Category Archives: Jewelry

Designer Spotlight: Josh Appleman – Geo Glitz

Because statement jewelry and accessories are always a good addition to any outfit, Josh Appleman’s shop Geo Glitz on Shapeways is definitely worth bookmarking. He’s created cufflinks shaped like every state in the United States. After being unable to find some sleek Minnesota-shaped cufflinks to wear with his tuxedo for his wedding, Josh decided to turn to 3D modeling and printing to create them. Having received lots of compliments on the cufflinks, he decided it would be fun to design ones for the rest of the states in case anyone else wanted to show off some state pride. As it turns out, there were loads of people interested in getting some!

How long did it take you to create the comprehensive collection?

I probably spent around 15 hours collecting CAD drawings of all the states, scaling them appropriately and modeling them in 3D with the cufflink stems. In my day job, I design surgical robots. Selling cufflinks is something I do on the side for fun. I’m delighted every time I get a notification that someone liked my product enough to buy it and hope it adds a trendy personalized touch to the recipient’s outfit!

Any stats on the top-selling states?

The top three states I’ve gotten orders for are Minnesota, Michigan and New York.

Any interesting challenges you encountered during the creation of this collection?

Certain states, such as Hawaii, Alaska, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Louisiana were tricky to model because of all the islands they have or because of thin portions of their geography. I spent many hours trying to decide what details were possible to maintain and which had to be removed. For example, for Hawaii I decided to make the geography the negative of the cufflink, I took a rectangle and removed the island outlines from it. Cape Cod needed to be thickened a bit as did the connection between Long Island and the rest of New York State. Lots of tedious work but fortunately I only needed to do it once.

You’ve done all 50 states! So what’s next?

Thinking of doing pendants and money clips. Also want to add geographies of different countries and famous cities. Lastly, I’ve done a few embossed orders with custom lettering, so may continue to do so per request.

Designer Spotlight: Erin Winick – Sci Chic

At Shapeways we’re huge believers that smart is sexy and 4th year Mechanical Engineering student, Erin Winick’s goal is to help show off the fashionable side of science and show that 3D printing and technology is accessible to everyone. Her shop Sci Chic features a wide array of gorgeous jewelry, all inspired by science and we were excited to learn more about her mission and her successes so far.


Tell us about what drives your designs.
My biggest inspiration is to encourage more young girls to enter the engineering fields. All of my designs are inspired by science and engineering. Everything is paired with science descriptions so that fashion can help spread science literacy. I enjoy creating a variety of items, some more obvious than others in their inspiration. I hope to intrigue people enough with the design that they want to learn about the science behind it as well.

As a mechanical engineering student, the whole experience has been rewarding and really given me a platform to talk about encouraging young kids to look at science and engineering in a new and creative way.


Know you said you created your jewelry to utilize fashion to help spread fashion literacy. Do you have any interesting anecdotes about how you’ve accomplished this as a result of wearing/selling your jewelry?
Absolutely. One of the coolest messages I got was a mom who had bought a necklace for her 11 year old daughter who has now worn it to school every day since. It felt great to know that she loved the piece so much that she was telling all of her friends about it! For me, wearing the Trajectory Necklace has sparked a lot of conversations at events. People look at it and don’t see the inspiration right away, and when I tell them that it shows the path of the Apollo 11 mission, they get super excited! It is really rewarding to see people get so excited about science. I even had an astrophysicist wear the Trajectory Necklace on an episode of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s TV show, StarTalk! The necklace even became part of the conversation for the live audience.

Additionally, I have had stories of teachers wearing pieces in the classroom when teaching about related lectures and students receiving pieces as graduation necklaces printed in precious metal. Bringing science into people’s everyday lives keeps me going.

With over 2,500 Instagram followers, what are the typical reactions you get from people about these creations?
When we first reveal a new piece on Instagram it is always really exciting. We usually show it in plastic first, and then in metal. People usually comment on how awesome the steel materials look. Also, when we release a piece covering a new area of STEM, it is fascinating to see scientists and engineers from that area flock to that piece. They get so excited someone is bringing attention to STEM in a new way. People love the variety of looks they can achieve with our pieces because of all of the materials we offer.

We also love sharing pictures of our customers wearing the 3D printed creations. Many of the customers our in the STEM fields, allowing us to show some great role models in STEM for young women on our Instagram as well. However, we also have customers who are intrigued by the look of the piece and the fashion aspect of it, and might learn some about the science behind it in the process of buying it.

