Shapeways 3D Printspiration

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Posts tagged "Industrial Design"

Everybody Needs a Little Eames (3D Print) in Their Life

The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman is a mid-century modern design classic first released in 1956 by husband and wife design team Charles and Ray Eames but even after over 50 years of being in production, even the reproductions are prohibitively expensive, until now.

The Mini Eames Lounge Chair by kspence is a 1:20 scale miniature is about 2 inches tall and at just over $25 as a full color 3D Print is 1:67th the cost of a full scale reproduction.  Do the math, it’s a bargain and you can hold a piece of design history in the palm of your hand, maybe even make the perfect seat for Sad Keanu?

(via 3D Printing Connection & Storage: Fuji X Mount Double Lens Cap - Shapeways Blog on 3D Printing News & Innovation)

The Fuji X Mount Double Lens Cap by Scott Krebs solves a problem many photographers have, how to store and protect their lenses in a way that makes them easily interchangeable whilst in the wild. Having a double connector means that a photographer can easily swap between two lenses single handedly. We have seen in the past on the Shapeways blog, that when photographers have a need that is not met by manufacturers and the users have access to tools of manufacturing through 3D printing they often create elegant solutions (sometimes simultaneously) to solve those problems.  This 3D printed double lens cap mount by Scott Krebs, he was looking for a product that did not exist, so he created the product himself, now anyone who has that same problem can use his design, and Scott can in theory use the profit from his sales to create more products that solve his, and in turn other photographers needs.

 I’ve been wanting a double lens cap for my Fuji but no one made it, so I just designed it and had it printed at Shapeways. I’m very happy with it… I was often changing these two lens and switching the caps with both of these small lenses in one hand.     Scott Krebs.

Check out this video of our New Improved Elasto Plastic now available on Shapeways as our first Maker Material.

sunekaae:

Awesome factory tour at shapeways, with Duann Scott, organized with Pratt Center and NYDesigns

Autodesk Save Tinkercad from Extinction

Autodesk has announced that it has purchased Tinkercad and it’s core technology to resurrect the browser based 3D modeling app from the dead.

Several weeks ago Tinkercad killed the popular 3D modeling app, closing new users and announcing a slow death for existing users from the free to the pro accounts.  Today’s news that Autodesk is saving Tinkercad is even sweeter as it has unlocked all of the pro features so you now have unlimited designs as well as access to the ‘superscripts’ that take the relatively simple ‘drag and drop’ assembly of geometry to a greater level of 3d modeling complexity.

The Autodesk team are also planning to continue to develop the 3D modeling app further with more import and export options and it may even find it’s way into the already impressive 123D range of apps that are perfect to design for 3D printing with Shapeways.

Thank you Autodesk, Long Live Tinkercad…

Shapeways Educational Discount for 3D Printing on a Student Budget

Today we have launched the first stage of the Shapeways Educational Program with an awesome 10% discount on 3D printing for all students and educators with a Shapeways account registered with an .edu email address.

This is our first step at helping students and educators have better access to high quality 3D printing through Shapeways.  We will be rolling out more features as part of the Shapeways Education Program so that everyone from elementary to post graduate students can use 3D printing to help them learn, understand and communicate their ideas whether they be technical, artistic or conceptual.

Register for the 10% discount on all 3D printing by visiting the Shapeways Education page and activating your email.  The 10% discount will automatically be applied at checkout unless you have another discount code you wish to enter.  You can still use Shapeways credit and your student discount at the same time.

We will continuously monitor and review the educational discount so that we can optimize it to students needs which may involve a change in the terms under which we offer the discount.  We will keep all of those registered for the education discount updated on any changes and/or additions to the program.  We will also work to include other educational institutions that do not have an .edu domain for their emails in the near future.

Please pass on the details of the discount to your friends, fellow students and teachers, the more people that are registered and use the educational discount, the more incentive there is for Shapeways to develop the educational program further. 

If you have any other ideas you would like to see implemented into the Shapeways educational program please email education@shapeways.com

How To 3D Print at Home with an iPhone and a Magnifying Glass (VIDEO)


While looking for a way to recycle our excess Nylon powder we found a way for anyone to 3D print at home with an iPhone and a magnifying glass.

At Shapeways we recycle most of the Nylon powder from our industrial 3D printing process but sometimes the powder does not meet the standard required for use in our 3D printers.  We were looking at the testing process when we made a really exciting discovery, with a tightly focused beam of light you can solidify the Nylon powder into a solid.  

We did some experiments and discovered a way that anyone can 3D print at home using an iPhone and a magnifying glass with our Nylon powder.  Take a look at the simple video below and email freenylon@shapeways.com and we can send you (for the cost of shipping) some of our excess Nylon for you to try at home.

In a relatively simple step by step process that almost exactly replicates the way in which our industrial 3D printers work it is easy to 3D print a basic form with an iPhone with a ‘Torch’ app, a strong magnifying glass, a ruler and some fine Nylon powder.

