MyStemKits 2-year Subscription Plus Five 3D Printers for Mid-Size Enterprise – Cloud access to over 150 3D-printable STEM kits & lessons. Bundle with Unlimited Printing!

The MyStemKits library has over 150 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) kits with model assembly guides that are ready-to-stream to most 3D printers. Need a printer? No worries – this 2-year subscription includes 5 Dremel 3D40 Printers as shown in the product slides (incl. 3 build sheets and 1 filament spool) . Many kits have accompanying lessons designed in partnership with the Florida Center for Research in STEM based out of Florida State University. These vetted lessons are aligned with K-12 NGSS, Common Core and a growing group of state standards. Some of the most popular kits are the Hominid Skull kit, Ones Tens Hundreds kit, Pizza Fractions kit and Ocean Topography kit. Check the images and videos for a sampling of kits, model guides, and lessons. Enterprise subscriptions are unlimited printing plans, based on number of students, with no point counting or limits per month. Additionally, digital curriculum attachments are viewable before printing. Upon purchase, you will receive access credentials to the portal, including the ability to set up 17 educator accounts (1 per 30 students). This plan is designed for 500 students. From the MyStemKits Print Portal, you can browse available kits by either subject or grade and pick the kits that you want to review, print and build. We don’t decide what kits to send you each month – you decide which kits, when and how many, you will print. Replace broken parts too. From the portal, the MyStemKits Printer Management Platform makes your experience intuitive and easy. The platform is mobile ready, and allows you to control multiple 3D printers and users from a single dashboard. Prints are preconfigured with print-specific attributes.

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  • Over 150 kits that stream directly to your 3D printer – no design skills or downloading required with this cloud-only accessible subscription.
  • 5 Dremel 3D40 Printers and Unlimited Printing! You choose the kits – Print what, when, and how many you want. Manage multiple printers and users from single dashboard.
  • Perfect for educators who need classroom manipulatives and standards-driven lessons for their K-12 class rooms but do not have a printer
  • This two-year, Mid Enterprise Bundle is designed for mid-size enterprises up to 500 students and is ideal for your media center, STEM lab, summer camp, after school program, or group of up to 17 teachers.
  • With digital curriculum attachments available to review before print, this plan is a great curriculum planning tool.

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Five Tips About 3D Printed Wearables From Materialise

shoe1Given that we are so particular about the things that we wear on our bodies, it makes sense that “wearables” is such a growing category in the 3D printing industry. What are wearables? Anything you wear on your body: clothing, jewelry, accessories — including eyewear. Materialise has announced five major eyewear projects in the past year, fashion collaborations, and other consumer products like hearing aids. Because the company has so much recent experience developing 3D printed products, it offers 5 tips for 3D printed Wearables in a recent blog post.

Aesthetics is the first area covered here, as it is important for your wearables to capture the design freedom of your product’s brand. Part of this freedom is making your wearables available in a wide variety of colors and finishes, since people are so particular about their tastes when customizing their own selections.

Next we focus on design issues, where thinking outside the box gets rewarded while certain considerations, like the material you decide to 3D print with, can also make a big impact on your design decisions. The example that Materialise gives here is the knitwear designer Hannah Evans, who explains that her designs changed when she considered 3D printing: “You can use materials that just aren’t physically possible on a knit machine, which completely expands the possibilities with knitwear.”

shoe3

Your wearable products’ overall designs will be largely impacted by the possibilities presented by the technology — once you decide to produce 3D printed items in your business.

Innovation is also a key consideration here. While 3D printing is still a relatively new technology, it is gaining in popularity, and so innovation becomes the quality that will allow your own business to stand out among the others. However, some of us get swept away by the technology’s promise of eternal innovation, losing sight of the fact that these items will have to be used in a practical sense, too. Materialise provides the example of the Adidas Futurecraft shoe, which offers functional integration and better performance with its 3D printed midsole.

shoe2Of course, this list would not be complete without mentioning customization and personalization. These two qualities are probably the main reasons that people are attracted to 3D printed items in the first place. Wearables that can be customized, even “mass customized,” will become more common as people catch onto the benefits of having their exact fit and design needs met. Mass customization allows for a product that can be easily customized using tools that also allow the product to be made quickly and efficiently. Eyewear and insoles are a great example of this; the wearer’s measurements help craft high-quality products that fit like a glove. Usually people won’t go back to non-customized products once they have tried the 3D printed kind out: this is a good thing to keep in mind.

