Author Archives: Lauren Slowik

UNICEF Innovation Summit and The aNYThing Conference: 3D Printing and the Future of Education

This past week I had the privilege of being invited to speak at the first UNICEF Innovation Summit. Start Up to Scale Up: Global Innovations for Children and Youth Summit was held in Helsinki, Finland. Comprised of tech and impact innovators from around the world we were hosted in the gorgeous Finlandia Hall for two days of panels, presentations and discussions about the future of tech in the lives of children around the world.

© UNICEF eLearning


On the Future of Skill panel I was joined by moderator Kathryn Myronuk Faculty & Coach: Synthesis & Convergence, Singularity University, Roshan Paul CEO Amani Institute, Virginia Tam co-founder of Lean In China and Kristina Kaihari, Counsellor of Education at the Finnish Ministry of Education, Finland to discuss how to prepare today’s youth for the jobs they will do in the future. We all agreed that it is important to incorporate 21st century skills like self-learning, collaboration and perseverance in the face of failures into the modern classroom. The complex world issues that today’s youth will inherit call for creative problem solving and resiliency in order for new ideas to succeed. 3D printing is a powerful tool to tackle some of these very problems, turning software tools into physical tools and allowing new ideas to be tested rapidly and improved upon. Later on during the conference I held a workshop and discussion panel on the advantages and ares for opportunity in incorporating 3D design and manufacturing into the education space.

© UNICEF start up to scale up

On Thursday November 5th I had the pleasure of talk about Shapeways EDU at the aNY(Additive New York) Thing Conference at SUNY New Paltz. In this first annual conference speakers from presented new concepts and ideas from a range of applications of additive manufacturing across art, design, engineering, education, agriculture, manufacturing and medicine.

Enter to Win the 2015 Shapeways 3D Printing Campus Battle!

Posted by in Education

Attention US university students: enroll in the Shapeways Education Discount Program to enter to win the 2015 Campus Battle!

Entrants from the three winning schools will receive free shipping for their school projects for the rest of the academic year! Seeing is believing, so we’re making it easy to bring an idea to life. Print one of your designs in any material, and we’ll cover the cost up to $25. What are you waiting for?

All entrants who sign up before October 31, 2015 will get:

  • Your first 3D print free, up to $25
  • 20% off printing their own models through September 30, 2015 (and 15% off their own models after that!)

So tell your friends, frenemies, classmates and profs to signup and you could win free shipping for the rest of the year on your school projects!

Update: The contest is now over. We had more than 600 schools from around the world participate in this year’s Campus Battle! And the winners are…

  • Georgia Tech
  • MIT
  • Kutztown University

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone who entered!


Visit for full contest details.

New Student Discount!

Posted by in Education

As we start planning for a new school year (at least in the northern hemisphere) I wanted to connect and tell you about changes to the Shapeways Education Program. I’ve spent the last year talking with you and marveling at the numerous ways you use our service in your education.

I am proud to announce that we will be increasing the Education Program discount to 20% off of your own prints through September 30, 2015, and 15% off all materials for the rest of the school year. Our goal with Shapeways EDU has always been to empower people to learn and by lowering the price of our most popular material for all students we’re reaffirming that mission. This new discount has replaced our previous 10% discount as of August 13, 2015, and will be automatically applied when you order eligible 3D prints using your Shapeways account that is enrolled in Shapeways Education Program until September 30th, 2015. While they cannot be combined with your discount, we offer many other discounts to our broader community throughout the year: make sure that you’re signed up for our Promotions & Recommendations emails to hear about them.

Keep your eye out for more exciting ways to use our global 3D printing services in your studies and happy 3D-ing in the new school year!


*The Education Program discount is capped at $200 in savings per person, per academic year. It applies to 3D prints of your own designs. It does not apply to products purchased in the Shapeways marketplace. For larger projects please reach out to with the subject line “Education Discount Inquiry”. We’re always working to improve the Education Program and, as such, its terms are subject to change at any time.

Design and Win with littleBits+Shapeways Project Side Project

Posted by in Contests

Submit your invention to Project Side Project.

Got a great idea? Or an invention that simply must be created? Then have we got a contest for you! littleBits, Shapeways, and a host of other communities have teamed up to help get your side project off the shelf and into the real world.  From music to hardware and writing to visual arts and more, everyone has a great idea or a passion project they’ve dreamed of doing.

The 12 most-voted projects will get hands-on mentorship from the Kickstarter team. The grand prize winner will be selected by a panel of judges and gets $2,000 in backing and a suite of maker tools worth $3,000.

project side project graphic

INVENT deadline is July 7

Submit an idea for something awesome. Anything. Just make sure it’s exciting and share-worthy.

SHARE begins July 8

Send your invitation link to all of your friends and family. Show them your great idea!

