Category Archives: Community

Creating the Dreamer Regalia Armor: Finishing the Armor!

This is our sixth post detailing how designer Melissa Ng created the Dreamer Regalia Armor. Read previous posts to learn more about this project , how she uses Blender for base modeling, her sketching techniques,  final modeling videos and a behind the scenes look into the armor being printed at our factory in NYC. 

After the armor was printed, it was time for Melissa to put her finishing touches before sending the final piece to Felicia Day. Because it was printed in our White Strong & Flexible Nylon Plastic, the armor was a great base for the extra detail. Melissa did all of these final details by hand, including painting, varnishing and sanding.


Check out the final video of this series to see how she brings everything together:

It’s been incredible to watch Melissa go through the journey of making this special project. From her initial idea to bringing Felicia Day on board to seeing the final piece, the Dreamer Regalia Armor is a great reminder of the capabilities of 3D design and printing.

We know there are more makers out there with dream projects in mind, and we hope seeing the story of how Melissa brought her dream project to life inspires you to get started on yours!

Creating the Dreamer Regalia Armor: 3D Printing with Shapeways

This is our fifth post detailing how designer Melissa Ng created the Dreamer Regalia Armor. Read previous posts to learn more about this project , how she uses Blender for base modeling, her sketching techniques and final modeling videos

After hours upon hours of sketching, modeling and the like the armor was finally ready to be printed. After uploading the various parts of the armor to Shapeways, it was time for the printers to do the work. The armor was printed in our White Strong & Flexible Nylon Plastic material which lent itself well to the post-processing Melissa did to finish the dress.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 2.21.40 PM

Melissa came to our factory in Long Island City and was able to see the final printed piece as soon as it was ready. Check out the video below and listen as our Community Manager, Andrew Thomas, explains how the 3D printing process works and all the steps it takes to get from a 3D design to something you can hold in your hand:

Creating the Dreamer Regalia Armor: Modeling and Final Details

This is our fourth post detailing how designer Melissa Ng created the Dreamer Regalia Armor. Read previous posts to learn more about this project , how she uses Blender for base modeling and her sketching techniques

Thanks to CoKreeate,  Melissa was eventually able to work off of a scan of Felicia Day so she could feel confident that the measurements would be perfect. CoKreeate is an LA-based 3D scanning and 3D printing company that helps people bring their ideas and imagination to life, and used the Artec Eva scanner and Artec Studio 10 software to create a highly detailed 3D scan.

Using that scan (and still using Blender), she worked in sections to model the full piece.

In her blog on Lumecluster, Melissa dives deeper into why she began 3D modeling and how she taught herself this skill. You can read more about how she learned to 3D model  on her blog, as well as an interview we did with her a while back. This project is the perfect example of how you don’t need an extensive background in 3D design to make something amazing. Practice, persistence and passion can get you far. Through trial and error, Melissa taught herself the skills she needed to create the Dreamer Regalia Armor.

Check out the videos below to see how she works in Blender to create the intricate details of the armor:

Chest Piece Detail

Head Piece


Final Details

Creating the Dreamer Regalia Armor: Sketching the Armor Pattern

This is our third post detailing how designer Melissa Ng created the Dreamer Regalia Armor. Read previous posts to learn more about this project and how she uses Blender for base modeling

After getting a base model down, it was time to take a step back from the computer and go back to some good old-fashioned hand sketching. Even for highly technical, geometric shapes there is something to be said about creating a design on paper. Melissa spent 25 hours in total doodling and sketching the armor and armor pattern before adding it to the base model.


In this video you’ll see a part of her sketching process and will hear her talk about the things she kept in mind while designing – including how (and why) she used foxes as a source of inspiration:

Photo of sketches courtesy of Melissa Ng.

Creating the Dreamer Regalia Armor: Base Modeling with Blender

This is our second post detailing how designer Melissa Ng created the Dreamer Regalia Armor. Read the first post to learn more about this project and how she connected with actress Felicia Day. 

When inspiration strikes, it can be hard to know where to begin. Different designers have different starting points, and for Melissa it started with some sketching and base modeling.

Because she had an idea in mind, starting with the base model worked best for her even before she had Felicia’s measurements. For her, the concept of topology is really important and using the 3D modeling software of her choice (Blender), Melissa began by creating the basic shape of the armor first.

