Category Archives: Education

Dutch Design Week 2015

Dutch Design Week. 9 Days focussed on design, education and creative initiatives. In a little over two weeks this event will again take place in Eindhoven, our hometown in The Netherlands. We’ve participated in Dutch Design Week for many years with exhibiting in the Klokgebouw, topping that last year with opening our new 3D Printing Factory in Eindhoven. This year, however, we’ve decided to take a slightly different route.

Shapeways Entrance

Right after the festive opening last year we hosted 4 Factory Tours which were a big success. With our Factory being so close to the city center, we feel it’s time to maximize the use of this beautiful space by hosting twice the amount of Factory Tours as last year, giving workshops in the weekends and welcome our Dutch community for a special happy hour.


Even though we have plenty of space to host visitors, we’re still limited to certain times and a maximum capacity. This is to prevent any impact on the production spaces, since we’re visiting a fully operational factory. To guarantee your spots, make sure to sign up using the links below!


Shapeways Community Party:
Friday, October 23 (19:00 – ??-??)

Factory Tour dates:
Saturday, October 17 (13:30 – 15:30)
Sunday, October 18 (13:30 – 15:30)
Monday, October 19 (14:30 – 16:30)
Tuesday, October 20 (14:30 – 16:30)
Wednesday, October 21 (14:30 – 16:30)
Friday, October 23 (14:30 – 16:30)
Saturday, October 24 (13:30 – 15:30)
Sunday, October 25 (13:30 – 15:30)

Weekend Workshops:
Note: be sure to bring a laptop in order to participate. The Kids workshop is for children of 10 years and older.
ABC of 3D Printing – Saturday, October 17 (10:30 – 12:30)
ABC of 3D Printing – Sunday, October 18 (10:30 – 12:30)
Kids & 3D Printing – Saturday, October 24 (10:30 – 12:30)
Kids & 3D Printing – Sunday, October 25 (10:30 – 12:30)

Empowering the Childish Project at Helsinki Design Week

The importance of design keeps on growing at a global scale, proven by the fact that more and more international design events take place in major world cities. Last week (and well, technically a few days longer) creativity hit Helsinki in Finland. From September 3-13, the Helsinki Design Week attracted more than 120,000 visitors to more than 200 participating events. One of these events is the Childish Project from Kristos Mavrostomos and Anna van der Leij.


As the name of the event already states, the Childish Project is fully focused on children who attended Helsinki Design Week. Before you get the wrong impression, this event was anything BUT childish! Ages ranged from 1 to 16, and the kids were able to draw the perfect plate for their favourite dish of food.


With careful guidance from Kristos and Anna, 300 children unleashed their fantasy on paper and these were all presented in a huge exhibition as seen above as part of a competition. The 10 most unique drawings will come to life and be 3D printed in our own Porcelain material. 


As you can see the kids had a lot of creative and colorful ideas. We can’t wait to see the top 10 designs come to life! The winning designs are being chosen while you read this, it will take some time for us to print but stay tuned to hear what happens next!

New York Fashion Week 3D Printed Garments Debut

On opening night of New York Fashion Week fifteen fashion designers, engineers and media artists unveiled their 3D printed fashion garments that they created during this year’s Computational Fashion Master Class at the Re-Making Patterns Opening. Printed by Shapeways, all of the pieces showcase how 3D printed fashion is evolving and becoming a reality

3D printed computational fashion garment

Computational Fashion Master Class is an initiative started by Eyebeam and Shapeways last year. The course is an unique opportunity for creatives from different industries to come together and develop garments that push the limits of 3D printing. Instructors and students address various design topics throughout the course, including materials and customization, that help the designers combine traditional fashion techniques and emerging technologies to create these pieces.

The exhibit is open until September 17th at South Street Seaport’s Culture District.

3D printed computational fashion garment


3D printed computational fashion garment

Continue reading

How I got a license to turn Sophie Corrigan’s Pugtato into a 3D print

One of the most fun ways to choose your next design idea is through collaborations. This could be either through partnering with another designer on an idea or doing outreach and partnering with an artist with existing artwork. As a shop owner on Shapeways I recently partnered with UK based illustrator Sophie Corrigan to turn her Pugtato illustration into a 3D printed figurine. The 3D printed Pugtato is now currently available for sale on my Shapeways shop.

The way the 3D printed Pugtato came about began with me browsing Twitter for art inspiration and I came across an photo of a cute, adorable, pudgy hybrid between a pug and potato; a Pugtato. The original illustration and artwork was owned by Sophie Corrigan. The image resonated with me and I wanted to turn it into a 3D printed figurine so I reached out through email to see if she would be interested in licensing her Pugtato design to let me turn it into a 3D printed figurine. Upon reaching out, Sophie was very receptive to this collaboration. We discussed terms and conditions and agreed upon a licensing payment structure for the partnership. Once the licensing agreement was finalized and signed between both parties, I had the green light to make Pugtato into a 3D printed figurine. The 3D printed Pugtato figurine was modeled by designer Kostika Spaho based off Sophie’s pugtato illustration. Pugtato was printed in full color sandstone.


What made Pugtato particularly attractive as a potential collaborative partnership design was that the owner of the artwork was not a A-list celebrity or corporation which made her easy to get in touch with. It was also a super silly design that fit the theme of my Shapeways shop. Pugtato has already proved to be a favorable seller on various other sites such as Etsy, Redbubble, DesignByHumans, and TeePublic. From a marketing prospective, the product has already proven that there is selling potential which would make promoting Pugtato receptive among previous customers from Sophie’s online shops. The best way to grow your customer base is to acquire a fanbase, which is why collaborations is great at bringing multiple fan ecosystems together.

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 2.39.12 PM


Is there an original piece of artwork that you would love to turn into a 3D print but don’t own the intellectual property? A collaborative licensing agreement might be the best course of action. Here are some best practices for going about it.

Approach your potential partner collaboratively.  There are several ways to get in touch with an IP owner, my preferred way is through email but there is also Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, or contact form on the person’s website. Here was my email script to Sophie Corrigan which got the conversation started. My recommendation for outreach is to have a friendly tone of voice and try to resonate with the IP owner. Explain clearly who you are, what you are offering, and why this would be of interest to them.

“Hi Sophie,

My name is Eric Ho and I am the shop owner of the Shapeways shop Raw Legend Collaborations. Shapeways is the world’s largest 3D printing service and marketplace where anyone can make, buy, sell products. You can learn more about Shapeways here. I make cute 3D printed figurines and animals and your illustration of Pugtato on DesignsByHumans really caught my eye, I am a big fan. I wanted to reach out to see if you might be interested in collaborating with me on turning your Pugtato into a 3D print and make it for sale on Shapeways. I think a 3D printed Pugtato would go well with your audience. Would you be interested in licensing your design?”

Get the agreement in writing.  It is always a good idea to get a license in writing, and that is exactly what this is.  A written license helps make sure that both of you are on the same page going into the partnership.  It can also serve as an important reference if there is an unexpected dispute in the future.  What that written agreement needs to include can vary (and it can be helpful to talk to a lawyer about specific cases you have in mind, especially in an area as new as licenses for 3D printing).  Generally speaking you want to make sure that the agreement makes clear that your partner owns things like the copyright in the original image, that they are giving you permission to make and sell a 3D model, and how you will handle things like payment.  

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 4.53.15 PM

Interested in learning more about  different types of rights that may be involved with models and files here at Shapeways? Michael Weinberg, the head of general counsel here at Shapeways has written several blog post covering topics from IP, fair-use, and copyright.



Back to the basics: Designing my Pluto Pendant


“Shapeways University” designed by Ittyblox


In honor of Back to School season, we’re kicking off the semester by introducing a set of tutorials that will prepare you for all of the design, engineering and art projects in your upcoming semester. Over the next few weeks, we’ll cover a range of information starting from planning your project, designing for different materials, and finally, merchandising & selling your products on Shapeways.

For my project, I chose to create a necklace pendant of our beloved escaped-moon, Pluto. In case you forgot, NASA released its first high resolution photos of pluto this summer – only to reveal a giant heart cratered on its surface, which perfectly represented my love for this former planet. So, I figured why not combine my planetary love + 3D modeling and make a piece of jewelry that would compliment any fall wardrobe.


Follow along with my process in picking materials, creating a 3D model and marketing my pluto pendant by clicking the links below (links will be updated as tutorials are released):

If you’re a student don’t forget to check out our new education discount, and tell your friends to participate in our campus battle over the course of September.

Happy making!

Behind the Product: Andrea van Hintum Designs

In this feature of Behind the Product, we focus on the designs of Andrea van Hintum. Hintum was awarded the Shapeways Education Grant in Spring 2015 for her senior thesis collection at the Savannah College of Art and Design. This collection was unique in that Hintum incorporated hand sewn garments paired with her own 3D printed accessories. Since graduation, Hintum has moved to New York and worked with a number of designers on 3D printed textiles and accessories.


Could you describe the story of your designs and what inspired them?
The ideas and inspiration for my thesis came through my late father’s profession as an electrical engineer. I have always been so inspired by his work, creativity, and the person that he was.  I moved forward and created a collection that would carry the representational meaning and aesthetic of both electrical and mechanical engineering. Structure, shapes, and materials for my designs were reflected from a variety of mechanical and electrical machinery. The textiles used within the collection are all industrial and conductive fabrics with contents of stainless steel and blends of nickel, sliver, and copper coatings. With the incredible techniques I had learned in my short three years at SCAD and the 2012 Computational Fashion Master Class held by Eyebeam, I could finally make my dream of 3D printing fashion a reality. With techniques and knowledge in 3D modeling and printing, I incorporated 3D printed nylon into my senior collection. I am the first designer in 36 years at SCAD to incorporate, design, and put 3D printing down the runway. It is an achievement I am so proud of because the amount of hours put into it was unbearable.

Please describe the process you used to create your final product.
I was inspired by machinery of all kinds. The shapes and structures are so innovative and bold and that inspired me to 3D model accessories with the same aesthetic. Machines with sharp structured blades were my absolute favorite. I began fabricating with paper to get an idea of what maybe could be a bladed corset or even a neck piece. That strong and structured shape just gave me endless ideas of what I could create for each look.

Once I had my idea down, I needed a body to 3D model from in order to get the right shapes and curves. I 3D scanned a dress form with 123D catch. I then imported the form into Meshmixer. This is where I would sculpt my sloppers to make sure the contours would reflect to the body. Once I had my ideal shape, I imported the surfaces into Rhino and began 3D modeling. I would 3D print half scale prototypes to make sure the design and thickness were meeting my standards. From there after several more hours, long nights, and computer screen scans, I submitted my work to Shapeways and the magic happened.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 6.44.27 PM

The combination of engineering and fashion is intriguing. What was your experience bringing these two worlds together?
I really believe the aesthetics of fashion and engineering are quite similar. Material and function are very important in both subjects. An engineer has the responsibility to come up with how to make an object do its functions. A technical designer is handed a design and it is our job to figure out how to make it and bring it to life being both wearable and working. Engineering and fashion are both very important because we use these subjects every single day in our lives. It takes so much concentration, work, and determination to pursue these careers that both an engineer and designer have grown to live with eyes for details.

I really enjoyed using engineering as my muse for this collection. It made me look and think in different ways. Taking this inspiration really gave me the opportunity to try nontraditional textiles and incorporate 3D printing. I do see myself exploring more type of engineering aspects and I am sure they will continue to inspire me.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 6.42.36 PM

How did you learn to design in 3D?
I’ve always loved to work with my hands and I knew that when I decided to make Sculpture my minor back at SCAD, it was going to benefit me in my fashion career. You see, the most successful way for me to come up with designs or to get inspired would always start by working in 3D. Once I knew what direction I wanted to take, I would translate the design to a more descriptive 2D work, then end up with a physical 3D object and/or design. The great thing is that that process works similar in sculpture. It was very exciting to know that I was going to get the chance to learn 3D modeling because of my minor. I was determined to learn 3D modeling and incorporate it into my first collection as a designer. I wanted to be that bold designer who would add something completely unique and different into their designs. However I really did not know a thing about Rhino or any 3D sculpting program. I had taken the beginner 3D modeling class and learned the basics of Rhino. At first Rhino intimidated me, but with practice I became way more comfortable and confident with the program. I got so use to modeling in Rhino that every little thing I saw, I would tell myself that I could easily 3D model it. It was a really cool feeling, because most fashion designers really don’t go through that.

Do you have a preferred modeling software?
I love Rhino. You can always learn something new whenever you 3D model something. So many techniques to learn, and the fact that you can design whatever you want is pretty awesome. I’m all about details. I have learned Grasshopper, but I would much rather spend the time on and hand-build the details with Rhino. It can be tedious, and it really works your eye for detail, but there is no greater feeling to know that you have created something that does not exist anywhere else.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 6.42.59 PM

Who are some of your favorite designers and artists? Shapeways designers?
Iris van Herpen really was my attention starter to create such innovative and interesting designs. She never has a collection that is like the other in any other way. She is the type of designer to constantly show something new and give people something to talk about. Her works are walking pieces of art and the materials and concept behind them are always what makes me appreciate her designs even more. I admire many other designers for a variety of reasons. Maxime Simoens, Krikor Jabotian, Ralph Lauren, Addy van den Krommenacker – just to name a few.

I really admire Auguste Rodin and his attention to detail and emotion in his works of art. He tells stories and encourages his viewer to physically relate to his works of art. Vladimir Tatlin is another artist and designer I have really grown to appreciate. He is a painter and architect with an interesting background and story. I really admire his architecture and how he made such an influence in art and design.

Lauren Slowik has been pretty awesome. I met her at the Computational Fashion Master class last summer and she was just so cool to be around and learn from her. She has stayed in contact with me throughout this year and has advised me with terms of how I should print in Shapeways. I am really grateful that I got to meet Lauren….thanks so much again Lauren!!!


What opportunities do you believe 3D printing brings to art and fashion?
3D modeling and printing can benefit anyone. Artists, designers, doctors, teachers, even kids can benefit by learning this skill. With 3D modeling you are ALWAYS learning new things such as: new ways of problem solving, creative thinking, and general knowledge overall. It gives a clear 360 view on anything. Not just physically but also functionally to. Fashion is going to continue to benefit from this because it is building up way more creative ideas and designs in the industry.  I am serious when I tell people that I really see 3D modeling and printing changing the world and I am excited to actually be a part of that.

Is 3D printing being used in the fashion industry?
I believe it is getting to a point that most designers today are considering incorporating 3D printing, especially now that you can even 3D print in gold, titanium, and other unique materials. The creativity is endless! However, I think the new up and coming designers are really taking action with fashion technology. As 3D printers become more affordable and accessible, I think every designer should have a 3D printer in the work room.

I was so proud to see Karl Lagerfield bring 3D printing down the runway in Chanel’s fashion show this summer. He understands the beauty and elegance in 3D printing fashion and it was all executed just right. As fashion week comes up, I can’t wait to see who is next to use 3D printing. The cool thing is that each designer who will 3D print is going to make it different from the other and that is the best part about this technology.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 6.43.17 PM

What were some of the most important steps during the design process?
The Computational Fashion Master class was the best decision I made in this whole experience. I got to learn from designers and instructors in the industry of 3D design. I met so many people who made a mark in the 3D design world that became very inspiring to me. I learned the whole process of what it is like to really 3D print fashion. I got to interact with other artists, designers and leaders at Shapeways. I always recommend that workshop to those who want to start learning 3D fashion. At the end of the class each team presented a 3D printed garment in an exhibition during fashion week last fall. I was even more thrilled to find out that my teams design was later shown in Dutch Design week in October 2014!

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 6.44.10 PM

Were you met with any difficulties during the production process?
I honestly could write an entire book from my whole experience of senior collection. To design, pattern make, drape, and sew a collection by yourself is already the most overwhelming thing to do. Aside from constantly working in the sewing lab, I had to 3D model my pieces and accessories. It really took drive and passion for me to do everything. To 3D model such complex pieces is not easy and it requires extreme hours to get things done right. I would have all these amazing ideas but in the end it’s about figuring out how you are going to make it happen. It’s not fun to 3D model something so beautiful just to find out in the end you have an odd number of naked edges. Not fun at all! It happens of course, but again you learn as you go and begin to learn steps on how to rebuild surfaces and make a clear more definition of your solids.

Production for me was all about deadlines. Senior collection at SCAD is insanely tough with it only being a quarter system. I was so committed to my collection, because the inspiration and work put into my designs meant the world to me. It was the most challenging year of my life, but the experience was something I will cherish forever. That second I would put my 3D prints on my models I knew I was capable to be whoever I wanted to be and at that moment I knew I had accomplished way more than I ever thought I could. Till this day I can still remember that very moment I saw my gown walk with my 3D prints down the runway at SCAD. It is a memory that will never get old for me to replay again and again.

Can we expect more 3D printed garments from you?
Oh yes! My senior thesis collection was only the beginning. I continue to design 3D printed fashion outside my day job. I love it so much and I am already planning what to 3D model in both garments and accessories. I have more ideas up my sleeve so just stay tuned!

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 6.43.43 PM

For more with Hintum:

If you are in the New York area, you can find her work and the work of other 3D modelers displayed at the eyebeam exhibition, Making Patterns. This exhibition is open until the 17th of September and is located at 117 Beekman Street, Manhattan, NY.
For more information:

To take a look inside the artist’s vision and process, you can follow her on Instagram @andreavanhintum or on her website at

In the near future, you will be able to purchase Hintum’s designs through Shapeways. Many of her designs will focus on handbags and other accessories.

Photographer/ Wes Graham
Photo Editor/ Jose Gallo

Enter to Win the 2015 Shapeways 3D Printing Campus Battle!

Posted by in Education

Attention US university students: enroll in the Shapeways Education Discount Program to enter to win the 2015 Campus Battle!

Entrants from the three winning schools will receive free shipping for their school projects for the rest of the academic year! Seeing is believing, so we’re making it easy to bring an idea to life. Print one of your designs in any material, and we’ll cover the cost up to $25. What are you waiting for?

All entrants who sign up before October 31, 2015 will get:

  • Your first 3D print free, up to $25
  • 20% off printing their own models through September 30, 2015 (and 15% off their own models after that!)

So tell your friends, frenemies, classmates and profs to signup and you could win free shipping for the rest of the year on your school projects!


Visit for full contest details.

New Student Discount!

Posted by in Education

As we start planning for a new school year (at least in the northern hemisphere) I wanted to connect and tell you about changes to the Shapeways Education Program. I’ve spent the last year talking with you and marveling at the numerous ways you use our service in your education.

I am proud to announce that we will be increasing the Education Program discount to 20% off of your own prints through September 30, 2015, and 15% off all materials for the rest of the school year. Our goal with Shapeways EDU has always been to empower people to learn and by lowering the price of our most popular material for all students we’re reaffirming that mission. This new discount has replaced our previous 10% discount as of August 13, 2015, and will be automatically applied when you order eligible 3D prints using your Shapeways account that is enrolled in Shapeways Education Program until September 30th, 2015. While they cannot be combined with your discount, we offer many other discounts to our broader community throughout the year: make sure that you’re signed up for our Promotions & Recommendations emails to hear about them.

Keep your eye out for more exciting ways to use our global 3D printing services in your studies and happy 3D-ing in the new school year!


*The Education Program discount is capped at $200 in savings per person, per academic year. It applies to 3D prints of your own designs. It does not apply to products purchased in the Shapeways marketplace. For larger projects please reach out to with the subject line “Education Discount Inquiry”. We’re always working to improve the Education Program and, as such, its terms are subject to change at any time.

3D printing custom trachea stents

Shapeways offers the chance for designers of all kinds to turn their ideas into reality – be that in the world of tech accessories, fashion innovation, art and design, and in this case, the medical world.

A group of clinicians, architects and engineers teamed together to create 3D printed traechea stents unique to the patient. We spoke with Noah Garcia who is working with Harvard doctors and MIT material specialists to spearhead this new world for airway stents. Starting off with CT scans, the engineers initially started with Formlab printers, but the lack of biocompatible material lead them to Shapeways. While we do not offer 3D printed biocompatible material, our castable wax offering allows the team to create molds that can be used for casting the necessary biocompatible materials. It’s really amazing to see this process – from the files to prototypes to a final wax version, it’s truly amazing to see how innovative this team is. The team has even offered a bronze “pendant” for fun!


How long have you (and/or members of your team) been in the medical field?
Most of our team has spent the majority of their academic and professional careers in the medical field, while other members of our team have had no medical experience at all. The process of creating custom stents required building a unique collaboration between clinicians, architects and engineers. Our clinical team knows a great deal about biology, physiology, and medical pathology, but little about 3D fabrication/computation, while our architects and engineers know a great deal about 3D fabrication, but little about biology. The crossbreeding of the medical and artistic professions is what has made this project possible. Our team includes George Cheng MD PhD, Erik Folch MD, Sebastian Ochoa MD, Mark Tibbitt PhD, Adam Wilson MS, Noah Garcia BArch, Robert Brik MS, Sidhu Gangadharan MD, and Adnan Majid MD. Dr. George Cheng is a clinician specializing in pulmonary medicine and has been leading this project.

How did you involve 3D printing in your practices? When did that begin?
Dr. Cheng first became interested in the possibilities of 3D printing after reading a 2013 article in the New England Journal of Medicine that detailed how researchers implanted a 3D printed tracheal splint into a pediatric patient with a collapsed airway. He believed that data from a CT scan of the chest could guide the production of airway stents or other airway prostheses. The research efforts were supported by Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology. The origin of the project was further documented in a Boston Globe article last year. Dr. Cheng recognized an opportunity to employ 3D printing technology as means to customize the trachea stents. Traditional stents are rudimentary extrusions, which do not fully represent the specific shape of a person’s airway. Airway obstruction from stenosis, malacia, or extrinsic compression can result in significant respiratory symptoms and decrease in patient’s quality of life. In recognizing that traditional stents may lead to significant complications, Dr.Cheng hypothesized ways to customize and optimize the forms. Traditional airway stents are made of silicone, metal, or hybrid materials, and are limited by their cost and complications. Common complications such as migration and granulation tissue formation may be related to inaccurate stent size and shape. Dr. Cheng and his team developed a workflow using CT scanners to extract 3D models of a patient’s trachea to guide the design of custom stent matched to the individual’s airway. The resulting 3D prints are anatomically accurate seamless surfaces, diagonal grids and circumscribed double ­helixes that follow the contours of a patient’s airway.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 10.47.07 AM

From top left to bottom right, beginning with the CT scan model and ending with 3D prints. The CT scan is manipulated with Rhino and parametric modeling plug-ins. The inner surfaces of the trachea are isolated, a diagonal grid is mapped to the surface and the resulting diagrid is exported as a printable file.

Did you know how to 3D model prior to this project?
The engineers, architects and artists on our team are primarily experienced in digital computation for architectural and sculptural design. The clinicians, on the other hand, are experienced with producing 3D models from CT scanners. By bringing together these two worlds of art and science, we are able to achieve significant 3D modeling possibilities. There were scale and tolerance challenges to address when translating from digital models to 3D prints with certain materials, but we are continually making discoveries during the process. Our current challenge is to use the 3D printed forms to create molds and armatures that can support biocompatible materials. Shapeways’ castable wax material has us hopeful of achieving our goal. We’d hope to one day print in our biocompatible materials directly, but until then, we are limited by the available 3D printable materials. Our ideas are ahead of us in many ways, but we are excited to be learning and exploring the unknown.

Why tracheas? Will you experiment with more areas of the body?
The clinicians on our team specialize in pulmonary care and sub­specializes in the field of interventional pulmonology. One of the major disease entity they encounter is large central airway disease. Trachea stents can be deployed into and removed from an airway through minimal­ invasive procedures in a relatively short amount of time. As compared to a heart stent, which is much smaller and more dynamic, a tracheal stent has fewer variables with easier methods to control. Using the tracheal stent as a starting point, we are considering how our process might be applied to other areas of the body. For now, we are aiming to perfect the trachea stent and then explore how our methods can impact other parts of the body.

It’s fascinating to see and learn more about how 3D printing and the medical world are combining forces. Thank you for such a wonderful interview, Noah! Check out the pendant below, and let us know if you have a medical story to share with us in the comments below or by emailing community @


Celebrating the National Week of Making!


We at Shapeways are excited to join in the celebrations for the National Week of Making.  With so many makers in the Shapeways community, it would be impossible for us to simply let this week slip by.

We work hard so that Shapeways can be a home for makers from across the country and around the world. One of the most exciting things about being at the forefront of 3D printing is that we get to watch makers and making evolve in real time.  There are countless designers on Shapeways who first came to our community to make things for themselves and then quickly realized that other people liked what they were doing and decided to open a shop.  This ability to share and grow is key to the maker movement.

Of course, we’re going to keep working hard here at Shapeways to empower makers.  Whether it is a mod for your drone, a case for your pi, or the body of a self-balancing robot, Shapeways is a place where makers can come to iterate and create.  A big part of making is making solutions that are customized for your needs.  And nothing is better for custom solutions than 3D printing. Enjoy the week of making.  If you make something great, share it with us on twitter @Shapeways and @MWeinberg2D.