Instagram has been a great platform for us to build a community around.

What else can we see coming from you on the horizon?
We are working on some collaboration pieces right now with scientist and engineers from around the world. We are hoping to give them a platform to help share the fashionable side of science and reach a wide audience. We will be donating a portion of these sales to STEM related charities as well. We can’t wait for everyone to see them!

Check out Erin’s shop here, she recently added a ton of beautiful product images that we’re super excited about.


Love & Robots: Truly Unique, Customizable Jewelry (Hint: Perfect for Gifting)

It seems early, but we promise it’s not too early to start thinking about your holiday gifts. And as if 3D printing weren’t amazing enough, there are lots of designers who are taking their ideas to the next level; they make an amazing product, and then let you customize it just for yourself or the lucky receiver. We’ve highlighted our Pendant Creator and Mymo so far, and today we are featuring the lovely Love & Robots who have some amazing personalizable products available. Between earrings, pendants, bow ties, wall art and more, they’ve created an easy, fun process of creating a truly unique piece. Our favorite is the jewelry, which has so many fun options.

Screen Shot 2016-10-03 at 1.14.56 PM

The most unique piece we came across was the Windswept Collection (pendant or earrings). An animated render of the product sits on the left waiting for you to personalize. On the right you have different options to fill in; location, date and material. “Choose any location in the world and watch as the wind in that location changes the movement of the cloth. Pause it to create a uniquely draped windswept pendant.” What! So good! The results are seriously stunning and I found myself racking my brain for every important date I could think of just to play with it more!


Don’t forget to check out their whole range of products, as well as all apps you can play with. Share your designs with us @Shapeways, we’d love to see what you make next (from scratch, or with a little help!)

Shapeways Designers – The Laser Girls – In The Press!

We’re so proud that The Laser Girls are featured in the October issue of Marie Claire with their 3D printed nails!

The article (on pg. 192!) shouts out the cube nails, the pointy talons, and the dragon master nails– marking them as Marie Claire-certified! We definitely think the article… nailed it (hehe). Pick up an issue to check it out!

Keep in mind that press is always checking out the Shapeways marketplace for interesting and unique products. Making your designs available for purchase and pairing them with gorgeous product shots, you significantly increase visibility for your shop.

Jewelry Prototyping Tips

An idea emerges and you hop to the drawing board itching to see what comes to life. In most scenarios this first iteration is probably not what you had in mind. Rather, the design will be modified for any number of reasons. This can be especially true when designing jewelry. A ring, bracelet, necklace or any accessory must fit, hold an appropriate scale, meet your personal aesthetic, and retain important details. All of these facets of the design can be perfected when brought to life with prototyping.

Ring Set

The cycle of designing has no beginning or end because your process may start at any given point and continue any number of times. Prototyping is one step within this iterative process, and it allows you to take a step back and consider how you can improve your design.

The Iterative Design Process

When should you prototype?

Consider it necessary to prototype when you are looking to create jewelry with custom sizes or settings, such as stone settings. By prototyping these products you can ensure that the piece of jewelry or stone will fit correctly for your final iteration.

In the early stages, it is best to prototype your jewelry design before selling to the public. Printing in a more low cost material to start gives you the opportunity to evaluate the scale and fit of your product, and will save you from returns and excess spending. Once you’ve approved your prototype, you can move onto some of our precious metal materials.

The difference between a render and a physical object is greater than one may anticipate. Although measuring your model will provide you with concrete dimensions, there is nothing like holding a design in your hand. In my experience the scale of certain design features or even the entire product are always larger or smaller than I prefer. With this intermediary step, I get the opportunity to correct and improve upon this.

Screen Shot 2016-09-29 at 10.39.39 AM

What material should you prototype in?

While your final design will most likely be printed in a cast metal or steel, your initial prototypes will not require one of these materials with a longer lead time and higher price point. Instead, initial prototyping can be printed with frosted ultra detail or strong and flexible. These materials are great for quick turn around and a fair understanding of the overall look and fit of your final product.


Frosted Ultra Detail:

This material is great for a clean and high detail finish, particularly if you are looking to print your final model in a cast metal.