VOTE closes July 21

Get people to vote to bring your invention to the top of the charts. The top 12 ideas will be paired with a mentor and go head-to-head for the grand prize.

Click here to enter and for more details.

Shapeways March European Road Trip

Posted by in Education

ShapewaysEDU is heading out on a European three week road trip! We’ll be starting with the 3D Print Show Madrid starting March 12th and heading to Barcelona then northward! See below for locations and dates and keep your eye out for events and meetups announcements as the month of March continues.

Madrid, ES – 3D Print Show   3/12-3/13
Barcelona, ES  3/14-3/15
Paris, FR 3/17-3/18
Amsterdam, NL 3/19-3/20
Eindhoven, NL 3/23-3/24
Berlin, DE – 3D Print Show 3/26-3/28

If you have an event going on or are interested in attending  and will be in these places send an email to to let us know about it. Let’s grab a drink and talk shop.

ShapewaysEDU and California Universities Roundup

Posted by in Education

Shapeways EDU recently wrapped up a road trip visiting university students in California who are pursuing 3D printing and oh boy were we impressed! After talking with all these passionate students and professors and. At Shapeways our biggest concern is enabling others to realize incredible things with 3D printing. Part of enabling is providing access to these powerful tools and machines. University students have more access than they may realize so here are some ideas to help YOU get started 3D printing on your campus:

You can incorporate 3D printing into an existing club theme. At UC Berkeley the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society members are investigating the career opportunities related to 3D printing and design.

Greetings to you too, TBP Berkeley!

California College of Arts lab manager Zane Murray encourages students to seek out facilities on campus and get help from the knowledgable technicians working their. For the very interested student many of these labs offer campus jobs running these facilities, a great way to get hands on experience before you graduate.

Stanford University students use their Product Realization Lab to do everything from test an idea to develop a new beta product in their cross-disciplinary facility.

UCLA and the University of Southern California have joined forces by forming the 3D4E, or 3D For Everyone, club which is comprised of students across majors to using 3D printing in their competitions and club activities.

Student check out Shapeways material samples at the Stanford Product Realization Lab

Southern California Institute of Architecture and Art Center College of Design in LA have more facilities than you can shake a stick at but lab manager David Cowley at Art Center encourages the students to really use as many types of production processes before they graduate. You won’t always have access to such top notch stuff once you’re out in the real world!

Art Center connects the tools with the outcome

If you are a student, teacher or staff of a school make sure to register your Shapeways account for our 10% education discount. Also students should keep an eye out for our upcoming ShapewaysEDU grant deadline coming up on April 1st. You can apply for up to $1000 in printing credit to support your 3D printing project or research. As always, more details on

3D Tools: Learn to Use Your Model Feedback to Improve Your Design

In the first tour of Shapeways new 3D tools we talked about all of the automatic and instant checking done by our software when your model is first uploaded. This video will give you a quick tour of what information 3D tools can provide about your design file when it does not pass a manual check from one of our 3D engineers at our factories.

I Spent My Weekend Learning to 3D Model with ShapeJS, Here’s How It Went

Written by community member Daphne Laméris, and you can see her key sleeve here.

ShapeJS, ever heard of it? I did, but it took me a long time to actually look at it and try to understand it. The whole idea of using code to model a part looked really hard, and is not what I am familiar with. I can use SolidWorks to model, tried Blender twice and Rhino once. In the end, I always stuck to what I knew, SolidWorks. It became time to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.

The great thing about 3D printing is the option for mass customization. For a lot of designs, I already use the co-creator options. This way, I can offer rings in difference sizes and a key sleeve that can be adjusted in size and with text. But every order still takes time to make and that order cannot be produced until I make the model. Therefore, I looked into ShapeJS.

shapeJS key label

With ShapeJS you can use javascript to make models. Numbers and texts filled into  textboxes can be used as parameters in your code. For my key sleeve, this could be the diameter of the key and the key thickness. For a better explanation you can check out the shapeJS introduction.

So I set the goal to make my key sleeve in ShapeJS. It is a simple shape that needs multiple values of the user as input. The first problem is that I had no experience whatsoever with javascript before I started. Luckily, there are some examples available as well as some text. I read all the text and look at all examples, not understanding most of it. But I changed some values in the examples and saw what it did. Especially the example with the picture is fun, it’s easy to just upload a photo and see what it does. The next step was sketching the key sleeve. How could I build my design from simple shapes with  the Booleans? The original key sleeve was made with SolidWorks. Using code is a different way of modelling. It still works with solids, but you can’t make a sketch as with SolidWorks (well, at least not that I’m aware of). So I wrote down what the code should do:

