In August, when I ordered a bunch of parts for the beard trimmer I’m working on, I also ordered a small stainless steel ring that I designed in a couple of hours. The ring was for me to check out in person the quality of Shapeways.com’s 3D printing in stainless steel. It is also intended to replace the stainless wedding band that I have been wearing. It arrived today (finally!).
I like it overall. The design was to look a little Art Deco and does so, though more in person than in the photo, I think. More importantly, my wife approves. It’s always odd to see something from my brain (or my screen) manifested in the real world.
The resolution of the printing is so-so. I am happy with it, but I am VERY glad that I did this test before I promise anyone anything printed in 3D (which, I will do, by the way, just contact me). Just know that you’re supposed to be looking at smooth surfaces when you are looking at the pictures.
The metal itself feels VERY solid and strong. I am pleased with that. I will likely do some tests on it to see how well the surface can be smoothed by secondary process (i.e. a grinder), but that will be for one offs it is works, NOT for productions runs of any sort.
Anyhow, feel free to let me know what you think.
NOTE: everyone who has seen the ring in person says that this photo does NOT do it justice. Apparently the level of detail apparent in the photo is lower than the real deal and the texture from the process is way worse in the photo than in real life.
EDIT: 1/21/10 I have no idea why I didn’t do this sooner. If you want a copy of the ring, or a bunch of other cool 3D printed stuff available, check out Shapeways.