Category Archives: Community

Day One of 3D Printed SuperFanArt at Comicon 2014 in San Diego

Our 3D Printing partnership with Hasbro has officially hit the floor at Comicon in San Diego as thousands of fans swarmed the booth to get a glimpse at the 3D printed ponies designed by the Shapeways community.  The SuperFanArt section is a relatively small part of the massive Hasbro booth at Comicon, but one that is garnering a lot of excitement among fans, artists and the toy industry.

Superfanart 3D Print at Comicon

If you are at Comicon 2014 in San Diego be sure to drop by the Hasbro Kiosk 3213 (its the huge one) and say hello to the SuperFanArt team.  If you are an artist or designer interested in participating in the SuperFanArt project, please be sure to register your interest to start selling your Hasbro approved 3D prints to fans around the world.

For those who cannot make it, check out some of the craziness that is Comicon.

photo 9 photo 8 photo 7 photo 4 photo 2 photo 1
Yep, and that’s just the people lined up who pre-paid to be first at the Hasbro stand…


Hasbro & Shapeways Enable 3D Printing Fan Art with SuperFanArt

For the first time, a global brand will open up its intellectual property to fan designed products using Shapeways 3D printing. We are partnering with Hasbro to launch SuperFanArt, enabling fans to 3D print and sell their own creations based on Hasbro owned content. SuperFanArt, which will debut at Comic-Con San Diego 2014, grants the passionate and talented Hasbro fan base from the Shapeways community a license to create exciting new art and product offerings. The first license is granted to a select number of 3D artists including Brandon Lee Johnson, Paul Philbin, Christophe Vidal, Melinda Rose, and Brian Harris to create artwork based on My Little Pony.

Shapeways & Hasbro 3D Print

We are thrilled to work with Hasbro to be the very first entertainment brand to open up their intellectual property to their dedicated fans to legally create tangible, 3D printed products. This partnership is perfectly aligned with our mission to enable the Shapeways creative community to make exactly what they want, for themselves, to share and sell to others.

superfanart launch Shapeways & Hasbro

For the initial launch at Comic-Con 2014, we will start with the incredibly popular My Little Pony series, to allow fans around the world to create and sell unique, 3D printed My Little Pony figurines. This will dramatically expand the range of products available from the few currently being mass produced by Hasbro, to potentially include the over 900 ponies identified and named by the fans. Many of these designs have been created by a passionate group of fans from the Brony community (for the uninitiated, a Brony is a Bro who likes Ponies so Bro + Pony – P = Brony (welcome to the herd)).  Once we have filled our 3D printers with community designed ponies, we will continue to work with Hasbro and the Shapeways community to enable more Hasbro branded content to be created, 3D printed and sold.

This is a major step forward in realizing the creative potential of 3D printing, to make products on demand that might otherwise never make it into people’s hands. Hasbro has been incredibly forward thinking and open minded, to realize that the existing unmet demand within their fan base can be satisfied with the help of those very same fans. We expect to see many more partnerships like this, to enable user generated content to be 3D printed based on existing intellectual property, with fair attribution and compensation for all parties involved. We’ve seen this model work successfully in the digital realm, and we’re thrilled to be leading the charge in the physical.

Take a look at the SuperFanArt site to learn more, and meet some of the Shapeways community members who are promoting their designs in partnership with Hasbro and Shapeways. Also check out the New York Times article for insight into why the Hasbro team approached Shapeways to be a partner to help them enter the world of 3D printing, thanks mainly to the Bronies in the Shapeways community.

A solid brohoof to all the bronies who helped make this happen.




Seeking Designers to Feature at EAA Airventure: Send us your Planes, Drone Parts and Aerospace Models

custom drone
Do you love planes, drones or just aerospace in general? Have you heard of the Experimental Aircraft Association? Once a year they bring together air travel enthusiasts of all varieties at the world’s largest gathering of the sort, EAA Airventure, in Oshkosh Wisconsin. We’ve won a booth through a contest they held for startups and we would love to have you join us, or show off your planes and drone parts in our booth!

