Archives for category: Shapeways
A neat thing happened today. Valve, a popular videogame company(makers of Half-Life, Portal, DOTA, Counter Strike, and more) and Shapeways, a 3D printing service bureau that also lets you have a 3D-print-on-demand online storefront, reached and agreement where we can upload any design to Shapeways and share 10% royalties with Valve when sales are made. It’s very exciting to me, and certainly the way licenses should go, in my opinion. It’ll be neat to see if other storefront sites like Etsy take on this approach.
So, here you are, an officially licensed pair of Portal earrings, designed by me, up on Shapeways:
Here’s a few parts I made for Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I headed down to the stadium today to test the fit, and it went perfectly. All 9000 padded seats between the dugouts behind home plate use two of these. It’s a self adjusting bracket to hold the seats to the rest of the chair. Since each seat is angled differently to face the field, a simple bracket doesn’t do the job. This bracket has a rotating ball in a socket to accommodate for any angle. I unfortunately don’t get to sell them the entire 18,000 sets of parts that they use for the whole lot because these are just replacements for when the originals break, but it’s still a nice order and pretty need to add them to my client list! The black one is the original, mine is the all white set. The company who made these originally got bought by a different stadium seating company, and they no longer offer these parts. They don’t break too often, but when they do, the seat is unusable, so it’s always good to have a few on hand.
 My white 3d printed ones next to the black originals

These three parts are the original pieces.

This is the 3d printed nylon part. The central ball rotates freely to any angle.

You can see the metal bars that stick out from the arm rest.
The ball part fits right on the metal bar, and adjusts itself to the angle as needed.
I tested the screw hole placement in their repair shop on a newly refinished padded seat. They replace the vinyl on these all the time.

It works! Installed in section 30 row 29 seat 11

Here’s a great article shapeways put up about it:

Shapeways is changing their pricing for SLS nylon parts and the metal parts too.  A big change is that each part inside a model now has its own $1.50 startup fee.  If you group them all together and put ’em in a box, then they count as one part, saving you that hefty cost.  The example I’m using is the 30-pack of tiny nipples used as detail pieces for Han Solo in Carbonite side panels.

Before the price change, these cost me $7.18 and I was selling them for $13.  That same file will now cost $62.37 after October 7th, and even more of a gap for polished parts. Something needed to be done if I want to continue offering these parts at a reasonable price.

After I put everything inside a cage, I was able to bring the cost back down to a fair number. It was $7 before and now it’s about $11.  The more time you spend optimizing the layout of your parts, and the tighter together you can get them, the more money you’ll save.  Making them hollow isn’t the #1 most important thing anymore.  A lot of factors contribute to the cost, so optimizing all of them will give you the best result.

Not all parts go up in price; some actually go down. Realize that shapeways used to charge $1.40 per cc of material you used, and now they’re only charging $0.28.  That’s a big drop.  They’re also charging for ‘air’ at 21 cents per cc, but that’s just to reflect the work they need to do for that part. This means that many objects which are not so wispy and wiry, and instead are tighter and denser actually go down in price.  Check out a simple solid sphere for example.  Hollowing it out would only save you $0.07 per cc, whereas before it’d save you the full $1.40. This means that under the new pricing structure, this particular shape would go down in price from $12.95 to $7.07.  Not bad.  I wonder now though how well shapeways will compare to other 3d printing service bureaus.

In the video I showed example of lowering prices by putting things in cages.  You can also lower the price by linkin things together.  The above earrings show that the system only charges you for objects which are actually separated.  The linked rhombic dodecahedron earrings (available in my store here) are successfully detected as two parts, not 6 like you might expect.  Same goes with the Claw earrings, which aren’t even solidly connected by a closed loop.

You can also link objects together with a 3d printed string so that they’ll be detected as one part.  It does a very good job of this on my tests so far. This is like putting beads on a necklace. 
If your parts are spaced out far away from each other, it’ll cost a lot since you’re using a lot of space inside the machine. The photo to the left shows the bounding box of the parts. It’s the overall rectangular box that fits around all parts in a model.

The overall bounding box isn’t exactly the same as the machine space.  If you have a big enough hole inside your part, (40x40x40mm) then shapeways won’t charge you for that as machine space since they’ll fit someone else’s part inside of yours.

By the way, have you seen my kickstarter campaign? It’s currently live at

Check out the campaign!

Share it and back it if you can.  Thanks!

Hi there, and welcome! 

I just launched my Kickstarter campaign for GlassKap, a lens cover and other fun hardware accessories for Google Glass. GlassKap is a plastic, perfectly formed lens cover for Google Glass. GlassKap provides a visual cue to your friends and those around you that you are neither recording them nor snapping pictures with the blink of an eye. The Kaps come in vibrant, noticeable colors that put people at ease. While the Kap is snapped, no recording can happen. If you’re coming here from the New York Times article, here is a link to the campaign. Check out the video, and get involved!

I used my Google Glass today to capture photos hands-free at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.  Then the photos were sent to Autodesk’s 123D Catch, and assembled into a mesh, and cleaned up in Meshmixer.

Download yourself a copy of the model online here

Well, I was playing Ingress and everyone who’s anyone knows that around the Washington Monument in Baltimore there’s a boatload of portals to be had, always changing hands between the resistance and the enlightenment. These portals are all at the sculptures, and many are right in front of the Walters Art Museum.  Since the museum is free, I wandered in, and looked for a good piece to scan.  I’ve scanned over a dozen in the museum so far, mostly at the Artbytes Hackathon, but I somehow missed Marcus Aurelius last time.  It was literally a stroll-by scan job.  I was in and out of the museum in under 10 minutes, and captured a few sculptures.

I just walked around the work, repeating, “ok glass, take a picture” over and over, 30 shots in total.  No real care in aiming the shot.  I just looked at it and that’s it.  Then I manually uploaded the photos from Google Autobackup to 123D Catch on my computer and proceeded as normal with the regular scanning/123d process.

If you’d like a miniature replica of this head, you can buy a Shapeways print here.
Check out my latest project, GlassKap a privacy cover and other fun accessories for Google Glass.

This Thursday, come on out to the Node for a Shapeways meetup! Check out the cool 3d printing materials, and tons of new stuff. Have something 3d printed? bring it to share, and show us your projects. Want to learn more, or are just getting started? No worries! Come too! RSVP at and learn more at