If you’re a parent, then you probably know how difficult it is to keep your kids’ safety in check, even when you’re at home. Burns, for instance, are always a source of concern. In the Netherlands alone, 25.5% of burn patients are under 5 years old. Many of these severe burns are caused by hot liquids like coffee and tea. Luckily, a team of high school students from the southern Dutch city of Eindhoven may have an answer to at least one of your worries. Enter SafeTea, the friendly cup holder that helps you prevent burns on young children.

Meet the makers: Maud Crooymans, Annemijn Hintzen and Iris Messingimage

Maud, Annemijn and Iris are 3 creative high school students from the Eindhoven-based Augustinianum School. Recently, they won first place at a contest hosted by the Dutch Burn Prevention Foundation. The contest challenged students to design a product that would prevent burns on children aged between 0 and 4. Their design, dubbed SafeTea, is a cup holder that keeps hot drinks in place with a special sliding mechanism. With SafeTea, you no longer need to worry about your toddler picking up your cup of coffee or hot tea and potentially burning himself. You simply need to slide your cup into the holder and place it on a stable surface, making it harder to knock over. SafeTea can fit cups of multiple shapes and sizes. The cup holders can also be connected to each other in a playful manner, turning them into an impenetrable SafeTea fortress.

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Bringing safety to young children with 3D printing

The team’s SafeTea design was first designed in Sketchup, and produced in Tinkercad later on. To test the viability of their model, Maud, Annemijn and Iris turned to 3D Hubs for prototyping purposes. According to Annemijn, this gave their team a competitive advantage: “The judges really liked our product, not only because it was an ingenious concept, but also because it could be easily introduced into the market. 3D printing made it special. It turned our prototype from a nice concept to a cool tangible gadget which could actually be produced and sold. This made our design better than the others and we’re proud to say that we’re soon taking SafeTea into production.”

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And we’re back with our Trend Report! This time we based our data on over 4000 printers in our network, resulting in the most reliable report of the 3D Printing Industry. We can start of with some groundbreaking news: this month we show the value of our average order per category for the first time. After having processed over many thousands of orders, this chart gives you a pretty good insight in what the spending pattern is per category.imageThe Ultimaker 1, which has been safely holding onto its no. 1 position since the start of our platform, lost its spot as the most used printer to the Replicator 2. But with its successor, the Ultimaker 2, ploughing on with a 70% month over month growth rate, this might not hold for very long. However, this new model new has some catching up to do as it is still just on the 7th spot in the Printer Model Distribution chart.

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Below you can find examples of the different categories which are almost all taken from our Maker Tale series.

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Click here to go to our extended Trend Report

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At 3D Hubs we love 3D Printing and want to help people get started in a fun and easy way. We have a network of thousands of printers that make the printing part simple and fast. However you still need great content for printing, to deliver this we started partnering with Autodesk since last week. Together we kicked off with a workshop and speaker event at the Autodesk Gallery. image

123D Apps Workshop
Soon users of 123D Apps will be able to directly print to the 3D Hubs network, to give our San Francisco community a head start we organised a hands-on 3D design and print workshop using the Tinkercad & Meshmixer apps. 

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Participants got lots of Swag, 3 presentations to get up to speed with the 2 CAD tools and 3D Hubs workflow and live 3D Printing demonstrations. After the presentations the participants worked for 40 minutes on their designs after which they were sent off for printing on local San Francisco 3D Print Hubs or on the 3D printers that were brought by Type A machines.

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Read More

What’s the most extraordinary 3D printed project you’ve ever seen? We run into fantastic creations quite frequently, but every so often one of them is bound to leave a lasting impression. Such was the case with Kurt Wendt’s BIG Dragon, a fiercely ambitious 3D printed sculpture that’s been taking New York’s 3D printing scene by storm.

Meet the maker: Kurt Wendt

Kurt is a freelance prototyper with 20 years of experience in database systems programming and 3D modeling. He has taught 3D modeling classes on a part-time basis for nearly a decade, working for universities like the Pratt Institute and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.  

Kurt’s prototyping career started in early 2011, when he came up with an idea for a new board game. He produced the game in 3D CG and started looking for a prototyping service. “I considered Shapeways but the game required a large quantity of pieces, so the costs were a big setback. At that point, I had already heard about MakerBot. I looked into it further and found that buying a CupCake 3D Printer would be a much more feasible option. By the Fall of 2011, I had become completely immersed in the world of 3D Printing,” says Kurt.

