Category Archives: Designer Spotlight

Algorithmic Sculptures Hit the Playa for Burning Man 2016

Imagine climbing up a 17-foot ossified helical sculpture that glows from within. If you’re heading to Burning Man this August, then you may just get to experience exactly that.

Stijn van der Linden, otherwise known as Virtox, a long-time Shapeways community member and shop owner is an artist that creates algorithmically inspired math sculptures. This year, he’s scaling up his work and taking it the playa to create an interactive Fractal Rock sculpture for Burning Man 2016, backed by the Burning Man Honorarium Arts Grant.


“We want it to appear as if it is grown from the earth, an organic structure designed using math and built to scale through the love and labor of people who are inspired by its intriguing shape and mathematical foundations.”

Stijn is one of the early adopters within the 3D space, beginning his practice nearly 10 years ago using voxel 3D modeling technology (voxel = volumetric pixel). Eventually, he moved into the 3D printing space as it was the perfect medium to bring his complex, math-generated sculptures to life in the physical world. “3D printing made its way into my life when I discovered Shapeways in 2008,” he says, “and I have been hooked ever since.”

Sundanese Mobius by Virtox

Stijn, How do you create your art?
One of the major annoyances I had with 3D modeling for printing was the whole triangle and mesh modeling environment. No real auto mesh repair was available back then. This gave all sorts of trouble. Missing triangle? Error, abort, etc.

I decided to use voxel space instead for my modelling needs. Voxels are essentially three dimensional pixels that you can use as building blocks for just about anything. So kind of like Minecraft drawing, but at a finer resolution. And luckily, it’s a perfect match for 3D printing and CNC. If there is a voxel at point xyz in the model, then the machine should put material there too.

The main trouble was that, when I started with this, voxel software was and still is mostly nonexistent or used only internally inside software. So I had to write most of my own tools to be able to create what I had in mind. The huge advantage for me is that it allows me to directly code my ideas into voxel-space and see instant results.

And as a digital artist, I have always been very fond of fractals and fractal-like algorithms and the beautiful images and animations that one can produce with them.

One day, I totally fell in love with the so-called Quaternion fractals, which is a multi-dimensional variation of the more commonly know Julia set fractal. And these Quaternion fractals produce these amazing organic shapes.

How did you design Fractal Rock?
Pooja Shah reached out to me in September 2015 mentioning her idea to create a large (17 feet!) sculpture inspired by fractal forms in nature and some of my work, most notably the Julia Vase series. So we met online to discuss the idea and we decided to go for it.

We’ve been working on the design for Fractal Rock since then and the model has evolved greatly over the last few months–starting with the initial Julia Vase Aqua as a basis and mixed with images from our inspiration board. We sent many ideas and visions back and forth, which ultimately led me to the epiphany to make a combination of the Julia vase algorithm and the traditional quaternion fractals.


From that point on we spent countless hours tweaking the model and algorithm to push the shape into the desired form. As modeling with fractals is a bit like modelling with silly putty, if you push too much everything breaks. But if you treat it just right, you can get it to do the most elegant things.

And once we found the perfect shape for our sculpture, Pooja assembled a team of experts to get the production/build process underway. We looked at many different ways to produce a sculpture at this scale, but in the end decided on the more old-school steel reinforced fiberglass process to cut costs and ensure safety.

If people want to lend a hand, we could use some final funding to get the scale we had in mind! Please check out our crowd-funding campaign at We have some beautiful Fractal Rock 3d prints as well as other cool rewards!

Designer Spotlight : Stephen Arsenault

3D printing is all about pushing boundaries and solving problems. No one embodies this more than wearables shop owner  Steven Arsenault. Stephen runs a cool shop called Parts and Accessories where he makes useful and stylish accessories for the Fitbit, Pebble, Garmin and more. Let’s hear what he has to say! 