Don’t forget, if you are new to Shapeways, use the promo code FIRSTFREE and get free shipping in the US on your order until June 30th!
Start Making Today

New Shapeways classes on Skillshare

We’ve heard from our community that videos are one of the best ways to learn about 3D printing. From tutorials to our How I Made It series, they are a great visual to use when picking up tips and tricks to up your 3D printing game.

In the past we’ve worked with our friends over at Skillshare to create videos that show you the ins and outs of 3D modeling. Today we’re excited to announce the launch of another series of videos that anyone can use to learn about running a small business on Shapeways.

An Online Skillshare Class by Lauren Slowik, Shapeways Designer Evangelist for Education

Enroll For Free

Our marketplace is growing everyday (there are more than 23,000 shops!) and that means thousands of people have used their 3D design talent to start a small business. While we try to make things as easy as possible for our shop owners, there are still a few ways they can make sure their shop stands out from the crowd. From crafting a shop description to merchandising your products to rocking social media, these short, fun videos will give you all the tips and tricks to creating and running a shop on Shapeways.

As if that wasn’t good enough, Skillshare is offering our community the chance to sign up for a one-month Premium account for just $.99! Use code SHAPEWAYS when signing up.

Check them out and let us know what you think!

How To Make A 3D-Print Of Your Brain

A few weeks ago, I made a 3D model of my brain and sent it to Shapeways to get 3D printed. My little brain arrived a few days ago and I’m blown away by how good it turned out. I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but I think this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. The whole process was relatively straight forward once I figured out the best program to use. I wrote a step-by-step tutorial of what I did below in case you want to print your brain too.

And if you want a brain on your desk and you don’t care whose it is, you can order a 3D model of my brain here.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 10.37.04 AM



I have a deep fascination of the human brain and I’ve wanted a 3D model of my brain for quite some time. I considered using a modeling software (like Blender) to create my own 3D brain model based on my MRI scans, but I quickly abandoned that idea when I imagined manually outlining the cortex one slice at a time.

A few months ago, one of my friends posted a link to a company that sells custom brain models that range from $165.00 (for half scale models) to $342.00 (for full scale models). I was tempted to order a model, but I finally decided that it was too expensive. I love brains, but not quite that much.

Then, a few weeks ago, I came across this blog post that included do-it-yourself instructions for creating a 3D model of your brain for 3D printing. The neuroscientist and cheapskate in me rejoiced. My computer was being serviced so I bookmarked the page and waited until I got my laptop back.

When I finally sat down to follow the tutorial, I found that it left out some crucial steps and required a lot of manual editing. I spent a few hours looking at other tutorials, downloading software packages, and trying to create a halfway decent 3D model, but none of the models I created had anywhere near the level of detail I wanted.

Finally, I found this tutorial which describes how to create a 3D model using Freesurfer. I had been wanting to learn how to use Freesurfer for awhile, so it was a win/win. The tutorial is pretty thorough, but it didn’t explain the installation of Freesurfer, which ended up being somewhat complicated. In case you’re like me and haven’t used Freesurfer before, I added detailed information about how to download and install Freesurfer below. If you already use Freesurfer, you are in luck! You are only a few steps away to creating your own 3D brain model (you can skip to the “Create the 3D brain model” section).


    1. First, you need to get a T1 anatomical scan of your brain with MRI. I understand that that’s easier said than done, but there’s no way around it.
    2. Add all of your DICOM files from the T1 anatomical scan into one folder. My folder is named “t1_mprage_DICOM.”

If you already have Freesurfer installed, skip to the next section. 

    1. Download Freesurfer here. I downloaded the freesurfer-Darwin-lion-stable-pub-v5.3.0.dmg file.
    2. If you don’t already have XQuartz installed, you’ll have to download and install it in order to use Freesurfer. Download the latest release here.
    3. Install Freesurfer by following the detailed instructions here. You should come to a screen that looks like this:


Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 10.45.22 AM


In order to get everything set up correctly, you have to modify two files (the first time I tried to install Freesurfer I didn’t read this this page (oops), and I ran into trouble later on). Your computer may be set up differently, so these steps may not apply to you.

