Learn how to low poly model with these easy steps.

Ever wondered how to create amazing low poly models? The answer is simple, you can easily create low poly designs using Autodesk meshmixer. I have written a tutorial on how to do it and posted it here.This is a great hack for altering models quickly and requires almost no CAD modelling experience.

Low poly modelling tutorial by 3dfilemarket.com


Helping to grow 3dprinting, DesignBox3D leads the way.


Ever needed an unbiased view of a 3dprinter? Want to steer clear from the mainstream brands and try an alternative? I often look at different printers that come onto the market and I have tested many smaller branded printers. The outcomes and results from going with a relatively unknown can sometimes be more reliable then the market leaders. There has to be life beyond makerbot right? This philosophy is exactly what Preet Jesrani, CEO of Designbox3D is adopting. Preet is a champion of the startup and is supporting the many smaller brands that do not have the marketing power of the main corporate giants. Innovation happens from the ground up and without the exposure of new and emerging brands then the advancement of 3dprinting will ultimately slow. From a personal view point, the reliability and print quality some of the smaller emerging brands can exceed and surpass the ‘big boys’. I have put a flashforge creator through its paces in the classroom and the reliability and print quality is second to none. I know when I want to print it will work. The same with the Beethefirst 3dprinter.


Preet explained how he became involved in 3dprinting through his past experience in state and federal government and he believes that 3dprinting can become a potential ‘job creation engine’. He started DesignBox3D because of this he makes the point that ‘additive manufacturing will drive innovation and re-invention in manufacturing for generations to come’. With 3dprinting on a seemingly never ending growth path, Preet and DesignBox3D are contributing to this with exciting partnerships such as the recently announced Dynamo3D printer. After viewing the videos of this printer on youtube, it is mind blowing how fast this machine can prototype a part. Four minutes to 3dprint a bracelet! This is what 3dprinting needs to keep the consumer 3dprinting market progressing. Preet states, ‘Our partnership with Dynamo3D, to bring high speed, multi-material, precision 3D printing in the form of a professional desktop 3D printer is one that we are extremely excited about.  I believe that we will soon upset the “market-leader” apple cart with this. We all know after all that time is money – and this printer will “slice” the time component dramatically, saving you money in the process.’ The apple cart certainly does needs a shake now and again otherwise innovation will slow and costs will increase. Competition is what will keep consumer 3dprinting advancing. (Click the US flag logo to view the video).


Preets’ views on the direction of 3dprinting lie with education and schools and pushing the ‘design’ aspect of 3dprinting. Realistically, without the investment of our students, the future design engineer generation  will struggle to materialise and advancement long term will slow. Being an educator of 3dprinting myself, I can totally relate myself with his vision.

With exciting plans for the future “DesignBox3D is focused on working with young, innovative companies that have a product that have clear advantages over the 200+ competitors that crowd the desktop market today.  We are soon going to shatter the myth that precision 3D printing is not possible at higher speeds – a very exciting development for the entire industry.”

With growing partnerships and the extensive testing and comparisons of many different models of 3dprinters, DesignBox3D is a great place for an unbiased view of 3dprinting. With a policy of only choosing ‘hassle free’ 3dprinters for their customer base, Preet ensures that 3dprinting continues to grow in the right direction. For more information about DesignBox3D check out their site by clicking the links below;

  • DYNAMO3D – dynamo3d.com Facebook.com/dynamo_3d                              twitter.com/dynamo3d
  • DYNAMO3D Americas – designbox3d.com Facebook.com/designbox3d        twitter.com/designbox3d

10 movers and shakers to watch in 3D printing (orginally posted on geektime.com 17/12/2014)

Curious who the thought leaders are in the exploding field of 3D printing? Then look no further than this list.

1. Terry Wohlers

Photo Credit: Terry Wohler's public Facebook profile

Wohlers has been tracking the 3D printing industry since 1987 – long before it became known as 3D printing. Hisconsulting firm provides technical, market, and strategic advice on trends in the industry. Each year, he authors a comprehensive report that is a must-read for industry players and costs $495. Wohlers has written over 400 articles and consulted for over 190 organizations, according to his web site.

