Category Archives: Community

Five Easy Ways to Supercharge Your SEO

To help our shop owners get ready for the busiest sales weeks of the year, we’re re-sharing this post from our Shop Owner bootcamp series. All insights courtesy our performance marketing pro, Jeanne, who shows us how to make your SEO airtight — and drive shoppers to your store.


Scottish Shapie Shop Owner MyGadgetLife has some of the best product descriptions on Shapeways. Check out his eggbot (above) and his moon mobius to get inspired for your shop!

5 Easy Ways (Under 5 Minutes) to Get Your Products Picked Up by Google

We’ve already talked about various ways to get customers to your shop, but today we’re going to dive even deeper and talk about the importance of search engine results (SEO). Currently, organic search results are one of the top drivers to Shapeways. The more you can get your products in search engine results, the more likely a potential customer will visit your product page and make a purchase. Below are five tips to get your products search engine optimized in minutes.

#1 Use Specific Keywords in Your Product Titles & Descriptions

Your model titles and descriptions are used not only on your model page on Shapeways, but in search engine search results – a two for one! So, titles and descriptions with specific, relevant keywords will help your products appear in and get people to click (which helps it to surface even more frequently).

Action: You can spend a lot of time on keyword optimization, but here are two easy ways to get started:

  • If you were to search for your product, what would you type in a search engine? Make sure those keywords are in both your title and description

  • Be as specific as possible with your description, including all the peripheral search terms that might be relevant (synonyms, the category that your product belongs in, types of customization or personalization, etc.)

For example, if I title my product “Holiday Ornament,” the likelihood that my product will show up on the first few pages of Google is very low (there are a total of 22.8m search results). Sucks, I know. But if I title it “Custom holiday ornament with initial,” I’m competing against 8.7m search results. And in my description, I’ll write “Christmas or holiday ornament can be customized with initials, monograms, names, images, and is a great unique gift for your loved ones.” Sounds wordy, but it works.

#2 Update Titles & Descriptions to a Certain Length

Anything too long or too short is suspected by search engines to be of low quality. There is a min and approximate max, and you are penalized with less opportunity to turn up in search results for it.

Action: Titles should be about 6 to 8 words (55 characters), with the most important words in the beginning. Descriptions should be at least 15 words (160 characters) with keywords described above in it, as that’s the snippet that gets viewed in search results so you want it to be enticing! Use natural language (the way you would normally talk or write) in your descriptions, including facts and statements to help viewers see the value of your product immediately.


#3 Give Your Images Captions with Keywords

A picture is worth a thousand words. Your product photos should be clear, product-focused, well-lit, show materials variety, and be in as high a resolution as possible. More and more people are finding Shapeways products through image searches on search engines (i.e. Google, Bing, etc). Including a clear photo and a description with keywords will increase the likelihood it will get picked up in image searches (known as an “Alt text”).

Action: In the Details tab of your model, fill in the image caption with keywords, starting with the ones most relevant to your product. For example, for this ornament I created with Shapeways ornament creator, my caption is “Custom Christmas holiday ornament with organic design”

Image caption

#4 Every Product is Unique, so its Title and Description Should Be Too!

Every model should have a unique title and description. Duplications are penalized by search engines because it assumes the viewer won’t have a good experience if there’s a lot of too-similar content.  Unique titles and descriptions will help your products get shown by search engines.

Action: Give your product titles and descriptions. Your products are unique and their titles and descriptions should be too.  little bit different is better than no difference at all.

#5 Your Shop Description is Prime for SEO Opportunity

Your shop page is full of opportunities for search engines to pick up, with your product and their titles, image alt text, and the robust area to write in a shop description.

Action: Update your Shop Description in your Shapeways Shop Settings with examples of your products types, your background and your expertise designing them. Feel free to elaborate on your designs and products, as the more relevant keywords on the page compared to non-relevant keywords, the better.

Bonus: Also add an extended description for your shop page.