For Kurt, 3D printing was the perfect mix between his programming experience and his more artistic 3D CG background. The more he got involved, the more he came to appreciate 3D printing as a truly revolutionary technology that he wanted to use and be a part of.

In 2012, Kurt applied to join the World Maker Faire. After getting accepted into the Faire, he decided that the best way to stand out would be to push the limits of what had been printed on a MakerBot CupCake. By then, the printer was already considered “low-tech,” with other, more sophisticated systems readily available in the market. His dragon proved to be the perfect project for the challenge.

A feat of epic proportions

Kurt’s dragon is a 4.5 feet long structure made up of over 250 pieces. Each part was printed with ABS and “welded” together using acetone. “There was no glue involved,” Kurt emphasizes. “The project took hundreds of hours in printing time, development, design, assembly and finishing - not to mention the clean up.”

Kurt designed and printed everything himself. “I had to produce as much as possible in 30 days,” says Kurt. The body was the largest part of the dragon, so I designed that before anything else. Small items like the dragon’s scales came next. Unlike regular 3D Animation, where you can design the texture of an object based on an image, for 3D printing, the texture needs to be physical and real. So I actually wrote a database program that generated a Maxscript to select thousands of polygons. Once selected, I pushed them inwards. Then, I wrote more program code to select thousands of more polygons - and after selecting them, I scaled them down. That’s how I tackled the challenge posed by the scales.”

Once the scales were done, Kurt started printing the body in several parts. Details like the dragon’s teeth were printed together as a set and then individually assembled into the mouth. Another interesting fact is that the dragon’s mouth and spikes were not colored with traditional paint but with a liquid Kurt created by putting plastic pieces in a jar with acetone.

“Looking back, it felt like I was printing at a furious pace, running the printer like a factory almost 24 hours a day,” says Kurt. “In the end, I produced the body and the head just in time for the Faire and I printed the last main head piece and the horns during the event itself.”

Kurt’s dragon has been on display at the World Maker Faire in NY for 2 consecutive years. His work has also been shown at the NYC 3D Printer Expo and the Inside 3D Printing Show, which took place last week. These days, Kurt is working on bringing several products of his own design into the market. He’s also considering doubling the size of the dragon from 4.5 to 9 feet in length and enhancing it with some special upgrades, like vapor-exuding nostrils and a moving mouth and tongue.

Visit Kurt’s Hub or follow him on Twitter to stay tuned, he is looking for some help for his next big project!  

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So you want to print 3D designs, but you don’t own a 3D printer and you think it might be hard to design and build what you want? Well, as of today, it’s faster and easier than ever before for everyone to 3D print. Today marks the launch of the 3D Hubs 3D API, an enterprise-grade print network API that connects creators and users of 3D content to a global network of over 3,800 3D printers in more than 80 countries.

Design software leader, Autodesk, Inc. will be the first company to integrate the 3D Hubs 3D print network API for the Autodesk 123D family of apps. The Autodesk 123D family of apps provides free* 3D design software with content modelling and fabrication services for people who want to make things themselves.

The integration of the 3D Hubs and Autodesk 123D platform makes it easy for everyone to directly turn their designs into physical products faster and more cost-effectively than ever before. The average delivery time of products printed via 3D Hubs is less than two days - five times faster than the industry standard - so, you get the creative things you’ve 3D printed straight away and can start using them.

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Bring on the Possibilities

Now it’s easy for everyone to directly turn their designs into physical products faster and more cost-effectively. While this definitely means you’ll be able to print neat little knick-knacks at home, the horizons are expanding like never before. The McKinsey Global Institute reported that “The advantages of 3D printing over other manufacturing technologies could lead to profound changes in the way many things are designed, developed, produced, and supported.” All because 3D printing allows for high quality products to be made right at home.

“3D printers might not yet be in every home the way televisions and phones are, but that doesn’t mean everyday consumers won’t 3D print,” said Samir Hanna, vice president of consumer products at Autodesk.

Get Started

The revolution starts with you, so don’t miss out on our favorite way to celebrate: free workshops - and of course, a party! Along with Autodesk, we’ll be hosting a free 3D modeling and printing workshop from 2 - 5 PM, and a networking mixer from 7 - 9 PM in the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco on April 11, 2014, for the Silicon Valley 3D printing, startup, and creative communities.

While you’re there you’ll have access to more than 20 exhibits that bring together stories of exceptional design and engineering from across the globe, celebrate the creative process, and show how people are using new technology to imagine, design, and create a better world.

Learn more and register to attend on our blog.

Read our full press release here