Update Februari 05 – 2017

End of Januari I started a course ‘Additive Manufacturing‘ at the University of Ghent to learn more about manufacturing with different materials. I hope the classes will bring new insights, as I experienced some difficulties with the current testing materials.

With the existing STL file of the “B&D-like” hairclip model I have been testing two different materials/additive manufacturing processes via Shapeways:

  • PLA (Material extrusion – nozzle)
  • Strong & Flexible Polished (SLS – use a bed of Nylon powder and sinter the powder with a laser layer by layer)

To process the Shapeways order, regardless the material, I had to upload two different STL files, one for the bow and one for the stick. This makes the order as a whole more expensive, but when uploading the STL as a whole (as I did first), both parts clung to each other tight and thus the hairclip was not usable. Fortunately Shapeways was willing to do a refund for this – much appreciated. Note: Ordering the hairclip on i-materialise was not possible because the stick-file was rejected (because the dimensions were too small).

The order consisted of 4 items:

Shapeways order

  • 1 x 3Dee ClipsNauwer (Shell 1) in Purple Strong & Flexible Polished
  • 1 x 3Dee ClipsNauwer (Shell 2) in Purple Strong & Flexible Polished
  • 1 x 3Dee ClipsNauwer (Shell 1) in Orange PLA
  • 1 x 3Dee ClipsNauwer (Shell 2) in Orange PLA


Was I happy with the result?

3D printed Hairclips ShapewaysThe purple hairclip gives the best result. The color is pretty evenly colored and both form and details are sharp.


  • It’s a pity though the material does not look at all like the beautiful shiny plastic of the original pins.
  • The colours one can order are limited. I found out via 3Deee that choosing your own colour for PA requires an additional start-up cost of 50 euros per color. Which is not a big deal if you make a big order, but for ultimate personalization (one colour per person) it might be a show-stopper on price.

The orange hairclip in PLA (which was twice as expensive in price) had the same issues as the red version above. It is obvious that the selected 3D-printing technology combined with the applied printing direction makes that the top of the arc is very rough and uneven. It’s not a nice shiny accessory.

As promised in a former post, pleas3Dee_TheseDays_Tekst1e see hereby the first test with a texted hair-clip bow (credits to Michaël from 3dee.be), which shows the potential for further variations. This is what I want to continue testing with: besides texts, personalisation can also be done with shapes, or a combination of both. Why not a romantic one for Valentine’s Day?

To be continued.

Test 5: testing two different materials/additive manufacturing processes via Shapeways

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *