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Posts tagged "diy"

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

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.


Need to Repair Your 3D Printer? Use Shapeways to 3D Print Replacement Parts

Anyone who owns a desktop 3D printer knows that sometimes you need to replace some of the components to optimize performance.  In many cases you can simply 3D print a replacement part with your 3D printer which is an incredibly rewarding process of self sufficiency but when it is a critical component that stops the 3D printer from functioning properly it can quickly become frustrating dead end. 

Shapeways community member Schlem discovered the extruder gears that came with his Printbot Kit were warped and his 3D printer was not functioning properly.  Of course a non functioning 3D printer can not 3D print repair parts so he used Shapeways to 3D print his replacement parts in laser sintered Nylon.  By using Shapeways to 3D print the parts for his 3D printer he now has a more durable, higher resolution part that will make his desktop 3D printer more accurate and reliable.

He also made it possible to make the 3D printer even more awesome by designing the Skulltruder, adding a little gothic bling to what is essentially an engineering project.

Are Your Jewelry Designs Available in Shapeways Premium Silver Yet?

Have you had a chance to experiment with our new 3D printed Premium Silver yet? The material takes our 3D printed Sterling Silver to the next level with an incredibly smooth, glossy surface for a professional finish.

Introducing Premium Silver 3D Printing to Shapeways

We have just raised the bar for Silver 3D printing at Shapeways with the introduction of Premium Silver.

Premium Silver is our 3D printed Sterling Silver taken to the next level with an incredibly smooth, glossy surface to give your designs a truly professional finish. We will be offering Premium Silver for a six week trial until Tuesday May the 14th, during which we will assess the pricing and design rules. If you love this new finish as much as we already do, we will keep it as a permanent material option on Shapeways.

It is really important to note that we get this amazing finish on the Premium Silver with manual polishing that may result in very fine details being polished away.  If your design has sharp corners these will be polished to a smoother, rounder edge.  If your design has very fine engraving or embossing, these details may be polished out.  As we progress through the trial we will have a better idea exactly what level of detail will succeed and we will update the design rules and guidelines accordingly.

As with other precious metals, the polished surface of silver is soft, so scrapes and scratches are to be expected as a normal part of wear. To minimize damage and ensure your product lasts a lifetime, we recommend storing your jewelry or other Silver products in a soft cloth pouch and away from other products. Avoid exposing the product to household chemicals during cleaning as they can be damaging to the finish. Silver tarnishes with time, use a silver polishing kit to maintain a glossy surface. 

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Beautiful Hand Dyed 3D Printed Jewelry

3D Printing is not only about mouse clicks and lasers, there is also a lot of hands-on work required to take an item from bits to atoms, that is why we are always looking for talented people to help make things real in our Eindhoven and New York offices.  Every model is lovingly removed from the various 3D printers, cleaned (sometimes dyed) and shipped around the world.  We do not always get to see what you then do to the parts, what post processing you undertake to make them even more beautiful, but when we do, it inspires us and makes all of the long hours worthwhile.

We recently featured Rachel Goth’s work on the Shapeways blog but I thought it was worth taking another look based purely on the dying of the products that make her Marmalade Park designs look amazing.  Here are some images from her Flickr account to inspire you.

Check out the 3D Printing at the Adelaide Mini Makerfaire

The maker movement is heading south all the way to Adelaide, South Australia for the Adelaide Mini Maker Faire.

The Adelaide Mini Maker Faire is to be held Saturday April the 6th, 2013 at the Adelaide College of Arts in Light Square right in the heart of one of Adelaide’s centres, close to the University of South Australia and the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT).  Adelaide also now has it’s own FabLab located at the Adelaide College of Arts also set up by ANAT so anyone can head in and use their equipment to make their ideas for real.

If any Shapeways users will be in Adelaide for the event please let me know, I would love to hear more and see images.

Shapeways will also be attending the Bay Area Maker Faire in May for those, less south…

A Pessimistic Look at the Future of 3D Printing, Not According to the CEO of GE

Sam Jacob has written an opinion piece on Dezeen that has a somewhat pessimistic take on the future of design and 3D printing. A world where “3D printing will merely bind us even more closely to fewer and fewer corporations” due to an iTunes like DRM controlled ecology with the only alternative being Pirate Bay style sites sharing inferior quality 3d files and bad scans. Not content with only one negative scenario, Jacob goes on to imagine another, a world full of half finished, half baked mis-prints of ill thought out designs poorly realized. Ok, dropping an academic context to frame an overly negative viewpoint may help to give some credibility, but many people with great business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit think otherwise, people like Jeffrey Immelt the chief executive of GE, Carl Bass the CEO of Autodesk, and thousands of people using Shapeways to make and sell their 3D printed products to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

Jacob does have a point when he discusses the division of labor from design;

"There is something undeniably appealing (to designers) in the removal of the production process between the designer and their artifact, a shortening of the distance between their imagination and its physical product. But part of this appeal is that it shifts the value of the object toward the designer rather than the labour of production."

But this division of design from labor is exactly what makes it possible for a designer to successfully scale their works for financial success, this is not something unique to design for 3D printing, it is typical to design.  The difference now lies in craft, where a craftsperson can create their work using digital fabrication and thereby scale their work just as designers have. Their craft may be in the manipulation of digital tools, voxels and code rather than with hands and physical tools, but is craft just the same.

