Category Archives: What’s Hot

What CES tells us about the year to come

CES (Consumer Electronic Show) has become the place to be at the beginning of the year. It is where the latest technology is unveiled and demonstrated, and gives us all a sense of what to expect in the year to come. Read below for more of what we saw and how it will impact the 3D printing industry:

The Scanners are Coming

Replicating items without having to learn 3D modeling software is going to be a breeze very soon. Personal 3D scanners are poised to be as common as smart phone cameras.

This technology allows you to create a 3D model of just about anything in seconds. While Shining3D demonstrated their super high resolution handheld 3D scanners, Intel showed off their new line of RealSence cameras that can be found in the next generation of PC’s, tablets and drones. Depth perception technology lets you create a 3D model in seconds. Online clothing sites can then use your model to make sure your next pair of pants or your new shirt is a perfect fit.



Drones Everywhere

Big drones. Little drones. For work or for play, drones are here to stay. The number of drone manufacturers is overwhelming. Industry leaders like DJI stay ahead of the competition with drones that fly farther, faster and longer with higher resolution cameras. Smaller companies are racing to make drones more affordable as this industry develops.

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With so many drones out there, being able to create custom pieces for your aircraft with Shapeways will help you stand out from the crowd.

3D Printing Medical Applications Are Making a Difference

UNYC exhibited a scoliosis brace based on a 3D scan of a person. This makes the brace less bulky and more comfortable, and encourages consistent wear which can reduce the need for surgery by 80%.


Wearable Wonderland

Wearable items are now available in various shapes, sizes and colors to match any style. Smart watches and fitness trackers are hitting the mainstream to keep us up to date while our smart phones stay safety in our pockets. There is even a kid friendly wearable designed by Doki to keep parents connected to their children. It’s exciting to see this industry continue to move forward because the tie-in with 3D printing is so natural. From fun accessories to functional add-ons, anyone can customize their wearable to make it even more personal.


Mini-me Nation

The longest line at CES was for the The Artec Shapify Scanning booth. The booth does a fast scan of your entire body and transforms it to a 3D model file that can be 3D printed. We are excited for big developments in this area for 2016 as we’ve already started offering 3D printing services for many scanning points.


Custom is Comfort

From 3D printed custom insoles to sunglasses made just for you, scanning technology will change the way you shop for clothes. Wiivv Wearables lets you scan your feet using your smartphone to 3D print an insole that fits the specific contours of your feet. 3D Systems has partnered with pq by Ron Arad to create custom glasses that fit perfectly AND look good.



At-Home 3D Printing Still Has Growing Up to Do

There are a ton of home 3D printers available and more coming on the market every month. Being able to compare the printers side by side at CES shows that the industry still has a long way to go before consumers can own a 3D printer that produces products in various materials, with a higher quality finish. For now, 3D printing services are the best bet for anyone wanting to be a part of the 3D printing revolution.



Did you attend CES this year? Let us know what new technology you’re most excited about below!

3D Printing and Star Wars

Posted by in Fashion, What's Hot

Whether or not you actually saw the film, we think it’s safe to say that Star Wars was the most talked about movie of 2015.



Like many big movies these days, the creators of Star Wars turned to 3D printing for many of the the film’s props. However, this time around they also used the technology for costumes which resulted in some incredible pieces. This story from goes into more detail on the various ways 3D printing is incorporated into the movie. It’s a really great read for 3D printing and Star Wars fans alike!

From the story:

“Fans got their first look at exactly how much 3D printing was used in the film when Disney debuted a truckload of costumes and props at both the 2015 Star Wars Celebration and the Disney D23 Fan Expo. Costumes were presented in enclosed glass cases with plaques detailing how each part of the costume was made, and 3D printing was integral to quite a few of the props. In fact, it is probably safe to say that many of the costumes wouldn’t have been possible without 3D printing, at least not in practical terms.”

