Category Archives: Shop Owner

Black High Definition Acrylate Now Open for Sale! + New Design Guidelines

Earlier this year, we launched Black High Definition Acrylate to our community. The material was such a success, we saw amazing scale model planes, miniature figurines and cool science fiction characters. Our makers were so enthusiastic that we had to rapidly expand capacity to meet demand.  Since then, we tested the material to the limits and learned how to make it better through feedback from the community. We are now ready to open B-HDA up for shop owners to make this material available to their customers.


Black High Definition Acrylate BHDA Shapeways Hereforge, Decapod, Max Grueter

Designers from From left to right: Hereforge, Decapod, Max Grueter

While we expand this material offering, we also wanted to share some changes to our design guidelines based on what we have learned is possible and what is more difficult to print consistently.  Updating the design guidelines was important in order to provide more reliable and higher quality prints to shop owner’s customers.

For B-HDA, the design guidelines are driven by the printing process.  B-HDA uses Direct Light Projection technology where light is projected through a liquid resin which solidifies each layer of a design on a build platform.  As the platform moves up, the next layer is cured by the projected light.  To secure your model to the build platform and support overhangs, intertwined toothpick-sized scaffolds are printed to reinforce your structure.  Since the support structures are the same as the material of the model, they are carefully removed by cutting and can make certain thin walls/wires or complex geometries more difficult to process.

Test wires Black High Definition Acrylate BHDA

Test model for wires in Black High Definition Acrylate

We found that unsupported wires should be a minimum of 0.7 mm thick and supported wires should be a minimum of 0.8 mm thick for wires less than 35 mm in length.  This is determined by our ability to successfully break away support material and clean your model.  Wires that are too thin will break during post processing.  As wires get longer, they typically need to be thicker in order to maintain their strength.  We recommend making your wires 0.1 mm thicker for every additional 20 mm in length over 35 mm to ensure we can post process it without breakage.

Test Black High Definition Acrylate BHDA

Test model for wall thickness

We added similar guidelines for wall thickness.  Walls under 5 mm in length should be a minimum of 0.5 mm thick.  For every additional 20 mm in length over 5 mm, we recommend making supported walls 0.2 mm thicker and unsupported walls 0.25 mm thicker.  The minimum wall thickness is determined by our ability to successfully remove support material without breaking your model and prevent the model from warping.

Finally for hollow models we added a requirement of at least 2 escape holes with a minimum diameter of 6 mm each per interior cavity. Escape holes are important for us to be able to clean the inside of the model and remove any uncured resin.


Black High Definition Acrylate Hereforge Shapeways

Designs by Heroforge

Black High Definition Acrylate has been a smash hit material for scale models and prototypes because of its high detail and smooth surface.  It looks great right out of the printer, but also takes well to painting and post-processing.  It’s flexible and durable.  We have seen some incredible products in our factories and can’t wait to see what shop owners are going to make available for sale.

If you have questions or comments about BHDA please join the discussion in our BHDA Shopper material thread here. Do you have a product you are offering for sale here? Share your photos and products in our feature this forum here.

Designer Spotlight: Leon Oudehand

This week we’re speaking with Leon Oudehand from the Netherlands, who did a great job developing a simple yet useful life hack!

Leon Oudehand

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
Hi, I’m Leon and I’m a product and packaging developer from the Netherlands. I work as packaging designer for a big FMCG company, but alongside that I love to design and create products that make life just a little easier, both for myself and for others.

What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
I guess this is one of those typical “I had a need and couldn’t find the right product so decided to do it myself” stories where a product originates from a pure personal need. When the explosion of wallet projects on Kickstarter started a couple of years ago, I too got a little addicted to the minimal wallet trend.

Cavity Card

Typically, minimal wallets are great for cards and bills. However, few offer a “good” solution for carrying coins (or other small items). I tried going “cashless” or at least “coinless” for a while, but found that there’s still quite a few places that don’t accept cards, or don’t accept cards for small amounts. Time after time I ended up with loose coins in my pocket. After finding over 10 euros worth of coins in the washing machine, and another stash spread around the car, I decided I had to find a solution.

That’s when I came up with Cavity Card. A simple and light frame that can be mounted onto any card and creates just a little space for a few coins, a key or an SD card while keeping my wallet slim. At first, I just printed one for myself. But after a number of questions from friends and colleagues, I decided to open up a shop.

Wallets with cavity card

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
I learned about 3D printing as a tool for rapid prototyping in my job as a packaging designer. It’s been a great tool for very quickly getting something physical in your hands, which is great for very early stage tests and design evaluation.