pseudocode for shapeJS

The picture above was a first rough sketch (made without the intention to show it to anyone else, this is often referred to as “pseudo code” where you write out in plain words what you want to code to do and in what order). I wanted a hollow cylinder by subtracting a small one from the big one. Next a part should be cut out – this is the opening for the key. So I need to make a box, give it a position connected to the key radius and subtract it from the hollow cylinder. The design also needs a hole for the key ring. The position is determined by user input as well as the size of the hole. Finally, the key has some text that needs to be on the front. With this, I had my recipe for what I wanted to make. And then I realized I did not know what my ingredients were. The examples showed how to make a box, but how to make a cylinder? I couldn’t really find a list with explanation of all shapes and functions that would be useful for modeling. I did find more examples, and from that I used the cylinder. I’m not going to describe every step I took to create my model. But I can tell you how it went globally: like creating Frankenstein’s monster. Copy here, paste there. Use a part of this example, use a part of that example. Adjusting things to see how it works. Deleting stuff if I didn’t know what it did. If the script stills runs, okay. If not, put it back. It’s not a sustainable approach for creating very complex shapes, but it is a great way to learn new stuff.


In the end, it worked! With the set input from the user (key diameter, key thickness, keyhole diameter, distance keyhole to top) a key sleeve is created. It took most of my Sunday afternoon and evening (and a bit of my Saturday). Next step is getting in the ShapeJS co-creator pilot so this could actually be used for sale. And then it’s time to learn and create more!

Learn New 3D Printing Skills in 2015

It’s a new year and we’ve jumped on the annual bandwagon and resolved to improve ourselves. What better way to do that than to improve how our talented designers use Shapeways? Earlier today we told you about the new Shapeways 3D Tools - our new suite of tools that will enable you to check your designs using the same guidelines our 3D Printing Engineers do. Here’s a quick video tour of the automatic checking tools.

We’ll be diving deeper into these new features for the rest of the month, talking about tips and tricks to get yourself inspired, up to speed and printing like never before.

In the meantime, we’re dying to know: What are you most excited about making this year?

Free UArtsy 3D Modeling Course for the Shapeways Community Plus a Discount!

wireframe dog

Wireframe Dog designed by CINEMO

The folks at UArtsy have created a free 3D modeling course called Learn Maya: Polygon Modeling with Michael Mckinley. All you have to do is follow the link and register. They’ve also got a great offer for the Shapeways community: 20% off of any course you choose. Simply register and enter the code SHP20OFF upon checkout. The staff at UArtsy recommends 3D Printing for Artists With Joseph Drust and Jewelry Sculpting In ZBrush Fundamentals With Tomas Wittelsbach, as two great starting courses for Shapeways designers. is a 3D modeling and sculpting course site started by Ryan Kinglien, the first product manager for ZBrush. The site offers a on-demand and live courses in several techniques.

Go ahead and learn a new 3D skill and make 2015 your year!

Shapeways 3D Printing Campus Battle Grand Prize Winning School Is…

Congrats to our winning students at MTU from team Shapeways!

On behalf of Team Shapeways: Congrats to our winning students at MTU!

We have our Campus Battle winners! After a tough competition for the last 6 weeks, Michigan Tech University came out the winner and every student at MTU who registered during the contest will receive an additional $75 in print credit and a prize pack from Shapeways and friends! With over 200 schools competing it was close race. The runners up included:

  • Princeton University
  • University of California – Los Angeles
  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • Maryland Institute College of Art


Grand prize partners include General Assembly, Autodesk Tinkercad, and

We wish everyone could be a winner but luckily you’re still ahead with our 10% Education Discount. And don’t forget you can get further support for specific projects by applying to the Shapeways Education Grant or get in involved with our Shapeways Crew Campus Representative program. Check out more information on our Education page!

Shapeways is Committed to Supporting Education–there’s a discount and so much more!

Hello there! My name is Lauren and I’ve been lurking around the Shapeways world as Designer Evangelist for the last year. Today, I want to let the world and the Shapie community know about the commitments we’re making in education and 3D printing.

Shapeways Education Program Benefits include:

10% Discount – We always offer students and educators a 10% discount on their own model prints. Students & educators can register a school email address with Shapeways and save 10% all orders in any of our 40+ materials. Students, head to Teachers, check out

Campus Battle – We’re serious about supporting student work. University students who register on between now and November 15, 2014 will receive $25 in printing credit towards their own designs. Students at the school with the most signups will receive an additional $75 in Shapeways credit.

Education Grant – Everyday we hear about how Shapeways is helping students create awesome work such as product development, architecture, and engineering projects. Now we want to help you make those projects really come to life by announcing the Shapeways Education Grant. Each semester we will make up to $5,000 available in Shapeways printing credit awarded to student projects. The application process is detailed on

Shapeways Crew Student Representative Program – Become part of the Shapeways community (and get free stuff)! We love for students to represent us on their campus, and by joining our Shapeways Campus Crew Representative program, You’ll get exclusive offers from Shapeways. Whether you’re printing maquettes for your architecture studio, sculpture materials for Fine Arts, custom arduino enclosures – you name it we can 3D print it!

