Author Archives: Lauren Slowik

Custom-Designed 3D Printed Gifts for the Animal Lover

Looking for a gift for a loved one who adores their pet? Get their pup or kitty immortalized in an unforgettable 3D form. In full color sandstone or even in bronze, silver, or gold, these pet-inspired pieces are perfect for collectors — adding a familiar face to their dollhouse or train set — or for any pet parents who can’t stop Instagramming their furry friends.

Designers Cuddle Clones and Minichua Design specialize in creating incredible pet mementos in 3D.

custom pet sculpture

A cute example of the type of custom 3D design that can be made from a picture of a pet, by Cuddle Clones.


Cat lovers will fall in love with Sleeping Kitty 1, 2, and 3 by cheerioboy.

labrador pendantPay tribute to their favorite breed of pup with a pendant like this Labrador dog full body silhouette pendant by Custompendants.

Design it yourself with 3D printing apps like Pup Workshop or the Keychain Creator which doubles nicely as a custom dog tag creator.

pup workshop

Click for More Custom Pet Gifts

Custom 3D Printed Beads and Charms – Gifts for the Jewelry Collector

Charm and bead bracelets are timelessly popular gifts because they tell the story of the wearer. Each of the charms represents something, someone or some occasion: anniversaries, first dates, first overseas trip, birthdays, seasons, you name it!

Camino bead

Camino de Santiago Pandora Charm Bead by Paralogical Design

While many companies do a valiant job of covering every possible story, working with a Designer For Hire would allow you to make a truly unique bead just for your giftee. If you know someone who is collector this is your chance to give them that token they can’t buy anywhere and truly reflects your thoughtfulness.

For starting design tips you can easily search for measurements. Most beads are approximately 6mm long, 3mm along chain. The hole is 3.5mm in diameter. Please check the measurement of the end your chain carefully to make sure the bead will fit! The end of your bracelet or chain should be no larger than 3.3mm in diameter.

Some existing designs by our community of designers to get your thoughtful engines firing:


psychology beads

Psychology Bead Charm by The Copper Serpent

fuji camera bead

Fujifilm X100s Pandora Bead by 3dkonceptsketcher

brain bead

Brain European Charm Bracelet Bead by Widegarns

Click For More Stunning Beads

Shapeways At The First South By South Lawn: A White House Festival of Ideas, Art, and Action

The first South by South Lawn was held at the White House on October 3rd, 2016. After visiting the tech and music festival South by Southwest® earlier this year, U.S. President Barack Obama was inspired to give the call for action to all citizens to roll up their sleeves and discover their own way to make a positive difference.

SXSL at the White House

I was lucky to represent the Shapeways community there because of our effort to enable everyone to bring their ideas to life. Our community is dedicated to allowing everyone to become a maker by simply supporting independent designers or by embarking on bringing a product to market. I was even able to catch a panel with not one but two community members speaking about the how making real change is a huge challenge and takes a whole community working together: Nina Tanden, founder of EpiBone, who is wearing a Kinematics necklace by Nervous System and Jukay Hsu, founder of Coalition for Queens, a tech nonprofit in our home borough here in NYC.


The festival was packed with amazing speakers and exhibits, a performance by The Lumineers and a discussion between Mr. Obama, climate scientist Dr. Katherine Hayhoe and actor Leonardo DiCaprio who was also premiering his new documentary film Before the Flood.

that's a wrap at SXSL
The SXSL letters were made with the help of Myth Buster’s Adam Savage and the hard work and ingenuity of several student and community makerspaces in the Washington D.C. area.

Make That Monogram Gift: Personal Monograms In 3D

You don’t have to know how to 3D model to print something really cool and special as a gift. If you’re in the hunt for that special someone check out, the monogram gift creator for the 21st century. The creators of this app developed the site from scratch and even the font was designed to be 3D printed, possibly the first font of it’s kind!

Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 12.52.04 PM

Available in silver or steel, in keychain, mini monogram necklace or statement necklace Mymo is a great way to commemorate a memorable event with simple, elegant design.

Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 12.53.29 PM

So head to their app page and get started making a one-of-a-kind 3D printed gift today:

Designers and coders: interested in getting your easy creator app featured on our site? Connect with our API team to show us what you’ve made or e:mail Dan directly at

Hire A Designer to Help You Design the Perfect Unique Gift

Designers For Hire can really take your holiday gifting ideas to the next lever. We have an incredible community of talented designers waiting to work with you on creating special gifts for your game- and tech-loving family friends this holiday season. Below are some project ideas and how to connect with designers who can help you realize these 3D printed projects.

The Miniature or Scale Model Enthusiast

Work with a designer to copy your model train-loving loved one’s home or other meaningful building at scale. It’s a unique way to include a bit of the real with the miniature.

