Thursday, May 26, 2011

Shapeways shenanigans

So last night, I got two separate packages from Shapeways. Yeah, I don't really get what the hell they're doing over there. UPS handles all their shipping, and since Shapeways seems like a small company, I guess it makes sense to step back and let UPS manage everything. But instead of, y'know, putting everything into one fucking box, they'll ship multiple items the size of a fucking thimble in separate boxes. Whatever, long as the shit gets here, I guess I can't complain.

So anyway, just a couple news items this week--all stemming from printouts received. First of all, the Dairugger blazing sword prototype is looking mad tight with the latest modifications. Peep the images below [and again, sorry for the shittier and shittier my camera slowly makes its way across the river, Sanzu]. Oh, and just like before, I had to cut the blade off (and even hog out a bunch of material from the sides) because the shit's just too damn expensive.


Now, I just took a sharpie and scribbled all over different surfaces of the menuki (heh...a throwback from my Japanese swordsmanship days: menuki are hilt ornaments that function to improve your grip by providing a little extra ergonomic bulk for your hands). The result of the marker ink is pretty damn good, I think!


And just taking a step back, I think the scale and feel of the entire hilt is pretty on point.


And, of course, now the bad news: I just don't think this is gonna fucking work! The "white, strong, flexible" (WSF) material I printed this part in is already crazy-light, but it was still causing the arm to flop down at the shoulder. Can you imagine the full-length sword...done in a denser material?? I dunno. It's gonna be a tough one. We'll see what happens...

Anyway, next up is the "frosted ultra detail" (FUD; 3D Systems) AshuraShine. Yo, this shit is off the fucking hook!



Keep in mind, the toy above is 1-3/4"!! You can just barely make out the layer striations on the upper chest (because there's a subtle non-vertical slope to that surface). Pretty fucking wild. I mean, just look at how damn SHARP that Om and BN logo came out! This shit is real-deal. Click here for a nice close-up.

And just for comparison, here's a "transparent detail" (TD; Objet) printout of the Gin Gin MUSCLE:


This is just about the best Objet print I've ever gotten from Shapeways. Unfortunately, I've gotten other "detail" parts from them that looked aiight...but felt like they were made out of used chewing gum. Pretty fucked up. I'm not sure what they're doing wrong. I presume there's some post-processing step they're skipping or just doing wrong. Most TD parts definitely have some weird "gunk" all over them--whether it's just a slimy sheen or some actual clay-like crap that you need to scrape off yourself (the Gin Gin above was mad slimy, but after about five minutes with soapy water and an old toothbrush, it was straight).

Well, either way, that Gin Gin looks like money, but you can sorta tell the striations are less consistent and the edges and details are a bit softer than on the AshuraShine.

Anyway, there'll probably be another series of tweaks on these MUSCLE CAD designs before going to final FUD printed prototypes. More soon!


  1. Hey Sanjeev

    Looks awesome, Love AshuraShine...

    If you have any issues with your 3D prints from Shapeways email service (at) with images and they can sort it out for you.

    Do you mind if I post some of the images on the Shapeways blog?



  2. Hi Duann! Surprised to see Shapeways actually taking notice of my little blog! ;)

    Well, my take on the quality of Shapeways' printouts is probably different from most people's. While I think Shapeways' business plan is kinda fresh (an open forum where 3D designers can "sell" their designs by having Shapeways print-on-demand for consumers), I have no intention of engaging in it at this time. I use Shapeways solely for prototyping toys that I will be manufacturing myself with more capable local resources.

    As such, when I get a sub-par print, I don't really fucking care because I'm not looking for the *print itself* to be my final product. Perfect example: I recently ordered components for a simple toy missile firing mechanism to be done in Objet's "transparent detail" (I haven't mentioned this project on the blog's a secret! ;) ). The parts arrived seriously looking like they were hand-molded out of chewing gum! They were soft and misshapen. If I were your average Shapeways consumer looking at this part as a "final product", I'd likely be pretty heated.

    Didn't bother me in the slightest, though: I was using the printouts as space-claims to see how nice my theoretical CAD dimensions played with the existing toy the launcher was made for. So who fucking cares if it looks and feels like shit? It is what it is and if it gets the fucking job done, I can't complain.

    As I've mentioned elsewhere, I have a legitimate toy prototyper that I work with who *specializes* in the type of work I do. They take their time and produce quality 3D prints...but then go on to do hours and hours of post-processing (sanding, gloss-coating, resin-casting, etc.). The product THEY deliver is the type of shit I need at the end of the day...but I would NEVER expect something like that from Shapeways. They charge top-dollar, but it's manufacturing-quality product...and obviously overkill for the average Shapeways consumer.

    That said, if I can get basic, preliminary space-claims, mechanism tests, and other early shit like that done from Shapeways for a FRACTION of what my legit prototyper would charge, I'd be an asshole not to take advantage of it! So for me, Shapeways plays a pretty unique roll, and I'm thankful for 'em!

    And, hey, Duann: if you can put in a word from me to KEEP offering that tight, tight 3D Systems shit, I'd be much obliged! And feel free to use pics from here on your blog. Please just include a link back here so folks know what it's all about.


  3. Those minifigures are incredible. I love them both, but the Gin Gin is just rad! Keep up the awesome work, mate!

  4. Hey, thanks for the kind words, Soupie! Heh...I guess there's a thread going on over at LittleRubberGuys about the AshuraShine figure...I'ma have to log in and post over there soon!

    Oh, and an update over here couldn't hurt either... :P


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