Monthly Archives: November 2014

Improving YouMagine, new releases

We’ve been listening to your feedback and ideas and incorporating them into YouMagine. If you would wish to have any new features please just email joris (at) and we will look at implementing them. We really do intently listen and try to be as responsive as possible in implementing your suggestions and ideas. We often build features because of direct user requests and encourage you to keep the helpful feedback coming. We’re still growing quickly and hope to expand the functionality of the site considerably. We really want to be the nicest, best & easiest place for you to share and remix your files so please hold us to that standard.


We’re proud to say that Mark Moissette is now part of the YouMagine team as web application engineer! We’ll introduce him to you soon. We’ve reintroduced the UltiViewer, the 3D preview tool for inspecting models. It has been greatly enhanced! It should be more stable and more modular, so we can create extensions and improvements more quickly.

One cool feature that’s coming up is annotations, you can point out specific points on a 3D model and comment on that. Also, you can add measurements between various points on the surface of a model, e.g. to check certain tolerances. Want to show what the thickness of a particular wall is? Annotations are a way to do this.

Improved Search

After releasing the improved search we went on to make it even better! Being able to easily find what you’re looking for is important.

  • The search results will have a better ranking (popularity of items are taken into account).
  • Will also include items with matching tags.
  • It will have typeahead search, during typing you will already see search results appear! You’ll even see little preview images of the items.
  • Search will also become permanently visible in the top navigation bar (in the release after the upcoming one).
  • We fixed several bugs! If you were on page 10 of a design listing, searching for a design resulted in 0 results because it would display page 10 of the results.

Sign in with Google

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Alternative versions

  • More formats will now have (3D) and rendered previews!
  • Also, it will automatically create STLs if it’s not already an STL file. We now automatically create STL files when an SCAD, JSCAD, OBJ, DAE, OFF, 3DS or PLY file is uploaded. This means that you don’t need to generate that STL export for your SCAD file, YouMagine will do it for you!
  • We want to promote the uploading of native formats so we intend to start rendering popular formats into STL for you, so you don’t have to add these yourself. We were thinking of STEP as the next one, but we’re unsure how to generate STLs from STEP files, at this moment. If you have any ideas, let us know!
Labyrinth Gift Box by IRobertI

Labyrinth Gift Box by IRobertI

Many fixes and tweaks, among which:

  • For a design that is collected by someone, we’ve fixed that you can’t press the “x” button to delete it from the collection if belongs to someone else (thanks for reporting, @Didier).
  • The unread message counts should be correct now.
  • File type icon sizes were off in some cases.
  • The YouTalk widget will not switch designs as quickly anymore (thanks @Kolia)
  • The “share” buttons on a design’s page should now work again.
  • Zip files weren’t always recreated for an updated design, should now happen.
  • Search results can now also be retrieved in .json format. Great for those who integrate search in an application.
  • Some performance upgrades.
  • Login icons are now bigger in the current release (thanks @Blizz for reporting!).
  • There were some issues with comments and they are now working again in Safari and Firefox. Thank you to Jonnyischof for letting us know this.
  • There were some upload issues that were resolved. Thank you for telling us IRobertI.


Community Blogger Joe Larson: Making a Lithopane in Blender

Joe Larson Mona Lisa Lithopane

Joe Larson Mona Lisa Lithopane

Joe Larson is a YouMagine community member who makes lots of interesting stuff on the site under the name Cymon, he also shares his knowledge through his blog and tutorials. We’re sharing some of his posts here on YouMagine so you can get more 3D printing knowledge.

Joe made a Lithopane using Blender and he’ll show you how in his informative video.