Strong and Flexible:

For a lower price point prototype, you can print in strong and flexible. This material is also offered in rush production, for those who need to move quickly.

TIP: Please do keep in mind that different materials have similar but different guidelines. Make sure that while you are prototyping you are following the guidelines of the material you will ultimately be printing in.

Now after the initial prototypes are completed and you have made another cycle through the Iterative Design Process, a final prototype can be created in a beautifully polished or unpolished cast metal such as brass or bronze. These are particularly beneficial when looking to print your final model in silver, platinum, gold, or a precious plated metals.

final brass

Brass or Bronze:

Brass  and bronze are significantly less expensive and go through a similar production process as the other cast metals. These cast metal prototypes will demonstrate the extent of polishing you can expect and which tiny details will be able to make it through the production process.

three ring set

A prototype can be the stepping stone to a finalized design or even an inspiration for your next project. Skipping this step can be a missed opportunity to creating that perfect piece of jewelry.

If you are looking to learn more about the design process and the materials at Shapeways, take a look at the Back to the Basics for designers.

6 Fashion Trends to Design for in 2016

Having just relaunched our jewelry marketplace to better highlight micro-brands and feature curated collections, we’re excited to position ourselves as an excellent destination for holiday shoppers to snag some uniquely designed accessories. While we know our designers have already uploaded some incredible designs, we wanted to flag some trends we saw on the NYFW runway to give our makers a glance at what trend-setting shoppers may be looking for this season.

We’ve also included examples of existing products from Shapeways designers below!Silver reigns supreme:

We saw lots and lots of silver accessories on the runway this season– something to keep in mind when determining which materials you want to offer designs in.

Statement necklaces:

Oversized chokers and large necklaces were prevalent at shows including Balenciaga, Valentino, Loewe, Chanel, and Balmain. This was a fun opportunity to play with larger geometric designs, crazy pendants– great inspiration for designers looking to create some more unusual signature pieces.

Dodeca Horizontal Pendant by Studio Noesis

Earnestly large statements:

From Sachin and Babi to Creatures of the Wind to Altuzarra to Tory Burch, big earrings were everywhere. Large hoop earrings to geometric shapes, we’re excited to see that loads of our designers’ products seem to be similarly inspired.

Star Coral Earrings by Coraline Jewels

Ear cuffs:

Rodarte’s models wore extremely intricate ear cuffs which seemed floral-inspired (one even featured an insect). We’ve seen a number of ear cuffs in our marketplace, so it’s definitely an accessory ripe for design experimentation.


Brass Triangles Earcuff by 3Different

Interlocking Circles:

Hellessy sent models down the runway with some beautiful earrings which were made up of metal interlocking circles. This is a perfect trend to pull inspiration from, especially since Shapeways is the only company to offer interlocking metals!

Twisted Square Earrings by ByNatalia


Lots of designers (Isabel Marant, Christian Dior and Sonia Rykiel) were sending their models down the runway with asymmetrical earrings– allowing for some great variation. Other designers like Mugler, Anthony Vaccarello and Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, opted for the one-earring look. At Shapeways you’re able to order one earring, making it totally unnecessary to purchase a complete pair for this look.

Septum Rings:

While septum rings had a big moment last year, some made an appearance on the runway during the Monse show this NYFW. Shapeways designers have created a number of faux septum rings– a good option for people looking to try the look without committing to the actual piercing.

Septum Ring by PrimalCrafts

If you’re interested in more in-depth looks at these trends, we recommend checking out this Vogue roundup and this piece from Justine Carreon at Elle for coverage of this year’s trends.

Our Community of Jewelry Designers


Over the past few years the community at Shapeways has grown in exquisite ways that have exceeded the limits of our imagination. Today, Shapeways has launched an updated look for our jewelry marketplace — a design that truly compliments and highlights the beauty of the products within it.

In honor of our redesign, we thought it was a perfect moment to reflect and acknowledge a few of the many jewelry designers who have continually contributed to the Shapeways community.

Lucas Goosens, LucasPlus Jewelry


“LucasPlus designs all start with a motto I really believe in: “Think Positive”. The representation of the Plus symbol throughout the collection serves as a mental reminder to have positive thoughts and spread good vibes.” – Lucas Goosens

Lucas Goosens, a designer from NYC uses his jewelry as a means to propogate a message of positivity.



