Welcome to Tutorial Tuesday! This week, we speak to the geeks. Did you know that you can create 3D-printable designs with code — no 3D modeling required? OpenSCAD is a programming language for solid modeling, specifically built for creating designs that are exportable as triangular meshes for 3D printing. In this post, we’ll walk you through the basics and show off some Shapeways designs created with this powerful parametric modeling software. // Column at the Shapeways Blog

This week, Tutorial Tuesday is for beginners. If you’ve never designed a 3D model before, then this post will show you how to get started. We’ll start with showing you how to design simple 3D models with a free program called Tinkercad, and then how to send those models to Shapeways for 3D printing. It’s easier than you might think! Get a cup of coffee and join us. You’ll have designed and ordered your first 3D design before you’re done with your coffee. // Column at the Shapeways Blog

Welcome to the second Tutorial Tuesday! There’s a lot of 3D printing and design information on the internet, and it’s our job to sort it out. We’ll pick up where we left off last time, with a second round of design and printing tutorials from right here at Shapeways. This time we’ll get technical, focusing on some of the more specialized issues that arise when designing, exporting, and printing designs and animations for 3D printing. // Column at the Shapeways Blog

This week we kick off our new "Tutorial Tuesday" column at Shapeways! If you’ve tried looking for 3D printing and design tutorials online, then you’ve probably noticed that there are already a lot of tutorials out there. The hard part isn’t finding them, it’s figuring out which ones are worth reading or watching! On Tutorial Tuesdays, we’ll be curating and discussing the best existing tutorials so that you can focus on designing and printing cool things. // Column at the Shapeways Blog

It's hard to find a better test print than the Ultimaker robot; it has insets, embossings, overhangs, bridges, posts, and fine features, all wrapped up in a model that's less than an inch and a half tall. Plus, it's cute. This robot is small and prints quickly, but... on an Ultimaker with standard Cura settings, not quickly enough! The Dutch print for quality but I want to print for SPEED. Time to put theory into practice and turn the Ultimaker into a speed racer, by diving into Cura and printing lots of testbots.

Over the last four years, the JMU 3SPACE classroom has supported 3D printing across the curriculum by hosting general education classes, courses in mathematics and art, projects in history and biology, workshops for local K-12 school groups, faculty workshops, and even a 3D printing club. We’ll walk through how 3SPACE went from ideas to equipment to curriculum, and provide advice for other schools that want to establish their own 3D printing classrooms. // Guest post at Ultimaker Education

For the past three years we've made a holiday snowflake design: In 2013 it was Snowflake Ornaments, created by extruding an SVG image of snowflakes. In 2014 it was the Snowflake Cutter, which leveraged Customizer sketching functionality to mimic the way snowflakes are cut out of folded paper. In 2015 it was the Snowflake Machine, which could generate over a billion unique snowflakes in different styles. What could we possibly make this year to top that?

At this year’s UnKnot conference, Lew Ludwig and Chris Faur set up two 3D printers from their lab: one Ultimaker 2 Extended+ filament printer and one Formlabs 2 resin printer, including a UV-light drying station with a solar rotating stand inside for curing the printed Formlabs knots. During the conference, mathematicians designed and 3D printed original models of pretzel knots, hyperboloid stick conformations of torus knots, hexagonal mosaic tiles, and rolling trefoils. // Guest post at Ultimaker Education

This year at Maker Faire Bay Area we hung out at the Ultimaker booth and offered a challenge: Solve one of these 3D-printed Cube Puzzles and you get to keep it! The 3D-printed pieces of each Cube Puzzle can be printed without support and all four puzzles and the box container can be downloaded from the Cube Puzzle Quartet model on Thingiverse, or from YouMagine. All four of them are classic, known puzzles that you can read about in Stewart Coffin's excellent book Geometric Puzzle Design.

Girih tiles are used in Islamic art and architecture to create intricate woven strapwork patterns. The underlying periodic patterns that create these designs are related to Penrose tilings and predate the formal mathematical discoveries of such tilings by at least 500 years. On the left side of the photo are the basic colorful tile shapes; towards the middle we have started to add the overlaid strapwork; and on the right the strapwork pattern is revealed by concealing the colorful tiles with gray tiles.

