Shapeways 3D Printspiration

Shapeways is the world’s leading 3D Printing marketplace and community.

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Come see our sweet booth at Maker Faire this weekend in NYC! Details: http://shpws.me/peu2

(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.

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…

Ask Your 3D Printing Questions on Fridays at 5 with Shapeways Engineers

Fridays at 5 is our regular Google hangout where you get to ask Shapeways Engineers your questions about 3D Printing with Shapeways.  Last week we talked about the upcoming launch of our new elasto material, how we 3D print our high detail acrylic and we set fire to a couple of Nylon and Full Color 3D prints to prove they are not suitable to put into a kiln.

Star Trek vs Star Wars vs 3D Printers

Science fiction becomes reality at Shapeways with on demand 3D printed products.

(via Skulltruder by schlem on Shapeways)

Behold and fear my Skulltruder!

This is a set of spur gears for the Printrbot ( and other) extruder. Derived from Brook Dunn’s Printrbot’s spur gears, which were derived from Wades Accessible and Herringbone gears

( http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:16990 )

and Cleaned Skull by ssd

( http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4126 ).

Notice that there is a cap for the bolt the skull on the larger gear - may need a wee bit of sanding around the perimeter for a proper fit. This should seat at the proper depth for stealthy concealment of your secret hardware. Upgrade your Printrbot with these gears from Shapeways in Laser-sintered nylon for greater precision and consistancy.

I ditched the small skull on the small gear. It never printed well with the hole through the forehead and the reduction in size. The NEW! small gear has some nice features, including cleaned up teeth, and a flat bearing surface for the set screw.

See the picture with the black and the white gears: The Black gear came with my Printrbot Plus kit. The STL file shows a diameter of 63.78 mm. The gear that was printed by a Printrbot in my kit measures 61.25 (averaged 8 measurements) The white gear was printed by Shapeways in Laser-sintered nylon and averages 63.25 mm

Father and Son 3D Print a Kite Photography Rig for Smart Phones (VIDEO)

Father and Son team up to design and 3D print kite photography rigs for a range of smart phones then document the world around them, from above.

Taking the father and son project to new heights (sorry) hobbiestoomany have designed and 3D printed a range of kite ariel photography rigs for the Samsung Infuse, Galaxy S3 and the iPhone.

Making great use of the super light yet strong 3D printed Nylon on Shapeways they have constructed cages that can safely carry a smartphone up into the sky to record with either video or photos. There are already a whole range of 3D printed GoPro camera mounts on Shapeways for a wide range of uses but this is one of the first mounts we have seen designed to take the smart phone to the skies.  Each of the kits are available in hobbiestoomany’s Shapeways shop with simple instructions in the video below how to assemble the cage and send your phone into the sky in a playful mash-up of Benjamin Franklin’s kite experiments and a modern surveillance drone.

Hang Out with Shapeways 3D Printing Engineers Fridays at 5 in the Factory

Fridays at 5 in the Factory (NYC time) is a Google Hangout to give you an opportunity to ask the Shapeways 3D printing engineers your questions about Shapeways materials, processes and how to design for success.  We had an impromptu hangout last Friday that included a brief introduction to some of the Shapeways team along with a shaky, noisy virtual tour of the factory.

Register on Google+ to Fridays at 5 in the Factory or just virtually drop in to listen, ask questions and give feedback. 

Please note this is a virtual hang out as we cannot yet host people in the factory, those events will come once we have finished building out the site and all of the machines are safe in their cages.

We are looking forward to seeing you online and talking 3D printing with you.

3D Modeler Needed to Model 3D Printed Repair Part for Senseo Coffee Maker

Every week we are seeing more and more people looking for 3D modelers to help them 3D print everything from human busts to scale laundry baskets through to slightly more functional objects.

A recent request by baerfoot is looking for someone to help him 3D model a repair part for his wife’s Senseo Coffee Machine.

The replacement part is not available from the manufacturer but he has the existing broken part that will be relatively easy to copy for someone with basic 3D modeling skills.  If you are a 3D modeler who is capable of helping baerfoot keep his wife caffeinated drop him a line in the Shapeways Forums. While you are there you may as well submit your portfolio in the 3D Modelers for Hire section too.

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.

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.

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?

Connecting to the Shapeways 3D Printing API the iOS Stand Creator is an app that makes it easy for anyone to customize a stand for their iPhone and 3D print it with Shapeways.

Usually when we think of iPhone apps we think of applications within the iPhone but this application makes it easy for anyone without 3D modeling skills to create a customized stand in just a few mouse clicks.  

What makes this app really interesting is that it uses 3D printing to make functional, not decorative items.  Most of the apps so far plugging into the Shapeways 3D Printing API on the Create page are making sculptural, cosmetic products or jewelry while there is a huge potential in making 3D Printing apps that connect things to things.

If you want to 3D print a custom product but do not know how to 3D model the iOS Stand Creator App is a great way to get started, if you are a designer and/or developer interested in getting into the 3D printing app market this is a great example of how to make a customizable, functional product.  Take a look at some of the stands made so far that are now ready to 3D print.

Congrats to Kioròdesign and Archipelis.com.