Shop Description

Search engine optimization is a time-intensive and ever-evolving process, but the key tenets are consistent: quality content, natural descriptions, and following basic guidelines will go a long way.

What keyword search do you wish you were the #1 result for?


This post has been updated by Angela Linneman.

Shaping Dutch Design: MathArt Koos Verhoeff

In celebration of Dutch Design Week 2016, our Shaping Dutch Design series will take a closer look at a few of the dozens of Dutch designers who are part of the Shapeways EXPO this year and, of course, our global maker community all year round. Make sure to visit us in person if you’re in Eindhoven this week, and follow us here, on InstagramTwitter, and on Facebook for live updates from #DDW16.

mathart header

Mathematician Jacobus “Koos” Verhoeff of MathArt Koos Verhoeff may be best known for his work in coding theory, but he’s also a prolific artist, creating gorgeous sculptures based on mathematical concepts. Luckily for us, Koos, along the Foundation MathArt Koos Verhoeff, has chosen to make models of his pieces available on Shapeways. Pieces like his Mobius Clover  and Trefoil Knot inside Equilateral Triangle make for beautiful jewelry, while a model of his Bi-colored Torus Path is a museum-worthy work of art — perfect for anyone who loves geometric design.

You can take a look at Koos Verhoeff’s pieces in person this week at Shapeways EXPO at Dutch Design Week, and visit his Shapeways shop any time to customize your own work of mathematical art. Don’t miss the chance to own a piece by a great living artist who’s found a beautiful way to work at the intersection of science and art.

Designer Spotlight: Cynthia Breheny – President Guinea Pig & Co.

Cynthia Breheny’s President Guinea Pig & Co. shop on Shapeways is full of whimsical designs which are illustrated not only by super cute product shots but also in the inspiration behind the products. We chatted with Cynthia to find out more — and obviously to learn the story behind her shop name.

How did you come up with the shop name President Guinea Pig & Co.?
The name for my shop is a remnant from an old comic I used to draw as a kid. I would get my class work finished early and draw comics in my notebook. Unfortunately, it kept the kids around me from finishing their work!

Can you let me in on the inspiration behind a few of your pieces? Let’s start with Charles the Great White Hair Comb.
Charles was inspired by my sister. She had a close encounter with a manatee who came up to say, “Hi” while she was floating on her back. Thinking it was a shark, she bolted out of the water, screaming like a banshee. Many inside jokes later, the manatee became an imaginary shark named Charles who can be blamed for all false alarms.


How about the Hana Tentacle Hair Comb?
The Hana Tentacle Comb was partly inspired by my husband’s Japanese heritage and partly by an octopus at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I spent a long time watching it in the exhibit on our anniversary last year and found out they recognize people by “tasting” them with their tentacles. I thought that was cute — in an admittedly creepy way. Combine that with cherry blossom paintings done by my husband’s grandmother and you’ve got yourself a hair comb!


Any other items you feel have a compelling or fun story/background behind them?
One piece I’ve always been proud of is my first successful interlocking print – the Heart Charm Ring. It’s modeled after a ring my grandmother gave me when I was four. It was my favorite ring and I wore it every day. Being that my fingers have grown since then, I couldn’t wear it anymore, so I made it (with slight modifications to the design that I liked better) with 3D printing! That’s what really solidified my love for the process. The fact that you can recreate something you lost or make a better version — your idealized recollection of a treasured possession is so amazing. We can literally manufacture dreams now.

It sounds like your style is influenced by your family. Tell me more!
My grandfather is a former Disney employee. He worked there for 27 years as a handyman after bringing his wife and kids here from Cuba. During his time working there, he won multiple awards for designing tools and fixtures that increased efficiency in the hotels and rides. He paints, writes music and poetry, and makes instruments out of dried fruit. It’s because of him that I learned to draw inspiration from pretty much everything.

Definitely check out Cynthia’s shop on Shapeways for a gorgeous example of a shop that’s leveraging incredible product shots to highlight her designs.