Watch the video below to hear more about how she got this project started, and to get a glimpse of the tools and software she prefers:

For a more in-depth look, check out Melissa’s blog for more on the original inspiration behind the piece on Lumecluster.

Creating the Dreamer Regalia Armor: The Ultimate Cosplay for Actress Felicia Day


Have you ever had an idea you couldn’t stop thinking about? A design that just takes over your brain and makes it hard to even think about anything else? While we know this is a reality that many designers face, it’s hard to deny that those types of big ideas produce amazing work.

Last year we began working with designer Melissa Ng on a high fashion and fantasy-inspired piece that pushed the boundaries of design and really showcases what’s possible with 3D printing. This week we will be sharing posts on:

Melissa documented the process herself on her blog on, and we highly suggest you read her incredible posts to get more insight into how she felt during the entire process, including how she was able to get actress Felicia Day on board:

“When it comes to someone who has taken her imagination to amazing heights, I can think of no better person than Felicia Day. Day is an actress, author of New York Times Bestseller You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), avid gamer, geek advocate, producer (Knights of Good), and entrepreneur (Geek and Sundry). She has appeared in numerous mainstream films and shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Supernatural” and “Eureka.”

“Day encourages people to “embrace your weird,” which is also a campaign to stop bullying. She fights for diversity in gaming, empowers women to be more proactive, always seeks new challenges, constantly breaks away from the norm, and empowers people to fight for their dreams. Shapeways and I believed Day was the perfect person for the Dreamer Regalia armor.”


Together with Melissa, CoKreeate (the LA-based 3D scanning company) and Day’s amazing team this piece came to life. For a full look at the armor, check out the article on Geek and Sundry. To hear Melissa talk more about the project, check out her feature on Shapeways Live below, and stay tuned for posts this week!

Photos: Eric Anderson/ Hair and makeup: Sabrina Castro

Connecting Making, the Arts, and Washington, DC

On Tuesday night, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Rayburn House Office Building was teeming with makers and artists showing off their stuff.  The Congressional Maker Caucus and the National Endowment for the Arts’ Making in the Arts exhibition shined a spotlight on the deep connections between making and arts for policymakers in Washington, DC.

As you would expect from an event that brought together the maker and arts community, 3D printing was well represented.  There was a sculpture generated by facial expressions:


And 3D printed shoes:


Along with 3D printed jewelry, organic sculpture, and all sorts of other models.  Naturally, making in the arts is more than 3D printing, and there were teams that create making opportunities for kids in their community and the New Craft Artists in Action showing off their basketball net crochet community engagement project:


These events are important because they bring the vibrant art and maker community directly to policymakers.  While these projects might seem well known to the Shapeways community, for many Members of Congress this sort of event is their first introduction to what is happening in this world.  As we’re sure you probably also know, it is one thing to talk about making but quite another to show it to someone.

That is why Shapeways supported this event and are happy to be able to work with the Maker Caucus to help bring this world to Washington.  It is also gratifying to know that Making in the Arts is not an isolated event in the world of Washington, DC.  3D/DC and the Capitol Hill Maker Faire also help build bridges between making, arts, and policy.  So if you are in the Washington, DC area – or want an excuse to go there – keep your eyes peeled for their 2016 dates!

Images courtesy of Courtney Duffy.

Why Yesterday’s Copyright Whitepaper Matters to You

Yesterday the United States Department of Commerce released a whitepaper on remixes, first sale, and statutory damages.  While this is interesting reading for anyone who likes thinking about copyright law and how it might be reformed (i.e. every man, woman, and child on the planet), two of the areas that it covers may be especially interesting to the Shapeways community: remixes and statutory damages.  Read on to find out why – if you get to the end and you aren’t convinced I’ll refund you the cost of this blog post.

While not every model on Shapeways is protected by copyright, many of them are. That means that the rules for copyright also end up being the rules for models on Shapeways.  This latest report is part of a long process of reviewing the U.S. copyright law that has involved Congress, the Administration, and the Copyright Office itself.  While it will not change the law on its own, this report is a good description of the current state of play and will likely influence any eventual changes that Congress makes to the law in the future.  You can think of it as capturing a moment in the evolving consensus (or at least evolving conventional wisdom) of what “reasonable” copyright reform looks like.  (If you are feeling especially wonky, you might think of it as helping to set the Overton window for the debate – but that’s a bit of a digression.  Anyway….)