Having studied in Eindhoven, Shapeways was the logical choice for me. A while ago I did a bit of a benchmark comparing it with a couple of other 3D printing services but found Shapeways still has the best balance between cost, range of materials and service.

How did you learn how to design in 3D?
I’m schooled as an industrial designer. So I learned 3D modeling at university. I’ve experimented with a couple of CAD solutions, but find SolidWorks to be the best fit for me.

How do you promote your work?
For a very niche product like Cavity Card, which is only relevant to people owning a minimal wallet, it’s difficult to reach the right people. I currently mainly use Instagram and Facebook to try to build a following. I’ve also been experimenting a bit with Facebook ads (although not too successfully yet).

Next to my Shapeways store, I also run an independent website where I sell Cavity Cards with self-adhesive strips and a backing card included packed in a nice minimal pack.

If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
I’ve got plenty of ideas in my head that I’d like to work out and start making some day. I’ve got a couple of wallet concepts for which the limitations in size and accuracy currently limit me from producing it through 3D printing. I’d love to start printing more complex multipart products that offer more functionality. Multi-material parts (printed in one go) would also open up so many opportunities.

Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
In terms of design, I’m a fan of classic modernist designers like Mies van der Rohe or Eames. My favorite Shapeways designer is probably Remi van Oers, because of his very simple and minimal but super useful designs.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?
Just that it’s absolutely fantastic how simple and easy it is to go from a one-off print for personal use to selling them commercially. And a big thanks to you guys for providing the services!

Designer Spotlight: Todd Blatt

This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Todd Blatt, long time community member here at Shapeways, This spotlight is an update from his previous one found here.


Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?

My name is Todd and I’m a well-known maker in Baltimore as well as around the globe. I feel proud to call Baltimore my home. I’m a 2007 UMBC Mechanical Engineering Graduate and am an active member of the Baltimore Node Makerspace.

I’m an expert in digital fabrication and knowledgeable about a great many things. I have wide variety of maker skills, including 3D modeling software, operating the 3D printer and laser-cutter hardware, 2D design programs, software for the laser-cutter, and have silicone molding and resin and metal casting skills, wood shop, electronics, and programming.

I’ve been a member of the Baltimore Node Makerspace for about seven years now and spend most of my time there. I’ve held the Vice President position at the Node, have done much of their marketing online and outreach at festivals, and lead weekly workshops and training sessions. People say I’m the go-to person in Baltimore for all things 3D related. I even ran a pop-up store for 3D printing and 3D scanning the last several holiday seasons.


I’m also skilled with traditional tools like a bandsaw, drill press, router, jointer, planer, and know arduino programming, CNC routing, and basic electronics. I’ve also been a member of the CCBC FabLab since it’s inception and am on the advisory board there.

I’m on the Board of Directors and the Vice President of Market Direction for Tinkerine Studios in Vancouver. We manufacture 3D printers and are an education company. I have helped developed workshops, curriculum, projects and training videos for them.

I also run a maker business where I mostly create movie props, replicas and jewelry to sell to collectors, primarily through my Etsy shop and The Replica Prop Forum. You can see some of this work up at

I regularly attend, exhibit, and give talks at local and national Maker Faires. I’ve exhibited at every World Maker Faire since 2011 and Bay Area since 2012.

One of my favorite art projects came to life through a collaborative community I created called WeTheBuilders. I organized an effort to create a website where people could come, download a piece, print it out, and send it in. We have hundreds of active members who are each assigned a piece to 3d print, label, and mail back. I glue each of the pieces in place to create the bust. We’ve made George Crowdsourcington, Ben Franklinstein, and Edgar Allan Print so far. We plan to have our fourth project underway this summer and are actively seeking a woman to create the model for us to build. It was written about on many sites, including interviews for Home Depot’s blog, and this article.

wethebuilders on table

What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you?

Replica movie props and math shapes.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
I came to Shapeways in 2009 to build a replica radio that’s part of the cosplay costume.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
JED a level editor for Jedi Knight (computer game) in 1997, then AutoCAD in 2001.
How do you promote your work?
Poorly. I just post to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, forums, and I ran a few pop-up stores which
got me some press. I do runs of projects on forums and use Shapeways to
create the parts.
Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
Ryan Kittleson because he’s so hot right now.



How to Open a Shop + Tips for Success

Have you opened up a shop on Shapeways yet? It’s incredibly easy, and we’ve created a new tutorial video to show you how it’s done. If reading step by step is your thing, we’ve got that too!

