Tag Archives: crowdsourcing

World’s First Crowdsourced 3D Printed Sculpture to Debut in Calgary

Linked 3D Printing Jeff de Boer Gothic Bat Cat cover

Internationally Known Artist Partners with Award-Winning Startup for Crowdsourced Sculpture

PrintToPeer is a software startup company which aims to make 3D printing accessible through a web-based printer remote control and monitoring app. For their launch, PrintToPeer has partnered with artist Jeff de Boer to create “Linked,” the world’s first crowdsourced 3D printed sculpture. Unique medallions 3D printed across the world will be assembled into a hanging mesh, which will form a mosaic as the intersection of art and engineering.

“We’re able to take our artist’s vision and allow anyone in the world with this technology to be the sculptor. We’re excited to demonstrate the endless possibilities and limitless creativity of the community,” says PrintToPeer co-founder, Tom Bielecki.

3D printer owners from around the world are asked to personalize an interconnecting medallion design, and ship their contribution to Calgary. Contributors are encouraged to show off their logo, equipment, materials, and 3D modelling skill, and are invited to submit as many different designs as they like.

Here’s how to get involved: PrintToPeer has built a unique online platform at http://www.printtopeer.com/sculpture. Once signed up, printer owners are given an automatically customized piece of the sculpture, which they can further modify with any image. More technically inclined participants can also download a plain medallion, and use computer-aided design software to customize it themselves.

The sculpture has been titled “Linked” to represent the connection of engineering and art, as well as the literal connecting links sent from around the world. de Boer has developed the concept from his experience with chainmail, and has designed a common linkage system to hold the pieces together. Guest artists will be invited to arrange the links into mosaics and different physical arrangements.

Printer owners are asked to ship their contributions by September 7th. Linked will be assembled during Beakerhead (September 11-15th), a city-wide festival in Calgary which celebrates the convergence of art, science, and engineering. The completed sculpture will be on display at the Calgary Maker Faire (September 14th), a festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. This will take place at the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) in Calgary.

Below is a photo gallery of the team and sculpture process.

About Jeff de Boer

Jeff de Boer is internationally known for his four distinct bodies of work: armour for cats and mice, armour for executives, exoforms, and space objects including rocket lamps. Jeff has continued to work and grow, developing new and fantastic ideas. He has also gone back to the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) where he studied Jewelry Design, this time as an instructor teaching a Jewellery Design and Presentation class. He currently has a studio in south-east Calgary, where he now works with his wife Debbie.

Here is what de Boer said about “Linked”

The distance between art and technology is beginning to not just close; it is beginning to merge.  The emergence of the 3D printer has given individuals who would not normally consider themselves makers the power to create in three dimensions.  Now that the masses can make anything, the big question will always be, “what is worth making?”

The 3D printer right now is a little bit like a television without content provided by a broadcast network.   The truth is, it is no longer necessary to have a centralized network for content, as each individual can now create the content in an open source environment.

“Linked” will be the world’s first collaborative 3D sculpture ever produced.  The idea is to demonstrate the collective power of individuals as links in an open source content generator.

I have designed a standardized linkage system on which individuals can apply their own content, print it out and send it to us so as to be linked to an ever-growing hanging sculpture.  In the end, each link will be unique, creating a vast gallery of colors and images.  The links’ wide range of colors will act like pixels and can be arranged by a guest artist to create an overall image.

This sculpture can be arranged over and over by different guest artists, each time generating a unique overall image.  The sculpture comes together in an additive way, not unlike the process of 3D printing itself.


Startup Azavy Launches AirBnB Marketplace for 3D Printing

Azavy 3D Printing

Azavy, an AirBnB for 3D Printing

In college, all the Azavy team members independently had difficulty getting access to a 3D printer. Having lived through this challenge, they created Azavy to efficiently connecting designers with makers (owners of 3D printers).

Co-founder Michael Anderson described to us the vision for the company, ”3D printing is a nascent market with vast potential. We see parallels with the early personal computing industry. With rapidly developing technology, lowering costs, and increasing ease of use, the number of printers and their capabilities are expanding dramatically. Azavy allows everyone to participate in and capitalize on this new technology–by purchasing items, designing products or fulfilling orders.”