Finally, as the materials end of the 3D printing wearables sector gets more developed, performance and durability become increasing possibilities. Product materials need to be durable, perspiration-proof, UV-resistant, stain-resistant, and skin contact-safe. Materialise uses the Luxura brand as an example:

“For eyewear, jewelry and other wearable consumer products, skin contact will be a constant reality of the product’s usage. Exposure to a wearer’s skin can affect the product’s finish over time, potentially making colors less vibrant or surface treatments less effective. Environmental wear and tear is inevitable, but a good finish can reduce the surface porosity and protect it from changing colors due to UV light, or acquiring stains and marks.”

shoe4

If you are interested in developing a 3D printed wearables product line, hopefully these considerations will help you incorporate aesthetics, design, innovation, customization, and performance into your business. Discuss further in the 3D Printed Wearables Tips from Materialise forum over at 3DPB.com.

Five Best 3D Printing Services

Five Best 3D Printing Services

Getting something 3D printed is easier now than it’s ever been, and there are plenty of reasons why you might want to. From just making something special and unique to replacing broken parts, 3D printing services make it easy. This week we’re looking at five of the best, based on your nominations.

Even if we don’t all have 3D printers in our homes just yet, 3D printing services make it easy to send schematics, scans, or photographs or items off to be replicated using a 3D printer, then pick it up or have it shipped to you when it’s done. Some services let you walk in with your item or your files, others allow you to send them away and get a new one in the mail. Last week we asked you for the best 3D printing options if you don’t own a printer, and you weighed in with your favorites. Here are your top five picks, in no particular order:

Your Local Library

Five Best 3D Printing Services

You may not know it, but many local libraries around the globe are on the cutting edge of the 3D printing trend. After all, libraries aren’t just places to get books anymore (although they’re still great for that.) Many offer added services to the maker community, including absolutely free or low-cost 3D printing for people who have items they need printed or want to design and print their own items but either don’t want to or don’t have the option to join a hackerspace. You’ll have to check with your local library to see if they have a 3D printer, or if another regional branch might have one you can use. Similarly, each library has different rules about whether printing is free, limited to a specific number of items or size of items per patron, material types you can print, or something else. Even so, you’d probably still come out ahead of a commercial, send-away 3D printing service, so they’re worth looking into.

At least a few librarians came out in support of the nomination, and discussed 3D printing services at their libraries. The original nominator, the understandably-named 3dprintedlibrarian, explained that at their library they’ve helped people print prototypes, replacement parts, original designs, and more at no cost at all. The thread is similarly filled with stories of people who both have similar services at their libraries or, like me, had no idea and are discovering this as an option for the first time. You can read more in the nomination thread here.


Shapeways

Five Best 3D Printing Services

Shapeways has emerged as a bit of a leader for those interested in getting involved with 3D printing but don’t have the software or equipment to dive headlong into it themselves. Their marketplace is full of pre-designed items that you can have printed if you like, or you can use their design services to customize your items and have them printed to your specifications. If you have a schematic or model you want printed, getting it done is as simple as uploading the file, choosing your material, figuring out how much of the item you want, and paying for it, but if you’re more of a newbie to the whole process, the service offers a great introduction that doesn’t require special software to get started. Shapeways also has a massive marketplace where members of its community can sell the items they have printed, including things like jewelry, smartphone and tablet cases, household items, and more. Pricing varies depending on the material you want to print (Shapeways can print stainless steel, precious metals, various plastics, and more in full color or monochrome), how much you want to print, and more, but you’ll get instant estimates as soon as you upload your schematics. If you want to sell your item, you can upload your design and schematic, and if the community is interested and supports it (with a promise to buy, obviously) Shapeways will handle the printing.

Those of you who nominated Shapeways highlighted their many material and customization options, and their flexibility for people who aren’t necessarily familiar with or have no desire to own 3D printers of their own. You highlighted the fact that Shapeways allows you to build your own web store right there on the site, upload items you’d like to have printed, and other community members can order them directly from you. Others of you supported the nomination by pointing out that you’ve had items printed with the service (including jewelry) and were pleased with the company’s product quality. You can read more in their nomination thread here.


MakeXYZ

Five Best 3D Printing Services

MakeXYZ isn’t really a 3D printing service in itself, but it does fill a very important need: It connects people who have items that need to be printed with people who have 3D printers and are willing to print items for others-whether those printers are at local hackerspaces, in private homes, or even in local businesses that have added 3D printing to their list of in-house manufacturing services. You can either let MakeXYZ handle all of the dirty work for you and send your file to a printer and have the printer then manufacture the item and send it back to you (or get it ready for you to pick up) , or you can use the service simply to find businesses that offer 3D printing services in your area and connect with them directly to get the job done. Get estimates instantly by uploading your own STL (STereoLithography) file, but if you don’t have one you can either convert whatever 3D file you have to STL, or get help designing your part and getting it ready for printing. MakeXYZ even supports bulk orders, so if you’re trying to get your own business of the ground, they can help. As you search their database, you’ll find printers that specialize in all sorts of different materials, so regardless of the type of item you need printed, there’s likely someone in your community that can print it.