Time to level up! This is the first in a series of posts about converting desktop 3D printer models into designs optimized for printing on industrial-level 3D printers. Shapeways is basically a personal remote factory where you upload 3D designs and choose the materials you want, and then Shapeways prints the models and mails them to you for a fee. That sounds easy, and basically it is, except for one catch: designing for industrial-level 3D printing is not the same thing as designing for desktop 3D printing.

This post was written by 11-year-old Calvin Riley, with only minimal editing and help from his mom, mathgrrl. This post will walk you through what it was like to unbox and set up an Ultimaker 2Go. But what this post is really about is that when you are 3D printing something, errors happen. A lot. Sometimes those errors are from your design, and sometimes they are from the filament or something you forgot when printing. We had all of these kinds of errors happen to us. Here's how it went.

I think I may have been waiting my whole life to write that title. For the littlebits bitWars Challenge we teamed up with fellow Minecraft adventurers rileypb and cgreyninja to re-create the Trash Compactor Scene from Star Wars. The walls of the trash compactor were controlled by redstone and pistons activated by a cloudBit that allowed real-world interaction with the scene. We also included an automatic silverfish generator, a lot of random leaves and item trash, and a villager to play Chewie.

Our new Snowflake Machine uses random numbers, mathematical algorithms, computer code, and SCIENCE to create well over a billion unique and beautiful snowflakes. It generates snowflakes with an algorithm that approximates the way that some kinds of snowflakes grow in real life, with branches and plates determined by a random seed. Use the Thingiverse Customizer to choose that seed, and then set style parameters that determine the fullness and fuzziness of your flake.

You're good enough, smart enough, and you deserve a damn trophy. Even if it's only a trophy that you give yourself for making it through the day, or a meta-award for designing and 3D printing a trophy. (Or maybe a trophy for picking yourself up off the floor after getting the boot in a massive layoff at Makerbot...) In this post we'll show you how to take something from Thingiverse and use a python Blender add-on to export it into an OpenSCAD module that can be included in a Customizer trophy design.

Move over low-poly, it's time to go low-voxel! The Stanford bunny is a classic test model, and here we use phooky's Stanford bunny model to test out a fun, easy method of producing low-voxel designs: use Thingiverse to find a starter .stl file, then use Tinkercad to convert that file to a "blockified" .schematic file, then use Minecraft to play around and repair if necessary, and finally use Printcraft to export the new "blockified" file as an .stl that is suitable for 3D printing.

If you love pentagons then 2015 was a pretty good year for you, because a new pentagon was discovered! To be more precise, mathematicians Mann, McLoud, Von Derau found a previously unknown convex pentagon that can tessellate the plane. So... what can you make out of it? With our new Pentomizer model on Thingiverse you can make a picture, a pattern, a puzzle, a texture, some wallpaper, a desk ornament, and some cookie cutters, based on any of the known tessellating pentagon families.

This collection of bowls and pen holders were all generated from the same simple OpenSCAD code by changing a few numerical parameters. This is a really simple 3D design whose main purpose is to serve as an accessible introduction to designing with OpenSCAD. Designing with code is easier than you think; if you have six minutes to spare then you can learn this! Okay, maybe seven minutes. But it's not hard. Follow along and learn how to design something parametric from scratch.

It's Week 2 of the mathgrrl vs atartanian Thingiverse battle and it is already starting to sink in how difficult it is going to be to come up with something new and awesome every week. My entry is a Five-Cent Hammer that gets its heft from five embedded US pennies. It's small, so you can fit it into your pocket or print it quickly in an emergency. You can print the hammer so that the coin becomes the striking surface or so that the coins are fully enclosed. Try it both ways yourself, it will only cost you 10 cents.

Absurdly, now that I'm actually working at MakerBot I seem to have stopped posting models to Thingiverse... until now. Thanks to 3D-printing hero atartanian, I'm now in a knock-down, drag-out, winner-take-all, print-a-thing-every-week battle. My entry for Week 1 is a remix of my Fidget Cube model called the Fidget Star. The Fidget Star is one-half of a Yoshimoto Cube, which means that its star formation is a Stellated Rhombic Dodecahedron with exactly half of the volume of its cube formation.