Category Archives: What’s Hot

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.

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 11.31.58 AM

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 11.32.46 AM


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.

Shapeways helps Coca-Cola celebrate 100th anniversary of iconic design with 3D printed bottles

Today, we are thrilled to announce our work with Coca-Cola as part of their 100th anniversary celebration of the iconic Coca-Cola bottle. On February 28th, a new exhibit will open to the public at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta featuring more than 500 3D printed bottles suspended from the ceiling, all 3D by Shapeways.

The 3D printed bottles at the High Museum before being hung up.

The 3D printed bottles at the High Museum before being hung up.

The iconic Coca-Cola bottle was originally designed by the Root Glass Company in 1915 as a result of a competition that challenged manufacturers to develop a design that would be recognizable even if broken or being grabbed in the dark. The winning design ultimately had a huge impact on visual art and culture, and is one of the defining shapes that represents the global company.

The only thing we love more than hearing stories about product iteration is actually being a part of the process. 3D printing is becoming more of a staple in the iteration process, and has helped countless designers perfect their products. As the original designers surely went through various iterations on their way to the perfect bottle, we worked with Conran and Partners on various designs before finding the right one.

The final version of the bottle next to an earlier iteration.

The final version of the bottle next to an earlier iteration.

Initially the bottle silhouette was printed in the fully expanded shape of the bottle. However,  we quickly discovered in testing that once hung the bottle ornaments would stretch and distort. Shapeways, Coca-Cola and Conran and Partners worked closely over the next three days producing four new iterations of the bottle to perfect the design, ensuring that once it was hung, it would perfectly retain the iconic Coca Cola bottle shape without any color or branding. In the final design, the bottle is actually printed in a compressed shape to both compensate for stretching and increase packing efficiency in our printers.


In order to ensure the bottles printed and processed without fail, we designed a cage that would enclose the actual bottle as it printed so that each bottle could be “opened” and revealed individually after being processed. Check out the video below to see how the bottles looks when they come out of the printer!

Shapeways is so proud to be a part of this celebration with one of the most iconic brands in the world. Their bottle really set the bar for efficient product design, and we are thrilled to be able to use modern 3D printing technology to celebrate this traditional design.

For any community members in Atlanta (or planning a trip there), the exhibit will be open from February 28 through October 4th and will showcase original design illustrations, historical artifacts and experimentation with the iconic Coca-Cola bottle.

What do you think about the design of the Coca-Cola bottle? What other iconic designs would you love to see 3D printed?



5 3D Printed Drone Accessories to Help You Avoid Crash Landing on the White House Lawn

Are you loving the latest aerial videos shot by drones? Tempted to buy one yourself? Many of us in the Shapie family fly, and we love seeing how the communities of pilots and 3D modelers overlap.

Everyone here is a huge advocate for the safe flying of multirotors, quadcopters, drones and other fun RC devices. We, like many of you, cringe when we hear about incidents like the White House Drone crash landing. In the spirit of safe flying and us all working together to set good examples in our communities, here are 5 Accessories to prevent you and your fliers from suffering a similar fate.

Worth noting: This blog post has products embedded in it made possible by our new product widget. Learn more about it and share your products and those you love easily. 

Ultralight Landing Gear by Brian Self Design

Prop Guard from Fusion Imaging

Video of the Prop Guard in action:


BIG Battery Door Upgrade by MaikelsDesign

Samsung Galaxy S5 Visor by Fusion Imaging

What other accessories will make our drones safer?

Introducing RUSH 2 & 3 Day Production on Shapeways Regular White Strong and Flexible Plastic!


Have you ever wished your 3D prints would arrive faster? That you could order on a Tuesday and receive parts the same week? Today we have some very exciting news for you:

Introducing RUSH 2 & 3 Day Production on Shapeways Regular White Strong and Flexible Plastic!

You’ve convinced us to give it a try. You’re all invited to sign up for our Rush Pilot! Anyone can sign up, and we’ll slowly let users over the coming weeks in accordance with our capacity. You’ll be notified via email when you’re in.

Important Details about 2 & 3 Day Rush:

  • Rush offering is for unpolished White Strong & Flexible only with a bounding box < 150x150x200mm

  • Target Ship Day for North America, Australia, and New Zealand:  Leaves our factory in 3 business days for orders made before 2pm CET / 8am EDT. Orders placed after that time will be counted towards the next business day.

    • i.e. Order placed on Tuesday 7am EDT, parts are shipped end of day Friday. Order placed on Thursday 4pm EDT, parts are shipped EOD following Wednesday.

  • Target Ship Day For All Other Geographies: Leaves our factory in 2 business days for orders made before 2pm CET / 8am EDT. Orders placed after that time will be counted towards the next business day.

