attach a license would be an example of under-licensing. Since right now the copyright status of the cup is unclear and there isn’t an obvious right answer, designers like studiogijs need to decide if they are going to err on the side of over-licensing or under-licensing.

Here are some of the costs and benefits of either path:

Over-Licensing

Over-licensing would happen if the studiogijs decides to err on the side of the eggcup being protected by copyright and releases it under a copyright license.  If it turns out the the eggcup is protected by copyright, “over-licensing” just becomes “licensing.” The eggcup is protected by copyright and there is a license governing how it can be used.

However, if it turns out that the eggcup is not protected by copyright, “over-licensing” becomes “putting a license where it does not belong.” From a legal standpoint such a license is essentially meaningless: without an underlying copyright, there is no actual punishment for violating the terms of the license. It can be ignored by downstream users. But even this legally meaningless license can send ripples out into the world.

Clear up Ambiguity (Good)

The most obvious impact of over-licensing is to remove ambiguity. While there are plenty of 3D printed things that fit cleanly into a “protected by copyright” and “not protected by copyright” dichotomy, there are also many that fall into a grey area. This grey area can exist because the rules around copyright today are unclear, or because there is a chance that the rules around copyright could evolve in the future.

In either case, adding a copyright license can act as a “just in case” tool. Studiogijs can use the license to assert “this eggcup is probably not protected by copyright, but if it is here’s a license that you can rely on.” That makes it easy for downstream users to confidently make copies of the eggcup under clear rules regardless of the ultimate answer to the “is this protected?” question.

Social Signaling (Good)

This benefit is easy for lawyers to overlook, but it is an important one. Licenses act at a legal level and also (probably more often) at a social level. A well expressed license is an easy way for studiogijs to tell the world “here is how I want you to use my work.” Even if that desire is not supported by the law it can still be quite important to the community. People in a community are motivated by all sorts of impulses not grounded in the formal legal system. If you are a fan of studiogijs you may care how they want people to think about copying the eggcup even if they cannot haul you into court for going against those wishes.

Restriction-Free Licenses Reduce the Downside

A license such as the Creative Commons Zero license would dedicate the eggcup to the public domain. It imposes no restrictions or obligations on the people who would make copies of the eggcup and makes no attempt to control their behavior. In this context, it tells the world “the eggcup is probably not protected by copyright, but if it is I hereby remove its copyright and make it freely available to everyone” while asking for nothing in return. If a studiogijs is relying on a truly restriction-free license in an ambiguous situation, the effect of the over-licensing with this type of restriction-free license is almost all benefit with no cost.

This calculation changes if studiogijs uses a conditional copyright license. Even a very permissive Creative Commons Attribution license could create problems because it places a condition on people who make copies of the eggcup (they are required to give attribution). In this context, such a license tells the world “the eggcup is probably not protected by copyright, but if it is you can use it as long as you give studiogijs credit as the creator.”

If the eggcup really is protected by copyright, such a license is great – all you need to do in order to make a copy is give studiogijs credit. But if the eggcup is not protected by copyright, a person who wants to make a copy might think they are required to credit studiogijs where no legally enforceable requirement exists. In other words, the license attempts to impose obligations on people who want to make copies without the actual ability to do so. That can create confusion and disappointment for everyone involved. All the more so if the relatively benign restriction to give the studiogijs credit is replaced with a more aggressive demand for a royalty payment.

Normalizing Expanded Copyright Protection (Bad)

In addition to possibly imposing obligations that are not legally enforceable, over-using copyright licenses can have a long term effect on how people understand the scope of copyright’s reach. It is not hard to see how “if you are unsure, slap a copyright license on it” can evolve into “the widespread use of copyright licenses in 3D printing means that all 3D printed stuff should be protected by copyright.” That could potentially remove countless objects from the public domain and expand the scope of copyright well beyond its intended bounds. Over-using copyright licenses could evolve into a situation where such licenses are actually legally required.

Under-Licensing

Under-licensing is the flip side. Instead of releasing the eggcup under a “just in case” copyright license, studiogijs could simply choose to not apply a license at all. In doing so studiogijs is gambling that the eggcup is not protected by copyright so the license is unnecessary.

Avoids Normalizing Expanded Copyright Protection (Good)

Not surprisingly, erring on the side of not using a license can have the opposite effect of erring on the side of using it. If in ambiguous situations there is no license, it will set an expectation that no license is necessary. This expectation could prevent the expansion of copyright to cover these edge cases. This could preserve the public domain as it is today.

Complicates Social Signaling

A license is not the only way to signal to people who want to make copies of the eggcup how studiogijs wants them to do so (if at all), but it is a clear and easy one. Without a license, would be copiers who want to take studiogijs’ wishes into account have to rely on other cues in order to determine how studiogijs might want or not want their work to be used.

