Yep. Shapeways can 3D print all that!
Before I continue, you should know that I work for Shapeways. It’s an amazing group of people that offer an even more amazing service: 3D printing in awesome materials for the best price you’ll find anywhere. Some of them used to work for Not a Number, Ton Roosendaal’s company that worked on Blender for a few years. Interesting fact: all the 3D renders on the site are done with Blender. We’re still a bunch of Blender nuts. So, now you know ;-)
I wanted to give a quick headsup here today because over the last year or so we have introduced some really nice high-end materials. If nothing else, it’s nice to know that some designs manage to escape their computers and materialise in real life.
You can get your own 3D printer for under $1500 these days, but Shapeways uses high-end industrial printers (some cost over $500,000). They print with remarkable precision in a variety of materials. For a full overview of all the materials, check out the materials page. There are some materials that I’d like to highlight though.
(Model: QR Steel Tag by Dimmulain)
92.5% pure silver. 3D printed in wax first, then cast and manually polished. We can print details as fine as 0.3mm, and prices are comparable to what you pay in a boutique. Only this time, it’s your own design! See details on silver here.
(Model: Earth Tree Pendant by Peter Rinblad)
The first ‘food-safe’ material that Shapeways offers – just print your own coffee cup! It’s 3D printed ceramics powder that gets fired and then glazed manually. Several colors of glazing are available: white, black, Eggshell Blue, Avocado Green, and Pastel Yellow. These are all high-gloss finished. In addition, we’re offering Black Satin now. Full details here.
(Image: Octo Cup by cunicode)
Black Elasto Plastic
Need squishy? This experimental 3D printed polymer gets infused with squishy goo and turns into a flexible plastic. Elasto Plastic is a pilot material that will be available until June 20. Check out pricing and properties here.
(Image: Dino Hand by Bulu)
How does it work?
Shapeways is self-service. You create a design in Blender (making sure it’s printable – it needs to made of real volumes, not just ‘shells’, and parts need to be thick enough to print). Next, you export to one of the supported file formats. STL is the most popular one, but Collada, OBJ, X3D and VRML2 are also supported (the last one supports texture maps for full-color printing). Upload the design and within a few minutes you’ll be able to see the price in all of the available materials. Production and shipping takes between 2 and 3 weeks, depending on the material.
Make some money!
If you’re in need of some cash you can also sell your designs on Shapeways. Just open a shop, set the markup price for an object and you’re in business. If you do a good job on marketing your work, you can easily make a few hundred dollars a month, and Shapeways does all the hard work of production, shipping and customer support for you.
Do you want to know more?
If you have any questions about Shapeways, feel free to leave them in a comment below and I’ll answer them.