Shapeways starts own 3D printing production

We are really excited to announce that we have our own 3D printer!

Working together with EOS we now have an EOS P100 SLS printer in our Eindhoven office! As we had to move in Eindhoven, we have moved to a location where we can house some production of our own.

Why? Well we have several good reasons:
- We want to learn, learn, learn about 3D printing and nothing beats having your own machine in that respect. Can we print even higher details? And if so how can we do that reliably? Can we make incredible stuff? Can we make stuff more affordable? How can we automate more of the production process etc.
- We want to support rush orders more reliably. From time to time we get requests to ship parts within one or two days. Having our own machine we can simply use it to get those time critical items out to you before you even know it! With the Strong and Flexible materials it is possible to turn around orders within 48 hours. We will announce rush orders as a new option soon.
- Cause its fun! We have learned already that having your own SLS machine is not straight forward. These are big machines and require 380V, compressed air, air conditioning etc. We have also learned that cleaning in different ways can enhance level of details, so expect cool high res prints!

Does this mean Shapeways will no longer work with partners for 3D printing? No, absolutely not, we will keep working with existing and new partners, but we also wanted to have our own and now we do! 

Peter

21 comments

  1. Mitchell Jetten

    rush? did you say rush?

    whats the cost of that?
    when just $10,, all of my orders will be rush orders haha :D

    I’ve seen the machine @ Eindhoven :D
    and in the room is space for about 10 more of those machines… i say lets spend some of those millions shapeways has got

    1. Peter Weijmarshausen

      Do I sense some impatience here? ;-) Yes we will work on that.. perhaps local pickup?

  2. Mitchell Jetten

    Peter,

    eindhoven was 1hour 30min drive,, thats a bit a problem (cause i also have to drive back)

    and yes i’m impatience,, i just love shapeways so much :D

    ohh psst.. Peter,,, how about new contest *hint* :D
    (need to buy a model wich costs about $300 :$ )

    Mitchell (L) Shapeways

    1. Peter Weijmarshausen

      Well yes and no. Working together with our partners out community is definitely using a printer park. However it was not in our own office. Now the park extended and includes our own.

  3. Michiel Cornelissen

    Hey Peter,

    It’s good to know there is always a good idea just around the corner at Shapeways!

    Rush orders… yummy. I will be needing those soon, you know…

    Will those include SF color orders?

  4. Artur

    Congrats,
    long overdue, but good things take time.
    Looking forward to how all the new insight will manifest itself.

  5. Gijs

    Great to hear that. For me that’s only a 30 minute drive :-) Would be great to be able to pick up a delivery. As for rush orders, well every one is impatient when it comes to test printing designs, isn’t it?
    If this helps to reduce the normal shipping time for every order, it would be even better. Especially for gifts, most people don’t plan 2 weeks ahead and will therefore shop elsewhere.

  6. Davlin

    Good news for you. Just to add a very humble note to : ” Can we print even higher details? And if so how can we do that reliably? Can we make incredible stuff? Can we make stuff more affordable? ”

    I already ordered from you guys some pretty amazing stuff, very high details that would be hard, maybe impossible to make otherwise. I don’t think the details resolutions are the most important issue here, but rather the prices, that can soar very high pretty fast ( I got a model that needs to be printed, but 500 euros are way too expensive for me ) and the smoothness of the printed piece. Sanding the stuff is possible, but when it goes to surfaces with delicate details, that tends to be a hell of a thing to do.

    Small pieces are very affordable but needs a lot of minute work to remove the ” bumps ” made by the printing process; Big pieces are easier to smooth and work with but way more expensive, IMHO.

    I’m not begging or whinning, I certainly won’t tell you guys how to run your business, but I just wanted to add this little note. Sorry for the trouble and thanks for reading ! :)

    1. Duann

      Thanks Davlin

      We need all the feedback we can get, volume equations is something we can consider, but would you be prepared for a higher price for smaller items if lesser for larger?

      This would actually be truer to our costs, as the finishing/cleaning of small parts can be more labor intensive than larger, as you have described…

      Either way, we will continue to try and get the best possible prices to make 3D printing accessible to all…

    2. Davlin

      Hello Duann,

      I had to take a moment and think about my reply to avoid saying stupid things. Thing is, as a enthusiast model maker, the volume of the pieces I could make you guys print is almost everytime over 10 centimeters; For example, I have a 20-centimeteres diameter piece I have to make Shapeways print, not to mention other stuff ( 22, 25 centimeters ). So, I should say I’m not concerned about the ” small pieces, small price ” you mentionned. So, it would be easy for me to say : “Yes, please make the price of the small objects rise up” because that would not change something for me. But all the dice makers ( for example ) would be quite annoyed by that, I think, and I saw on the forums and gallery that there is a lot of people working with theses sizes.

      On the other hand, a theory I thought about was that, maybe people were making small pieces only because that was the maximum budget they could afford; Choosing price over size, even if they’d be frustrated to have only a small object in the end. Maybe, if the price was a bit lower on big volumes, they’d tend to order you some bigger pieces, and you’d get closer to your true production costs… my two cents. :)

    3. Bluedonkey99

      Discussing Davlins points further,

      I think there are a lot of people who print small items as that is what they want to print, and often smaller, more detailed and of course like all – more cheaply.

      Those wanting smaller parts such as jewellery makers, or fine scale modellers would be considering aspects such as materials, higher resolution and pushing the wall thickness (or should that be thinness!) boundary etc, they would not want or need to print in increasingly larger sizes?

      Of course, almost everyone as a “large” project they would be curious to print, but ultimately price curtails?

      It is good to see that that Shapeways are aware of the market demands for the service they provide to be pulled in many directions, and that they do pay heed to the various factors involved in pricing, details and materials.

      BD99

  7. Mitchell Jetten

    Howdy Peter,

    got a small question;

    when do you think you can give us some new information regarding the rush prints?

    thanx in advance!

    (L)shapeways

    1. Michael Crump

      I also am interested in the higher resolution prints – I think this is something that needs attention, as nearly all of the objects I model push the current limits of wall ‘thinness’ and detail resolution. Increasing the prices on small items will obviously impact me, but I also would enjoy more affordable, slightly larger projects, so it is a toss up for me. :)

  8. Andreas Woody64

    Also didn’t know that Shapeways does not own it’s own printer park.
    But with the new EOS P100 SLS it should be possible to test some further materials as also discussed in some other threads (like the PA 1550).

  9. Colin Keizer

    Ha!

    Yes, there is nothing like having your own machine(s) to play and learn on — my homebuilt CNC router just ran its first g-code program today, and my RepRap MENDEL is waiting for me to finish its electronics.

    SHAPEWAYS is a fantastic opportunity to begin learning how to make what you want to make in 3D, and seeing some of what other people want to make, too.

    Now that I have my own outlet for my big product mania I can spend more time trying to develop a line of tiny products appropriate for the current cost / volume parameters at SHAPEWAYS.

    Peter, when you folks start thinking about your next machine, please consider some of the really interesting work at Open3DP ( http://open3dp.me.washington.edu/ ) and other places where VERY inexpensive materials, like potter’s clay and table salt, result in some fascinating objects.

    Keep on pushing the envelope!

    Colin Keizer

  10. Mitchell Jetten

    About 2months later:

    “- We want to support rush orders more reliably. From time to time we get requests to ship parts within one or two days. Having our own machine we can simply use it to get those time critical items out to you before you even know it! With the Strong and Flexible materials it is possible to turn around orders within 48 hours. We will announce rush orders as a new option soon.”

    any news on this?

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