While the iconic Star Wars prop will always be a favorite, it was really interesting to read about the various ways they used 3D printing to create costumes that would work for the movie. And in some cases, WHY they used 3D printing. For Anthony Daniels (who has played C3PO since the beginning of the franchise), his costume needed to be 3D printed for his comfort:

“I said, ‘I want to be in the costume, but I want it to be faster.’ So what they did was 3D print it. It weighs about the same, I would say, because the plastic is quite heavy, but it allows you to prototype things. So it looks exactly the same, but there are differences to the way it fits together that make it much faster to put on and take off, which is most important. It gets hot in there.”



The Shapeways community is filled with creatives and designers who love to show off their fandom through 3D printing, and our marketplace features some amazing custom products inspired by their favorite movies, games and more. With that said, it’s really cool to see that movie studios are using 3D printing for more fashion-related reasons. As the fashion industry continues to turn to the technology to elevate garment design, we’re seeing more “real life” use cases pop up, such as the Kinematics dress from Nervous System.


(Kinematics dress by Nervous System)

Seeing 3D printed fashion on the big (and small!) screen will continue to move this trend further. Even if it’s not a full dress, we’ll see more accessories and jewelry going to market thanks to 3D printing. As states, “it’s clear that with the next few years of blockbuster science fiction, action and superhero movies already slated that 3D printing will continue to play a major role in their creation,” and we think this means we’ll see it more in our own lives too.

Do you have a fashionable idea you want to bring to life? Check out the various ways you can get started!

Audi 3D printed a car and so can you!

Acclaimed car manufacturer Audi just unveiled a 1:2 scale version of the classic Auto Union Type C, the early sports car that beat the Mercedes Benz vehicles in the Grand Prix racing competitions back in the 1930′s. Even more impressive, this replica is fully working and printed directly in metal.



Produced with Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) Audi’s team recreated the vehicle part for part in 3D printed Aluminum and Steel. Check out the video below for more on the process.


What’s even cooler about this project is that everything used to create these replicas is available for Shapeways users as well! Our platform provides all of our community access to this technology. Any maker can print in our DMLS aluminum and anyone can buy or sell in our steel. Given all the resources, we all could be printing historic parts like these.

Even if you don’t need to 3D print the whole car, Shapeways gives access to a whole marketplace of scale vehicles for your gearhead’s delight.  From Grand Prix racetracks to other 1:120 scale german cars, 3D printing is enabling everyone to get the custom scale vehicles of their dreams.




Bijenkorf X Shapeways – Evolution of a 3D Print

Posted by in Events, Fashion, What's Hot

For nine days in October, Dutch Design Week brings Eindhoven to life, filling the city with creative, inspirational events and exhibits that highlight the amazing power of design.

This year, DIT collective has worked with department stores throughout the city to showcase awe-inspiring design concepts in their window displays, and Shapeways is honored to participate. Together with De Bijenkorf Eindhoven, one of the biggest and most central stores in Eindhoven, we’ve created a display that tells the story of the Evolution of a 3D Print.

Bijenkorf Filiaal Eindhoven
De Bijenkorf Eindhoven, photo by Diederik van der Laan

The Journey, Brought to Life
In a beautiful display in the De Bijenkorf window, the 3D printing process is viewed through the journey of one of the most complex and revolutionary objects we’ve ever printed: the Kinematics Dress by Nervous System.


Step by step, we show you how products like this come to life, going from a fine white powder to a finished product in our industrial SLS 3D printers. The Kinematics Dress is made up of thousands of panels connected by hinges, enabling it to be folded during the printing process so it comes out of the printer in one piece, fully articulated, and ready to wear. This dress pushes the limits of the 3D printing technology beyond what’s possible. It’s an incredible example of the capabilities of the technology, and where your imagination can bring you!

2015-10-11 16.28.07

Join in the Journey
If you’re in Eindhoven, stop by De Bijenkorf to check out the window display and get involved! Throughout Dutch Design Week, we’re giving away €50 in Shapeways credit to one lucky winner per day. All you have to do is strike a pose in front of the window display and share your picture on Instagram using #BijenkorfXShapeways. Each day, we’ll randomly select a winner – so you have 9 chances to win! At the end of Dutch Design Week, we’ll also select one Grand Prize winner to receive €100 in Shapeways credit and a €100 gift card to shop at De Bijenkorf. So stop by De Bijenkorf (located at De Bijenkorf Eindhoven, Piazza 1, 5611 AE Eindhoven), take a selfie with the Shapeways display, and enter today!