Interview with Roy Ombatti

Roy Ombatti is a Kenyan mechanical engineer social entrepreneur. His projects Happy Feet and DIY ShoeLab aim to use 3D Printing to combat a horrible disease. We leant Roy an Ultimaker 3D Printer and helped him a little with the files. We interviewed him so he could tell us more about his projects.
Roy Ombatti HappyFeet

Roy Ombatti HappyFeet

Why did you start this project? Because I am an idealist who believes in making the world a better place…no matter how small my efforts are. And for me it starts with my country. And there are more than enough problems that my country is facing. I figure if each of the Kenyans (myself included) do something leveraging our skills and creativity to help the country then we wouldn’t be experiencing the problems we face. And if we had collaborative efforts with the more developed world then together we would certainly be able to overcome all of the world’s problems. So it starts with me…this is me trying to make a difference.
That answer is to the question on a greater scale. On a more specific not, the jigger problem is a result of poverty as the people who are affected cannot afford water for proper hygiene and neither can they afford shoes. Those who are affected have deformed feet and cannot fit into a normal shoe. So my solution is about providing affordable and custom-fitted shoes for the people who are affected by jiggers, as well as tackle the issue of poverty.
Why is this project important? We are all one people and the gap between the poor and the rich is strikingly painful. I always say that it is amazing that the world has developed such futuristic and high end technologies that can do such amazing things to make life better…but sadly I feel like our priorities as a people are misplaced and so we have failed as humanity. If we instead focus our efforts and redirect them towards helping each other then the world will truly be a better place. This project is important to me because I want to help out. Like I said, it starts with me but I cannot do it alone and so I am telling people about it and asking for help. I am not asking for money (yet) but I am asking for help!
More specifically, the shoes are important because they prevent reinfection (which is very prevalent) by the jiggers which cannot jump. An affordable source of shoes would be great as it could empower the community and the solution would be even more effective if the community are engaged as part of the solution. Ideally they should make the shoes themselves and hopefully even sell them.
Roy Ombatti Happy Feet

Roy Ombatti Happy Feet

How many people does this affect? 265 reported deaths so far, 2.7 million registered infections (1.5 million being school children) and tens of thousands of school drop-outs daily. But these figures are grossly underestimated as there is a lot of stigma and shame around having the jigger infection that many people hide it and very few come out to be helped.
How does this disease affect people?: The jigger measures about 1mm in size and feeds on the flesh and blood of it’s warm-blooded host. The female jigger burrows itself inside the flesh where it lays eggs. The infestation results in pain, itchiness and discomfort as a result of the sores. People are rendered immobile and cannot go about their daily duties such as tilling their land and thus cannot earn their daily bread. Children cannot go to school. The stigma and shame prevents people from seeking help which only contributes to the spread of the infestation. Infestation results in pain, inability to walk and function properly and can ultimately lead to death if not attended to.
How do you hope to help?  My proposed solution involves providing customized shoes from recycled plastic, using 3D printing. A scan of the deformed foot can be made in my ‘mobile shoe shop/lab’ after which a frame or skeleton of the shoe is printed. A normal shoe is then built around the frame using locally available materials. The community should ideally be the ones making the shoes themselves, including the recycling of plastic to make filament. The collection, sorting, cleaning and extruding of filament can be run by the community as well as the actual shoe construction. There would only be need for some technical support in terms of the shoe-frame design.

Roy Ombatti’s Happy Feet 3D Printing Project Using 3D printing to combat disease


3D printed shoe to combat infection by Roy Ombatti

3D printed shoe to combat infection by Roy Ombatti

Roy Ombatti is a Kenyan mechanical engineer who wants to use 3D printing to help combat a horrible disease that affects many in his country. Roy also co-founded the Nairobi FabLab Robotics Outreach Program which helps kids learn about science, technology & robotics. He is also a Stanford Fablearn Fellow 2014 and an International Development Design Summit participant. Roy came to the Netherlands for a few months thanks to Baltan Laboratories and HIVOS to explore 3D printing and shoemaking. The reason behind Roy’s interest in those two production technologies? Chigoe flea (also known as Jigger) infections. This flea burrows itself into human feet and is a very painful and horrible disease that affects over 2.7 million people. It makes walking difficult and painful, causes terrible sores and keeps people from being productive. Roy wants to use 3D printing to make 3D printed shoes that people can wear that would lessen the chance of re-infestation in the feet. This will let people treat this awful disease themselves and hopefully if implemented reduce the rates of this disease. Roy came to YouMagine for help and we gave him some technical info and leant him an Ultimaker 3D printer so that he could 3D print the shoes he is making. We’re super happy to have helped him a bit and look forward to following Roy’s progress as a person working towards positive social impact. Below are two videos describing the project. Roy Ombatti – Nairobi University from william hoyle on Vimeo.

