Category Archives: 3D Print

The Week in 3D Printing

This week in 3D printing, we tried to contain our excitement about the possibilities of 3D printed cheeseburgers, gawked at some science-y shoes, explored 3D printing-enabled facial reconstruction, and tried to rewrite the book on… printing books.

Cheez Whiz, anyone?

As Gizmodo reported, scientists at University College in Ireland tried to think as American as possible, and explored how (scientifically) processed cheese might be altered when put through a 3D printing process. Using a desktop FDM printer fitted with a “cheese syringe,” solid cheese was extruded through a custom-designed nozzle, heated to 167 degrees Fahrenheit.

Is it edible? Decide for yourself.

Step into a new form of tech

Courtesy of Bryan Hinkle -YouTube

Support is a familiar word to sports giant Under Armour, and these shoes are no different — but their manufacturing process is. At the heel of the shoe, a 3D printed “dynamic lattice network” is matched to a compression lace system that integrates into the rest of the shoe, forming around your foot. This system is supposed to be steady and sturdy enough for strength training, but ready to tackle whatever you can.

Does that include mud? There’s nothing like losing your $300 shoes to a Spartan race.

Face/Off

A funeral home in Beijing has introduced a new process to cover any facial or head damaged of the deceased that come through its doors. Family members provide a headshot of the deceased, a facial reconstruction is generated, and the  able to produce either a full or partial mask, depending on the needs. This process takes up to 10 hours, replacing a process that could potentially take up to a week — and be less-than-accurate.

I guess it was about time for a 21st-century version of the death mask.

The printing press just got punked

The weirdness here is pretty intense: Popular Science reported on a huge challenge for 3D printing. It’s one that even we wouldn’t want to take on. But it’s one that was first solved over 500 years ago— with the invention of the printing press. That’s because, for… reasons… Ron Arad is printing a magnum opus, a book about Einstein, in a single, 3D printed piece. This is a weirdly hard thing to do, making it all the more worth doing.

Hey, taking on challenges just because they’re there? We’re into it.

We think he’d be into it, too

BHDA Finishing Tips and Techniques: Support and Nub Removal

BHDA — or black high definition acrylate — is the most recent material added to our roster. Starting as a maker material, BHDA was released this fall to all shoppers because of its amazing detail, finish, durability, and color. However, this material does have one aspect that’s somewhat unusual for Shapeways: models are printed with support structures. Until today, we removed the supports from all models during post-processing in our factory. But, this went beyond what many of our makers wanted. So, starting today, to give you more flexibility around the way your models look, you now have the option to receive your BHDA models with supports still attached. Below, we’ll show you how to remove supports and, if you’ve chosen to receive your model with the supports removed, how to remove the tiny support nubs that will remain on a portion of the surface.

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The USS Arkansas 1/1800 model by C.O.B. Constructs and Miniatures with supports and after support removal

 

Why does this material have supports and nubs?

These support and nubs exist due to the production process. Before printing the model, the 3D printing engineers will check the model in order to ensure that the design meets printing guidelines and can make it through the production process. Next, support structures are added to the design file using a variety of preset supports which are selected based on your model’s geometry. If your design is particularly intricate, individual supports are added to delicate areas. These support structures hold the model to the build plate while they are printing, while offering strength to the product as it is being printed.

Once the models have had the supports added and are oriented in the build, the production team will load the models to the printer. The printers use direct light projection technology, which includes a liquid resin, and light to cure the material. Each build is created layer by layer using light voxels to cure the resin to the previous layer.

Once the build is completed and cured, the supports can be removed in the factory. If you opt to order your model with supports, this will be the first step after receiving your model. This removal process uses a metal spatula, snippers, tweezers, and mineral oil. After the supports have been removed, small nubs will remain on the part. However, it is possible to finish the surface to a smooth, clean finish with minimal effort.

 

How to hand-finish your products:

Initial Finishing Tools

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  1. Snippers: Cut off supports

  2. Craft Spatula: Scrape off supports

  3. Tweezers: Pull off supports and scraping off nubs

 

Final Finishing Tools

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  1. ≥ 600 grit sandpaper: sand off nubs

  2. Paint brush: apply finishing lotion or mineral oil

  3. Mineral oil or lotion: moisturize material to remove scratches

 

TECHNIQUES

Large Support Removal

Starting today, designers can choose to receive their models complete with supports. These designers are interested in removing the supports at home.

TIP: Check the 3D file of the model while removing these supports to avoid removing crucial parts of the model.  

If your model has many wiry parts or fragile overhangs, it is best to use snippers to remove these supports. This will help to protect the model. When you have a wall that meets many supports, tweezers or metal spatulas may be used to remove multiple supports at one time. You can angle the tweezers or the spatula flush against the wall of the model and pull downward. This will “unzip” the supports from the actual structure. Ensure you are careful with the spatula as this can cause unintentional gashes.