Card Holder Design Challenge

Get $15 towards prototyping a wallet or card holder

Card Holder Design Challenge 3D printing Contest Shapeways

The holidays are fast approaching, and we all know what that means: amassing a new gift-card collection. But where are you going to put all those plastic tickets to Shapeways, Applebees and Amazon?

Create an accessory compatible with any standard gift card or credit card, then share the render and link in our forums. You’ll get $15 towards prototyping — and we’ll pick our favorite designs to be part of the 2017 gift guide.


All Submission are due by Sunday, October 30th at 12 PM EST. Shapeways Money will be processed the following week.

Share Submission

How to Join the Challenge


Design a card holder

  • Using your favorite 3D modeling software, design an accessory for a new gift card holder in the material of your choosing. It should be able to hold credit and gift cards along with business cards, transit cards, and/orlove notes.


Upload Your Design to Shapeways

  • Open up a Shapeways shop (if you don’t already have one). Upload your model using the upload button. Put your model in the Accessories category, and any applicable categories, then tag it as is relevant. Set your model to ‘public’ and ‘for sale’ in your Model Details page. Set the prices with your markup for the materials you want to offer in (we’d recommend the Strong and Flexible family) Models must be *.stl or *.obj

  • Add CustomMaker if you want your shoppers to customize the product.


Share Your Entry!

  • Share a link to your product in the Card Holder Design Challenge thread along with a photograph or render. Remember you can share as many products as you want, but only one credit will be given per shop. Then help choose which you think are the best entries by liking or sharing them.


  • Credits are limited to one per person.

  • By participating in the design challenge you are granting Shapeways a perpetual, nonexclusive, sublicensable, royalty-free, and worldwide license to use your model, description, and photographs, as well as print and distribute prints of your model, for promotional purposes.

  • All submissions must be awesome.

  • All submissions must be submitted by October 30th at 12 PM EST.

  • All submission must comply with the Shapeways Terms & Conditions and Content Policy.

CAD vs. Modeling: Which 3D Software to Choose?

One of the most common questions we get from those who are new to digital manufacturing is “If I want to design something, which software should I learn?”

The answer to that is a little complex, but it hinges on one simple idea: What are you trying to make? There are lots of great software packages for 3D design out there, each tailored to a different type of product design. Knowing what you are trying to make will dictate the type of software you will use.

Overall, design software falls into two camps: CAD and 3D Modeling. CAD software is used when creating industrial, mechanical objects. Alternatively, 3D modeling packages more commonly used for making organic elements used for film special effects and video games.

Depending on the goals of your design, you may use both types of software at different stages of the design process to make the final 3D-printable design.

Below, we’ll go over how they are different and provide a few examples of each software type.


CAD (Computer Aided Design/Drafting)

CAD programs ask the user to “draw” a 2D shape and then turn those drawings into 3D forms, as either solids or surfaces. Drafting software comes from a long lineage of product designers, architects and engineers who would draw 2D plans, complete with measurements, which would be handed over to technicians or craftspeople who would interpret the designs and make the said object. This could be done manually or with a successive process of machining. Nowadays we have tools like 3D printing so that the design can be interpreted by other software (CAM or Computer-Aided Manufacturing) to create the tool path or slicing for 3D printing.

CAD programs take these 2D drawings and digitally translate them into 3D rendered “objects.” In some cases these are just “shells” or surfaces, while other programs treat the object as mathematically solid material. Simple shapes can then be added or subtracted to create more complex forms.

Because CAD software takes its roots in 2D drafting it is mainly for functional, measured 3D objects. Any functional object around you (your phone or computer that you’re reading this blog on) was designed in CAD software.

Examples of CAD:

Solidworks: Industry standard CAD software


Fusion 360: Free for students, startups, and makers!