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

I have worked in ad-tech since arriving in San Francisco in 2012 from Canada. Prior to leaving Canada I worked as a graphic designer in the rapid prototyping industry with sheet metal for nearly 5 years, serving many branches of NASA, Naval laboratories, confidential US contracts, and the aeronautical industry.


Stephen Arsenault

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

Ranging from radioactive to purely utilitarian, I like to explore new designs and solutions to tricky problems.

One of my first designs was a carefully designed enclosure for the Fitbit Flex made in brass with semi-precious plating, I named it Fitbit Armour. When I say ‘carefully designed,’ I mean a tolerance of roughly 0.15mm, any less and it wouldn’t work. If I said I like to push the 3D manufacturing provided by Shapeways to their extremes it might be an understatement.

I would gladly accept the title nerd, because it’s tolerances like that which bring me back again and again to produce something new and exciting – it’s the challenge of pushing my technical design skill with the tools and manufacturing available to me.



What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?

Prior to the winter of 2013 I had never used 3D printing before. To me, it was just a buzzword for people toiling away over hot extruded plastic. But I had worked with 50,000 watt laser cutters and ward-jet cutters, so I knew the extruded plastic couldn’t be the limit to additive manufacturing.

That December my soon to be grandmother-in-law showed me a “Neva-5″. If you’re not familiar with that name I can forgive you – it’s a weaving loom manufactured in the 80′s in Soviet Russia.

There’s a switch which must be flipped to adjust the tension on some of the loom mechanism. The original had been roughly cast and eventually broke.

To make a short story even shorter, two weeks later I gazed in awe at my first 3D printed part and had one very impressed grandma (though, no woven sweaters yet).

How did you learn how to design in 3D?

I was exposed to Solidworks during my experience with rapid prototyping. I had tried rhino and 123D CAD but Solidworks just felt RIGHT to me! Also, Youtube is a very patient teacher (if only I were a more patient student).


How do you promote your work?

I promote my work through Twitter and Instagram. I have a shop on Etsy as well, but direct most of my traffic to my Shapeways shop. You get what you put into social marketing!

Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?

Is it too cliche to say Jony Ives and Dieter Rams? No matter, I love minimal design where the emphasis is on details that matter.

Still, there’s a special place in my heart for whimsy and clever flourishes. That would lead me to my two favorite Shapeway designers, Michael Mueller and Steven Gray. If consistency is key, these two guys never fail to impress.


If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?

I would make bicycles and things that propel themselves, the mechanical, the necessary. I would make it all!


Thanks for sharing Stephen, and make sure you check out his shop and follow him here.

Designer Spotlight: Trish Rudolphsen & Nick Rudemiller

This week, we will be spotlighting New York City designers Trish Rudolphsen and Nick Rudemiller, the designers of shop BlessThisMessNYC. Read below to find out more about how they came to find Shapeways, and the inspiration behind their work.


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

We are Trish, a fashion designer and Nick, an industrial/UX designer both graduates from University of Cincinnati’s school of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning. We live in Manhattan and work out of a little nook in our apartment.

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

When we initially set out to print something with Shapeways I was interested in jewelry, but once I saw there was porcelain it changed everything! I never thought I would be able to make a porcelain product, especially without a kiln.

I like the clean lines and shapes designers tend to love, but I like to have a little more fun. I wanted to make products that are minimal and also have personality.

Most of my pieces started out as gifts for friends and family. For instance I made the Dinosaur Candleholder for my brother inspired by his favorite childhood book “Dinosaur Bob.”

What I like best about my designs is how they adapt to peoples homes. Sometimes they look like an estate sale find and sometimes they look like a high end designer purchase.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?

I first saw Shapeways on NotCot and was excited by the prospect of making my own jewelry. I did not know 3D modeling at the time, but luckily Nick did. Also as it turns out a group of my friends are Gotham Smith, so they encouraged us to give Shapeways a shot.

How did you learn how to design in 3D?