Did you know that by simply adding a banner and a shop logo you will help your sales? And that shops that have descriptions sell more than those that don’t? We’ve dug into our data a bit and found three simple things you can make sure you have in your shop we think are most important:

  1. Description

  2. Google Analytics

Get started opening your shop today, or update your settings to give your shop a nice Spring cleaning!

Quick Tips to Spiff up your Shop for the Holidays

Tis the season to deck the halls & paint the walls spirit of the holidays! Well, okay, it will be in a few weeks. Until then, you can begin to get started thinking about how to boost the spirit of your Shapeways Shop to optimize for sales the holiday season.

#1 Add New Product Photos – Recently, we discussed some helpful hints on how to take beautiful photos of your products for your shop

#2 Enable the right Materials – Make sure you have the right materials for sale on your products. Don’t miss out on valuable sales – our Porcelain and precious metal materials will surely be a hit this holiday

#3 Shop Banner/ Avatar – If you don’t have one, you need one. ASAP! If you do have one, take a look and see if the look and feel is still in line with your brand. It may be time to brighten up for the holidays

#4 Product / Shop Descriptions – Go through your products, and read the descriptions OUT LOUD. Does it flow? Is it still relevant, or is the info out of date?

#5 Link your Social Media Accounts – At the top of your shop page, you can link to your twitter account. This can be hugely helpful if a customer comes across your page and is interested in getting status updates long term

#6 Product Display Order – Did you know that in your shop inventory page, you can change the way your products are assorted on the page? To reduce your bounce rate, boost your best selling items to the top of the page

#7 Visual Coherency – If you’ve gotten someone to your shop page, you’ve already completed 80% of the battle. However, this is the part that makes or breaks the sale. It’s important to keep in mind the branding and language that you used to navigate people to that shop in the first place – and keep it consistent throughout.

Got any other tips or questions on spiffing up your shop this holiday? Come join in the conversation over in our FORUMS page to give and get feedback from your peers!

Product Photography that Pops!

In this article, we are going to dive into the importance of taking product photos and give you some inspiration on how to make your products stand out.

First, we’ll discuss why taking photographs and videos of your products is becoming more and more important.

Over the past few years, we have seen the rise of social media platforms: Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube. Without question, these platforms do one thing best: they enable people to share lots and lots of beautiful visuals quickly and easily.

The power of beautiful visuals is that people will just share your product for you; if your images are a real hit they will populate throughout channels of the internet and drive traffic to your page effortlessly. Just Look at GoPro – the success of GoPro comes partially from the product, but mostly their success stems from the beautiful videos that were uploaded and shared all over Youtube.

Pinterest, one of the most successful media platforms, is also one of the top driving social media sites that convert traffic to sales. Pinterest has a vast number of categories, but all of those top-trending categories share the same thing in common: beautiful, aspirational photos. (Bonus: Pinterest will let you tag your photo with the URL leading straight to your shop, so consumers can buy right when they see your photograph!)

Photographing your 3D print is to breath life into your idea once again; and to give your design an opportunity to flourish on the internet.

Now, time to brainstorm.

If you’re a highly visual person, simply asking one of these questions may be enough inspiration to get you the visual you’ve been seeking. If that’s the case – then go recreate the photograph in your imagination!

For everyone else, let’s get started with our brainstorming session!

  • What is the product?
  • What are its obvious aesthetic qualities? Function, color, size etc.
  • What are some hidden functions or attributes that you find interesting? These are things that may be obvious to you, but not so obvious to the customers.
  • What inspired you?

It’s very helpful to consider these questions when setting the scene for your photography. Understanding the answers to the question and being able to communicate them clearly to your customers visually can really improve your sales this holiday season. As an example, take a look at the product photography of this Bike Planter, designed by community member Colleen Jordan.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 8.17.03 PM

Above, we have the static 3D render created by Shapeways Digital Preview. While 3D renders are good way to get an idea of your product in it’s initial phases, it’s ultimately not the best image to share to your potential buyers. The stark image gives no context to the functionality or of the product, and leaves me with more questions than anything else. This is where the point about hidden attributes comes into play.

In order for the customer to understand the full value of your design, it is helpful to be illustrative in the way you set your scene and tell the story. This particular product holds two separate functions: to hold plants and attaches to your bike.

With one single photo – all of my questions are answered! It’s like magic. Not only does this shot perfectly highlight the product, the consumer now understands the functionality, scale, and intention of the product they are considering purchasing.

Bonus points: Natural lighting and aspirational undertones makes me WANT to share this pic!