Think of this like the AirBnB of 3D printing. You want a design. Someone has a printer. Get it printed cheaper than higher-end 3D printing services through crowdsourcing. The service is similar to Teleport It 3D, but more trusting in the kindness of strangers.

Bringing 3D Printing Costs Down

Consumers buy 3D printed products because they are manufactured just for them and can be made from unique stunning designs. Products bought through Azavy arrive 2x faster and up to 6x cheaper than current competitors. User reviews and feedback establish consumer trust, and Azavy guarantees product delivery or your money back.

Azavy 3D Printing Marketplace

How Azavy Works

Designers start selling their 3D designs for a price-per-product that they specify, without requiring any upfront capital. Designers retain full rights to their uploaded files, and can choose to be the sole manufacturer if they do not wish to share their design with other makers.

Makers (owners of 3D printers) monetize their expensive assets which would otherwise sit idle. Azavy allows makers to place bids on products to fulfill orders, and monetize their 3D printers.

Anderson describes the marketplace:

Azavy will rapidly democratize the 3D printing landscape, empowering designers, consumers, and printer-owners. There are two primary sides to the Azavy platform:

1) “iTunes store” for 3D Designs: Designers are compensated on a per-product-sold basis, incentivizing them to create the most desired designs on the market, while retaining full ownership of their digital models. As the store grows, Azavy will be a major ecosystem in the intellectual property space for 3D designs, as physical items become digitized, transferable, and shareable.

2) Dynamically Routed Local Manufacturing: The Next Industrial Revolution will be on-demand, localized production. The Azavy platform makes this possible by connecting designers and consumers with local fulfillers. The secret sauce is the Azavy algorithm for routing work-orders based on consumer preferences, while optimizing for price and delivery time. By dynamically routing orders to local makers, Azavy enables the next generation of manufacturing efficiency – on demand production at the closest possible location.

The Azavy algorithm works by suggesting the best fulfiller for each item, specific to each consumer. Consumers also have the option to choose any of the various makers bids on each product, and the algorithm incorporates customer reviews, adjusting the “preferred fulfiller” for each item and trending to higher-quality manufacturing.

The Azavy vision is this manufacturing model on a global scale. 3D printers, supported by a library of digital designs, and an efficient crowd sourcing and order routing system, will enable production of physical items anywhere in the world on-demand. This is the Next Industrial Revolution, and represents a tidal shift in how people will go about producing products. By dynamically routing orders efficiently, Azavy represents the global production model of the future: items created on-demand, locally, for the cheapest price by available resources.

Azavy launched in April and is targeting early adopters and hobbyist 3D printers in the United States, while looking toward a long-term vision of a global marketplace.

In May, Azavy was named a winner in the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition.

Below is a video made by the Azavy founders.


Learn more at Azavy.

IBM Sees Exponential Growth of 3D Printing Industry

Paul Brody IBM 3D Printing

More than just a tool, 3D printing is an emerging ecosystem.
– Paul Brody, IBM on the exponential growth of the 3D printing industry

At the Siemens Global Innovation Summit in Phoenix, IBM’s Paul Brody gave a look at how manufacturing transformation is changing the traditional rules of product design and development.

Brody highlighted 3 technologies: 3D printing, intelligent robotics, and open-source engineering.

On 3D printing, he discussed key trends:

  • 3D printing is rapidly achieving levels of performance required to be production-ready
  • 3D printing is already used in production for medical devices and aerospace
  • Performance is improving year on year
  • At lower volumes, unit costs are competitive with machining and plastic injection molding

He also dove into trends on open-source and crowdsourcing, asserting that 80% of consumers told IBM they are willing to help enterprises develop their products. Brody claimed, “Accept their help or see them build your competition on Kickstarter.”

IBM had partnered with The Economist to analyze the growth rate of open-source design repositories, namely Thingiverse, and found that the number of 3D printable items is on an exponential upwards path while complexity as measured by number of parts is on a steady increase.