 

Nub Removal  

Once the large supports have been removed, small nubs will remain. These can be easily removed with tweezers, ≥ 600 grit sandpaper, and mineral oil. The tweezers are used to scrape off the larger nubs.

CAUTION: Be careful not to add excess pressure as this material can easily scratch. Cosmetic scratches can be removed, but deep scratches will need additional buffing.

≥ 600 grit sandpaper should gently rub off the remaining nubs. This should take just a few swipes back and forth to notice the nubs disappearing. This material, although strong, does polish quickly. Double check while you are polishing you are not rounding sharp edges or losing details while sanding.

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USS Arkansas 1/1800 model by C.O.B. Constructs and Miniatures

Left side before polishing / right side after sanding for 1 minute with mineral oil

 

Final Finishing Step

Once you have sanded off those final nubs and are left with a smooth surface, a few small white marks from the tools may remain. This is where the mineral oil or lotion comes in. These can be gently painted on the material to moisturize and remove the superficial scratches and scrapes.

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With all supports removed

BHDA is durable due to its strength and elongation properties, yet it is very easy to polish. This makes this material perfect for those that are looking to create miniatures. The surface is smooth and high-detail where no supports have been laid. Where the supports have been placed, these nubs can be smoothed to a soft clean surface with brief sanding. This allows for paint and other finishing treatments to be added precisely and with little post processing.

If you are looking for more information on this material, I recommend referencing the materials page — or testing one out for yourself.

A figurine with and without supports

Ill Gotten Games’ Elf Ranger shown with supports and after support removal

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.

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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.

Designers and Shapies Ring in the Holidays, Dutch Style

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

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

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

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

Community members meet Santa and Mrs. Claus and their reindeer

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

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

Shapeways' Eindhoven factory team

Shapeways’ Eindhoven factory team

7 Boredom-Busting Stocking Stuffers

It’s the cherry on top of Christmas morning: the stocking, stuffed with a few extra goodies. It’s also a gifting challenge. Stocking stuffers should be unexpected, interesting — and tiny. Luckily, our designers are experts at delivering big impact in small packages. Helping you to deliver gifts that are the opposite of boring. This week, as we highlight Last-Minute Finds for every budget, discover seven stocking stuffers they may end up liking better than their real presents.

1. Micro Pocket Fidget Spinner

Micro Pocket Fidget Spinner by Idle Hands Development

Micro Pocket Fidget Spinner by Idle Hands Development

Fidget spinners have been big in 2016. Just add a couple of roller skate ball bearings, and you have a handy tool to keep your hands busy while your brain focuses. It’s true — fidget toys can actually help us focus. Plus, this one is small enough to keep your fidget toy obsession on the DL.

2. Santa-Approved Cookie-Dipper

Little Dipper by Craig Kaplan's Mathematical Art

Little Dipper by Craig Kaplan’s Mathematical Art

Some people just want a milk-soaked cookie, and not an entire glass of milk. We suspect that Santa is one of those people. So he’ll feel pretty good about leaving behind the Little Dipper in your little one’s stocking.

3. Bacon Mobius Strip

Bacon Mobius Strip by Joaquin Baldwin 3D Printed Designs

Bacon Mobius Strip by Joaquin Baldwin 3D Printed Designs

Mobius strips are amazing mathematical objects (read all about them here), and when combined with shockingly realistic bacon details, rendered in full-color sandstone, this one could become a bacon-lover’s favorite — and most unexpected — holiday gift.

4. Kaladesh Die

'Kaladesh' D20 Balanced Gaming Die by Tiny Tokens

‘Kaladesh’ D20 Balanced Gaming Die by Tiny Tokens

Trust us, the roleplayers in your life will go insane over this Magic the Gathering-inspired die.

5. Wow, Such Doge

doge by Ryan Kittleson's Sculpture

doge by Ryan Kittleson’s Sculpture

Doge is the meme that keeps on giving. He’s adorable, and he’s just excited to be here. Give your giftees a dose of doge with this stocking-sized figurine.

6. Klein Bottle Opener

Klein Bottle Opener by Bathsheba Sculpture LLC

Klein Bottle Opener by Bathsheba Sculpture LLC

The Klein Bottle is an amazing one-sided object that math nerds love. Play with the concept with this Klein Bottle that actually opens normal bottles.

7. Knuckies

Cat by Knuckies - Phone Stands, With a Twist

Cat by Knuckies – Phone Stands, With a Twist

These cool little tools are phone stands, phone grippers, and fidget toys all in one. Maybe the most useful stocking stuffer they’ll receive this year.

Check out our full selection of finds in our Holiday Gift Guide, and make sure to order soon. All of our holiday order deadlines can be found here. And let us know in the comments what you’d like to find in your stocking on Christmas morning.

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.

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.

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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.

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.