Nick learned 3D modeling while in school and uses programs like Alias and Solidworks. I am learning using the free programs available like 123D and Meshmixer. There are a lot of YouTube tutorials that help with the free programs.

How do you promote your work?

We have a website and Instagram, but for the most part I am like a walking QVC show. When I show people pictures of my products, they often buy them right from me.

Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?

Definitely Gotham Smith. I love their work and it’s been nice to have friends in the 3D community. I have also been a fan of Nervous System, I feel like I see their stuff popping up everywhere now!

In the art world I love pop art. I like the idea of big, graphic, sleek images.

If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?

Other materials similar to porcelain that we don’t have access to like glass, concrete or terra cotta. We feel like those would work well with our designs.

For us, 3D printing has been so beneficial because we don’t have to have to rent expensive shop space or equipment to create. We don’t need to leave our apartment to make a finished product.

Want to learn more about Trish & Nick’s design practice? Tune into our Shapeways Live with them on Wednesday 4/13 at 2PM EST!

Designer Spotlight: Rich Brungard

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We are highlighting miniatures this week, so we’re happy to feature Rich Brungard and his shop, Marsh Creek Mini. Rich is inspired by creation, and has found a hobby that allows him to do just that. What’s more, Rich was able to use Shapeways to create products that he found hard to find, and made them available to others, as well!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I have been drawing and conceptualizing ever since my first box of crayons, about 35 years ago. I am a father, a husband, and a veteran. I have a number of hobbies that I’m interested in, but Model Railroading is what occupies most of my hobby time, along with spells of interspersed military and science fiction/fantasy modeling. I’m currently working in the power industry as a 2D drafter, in Reading, Pennsylvania. 

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Designer Spotlight: Kasia Wisniewski

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Our designer spotlight this week is highlighting the very talented Kasia Wisniewski, designer behind Collected Edition. Her shop has some incredible designs ranging from jewelry and hair pieces to men’s accessories. The stand-out pieces capture specific moments in nature, rather than perfect interpretations. Different materials allow for different looks, but Kasia has clearly figured them out. Learn more about her inspiration and process below!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I’m an apparel and accessories designer based in Brooklyn. After attending Pratt Institute and receiving a BFA in fashion design, I worked in luxury womenswear for Vera Wang, J. Mendel, and others for several years. I’m now focused on building the jewelry and accessories divisions of my brand, Collected Edition.


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Designer Spotlight: Gordon Lardi

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For this weeks designer spotlight we are featuring Gordon Lardi of Rip and Tear. Gordon’s love for sculpture led him to designing his own art and, with 3D printing, eventually jewelry! Learn more about his process and inspiration below.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
My name is Gordon Lardi. I have been an Industrial Designer over 10 years living in Coral Springs, Florida. I have worked developing products in a variety of fields my favorite of which is jewelry. It was my love of making sculptures out of clay and metal that led me to the creative field of Industrial Design.


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Designer Spotlight: Haydn Bao

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This week we are highlighting Haydn Bao, one of three behind the awesome drone shop, Fusion Imaging. A talented group of three hailing from Australia, Haydn is the product designer of the team. Haydn gives us some insight into why 3D printing and drone accessories work so well together, as well as where their inspiration came from. With a shop full of great branding and drone accessories, we are very excited to highlight Fusion Imaging.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I’m Haydn Bao, the designer among a small team of drone enthusiasts based in Sydney Australia. We originally designed components for ourselves, but soon many others wanted us to purchase our designs. That’s how Fusion Imaging was born.

Designer Photo


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Designer Spotlight: Matt Roesle

This week we are highlighting Matt Roesle (with help from his wife Mahi Palanisami) and his shop Hypatia Studio. Both are mechanical engineers by trade who have transferred their engineering background to creating mathematical art and jewelry, starting with a wedding band!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
My name is Matt Roesle. My wife, Mahi Palanisami, and I are mechanical engineers. We 3D print jewelry and sculpture based on equations. We live in Thornton, CO, USA.