Can Prevent Further Use (Bad)

The lack of a license, even in ambiguous situations, can create problems. If a person who wants to make a copy of the eggcup is risk-averse (or is having risk aversion pushed on them by their legal department), the lack of a license clearly granting them permission might prevent them from copying the eggcup even if there is no legal barrier to doing so. Additionally, if it turns out that there is some sort of latent copyright in the eggcup, the lack of a license could legally prevent people from copying it even if studiogijs wanted them to do so.

Which is Better?

I’m still not sure. Trying to weigh all of these factors will be part of 2017. If you have thoughts, please let me know. There is not going to be a real “right” answer. Hopefully we can come together to help form some sort of consensus around which of these not-great options is better.

This January, Make 100 With Kickstarter

Screenshot 2017-01-03 12.29.51

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.

lightfestival klein-12

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.

FUSION360_livingpods_web

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.

Beating Tech Obsolescence With 3D Printing

One of the most exciting — and practical — ways our community is using 3D printing is in the creation of replacement parts for household electronics. Australian designer MichaelAtOz of Matter Haus is a perfect example of a maker who starts with existing tech (in Michael’s case, Dyson vacuums), and creates a range of parts to extend the life of the high-end devices. In his recent forum post, shared below, the designer tells the story of his latest work.

dyson

Adapter for Dyson V8 to pre-V8 tools/accessories by Matter Haus

This is my latest major design. An adapter to fight obsolescence, which I think is a great aspect of the evolving maker/3D printing possibilities. This is how it happened.

A friend’s daughter was cleaning her car, and managed to drop their Dyson Handstick vacuum into a bucket of dirty water. Fitzzitzt…the vacuum now sux  not. So they bought the latest Dyson V8 Handstick.

It wasn’t until they got home that they realised the V8 had changed the connectors, and so they couldn’t use the variety of additional accessories they had bought for the previous version.

I had previously modeled the old version’s connector to make a range of holders/wall mounts for the accessories/tools. I needed to measure the changed V8 sizes and the new clip mechanism to update my holders anyway, so I though an adapter would be possible. Plug the new measurement into my OpenSCAD designs, and after a bit of that design magic, blood sweat and tears, I worked out that Strong and Flexible Plastic (S&FP) would allow me to use “flex” in the design of the release clip.
adapter prototype cut Flex.jpg

I often prototype my designs on my personal FDM 3D printer, but that imposes design constraints which Shapeways S&FP doesn’t have, like gravity. However, the bad thing about Shapeways is that it isn’t here in Oz, and a prototype can take some time to arrive. So you have to adapt, firstly make sure it fits, cut out bits which aren’t needed and show the internals; luckily this was doable with minimal support material. The first physical prototype confirmed the fit, and the flexi release worked as intended.
Adapter 1st prototype SANY0921.JPG
(My printer is a bit long in the tooth, it could use some adjustments for better results)

Similarly working out a good way of joining the new V8 tip design to the old receptacle I also considered how I could prototype on my local printer; after careful attention to the angles, I had a design I could print with little support.
Adapter 2nd local prototype printed.JPG

It was time for a real Shapeways prototype; finalising the design and ensuring the Shapeways 3D tools were happy took a few more iterations. Again it was necessary to incorporate cut-outs otherwise you couldn’t see how well the parts will fit.
Adapter 2nd prototype cut A SW.JPG
As, until I sell some more designs, I’m not made of money, I also chopped off bits not needed for testing to save on material and machine space costs.
Adapter 2nd prototype cut B SW.JPG

I chose White & Un-polished S&FP as it saves several days production time, and awaited delivery…
Adapter 2nd prototype cut delivered SW.JPG

Thankfully my measurements, earlier prototypes, and tolerance guestimates were good, and it fit like a glove. The next step was a final prototype of the complete model. Previous testing with a variety of the Dyson tools showed a small variance in size, so there was a small gap to allow for this. I was concerned how that may affect the vacuum suction, something I couldn’t test with the cut-out prototype.

Not wanting to spend too much on prototypes I decided the design should be finessed for the next order. It needed a seal/gasket/washer, this took a lot of searching to find the most appropriate, cost-effective, and easily acquired solution. The best balance turned out to be o-rings, so I had to find the right size to fit the design and incorporate an appropriate recess to hold it.
adapter o-ring cut SW.JPG

It was ready for the full prototype, or as I hopefully like to call it, the first production model. As the design has a friction fit I had always intended Polished S&FP as the production Material, and given the Dyson design, it had to be red.

And so, a new design is born
Adapter mounted w brush SW SANY0852.JPG Dyson Adapter Side SW SANY0827.JPG Top oring SW - SANY0892.JPG

As it turned out, it works pretty well without the o-ring, but the capability is there if you want perfection ;)

So after six weeks from concept to product, it came just in time for Xmas, so my friend can keep his old accessories.

That’s how it happened.

Thank you for sharing your story, Michael!