Well.. perhaps you don’t feel that your product has some hidden attribute or functionality that you want to show the world. That doesn’t mean you don’t have room to have some fun and spunk up your images!

Background textures (and colors!) are a great way to make your product pop. When considering background texture, or a surface for your product, try to imagine what would appeal to your customer base. If your products have a modern edge to them, you may want to look for a more sterile environment, perhaps all white or a clear acrylic type surface for your image. If you imagine your product in a rustic environment, seek out a piece of wood with some prominent grain texture to snap a pic of your design on.

Human element is a great way to bring your product to life and give the viewers a relatable presentation of your items scale. Using a model to photograph jewelry or wearables is a great way to get your customer to start day-dreaming about your pieces on themselves.  However, be careful when choosing a model that you are being inclusive not exclusive in how you want your product seen.  It is also ok just to show a hand or neckline so that the product is the focus and not the model.  If you want the photo to be a story about the relationship then focus on how the models are relating to one another and then have a secondary photo of your product as a close up.  This is when collages can be great!

Props are another exciting way to build visual balance in your photos, as well as make them more interesting and visually appealing. In this example, the product is the elusive eggcup, photographed with the tip of a fork and plate within the frame. Are we being sold a fork? No, definitely not. Does the prop make the visual more interesting? Yes, most definitely.  The key is for the prop to have a reason for being in the “story” of your visual.

Got some awesome 3D Printed Product shots you want to show off? Hashtag us with #ShapewaysHoliday for a chance to be featured in our holiday gift guide!

Want feedback on your Holiday product shots? Hit us up on our FORUMS and join the conversation to give and get direct feedback from our community members on how to improve your holiday shots!


Better With Shapeways video series kicks off with Will Haude of 3DBrooklyn

Here at Shapeways, we are inspired by the creativity and enthusiasm of our community and are passionate about enabling you to make anything you can imagine. This week, we’re launching a series of videos to celebrate our community and inspire others to bring their ideas to life with Shapeways.

Today, our spotlight is on Will Haude, creator of  3DBrooklyn. He says “3D printing empowers me to create whatever object I can think of, because that’s exactly what it does. Shapeways lets me print in a range of high quality materials that I cannot print with my printers. It’s great to have a manufacturer and marketplace on one site.” Watch his video below to see how he brought to life a 3D printed bike blinker with Shapeways and littleBits.

Want to win $100? Each day this week, we’ll be launching a new video featuring a designer and their 3D printed product. Share the video of the day on Facebook and tag it with #BetterwithShapeways, and you will be entered to win $100 in Shapeways credit! See below for details and make sure to come back, see all five videos, and enter the sweepstakes each day.

#BetterwithShapeways Sweepstakes Rules

1.     Eligibility. This contest is operated by Shapeways.  It is open to Shapeways users in the United States over 13 years of age at the time of entry who live in a jurisdiction that does not prohibit this contest.  Employees, officers, and directors of Shapeways and their immediate family are not eligible to enter.  Individuals may enter more than one entry into the competition but may not do so by way of automated means.  By entering this contest, you agree to be bound by these Rules.

2.     Prize. The winning entrant will receive $100 in Shapeways credit to make a purchase on

3.     Contest period. This contest is open on Monday, September 28 from 10:00am EDT to 11:59pm EDT.

4.     How to Enter.  Share the video or a link to the video on Facebook and tag it with #BetterwithShapeways.  You may also enter by sending a postcard with your name, phone number, and email address to:

Attn: Contest Department
419 Park Ave. South
Suite 900
New York, NY 10016
Postcards must be received by the end of the contest period in order to enter.

5.     Winner Selection.  Shapeways will select the winner from the pool of applicants on Tuesday, September 29.  There will be only one winner.  Shapeways will be prepared to award the prize to a runner-up in the event the winner cannot be contacted in a reasonable amount of time.  Shapeways will determine the winner by randomly drawing an applicant from the entire pool of applicants.

6.     Winner notification. The winner will be notified via email.  Upon contact, Shapeways may need to obtain confirmation of the winner’s eligibility.  If Shapeways cannot contact the winner through the contact information in their Shapeways account in a reasonable amount of time, a runner-up will receive the prize.  If a runner-up cannot be contacted, Shapeways will select a third place finisher to receive the prize.

7.     Taxes.  The winner will be solely responsible for paying all federal, state, and local taxes that may be due on winnings and, as a condition of receiving the prize, Shapeways may require the winner complete tax documentation.

