3D Printed Lightclip Lets You Signal Batman With Your iPhone and More
3D Printed Lightclip Turns Your iPhone into a Batman Signal, or a Ninja Ghost, and More
This is a review of Lightclip, one of the coolest and most elegantly-designed 3D printed products we’ve come across. We also interview the designer.
(For full disclosure, the designers behind Lightclip sent us a complimentary product to try out.)
The Lightclip is a 3D printed accessory for the iPhone that becomes illuminated when you turn on a flashlight app. A variety of designs were created by Lab02 and are available for sale at Shapeways for $12 to $17 each.
Our Impression of Lightclip
The design is quite a step up from what you would normally expect from 3D printing. Instead of rigid ABS plastic, the Lightclips are 3D printed in White Strong and Flexible (Nylon). As Shapeways said in their own review:
This material is very strong (obviously), affordable and an excellent light diffuser. The Lightclip emits a beautiful ambient light, which is evenly distributed and very easy on the eyes. Use it as a nightlight, at a camping trip or when in need of a superhero!
We loved the different types of Lightclips. Included in the Shapeways store are a traditional light bulb, a ghost, a ninja ghost, and a Batman spotlight. Each one fit perfectly to capture all of the light from the iPhone flash; no leakage. See the gallery below for examples.
Fun for kids. Though not a toy, kids were very attracted to the Lightclip, turning the flashlight on and off repeatedly to see the Lightclip glow.
In summary, the Lightclip is really more about fun and fashion than function, but it’s worth the $15 price point as a conversation piece and perhaps a night light on occasion.
Interview with the Designer of Lightclip
We interviewed Dinos Costanti, the designer of Lightclip. The transcript of our interview is below.
On 3D Printing: Tell us about your organization and your history in 3D printing.
Costanti: My name is Dinos Costanti and i’m a software developer and 3D modeler. Vangelis Hadjiloizou is a painter and the ex Creative Director of the largest advertising agency in Cyprus. We started working together as freelance industrial designers in 2011. Right from the beginning we wanted a way to prototype our designs. We had access to a nice CNC machine locally, but we needed something better. That’s how we started using Shapeways and i.materialise.
We were very impressed with the capabilities of the modern 3D printers, especially with the EOS SLS machines. We even used them for a small production run of 110 small mushrooms that we designed as a giveaway for one of our customers. That was the final proof for us that 3D printers can be used for small scale manufacturing.
So we launched Lab02.org as a place to show and promote our personal designs. That is probably the dream of every designer; A way to make and sell the products that no one is willing to fund and manufacture! And as 3D printing becomes more popular, we’d love to feature the designs of other Cypriot designers.
Over the past 3 years we’ve gained a lot from the 3D printing community. And it is thanks to it that we can now afford our own 3D printer. As our way of giving something back we’ve made the Lightclip available under a Creative Commons license. This way anyone can download, modify, and print his or her own for free!
On 3D Printing: The designs you have made are very intricate and probably more elegant than what most people would expect when they think of 3D printing. Was it difficult to design?
Costanti: Not at all! The Lightclip went from initial idea to sketching, modeling and prototyping in about 10 working days. That included 5 days for Shapeways to print and ship the prototype.
I think that the 3D design software companies are starting to realize the need to address the amateur or rather the non-engineering crowd. We mainly use Moi3D, a NURBS modeler created by Michael Gibson, the original developer of Rhino. This is probably the easiest and friendliest NURBS modeler on the market and a perfect fit for designing for 3D printing.
On 3D Printing: How do you see these types of 3D printed goods growing in adoption?
Costanti: The production of 3D printed goods is going to explode. As more 3D printers are becoming available, prices are being pushed down. And as 3D printing materials become cheaper we are coming to a point, maybe in a year or so, where 3D printing will be a viable and cost effective solution for small scale manufacturing. Especially so for the 100 – 3000 units production runs which, using traditional injection molding, are currently in kind of a “no man’s land”. That is mainly due to high molding costs which demand a major investment with traditional methods, but are not required at all with 3D printing.
That is going to have a profound impact on the variety and complexity of available products as more and more designers can simply self-publish their products using their own 3D printer or a 3D printing service.
On 3D Printing: How has your experience with Shapeways been?
Costanti: Our experience with Shapeways has been amazing right from the beginning. Their engineers are very knowledgeable and they were instrumental in our quest to master the basics of designing for 3D printing. Also, their printing times are constantly improving. They will usually ship a lot sooner than the date they quote!
There is little doubt in my mind that these 3D printing services are the prototypes for the factories of the future.
On 3D Printing: Any other creative ideas your working on at the moment?
Costanti: We’ve had another very successful product with i.materialise, the Dragonbite grip which was designed for printing in stainless steel. It is currently the feature of a design competition at i.materialise.
We are also working on the initial sketches of our new project, a water pipe, designed to be printed in ceramic. This is the one material we haven’t used so far and we are very excited about it. I’m sure that it will present its own challenges but it is something we wanted to try for a long time. We hope it will be available in a month or so.
Thanks for sharing the Lightclip with us!