Where can you go when you need help with a model or mesh? The Shapeways Forums! They’re a great place to ask for advice, check out what people are working on, and help others with their questions. The community is super active, and many contributors are more than willing to lend a helping hand. This week, we’ll talk about our favorite forum groups for designers and modelers... // Column at Shapeways

If you want to make an organic-looking sculpted character head or body, and you want to do it for free, then you’ll want to know how to use Sculptris. Sculptris is a free beginner 3D digital sculpting program made available by Pixologic, the company that produces the professional-grade sculpting software ZBrush. It’s like pushing, pulling, and stretching a digital ball of clay... // Column at Shapeways

What design software should I use to create a 3D model? The answer: Everything you can. Each program has its own unique personality, and different programs are good at different parts of the design process. While creating one 3D model, you might utilize multiple programs, depending on what you need at various stages. Let's look at five designs that use multiple programs... // Column at Shapeways

Today, we’ll learn how to turn one 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. This design was created with code in OpenSCAD, and can procedurally generate over a billion unique snowflakes.. // Guest post at Shapeways

One of the most powerful things about 3D printing is the ability to create customized, one-of-a-kind objects. You could choose to make many different personalized jewelry pieces from one ring or pendant design by making modifications on a case-by-case basis in your own design software. Or, you can use Shapeways’ CustomMaker tool to add text, images, and personalization... // Column at Shapeways

This week we’ll discuss three methods for modifying 3D meshes with the free software MeshLab. When you export a 3D file to STL format, what you’re doing is creating a file that describes the surface of an object with a mesh of tiny triangles. We’ll focus on the top three issues that can arise with meshes: having too many triangles, badly oriented triangles, or badly intersecting triangles... // Column at Shapeways

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 specifically built for creating designs that are exportable as triangular meshes for 3D printing. We’ll walk you through the basics and show off some designs created with this powerful parametric modeling software... // Column at Shapeways

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... // Column at Shapeways

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 Shapeways design and printing tutorials. This time we’ll get technical, focusing on some of the more specialized issues that arise when designing, exporting, and printing designs for 3D printing... // Column at Shapeways

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 the hard part isn’t finding them, it’s figuring out which ones are worth reading or watching! Each week we’ll be curating and discussing the best existing tutorials so that you can focus on designing and printing cool things... // Column at Shapeways

It's hard to find a better test print than the Ultimaker robot; it has insets, embossings, overhangs, bridges, and posts, 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 turn the Ultimaker robot into a speed racer... // Hacktastic

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... // 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. In 2014 it was the Snowflake Cutter, which mimicked 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?... // Hacktastic

At this year’s UnKnot conference, Lew Ludwig and Chris Faur set up two 3D printers: a Ultimaker 2E+ and a Formlabs 2, including a UV-light drying station with a solar rotating stand. 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! All of the pieces can be printed without support, and the puzzles and container are free on Thingiverse or YouMagine. All four are classic puzzles that you can read about in Stewart Coffin's excellent book Geometric Puzzle Design... // Hacktastic

Girih tiles are used in Islamic art and architecture to create intricate woven strapwork patterns. Their underlying periodic patterns are related to Penrose tilings and predate the formal mathematical discoveries of such tilings by at least 500 years. The basic colorful tile shapes determine overlaid strapwork in the middle, which is accented on the right by concealing the colorful tiles with gray ones... // Hacktastic

Time to level up and convert our desktop 3D printer models into designs optimized for printing on industrial-level printers. Shapeways is basically a personal remote factory where you upload designs and then have them 3D printed in various materials and mailed to you. That's easy except for one catch: designing for industrial-level 3D printing is not the same thing as designing for desktop 3D printing... // Hacktastic

This walthrough of unboxing and setting up an Ultimaker 2Go was written by 11-year-old Calvin Riley, with only minimal editing and help from his mom, mathgrrl. 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... // Hacktastic

I think I may have been waiting my whole life to write that title. For the littlebits bitWars Challenge we teamed up with Minecraft adventurers rileypb and cgreyninja to re-create the Trash Compactor Scene from Star Wars. Redstone and pistons were activated by a cloudBit that allowed real-world interaction, and we also included an automatic silverfish generator and a villager to play Chewie... // Hacktastic

Our new Snowflake Machine uses random numbers, mathematical algorithms, computer code, and SCIENCE to create well over a billion unique and beautiful snowflakes, with an algorithm that approximates the way that snowflakes grow in real life, with branches and plates determined by a random seed. Choose that seed, and then set style parameters to determine fullness and fuzziness... // Hacktastic