Helpful hint: be sure to find out in what scale their model setup is made. Here’s a guide to the different sizes and their names
Designer search terms: Miniatures, Architecture

The Gadget Enthusiast

You could go a step further in personalizing that iPhone case and cord keeper and work with a designer to create a one-of-a-kind motif for all their accessories.

Helpful hint: be sure to find out what type of smartphone they have. Once you know it’s easy to find the gadget specifications, specs for short, with a quick search. Here’s one resource that lists popular phones.
Designer search terms: Product Design, Tech

The Table-Top Gamer

And finally an idea for the avid gift giver (this gift idea is quite a project) for the avid gamer, a 3D scanned scale chess set. Of course you’ll need their participation but the experience is part of the gift! You can do low resolution scans yourself with software like 123D Catch or work with a designer to modify existing human models with photographs of yourself and others.

Designer search terms: Scanning

image by reddit user pancuco

Whatever your friends and family are into there’s an idea out there that a Designer For Hire can work on with you to create a truly one-of-a-kind and memorable holiday gift.

Check out all of our talented Designers For Hire here

Get Schooled: Featured Student Grant Recipient – New Materials

Are you an undergraduate or grad student pushing the boundaries of 3D-printing technology? Apply now for the Shapeways EDU Grant and you could receive up to $1000 in Shapeways credit to realize your idea. Learn more about the Shapeways EDU Grant and apply at

Grant winners Alexandra Ion, Johannes Frohnhofen, Ludwig Wall, Robert Kovacs, Mirela Alistar, Jack Lindsay, Pedro Lopes, Hsiang-Ting Chen, and Patrick Baudisch from the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany have recently published the completion of their research on Metamaterial Mechanisms and boy, were we blown away!

To put it succinctly Metamaterial Mechanisms is an exploration of material forms as a way of building a mechanical behavior in to the material structure of a solid object. With this custom-developed software the students were able to generate 3D-printable mechanisms out of what is essentially a solid unit of material. The research group calls them metamaterials but they prefer “to think of them as machines. We demonstrate metamaterial objects that perform a mechanical function. Our metamaterial door latch, for example, transforms the rotary movement of its handle into a linear motion of the latch.”

The software allows “users to place different types of cells, including the shear cell, to add mechanical functionality to their objects. To help users verify their designs during editing, our editor allows users to apply forces and simulates how the object deforms in response.”

meta material software


The research team explained that nothing about this project could have been realized without access to 3D printing. “Being able to experiment with more complex structures printed on Shapeways’ SLS printers helped shape our understanding [of the direction of the project]. This research has taught us that materials can be machines and materials at the same time. Materials can be ‘smarter’ than what we think they can be—without the need of batteries, motors or microchips. ”

Are you an undergraduate or grad student pushing the boundaries of 3D-printing technology? Apply now for the Shapeways EDU Grant and you could receive up to $1000 in Shapeways credit to realize your idea. Learn more about the Shapeways EDU Grant and apply at

National Parks 100th Anniversary

Posted by in Education

It just so happens that today in 1916 the US government signed into law the National Parks Service Act. That means today is the 100th anniversary of the US National Parks. You can read more on the National Parks Centennial website.

We’ve chosen a list of some our favorite parks. Let’s start with Acadia National Park, the nation’s first national park on the east coast. A noted stop for migratory birds in spring and fall.
Poly Red Robin
Poly Red Robin
by edrice

Next we fly off to Arizona where the world-famous Grand Canyon National Park draws some five million visitors a year. Now you can take a tiny version of this UNESCO World Heritage Site everywhere you go.
Grand Canyon Terrain Model
Grand Canyon Terrain Model
by TinyMtn

Next stop, Denali National Park in Alaska, home to North America’s tallest mountain at 20,310 feet. Keep a token of the Arctic on your bookshelf with this gorgeous porcelain bookend.
Arctic Bookend
by sidnaique

Before email, before text, before telegraph even(!) there was the Pony Express, preserved in the Pony Express National Trail. Take a taste of the sites with you everywhere with this wheat bracelet.
wheat bracelet
Wheat Bracelet
by kasiawisniewski

Statue of Liberty National Monument is the Shapeways HQ national park of note and what better way to celebrate Lady LIberty’s welcoming stance than with your very own torch ice cream cone.
statue of liberty ice cream cone
Statue of Liberty Ice Cream Cone
by JoyComplex

We’ve got more products to celebrate your love of nature:

Click For More Wilderness-Inspired Goods

Students Compete in the Campus Battle 2016!

Posted by in Education

Hello students! It’s that time of year again. Yes yes, we’re all going back to school and starting a new semester and all of that but more importantly it’s the beginning of another…

Shapeways EDU Campus Battle Sign-up Challenge!

The gig is simple: Tell you friends and classmates to sign up for the Shapeways Education 15% discount program at and you could win free shipping for your school for the rest of the school year!