The Details:
July 28th – August 3rd
Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA

How You Can Get Involved:
Come say Hi to Dan & I in the booth or join us! If you live nearby or are visiting the midwest and would like talk to fellow aircraft enthusiasts any of the show days, please email and we can coordinate logistics.

Can’t make it to Oshkosh? No worries! Send in any products you want shown off at the show with your designer details, any custom branding you have, and a bit about each product you’re showing. We’ll tell your story and send them back to you after the show if you’d like!

Send Planes, Drones & Aerospace Accessories To:

Savannah Peterson
c/o Shapeways
419 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016

More about EAA and Airventure can be found on their website; though this video gives you a nice taste of what is in store.

What would you fly if you could fly anything?


3D Printing Philanthropy: KXX Rings by Michiel Cornelissen

We hope everyone is enjoying the World Cup, whether through tears or cheers. Here at the Shapeways Headquarters we’re doing our own celebrating in a few different ways. While we’re obviously Chrome casting the games, we’re also very excited about a campaign run by Shapeways designer Michiel Cornelissen. Michiel is an amazing product designer we’ve highlighted before in our Designer Spotlight series.

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How to find inspiration for your 3D printed designs

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by Aviva Fort

From Eleanor: Aviva Fort is a Shapeways Crew member and designer who runs the SKAZMdesign shop on Shapeways.

Every maker knows how it goes. The creative well runs dry. Nary a drip of inspiration leaks into your parched skull. Try as you may, you just can’t think of anything to help you make that “wow” product; something you’ll love to see made into 3D printed reality. You’re just plain stuck. 

From my perspective as a maker and designer, I’m going to give you a few doorways in your life and mind that you can open up to find inspiration. Hopefully they will serve as the first steps towards designing and producing an awesome item that you’ll love to build and boast about. Three ways that help me create new designs are: looking into nature, finding a small detail on an architectural or cultural piece, and listening to good old heavy metal music.

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Empowering blind and visually impaired people with 3D printing and design

By Paul Dunne

From Eleanor: Paul Dunne is a Shapeways Crew member and the C3PO (Chief 3D Printing Officer) of Blindesign, a company based in Ireland that works to empower blind and visually impaired people through 3D design and printing. He is a recent graduate of the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and has an exhibition of his work on view there from June 13 through 20. We first met Paul at a meetup we held in Dublin back in April! 

Blindesign embraces change in how we develop and acquire 3D printed products. It also enables a social benefit to blind and visually impaired people by carrying out creative workshops with the blind to create forms and drawings of how they see the world. These creations are then scanned and developed into 3D printed products and jewelry that are available to buy in a wide range of materials on Shapeways. The finished designs are the tangible aspects of the empowering experience from the workshops.

Through Blindesign I am committed to changing perspectives of what it means to have vision. Many thought the idea of collaborating with someone who is visually impaired or blind in the creation of designs was too crazy and couldn’t be done.

However, there is a motto among the visually impaired and blind at National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI), a charitable organization that provides services and support for people with sightloss. It starts by them asking a newbie, like I was at one time, “Do you know what VIP stands for?”. To which I answered, “Very important person.” They replied, “Yes, but also visually impaired people.” I was very struck by how powerful a comment it was. I could feel the pride and energy in the room when the connection was made. 

I wanted this project to emphasis that although the participants who I work with throughout this project are visually impaired or blind, they and their creations are the very important parts. I did this by making VIP spaces to keep the ‘Very Important Pieces’ that were made by hand and then to have the ‘Very Important Prints’ made with Shapeways. 

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A 3D printed tribute to one soldier’s bravery

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by Michael Williams

From Eleanor: Michael is a talented 3D modeler, and the Shapeways forum moderator and shop owner. In honor of Memorial Day, which we celebrated in the United States earlier this week, we wanted to highlight his story of creating a 3D printed tribute to one soldier’s bravery.

Before being deployed in Afghanistan, Liam Nevins, an American soldier, wanted to build a business making custom equipment from his own designs. In the search for a method to prototype his designs, the soldier and his mom found Shapeways. Everything was lined up to start his business, but unfortunately Liam never made it home. 