Click the button below to download the contest rules for more details.

Download Contest Rules Here

Opening a Dialogue on Trademark Safe Harbors

Today Shapeways is proud to join with our colleagues at Etsy, Foursquare, Kickstarter, and Meetup in urging the White House to begin exploring the possibility of an online safe harbor for trademarks.  We believe that a statutory safe harbor for trademark use online would increase the free flow of information online and empower individuals to push back against abusive uses of trademark.  If you read these last two sentences as “words words words” but are still curious what those words mean, let me take a moment to explain what we are talking about.

The United States has what is known as a safe harbor for websites that allow other people to post content to them (that includes all of the sites mentioned above, and a huge number of sites in the world).  As a general rule, users – not websites – are liable when a user posts things that infringe on the copyright of others.  Without this protection websites would have to individually screen every single post, model, photo, and comment for a copyright conflict before posting them.  In practice, that would mean that there would be a lot fewer sites that allow others to post content online.

One of the conditions of this safe harbor protection is that when a website operator is informed by a rightsholder that something uploaded to the site is infringing, that website operator takes down the allegedly infringing content.  Because this process is governed by a law called the  Digital Millennium Copyright Act (shortened as the DMCA), these kinds of takedown requests are sometimes known as “DMCA takedowns.”  (This epic tale of Eulice and Abbas explains how we handle these types of requests at Shapeways.)

One important feature of this safe harbor system is that, in addition to giving rightsholders the ability to request content be taken down from a website, it also gives the original uploader the ability to request that the content go back up. This ability to push back against takedown requests provides a critical check against abuse of the takedown process.

The safe harbors are critical to the ability of users to push back against abusive takedown requests.  Since the website is protected from liability, a user does not need to convince the website that it is worth it for the website to go to court in order to challenge a takedown.  Instead, the website can get out of a user’s way and let the user challenge the takedown request if the user decides that it is worth challenging.

Similar safe harbor systems exist for things like accusations of defamation.  By pulling the website out of the equation, it is up to users to decide if a conflict is worth pursuing.  Even if a website doesn’t want to risk its entire business on a dispute, the person who stands accused is empowered to fight for rights she feels are important.  On balance, this makes the internet a richer place.

Currently, these types of formal statutory safe harbor protections do not exist for  trademark disputes.  The result is that there are many fewer checks on trademark owners who might want to exceed their rights and suppress a user.  In practice, a user who wants to challenge an accusation of trademark infringement and have their content re-posted must convince the website that re-posting the content is worth going to court over.  Not surprisingly, that can be a hard argument to make.

The filing today is designed to highlight this problem for policymakers.  It is the first step in what will inevitably be a long process towards finding a solution that works for trademark holders and users.  We’ll keep you updated as it evolves.  In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments we’d love to see them below.

Gorgeous 3D Printed Porcelain Baby Dragon

We have seen some incredible porcelain prints over the last several months from community members and as we ramp up porcelain production we have seen that this material is a hit within the community. We have come across many fun designs and recently these porcelain prints designed by community member Matt Bagshaw have caught our eye. Matt has designed an absolutely gorgeous baby dragon and had it printed in Shapeways porcelain.

Baby Dragon printed in Porcelain in Celedon Green glaze.

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Baby Dragon Video

As you can tell from the photos and video the glazing and detail on the model are incredible. Do you have a porcelain print to share with us? We want to see them! Share your prints on the It Arrived Section on our forums as well as on Instagram and Twitter tagging @Shapeways.



August Event Frenzy

While working hard on big projects such as the launch of our CustomMaker, opening up our Porcelain Pilot for the public and announcing our collaboration with V-MODA, we have been working hard on the background with planning our upcoming events for the fall of this year.


August is about to begin, we hope to meet you in person during one of the following events:

August 6 - Formlabs & Shapeways Beer&Pizza Happy Hour as part of FAB11 - Boston, MA, USA
August 11 – 13 - SIGGRAPH (booth #1129) – Los Angeles, CA, USA
August 19 – 22 - IDSA - Seattle, WA, USA
August 29 – 30 - Eindhoven Mini Maker Faire - Eindhoven, The Netherlands

We will be hosting Meetups during these events as well, be sure to keep an eye on our Meetup page where all the details will be announced soon! Also don’t forget to tune in to Shapeways Live, every Tuesday at 5pm CET to catch all the ins and outs of what’s next!