    1. Prepare the Nylon powder to around 3mm thick on a clean flat surface.  The smoother this first surface the better quality your 3D print will be as this is the foundation of your entire print. (This is the same way that our 3D printers prepare for your 3D prints)
    1. Use the Torch App to activate the flash on your iPhone and a magnifying glass to focus the light into a tight beam. You will need to experiment to fid the perfect distance from the Nylon and the time it takes to solidify the powder so that you do not burn the Nylon.  (Our industrial machines use much the same process except with a laser to speed up the printing time and give greater accuracy)
    1. Use a ruler or other straight flat item to gently cover the first layer of your 3D print with around 0.5mm of Nylon powder, you will be printing your part from the bottom up, tracing the existing layer to ensure the melt together. (Again, this is the exactly the same process our SLS 3D printers use, except the layer of Nylon is in the Microns yet still building objects from the bottom up)
  1. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to print your object, ensuring you melt each layer to the layer below, as you gain confidence you can try to 3D print simple interlocking parts like a chain. (please note: The strength of the part is reliant on the uniformity of the bond between Nylon particles, we do not recommend you use this process for any parts under stress.  The industrial 3D printers Shapeways use are high precision machines that 3D print high quality parts. Home 3D printing with this process is an experimental process for fun more than function.)

Take a look at the video below to see our results, if you want to try this yourself at home contact us freenylon@shapeways.com and we can send you some Nylon (for shipping costs) so you can try this at home too.

We Bid a Sad Farewell to Tinkercad

Today we bid a sad farewell to Tinkercad, one of the easiest 3D modeling apps plugging into the Shapeways 3D Printing API.

When Tinkercad launched in early 2011 as a simple browser based, drag and drop interface for 3D modeling, it made it easy for anyone to create a 3D form.  In August 2012 when Tinkercad plugged into the Shapeways 3D Printing API it also became one of the easiest ways for people to learn how to 3D print their own designs which is why we used it to teach everyone from 2nd graders to senior citizens how to design for 3D printing.  With the introduction of the ability to import existing designs Tinkercad also became one of the easiest ways to modify and customize an existing design.

Luckily we are seeing more and more 3D printing apps plugging into the Shapeways 3D Printing API to make it easier for people to access 3D printing but Tinkercad will be missed.

For Tinkercad users they are rolling out the closure in stages:

  • Effective immediately they have closed sign-ups for new users    
  • April 30 2013 - All free accounts will be changed to read only    
  • August 31 2013 - All academic accounts will be changed to read only    
  • December 31 2013 - All paid accounts will be changed to read only    
  • June 31 2014 - Read only access for all users will be discontinued 

This means if you currently have files stored on Tinkercad, you will have until June 31 2014 to download them from their storage and/or upload them to another repository such as Shapeways, Sketchfab or Thingiverse.  If you have unfinished models in Tinkercad you have a limited time to make the modifications to export and/or 3D print them.

There is also an FAQ with additional details.

We wish Kai, Mikko and the Tinkercad team the best of luck as they move away from the development of the Tinkercad user interface and onto Airstone Labs.

Repairing Appliances with Shapeways 3D Printed Ceramic Parts (VIDEO)

How to extend the life of a kitchen appliance using Shapeways 3D printed ceramic parts.

When a small part for Shapeways community member Mitagaki’s Panasonic Bread maker broke he looked everywhere for a replacement part.  The manufacturer no longer supported the model so what was a $5 replacement part became unobtainable and the $200 appliance was rendered worthless. 

Rather than throwing the entire appliance away, Mitagaki 3D modeled a copy of the broken ceramic part and then 3D printed it in ceramics with Shapeways. 

After successfully testing the 3D printed ceramic component he made a minor adjustment to the design and has now made the Panasonic SD-YD250 breadmaker replacement bobbin available for others to repair their appliance using Shapeways.

Do You Want More Flexible 3D Printing at Shapeways?

We found a squishy 3D printing material back in early 2012 that was not quite ready for us to use with our 3D printers so we found another flexible alternative that unfortunately was not up to our standards so we had to stop supporting the material when the trial ended.  

We are super excited to learn the original flexible material is finally ready and we are preparing our 3D printers so that we can offer it to everyone to 3D print.  

Do you want more flexible 3D printing for your designs?

Weekend Design Contest #6: Reuse a plastic bottle

Picture: Bicycle Bottle Fender Mount by Michael Mueller

This weekend we’re challenging you to design a clever way to re-use a plastic bottle, like Michael’s design for his bike.
Surprise us with your creativity and win a $25 voucher.Grab a drink, keep the bottle and have fun designing!

For full details, head over to the forum.

MagSafe Adapter Key Ring: 3D Printing and the Power of Connecting Things to Things


Some of the best uses of 3D printing is the ability to connect things to things, whether it is your a plant to your bike, your GoPro camera to your drone or your Raspberry Pi case to your Lego castle.

The MagSafe Adapter Key Ring by jbobrow makes sure you do not lose the Magsafe Adapter for the new MacBook and connects it to your keyring 3D Printed in Stainless Steel using the adapters internal magnet.  Clever.

What other products could be designed to be 3D printed in Stainless Steel to use magnets embedded in existing products?

