Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What software do you use?

Rhinoceros, and recently Blender They have good scripting, many plug-ins, both NURBS and mesh tools, and many file import and export formats. Blender is stronger at texturing and rendering, while Rhino wins for precision and algorithmic work.

Other tools include ZBrush, Materialise Magics, Surface Evolver, and Perl scripts that I write. For rendering I like Maxwell.

If you're looking for direction, I don't particularly recommend this toolset; it's personal to my own background and workflow. What I'd say is that no one tool can do everything, and it's more important that your tools suit your style, than that they belong to a particular culture or even that they're made for a particular purpose.

May I use images of your work?

Yes. I would appreciate a mention of my name and/or this site. If you need high-resolution images for printing, just ask. If you would like an exclusive image photograph or rendered, I may be able to do this for a fee.

Will you give a talk?

There's no harm in asking, but please don't take it personally if I decline. If you aren't local to Boston, please bear in mind that I travel only with expenses paid, and only if it's actually fun.

Will you give me the STL file of a design?

You can use models here freely. For the rest, I've licensed models for many uses, and if your plan is amusing or may generate cash, maybe I can help.

Don't reverse engineer my designs. Doing so infringes my copyright, makes me unwilling to work with you in future, and is weak.

I'm a retailer, can we do business?

Probably not. My designs are expensive to produce, even as 3D prints go, and I don't have enough margin on most of them to offer anything like keystone pricing. I don't consign. I do work with a few retailers which are either big enough or well-targeted enough to make it go. If that sounds like you, it's worth asking

I'm launching a 3D printing store or community, will you join?

It's OK to ask, but probably not. I consider that the market for these is oversaturated; I haven't seen a new niche open here in some time, and do not expect to see more until the technology makes a leap. I also don't offer STL files for download or sale.

If your main product is community, I wish you well but can't contribute.

Do you take commissions?

You can ask, but please don't take it personally if I decline. I'm a slow worker and don't find it easy to design to specifications.

Can you make bigger glass pieces?

The etching laser that I use can fire about 90mm into glass, so 100mm (4") is the largest useful thickness. Also, large optically clear blanks can be very expensive. The largest piece I've worked on was 26" square by 4" deep, and the blank for that cost over $10,000.

The largest pieces I have available are a 100 x 100 x 200mm tower, and 200 x 200 x 80mm slab.

My sculpture is dirty, how do I clean it?

Wash it, with soap if needed. If the inside is hard to get at, try a dishwasher. If it's rusty – this can happen in a corrosive environment such as the seashore – use a rust stripper. Anything with phosphoric acid should work, including Coke.

Will you help me make something?

Only if I feel like it; I don't hire out as a designer. It's fine to ask, but please don't take it personally if I decline.

If it's scientific, please visit I do a lot of proteins and small molecules, but all kinds of 3D data can work.

If it's something else, please bear in mind that I specialize in scientific imaging projects. If your design is a portrait, car, building, photo, or something else not scientific, my friends at Precision Crystal Gifts & Awards may be able to help.

I'm writing a report, tell me something about what you do.

That's not a question.

If you have a question that doesn't seem to be answered on this site, you may ask. I can't answer general questions such as "how do you make your art", and "what is the relationship between art and mathematics". Specific questions such as "Was piece X inspired by katydid wings or artichoke leaves?" are more likely to get a useful response.

How can I stay in touch?

My news page has an RSS feed. I Facebook and sometimes I tweet. New designs often show up in my Shapeways shop first, and just lately I've been putting some free designs on Thingiverse