And this is Roy’s 3D Printed shoe, specifically made to combat Chigoe infection. Roy also made a mobile DIY shoe lab that could easily travel or be transported so people could inexpensively make their own shoes. The lab takes plastic waste recycles it using a filament recycler. The resulting 3D printing filament is then 3D printed into shoes specifically made to be wearable for people suffering from this disease and to act as a barrier against reinfestation. Roy then gave workshops and exhibited his project during Dutch Design Week. He’s still working on the project and hopes to make further strides and implement this in Kenya.



Introducing Joe Larson Community Blogger at YouMagine

Joe Larson's recorder, the musical instrument, red on top of a 3D printer

Joe Larson’s recorder

Cymon aka Joe Larson is a helpful and inspiring YouMagine Community Member who makes lots of cool & useful designs ranging from a MetaChess board,  peg board hangers, abstract games, a guy Fawkes ring & a musical instrument.  Joe has won awards with his 3D modeling and has written tutorials and guides on Blender and the book 3D Printing Blueprints.  I’m not sure how he has the time because he has a wife and 5 kids and a full time job writing software for a BioTech company. He also has a great blog called Joe’s 3D Workbench where he talks about his explorations in 3D printing. We asked him if he’d love for us to syndicate his work, so we publish the first paragraph or a few lines of a post on his blog and then link to him for further reading. He liked the idea of sharing his work with the YouMagine community. If there are other bloggers who would like to be featured in a similar way please email joris (at) so…without further ado…

Modeling for 3D Printing Tip 4 – Separating a Multi Part-Mesh

What happens when you download a STL that’s actually many pieces, and you only want one or two of them?

3D Printed Toys on YouMagine

Lots of people are making cute, fun, interactive 3D printed toys on YouMagine. Below I’ve selected a few that may inspire you or make for a fun 3D print.

This lovely colorful 3D printed dump truck is by Daniel Noree.

A colorful 3D printed toy dump truck.

A colorful 3D printed toy dump truck.

Daniel shows us in a video just how well the print is done and just how close this thing is to store bought toys.

Marcus Wolschon made a GoPro rail mount so you can attach a GoPro to a Nerf gun and film your Nerf battles.

3D Printed GoPro Rail mount for Nerf guns

3D Printed GoPro Rail mount for Nerf guns

Bauermaker made this lovely low poly monster.

Green Low Poly Monsta

Low Poly Monsta

Be3Dprinters designed this functional and fun spinning top.

Three purple spinning tops

Spinning top by be3d.

Thinker Thing, a great free app you can use to remix and make stuff has lots of great monsters on YouMagine.

A lovely little dino monster.

A lovely little dino monster.

You can also use 3D printing to repair old toys and make replacement parts for them as LinearChaos did, “My son got a metal SR-71 Blackbird Pull-Back toy from the Smithsonian Air and Space gift shop, … Tonight he stepped on it and broke off the front landing gear so I printed a direct replacement.”

SR  71 toy with a 3D printed replacement landing gear

SR 71 toy with a 3D printed replacement landing gear


YouMagine ToS online

Today we’ve put our Terms of Service online. This is part of our Share3D project to create infrastructure for the 3D Printing community as a whole. We want to let people share more things online. We want to help them work together on creating technology & improving it. We think that the future will be one of networked decentralized innovation and as YouMagine we are building the plumbing for this future. We want to connect all the ideas to all the people who want things made from those ideas. We know that there is a community of companies and individuals working on parts of this same goal. We want to help them be they fellow travelers or competitors. So Share3D aims to give them resources for free that they can use to accelerate their development. We are sharing this ToS with the world under a Creative Commons BY SA license. Please note that we are not a law firm, this does not constitute in any way legal advice and we make no warranty in connection with this ToS. You can download or peruse our ToS here. Conceptually our ToS is very much pro user and made with a general interest in sharing.

The human readable version:

  • We do not expect you to transfer your rights in your contribution to us
  • Please respect that the platform itself remains our property
  • We reserve the right to remove your contribution, if we believe that is necessary
  • You should keep your username and password to access the platform confidential to avoid unauthorised access
  • We only collect and share your personal data where necessary and will not sell, rent or share it with third parties for commercial reasons
  • Our control over contributions is very  limited so we cannot accept any liability for the uploading, sharing, adapting, validity, legitimacy, 3D printing etc. of these contributions
  • Please use our notice-and-takedown procedure if you believe a user of our platform infringes your rights.

We hope you enjoy our ToS. Unhappy with a portion of it? Contact joris (at) or comment below and we’ll change it if we can.


Interview with Eric Chan architect and 3D modeler, procrastinator.

I was at Hong Kong Mini Maker Faire and ran into someone from the Shapeways early days, Eric Chan. Eric was one of the first people to upload truly interesting things to Shapeways. As an architect he has an eye for design and beauty as well as the skill to make.

Eric Chan Architect & 3d printing designer

Eric Chan Architect & 3d printing designer

He used this to make his Whale in 2008 which was a favorite model of mine. It was on my desk for 3 years and I really loved it and used it as a card holder. So it was an super fun to run into him at Hong Kong Mini Maker Faire to catch up with him.

3D printed Whale made by Selective Laser Sintering, also called SLS and LS

3D printed Whale made by Selective Laser Sintering, also called SLS and LS

What inspires you to 3D print? 

Eric Chan: The ability to make an object out of what I model virtually. Some of my work comes from a need, say if I have a camera that does not have an accessory, then I design a specific accessory for it. Some of it is art, like the whale where I wanted to explore flexibility of the material.

As an architect do you explore things differently?

As an architect you learn to look at all different aspects of a design problem. In a way that is a restriction on what I can design. I have to make sure the requirements are met, that it works structurally, it looks good esthetically and that the needs of the client are met. With 3D printing I can reduce a design to one or two design problems. In a way its simpler and can be more fun. I have fewer limitations and can explore more. 

Why did you want to improve on the strandbeesd? 

I had a look at the add on, but I wanted something that catches wind from any direction and spins on the vertical axis. I wanted to challenge myself. I first created a version and all the gears and parts worked perfectly but the turbine part and the arrangement of the vanes caught a lot of its own wind. This wind resistance meant that it didn’t work. A user on instructables pointed this out to me so I redesigned it. I made an improved turbine with better vanes based on this feedback. Now it spins smoothly and I’m happy with the curved form instead of the more angled one. 

3D Printed quad copter frame made with Selective Laser Sintering

3D Printed quad copter frame made with Selective Laser Sintering

Why make a quadcopter?

I bought a quadcopter kit and needed a frame to protect the blades. My first design was very simple but the flexibility in SLS was too high. I redesigned the frame with more trusses and it was much stronger but too rigid. Then for the next version I reoriented the trusses and this gave me the right amount of flexibility and rigidity. The copter now seems to be much more stable.

3D printed GoPro desk mount

3D printed GoPro desk mount

And the GoPro Hero stand?

I needed a desktop stand for it while being able to plug the GoPro into the power supply. This is a very practical needs based design for me. It started off with me making a simple stand but it evolved to a swiveling joint and an adjustable hinge.

You can check out er1c’s blog or Shapeways shop here.