Lucas got his start on Shapeways in 2014 when he set out to find a ring that reminded him of a resolution he had made in years past: to harness positivity in all forms. Alas, he was unable to find the perfect ring he had envisioned for himself —  so he turned to Shapeways, learned to 3D model, and printed first LucasPlus ring.

Geman Wu, Alminty3D 


“I was always a big fan of geometry and mathematics in school. Whenever I looked at an object I like to simplify the shape and form to a “geometric abstraction” in my head.” – Geman Wu


A trained building scientist and lighting designer, Geman Wu has always viewed the world in polygons. A quick look at her designs and it is easy to see that these fun, fresh and colorful designs are inspired by geometric harmony and mathematical proportion.

Luk Cox & Idoya Lahortiga, Somersault18:24


“Our designs are all science-inspired. We both have a deep-rooted science interest and passion. Moreover, we are fortunate to witness cutting edge science every day and want to translate this fascinating world into everyday objects and accessories.” — Luk & Idoya, Somersault1824


Two research scientists from Diest, Belgium set out to combine their two biggest passions: art & science. The duo works to create science-inspired jewelry that gives us a lens into the microscopic world that, without their minds paired with 3D printing, we otherwise would not be able to see… much less wear as jewelry.

Michael Mueller, Pookas


“I think it is a good thing to act not too serious. I always try to add some fun and mystery to my work. There is a movie from the early 50s called “Harvey.” James Stewart plays the curious Elwood P. Dowd whose best mate is a mystery “Pooka,” an invisible 6-foot rabbit. Elwood is a very kind person who treats everyone equal and yes, he hangs out with an unseen rabbit all the time. To be open-minded is a good thing and if this means to see things that are hidden to others, so be it.” — Michael Mueller


The day Michael Mueller read about Shapeways and 3D printing, he was hooked. An active member of our community since 2011, Michael has made almost anything you can imagine: whistles, belt buckles, rings and more — his creativity allows him to consistently create the perfect accessory you never knew you needed.

“There is not one day I don’t work or at least think about 3D printing and what I can create next.”  - Michael Mueller

Kimberly Falk, Ontogenie


Kimberly Falk, the genius designer behind Ontogenie is a scientist and self-taught 3D modeler based out of Germany.  Kimberly’s shop consists of incredibly intricate jewelry pieces inspired by science and nature. What is distinctly unique about her designs is that she turns her fascination of filigree structures of microscopic organisms on land and in the sea into detailed a 3D prints that fully take advantage of the materials they are printed in.


If you want to see more designs from Kimberly, Lucas, Geman, Michael, Luk, Idoya and the many, many more designers within our community, head over to our newly designed Marketplace and browse the through the wonderment of imaginations-come-to-life.

To all of the jewelry designers in the Shapeways community: thank you for creating! We hope you enjoy our updated look and are excited to fulfill our commitment to the jewelry community by adding new features and collections in the coming months. Have some ideas and want to see your products featured? Head over to our forums and share with us your designs!

We look forward to highlighting the imagination within each and every one of you. Keep making and stay tuned!

Symbols + Science = Jewelry Styles for All

Looking to revamp your jewelry collection?  Symbols are one way to make a statement without going overboard.  They also lend as great conversation pieces for history buffs, trendsetters, and Biochem masters alike.  Our community across the globe has designing symbols down to an art and we’re showing you the creations you don’t want to miss. 

As the masterminds behind Shapeways shop somersault1824, Belgium designers Idoya and Luk make science look sleek. Their minimalist necklaces are perfect for channeling your inner lab geek and make for surprising, sweet gifts.


Phi pendant from somersault1824

There is more than meets the eye with Phi! This letter is the basis for the Golden Ratio, a principle frequently found math and science which can be dated back to sacred architecture and art.  Another important fact to know: Products from somersault1824  support science education. For every pendant sold, the designers invest $5 of the profit in educational resources for scientists, students and teachers with the aim to make these resources available to everyone. Read more about the cause here.

astrocyte pendant

Neuron pendant from somersault1824


DNA pendant from somersault1824

If you like this double helix, you may want to experiment with spirals from other Shapeways shops.  Just don’t get it twisted!  Instead, wear the Twisted Pendant by Jaacov Molcho, one of our featured designers in Sparks Across the Globe.

We also love the pendants Antonios Bliss of Athens, Greece created. His designs reflect a modern adaptation of symbols rooted in native New Mexico.