  • When a new student joins during the Campus Battle they get their First Print Free with Shapeways, up to $25.
  • The top three schools with the most new signups during the Campus Battle period will win Free Shipping for the rest of the academic year for all students enrolled there (not just those who signed up during Campus Battle).
  • All EDU members get 15% off orders of their own models all year round.


students working on a 3D print

The Campus Battle of First Print Free offers are available until October 31, 2016 so get to sharing! If you’re already a member of the Shapeways EDU program, recruit your classmates so they can benefit from the Shapeways Education discount also, while giving you the chance to win free shipping for all of your school and personal projects.

The campus battle shipping contest is only available to students in the US. First Print Free offer and EDU discount is available to students globally.

Packing Light with Multifunction Gadgets

Posted by in Gadgets

Summer vacation time is upon us and I bet you’re trying to narrow down what to bring with you on that much needed getaway. What a luxurious problem to have! Luckily we’ve found some space minimizing products for you to bring along so you can fit that 4th summer beach read book in your suitcase.

Ultimate Minimalistic Case with bottle opener

Ultimate Minimalistic Case with bottle opener
by Mstyle183
Comfortably holds foreign money, opens drinks and protects you phone and camera all in one.

Belt Clip with Bottle Opener

Belt Clip with Bottle Opener
by MichaelMueller
Having a new routine while traveling means having tools to keep from losing your stuff are super useful. Give this multifunction belt clip a whirl and stay organized while on the go.

Rucksack 'D' Clip

Rucksack ‘D’ Clip
by Lucyrplant
This rucksack D ring is the perfect space saver for strapping that last over sized souvenir to your already-over-stuffed pack.

Foosball iPhone 5 Case

Foosball Iphone 5 Case
by athomitron
A great to to keep track of your phone while having a pickup game with your seat mate in car or train.

We’ve got more ways to multitask and pack light:

Click For More Double Duty Travel Goods

National Week of Making and Shapeways

The maker movement is no secret anymore and that’s a good thing. People the world over are recognizing the power of applying creative thinking to solve their unique challenges. Digital manufacturing tools like 3D printers only expand on the endless possibilities.

That’s why it’s exciting to be part of the 3rd annual National Week of Making (June 17-23). In his declaration President Obama states that “During National Week of Making, we recommit to sparking the creative confidence of all Americans and to giving them the skills, mentors, and resources they need to harness their passion and tackle some of our planet’s greatest challenges.” Our CEO Peter Weijmarshausen is at the White House for the Maker-to-Manufacturer Stakeholder event today to discuss the needs of makers looking to turn their ideas into full-time commitments. We’ll be sure to share notes from the event with our community once it concludes.

In direct response to the White House call to action for National Week of Making that encourages organizations to empower a nation of inventors and entrepreneurs by providing access to technology, Shapeways EDU and the The New York Public Library’s TechConnect Program announced a partnership to introduce creative minded patrons of the New York Public Library to the entrepreneurial side of 3D modeling and printing technology through a free, open-source curriculum. Among the many goals is to educate the public so they can further engage in the current digital era and become entrepreneurs of their own 3D creations. The collaboration will kick off in the fall with a pilot program offering multiple courses over a ten-week period.

Shapeways is also proud to have sponsored the Department of Education Career and Technical Education Makerspace Makeover Challenge contest. All participants of the contest, some 300 schools from all 50 states, participated in the bootcamp to learn the skills needed to have successful careers in the 21st century. The trophy was designed by Shapeways community member Ashley Zelinskie. In addition to the trophies we are also giving a 3D printing scholarship to one of the ten winning schools that has shown a commitment to 3D printing in education.

You can check out other projects and add to the celebration on social media with the tags #NationOfMakers and #WeekofMaking.


Shapeways and New York Public Library to Launch Open Source 3D Printing Curriculum

We are announcing an exciting partnership with the New York Public Library TechConnect program to develop an open source curriculum for libraries and other public institutions to teach 3D modeling, printing and digital entrepreneurship skills. Below is our press release about the course. We will be keeping you updated on the progress as we make the program available:

IMG_0850 crop

In response to the White House call to action for National Week of Making (June 17-23), encouraging organizations to empower a nation of inventors and entrepreneurs by providing access to technology, Shapeways EDU and the The New York Public Library’s TechConnect Program today announced a partnership to introduce creative minded patrons of the New York Public Library to the entrepreneurial side of 3D modeling and printing technology through a free, open source curriculum. Among the many goals is to educate the public so they can further engage in the current digital era and become entrepreneurs of their own 3D creations. The collaboration will kick off in the fall with a pilot program offering multiple courses over a ten-week period. Continue reading

Spin It to Win It! Contest

As you know we’re big fans of Gravity Sketch, the new app putting the power of 3D design at your fingertips. It’s so fun and easy in fact that today we’re celebrating it by launching a contest to win some Shapeways printing credit! Simply use the Gravity Sketch app to design and upload your original model of a spinning top to Shapeways by June 23, 2016. For the first round the top eight top designs will be 3D printed. For the second round the top three top designs will win the prizes. Details about the contest and prizes can be found here.