A fellow soldier deployed with Liam’s company in Afghanistan, delivered these words in tribute to Liam, “…He was tireless and seemingly everywhere, every day, doing not only his job as a communications specialist, but trying to do every job on the team… He would program radios, build explosive charges, practice with the mortar, shoot at the range, and put his nose in the air to sniff out the slightest hint of work or challenge. Usually this was all before 10 a.m. … His energy level was simply not human and there was nothing we could do to stop him. His stubbornness and commitment would always win. There are people who have a never quit attitude and then there was Liam.”
Looking for a way to create a special memorial piece in his honor, Liam’s mother, Victoria, found her way back to Shapeways and I connected with her in our forums. As the forum moderator I don’t search through the forums for modeling work, but I often find posts from people looking for work in the wrong sections. That’s how I found Victoria’s post in the General Discussion section. I let her know I’d be honored to help her with her project. 
Victoria had a vision: She wanted to replicate the sleeve of Liams’ uniform, full size. During an operation in Wagez, Afghanistan, Liam was seriously injured by PKM fire during a close range, night time fire fight. Another element was pinned down and Liam was quick to run to the sound of the guns and help his brothers. 

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Replic Age Festival and 3D Printing Event in Madrid

by Luis Hidalgo 

From Eleanor: Luis Hidalgo is a 3D modeler and designer, and Shapeways Crew member, living in Madrid, Spain. He runs the Panzer Vs Tanks shop, focusing on World War II miniatures and is very active in the Shapeways forums and started the thread for Spanish Shapies.

This past weekend Madrid hosted the first edition of the Replic_Age Fest and a related 3D Printing Event. From May 23 to 25 we attended conferences about 3D printing and exhibits that demonstrated different ways to interpret these news technologies.

Spain now is an almost completely new market, open to the latest tendencies and new forms to understand work and production tools after the huge destruction of enterprises during the recent economic crisis. As a result, Spain has many qualified students and workers who are on the lookout for new forms of industry and drivers of economic activity.

In this sense, at the Replic_Age Fest we could watch that small workshops are tending to open source printers, with a big presence of small Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology.

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Create a custom 3D printed pup with Pupworkshop

From Eleanor: All of us at the Shapeways office were delighted to discover Pupworkshop, a new addition to our Easy Creator Apps that enables users to easily create ultracute custom puppy figurines. I caught up with Tom Rethaller, the creator of Pupworkshop, to discuss how he developed the idea to bring together his love of dogs and 3D printing and the possibilities that 3D printing offers to him as a developer and a designer.

What inspired you to create Pupworkshop?

As a dog lover and 3D printing enthusiast, the idea of designing 3D printed dog figurines had been around for some time. I had several ideas and could not settle on one model, and then I realized I could make a tool to quickly try and preview various combinations of shapes. “That’s my project” I thought!

What was your testing and development process like and how did 3D printing with Shapeways fit into that?

I had been experimenting with Full Color Sandstone (FCS) a little bit and I decided to start designing from the constraints of the medium. I wanted the model to be cheap and hollow, so I went for a round body and short legs. I spent maybe half of the design time on the base body mesh, looking for simple and generic shape that would allow many different parts to fit on. I wanted room for facial features, knowing that this is where most of the fun would come from, so I kept the head big. Most of the parts of the pup do not overlap, so they could be designed and tested independently.

I had more trouble with the colors! For the first iteration of the palette I carefully chose natural, subtle colors – browns and beiges – and they came out washed-out and muddy. Using the “Color Quick Reference” (awesome tool!) I redid the palette with much brighter colors. While not very natural these are what works best on FCS. Next time I’ll try to remember: do not design for the screen, but for the product!

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Shapeways Italian Meetup and Trieste MakerFaire Recap

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Grazie, Italia
We’ve just returned to our home base from our visit to Trieste, Italy. We’re still busy processing all the creativity we have seen, the cool and easy going people we met and the impressive, innovative ideas they’re working on.

We have a longstanding relationship with Trieste, as our own 3D Printing Engineer Sara studied there and recently gave a few talks on 3D printing there. When we heard Trieste was hosting a Mini MakerFaire we decided the time had come to visit. Trieste is located in the North-East of Italy, close by to Slovenia, Croatia and Austria, so it’s a great crossing place for many Shapies to connect.