Tinkercad: great for beginners


Onshape: Cloud-based with free option


3D Modeling

CAD software is great for functional objects, things that need to work mechanically or fit to a real world device. That said they may not give direct enough control over a design to allow for freeform, artistic work. This is where 3D modeling software comes in. Long used by the film and video game industry to make animation and special effects, you can also use these programs to create printable 3D models.

Modeling softwares are based around surfaces created from 3D geometry. This may be based around a system called NURBS, or may be simple polygons composed of vertices, edges, and faces. In many cases, programs will let you switch between these systems with ease, depending on your workflow. These points and surfaces come together to form the edges of a 3D object.

The advantage of modeling over CAD is that modeling software gives users direct input into each vertex or surface individually or as groups. This always for different ways to manipulate the shapes, often in ways that look more organic.

Some programs are even designed to treat 3D models as if they were lumps of clay so that designers can take a more sculptural approach. Using tools that emulate traditional artistic techniques, artists can get the most out of the geometry of a digital object.

Examples of 3D modeling software:

Sketchup: Free and popular


Maya: Industry standard for film and animation


Blender: Free, open source, and runs some of Shapeways’ backend tools


ZBrush: Professional digital sculpting software


Sculptris: Simpler, free version of ZBrush for beginners

Overall, knowing what you want to achieve with your design is vital to choosing the right tool for you. If a design needs to be functional, fit to other real-world objects, or have specific measurements, starting with CAD is the way to go. If a design needs to emulate a real-world or imaginary object or showcase your artistic vision, modeling could be a solution. If a design wants to do both, try mixing and matching software within your process.

Shapeways at Dutch Design Week 2016

Dutch Design Week is here! Based in Eindhoven (Shapeways’ hometown), this annual nine-day festival draws designers and design-lovers from around the world. Each year, we join forces with our community of independent designers to showcase their amazing creativity. And in keeping with this year’s theme, The Making Of, we’ll be opening our factory to visitors — giving them a chance to see where (and how) the magic happens, get 3D scanned, and take part in workshops and presentations by some of our Dutch Shapeways designers.

Keep reading for a rundown of how you can join the fun at Dutch Design Week.

Visitors to Shapeways' Eindhoven factory during Dutch Design Week 2015

Visitors to Shapeways’ Eindhoven factory during Dutch Design Week 2015

Shapeways EXPO | Shapeways Factory | Oct. 22-30

Every day, we’ll be inviting visitors into our factory to explore how our community of independent designers is using Shapeways to break new ground in product design. We’ll also be offering:

  • A 3D scanning booth to bring more fans into the world of 3D Selfies. (11 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily)

  • Community Workshops and Presentations to connect visitors with Dutch designers and the products they’ve brought to life with Shapeways. (1 p.m. – 3 p.m. daily)

  • Factory Tours that provide a rare glimpse into how files are turned into finished products. (10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. weekdays; registration required)

A winning design from our 2015 Helsinki Design Week CHIL-DISH Project

Shapeways Presents: CHIL-DISH Project | Yksi Expo | Oct. 22-23

After our successful event with CHIL-DISH at Helsinki Design Week, we’re partnering up again to unleash kids’ creativity at DDW. At the CHIL-DISH Project:

  • Kids will be invited to reimagine everyday objects using paper and crayons.

  • We’ll then choose 10 designs to be 3D modeled by CHIL-DISH designers, turning the kids’ drawings into 3D printed porcelain objects. (11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Oct. 22-23)

Wired Life Tiger by Shapeways Designer Dot San

Wired Life Tiger by Shapeways Designer Dot San, on display in our Eindhoven factory

Shapeways Presents: Community & Materials Exhibit | Yksi Expo | Oct. 24-28

  • Come explore some of the materials we use and check out how our designers are exploring these unique and versatile media. (Oct. 24-28, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.)

A group of 3D Selfies

A group of 3D Selfies

Shapeways Presents: 3D Scanning | Yksi Expo | Oct. 29-30

  • Don’t miss your chance to get scanned for a 3D Selfie.