The first issue that the report addresses is how to handle remixes.  Essentially, remixes take existing works to reimagine, recontextualize, and, yes, remix them into something fresh and new.  They can take many forms, from fan fiction to mashup videos to songs built out of samples.  3D printed remixes can take two characters from a movie and mash them up into one, or reimagine a video game character in the style of another game, or even stir up a collection of memes to turn them into a super-meme.

While remix is everywhere, its status within the world of copyright law can be complicated.  Some remixes require permission from the remix sources in order to comply with the law.  Others are protected by fair use and do not need permission.  Since copyright infringement can come with hefty penalties (more on that in a second), it is important for remix creators to know which category their work falls into.  Unfortunately, that isn’t always a straightforward process.

The report describes two different types of disagreement about how to handle remixes.  The first is probably the expected disagreement: between people who make remixes and people who make the things that get turned into remixes (obviously the same person can be in both camps, but for the purpose of this post it is easier to separate them out).

The other type of disagreement may be less expected: this disagreement is between people who are involved with remix commercially and people who are involved with remix noncommercially.  To oversimplify things, people who are involved with remix non-commercially basically want to be left alone.  People who control the material that is used in both commercial and non-commercial remixes worry that leaving non-commercial remixers alone will create a loophole for commercial remixers to avoid paying licensing fees.  The result is a mess.

The report does not do a lot to help resolve either of these disagreements.  It suggests that best practice guides can be useful, but also recognizes that they can be incomplete or imperfect.  It also considers some sort of multi-stakeholder agreement on some rules, while at the same time noting that the last time such a thing was attempted it went nowhere.

This lack of a clear resolution is unfortunate because it can be expensive if you are wrong about needing permission from the sources to make your remix.  In large part that is because of the way copyright damages work.

Statutory Damages

Don’t be put off by the fancy name.  “Statutory damages” just means that the dollar amount you have to pay for infringing on copyright is written into the law.  This is in contrast to most other types of damage, where the person suing has to show how much harm they were caused before they can recover damages.

The statutory damage system is good for the person doing the suing because they do not have to figure out a way to calculate their specific losses.  It can be scary for the person being sued because the number (even though it is a range) can be quite large – into the six figures per work infringed.

When the U.S. copyright law was last redone in 1976, most copyright infringers were going to be commercial-scale criminal enterprises.  Very few people inadvertently backed into significant copyright infringement. Today it really is possible to expose yourself to hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of infringement liability with a few casual clicks of the mouse.

Fortunately, the report actually contains some recommendations to make this system better.  Essentially, the recommendations would give courts more leeway to consider the circumstances of the infringement before assigning large penalties to the infringer.  Hopefully that would make it less likely that small scale infringers or people who made a wrong guess about fair use end up owing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

What’s Next?

As I said at the beginning, this report is part of a longer review of U.S. copyright law.  We’ll keep an eye on the parts that may impact the Shapeways community and keep you updated as things happen.  If you are interested in either of these topics, I would recommend taking a look at the report itself.  It is written in accessible prose and each section provides background on the issue, the points raised by both sides, and an explanation as to why the Task Force recommended what it did.

As you look at the section describing the points raised by both sides, you might also consider taking a look at which companies and organizations raised points you agree with or disagree with.  These companies and organizations are the ones that are participating directly in this process and might be worth checking out.

In the meantime, Matt Schruers over at Project Disco has a quick writeup of some takeaways of the report generally.  Heidi Tandy – who is affiliated with the Organization for Transformative Works – also has an analysis of what this means especially from the perspective of remixers at her FYeahCopyright blog.  If you have gotten this far and are itching for your refund, the gift of the links to those two posts may scratch it for you.

Have you ever tried to make a remix or has your work ever been remixed by someone else?  Did copyright concerns have any impact on how you thought about it?  Have you ever had to sue someone for copyright infringement, or been sued yourself? If so, did statutory damages make that process better or worse?  Let me know in the comments, on twitter @MWeinberg2D, or via email at


Feature image by flickr user Horian Varlan.

Read all about it! Shapeways community in the news

Posted by in Community 1 Reply

As much as we enjoy sharing the amazing work our community does, it’s always a little more fun when we see others doing it for us. We love to see community members getting the attention they deserve and know they enjoy getting the chance to share their stories of design and inspiration.

Recently, two designers who use Shapeways were featured in the press and we wanted to share the good news!

