It may be an incredibly cool, high-tech gadget, but there’s a downside to using 3D printers for everything: they don’t print anything.
There are also other problems with using 3d printers for a variety of things, like printing your own body parts.
But with the rise of DIY 3D printing, these problems have been solved by a company called Shapeways.
And it’s not hard to see why.
Using Shapeways’ 3D-printing platform, you can create a 3d-printed toy, for example.
Shapeways says its software is built to create a variety “of shapes” and even “build a complete robot.”
“It’s the same software we’ve been using for years to create the 3D printed parts in our toys,” Shapeways co-founder Chris Moore told us in a phone interview.
The company says the software works by taking the shape of the object and then printing it out.
Moore explained that the software uses three different algorithms to print a certain part out.
“You’ll need to know how to calculate the dimensions, you’ll need a tool for creating the 3Ds that will allow you to create this object,” Moore said.
Moore also told us that Shapeways doesn’t charge users to use its 3D model software.
“We don’t have a monthly fee,” he said.
“Shapeways does not charge for any of this stuff.”
But Moore said the company was able to create its own 3D models.
“That was our biggest challenge with the 3d printing,” Moore told TechRadars.
“Because we’re making it so that the model could be printed by other people, so there’s no middleman.”
In fact, Shapeways is able to do things like 3D print your own parts and then use those parts for various things, including a robotic hand.
“If we can make a 3-D printable part, it makes it easy to make 3-d prints of all the parts that we want to make,” Moore explained.
Moore and his co-founders hope to create an online marketplace where people can purchase 3D prints of everything from toys to car parts.
And the company is working on adding more 3D parts to the platform.
Moore said they are also looking into using Shapeways to build robots that can do complex tasks like cutting wood.
But for now, Shapeway’s printing service is primarily focused on 3D modeling, with plans to expand into the real-world printing space in the near future.