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Designer Spotlight: Melissa Ng

The designer spotlight this week highlights Melissa Ng! Melissa creates beautiful, whimsical masks, that she’s transformed into intricate pieces of jewelry. She’s also working to help entrepreneurs and creatives navigate the 3D printing world through motivational writing and art.

Update (February 16, 2016): We’ve followed an inspiring project with Melissa; The Dreamer Regalia Armor. Take a look at her process from ideation to final touches on a truly beautiful 3D printed piece.

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

On my site, Lumecluster, I make intricate Dreamer Masks and fantasy wearable art for ambitious creatives who want to take people’s breath away. I’m a New York-based self-taught artist with a background in media & communications and public relations, When I’m not working on Lumecluster, I am managing two other small businesses.

I started 3D printing in 2014. Within less than a year in the 3D printing arena, I won the Adobe & Shapeways 3D Printing Design Competition with my very first 3D print, I designed the aesthetics on a gorgeous 3D printed prosthetic leg, and I worked on a JiHAE music video starring The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus.


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Designer Spotlight: Tomer Emmar

This week we are featuring Tomer Emmar, designer behind the unique shop fortyseven. With a design focus around androgynous bespoke silver jewelry, the shop features beautiful jewelry that can be enjoyed by everyone!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
My name is Tomer and I am a multidisciplinary industrial designer. I am located in San Francisco, CA with aspiration to travel all over the world.

TheStepInn-MerchantsOfReality-Gorman-07.31.15-270 (1)

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Designer Spotlight: Benjamin Cann

For this weeks designer spotlight, we are excited to feature Benjamin Cann, a very inspiring shop owner with designs we could stare at for days. Benjamin has a lot of different designs, pushing the boundaries of 3D printing in really beautiful and fun ways. Hear about his process and inspiration below.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I am a French mechanical engineer, based in Germany. I used to work in various sectors such as material & process research, aerospace, jewelry industry and now in automotive engineering. Besides my day job, I have been continuously learning by myself 3D design techniques, making prototypes and any kind of projects involving advanced methods. Some projects are fully personal, other more contests oriented in order to frame more my creativity. Indeed, I won a couple of 3D Printing contests in the past years. Another of my passions is photography. I have been shooting film for 5 years now and it’s a great way for me to cut with all-digital, instant results. I take a lot of patience to shoot what inspires me at a certain moment. It allowed me to have some exhibitions and commissioned works in the last 3 years.

benjamin cann 2

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Designer Spotlight: Dane Saunders

For this weeks designer spotlight, we are excited to feature Dane Saunders, industrial designer and enthusiastic entrepreneur and creator! Dane’s shop is full of interesting, fun items that clearly express a love for experimentation! Learn about his process and inspiration below.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I tell most people now days that I live & work in a little cave…and I accompany that comment with my best physical impression of a goblin or hunchback….that way they can appreciate my sacrifices! ;) I think it’s a subtle ploy to downplay how cool my job really is. I’ve been doing freelance Industrial Design in Vancouver, Canada for the past 2 years. Prior to that, I spent the better part of a decade working for Boston Dynamics as a designer, technician, and build manager, gleaming as much knowledge as I could from the plethora of robotics engineers that I worked with daily.

Dane Saunders_portrait

Photo credit: Alexis McKeown Photography

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Designer Spotlight: Jeremie Brunet

This week we are thrilled to highlight Jeremie Brunet, mechanical engineer and designer behind Jeremie Brunet 3D fractals. His shop is full of fascinating designs that let us visualize a world we normally can’t see. Check out his shop and learn more about his inspiration below.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I did studies in mechanical engineering (manufacturing processes, materials, structures…) and I work in the enterprise software industry. My hobby is fractals, under any shape: images, videos, and of course 3D prints. I live in Paris, France.


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