We were able to do a little of sightseeing before we hosted our Meetup at Romi Kaffeehaus PanOsteria on Friday. It started a little late, but as they say, “When in Italy, do as the Italians do (con calma).” Everyone had a great time and of course we stayed longer than originally planned. Among the attendees were a few groups whom also were going to exhibit at the Trieste Mini Maker Faire the day after, so it was really cool to meet everyone and hear about each other’s projects in advance. After the Meetup we were invited by Stefania Quaini to visit her own Impact Hub where they provide workspace for organizations who work on positive social and environmental impact projects.

On Saturday we headed to the International Centre for Theoretical Physics where the first Trieste Mini Maker Faire was being held. When we arrived at our booth, we got the pleasant surprise that Davide & Manuela from Lumifold, who we had met at our Meetup, were our direct neighbors. We were joined in our booth by our awesome shipowners Symbiont, Wonderworld3D, Bielestele and the soon-to-be-opened shop of Coraline Jewels. All of them were doing completely different things so make sure you check their shops out!

A fun detail is that the Trieste Mini Maker Faire actually was planning to have only 30 exhibitors. The event ended up being much more successful with over 100 exhibitors, and over 4000 visitors on just one day. Clearly, the maker community in Italy and the area of Austria, Slovenia and Croatia is about to explode, so if you’re from the area and ready to start working on your own business make sure to connect.
We would also like to express our deepest gratitude to Simone Paternich and Romina Beltramini for introducing us to all the interesting people we met the past couple of days, Emanuele Cicconi, and of course our local hero Fabio Bonini for helping us out with everything during the weekend. We are hoping to return to Trieste soon!
Later this week we’ll announce the upcoming events in Europe for next month, so stay tuned!
Ryan & Ruud


MCreatures: 3D Printing in Shanghai

by Xiaoxiao Zhang and MCreatures

From Eleanor: I’m very excited to introduce Shapeways Crew member Xiaoxiao Zhang, who reached out to us about organizing Shapeways meetups in Shanghai. Through her company MCreatures, Xiaoxiao is an energetic advocate of 3D printing in China and is deeply involved in introducing 3D printing through collaboration with art institutions, educators and community events. The first Shanghai Shapeways Community Meetup will take place May 20th. 

In China, there is fairy tale known known as Maliang and the Magic Writing Brush. It takes places in ancient China and is about a boy named Maliang who lived a miserable life, until one day, as a reward for his kindness, he received a magical writing brush. His new brush transforms everything he paints into a real object. If he is hungry, he can paint himself a pancake or maybe Kung Pao chicken (as this might be the most known Chinese dish). In real life this magic brush does not actually exist, or I so thought until I first saw how a 3D printer created an object. Then I realized that the story of Maliang and the Magic Brush is finally happening in real life! 

This year we launched MCreatures after getting our very first Makerbot. The company name, MCreatres, stands for Maliang Creatures and is inspired by this fairy tale of the magical paint brush. MCreatures projects have three main points of focus: 1) organizing 3D printing hangouts and events to let curious people know what it is and why it is so fun 2) provide 3D hardware to people whoever wants to use, borrow or purchase them 3) connect people to skills and each other with art and education programs. With MCreatures we wanted create a place and a way to let our people know that we are living in an amazing era where we can turn bold ideas into reality. 

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Exploring Europe: Making our way to Italy

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As we return from our travels to the UK, we are facing an exciting schedule. We are really looking forward to this month upcoming events, as it will be the first time Shapeways is headed to Italy. Of course we’ll also be in the Netherlands with the Meetup in Utrecht and, at the end of the month, the Factory tour in Eindhoven.