2. Hod Lipson

Photo Credit: Hod Lipson's public Facebook profile

Cornell University engineering professor Hod Lipson has written arguably the best recent book on 3D printing for the layperson: Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing. He is also editor-in-chief of the quarterly peer-reviewed journal “3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing,” which explores the cutting edge of 3D printing science.

3. John Biehler

Photo Credit: John Biehler's public Facebook profile; this is also a 3D scanned version of him

Biehler is a Vancouver, British Columbia 3D printing enthusiast with 4,400 followers on Twitter. He co-founded 3D604.org, a club of 3D printing enthusiasts who meet monthly. He has spoken at SXSW Interactive and written a how-to book, 3D Printing with AutoDesk. He also curates the 3D printing list at startupdigest.com.

4. Bre Pettis


He is the co-founder and former CEO of MakerBot Industries, a 3D printer manufacturer now owned by Stratasys. He was also host of Make Magazine’s Weekend Projects podcast, and formerly worked as a schoolteacher and puppeteer. He now runs the Innovation Workshop at Stratasys, where his projects include a movie whose characters are all 3D printed. The movie’s characters will all be made available for 3D printing at home.

5. Chris Anderson

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

He was the editor of WIRED Magazine until 2012, when he stepped down to cofound 3DRobotics, a company that manufactures drones. In 2012 he published a book called Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. Anderson reportedly said that he left his job because “3D printing will be bigger than the Web.”

6. Rachel Park


She is the Editor-in-Chief of 3Dprintingindustry.com. Previously, she spent 12 years as editor of the TCT Magazine, which also focuses on 3D printing. She has close to 10,000 Twitter followers awaiting her every pronouncement on the industry.

7. TJ McCue

Photo Credit: TJ McCue's public Facebook profile

McCue is a high-tech marketer who is currently taking an 8-month RV road trip across the U.S. to explore 3D printing, scanning, and design. He is also a journalist who has written for the Wall Street Journal, Make, Forbes and Business Insider. You can follow him on Twitter, where he has over 15,000 followers.

8. Philip Cotton

Photo Credit: From Philip Cotton's website

He is the founder of the 3dfilemarket.com, an online community that downloads and shares 3D printing designs. He also teaches design and technology at a UK high school and was one of the first teachers to bring a 3D printer into the classroom. He won the 3D Printshow Educational Excellence Award in 2013 and 2014.

9. Dale Dougherty

Photo Credit: Dale Dougherty's public Facebook profile

Dougherty is the Founder, President and CEO of Maker Media, Inc., which produces Make Magazine and Maker Faire. Both the magazine and faire have launched a worldwide maker movement that empowers regular people to make things using 3D printers and other technology. This summer, President Obama hosted a maker faire at the White House. His TED Talk on the maker movement got close to 600,000 views.

10. Jennifer Lewis

She doesn’t appear to have a Twitter account, nor a public profile picture. The Harvard University materials scientist is too busy developing the next generation of 3D printing, including microscopic electrodes and tissue interwoven with blood vessels. Lewis was also recently named one of Foreign Policy‘s 100 Leading Global Thinkers – not too shabby.

3dprinting at Second Baptist School Houston Texas


I was recently contacted by a high school in Texas regarding some 3dprinting advice. This was through my linkedin profile and on the back of winning the 3dprintshow education excellence award. This was a proud moment that a school thousands of miles away wanted some advice in introducing 3dprinting into the classroom. After a few months of experimenting with 3dprinters, Javier Saavedra had successfully exposed high school students to this amazing technology with some really good results. Ones that I feel I need to share, as for technology teachers this is a great way to introduce the new technology beyond design and into STEM areas. Javier explains;

Second Baptist School geometry students set out to blend their skills in 3-D printing and math to create their very first object from the 3-D printer. Mr. Javier Saavedra, Global Technology Specialist, and Mrs. Patti Otwell, geometry teacher, joined forces to teach a lesson that combined design software, spatial reasoning and math.

The first task on hand was to find measurements from a blueprint of an object drawn on the board with the basic dimensions provided. Students calculated measurements, coordinates and the positioning of independent structures. They then inputted their data into a 3D software and submitted their files to print their objects.

To test the accuracy of their measurements, Mr. Saavedra created a “negative” model of the “positive” shape the students made. The grade for the project was determined on how accurately each student’s model fit into the “negative” model; a perfect fit, a perfect score!