    • i.e. Order placed on Tuesday 7am EDT, parts are shipped end of day Thursday. Order placed on Thursday 4pm EDT, parts are shipped EOD following Tuesday.

  • Rush orders are twice the price of regular WSF (pricing may change in the future)

  • You can use the  ‘Print it Anyway’ option along with Rush if you choose.

  • Beta users will have a rush option added to checkout flow. All rush parts will need to placed in a separate shopping cart in order for the rush option to appear.

  • Check the material status page before you order to make sure we have capacity before placing your rush order. This is an experiment, and we physically have a daily-maximum volume capacity for Rush.  While we will always do our best to make it happen, we may not always have room to accommodate your order. If you place an order that we won’t be able to deliver on time, customer service will reach out so you can cancel your order and place it again as regular White Strong & Flexible.

  • To ensure your order arrives as fast as possible, you still need to select Next-Day-Shipping (or fastest available) in your region.

What do you look forward to making faster with RUSH?

Inspiration, gifts and order dates for Valentine’s Day 2015!

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! Whether you like browsing the most unique pieces, or want to make something special yourself, it’s the perfect time to express your love in a personal way. Let us help you make this Valentine’s Day the best one yet. Keep shipping dates (below) in mind if you’re looking to customize or design products yourself!

DIY Apps
While this #icant pendant isn’t exactly romantic, see how easy it is to create a pendant out of your own handwriting or design using 2D to 3D. From paper to pendant, you can easily make the perfect gift:

You don’t need design skills to make something special – our talented designers have done most of the work for you! All you do is choose a product, personalize, sit back and relax.
Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 2.14.51 PM

Make Your Own
There’s nothing quite like creating the exact product you want. It’s even more special when that product is for someone you love. Need some inspiration? Check out this engagement story from our Community Manager, Natalia.

Not looking to make something this Valentine’s Day? No problem! We have an array of products in our marketplace, even a Valentine’s Day Gift Guide, that will make for great gifts. Whether you’re looking for something traditional or not, we’ve got you covered!

Top Row: Heartbeat Ring by AlessandroAzzolini, 3D Printed Bow Tie by Mstyle183, Heart Cufflinks by

Middle Row: Head to Head Again (Cufflinks) in 4 Bend by T_LAB, Heart Guitar Peg by EnnoshitaArt, Anatomical Heart Pendant by LHDesigns.

Bottom Row: Trimmed Rose by sinarhp, Coloured Heart by MrSirLRD, Marine Vase by StJimmy.

Order Dates
For convenience, we’ve listed these order deadlines for February 13th delivery based on UPS Next-Day Shipping for customers in the US. If you are outside of the US, refer to shipping dates found on your cart page.

  • January 22 – Gold Plated Brass
  • January 27 – Polished Brass, Bronze, Premium Silver, Matte Black Steel, Polished Grey Steel, Matte Gold Steel, Polished Gold Steel, Polished Nickel Steel, Colored Strong & Flexible
  • January 30 – Raw Brass, Raw Bronze
  • February 2 – Platinum, Stainless Steel, Matte & Polished Bronze Steel, White Strong & Flexible, Polished
  • February 3 – Metallic Plastic, Black Strong & Flexible
  • February 4 – Gold, Polished & Raw Silver
  • February 5 – Full Color Sandstone, White Strong & Flexible

Shapeways in 2014: A Year in 3D Printing and What’s Next for 2015

In 2014, 3D printing was programmed into intricate soft-goods and embedded in your favorite software. It augmented the big brands you love and built new brands from scratch. It fueled Meme Mania, reigned supreme in responsive gadget accessory design, and was showcased at MoMA. From supermodels to SuperFanArt, 2014 was the year 3D printing went to infinity and beyond — literally, there’s now a 3D printer in space!

In 2014 the Shapeways community grew and we now have designers from 133 different countries. With nearly 500,000 Shapies, 23,000 Shop Owners and products shipped to over 140 countries, Shapeways and our community power not only the largest, but the widest reaching 3D printing service and marketplace.

Markets underserved by mass manufacturing flourish in our supply-meets-demand marketplace, allowing for product creation the world has never seen before. Responsively designed gadget accessories, custom jewelry, unbelievable miniatures and creative fan art saw the biggest rise this year. Here’s a roundup of our big picture thoughts on 2014 and predictions for the new year.

Notable Highlights from 2014

  1. Material Innovations: Wait, That is 3D Printed?
  2. The Transition from Prototyping to Complete Product Design
  3. 3D Printing is Niche-Tastic, Big Brands Want to Harness its Power Too
  4. Improving Production Capabilities
  5. Out of This World & Unexpected Applications: Fashion, Apps & Education


Material Innovations: Wait, That is 3D Printed?