8.     Liability and Jurisdiction.   All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply; void where prohibited.  All disputes arising out of or connected with this Contest will be resolved exclusively by a court located in Manhattan, New York, USA.  Decisions by Shapeways regarding the interpretation of these rules are final.  By participating in this contest, you agree to release Shapeways and its agents from any and all liability, claims, or actions of any kind of injuries, damages, or losses to persons and property which may be sustained in connection with the receipt, ownership, possession, use, or misuse of any prize.  Shapeways reserves the right to amend these official rules and to permanently disqualify from this contest any person it believes has intentionally violated these official rules. Shapeways reserves the right to suspend or cancel this Contest in the event of hacking, security breach, or other tampering.  Any questions regarding this contest should be directed to

Sketchup tips from Steven Gray: Part 1, scaling and measuring

Shapeways Shop owner Steven Gray of MyGadgetLife shares some advice for designing with the amazing free design tool Sketchup. 

Sketchup Make is a great free tool for getting into 3D printing. And the export output is compatible with ‎Shapeways!

So here I’ve put together a few tips that I discovered along the way that will help you big time on the road to your first 3D print.


1. Choose the right template. Sketchup will prompt you to choose a template the first time you start it. This choice is remembered on subsequent sessions (but it can be changed) – and there’s even one for 3D printing! But I wouldn’t select this template, preferring at first to have a completely clean canvas to work from. So what’s the best template to choose? Personally I go for the woodworking template. It offers a neutral background, no horizon and clean corners (choose an architectural template to see what I mean).

If you want to change the template, go to the Window>Preferences>Template (Windows) or Sketchup>Preferences>Template (Mac) and pick another one. The chosen template will activate on the next new window opened, so you can’t update an existing design to different template. But (top tip) you can cut and paste objects from designs using a particular template to another window with a different template.


2. Use the metric system. Of course I’m in the UK so we use metric anyway, but seriously, if you’re not already, why not? It will improve [your 3D printing] life immeasurably (no pun intended!).


3. So you’re using metric? Good job! Now think 1000x times bigger! The thing is, ‎Sketchup is/was aimed at the building design sector, and as such it’s accuracy starts to break down when you begin to work with sub-millimeter values. The solution is to work in *metres*! That’s right, for every mm multiply by 1000 – Sketchup can handle it.


In fact when I’m designing I don’t think in dimensions as such, rather than units of measure. So half a mm is 500 units in my Sketchup model. 10cm would be 10000. And so on. (Don’t get confused by rotation – 90 degrees is still 90 degrees, no scaling here!)

The great thing about this scheme is that when you go to upload your model to Shapeways, all you have to do is choose ‘millimetres’ as the scale and, boom, the systems Shapeways use scales the model to the correct size. You will not receive a 20 meter diameter ring in the post!

4. Type in your dimensions. When you start a line with the pencil tool, or begin a circle, you’ll quickly notice the cursor ‘sticks’ to one of the axes (this is the Sketchup ‘inference engine’ at work). Once Sketchup ‘knows’ which direction you’re taking the line, just start typing in the dimension – it will appear in dimension field at the bottom right of the window. The same approach works for moving, rotation and scaling, the push/pull and offset tools – just type the value you require, then press Enter.


5. While talking dimensions, use the measure/guide tool often to get a handle on wall thickness, separation distances etc. If you’re having trouble getting the tool to ‘stick’ to one of the axes, or perhaps you’re trying to measure from reference point, hit a cursor key on your keyboard – this has the effect of constraining the tool to an axis. (You can use this constrain tip in other situations where you need a tool to ‘stick’ to an axis.) The keys are left – green axis(Y); up/down – blue axis(Z); right – red axis(X).


Behind the product: Wimbledon edition!

Posted by in 3D Modeling, Shop Owner

We talk a lot about inspiration at Shapeways because we’re interested in knowing how the amazing designs we see come to be. Whether it’s an idea that’s been brewing for months or something that just came to you in your sleep, we want to know the story!

Recently, we were introduced to Rob Bartlett of Caxton Rhode. His recent designs were inspired by Wimbledon, and we caught up with him after the tournament to find out more.

Who are you/where are you located?

My name is Rob Bartlett and I am the Creative Director & Designer at Caxton Rhode in Wimbledon. I live in South West London, England.

What is the inspiration and story behind the designs?

Being based in the same town as the most prestigious tennis tournament on Earth, is a great privilege. As my entire business is based around creating exclusive one-of-a-kind designs, I set myself the challenge of designing something Wimbledon related for each of the final seven days of the event.

Please describe the process you use to create the final product.