  • We’ll take a scan of your head and shoulders using Occipital’s Structure Sensor and an iPad. Then, you can easily order your mini likeness through Shapeways. (Oct. 29-30, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.)

If you make it to Dutch Design Week, be sure to come to one of our events and say hello! And if you can’t make it, keep an eye on the the blog, where we’ll be highlighting talented Dutch Shapeways Designers throughout the week.

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.


Designer Spotlight: Igor Puškarić – Iggy Design

Iggy Design features some incredible creations by Igor Puškarić, who is an award-winning 3D artist and animator with over 6 years of experience in the video game industry. He loves to design and create high-quality models that people can use in their own projects, films, games, and animation. We were particularly intrigued by Igor’s intricately designed chess pieces so wanted to share it with our community.


Tell us about your chess piece designs.
What I always strive for is originality and innovation. I would love to design toys and figurines; and chess was a popular game already so I decided to give it a shot and have my own take on it, with a strong intention to produce something that has not been seen before. I actually googled alternative chess images and see a huge potential there.

I tried to showcase something completely different, yet familiar and usable. I created them specifically so they would be difficult to cast, meaning I wanted to make them 3D-printable with the specific purpose of celebrating the technology. The great thing about printable chess is that you can afford to lose a piece– just replace the lost one, rather than having to buy a whole board again.

What inspired the design?
I started playing with general features of each figure but through a sort of steampunk direction to make them intricate while also keeping the industrial-futuristic tone. It was my wish to make them look cool no matter which angle you were looking at them from, so the flow of the shape was important.

So, what’s next?
I yet have to create the opposing army as well, so the black and white figurines aren’t the same armies painted differently. Painting is also something I intend to learn,but I am not there yet.

Chess pieces aside, Igor is most proud of his Swarm pendant which is printed in stainless steel and is loved by lots of happy customers. Check out his shop and consider picking something up for yourself!


World Maker Faire 2016 New York Round up!

It’s the time of year to kick-start your making — a sentiment that was entirely evident at New York’s World Maker Faire 2016!

Last weekend, we ventured up to the New York Hall of Science to set up our booth at “The Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth” aka Maker Faire. This year, our booth featured two 3D designed and printed dresses by Nervous System, as well as designs from several other Shapeways community members.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and below are a few from the event!

IMG_4117The Shapeways booth, moments before the crowd arrived!

IMG_4192…just a few moments later, our booth booming with guests!

A whirlwind of a weekend, Shapeways had over 300 people stop by the booth within the first few hours of the event!

Our booth was filled with displays showcasing the jewelry designs and works of art from our own maker community.  We shared not only each designer’s profile but what inspires their creativity through 3D printing. Take a look at some of the collections below:

Nervous SystemsNature and science insprired jewelry designed by Jessica and Jessie from Nervous System.We displayed the Kinematic and Petal dresses, as well as on both sides of the booth and folks could not stop taking pictures.   One young maker told her Dad she wanted to start working on dresses next too!

IMG_4129Math inspired designs by Bathsheba Sculpture (left) continued to draw attention from the crowd.   And alongside Bathsheba was jewelry by the mother and daughter design team known as DuetDesigns (right) Jessica_Kasia Equally loved by many were floral designs by Collected Edition (left) and Layers by Design (right) had many folks asking where they could get her miniature prop plane earrings!  At Shapeways Marketplace of course!

Products by The Rogue and The Wolf drew significant interest and fascination with jewelry printed in steel!

Jewelry by SeriaForma - Carol Butkovsky’s turbine fidget rings were a favorite to play with to many of the guests at the booth. Visitors also were blown away by the porcelain step candle holders.

BlessThisMessJewelry and home goods by BlessThisMessNYC. These adorable little succulent pots drew big attention from the crowd. 

Science inspired pendants by designer Somersault18:24

Designs by LikeSyrup. Scott Dentons rings showed off our wonderful selection of precious metals – people were trying on these rings all day!