3D printing is only as great as the materials you can use. In 2014, we saw companies big and small continue to innovate and introduce new materials that elevated what designers could make. We are constantly asking our community what they want and pushing the material boundaries to give you the best. We’re hearing more and more that Shapeways shoppers don’t even realize the products are 3D printed!

It’s not just drones we’ve been piloting, but materials too. From precious metals to beautiful porcelain, the materials are getting better and better:

  • Metals were a game-changer this year. We introduced Platinum, 18k & 14k Gold, 14k Rose Gold and 14k White Gold, enabling jewelers to create high-quality products without having to keep any inventory. The custom engagement rings we’ve seen have been incredible!

  • For the even more serious jeweler, we introduced Castable Wax. This has enabled creative casts that have been simply stunning.

  • We have been working on the R&D to 3D print Porcelain for over a year, and recently launched our pilot program. We’re excited to innovate with our community to introduce a high quality material to the world.


  • Full Color Plastic – In another feat of community R&D, we launched full color plastic in a pilot including hundreds of Shapeways designers. Your feedback is guiding this materials’ development as we learn more about it.

  • Also worth mentioning is the new printer HP introduced, which promises to deliver full-color products faster and at a better price. Shapeways is part of their Open Customer Engagement Program, and we are proud to host their printer in our factory to test out its capabilities. The fact that a Fortune 50 company chose us to work with and has has invested so much R&D in 3D printing signals that we’re likely to see a lot more innovation in the years to come.

What does this mean for 2015?

  • As material costs go down and quality continues to rise, we’ll see more and more 3D printed products, in stores and online.

  • Even more materials will hit the market, piloted and tested by the Shapeways community, and this will open up new product categories and designs that were never possible before.

  • While everybody might not get a 3D printer for themselves, we will see a 3D printed product in every home. From home decor to gadget accessories, everybody will be using 3D printed products in their daily life.

The Transition from Prototyping to Complete Product Design

3D printing is what makes rapid innovation possible. Before, this type of iteration was only available to prototyping industries historically limited to companies with large budgets. Now, with the rise of accessible 3D modeling software and Shapeways 3D printing services, anyone can take a product to market. Here are some examples of trends we saw in the prototyping and product development space this year:

  • Our marketplace reached 20,000 shops in September! Now, at over 23,000 this means that literally thousands of entrepreneurs are running their business and introducing products on Shapeways!

  • We launched Beta Products to help designers connect with customers, get feedback and tweak their final products based on customer needs and wants. Products like this Moto G phone case to hold a diabetes monitor and bhold sound pod are perfect examples.

  • In 2014 we really saw more educators take the step to introduce 3D printing into their curriculum from desktop 3D printers in schools to courses being offered at university. Our educational program has thousands of students and educators using 3D printing to bring their ideas to life. What may be prototypes now are the products of the future.

What does this mean for 2015?

  • Just as updates to software have become instantaneous (remember when “updates” were CD’s you had buy?), changes and improvements to physical products will happen far more quickly. As a result, traditional seasons and launch cycles will be disrupted.

  • Products developed based on user needs. Real-time responsive iteration after launch will allow designers to improve upon their products with the input of their friends, fans and customers.

  • Larger brands will start to realize that customers want more than what is offered. Companies making consumer products will see their customers turning to more customized products and investigate ways, like 3D printing, to solve this need.

3D Printing is Niche-Tastic, Big Brands Want to Harness its Power Too

2014 was a breakout year for brands on Shapeways, both those powered by our Shop Owners and partnerships with Fortune 100s. We were elated to see how many major brands really dove head first into 3D printing to extend their product offering and co-create with their customers. When brands listen to their fans and we create on demand, everyone wins. Here at Shapeways, here are some of the initiatives we saw have the most impact:

  • Hasbro Opened its IP Allowing for epic Super Fan Art, becoming the first global brand to do so and allowed designers to create their own custom versions of beloved Hasbro characters. Currently, designers can create products directly inspired by My Little Pony, Transformers, G.I. Joe, Monopoly and Scrabble. We look forward to continuing and expanding this partnership in the future.


  • Adobe integrated Shapeways into Photoshop in the Creative Cloud

  • This summer, we worked with Google on their Made with Code initiative to empower young girls. Hundreds of thousands of young women (and men) created a custom bracelet and had their first maker experience, leveraging code and 3D printing at the same time. The bracelets were all 3D printed in our NYC factory and we hope they inspired thousands of young designers.

  • Just in time for the holidays, Target introduced a limited-edition collection of 3D printed pendants, rings and more through their Target Shapeways Shop. This marked the first time a large retailer designed, marketed and sold 3D printed products.


