Tag Archives: 123D

Romantic Boyfriend 3D Prints Wedding Bands, Raises the Bar

Yesterday, we featured a Ponoko community manager who designed a heart-shaped ring in Autodesk 123D. Today, we are showcasing a romantic guy who designed wedding rings for him and his girlfriend and 3D printed them on Shapeways.

I proposed to her [on] a trip of mine up to MIT to see her. When I gave her the present, she had no idea that it had the ring inside, and she started flipping through the book after she told me how much she liked the carving on the front. Then the wooden prototype ring fell out when she got to the back, and I proposed. After that, I showed her the ring I designed for her on Shapeways and she was super excited that I designed it with Blender and that I personalized it.

Alec Cox is a Shapeways community member who has raised the bar for every man out there.

Well done Alex!


Via Shapeways

Analyzing the Market Size of 3D Printing Creators and Consumers

Globalization Impact on 3D Printing

Robert Schouwenburg, CTO and Co-Founder of Shapeways, wrote an interesting blog post connecting venture capitalist Fred Wilson’s 100-10-1 rule of social services with the 3D printing and personal fabrication industry.

Fred Wilson – VC Union Square Ventures – often recites his rule of thumb of social internet services. It is the 100-10-1 rule. He sees with social internet services that on average 100% of users consume, 10% of users interact and 1% of users actually create.

When you apply the 100-10-1 rule of thumb, the opportunities for scaling such a service become immediately clear. As far as I know there are no exact figures available on how many 3D modelers / product designers there are in the world. But let’s assume there are 5 million of them. That would turn social fabrication into a 500M users opportunity. That is Facebook and Google territory. Just imagine 50M users interacting on personal fabrication and the effects it can have on product design and how we design products. This is a very significant opportunity. Of course, the big caveat is that not all 3D modelers / product designers are interested in social fabrication. Maybe only 10% or less. That still leaves a 50M opportunity.

Great analysis, but we believe the 100-10-1 rule will be broken for 3D printing and personal fabrication.

Let’s define the steps as 100% browse 3D printed goods, 10% buy 3D printed goods, and 1% make 3D printed goods.

First, the 10% will likely increase to 50% or 75% as the industry grows and buying a 3D printed good is as seamless as buying a SKU at Walmart.com or Walmart retail. This would be further aided if Amazon, for example, gets into the business of selling 3D printed goods.

Second, the 1% will likely increase to 10% with a combination of globalization and design software becoming easier

Globalization: 3D design of consumable goods will become a mainstream profession for people in developing countries, especially India and China, if there is an efficient marketplace for them to sell their designs.

Software enablement: How many people use Photoshop? Only professionals and hobbyists. But how many people use MS Paint? I would wager a decent size of the population who have computers have dabbled in MS Paint. If 3d design software is made to be as easy as MS Paint to create real, valuable 3d printed objects, the creation will increase. We are already seeing steps in that direction with Autodesk 123D and other tools.

The implication is that not only are there more designers and more purchasers, but a greater volume of 3d printed goods purchased, making the overall size of this industry quickly a multi-billion opportunity in the next five years.


Photo credit to anjan58 via Creative Commons.

Ponoko Team Demos Autodesk 123D and 3D Printing Made To Order

Ponoko Webinar with Christina Westbrook

Yesterday, we attended a Ponoko webinar with community manager Christina Westbrook. Christina likes to make things and shared her passion for personal fabrication with us. Last year, Ponoko announced a partnership with Autodesk to host 123D in their Personal Factory App Gateway. In this webinar, Christina was showing us how to use 123D and Ponoko to make interesting products.

First Christina showed us some examples of what you can do with 3D design software and 3D printing. These ranged from jewelry to lamps to custom iPhone cases.

Below is an example product Christina made: a case for a Square card reader. This product costs about $10 in materials and she sells it for $18 on Shapeways.

3D Printed Square Card Reader Case

This product was made out of durable plastic, but a variety of materials are available, including gold plating and stainless steel.

Durable plastic is cheap at $1.70 / cubic cm, and can be printed as thin as 1mm. You can purchase samples or make your own prototypes to test out different materials. http://www.ponoko.com/make-and-sell/materials

Ponoko Material Samples

How did she get the exact dimensions for a Square reader? She suggested either buying a digital caliper or taking a photo of a source object and measure digitally. We asked if you can import a photo into 123D in order to trace the dimensions. That might be on the roadmap, but isn’t ready today.

Autodesk 123D

In the webinar, Christina gave us a detailed walkthrough of 123D from Autodesk. 123D is free 3D modeling software that lets you create complex 3D designs. The exported files can be uploaded to Ponoko or other sites to be 3D printed.

What can you design? As Christina said, “Something simple can be made into an awesome gift.” Over the course of the 15 minutes, Christina designed a ring with an extruded heart shape.

Here are some screenshots of her design:

Ponoko Webinar Design

Ponoko Webinar Design

Ponoko Webinar Design

Ponoko Materials Selection

Expert 3D design tips:

  • Adhere to the minimum thickness for your target material. When designing a product in 3D software, keep in mind the minimum wall thickness. If your design is too thin, your product may not survive shipping. For durable plastic, the minimum thickness is 1mm; for stainless steel, it’s 3mm.
  • Color can be added to projects. This can be done in the design software or later with dye.
  • If you do sell your 3D printed products, don’t forget to account for the extra time it takes you to finalize a product in the price. Some designers like to dye their products after they are printed to give them that extra polished feel.
  • When shapes in a design overlap, combine areas and make the intersection hollow. This will save on cost.
  • Clean up edges so your customer doesn’t get scratched by your product.

What’s coming down the road?

Christina wouldn’t divulge specifics from the roadmap, but it sounds like Maker Faire on May 19-20 will be a big event with more exciting announcements to come.

Thanks to Christina and the whole Ponoko team for hosting this informative webinar!

Top 3D Printing Headlines from Last Week: $1.4 Billion Merger, The Economist, GWiz Fab Lab, 3D Design Software

A roundup of the top news On 3D Printing brought you from April 16 to April 22.

Monday, April 16

Tuesday, April 17

Wednesday, April 18

Thursday, April 19

Friday, April 20

3D Modeling and Design for 3D Printing: Tinkercad, Sketchup and 123D

3D printing is a revolution in manufacturing, substituting personal fabrication for mass production. And for this revolution to be fulfilled, there needs to be supporting software (priced at the appropriate FREE) that enables mainstream adoption.

There are 3 contenders in the race for 3D modeling software juggernaut: Google Sketchup, Tinkercad, and Autodesk 123D. Of course there are traditional professional software packages that cost thousands of dollars, such as 3ds Max ($3495 MSRP also by Autodesk), but how will 3D printing go mainstream if the software is not cheaply available?

Popular Mechanics recently published a feature on the change in 3D modeling software to adapt to the emerging 3D printing revolution:

Thanks to an influx of easy-to-use software, 3D modeling isn’t just for engineers toiling endlessly on CAD programs anymore. New tools built with ordinary people in mind make it possible to design whatever parts or prototypes you can imagine, and bring them to life with the power of 3D printing.

Read more: How to Get Started 3D Modeling and Printing – Popular Mechanics

We agree. Empower the common designer with free software!


3D Printing image used under Creative Commons from Dylan.