Today, we’ll learn how to turn one simple snowflake design into multiple products in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. We’ll start with simple low-res 3D prints and prototypes on desktop FDM machines, and eventually level up to printing in Nylon and Plated Rhodium at Shapeways. The snowflake design we’ll be working with was created with parametric code in OpenSCAD... // Guest Post at Shapeways

Bangle bracelets are great, but they’re so darn bangly. A circular bangle bracelet has to be pretty big to fit over your hand, which makes it very loose around your wrist once you get it on. If you think about it, when you use a bangle bracelets you’re wearing it 99% of the time, but pulling it over your hand only 1% of the time. How do you make a design that’s optimized for the 99% instead of the 1%?... // Column at Shapeways

Pioneer Professor Laura Taalman (a.k.a. mathgrrl) reviews a multi-week study of fractals by general education math students in the JMU 3D printing classroom: The James Madison University 3SPACE classroom kicked off the Fall 2017 with 10 new 3D printers and a new 3-credit general education course exploring fractals and four-dimensional representations of objects... // Guest post at Ultimaker Education

It’s math time! Or, at least, designer cheat-sheet time. This week we’ll be giving you the answers you need for deducing side lengths and angles of non-right triangles in your 3D designs. If you’re using professional design software, then you might be able to get all the measurements you need from the design software itself. But sometimes your software programs can’t rescue you... // Column at Shapeways

This print-in-place impossible screw has two interlocking pieces that twist freely but cannot come apart! A great example of an object that can be made with layer-by-layer 3D printing, but not with traditional manufacturing methods. The model is a remix of TheKre8Group's Un-Manufacturable Part, with increased clearance, elongated twisty part, and full color added to the interior twist... // Hacktastic

The holidays are coming, and it seems like the run-up to them starts sooner every year. But for Shapeways shop owners, the holiday season starts even earlier. How much earlier? We’ll break down the timeline and see when you should be ready for the starting gun. There are a lot of holidays in December, but of course, the big dog for shop owners is likely to be Christmas... // Column at Shapeways

We made these color cubes to test the new XYZ da Vinci Color 3D printer. The cubes were colored as they were printed, with each extrusion layer "painted" by CMYK ink cartridges inside the printer. Like most really great ideas, the idea of combining FFF with ink jet color is so elegant and obvious that we can't believe we didn't think of it earlier, but we're glad that XYZ did... // Hacktastic

Sometimes a design just begs to be printed in Porcelain. If want your model to be food-safe, act as a keepsake, or look great with a beautiful artistic glaze, then Porcelain is a good option to try. However, designing for 3D printing in Porcelain isn’t the same as designing for other materials. This week we’ll talk about ways to modify and optimize your designs for printing in Porcelain... // Column at Shapeways

If you want some 3D printed chocolate but don’t have a 3D chocolate printer, do the next best thing by making molds. Simple 3D printed shapes can be used as presses to create food-safe silicon candy molds. The only tricky bit is to keep air pockets out of the corners of the molds; we’ll solve that problem by creating our designs in Fusion 360 so we can fillet, or round, the edges of our designs... // Column at Shapeways

The 3D printing slicer Cura has a cool hidden feature: It turns out that you can upload an image and it will turn dark/light contrast into high/low elevation. You can use this feature to make a quick 3D-printable lithophane. Black and white images work the best, but you can get amazingly detailed photographic quality from lithophanes, so they don’t necessarily have to be simple... // Column at Shapeways

Want to make a simple design and turn it into a 3D printed product in just a few minutes? 3D Slash is an in-browser modeling tool that is intuitive, easy to use, and unusually fun to use. You can create designs by smashing blocks with a hammer, building up walls, or tracing an image. If you have a simple idea that you want to bring into reality very quickly, 3D Slash is a fun place to begin... // Column at Shapeways

Want to make a 3D-printable Dungeons & Dragons character without learning Blender, ZBrush, or Maya? Try Hero Forge, one of the Shapeways Creator Apps. Hero Forge allows you to build a D&D character miniature from scratch, using a very simple online customization interface. This week we’ll show you how easy it is to create and print your own mini D&D character from the ground up... // Column at Shapeways

Earlier this month, Geek & Sundry featured the new Shapeways tutorial video The Ultimaker Conversion Tutorial: Add Custom Heraldry to a Miniature. This week on Tutorial Tuesday, we’ll build on that and show you how to create, remix, and add features to tabletop models. One way to easily create a custom tabletop figure is with Hero Forge, an in-browser, character designing app... // Column at Shapeways

If you’ve got a desktop FDM 3D printer at home, then you can make your own same-day prints whenever you want to. But, unless you’re hiding a refrigerator-sized $300,000 SLS machine in your garage, there are going to be times when it’s worth sending your prints to a professional 3D printing service like Shapeways. So when to print with FDM and when to send out for SLS?... // Guest post at Shapeways

So, you have a 3D model, but it’s too thin to print reliably — or too thick to have the fine detail you want. How can you fix it? In this week’s Tutorial Tuesday, we’ll focus on that one specific modeling skill. There are a lot of tools you could use for thickening or thinning a model, but today we’ll explore Blender, which produces reliable results and a good mesh, even with challenging designs... // Column at Shapeways

Are you a design amateur but starting to need more professional design software? Hobbyists and educators can get access to parametric design, collaboration tools, and cloud file management for free with Onshape, a powerful alternative to the engineering CAD software Solidworks. In this Tutorial Tuesday we’ll get you from zero to cloud-CAD in just a few videos... // Column at Shapeways

In this week’s Tutorial Tuesday, we’ll expand our design toolbox to include the 3D modeling program Wings3D. Wings3D is free and open source, but includes much of the functionality of paid professional software like Autodesk’s 3ds Max, as well as topological mesh modeling software like TopMod. Wings3D is a low-poly subdivision tool, which means that you can create... // Column at Shapeways

It’s back-to-school season, so this week’s Tutorial Tuesday will focus on using 3D printing and design to enhance learning of another subject: 3D design and printing for electronics. Specifically, we will explore a brand-new feature in free online 3D design software Tinkercad that combines 3D printing and circuit design, based on Electronics Lab and 123D from Autodesk Circuits... // Column at Shapeways

A couple of weeks ago we discussed how to make complex designs with simple Structure Synth code, but what we didn’t mention is that the resulting models can need a bit of cleanup before they are printable. Because of the way Structure Synth models are constructed, they often consist of a large number of overlapping objects, and this can lead to some pretty nasty geometry... // Column at Shapeways

Now that NetFabb no longer has a free cloud service for repairing files, where do you turn when you have a 3D model with hopelessly bad geometry that needs repair? Meshmixer and MeshLab provide free solutions that give you a lot of control over how you modify and repair your meshes. But when those programs aren’t enough to rescue your file, where do you go for help?.... // Column at Shapeways