These precious jewelry items by 3Different were the perfect showcase for our new interlocking metal material. The crowd was stunned by the ability to 3D print in interlocking parts, and couldn’t take their hands off the bicycle pendant and its moving wheels.

Overall, we had a great turn out this year at Maker Faire and are looking forward to seeing you again next year!

Shop The Maker Faire Collection

Discovery Channel Star of Big Giant Swords and 3D designer Team up to bring Awesome Minifigure Swords to Shapeways

One of our favorite things about Shapeways is that we’re a digital maker space for creative minds to meet and collaborate. One exciting new project we’ve seen is between designer Nate Ryan and Swordsmith / TV star Mike Craughwell aka Michaelcthulhu. They teamed up to recreate Mike’s huge metal swords as 3D printed toys for mini figures

Mike Craughwell MikeChthulhu Big Giant Swords Discover Channel 3D printing Shapeways lego minifigures

Mike and Nathaniel reviewing some models over Skype

How did this project get started? What inspired you to work together?

Nate Ryan: ”I was watching Irish Mike’s show on Discovery Channel called Big Giant Swords. I was so inspired from Mike, this guy living his dream and sharing it with the rest of us. The swords were impressive to say the least, but for me I was more inspired with Mike, the person. You can tell he is authentic, a great father and husband so for me those qualities drew me in even more than the swords. I created Dragonsbreath as the first prototype and reached out to Mike on Twitter and Facebook that I could make 3D models of his swords. I was so excited when he responded and from there we have had several Skype sessions to talk about designing swords on a smaller scale where fans of the show that couldn’t buy a custom build at actual size might want a small scale version. The idea was to make replicas of the swords on the tv series scaled down to a size that would fit into a lego guy or other figurines.”

How did you get started with 3D design for 3D printing?

Nathaniel Ryan: “I use Blender 3D for all my modeling and used the swords to also learn how to print them, it took some trial and error, but have been extremely satisfied with the quality and precision that Shapeways printing provides. I have also been doing 3D modeling for several years as freelance. you can find some of my work at ArtStation, Pinterest, Facebook, or FullyCroisened.

What are the challenges you find in recreating Mike’s swords for mini figures?

Nate Ryan: “Due to the small scale, to maintain thickness, etc, sometimes I need to take some liberties on the actual details of the 3D printed versions. I try to get as close as possible to the original giant swords. Also before we enable it to the public, we print several versions until we get it to a quality level we are happy with. That process can take some time, but we want to get a repeatable and reliable print design before we make it available for purchase.

For me, I love the metal options but the plastic ones are safe for children and putting them into a lego man or some other figurine is too much fun!”

Check out the great video by Mike out on Youtube promoting the store:

Mike Craughwell MikeChthulhu Big Giant Swords Discover Channel 3D printing Shapeways lego minifigures

A collection of the swords printed in various materials

Mike, how did you feel when you saw the swords printed as miniatures for the first time?

Michaelcthulhu:I get a massive kick out of seeing the tiny swords, obviously. Not everyone can afford a massive sword, so it was cool to finally have a small piece of Mikemorabilia that people could actually afford. The wonders of the age we live in or whatever, even if I could make small stuff with this fine of detail (which is questionable when your primary tool is an angle grinder) it would still be out of most peoples price range cause of the time it would take me to do it. I’ve gotten messages from people who have bought these for their kids, warm cockles etc. They’re so much cooler than a Michaelcthulhu T-shirt or Mug, in my humble opinion.

Mike Craughwell MikeChthulhu Big Giant Swords Discover Channel 3D printing Shapeways lego minifigures

Mike Inspecting and using the sword

Also bonus for me: Nate did all the hard work! The 3d modeling work done by Nate is just as baffling to me as what I do is to most people. Let’s say Nate had never sent me his Rahab model pictures, at some point it might have occurred to me to pay some random guy to make the model, uploaded it to a Shapeways account and prayed it all worked. But if there was a problem with the model? Or if I wanted to modify the model in some way later on? Not a hope, I would have been totally stuck. These little swords only exist because of Nate. Is there a moral? Keep sharing your stuff with people I guess?