IBM 3D Printing Exponential Growth

Paul Brody’s full talk is embedded below and more research from IBM is available here.

Interview: Idle Print Looks to Monetize Spare Cycles in 3D Printing

Startup Tucson Idle Print

Idle Print is trying to help people find solutions for their 3D printing needs at a fraction of the cost, while also helping people who own 3D printers make some income on the side. Idle Print is an online marketplace that allows sellers with 3D printers to find buyers who need an object printed. The company was created by Kevin Nuest and Blaine Wilson and debuted at Startup Tucson.

We spoke with Idle Print and here’s the transcript of the interview.

On3DPrinting: Hi Blaine, thanks for taking time to answer a few questions. First, what problem are you trying to solve at Idle Print?

Idle Print: The 3D printing market suffers from great inefficiency.  Lead times are often measured in days if not weeks, and commercial services aren’t cheap.  Meanwhile the rate of innovation and development of open source 3D printers is driving machine prices downward and capability upwards.  Our founding assumption is that these two segments are ready to converge.

On3DPrinting: How much money do you think an end user can make?

Idle Print: That will depend on a great many things; supply/demand, additional services, marketing, capability, etc.   We hope to enable proficient operators with a capable machines to make a living doing this, though I’m sure we’ll see a range of users from hobbiests to full-time users with a garage full of bots cranking out parts.  If you consider the average cost of commercial print jobs, having a single machine generate a day’s salary at minimum wage isn’t unreasonable, and depending on how you calculate it, conservative.

Additionally, we hope for this to be a platform to offer additional services to supplement revenue via 3D modeling, scanning, post processing, etc. We want to enable users to provide a bit more than just printing, though that’s certainly the foundation.

Idle Print Logo

On3DPrinting: Why wouldn’t someone just order a print from Shapeways or i.materialise rather than ordering from a consumers’ 3D printer?

Idle Print: In a word – Efficiency.  Shapeways is running a several week backlog on their least expensive material and I’ve never heard of anyone getting anything back from Solid Concepts in less than three days.  As someone in manufacturing who needs a model RIGHT NOW, that’s not acceptable.  Meanwhile those same companies start their pricing at $1.40 per cubic cm.  Last I checked, ABS is ~$.04 per ccm.  While that’s not an apples to apples comparison, we believe there’s certainly room for such a service to compete with (if not supplement) existing commercial printers.

Additionally, we hope to help accelerate the shift from 3D printing from the domain of engineering offices and product developers to everyone else.  Companies such as Makerbot and Cubify already spearheading the effort, making the service more efficient and available is our contribution to that goal.

On3DPrinting: How does someone get involved in Idle Print?

Idle Print: The best way to stay updated is via facebook at http://www.facebook.com/IdlePrint.

Additionally, if you’d like to be notified once the service is up & running, you can sign up here: http://idleprint.co/ (still in early alpha)

On3DPrinting: Thanks Blaine! Good luck with Idle Print.

Pentagon Offers Prizes for Crowdsourced Military Vehicle Designs

DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), in collaboration with MIT, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt and GE, is initiating a program to crowdsource designs for the next generation of military vehicles.

The New York Times reports about the Vehicleforge.mil program:

The near-term target, they said, is to collaborate on a design for an amphibious vehicle for the Marines. The first contest, with a $1 million prize, is planned for early next year. It involves mobility and drive-train subsystems for the vehicle. Next, about six months later, will be the design for the chassis and other subsystems, a contest that will carry another $1 million prize.

While not directly related to 3D printing, there is a connection. By crowdsourcing ideas for new military vehicles,  the government is extending military design beyond the walls of the Pentagon. DARPA is acknowledging that the wisdom of the crowds might be a great way to augment the expertise of its staff.

If this model proves out, it could lead to wider adoption of crowdsourced design for other industries, such as consumer products, fashion and sports. Enter 3D printers and you have a future where individuals can leverage crowdsourced designs to find new products and print them in their own home or community.

It’s going to happen.

Read more about the Vehicleforge.mil program at the New York Times.