All of my early ideas start life as a series of hand drawn sketches. I am strong believer in having a solid story in place first, prior to attempting to develop anything further. As this particular design challenge was centered around a very recognizable event, there were already a host of ready-made icons to focus in on. The end products themselves (a tennis racquet bottle opener and strawberry cocktail stirrer) were chosen partly because of their wider summertime connotations, but also because I was thinking consciously about the printable materials and their size constraints. (They also just happen to be really beautiful looking objects too).


How did you learn to design in 3D?

I taught myself this time last year (July 2014). I was staging a return to Tent London, a trade show during London Design Week and wanted a statement piece to sit amid my interior design scheme. 3D printing was the big thing last summer and so I decided to create (and had Shapeways print) a fully functional lampshade for the show. I have always been fascinated with 3D and often dabbled during my 18 years in graphic design. However, it always seemed a graphics package too far. Of course, it is amazing what the looming deadline of a show will force you to do.


Who are some of your favorite designers or artists. Has anyone on Shapeways inspired you?

In terms of traditional media, I am lifelong William Morris and Ukiyo-e superfan. I love design and designers that make you stop dead in your tracks and question, just how on Earth they managed to do the things they did. Especially in context of the time in which they lived.

In terms of designers with their products on Shapeways, Bathsheba’s Klein Bottle Opener is a future Design Museum piece to my eyes. It is a modern classic and the first 3D printed piece I saw and suddenly understood the magnificence of this emerging media.

What opportunities do you believe printing in 3D brings to artists. How is that demonstrated in your work?

I truly believe that 3D printing (and other emerging manufacturing techniques) will have a profound affect on every aspect of our lives. I encourage all of my clients to celebrate personal taste and being able to design and produce products for their own exclusive use is extraordinary. This is without doubt the next golden age in design and the most incredible thing for me, is that we are only just approaching the starting line. When you look back at figures like Morris, you quickly realize that he was someone pioneering completely new techniques and charting new ground in his time. Great design isn’t about standing still and feeling nostalgic. It is and always has been about progress. I genuinely feel that we owe it to the craftsmen and women of the past to do something worthy during our time in charge.

Do you have other 3D printing objects in mind?

3D and 3D printing for me is an integral part of my designers toolkit. Every time a new material is released or a process improved, I instantly start thinking about ways of putting it to use. I am patiently waiting for a ‘multi material, single print’ process to emerge in order to really bring a number of ideas to life.

How did you first hear of 3D printing?

I have been aware of it for years but in all honesty, it was Shapeways that made it make sense to me. I think it is now something that most people have heard of and understand to be possible, but are still yet to experience it’s potential.

Thanks so much for your time, Rob! Be sure to check out more of his work and inspiration over here.

Ora Cufflinks: A story of design and collaboration

One of the great things about being a part of the Shapeways community (in our humble opinion) is the amount of talented designers you are able to connect with. We love seeing community members connecting on our forums, Twitter, Facebook and more. Sometimes those small connections lead to even more, as shown through this beautiful collaboration between two shop owners. Gabriel Prero and Bathsheba put their two talent forces together to create some amazing cufflinks. What we love the most about this product is that it really showcases each designer individually.

We asked them both a few questions about how this all got started. Read on to learn how the idea came about and their (great!) tips on working with other designers.

How did the idea for this collaboration come about?

G: Strangely enough, it came about through the Shapeways Crew. I was doing a Crew presentation for the School of Design at the University of Illinois Chicago, and was sent a sample pack of various Shapeways models. One of those was the ever-iconic Ora by Bathsheba. I’d seen it before online, but never in person, and I was taken aback by just how striking it is in person. Pictures really can’t do it justice. And it’s just a pleasure to hold and play with. So I figured I’d send Bathsheba a note letting her know how much I loved the piece. She replied that she had gotten many requests for cufflink versions, and asked if I’d be interested in the collaboration. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity.

B: Well, it started when Gabriel wrote to me that he had got one of my “Ora” pieces and liked it.  People have asked me for cufflinks of my designs before, but since I don’t really wear French cuffs it would be work for me to figure out what makes a good cufflink, and I’d always left those queries on the suggestions pile.  So when I saw Gabriel’s shop, which is a very nice presentation by someone who clearly knows his links, I though why not ask?

Why did you choose to do something with the Ora design?

G: The initial idea to make it a cufflink really belongs to Bathsheba. I was more in the right place at the right time:) Though I do think it lends itself very well to this scale. To shrink any sculpture down risks losing some detail, or having a print fail. The Ora scaled beautifully, and printed successfully right off the bat.