Also I have always secretly wanted to be an action figure far more than a real person, and this lines up with that nicely. Mike action figure– Nate get on it! (although that might be just the lack of sleep talking I went to bed at 6am).”

We love hearing about how designers are teaming up with other creative people. You can find their swords available for sale here. If you’re had a cool collaboration, let us know in the comments below! If you’re looking for a partner to work with, check out our designer for hire page here.

Designer Spotlight: Cro’s Miniatures for Tabletop RPGs – Anthony Hinton

Having recently opened up Black High Definition Acrylate for shop owners to make this material available to their customers, we wanted to highlight Cro’s Miniatures for Tabletop RPGs, a Shapeways shop that offers highly detailed and customized miniatures printed in this material. We asked Anthony about how he began creating miniatures and the tools he uses:

What led you to start creating miniatures?
I started designing and printing 3D models when my D&D group all created rare races of characters. We searched around and couldn’t find any miniatures that were suitable for our strange assortment. After creating these characters, I realized how powerful 3D printing is for tabletop RPGs. Each character is so unique and the miniature that represents it should match, and that’s only really possible through the amazing technology of 3D printing. One of my customers requested a gnome sorcerer with a squirrel on his shoulder and a smaller clockwork version of himself. There’s no way anyone would have such a specific miniature, but through the magic of 3D printing, Foodle was born.

Screen Shot 2016-10-03 at 3.41.51 PM

How do you do it?
I found some amazing tools that help me create quickly. Make Human is an amazing open-source base model creator that I’m now using for all my new models and from there I import the base into Blender and render the rest of the figure. Each of my models is fully rigged for animation using Rigify (Pitchipoy Human). With those tools alone, anyone can make amazing 3D models.

Screen Shot 2016-10-03 at 3.43.11 PM

And you do custom orders?
While I wish I could do this full time, 3D modeling is only a hobby for me right now as my day job keeps me from making more than one or two miniatures a week. If you have a character that you’d like to have made, let me know. If you have the time to wait for the perfect model, I’ll make whatever you can imagine.

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Check out Cro’s Miniatures for Tabletop RPGs shop here, his custom creations are well worth being patient for!

Designer Spotlight: Artur Dabrowski – Multiply Like Rabbits

Artur is a twenty-something maker from Brooklyn, New York who became fascinated by the idea of 3D printing while pursuing his architecture degree. While a relevant topic in the architectural field, Artur’s school didn’t offer resources to delve into the technology, so it wasn’t until after graduation that he found Shapeways by chance and took time to print a house in plastic to see how the process works. He loved the result and began attempting to print metals, making a pendant for a close friend of mine. She loved it and Artur was inspired to continue creating– leading to the launch of Multiply Like Rabbits, a line of whimsical jewelry and accessories. Artur pairs his products with gorgeous photos that tell a story, cute drawings that engage the audience, and work-in-progress shots… all combined with writing peeking into the thinking behind the designs.

Because the clarity of Arthur’s vision is carried out so impeccably throughout his Shapeways shop (and featured on our Jewelry marketplace), we wanted to find out more about his process and creative aesthetic.

What’s your inspiration behind your designs?
Everyone always asks ‘why rabbits?’ I started drawing rabbits in the margins of my notebooks during high school. I would personify rabbits to express thoughts, situations or feelings I was having. I think the imagery of the rabbit being personified is playful — the rabbit is cute, hops around, eats, multiplies… and lives naively in this world. Personification takes that image and crosses them with this highly rational and complex being, incapable of preserving its naivety. Rabbits were the vessel through which I felt comfortable expressing myself.