Things of The Future, 3D-Printed and Built Like Websites – Forbes

This story features Susan Taing of Bhold and her story on how she got into 3D printing. With her background in web development, Susan started designing products when she “started thinking about how digital design and development could have a big impact on physical things when she returned to China to bring digital technology into her family’s manufacturing business.”

Susan is an incredible example of someone who uses the Shapeways platform for prototyping, and relies on her own community to test out products in real life. Check out the video below for more on why she loves 3D printing:

Ittyblox Unveils Collection of Miniature 3D-Printed Parisian Buildings – ArchDaily

3D printing and architecture are, naturally, a match made in heaven. The materials, the prototyping abilities, etc. It all adds up to bringing buildings and designs to life. For architecture enthusiasts, Ittyblox is a dream. Adding to the already amazing series, Ittyblox is releasing a new Paris set, which “features shopping blocks, apartment blocks, an Embassy with a garden and subway staircase, a banking office inspired by the Société Générale Private, the Sainte Chapelle cathedral, and the famous Parisian tower St. Jacques within a park.”

To help support this project (and get a sneak peek!), be sure to check out the Kickstarter.

Ittyblox Paris set

{via Kickstarter}

Interested in getting your story out there? Check out some of our tips on how to pitch your product to the press, and be sure to share new products (and the inspiration behind them) with us over in “Feature This!“ in the forum. We’ve always got our eye on that thread looking for amazing designs to share!

Congratulations Stony Smith on hitting $10,000 at Shapeways Marketplace

Today marks a milestone for Shopowner and scale miniature expert Stony Smith earns $10,000 in profit from his Shapeways Shop. Stony works full time as a developer and runs his Shapeways shop (and moderates the Shapeways forums) in his spare time.

  • Stony’s first sale was Feb 28, 2010 of 2010
  • In Apr of 2011, he was interviewed by Wired Magazine because of his Shapeways Shop
  • Stony’s most popular models are:



Any lessons you have for other designers / shopowners who want to hit the 10K milestone?

Stony : “Do an equal mix of your own interests and interacting with buyers to find out what they desire. You’ll get bored doing just one of them.

Those best sellers.. the automobile frames, were a request from a friend. They’re something that I would never have done otherwise. My general standard is that I’ll tackle any request if the item is “interesting” to me. This whole journey has been “That’s cool.. can you do one of THESE?”

How do you want to reach your next sales milestone?

Even with all this success, I still consider this to be a hobby, and won’t be quitting my day job. I’m more in it for the community, there’s probably a dozen shopowners that I helped get started with making designs.

I’d love to make $20k, but that’ll be another 6 years. My only regret/desire is to figure out some way to do some actual marketing, but MY market is rather closed. I’d have to invest a lot of time in social media (train forums).

How will you use the $10K in sales you’ve earned so far? 

Stony: “I will use the money to buy more trains !!!! A hobby that funds itself is a good thing :)

In case you missed Shapeways Live with Raymond McCarthy Bergeron

 This is a recap of our weekly Shapeways Live interview. To watch next week’s chat check out the Shapeways Live page.

Ever wondered what it would be like to use 3D printing to make a film? Multi-media artist Raymond McCarthy Bergeron used Shapeways to create his short film Re-Belief and its now available to to watch online. The results are incredible, check it out below.


re÷belief from Raymond McCarthy Bergeron on Vimeo.


I also talked to Raymond about this and other projects on or weekly Shapeways Live interview. If you didn’t catch it live you can find it below or on our youtube channel in the Shapeways Live playlist.


New Year, New Skill

It’s that time of year again, where we scramble to list out those all-important resolutions for the New Year. We have the typical suspects of NY resolutions: read more, meditate often, build healthy habits. However, here at Shapeways, we’re thinking of something else you might want to do in 2016: Get started with 3D printing.

Here’s a few tips on how to get started making with 3D in 2016.

1. Give yourself an easy project to start with. The sky is the limit when it comes to what you can create with 3D printing. However, when you’re first beginning to learn this skill, it may be best to think of a design that’s easier to create. A great way to do this is to find a simple silhouette and use our pendant creator to bring it to life, or for something more complex, consider watching some tutorials and get started with OnShape.

