What is 3D printing, you ask? I needed to know myself. Shapeways defines 3D printing as "any additive manufacturing process whereby one machine turns a digital file into a finished physical object by building up that object layer by layer." Watch the video below to see Shapeways process and what they mean by 3D Printing.
I went to Shapeways.com to see the process in motion. Although the technology it very cool Union Square Ventures is not focused on it versus how this technology can bring designers and customers together.
How does Shapeways work?
Shapeways is a website like Esty but a Designer can upload or create (with the website design software) a 3D item and sell it on the site without ever building it themselves. Consumers can then login to the site and shop the 3D items for purchase. Once ordered, Shapeways will 3D print the design and ship to the customer within 10-14 days, depending on the manufacturing process.
What about Quality Control, what if there is an issue with the product that wasn't seen in the design? When you design the item you will be ordering it. Shapeways' server does check the design to see if they can 3D print it. If the model is printable they will send the item to the production facility where you order will be processed. If the item is not printable they will email you about the issues, such as problems with the models upload or if they cannot print the item it in the material you have selected. Shapeways does offer help for these issues with a forum and tutorials.
What are my choices for materials at Shapeways?
As of today's date, Plastic in several colors and strengths, Silver, Stainless Steel available gold and bronze finishes, Glass available in Matte and two Gloss finishes, full color Sandstone, and Alumide.
Pricing is based on the actual amount of material used in your final object.
Samples and Pricing:
Like Esty a designer has his/her own shop and items can be searched by item name, cateogory, date posted, and price. (Items can also be shared on selected social medias)
Nu at rest, Strong and Flexible Plastic in Winter Green, $62.31
|Stainless Steel Earrings, $10.20|
Trefoil Knot 0,035.-8cm, in White Strong & Flexible Plastic $32.84