Utrecht Meetup

Thursday, May 8 — 7pm – 9pm
Continuing where we left off in Amsterdam last month, we’re looking forward reconnecting to our community members from that region. Don’t forget to RSVP on the event page so we know you’ll attend!
Trieste Meetup
Friday, May 16 — 7pm – 9pm
Meetups before Maker Faire are starting to become tradition for us. So let’s keep it going by meeting up a day before the Trieste Mini Maker Faire. We can’t wait to meet up with the Italian Shapies. For all Meetup info, check out the event page.
Trieste Mini Maker Faire
Saturday, May 17 — 10am – 6pm
This will be our first event in Italy. So be sure to check out our booth! All info about Trieste Mini Maker Faire can be found here.
Shapeways Eindhoven Factory Tour
Friday, May 30 — 2.30pm – 5pm
It’s tour time again! We welcome you to our Eindhoven-based factory where we’ll show you the ins and outs of 3D printing. We only have limited space available, so RSVP fast to reserve your spot. 
If you’re able to meet up with us during one of these events, make sure to give us a shout!
Ryan & Ruud


The Heart of My Inspiration

By Nate Schmidt

From Eleanor: This is the second entry in our series highlighting design inspiration and know-how from the Shapeways Crew community members. Nate Schmidt is a signal engineer living in Jacksonville, Florida who uses 3D design and printing as a form of expression and sells his creations on Shapeways as LHDesign.

I was driven by a personal tragedy to learn 3D design. I have always been attracted to the feeling you get when creating something, whether it be through wood working, gardening, or cooking. I work as an engineer, and have never really considered myself artistic or really even creative. I now find that designing has a therapeutic effect on me.  I find it’s relaxing to lose myself in a design and, for a time, shed off some of the stress and worries of daily life.   

My foray into design began when my daughter, Lucy, was born with a rare and very serious congenital heart defect.  We were extremely lucky and discovered it early. When she was a week old she underwent open heart surgery to correct the defect.  For the next few weeks I sat by her bed in the hospital obsessing over one little organ, that was so vital and yet so delicate. 
It wasn’t long after bringing my daughter home from the hospital that I can across a news article about 3D printing and all of the amazing possibilities the technology had for changing the future. I was astonished to learn that all I had to do was learn how to design in 3D and I could make anything I ever wanted. I made it a goal to make a unique piece of jewelry as a reminder of my family’s struggles and, ultimately, our victory. 

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Natasha Hope-Simpson & 3D printed prosthetics: a story about turning tragedy into creative hope

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by Melissa Ng

From Eleanor: I’m very excited to introduce the first of a series of guest blog posts from our Shapeways Crew members. Shapeways Crew are leaders in the field of 3D printing and design and will be sharing their stories, insights, and 3D modeling tips and tricks on the Shapeways blog more regularly. This piece showcases the collaborative nature of the 3D design process and the artistic, creative and therapeutic possibilities 3D printing offers. Melissa Ng is a doodler, entrepreneur, and 3D printing artist who first shared this story on her blog
I began my journey in 3D printing back in October 2013. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with people who constantly push the limits of their expectations and imagination.
In March 2014, one of those amazing people I met was Kendall Joudrie, founder of Truro-based Thinking Robot Studios. From Kendall, I learned about Natasha Hope-Simpson, a 24-year-old artist and musician who lost her leg in a hit-and-run car collision in her hometown of Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
Despite going through eight surgeries, Natasha’s leg was too mangled to be repaired and she was told that she would never be able to walk properly again. Given these facts, she made the tough decision to amputate her leg.
While Natasha was a victim of a terrible accident, she did not remain a victim of her circumstance. As Haruki Murakami said, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

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Kickstarter Spotlight: wobL

Does your phone ever get lost in bed? Find yourself fumbling for it to turn off your alarm clock each morning? Well, wobL can fix that. Created by Mac, Adrian, Joe, and Vic of Third Prime Studio, wobL is part phone stand, part iOS app. And enables a seamless wobble-to-snooze experience—a simple tap to the phone or stand puts the alarm in snooze mode.

Like a lot of Shapies, the design group created wobL in their spare time, completely remote from one another. To save time, money, and effort, they used Shapeways for prototyping— 3D printing in Elasto Plastic, dyeing the product, and using it as their functional sample. 

wobL fits any iPhone or iPad Touch with or without the case.

But now they really want to get their product off the ground. So help them out on Kickstarter! There’s just about a week left.