See you in August!

Developing 3D Printed Assistive Tools For The Elderly

As we age and get older, especially for the elderly, ordinary actions become extraordinarily difficult such as writing, typing, or opening bottle caps. Japanese Designer Tatsuo Ishibashi was aware of these issues and has created 3D printed products aimed for assisting the elderly and people with a loss in muscular functioning.

Tatsuo’s Shapeways shop mizulabo specializes in “assistive technology”, simple and functional designs that lead to lightweight, low cost, and easy handling of functional activities. He models his designs in 123 Design by Autodesk and prints them through Shapeways. Below are some examples of his tools.

The writing assist tool is a tool for helping people write with a ballpoint pen.

Higaki” is the tool to remove caps and tabs from a plastic bottle and a can easily.

The Finger Input device is a for device for making tapping PC keyboard, remote controller, etc easier.

Tatsuo’s designs show that 3D printing can be used to make very attractive tools for assisting people and functional tools can be aesthetically pleasing and useful. What are some attractive 3D printed tools you’ve designed or come across? Let us know in a comment below.

What’s going on in 3D printing: June 2015

Posted by in Inspiration, What's Hot
Tree Origins Bookmark by Aesthetic Office

Tree Origins Bookmark by Aesthetic Office

We love reading stories about how 3D printing is impacting people around the world. Today we want to share with you a few of our favorites from the past month. From how 3D printing is changing an industry to (literally) building bridges, this is what caught our attention recently.

7 Ways 3D Printing is Already Disrupting Global Manufacturing - Forbes

In this article, Rick Smith dives into how 3D printing is changing the way we think about manufacturing. We’ve talked about how we want to redefine the way products are made and usher in a world where anybody can get the products they want, and changing manufacturing is a huge part of that. As Rick says, ”…now, industrial 3D printing has reached its tipping point, and is about to go mainstream in a way that will revolutionize the economy.”

The Blade is a 3D Printed Supercar - Engadget

Car lovers, this one is for you! Andrew Tarantola wrote about “Blade,” the first ever additively manufactured car. Developed by Divergent Microfactories in San Francisco, this car weighs about 1,400 pounds and runs on both gas and CNG (compressed natural gas).

Scientists Built a 3D Printer That Can Print Objects Smaller Than Red Blood Cells. - Digital Trends

And we think Miniatures are small! In this piece, Lulu Chang writes about a new 3D printer that can print microscopic objects. According to the material science and engineering professor leading the project, Park Jang-ung, they “believe the technology has set a new paradigm for research using 3D printing and wearable devices.”

Gravity-defying 3D Printer to Print Bridge Over Water in Amsterdam - CNET

As if 3D printed homes weren’t cool enough, Amsterdam will now boast a 3D printed bridge. Michelle Star  details this cool new robot that can “draw” in the air and will print the bridge in steel. The coolest part? The robot will print its own supports as it goes so that it can operate independently.

World’s First 3D Printed Office to Go Up Layer by Layer in Dubai - Gizmag

Okay – this is story technically came out in July but it’s too fun to wait another month to talk about! Darren Quick writes about Dubai’s plans to build a 3D printing building. It will be printed in layers that will then be assembled. The building will serve as the office for staff members of the “Museum of the Future” (so fitting, right?) and is the museum’s first major initiative.

Have you ready anything really interesting recently? Share it with us in the comments below!

A LGBT victory for the USA!

Today we celebrate a huge victory for America, as the supreme court has ruled that the constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage in the USA. The impact is huge, as the ban that has long prevented same-sex couples from marrying will finally be lifted from all 50 states across the nation.
In the spirit of this special moment, we find it only appropriate to feature a few of our favorite, LGBT positive 3D prints.


Congrats, America!