Native America Zia Sun Symbol Jewelry Pendant from Symbolica.

Any idea what the four parts of this pendant might represent?  Here’s a hint: up to twenty different meanings can be found in total. Read more about the multifaceted design here and discover other fascinating symbols in Symbolica.

Be sure to check out other jewelry designers on Shapeways to find the symbol that suits you and explore all the beautiful options for everyday wear.

Your Summer BBQ Checklist

We know, it can be hard to remember everything you need to kick off the summer with the perfect BBQ. Luckily the Shapeways Marketplace has some great day-to-night picks ready so that all you need to do is grab your Grillmaster and pals.

1: Bottle opener. There’s no better time to have a beer than at a summer barbecue. If you want to open beer bottles without breaking those pearly whites, (or  using other beer bottles) this is the way to go. By JoshShand


2:  Acoustic speakers. Nothing makes a good BBQ great like some freshly amplified summertime tunes. The Wave iPhone amplifier by Sonido uses Fibonacci’s golden ratio to push the bass, treble and everything in between out by replacing batteries with math.


3: Delicious Hot Dog earrings. But really, what’s a BBQ without some good old fashioned randomized meat? Never leave your grill master wondering “Hot Dog or Hamburger” again. By Mayaland


Get Your Grill On

Nautical by Nature

Posted by in Jewelry

Hey, sailor!  There’s no better way to usher in the summer sunshine than with nautical-inspired goods for your everyday style and home. Don’t let these finds pass you like ships in the night.

How to Wear Your Plants

Posted by in Fashion, Jewelry

Running out of room for teeny plants in your tiny house? Fashion has come to your rescue! Artists all over the world are reimagining the boring clay pot planter as wearable art in the latest trend that brings jewelry to the intersection of nature and technology.

Here’s 5 ways to work the wearable planter trend:

If flowers could talk the Little Earring Planter by Yelet wouldn’t be quite so wearable, but thankfully our floral friends are the pretty and silent type. Add tiny real flowers like cherry blossoms, or short dried lavender sprigs. For a bolder pop of color that won’t wilt after a long day of wear add tiny bright silk flowers.


You’re already wearing Google Glass, so you’re no stranger to being an explorer, making your own trends. The GlassKap Wearable Planter by Baltimore will help keep you planted while your head is flying high on the next big thing.


According to artist Colleen Jordan diamonds are “so last century” so swap the rock for a tiny bit of soil and plant. Thinking your wearable greenery might clash with yellow? No worries. The Icosahedron Planter Ring is available in white, purple, red and more.


3d printed in durable nylon Wearable Planter No. 3 by Colleen Jordan is watertight – perfect for those looking for true planter functionality. Add soil, small succulent plant and a cotton or leather cord for an eco-chic look that will have people asking- “Is that really a..”


All the charm of a bicycle bell- with a little more romance. Add a fresh bouquet to your bike’s handlebars with the Scalloped Bike Planter by Colleen Jordan. It clips right onto your handlebars- no hardware needed.


How could this look possibly get any greener? All of these pieces are 3D printed on demand in Long Island City, NY- not gobbling up fossil fuels on a long transatlantic journey and air conditioned warehouse.

If you prefer your planters as home decor, check out our whole line of 3d printed home decor, including unique planters.

See Them Grow

Prioritize your Personal Self-Expression with 3D Printing


‘Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live.’ – Gianni Versace

Inherently, fashion is a form of self expression that has the ability to show the world who you are without having to say a word. In today’s world, we style ourselves (and our homes) with the clothing, jewelry and goods that are made readily available to us by different brands, be it large or small. Thus far, that’s worked just fine — but what about a world where you are your own brand? Where you decide what gets made, based on your own preference. Is it possible? Is it even realistic?

Overwhelmingly, yes. I envision a future where your personal and aesthetic expression are prioritized over that which is made in mass — and without a doubt believe that 3D printing is the avenue that will help us achieve this future. Why is your self expression important? Below are a few reasons.

It’s sustainable. In traditional retail, a brand will come up with designs that they believe will have consumer appeal, and then manufacture a certain number of those designs based on projections. All too often, those brands will over-manufacture a piece, only to have hundreds (or thousands) wind up sitting a warehouse — which is an effective waste of material, space and labor.

