Sunday 3 August 2008

3D Reproduction for Everyone

Shapeways, a new online rapid-prototyping service allows users to upload digital designs which are then printed on 3-D printers and shipped back. The service gives small businesses, designers, artists, and hobbyists access to prototyping tools that were once available only to the largest corporations. The fee for a typical printed object is $50-$150. Their video shows the steps behind the process.

Considering that 3D printing machines typically cost over $10,000, this is great news for independent concept artists and anyone who just needs a few physical models of their designs. To print objects in 3D, Shapeway's machines use a mixture of different polymers, sprayed in several layers, until the specified thickness of each part of a design is matched. All you have to do is sign up and start building a portfolio of your designs on Shapeway's site, and then, if you want something printed, your model will be shipped back to you within 10 days of you ordering it.

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