Update from the Limitless World of Left Shark IP

Left Shark by Fernando Sosa

Left Shark by Fernando Sosa

Many of you will likely remember that shortly after the Super Bowl there was a bit of a thing here on Shapeways in connection with a model of Left Shark.  To briefly review and condense the timeline: person awkwardly dancing inside shark costume during the halftime show rockets to internet fame.  Designer Fernando Sosa creates 3D model of the newly christened “Left Shark” and starts selling it on Shapeways.  Katy Perry’s lawyers send Shapeways a nastygram asserting rights in Left Shark.  Fernando Sosa responds, questioning if Katy Perry has any rights in Left Shark at all.  Left Shark makes its triumphant return to Shapeways.  (In a B story that foreshadows today’s news, Katy Perry then uses Sosa’s Left Shark as part of her trademark application).

Today the Left Shark IP story that never ends added a new chapter.  As was widely reported, Katy Perry’s application to register the Left Shark costume as a trademark was denied by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).  What does this actually mean?

As attorney Mark H. Jaffe (who has been all over the trademark angle of this story on twitter) reminded us this morning, this refusal by the PTO is an initial refusal. That means that Katy Perry still has an opportunity to respond, and to modify her application in order to improve its chances of being approved.

Another thing to keep in mind is that trademark is different from copyright.  Trademark is all about helping consumers match a service to a service provider.  That means that a big part of getting a trademark is showing that people use it to identify your services or goods, and to distinguish them from other services or goods in the marketplace.

Enough with the background – what actually happened?

Katy Perry (well, Katy Perry’s company Killer Queen LLC) applied to use the Left Shark costume as a trademark to identify Katy Perry-related goods and services in the marketplace.  In refusing the application, the examiner essentially found that Left Shark does not identify Katy Perry’s “musical or dance performances” in the marketplace.  Essentially, the examiner found that Left Shark represents Left Shark and not Katy Perry to consumers.  When people see Left Shark figurines, or Left Shark on cell phone covers, mugs, and sweatshirts, they don’t think “Katy Perry.”   They think “Left Shark.”

Now Katy Perry has some time to respond to the PTO for both the costume registration and the words “Left Shark.”  Until she does, and until the PTO accepts the marks, Katy Perry does not have a trademark in Left Shark.

Surely the legal machinations surrounding Left Shark will outlast the half-life of Left Shark’s fame by a few orders of magnitude.   So keep your eyes on the Shapeways blog for all of the latest news.

Gadget accessories that never go out of style

Tech is always evolving, but there are certain gadgets that don’t seem to be going anywhere. Phones and fitness gadgets seem to be here to stay, and with the new Apple Watch coming soon we might even see watches make a comeback (not that watches really went anywhere). Even better, we might see an onslaught of new watch accessories to make these wearables just a little more stylish.

We love when new gadgets are introduced, because it always spurs amazing creativity from our community. From new iPhone cases that extend the use of your phone to accessories for your fitness gadgets, 3D printing allows anyone to design their own custom accessories they can’t find anywhere else.

Gadget accessories continue to be popular on Shapeways. We love seeing what designers come up with, and what customers are drawn to. Below are some of the current popular items in this category, but we’re excited to see what you’ll come up with next!

BMW iPhone 5 6 Adapter Halter Dock (DE)

Pocket Clip for Fitbit Flex

Microsoft Band Charging Stand

What gadget accessory do you want to see next? Let us know in the comments!

Animaris Geneticus Bellus: The Affordable, Elegant and more efficient Strandbeest

Posted by in What's Hot

Theo Jansen, the iconic creator behind the 3D printed Strandbeest collection on the Shapeways has launched the Animaris Geneticus Bellus. This new version of the 3D printed Strandbeest suits the new pricing system at Shapeways better therefore making the Animaris Geneticus Bellus not only much more affordable, but also more elegant and more efficient. A worthy addition to the 3D printed Strandbeest family.

This new version of the Strandbeest is now available for sale on Shapeways for $121 (USD) in white nylon plastic.

A video of the new Strandbeest in action can be seen here.

There is also new propeller propulsion add-on for the new version seen here.

The 3D printed Strandbeests continue to evolve and adapt to their environment and this new version has evolved and adapted to the Shapeways SLS printing constraints.