The beauty of creating your own products with 3D printing, is that the only market validation you’ll ever need is your own. Since products are produced as you order them, you have ease of mind that you’re getting exactly what you want, from an environmentally friendly source that you can trust.

It’s infinite freedom. With customization made more accessible, you no longer have to settle for the almost perfect item. Not everyone may want to design their own everything – sometimes, it’s about making custom modifications to the things that are almost what you’re looking for. Perhaps it’s a piece of wall art that would be so great for your room if only it were just a little bit smaller, or in a different color than is available.

The made-to-order nature of 3D printing means there’s infinite possibility to customize products in a way that is true to exactly what you want. Today, we already have powerful tools such as CustomMaker and ShapeJS that make it easy for anyone to make modifications to products they love.

It’s tools like these that begin to pave the way to the wave of the future, where we’ll see more software and hardware applications expanding to a point where you can customize literally any item you could possibly want.

It’s uniquely you. The most important piece of this is you. Today, you can take your passion and wear it close to your heart, literally. Whether you have a love for science, or a love for ravens – it’s all made possible with 3D printing.

We are lucky enough to be living in a world where we are finally liberated from the mass-produced constraints of our predecessors, and it has only just begun. The future will only give way for more opportunities for you to be you.

Three Ways Handmade Jewelry Designers can use 3D Printing

How does digital manufacturing fit into the craft of handmade jewelry? We get asked this question a lot, so we put together three key ways it can speed up your design and production process, save you money and free you up to have more design time (and space).

1. Stock up on popular models. The best part about being a designer is the design process; it’s the ideation, the sketching, and the execution of that new piece of jewelry, getting to bring it into the physical world. That experience is especially fruitful when your design is recognized and wanted by others. However, it can become time-consuming to recreate that same piece over and over again to meet your customers’ needs.

With 3D printing, this process can be made much easier. Now, it’s possible for designers to order the base design of their jewelry pieces, only needing to apply their fine-touch stone setting or polishing techniques in post production. This saves time, and ultimately allows for more space for a designer to explore their creativity and start imagining their next pieces.

2. It requires less studio space. We’ve all been there. You graduate college, or move to a new town, and all of a sudden lose access to the tools and studio space required to keep creating. Or as a new designer you can’t afford to rent space. With 3D printing all you need to get started designing is a computer, software, and (occasionally) an internet connection. Looking for the right software to get started with? We’ve got you covered.

3. Proof of concept for complex prototypes. We all have that one idea that requires ALL the things. Maybe it requires a number of jump rings, chains and highly ornamental pendants. But it’s just a concept, and you’re not totally sure if it would work in real life. Making it in finished materials would not only be expensive, but incredibly time consuming.

Using our innovative prototyping materials, such as strong and flexible plastic, you can create interlocking, chain-like pieces with intricate details and have it 3D printed at a fraction of the cost. This also lets you vett out your designs, understanding all the small tweaks and changes you’d like to make before taking the plunge and investing in the final materials for the piece.

These are just a few ways to start thinking about using 3D printing within your handmade craft. But the ways of utilizing the tools of digital manufacturing are endless, and we can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

Fashion Spotlight: Jenny Wu LACE

This is a guest post by Shapeways Community member Jenny Wu.

I received a grant from Shapeways to work on a 3D printing project with another emerging fashion designer, Jordana Howard of Echo and Air. The initial concept for the project was rather simple, but the execution of the project opened up a world of possibilities. I realized the project was going to be a pursuit that I will be working on for quite a long time. A bit of my background, I am an architect and partner at the Los Angeles based firm, Oyler Wu Collaborative.


photo courtesy of LACE

A few years ago, I saw a void within the 3D printed fashion market that I thought I could fill. Most 3D printed fashion falls into two categories: the ultra avant-garde, iconic couture pieces that have graced various well known fashion runways to pieces designed by DYI makers who are exploring 3D printing technology. My collection positions itself somewhere in between, creating high end pieces that are highly wearable (literally comfortable to wear) but bring forth innovative design that utilizes my background in digital modeling to exploit 3D printing technology to its fullest. Last Fall, I launched a line of ready-to-wear 3D printed jewelry collection called LACE by Jenny Wu and have received overwhelmingly positive responses from both the tech and fashion world.