Our panel of judges, Shapeways community manager Andrew, Seyi from Gravity Sketch and top specialist Designs by Dalton, will be looking for:

  • Originality and creativity
  • Perceived physics
  • Design aesthetics
  • Best use of the Gravity Sketch app

Download the Gravity Sketch app today, upload your models to Shapeways and tag the model with ‘GravitySketchTop2016‘ to enter the contest by June 23, 2016. We can’t wait to see what spins out of your brains!

3D Print Your Custom Awards

Posted by in 3D Modeling

Unusual materials and unique designs are the hallmark of designing and printing with Shapeways. Recently there have been more and more examples of clubs, groups and contests using 3D prints as trophies. Paired with the CustomMaker options these 3D statues open up a whole new world for giving tokens of recognition. See below for a collection of unique ways to make a lasting 3D memory.

This year Eyebeam Art and Technology Center 3D designed and printed their 2016 awards with White Strong and Flexible Nylon for a truly unique commemoration.


These simple awards for the Urban Assembly Maker Academy were made with Tinkercad shapes and then customized on Shapeways with a CustomMaker script using the school logo.

There are also great products that can be customized to be a nice token of participation or a contest without designing from scratch, like designer Michael Mueller’s What A Day Pendant.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 1.19.00 PM

And of course with 3D scanning all kinds of customization is possible, like this baseball trophy designed to hold a real baseball from a 3D scan of a pitcher’s hand.


Teach 3D Design On Skillshare, Earn $100


Shapeways and Skillshare challenge you to create the 3D printing class you wish you could have taken when developing your design skills. From top tips for using CAD, to how to design 3D printed jewelry, to the best 2D to 3D design tools, we want you to share your 3D printing expertise with a global community of students two million strong. Go to Skillshare for more information and to sign up your class for “More Than Plastic: Teach 3D Printing and Design on Skillshare”.

As a teacher on Skillshare, you’ll build your brand and reputation as a designer while earning money for every student who enrolls in your online class. No prior teaching experience or special equipment is needed. To make a class, all you need is your passion and computer and Skillshare will give you the support and resources you need to create your curriculum.

Now is the time to jump in. If you complete and publish a class in June, you’ll be eligible for a $100 cash bonus.  And if your class is truly extraordinary,  it could also get featured here on Shapeways.

Designer For Hire: Resource Review of “The Freelancer’s Bible”

We expanded our Designer For Hire program so that great 3D design talent could connect with client demand. But designing “for hire” can come with different rules and challenges than designing in-house or as part of an agency. For designers looking to dip a toe or jump all the way into working as a freelancer, this is the resource for you.

Divided into five distinct sections, between which author Sara Horowitz says you will move nonlinearly as that is the way of the freelance life, The Freelancer’s Bible offers readers a well-considered, thorough guide through the challenges of driving your own career and being your own boss. As Sara writes, “Freelancing’s inherent flexibility may offer unprecedented freedom to live life on your own terms[.] With research and planning, you may find an exciting new life is within reach.”


The book begins with advice for finding your strengths and listing your goals for pursuing freelance work. From there the book dives deep into the five major categories: Getting Started, Getting Work, Growing Your Business, Managing Your Business, and Your Business and Your Community.

One of the most thoughtful chapters is devoted to the topic of finding, and keeping, clients. The chapter begins with outlining six fundamentals of influence and persuasion. Social psychologist Robert Cialdini has recognized that we all use them and once you know to look for them you will see them everywhere.

  • Reciprocity: Sharing information and connections will grow your network and more importantly, as Sara writes, will “build your love bank account.” An example of reciprocity is talking up and referring others in your industry; they will likely reciprocate.

  • Consistency: Showing a sustained interest in certain elements of your work will always build towards trust as well as naturally grow your network.

  • Social Validation: This can be shown in the form of testimonials from previous clients, references and even your social media presence. These all can suggest that you are worth choosing because others have chosen you.

  • Liking: When you meet new clients look for a common connection but be genuine. Ask them questions. This usually leads to finding something in common and builds trust.

  • Authority: Be proud of your qualifications which you can showcase in your resume, your website or portfolio, your Designer For Hire profile, your memberships and your client list.

  • Scarcity: Limited editions, small class sizes, busy schedules–scarcity is used in all of these scenarios to drive action and it works for driving people to book you too.

In addition to the crazy amount of tips Sara and co-author Toni Sciarra-Poynter provide, they also include a healthy list of additional resources, such as:

I highly recommend this book for anyone, even industry veterans, pursuing the freelance life.