Which electronics would you revive with the right replacement parts? Let us know in the comments what parts you’re working on or would like to see our community develop.

Holiday Gift Card Holder Challenge Roundup

This fall, we hosted the Gift Card Holder Challenge, and you came through with some amazing submissions! Just in time for holiday stocking stuffers, we’ve picked some of our favorites. Discover a better way to give a gift card, below:

Top picks:

We love this gift card holder because it’s a great way to make that piece of plastic cash feel special and festive.

Gift Card Holder by Carl's Puzzles

Gift Card Holder by Carl’s Puzzles

This gift card holder can fit all your loot from the holidays, or double as a business card holder. It can even be personalized with CustomMaker to make the perfect present.

Card Holder Box (Part 1 of 2) by Cady Carlson Designs boss gift business business cards cady carlson designs card card holder employer function gift gift cards gift idea networking organization organizer

Card Holder Box (Part 1 of 2) by Cady Carlson Designs

Honorable Mention:

An innovative screw-in design makes this gift card holder into an ornament that’s ready to hang on the tree.

gift card screw in ornament with holes by Nibbles & Bits

gift card screw in ornament with holes by Nibbles & Bits

Are you looking for a gift card to share 3D printing this holiday? You can order yours here.

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.

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.

Shapeways EDU Fall 2016 Grant Winners!

We are pleased to announce the Fall 2016 EDU Grant Winners. The Shapeways EDU Grant provides $1000 in printing support, awarded twice a year to university-level students and professors whose proposals push the boundaries of 3D printing materials and technology. This fall’s grant recipients are:

Wooyeon Byun – Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
These avant garde fashion pieces will incorporate the structures found in the species Phyllocrania paradoxa or ghost mantis.

Eduardo Fiorin – Universidade Vila Velha, Brazil
Eduardo’s project will explore developing a made-to-order protective jacket for non-professional motorcyclists. The equipment is brought to life by 3D printing, including the fabric mesh, closures, and finishing – all tailored to the user’s body in order to provide the best performance and fit, optimizing effectiveness of the protective parts in case of an accident.

Robert Hemlich – DePaul University, Illinois
Robert is working to bring 21st century tools to stop motion animation. By keeping the scale of the figurines and number of frames relatively small, Robert wants to prove that it is possible for filmmakers to make fascinating art without any major barriers or extreme costs.

Dingzeyu Li – Columbia University, New York
Ding is developing a system to identify 3D printed parts using sound ID tags. As more people print objects to perform specific functions, it will become difficult from a user’s perspective to ensure that the design indeed functions as expected. Invisible tagging will investigate how to accurately embed invisible tags through optimization of 3D models.

Cliff Weitzman – Brown University, Rhode Island
BoardBrake is a removable foot-activated brake for longboards/skateboards. There is currently no effective way of stopping a longboard/skateboard. Bicycles have brakes, scooters have brakes, but longboards do not. BoardBrake allows riders to be safer, ride faster, and have more control.

Congrats to our latest grant winners and thank you to all the students who applied! Past grant recipients have completed projects in the fields of applied psychology, product design, and mathematics, to name a few. Our next grant cycle closes March 15, 2017. More details about the application process can be found at shapeways.com/education

When Skulls Meet Holiday Gifting

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

Great Horned Owl Pendant by Skeletal Skulpture and Mathematikal Artifakts

Great Horned Owl Pendant by Scott Camazine

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

Jacaré Alligator Skull by Scott Camazine

Jacaré Alligator Skull by Scott Camazine

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

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

Christmas Ornaments Inspired by the Beauty of Math

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

Designer Sarah Berube's Octahedral Snowflakes 2

Designer Sarah Berube’s Octahedral Snowflakes 2

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

Berube's Entangled Snowflakes (Full Version)

Berube’s Entangled Snowflakes (Full Version)

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

3D Inspiration at Dutch Design Week 2016

We’ve just closed out the 15th annual Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, The Netherlands! Here at our Dutch Shapeways headquarters, we have been giving factory tours and showing off our amazing community’s wide variety of work. But we’ve also had a chance to tour the rest of the citywide event to take in the most cutting-edge designs.

Dutch Design Week was started by the Design Academy Eindhoven as a one-day event that has grown to span nine days, thousands of square meters of exhibition space, and hundreds of events, including music shows and interactive sites. Here are a few of Shapeways community member displays as well as innovative products and concepts from some the the Netherlands’ best design minds. While VR and AR are definitely having a moment in the interactive design space, the work we’ve seen over here is still very much meant for the physical world.

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Pierre Niviere’s The Trophy is a 3D printer powered by human energy

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A visitor is 3D scanned at Shapeways EXPO at Dutch Design Week

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Shapeways Designer Anna Ruiter’s jewelry on display at Dutch Design Week

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3D printed sound board elements from Shapeways designer Retrokits

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The WastedBased recycled furniture collection by StoneCycling and Ultra Studio