Introduction: Quick Start Guide: Shapeways
What you will need:
Don't have one?
Maybe you should hire a 3d designer:
Step 1: Upload Your File
and click on the DESIGN link then click UPLOAD.
A box will pop up and you can choose your file and you unit of measurement.
Step 2: Choose Your Material
Once you model is uploaded you can choose what material to print it in.
The site will run a check on the model to see what materials it can be printed in.
The materials with the GREEN CHECK are okay to print.
You can choose one of these materials and click ADD TO CART.
Step 3: Why Can I Not Select a Material?
Each material has a different process for being printed.
You can click on any of the materials and it will take you to a guide for that specific material.
Common problems are:
-size of the model, the printers are big but there are limitations and minimum requirements
-wall thickness, the most common problem, thin walls means things could fail to print or could be broken if your material requires polishing
-color prints require a .wrl file type which includes color information
Step 4: Wall Thickness Tool
Shapeways does have a built in tool for fixing thin spots on your model.
Click on the THIN WALLS error message on the material selection page.
A box will appear with your model showing you where the thin parts are in yellow.
Click FIX THIN WALLS and wait for it to generate a new model.
This may take some time.
The changes will appear in BLUE on the model. Sometimes it can create chunky blobs so you may want to edit this yourself in the original software but it is a quick fix for most minor changes.
It is also a useful tool to see where changes need to be made even if you need to do them yourself.
Step 5: Proceed to Checkout
Go to your shopping cart and checkout as you would in any online shop.
There is an option for PRINT IT ANYWAY. This can be useful for experimentation if you don't mind a possible print fail.
There is also a order tracking page that will tell you where the print is in the process.
The reason print time is unpredictable is because the company waits to fill a printer bed to print models in batches. This is more economical and environmentally friendly. Have no fear because their turnover is pretty fast but just in case you were wondering why one print may come faster than another.
Also post production such as polishing may take extra time than a normal print.
Step 6: Wait for This Guy to Show Up
Step 7: Enjoy Your Model!
Just as you saw it on your screen now you see it in real life!