  • lent us experts from 10 of their verticals and curated a fabulous list for the home. We hope to see more guest collaborations like this from other visually and content diverse friends.

  • Future Engineers chose us as a partner for producing 3D “ground prints” of winning tools from a contest challenging kids to design tools for astronauts in space. Not only are we empowering folks on earth, but in space as well!

Some brands are still catching up, but in the meantime we’re seeing notable consumer-driven innovation around popular products. Shapeways top sellers include modifiers for drones, GoPros, Jawbone, FitBit, iPhone, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and a whole suite of popular consumer electronics. Fans aren’t willing to wait for for others to come out with the accessory or add-ons of their dreams, and they don’t need to thanks to 3D printing.

What does this mean for 2015?

  • Many more brands will consider how 3D printing fits into their customer engagement strategy. They can open up the conversation around product development, iterate in real time with their customers and grow their business as a result.

  • By the end of the year, innovative brands will have a 3D printing line item in their budget.

  • Brands with IP will take note from Hasbro and will hopefully open up their IP to enable 3D printed fan art rather than try to squash it.

Improving Production Capabilities

Manufacturing with 3D printing has evolved in leaps and bounds over the last decade, and new capabilities are being introduced on a consistent basis. In 2014, we continued to improve our production capabilities and grow our capacity to meet the needs of our community.

  • We opened the doors to our brand new factory in Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week. The new space now accommodates the explosive growth we’ve seen over the past few years and enables us to create even more of the amazing products that come through our printers every day.


What does this mean for 2015?

  • We’ll continue to make continuous improvements and breakthrough innovations in our production to enable designers to create amazing products that are more affordable for consumers to buy.

  • Lead times will continue to decrease and designs will come to life even faster.

  • Across the 3D printing industry, advancements in production will translate to advancements in additional fields, such as medicine, design, education and more.


Out of This World & Unexpected Applications: Fashion, Apps & Education

From 3D printing in space to Santa’s belt buckle, we saw some mind blowing inventions and innovations from the Shapeways community in 2014. 3D printing enables endless possibilities, and these dreams became a reality.

  • We’ve been reaching for the stars and thinking what we can create among them ever since being inspired by the the actual 3D printer that was sent into space in September, marking the beginning of manufacturing in space. While we wait to see what is possible, we’ve been working with Future Engineers, ASME and Made in Space empowering kids to design tools that can be printed and used in space.

  • We saw an explosion in wearable tech accessories, including the introduction of wearable bands, cases and fitness accessories. We had iPhone cases before the 6 was even on shelves, Moto 360 bumpers before Best Buy, and Microsoft Band Stand’s before Microsoft realized consumers wanted them.

  • The fashion industry saw 3D printing in a whole new way this year. Everybody wants to know when they will be able to proudly wear a 3D printed shirt, and while we’re not quite there yet we are SO close: Fashion Weeks around the world saw 3D printed clothes walk down the runway, thanks to designers like Katya Leonovich, Bradley Rothenberg and Iris van Herpen.

  • Accessories merging form and function became more customized as apps like Normal came to market. The first to scan the ear and face, Normal configures customized headphones that will actually stay in your ears.

  • Over the summer, in partnership with Eyebeam Art and Technology Center, Shapeways supported the first-ever group of Computational Fashion Masterclass Students. The finished designs from that class were displayed during Fashion Week in September.


  • Most recently, design studio Nervous System introduced the first-ever wearable dress that was 3D printed in one piece. The design and final product are so impressive, the Museum of Modern Art has acquired it for their permanent collection!


What does this mean for 2015?

  • Intense product innovation. There is less holding designers back and 2015 will be the year we see more 3D printed wearables, medical devices, tools for the kitchen and more.

  • Customers won’t settle for “one size fits all” accessories. Headphones, phone cases and other personal accessories will become customized to fit a specific person’s needs.

  • The manufacturing of 3D printed goods will step up more than ever before. As designers looks to create products that will appeal to a broader audience (like clothes, headphones, etc.), they will need a more efficient process that allows their designs to be created quickly and be less expensive than before.

Whew! 2014 was quite the year, but we’re so excited to see what 2015 has in store. Stay tuned on the blog for more roundups from 2014 and insights into next year.

While there is much for us to recap at the end of every year, it’s really an opportunity for all of us to reflect on how amazing our community is. YOU are what make Shapeways possible and it’s YOU we are most grateful for this holiday season. We would love know, as we’ve already shared a few, what are your favorite memories from 2014? What are your goals for 2015? We’re all ears and printers! 

This post was made possible by the entire team at Shapeways, especially Mansee, Lauren, Carine and Savannah.