One rabbit leaps across the open gap of the two finger ring band while the other rabbit observes: Double Rabbit Ring

How do you approach the designing process?
Imagination lets you take elements inspired from reality into a world that is whimsical and of your heart’s content. I can remember as a child playing in my room, with little scraps of wood leftover from my father’s work, cutouts of printed paper, toy game pieces… and assigning them meaning and value. Elements of reality became extraordinary in this augmented world… little pieces became characters… desks and bed sheets became landscapes. I didn’t let go of that childlike fantasy — I still imagine things that don’t exist and stories that never happen. But I think, as an adult, we have the ability to turn that imagination into reality.

I do a lot of sketching on the subway. There are so many more serene places to sketch (on a deck overlooking the water) but I make the most of what I have. I ride the subway to get around the city in the morning. I’m usually hyped up on coffee fifteen minutes into my day, so I just can’t sit patiently. I need to make things. I can’t design in my mind because I get easily distracted. And to develop an idea I HAVE to draw it. Although the subway is crowded, I found that drawing has become a way to get into my zone… headphones-on I can zone out and be immersed in what I do. Plus, since I’m fixed in my seat, I can’t walk away from what I’m doing. It’s funny to think that such polished jewelry is inspired in the grittiest of all places. That’s NYC.

Brick Arch Ring
As an architect, I love working with brick because it’s one of those materials you can feel with your eyes. Roughness is rendered by light, adding depth to a seemingly flat application. Although bricks are cut with a machine precision, they are always imperfect. It’s such a beautiful material in and of itself. I tried to capture such depth when creating the 3d printed ring. The bricks are 3d modeled rough and uneven, and the roughness peeks through the joints of the mortar. Hand polishing won’t reach into the .04 mm gaps, leaving striated 3d print lines. But the roughness is only visually, it wears smooth and comfortable.

When I design, I like to create something as if it was a found object, as if all the details were meant to be and there’s no trace of the designer to be found. In architecture school, I preferred to work with existing ruins and other found “objects” on a site. With jewelry, I like to work with the body as a landscape. To invigorate the design process, I embed stories within the objects that govern design moves. Rather than be overt, I like to naively create a moment suggestive of a story that can be interpreted differently than my initial intent. Although I am expanding the line with more architectural pieces, I use rabbits as characters in this open-ended story.

For more beautiful photos of Artur’s work, check out his Instagram account where he documents his design process and ethos.


Make That Monogram Gift: Personal Monograms In 3D

You don’t have to know how to 3D model to print something really cool and special as a gift. If you’re in the hunt for that special someone check out, the monogram gift creator for the 21st century. The creators of this app developed the site from scratch and even the font was designed to be 3D printed, possibly the first font of it’s kind!

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Available in silver or steel, in keychain, mini monogram necklace or statement necklace Mymo is a great way to commemorate a memorable event with simple, elegant design.

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So head to their app page and get started making a one-of-a-kind 3D printed gift today:

Designers and coders: interested in getting your easy creator app featured on our site? Connect with our API team to show us what you’ve made or e:mail Dan directly at

Step into the Shapeways voting booth

Posted by in Community

UPDATE: In the closest Shapeways poll ever held (but also the biggest landslide), the 3D print of Hillary Clinton had 3,445 votes to 3,412 votes for the 3D print of Donald Trump.

Next Monday marks the first debate between U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. For over a year (though it seems like much longer than that) the media has reported on poll after poll of the voting electorate to try and predict a winner in November 8th’s election.


Here at Shapeways we do polling a bit differently. Designer Tomislav Veg has designed 3D printed busts of each of the candidates, allowing us to do a very unscientific poll of our community. Here’s how it works:

Visit the product page of your favorite candidate (you can click on your favorite candidate’s bust above to vote), add it to your favorites and order it in one of the available materials. At the end of the day on Tuesday we’ll tally up votes as follows:

  • 1 vote for every page view of a candidate’s product page
  • 3 votes for every person that favorites the product
  • 5 votes for every order of a candidate’s product


You have until the end of the day Tuesday September 27 to place your votes and we’ll announce the winner in the blog next week.

Happy Voting!
Vote for Hillary
Vote For Donald

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!