The Lyman Filament Extruder May Drop the Cost of Desktop 3D Printing Forever

The Desktop Factory Competition launched in June 2012 challenged makers to design a cheap, open source method to turn plastic pellets (which sell for $10 kg) into filament suitable for a desktop 3D printer (that currently sells for $50 per kg).  83 Year old inventor Hugh Lyman developed the Lyman Filament Extruder II which for under $250 in parts can take standard plastic ABS pellets and squeeze them into filament.

The fact that this device is released as open source hardware means that others can modify and improve the mechanism to lower the cost and increase the efficiency, just as we have seen with the open source desktop 3D printers based on the RepRap.  

Not only will this result in a massive reduction in the cost of raw 3D printing media, but it is also a very small step away from being able to grind and reuse failed 3D prints to feed into fresh new filament, or perhaps adding conductive media into the hopper to create filament suitable for making basic elctronic circuitry, or any type of tweak to customize the base material.

The speed of innovation in the open source 3D printing world is making many of the large industrial 3D printer manufacturers appear to be moving in slow motion.  We are not seeing the same rate of innovation in machines nor materials and we at Shapeways would LOVE to have new materials to share, or have a way to drop the material cost by a factor of five or ten as we see made possible by innovations like the The Lyman Filament Extruder.  

Congratulations to Hugh Lyman who scored a giant $40,000 cheque for his invention and the respect of thousands of makers around the world.

via Time.com

Nike Use 3D Printing to Manufacture the Vapor Laser Talon Football Shoe

While shoe manufacturers have been using 3D printing to prototype shoes for years, this is the first shoe by a major manufacturer that plans to use 3D printing for the final product. The Nike Vapor Laser Talon is 3D printed using selective laser sintering to produce an ultra lightweight football shoe weighing only 159 grams (5.6oz) including cleats.  Nike designed the cleats specifically to help athletes quickly accelerate from standstill.

As mentioned in the previous post where we looked at the cost of injection molding vs 3D printing, the value of the 3D printed part is in the complexity, not just the material cost.  Nike are using this ‘free’ complexity to design the football cleats for maximum performance without being constrained by issues of manufacturability.  

“Nike’s new 3D printed plate is contoured to allow football athletes to maintain their drive position longer and more efficiently, helping them accelerate faster through the critical first 10 yards of the 40… Translated to the game of football, mastering the Zero Step can mean the difference between a defensive lineman sacking the quarterback or getting blocked… SLS technology has revolutionized the way we design cleat plates – even beyond football – and gives Nike the ability to create solutions that were not possible within the constraints of traditional manufacturing processes” 

Shane Kohatsu, Director of Nike Footwear Innovation. 

There are so many sporting applications where a complex, customized product can be 3D printed in Nylon which is incredibly lightweight yet strong enough to withstand great stress if designed properly. What other sports do you know of that are ready for 3D printed components?

Comparing Apples and Oranges: Injection Molding vs 3D Printing

We often get asked ‘at what point does it become cheaper to mass produce and item rather than 3D print it? at which point we have to ask what do you want to make, in what material and to what level of complexity or customization?  To approach a need and simply switching method of manufacturing misses the power of 3D printing.

A recent blog post by 3sourceful compared the cost of manufacturing two items using Shapeways 3D printing and Protomold to make injection molded parts.

"In this case, we prices out two different parts.  One, a very small bracket (~1cm^3) and one a larger jig (~50 cm^3).  To compare, we obtained quotes from Shapeways and Protomold.  And for simplicity, we just assume the cheapest material from each.    We then plotted out the total cost of production for different quantities.  As we would expect, the tooling costs of the molds resulted in 3D printing being cheaper at lower quantities in both cases.    But, in the case of the larger part, the cost of the 3D printing material meant that over 100 units, Protomold became the cheaper solution.  Where, for the smaller part, 3D printing was cost effective over 1000 units.”

This is great for a simple equation for comparing the cost of a simple part required in bulk like their bracket, but if there is any level of complexity in the part or strict tolerances, the price to injection mold is likely to quickly increase, where as the price to 3D print would likely stay the same or may actually be reduced if the complexity is in the form of meshed or perforated features.  The larger item might not have taken advantage of the density discount on Shapeways that can dramatically reduce the cost of large parts.

The comparison does not take into account the upfront investment required along with cost to warehouse and distribute the injection molded parts with the liability of predicting sales and holding inventory that may not sell.  Customization and/or fast iteration is also an incredibly powerful advantage of 3D printing not so easily posible with injection molded parts. If you want to make 1000 components that are very similar but not the same, the cost to 3D print remains the same where as with injection molding you will need to invest in 1000 different molds, or at the very least, 1000 different mold inserts which would then need to be manually changed out after each part is manufactured.  

Same too with fast iteration, if you want to modify your design in any way to optimize your design there is no additional cost or delay with 3D printing where as with injection molding you would need to retool in most instances, adding greater cost that would need to then be amortized across the sale of your product.

The post title rightly sums up the equation cost = f(size, quantity, technology) + a whole lot more, where the ‘whole lot more’ is just as important as the rest of the equation.