For this month’s post, I’m going to tell you about what geeky gadget I have been obsessing over lately. Well, it’s not much of a gadget per se, but a website called Shapeways. I stumbled upon this awesome site when I was looking up tips on three dimensional modeling for my class, solids modeling. Solid modeling is required for all mechanical engineering majors, but many aerospace engineering majors also take it as an elective because of how fun it is. Basically, what this class is all about is learning all the tricks, tips and methods on modeling three dimensional objects on a program called Pro-Engineering (the same program that I used for my freshman design project).
Solids modeling is one of my favorite classes this semester because to me, modeling in 3D is not only fun but really relaxing. I love creating a wide variety of objects on the computer, from everyday items, robotic parts, toys and even jewelry. For the class, we were assigned an individual project where we had to model anything that had a four-bar linkage system (basically four different types of movements that depended on other movements… if that makes any sense). One of my personal interests has always been robots, so I decided to model a robotic arm whose movement relied on pneumatic systems.
As awesome as my project came out, unfortunately, it only remained as a file on a computer. Then I discovered Shapeways.com! This website has taken 3D printing to a whole new level. In short, what this whole company is about is that anyone can upload a 3D model (as long as the file is in the right format) and they can print and physically produce whatever they have made on the computer. They have different materials such as plastic, glass, stainless steel, silver and so on. Sure, there are restrictions as to how each object must be modeled, but virtually anything can be printed with these machines. You can also purchase items that other people have designed or set up your very own store and sell your designs to others.
Currently, I am furiously uploading a whole bunch of models I have created. I love jewelry (especially rings) so I have uploaded a few different models. I also want to upload the robotic arm and see how much it costs in order to create it.
So don’t be shy, take a look at the website. It is also really fascinating to see what people create and how intricate others can get in their designing. Comment below and tell me what you favorite product is or if you have a design you would like see come to life.