Those of you who nominated MakeXYZ praised it for being an easy way to connect with local 3D printing services, and while I was initially skeptical that the directory would be mature enough to have anyone in my area, I was pleasantly surprised when I found more than a handful of options to choose from. Their printer directory is easy to search, just type in your zip code, and watch the results unfold before your eyes. Your mileage will vary depending on where you live, of course, but I found several options, along with their ratings, the materials they print in, and more. Click on any one of them to see their full listing, including their contact information, response time, examples of items they’ve printed so you can see their work, as well as their general pricing. Head over to take a look, or check out their nomination thread here.


Ponoko

Five Best 3D Printing Services

Ponoko provides 3D printing, laser etching, and engraving services to anyone who needs them. Whether you need a single item printed, or you need hundreds, Ponoko can help. The company has both designers and 3D printers and robots, and pricing starts as low at $5 depending on what you need printed and the materials you choose. The service even offers same day shipping if you order at the right time, which means you can take your custom designs from 3D file or CAD design and turn them into actual products you can sell or parts you can use in a matter of hours. The service even offers digital prototyping and conversion services if you don’t have all of the files or schematics you need right away, and you won’t pay until your item has been prototyped and looks just the way you want it. Whether you’re looking to kickstart an idea, or you just want to make custom gifts for friends and family, the service can accommodate you in materials that range from pressed cardboard and acrylic to bamboo and wood all the way up to stronger materials and various types of plastic.

Those of you who nominated Ponoko praised them for taking extra care with your orders, making sure everything looked right, scaled properly, and were up to your specifications before charging you and sending you the final product. You noted that they don’t just print and send-they’ll give you that inspection step where you can see and make sure everything looks right by hand before sending it off for a final print, and then boxing it up and shipping it to you. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Ponoko is its sheer amount of materials available to work with, and the additional services beyond 3D printing. You can check them all out at the site, or read more in its nomination thread here.


You3DIt

Five Best 3D Printing Services

You3DIt is another hybrid service that offers fabrication and 3D printing, but it’s designed for people who may not be as technically or maker-inclined as others. For example, you don’t necessarily have to come with your files and schematics ready-just an idea of what you’d like to have made. You work with the site’s team of designers and experts to then build your model based on your idea, and then, once it’s perfected and ready, it’s sent off for fabrication. Of course, if you already have a design and you just want it printed or manufactured for you, the service can help there too-but instead of operating a massive fab full of printers and crafters who make your items, they’ll connect you with a local fabricator or 3D printing service that will actually produce the item you’ve designed and developed. Again, prices vary because there are several parties involved, but the service prides itself on being easy to use. You can see examples of some of the projects people have designed right on the home page, along with the project status (whether it’s been paid for or in fabrication, for example), to see how the process works.

Those of you who nominated You3DIt also praised it for integrating the design process with the printing and manufacturing process, something that a lot of people with ideas struggle with. After all, not everyone with a need for 3D printing or an idea to have built is an expert with CAD or Google Sketchup, and this service puts those people in touch with the ones who can help bring their ideas to life. Similarly, they offer other fabrication tools in addition to 3D printers, like laser cutters and etchers. Plus, if you’re a designer or have your own 3D printer, you can list yourself on the site to get involved in the process (and presumably make some money.) Read more in the nomination thread here.


Now that you’ve seen the top five, it’s time to decide which one is the Lifehacker community favorite:


Honorable Mentions

This week’s honorable mentions go out to your local UPS Stores, which-as long as you have one of the participating locations near you-likely have a 3D printer set up and waiting in their offices for you to drop by. The next time you have to ship a package, you can come in with a Google Sketchup file or another supported file (you’ll have to check their respective information pages to see what’s acceptable) and ask for your item to be printed. They’ll get to work on it, and let you know when it’s all finished so you can come back, pay for it, and walk out with your freshly printed part or personal effect.

Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your personal favorite, even if it wasn’t included in the list? Remember, the top five are based on your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread from earlier in the week. Don’t just complain about the top five, let us know what your preferred alternative is-and make your case for it-in the discussions below.

The Hive Five is based on reader nominations. As with most Hive Five posts, if your favorite was left out, it didn’t get the nominations required in the call for contenders post to make the top five. We understand it’s a bit of a popularity contest. Have a suggestion for the Hive Five? Send us an email at tips+hivefive@lifehacker.com!

Title photo by Steve Jurvetson. Additional photo by Phil Whitehouse.