There is little more rewarding then giving a loved one something that you have made especially for them. The value of the item far exceeds the sum of it's parts, as the act of making embeds meaning into the object far beyond a mass produced item, or a unique item you may have chosen from as artist or craftsperson. Your participation in the item adds a level of depth to the story and meaning behind the gift, that simply cannot been bought. The item becomes priceless, not in a Mastercard advertisement kind of way, but the item is embedded with genuine meaning.
Designing a gift using on demand 3D printing with Shapeways may not mean you are hand forging every atom in the item, but the thought and emotion behind your design, the time spent 3D modeling (if you can), along with any post production you do increases the social value of your gift.
There are many beautiful stories in the Shapeways forums of people 3D printing gifts for loved ones. One of the most recent stories to capture our hearts at Shapeways is an age old story:
Boy meets girl
Boy falls in love with girl
Girl mentions she loves a pendant that is no longer for sale (the impossible mission is set)
Boy becomes the hero, locks his mission into his sights and decides he must design, 3D print and assemble the pendant to give to her (in 2012 the hero fabricates the Holy Grail)
Not knowing how to 3D model so well he enlists the help of a designer from the Shapeways forums (cutting the Gordian Knot with a little help from 3D superstar Kevin Wei)
Shapeways 3D prints the design in Sterling Silver and sends it to our hero's door where he then has a crash course in setting jewels as he glues 150 Swarovski Crystals into the pendant
Once complete he packages up the pendant and sends it across the ocean, nervously anticipating how she will receive the gift he has invested with so much time and energy.
Oh well, right now it's being transported...
so I don't know yet whether she likes it. But honestly, when I send it
off... it felt like I was sending a piece of myself... the amount of
work and dedication that goes into making this... really made it the
most special gift I have ever given somebody.