We have seen online services for T-shirts, mousepads and tea. Techcrunch pointed us to a new Dutch webservice that can create 3d sculptures, the service understands various forms of CAD drawings, “print” them in 3d, and ships them globally within ten working days. Ever wanted to create advanced objects yourself, organizing an event and looking for cool custom awards? Now it’s possible!
How it works
Shapeway offers an online service with a community, users can find drawings and upload their own. After the user selects a model, the online service verifie if the model can be made, and provides a realtime cost estimation. Shapeways will tweak and print the model, and packs and ships it globally within 10 working days. The average cost of an 3d object is $50 – $150, objects are created one by one, so there is no “batch discount”. On the other hand, the service is cheap and costs per object might leave the creativity to create variations for your production.
Jochem de Boer explained to thenextweb that the techniques on 3d modeling are developing very quick. The materials that Shapeways used are particularity useful for product designers. At this moment, there are four kinds of plastics to choose from, other materials including metal are planned.
The fun thing is that Shapeways can create models from all CAD drawings. Currently, you create your own 3d model and export it to industry standard files as STL, Collada or X3d. Around fall 2008, Shapeways is announcing easier ways to produce 3d objects. (read more)