Mr. Saavedra said that most student models fit perfectly and the ultimate goal of the project was to, “teach the next generation the necessary 3-D design skills to succeed in their future careers while applying their knowledge acquired in mathematics, geometry, science and beyond.”

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This project and way of introducing students to 3dprinting gets the thumbs up from me! Teach them the basics of CAD and then let the students apply their knowledge to a given task. The more accurate the outcome the higher the mark, the less accurate the outcome the mark is reduced. The prints are small so they will be quick and easy to make so time would not be a big issue here. You could also really make it more demanding and give students a tougher task after this project… Design a container to hold a given amount of fluid. The students would then have to design their own hollowed out shape/container and use their maths skills to calculate the volume. The closest design that holds just the given amount of fluid would gain the top marks!

Second Baptist School in Houston, well done I like this project!

By Philip Cotton

Leo the Maker Prince – how to engage a generation into 3dprinting



My background is education and teaching high school students about 3dprinting. I have often thought to myself, ‘how can we engage even younger children into 3dprinting?’ I teach teenagers and they love 3dprinting, they can’t get enough of it and they demand it in most lessons now! However, how do you get elementary age children to understand and relate to the concept of building objects layer by layer? Well the answer has been created by Carla Diana and her 3dprinting robot ‘Leo the Maker Prince’.pic 1  Leo the Maker Prince is a intriguing account of how a 3dprinting robot comes to the aid of an accountant called ‘Carla’, who with the onset of Hurrance Sandy, was blown from her bicycle by a sudden gust of wind and ended up blacked out on the sidewalk. When she came around a little robot called ‘Leo’ was looming over her. Leo assists Carla and takes her on a journey of 3Dprinting adventures throughout the book, all expertly written with the aim of educating youngsters about 3dprinting. I haven’t read a children’s book since I was a child and this one brought a smile to my face. I would never have thought as a 31 year old that I would enjoy reading a children’s book. I enjoyed it so much I read it again! The joy about this book is the subtle way Carla manages to breakdown the often complex terminology of 3dprinting and make it understandable for young children. The book introduces children to key technological terms such as ‘prototype’ and ‘Fibonacci sequence’ in the ‘fun facts’ section of each story, along with stunning art work that makes the book visually appealing to children, this really is an educational masterpiece. The story entices you into reading more as the chapters are short, sharp and easy to absorb. I could personally see this book being a perfect way for teachers to introduce young children into 3dprinting before exposing them to the actual physical machine.T hey would compliment each other and really enhance the learning of students.  Overall this book is fantastic, I am not aware of anything else on the market that offer this kind of 3dprinting experience for young children.

Carla’s background is Product Design and Engineering. She studied Mechanical Engineering as an undergraduate and worked as an engineer for several years until returning to graduate school to study 3D design. She now teaches at The University of Pennsylvania and the School of Visual Arts. When asked about the inspiration for the book, Carla explains, ‘I’ve been super excited about the new low-cost 3D printers that were starting to emerge on the market such as MakerBot and Ultimaker, and wanted to do a public-facing project to share this excitement–either a book, or product or art piece. When I began interviewing experts about predictions for the future of 3D printing, the message was clear: we know that 3D printers will be part of everyday life in the future, but we’re still not sure exactly how. This potential was fascinating to me, so I started collecting notes about future scenarios (3D printers to download products, 3D printers as mini-home factories, 3D printers for making food, etc.) Once I thought about the underlying message I wanted to convey, I felt strongly that the story had to be told in a very visual way, and that 3D-printed objects themselves should be a big part of the illustrations and the narrative. And if the book featured pictures of objects, then those objects should be downloadable and 3D-printable!’

0_INTRO_sheepAloneCarla explained she took seven months to write the book and she designed all the characters herself with the help of a summer apprentice Alexa Forney (a student in the Product Design Program at Drexel University) who assisted with the brainstorming, sketching and CAD aspects of the designs. The project was further assisted by story editor (Cindy Hanson), book designer (Nicholas Lim) and photographer (Claudia Christen) who were involved in helping make the objects fit with the story line.