B: Most importantly it was Gabriel’s choice — since he did the work of adapting the design and photographing the product, definitely it should be something he likes.  On the practical side, not many of my designs can be printed in steel small enough for this application, so that narrows down the choices.

How long did the process take?

G: From initial email until the listing went live, about 6 weeks. Though the actual design work went pretty quickly. Most of the time were just back and forth emails and waiting for the Shapeways box to arrive.

B: From the beginning of April to late May, so quick as these things go.

What was the best part about working with another designer?

G: Often when I do custom work for customers, they’re unfamiliar with the CAD or 3D printing process. Collaborating with someone as experienced as Bathsheba, it was nice to speak the same language, and share experience.

B: He’s awfully good!

Any future collaborations coming up?

G: We’ve talked about “cufflink-izing” some of her other creations, so we’ll see!

B: We might do some more links if this one goes well.  Meanwhile I’m always open to suggestions!  I’m a fan of licensing deals; they’ve generally been pleasant and productive, so I try to answer any reasonable email.

Any tips on how designers can best work together?

G: I think the best tip I can offer is to just start the conversation! One of the things that keep surprising me about the Shapeways community is that the members are so open for exchanging ideas and giving meaningful feedback. Don’t be shy approaching someone you admire whom you’d consider to be in a “league above”.

B: I think it’s important to have a good contract.  The assets in play here were on Gabriel’s side, expertise in designing cufflinks and a platform to sell them; and on my side the design itself, and experience with licensing transactions.

The first three of these things are sort of obvious, but I’d like to unpack the last one.  I have a nondisclosure agreement which allows me to share the design file with less risk — you pretty much have to do this to evaluate the possibility, and without an NDA the risk is all on the designer’s side.  Having that handy gets rid of a major source of worry and distrust.

Thanks to both of you for your time and insight! Make sure to check out both their shops for even more amazing design.


New Shapeways classes on Skillshare

We’ve heard from our community that videos are one of the best ways to learn about 3D printing. From tutorials to our How I Made It series, they are a great visual to use when picking up tips and tricks to up your 3D printing game.

In the past we’ve worked with our friends over at Skillshare to create videos that show you the ins and outs of 3D modeling. Today we’re excited to announce the launch of another series of videos that anyone can use to learn about running a small business on Shapeways.

An Online Skillshare Class by Lauren Slowik, Shapeways Designer Evangelist for Education

Enroll For Free

Our marketplace is growing everyday (there are more than 23,000 shops!) and that means thousands of people have used their 3D design talent to start a small business. While we try to make things as easy as possible for our shop owners, there are still a few ways they can make sure their shop stands out from the crowd. From crafting a shop description to merchandising your products to rocking social media, these short, fun videos will give you all the tips and tricks to creating and running a shop on Shapeways.

As if that wasn’t good enough, Skillshare is offering our community the chance to sign up for a one-month Premium account for just $.99! Use code SHAPEWAYS when signing up.

Check them out and let us know what you think!

Browse Shapeways in Local Currencies

Today, we introduced a new feature that will make the Shapeways shopping experience better on a more global scale. Until now, shoppers could only see prices in USD and EUR. Starting today, shoppers will be able to browse the marketplace in USD, EUR, AUD, GBP and CAD.


When you visit the site, you’ll now have an option in the footer to change settings and view prices in different currencies.


It’s important to note that all payments will still be processed in USD or EUR (that depends on your shipping country, and we’ll let you know in checkout). The only difference will be the price you see when viewing your products.

In addition, shop owners can access a price preview of their products in these currencies on the Selling page. This will give a glimpse of what your customers will see when they visit your shops.

Happy browsing!

New Solution for Shop Owners to Manage Images

Yesterday we made an improvement to how you can manage an important aspect of your Shapeways Shop: Images! We are aware that there have been some discrepancies with product images for the past few months, and this fix should address some of those issues. For the last few months, we’ve been getting feedback from the community that you’d like to be able to set the order of the images on your product page. We’ve listened to that feedback and are excited to share that today you’ll have full control over how images are prioritized on your product pages, product box and carousel.

Our new image management interface for Shop Owners to have greater control over how their images are displayed on the product page.
View from Model Edit page: Images prioritized as 1, 2 and 3.


View from Product Page: Default image 1 is first image, and images labeled 2 and 3 are second and third in carousel. 