Recently, much of the advancement in 3D printed fashion has been focused on creating entirely 3D printed clothing, shoes to accessories. For the grant, I was interested in merging 3D printing with conventional methods of fashion making. Similar to my own research in architecture, our office has develop new techniques of working with both digital fabrication with conventional wood or steel fabrication to create work that cannot be done solely based on one expertise. I approached Jordana Howard, a fashion designer based in Los Angeles, for this collaboration because of her interest in unconventional assembly and details in fashion. We have been working back and forth in understanding how to develop new details in combining these two very different ways of working to create a piece of clothing. The first piece is still in its nascency. We started by patterning a conventional piece of clothing and then looked at how fabric could weave into the 3D printed elements so that they become one cohesive garment. Over the past few months, we have had to understand the different technologies and methods to understand how to create something innovative. In the coming months, we hope to put some of these efforts into the details of a ready-to-wear garment that will inspire new ways of thinking about 3D printing in fashion.

Keep up with new LACE designs on their instagram feed.

Love in 3D: From Wedding Contest Winners to Newlyweds

Just in time for Valentine’s Day we caught up with Bastiaan and Alicia Ekeler, the winners of our Love in 3D wedding contest from earlier this year. They 3D printed their wedding bands and gifts for the wedding party and we wanted to catch up with them to hear about their special day and what they have been making since!

3D printed wedding rings

How did you design your 3D printed wedding rings? What inspired you to put your finger prints on the inside of the bands?

I designed the rings using Photoshop and Rhinoceros 3D. I have a background in industrial design so I am very familiar with these software packages. Rhino has been my favorite 3D modeling tool for a long time and was the perfect candidate for this project. The rings started with an ink pad, an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper, a lot of fingerprints and a scanner. The scanned image was prepared in Photoshop and converted into a 3D surface in Rhino. I modelled the rest of the ring around the fingerprint relief and exported the whole thing to STL. There was a lot of experimentation to get all the variables right but the whole process worked pretty well.

The idea of using fingerprints stems from the inherent capability for 3D printing to customize any product. Even without having won the contest, it was clear to me that our wedding rings would have to be unique and personal. No off-the-shelf design would do. Fingerprints seemed pretty unique and personal and the finger has an innate connection with the ring to begin with. They were an ideal match to be brought to life using additive manufacturing. So, the idea was born to have my left ring finger’s print embedded in my wife’s ring and vice-versa.

You might be interested to know that we have actually decided to start offering custom designed rings on Shapeways! We like ours so much that we feel we should share the design with the world and opened out first Shapeways store.

Did you 3D print any special favors for the bridesmaids and groomsmen?

Yes, we actually did design gifts for the members of our wedding party. For the bridesmaids, we created a tiny little infinity symbol, loosely modeled after a precisely curved twig. It is a little hard to see from the picture but the pendant has some knots and imperfections on it, making it a little more organic than mathematical. I even went into Zbrush and textured the outside to mimic tree bark, although this detail got polished out in the finishing process. It is always hard to resist the temptation of getting lost in modeling details when zoomed in 1000% on a 1cm wide model. The infinity symbol was chosen for it’s obvious marriage / friendship related symbolism and the branch element was based on the outside, farmhouse wedding location.

3D printed wedding favors neckalce

For the groomsmen, all high school friends of mine, I designed a pair of cufflinks with the logo we’ve been using since college to symbolize our group. I will leave the interpretation of the abbreviation as a exercise to the reader.

3D printed wedding favors cufflinks groomsmet

Now that you are married, have you designed anything together to commemorate your wedding or your time together since?

We haven’t done any 3D modeling together since the wedding but I would like to share one last Shapeways item we had made: a cake topper. We went through a lot of designs for this but in the end decided to keep it pretty simple and elegant, matching those same qualities of the cake itself. Yet another use for the white, strong an flexible nylon!

3D printed wedding cake topper

Can you share one piece of advice for newlyweds or couples who are about to get married?
I don’t know if we’re really in a position to be giving out advice as fresh newlyweds. From our short experience, I’m afraid I can only talk in clichés, so here we go: Never take each other for granted, pick your battles and always keep communicating.

Thank you again for allowing us to have the best wedding we could have had through the power of 3D printing!

wedding 3D printed

Bastiaan + Alicia Ekeler

Congratulations again, Bastiaan and Alicia! For our lovebirds out there, what do you plan on 3D printing for your sweetheart?