When asked about the future of Leo the Maker Prince, Carla is excited about where the book will take her. Already she has had great success since launching the book and has worked with Makerbot to host reading events in their 3dprinting stores in New York City, Greenwich, Connecticut and Boston. Carla has also featured in a six day residency programme at the Museum of Arts and Design that was sponsored by Shapeways. Here in the UK we are looking forward to Carla bringing Leo the Maker Prince to London on 30th April when she will take part in an online webcast called, “Behind the Scenes of LEO the Maker Prince: Journeys in 3D Printing”. Check out the link to find out more. http://www.oreilly.com/pub/e/3052. Carla is also due to visit the UK at the end of May to spread the message of Leo and 3dprinting further with some great events planned. Her next event in the USA will be at ‘Maker Faire and MakerCon’ in California.

Leo the Maker Prince is really making inroads in the education of children and 3dprinting. Carla describes her the most memorable reaction from a child the moment when she noticed a young boy engrossed in the book reading intently page by page about the stories of Leo. When she spoke to the parents, they informed her that this young boy (Asher Weintraub) had designed and developed, with the help of 3dprinting, an invention to help celebrate both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving simultaneously. The object has since sold 7000 copies and the young designer was invited to meet President Obama in the Whitehouse. Carla explained, ‘The entire time his parents were explaining this boy’s creativity and ambition to me, his head remained buried in the book. I felt that if a young expert such as he was so immersed then I must have done something right!’ Carla also has great plans for the future of Leo, one day she hopes that Leo will be brought to life in an animated series where children can print models that they see in the episodes.

This really is an amazing ground breaking project. I am not aware of anything else out there at the moment with the vision to educate a generation about 3dprinting. Most 3Dprinting educational resources I have experienced are aimed at high school students, Leo the Maker Prince is the perfect way to introduce young children to the exciting and rapidly moving world of 3dprinting. Carla has Leo the Maker Prince featured on Amazon, check out the links below.

UK site http://www.amazon.co.uk/LEO-Maker-Prince-Journeys-Printing/dp/1457183145

U.S.: http://www.amazon.com/LEO-Maker-Prince-Journeys-Printing/dp/1457183145/

The 3dfilemarket.com is proud to host the designs of Leo the Maker Prince, for more information please visit http://www.leothemakerprince.com and http://www.carladiana.com

To download the models please click the link below;


www.3dfilemarket.com my attempt to shake up 3dprinting and filesharing by Philip Cotton

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The story behind the site…. My aim is to create a 3d sharing platform where users can freely download and 3dprint amazing printable designs and ultimately help expand 3dprinting. There are many different file sharing sites out there at the moment, however the 3dfilemarket.com is unique in all designs have been verified and checked that the models are actually printable, you will not see screen shots of CAD models on the 3dfilemarket.com, printability is the key here. Also there is no restriction to how you use the site, you can download as many models as you like and you don’t even have to register for an account. I personally approve all the designs that make it to the site, if the quality is not good enough then the design will be rejected.

My background is education, I am a high school Design and Technology teacher in the UK who specialises in teaching students Product Design. I became involved in 3dprinting about 3 years ago when I first heard of 3dprinting. I was excited about this new technology, straight away in my mind I thought I have to get this in the classroom. After obtaining a 3dprinter for school there was no stopping me. Along with educating high school pupils about the technology I became obsessed about it myself. Who needs a playstation when you have a 3dprinter? This technology 3dprinting had re-ignited my passion for CAD modelling and designing new things, I became a reborn tinkerer and I started to realise how powerful 3dprinting would become.

After a few years of teaching and learning the technology I won the 2013 Global 3dprintshow Educational Excellence award for 3dprinting in education. This is the highlight of my teaching career being the first to win the award. Since winning the award I have continued to teach 3dprinting and also have   the aim of spreading the work of 3dprinting. I  been involved in many different projects involved in all aspects of 3dprinting and this continues to increase on an almost daily basis. On my blog you can see all the things I have been involved in with 3dprinting. So that’s it in a ‘nutshell’, check out the site and get 3dprinting.


Phil Cotton


Project Daniel. ‘A call to arms for 3Dprinters’.