3D Printing Tutorials – In an effort to help everyone learn 3D design, we’ve assembled one of the largest collections of 3D printing tutorials out there, covering everything from design tools to selling on Shapeways. Whether you’re still in school or a lifelong learner, there are tips for all levels from our team and community of experts.

API and Shape.js – CS Majors are facing a world of competition in apps and services. Today, Shapeways opens entirely new vertical markets for physical products via our Shapeways API and ShapeJS. ShapeJS let’s you create interactive and customizable digital blueprints of physical products and the Shapeways API let’s you price and sell those products to customers around the world.

Shapeways supports education

So I’d like to welcome students, teachers to Shapeways where we’re committed to educating everyone on the ins and outs of 3D printing and giving you all the skills to print your very own ideas. Scope out the education information page and register for your discount and perks. Happy printing!

Please 3D Scan the Art: Design Student Creates a How-To Manual for Metropolitan Museum Visitors


The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has a very friendly policy with 3D scanning. The museum not only allows 3D scanning but they had design graduate student Decho Pituckcharoen create a guide book to help you learn how to do it properly. As a collaboration with the  Met Media Lab, Decho created this friendly guide to help visitors do exactly that. Not only did he set about to create an accessible manual for visitors interested in digitizing the art but he also had to learn how to use the technology himself. It is this type of enabling research and sharing that we’d like to see more of.

Below we asked Decho a few questions about his process of designing for and explaining this new technology to beginners.

What is it about the 3D scanning process that made you want to make this guide book?

As a designer who has worked with print medium for a long time, I’m interested in 3D printing technology. Right away Don, the manager of media lab, introduced me to the 3D scanning software 123D catch, which isn’t exactly a scanning program but photogrametry, which is really easy to use. What I really need is just a digital camera or phone camera to take pictures of art piece and the software converts them to 3D models.

So, I did some research to find tutorials or how to use this technology to produce your own projects. Mostly the tutorials that I found were serious looking or had lots of text to read. That was when I had an idea that why don’t I make it friendlier than a usual one.

I got my inspiration from a simple IKEA instruction that lets pictures describe step by step of assembly. I think it would be a easier if users can understand how to use 3D scanning for their projects with user friendly information graphic that might be practical for non-tech savvy users to use. By combining simple 3D scanning software + user friendly instruction, I believe that my guide book will have a potential for anyone who is interested in 3D printing area.


Did you learn anything unexpected about working in 3D?

After scanning objects, 3D scanning software algorithm will calculate and simulate over all shapes for a 3D model. I was amazed that it actually filled and completed a part that I couldn’t scan. For example, on the very top past of a big and tall sculpture.

I also learned about digital 3D community while I was researching about my project. There are a tons of open source objects and projects that they share to us. For example, If I need a business card stand, I will just download it and print it out from my 3D printer. That is like a magic place to me to see many makers who want to contribute useful resources for us.

Do you think that being able to 3D scan will add value to a museum visitor’s experience?

I personally think that it will definitely add more benefits about educational purpose to visitors. They can scan objects form the museum and keep them into digital formats in order to study at home or everywhere else. Moreover, visitors can see art in different angles from 3D files that they can’t do in the museum. Therefore, they can observe more details about each art piece to use for their research.

After scanning, art piece from the museum can be presented to different formats. For example, story telling animation, interactive websites or kinetic figures that will be attractive to young audiences.

It’s true that seeing an actual art piece you can feel more authenticity, but for some audiences they don’t have a chance to go to have their own experience at the museum; for example, people who live abroad or disabilities. With 3D scanning technology, they can take advantage by seeing art pieces through virtual 3D world from everywhere or on the internet instead. More over, it will add more value to disabilities especially blind people since they can experience by touching shape and texture of each replica art piece that is scanned from the museum.

How do you imagine this scanning and printing technology will be used in the near future? say, in 10 years?

I imagine scanning and printing technology will be used to produce more and more objects with verity of new materials. Importantly, for medical profession filed that human organs can be reproduce with very fine details and quality. Maybe, It will be awesome that we can use 3D scanning to keep our identity instead of taking pictures on our ID cards. I predict that 3D printers and scanners will also be apart of household objects. they’ll be very portable. If you break something in your house, you can reproduce it again and again. I hope that 3D printing industry and community  will grow bigger to wider audiences and people will think that it’s not a complicated things to learn and use.


For more info on digital happenings are the Met check out their Digital Underground Blog.