Currently, you have the ability to set a default image for your default material of your product.  With our new release, you can not only set the default image for your default material, but also order the photos in your carousel in the product page. Additionally, if you have multiple images for a product in a particular material whether or not it’s your default material, you can now prioritize which image we show when a customer is looking at that specific material. Here’s how:

The first thing to know about the new image table is that the order of the photos in this table will be the order of the photos in your product’s image carousel on your product page. To move an image up or down in priority, simply change the priority number to the desired rank, and your photo will move up or down in the table. This means your #1 priority image is going to be the first image in the image carousel on the product page. Your #2 priority image is going to be the second image shown in the image carousel and so on and so forth.

Second, you now have control over not only the default image of your default material, but also the default image for all other materials.

View from Model Edit page: Control the default image for your default material and non-default material alike while setting the order of the images displayed in the image carousel on your product page.

View from Product Page: Image labeled 2 is Blue Strong & Flexible (non-default material) but is default photo when Blue Strong & Flexible material swatch is chosen (as opposed to image labeled 4 above).

The default image for your default material is the most important image of your product, as it is the photo shoppers will see while browsing the marketplace and when landing on your product page unless they have selected a specific material while browsing. So how do you set the default image for your default material? It will be the highest priority image in the image table tagged with your default material. So that you always know what your default material is when looking at your image table, we’ve labeled all images tagged with your default material with a ‘Default Material’ label. We’ve also labeled your highest priority image tagged with the default material as ‘Default Material – Default Image’ so it is always clear what your default image for your default material is.

So what happens when a customer searches for your product in a specific material or clicks on a material swatch on the product page? How do we know which image to show? You now additionally control the default image for all materials, not just the default material. The default image for a non-default material acts exactly the same way where it’s the highest priority image in the image table tagged with that material. For example, if the shopper selects your gold swatch on the product page (and silver is your default material), we will start at the top of your priority list, and go down the list until we find the first image that is tagged with the material ‘gold.’

This means if you have multiple pictures of your product in any material, make sure to prioritize your favorite photo of your product in that material above the other photos in that material so it will be the default image for that material.

While we’ve recently removed Not For Sale items from the marketplace, they do still remain available on your designer profile page. If you have a public product that is marked Not For Sale, the image shoppers will see on the product page will be your highest priority image in your image table. This is all to say that products marked Not For Sale appear the exact same way as products that are available for sale.


View of Not For Sale: Image prioritization settings are saved

So in sum, you will now have control over: 1) the order in which your images are displayed in the image carousel on the product page, 2) the default image for your default material, 3) the default image for each non-default material, and 4) the image shown when your product is not for sale.

We appreciate your ongoing patience while we are working to fix open issues concerning images on the site. Because of the learned complexity of open image issues, we are releasing features that address open issues today. As always, thanks for all the feedback, and we hope this helps!

The Hate Project

Posted by in Community, Shop Owner

With almost 25,000 shops on our site, we could spend all days browsing the amazing products our community has for sale. We’re always interested in seeing what new things pop up and how customers are finding new shops.

A few weeks ago we noticed a shop called The Hate Project was very popular. Obviously we were very curious and connected with the shop owner to find out more about the shop and how they attracted customers.

Tell us a little about yourself!

My Name is Rob Baptie and I started a small social experiment called the Hate Project based on selling goods via the internet from California and giving the money away to charitable causes.

What’s the story behind your shop?

The Hate Project is a crowdsourcing endeavor based on the idea that together, smaller donations that might be deemed insignificant can make a huge difference when lumped together.  This idea/project was born out of trying to help a friend whose nieces were stricken with Cystic Fibrosis raise money for their foundation.  This process is documented here: The Hatedust Project .

To date we have given away about $195,000 to different charitable groups like and The Make-A-Wish Foundation. Why HATE? I like the idea of repurposing a negative into a positive. HATE comes from what we decided your insides would do if you ate too much of our pepper concotion called Hatedust.

What’s the story behind your designs?

The designs mainly involve variations on my pig based theme. I started fundraising for Make-A-Wish by donating pig bbq’s for their charity.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by the good in others.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?

The ease of operation Shapeways brings to my efforts.

How did you learn how to design in 3D?

I don’t! I have a good friend, Wes Newman, do it for me and he is GREAT!

How do you promote your work?

I promote via my Facebook Group: The Hate Project

Anything else you want to share?

I’d just like to thank all the HATERs who have supported this idea over the last 18 months. 100% of our net proceeds have gone to helping others.  This idea is nothing without their ongoing support.

Thanks, Rob! We always love seeing our community use their creativity for good. Also, be sure to check out the website to learn more about the project (and to find out what Hatedust is!).