There is the discussion and debate about the role that 3dprinting has in our society. Many people are asking how 3dprinting can actually be relevant in our everyday lives? The question asked by some is,  ‘what use would I have with a 3dprinter in my home?’ Will it actually be a benefit for me to personally print my own objects? What is the point in 3dprinting when I can just go the store and buy the object? Sometimes, I find myself having to defend 3dprinting and justify the reason why it will eventually transform our lives like the internet did over the past 15 years. On open night at school, when parents look around deciding if they are going to send their children to our school, many adults simply look at the machine in action printing away layer by layer and simply walk away. They do not even start to question what they have just witnessed in front of them. It’s probably just too much for some to comprehend. Some even make flippant comments such as ‘it’s a bit slow isn’t it’ and ‘what’s the point in that then?’ Well here’s the point in 3dprinting, it can drastically change your life and is doing so in Africa through the 3dprinting of limbs for children that have lost arms through war and conflict. I played this video to all my classes and I have never seen teenagers so lost for words. One student even said to me, ‘sir why are you here, you need to be out there helping those kids, we will be ok whilst you are gone’. It struck a chord with me. 3Dprinting is changing these childrens’ lives beyond our immagination. The video states 50,000 children have lost limbs since war broke out. Imagine if every school in the UK/USA and Europe printed out a set of parts to make a 3dprinted limb. Imagine the difference that could make? In design and technology education we are often questioned how the projects we teach children are actually relevant in our modern tech savvy world. Well this is a project that is the most relevant I have ever seen. Imagine if every school had an afterschool 3dprinting club where the aim is to print out the parts and assemble an arm. You could also teach children how to alter the design and possibly even find improvements. They would also learn the mechanics of assembling all the parts and problems solving. One major aspect of learning that most children need more time involved in, is the ability to solve a problem. Many students see problems as a major issue and don’t know how to deal with them, well imagine if you had the problem that these children have in the video? They have real problems, our problems are not problems compared to theirs. Ours are just inconviences! Watch the video and see if you can help. I am going to start by printing the parts from the ‘robohand’ on thingiverse.com and progress from there.

Take the 3Dprinting adventure of a lifetime with Project Shapeshifter.

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Ok, so we all know how cool 3Dprinting is. The media is reporting that this will change our lives forever and that we will all become makers in our own homes printing object after object. This is powerful thinking, the fact that ‘Star trek’ could suddenly be happening in our houses and schools in the not too distant future. Here’s the concept, you press ‘print’ on your printer and then come back in a few hours and bingo an object has been made! If only it was that easy.

I am an educator by profession and have spent many hours teaching students the concept of 3D CAD modelling. Anyone can easily download a model from ‘Thingiverse’ or the forthcoming ‘3dfilemarket.com’ and print it off. However, can the average consumer create their own models? I know from experience many students can get frustrated with the complexity of professional grade Industry CAD modelling suites  that are parachuted into schools. Can we expect a 13 year old to master the functions of a CAD programme that degree educated professionals use? My opinion is no, there has to be a bridge between education and industry. Many students know what they want to design but can’t access the right features on the CAD packages. Also many teachers are not skilled enough to meet these demands. Learning a complex CAD package can take years and sometimes we only have hours to familiarise ourselves with new technology before we have to teach it. So where is the answer to this? Could it be ‘Project Shapeshifter’ hosted by Autodesk.

Project Shapeshifter is the ability to create complex CAD models with the ease of simply dragging a slider bar. Templates are provided and you simply customise to your liking. The ease of use is fantastic and leaves you wanting more and more. Students in school ask ‘sir do you play COD, aka Call of Duty’. I respond with, ‘no I play Project Shapeshifter’ and tell them to Google it. I have had hours of fun with this programme and have created models that I have 3Dprinted that is far above my level of CAD modelling skills. Could this be the revolution that CAD modelling needs to bring 3Dprinting to the mainstream. Complete accessibility to create complex models with no CAD skills…. sounds too good to be true! Look at the evidence yourself below. There is a growing community of thingiverse modellers that are uploading their designs created on shapeshifter (see the screen shot below) so the word is spreading. Also, here is one I printed myself.  I needed a night light for some nice ambiance, shapeshifter delivered all the way! The best thing is this design is unique to me and created by me and no one else has this.

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Click the link below for an adventure of a 3Dprint lifetime! Get on it before the end of April as it is only running for a short trial.