3D printing is already starting to free us from mass produced, corporate controlled forms of consumerism.  It is relatively early in the growth of a technology and many of us are all still feeling our way to find the best use of the technology, whether it be biological, mechanical, gastronomical or to simply replace current forms of production with a more agile variant.  The important thing is that it is already available for anyone to use with an ever growing breadth and diversity of materials and processes. Thanks to open source projects such as the RepRap and research labs in universities around the world focusing on ways to leverage the technologies in a myriad of ways.  There may be some major players trying to capitalize on the growth of 3D printing but there are also thousands of bright young entrepreneurs who will leverage the technology in areas that are so innovative they will blaze their own trail into the future.

(via A Pessimistic Look at the Future of 3D Printing, Not According to the CEO of GE - Shapeways Blog on 3D Printing News & Innovation)

Learn to Design for 3D Printing in NYC (Between the Lines

If you are in New York City next week you can get a free introduction on how to design for 3D printing with Duann Scott of Shapeways. Learn from the veteran 3D printing Jedi master Duann on how to design and prepare for the materials for the 3D printing process to get the best results for your design and most economically as wasted materials is wasted money with 3D printing. Duann will be using Autodesk’s free and easy 123D Design.

Since it is February 14th aka Valentines Day, feel free to exercise your geeky Maker side by bringing a date and learn how to print your 3D designed valentine heart. If you scare your date away, perhaps it was for the best, and you will be left with more free time and able to concentrate on mastering digital fabrication nirvana.

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Nokia Becomes the First Major Manufacturer to Release 3D Printable Files for Their Product

Nokia has become the first major manufacturer to release 3D files so anyone can download and 3D print parts for their own phone.

Nokia have made the rear shell for the Nokia Lumia 820 available to download from their developer site as an STL that can be uploaded and 3D printed by Shapeways or a STEP file that can be opened and parametrically modified by a variety of CAD software such as Solidworks and Inventor.

The Nokia Lumina 820 has a simple clip-on interchangeable back which makes it possible for people to change the color of their phone.  By releasing the CAD file, people can now download and modify the basic design to add any feature they like, be it a functional like a folding stand, bike mount, cable wrap, or something cosmetic like branding, images or patterns.

What makes this really important is that a major manufacturer is making it possible for their customers to add value to their products without any cost to the manufacturer.

We have seen the seeds of the when Teenage Engineering made accessories for their synthesizer available for download and 3D print, but this is the first time one of the big guys has come to the world of 3D printing.

One thing to note is that the 3D file is quite fine, and will not suit all forms of 3D printing. We have uploaded the part to Shapeways and made it available for download. We are also doing some test prints at Shapeways this weekend to ensure printability in Nylon (WSF), but we do not recommend 3D printing components such as this in Acrylic as it may be too brittle and Nokia recommend no steel, ceramic or sandstone parts.

The file may also be challenging for Desktop FDM machines as the wall thickness and direction of the stresses may make this a fragile part.

This is a fantastic first move by Nokia, we asked who would be the first manufacturer to make the move to 3D printing in a previous blog post. Nokia get the prize for being the innovator, now let’s see who follows in their path and if they can raise the bar.

The Top 3D Printed Stories of 2012 on Shapeways: The Tip of the 3D Printed Iceberg

We have shared the most popular 3D printed products on Shapeways but we also want to have a look back at some of the most interesting stories from the Shapeways blog.  It has been a big year with some amazing projects from the Shapeways community using 3D printing to make their ideas for real.

Take a look at the Shapeways blog to see a month by month breakdown of some of the top stories.

3D Printed Stand for the OP-1 Synthesizer

Pretty Graffiti has designed a 3D Printed Stand for the OP-1 Synthesizer to raise it up and put it on the perfect angle for performance.

Earlier this year the designers of the OP-1, Teenage Engineering released the 3D files for accessories for the synthesizer when they could not find an affordable distribution channel for their international community.  This was the first time we have seen a manufacturer releasing 3D printable files so that their users could 3D print their accessories, either with a desktop 3D printer or via a 3D printing service such as Shapeways.  Now we see Pretty Graffiti may be the first user to carry on the momentum of adding value to the synthesizer, without Teenage Engineering investing in design time or manufacturing.  

GoPro users have already been taking this tack for a while now with around 80 GoPro related products in the Shapeways gallery with everything from 3D Printed GoPro Nerf Mounts to a 3D Printed GoPro Kite Mount.

I am sure this is the very first ripple of a tidal wave of 3D printed products we will see on Shapeways that add value to an existing product with little or no investment by the original manufacturer.  When manufacturers do get on board and start making 3D printed parts available we will see the same speed of innovation and product diversity as we already see happening within the Shapeways community.

Who do you think will be the first manufacturers to really take the opportunity and run with it?  How can we help them to understand it is in their best interest to start releasing accessories to be 3D printed on demand? 

Thank You for Helping Shapeways Grow

Thank You for Sharing Your Creativity

Over the past year we have seen more people start 3D printing with Shapeways then ever before. We are excited to announce we now have well over 200,000 Shapeways community members, over 70,000 followers on Tumblr, just over 10,000 followers on twitter and more than 8,000 Shapeways shop owners filling the Shapeways galleries with thousands of 3d printed products every day.
The more people that become aware of Shapeways and 3D printing in general the easier it is to promote the amazing things the Shapeways community are making and the less time we need to explain how 3D printing works (even though we love doing that too).
We want to send out a massive THANK YOU to all of you who have made Shapeways the amazing place that it is, your endless creativity inspires the entire team to work hard day and night to get your 3D prints to you as quickly as possible, with the highest quality and lowest price.
Please do continue to share your designs with us in the Shapeways forums, post them on social media and be sure to tag us so we can find them and promote them too.  We love to see your designs out in the wild of the internets.
Thank you all once again for making Shapeways the amazing place that it is today.
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