Shapeways has announced two new kinds of product to its online store in a bid to bring more of a collaborative approach to design and produce better 3D printed results.
The first of these add-ons is the Beta product of which there are currently 500 on the Shapeways store. The idea is that customers can try new early stage products and give feedback to designers so that they can perfect their items. This collaborative process will mean designers can ask questions about what they can do to improve or if they in fact like the product, and as a result, tweak a product to perfection.
The other addition is the “First to Try” option which means that more enthusiastic customers can get their hands on the latest designs whilst still in their early stages of development. These designs will have been tested on several types of Shapeways stock materials but buyers are encouraged to try the products out in their own. This will mean a whole range of products that perhaps have not been printed with a huge amount of confidence can benefit from user interaction and valuable feedback.
For designers, these new options offer a chance to change the way they work. Designers can now create renders of their products in each material they are available in. Makers will also benefit from a new tagging system which allows them to tag renders with specific materials which will then appear in a list when shoppers opt to browse by material.
In a blog post, Shapeways acknowledges, “50% of Americans know someone who is making and selling their own products.” The collaborative element of design has taken note of this and is a growing trend, which will ultimately lead to better products. Shapeways recognises this and with these two announcements designers will benefit from support from its huge community of makers and buyers as they develop their ideas.