2. Set aside some time each week dedicated to 3D modeling. Even if it’s just an hour a week, setting aside time dedicated to learning each week can take you a long way. Plus, once you get started, it’s easy to get into it and keep going! Pro-tip: Schedule this time as a repeat event on your google calendar, so you’ve always got a reminder to get you going.

3. Get active on the Shapeways forums. Our forums are the heart of the Shapeways community. If you’re ever looking for a source of inspiration or have questions about getting started, you will without a doubt find your answers on this section of our website.

4. Open up a shop. We’ve noticed that it becomes a little bit more difficult to forget about your New Years Resolutions when you incentivize yourself with making money. Having a single product in your shop is a great start to earning a little extra cash for the weekends… and you may find yourself motivated to add more to your collection over time!

6. Keep an eye on our Meetup page and attend local events in your area. Meetups are a great way to meet people who have similar interests – it’s also an opportunity to connect directly with employees at Shapeways and learn hands on about what’s possible.

5. Be a Boss. Set the vision for your goals and don’t let up. You, and only you are in charge of the outcome of 2016. If you set your mind and time to accomplish something, you will achieve it!

Learning something new can be tough, but luckily at Shapeways, we are armed with an amazing community of makers to get you through the learning curve. If you have ideas, now is the time to bring them to life. And don’t forget about all the amazing materials we have to offer. Who knows what new things we’ll come up with in 2016!?

What’s on the Shapeways Tree this Year?

It may be unseasonally warm at 75 degrees F in New York City but we still have the holiday spirit in full swing. A few weeks ago we ran the Ornament CustomMaker Challenge and were blown away with the creativity of the community.

Here are some of the highlights that we used to decorate our tree here at the office. For the complete list of entries check out the forum thread here.

Candy Cane Sleigh by Crafted3D

Candy Cane Sleigh
by Crafted3D

DRAW ornament - hearts 80mm 2 piece tag personaliz by draw

DRAW ornament – hearts 80mm 2 piece tag personaliz
by draw

Twisted tree Christmas ornament by interessander

Twisted tree Christmas ornament
by interessander

Ornament of the Angelic Spirit [customizable] by UniverseBecoming

Ornament of the Angelic Spirit [customizable]
by UniverseBecoming

Christmas Bauble 4 by Sindhu

Christmas Bauble 4
by Sindhu

Wireframe Star Ornament by atoroesp

Wireframe Star Ornament
by atoroesp


Happy Holidays Everyone!

Santa Claus came to town

Last year, we were thrilled to have Santa Claus and one of his reindeers come to the factory the day before Christmas. It was one of the best ways to cap off a great holiday season, and this year we knew we wanted to include them in the fun once more.

Santa Claus made his return to our factory in Eindhoven and once again brought his reindeer. This year we had the pleasure of scanning the duo and were able to present Santa with his own 3D Selfie!

Social Shot 2

Check out that awesome scan! Think Mrs. Claus will like it?

Social Shot 7

Just like last year, Santa took a little tour of the factory and checked out all the amazing products being printed and processed:

Social Shot 4

And of course, he was wearing his 3D printed swag (check out that belt buckle!):

Social Shot 1

As always, we love being so connected to a community that helps us make the holiday a little brighter. Santa knows he’s always welcome to our factory, and we can’t wait to see him again.

Happy Holidays everybody!

Special thanks to: Our amazing community member, Roel Ruwaard, for donning the suit and bringing the Reindeer out to the factory!

Vincent the cat gets new legs through 3D printing

Posted by in Community

No matter how many stories we we hear or read about the amazing things people have done with 3D printing, there are some that are always hard to top. And just like the rest of the internet, we can’t pass up a sweet story about cats.

Recently, we read about Vincent – a cat who was born without his back two legs. A group from the Iowa State University veterinarian hospital came to the rescue and 3D printed two titanium prosthetics for him. Thanks to these new legs, the doctors believe “he’ll be jumping and doing really normal cat things very soon.”

Check out the video below to see more:

What’s especially incredible about stories like these is that we are able to see how the industry moves forward with each case. As mentioned in this story, they were able to refine the technique and implants which will help their next cases be even more successful. The doctors and people involved always learn from each case and eventually that means 3D printing will be able to help even more animals (and humans, as we’ve seen more and more medical cases recently).

For us, it’s always nice to see the Shapeways community rally around stories like this and just this week we saw a post in our forum from a community member who is looking to help their young kitten who was born with crooked legs. Be sure to check out the post to see if you can help!