4. Create a .cshrc file in your root directory by typing the following commands into the terminal window:
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 10.46.31 AM
A new text file should pop up.  Copy the first two commands from the READ ME section of the install window, paste the text in the new text file, and save. Your file should look like this:
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 10.48.00 AM
5. Modify your .profile file by typing the following commands in the terminal window (I already have a .profile file that is named .bash_profile so I opened that file):
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 10.50.48 AM
Copy the second set of command lines from the install window and paste it at the bottom of the file that pops up. My file looks like this:
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 10.53.52 AM
6. Get an installation key by filling out the form here. You will receive an email containing information about your license. Copy the text in between the –CUT HERE– lines and paste them into a new TextEdit file. Convert the file into a plain text file by clicking Format –> Make plain text. Name the file ‘license.txt’ and save it in the Freesurfer folder.


1. In your terminal window, type the following command to set up Freesurfer:


Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 10.58.55 AM

2. We will use the function called recon-all to create the 3D brain model. Detailed information about the recon function is available here.
The function uses the following format:
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.00.02 AM
Replace the <DICOM file> part with the path to any one of your DICOM files (and not the folder that holds all the files). Replace <folder name> with the name you want to call the folder that will contain all of the output files. The folder will be added to the same directory that your DICOM folder is in. My function looked like this:
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.01.06 AM
Enter the command into terminal and press enter to start the analysis. The analysis takes a long time. The reconstruction took 8 hours on my computer, but others estimate that it can take between 10 and 20 hours. Make sure that you turn off your computer’s sleep mode so that it won’t go to sleep while the analysis running.
3. After the analysis is completed, all of the output files should be located in the folder you named. In the folder, you should have another folder called “surf” which contains the surface reconstructions. We need to transform these file formats into  a format that is used in 3D printing. To do so, navigate to the surf folder in the terminal and enter the following commands:
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.07.48 AM


If you don’t have access to a 3D printer, you can get your brain 3D printed by a 3D printing service. I used Shapeways so I’ll show you how to order from them.

  1. Go to the Shapeways website.
2. Click “Design” in the top navigation menu. Then click the blue “upload” button underneath the Shapeways logo.

3. Sign in to your account or create a new one and click “UPLOAD” again. A box should appear that looks like this:


Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.09.06 AM


4. Click “Select file” and load the “lh.pial.stl” file that you just made. The model units are in millimeters so keep that radio button checked. Click “UPLOAD.” The model should take a few minutes to upload. Once the model finishes uploading, you should see a screen like this:


Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.55.22 AM


5. If you scroll down, you can see the prices for creating a 3D printed model in different materials. A full size brain replica costs about $250.00 per hemisphere. If you want to scale your brain down (and save a lot of money), click the “SCALE” button and change the SCALE % from 100 to 50. This will create a 3D printed replica of you brain that is 1/8 of the actual size.

6. At this point, you can decide what material you want to use to print your brain. I went with the strong & flexible material in polished white.

7. Click the “View 3D tools” link under the name of the material you want to use.


Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.57.09 AM


8. Shapeways 3D tools will analyze your model and identify potential problems with printing. For one of my models, I had a wall that was too thin. To fix thin walls, click on the “Wall Thickness” menu item on the left of the page, then click the red button that says “FIX THIN WALLS.” Shapeways will automatically adjust your model for you.
9. Go back to the model editing page and add your desired model to your shopping cart. Now repeat these steps for your right hemisphere model. Check out when you’re ready and your little brain will be on its way! I got my brain in less than two weeks.
Here’s what my model looks like in Shapeways:
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.58.40 AM
And here are more images of my final 3D printed brain:
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.59.47 AM
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 11.59.56 AM
Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 12.00.11 PM


Shapeways March European Road Trip

Posted by in Education

ShapewaysEDU is heading out on a European three week road trip! We’ll be starting with the 3D Print Show Madrid starting March 12th and heading to Barcelona then northward! See below for locations and dates and keep your eye out for events and meetups announcements as the month of March continues.

Madrid, ES – 3D Print Show   3/12-3/13
Barcelona, ES  3/14-3/15
Paris, FR 3/17-3/18
Amsterdam, NL 3/19-3/20
Eindhoven, NL 3/23-3/24
Berlin, DE – 3D Print Show 3/26-3/28

If you have an event going on or are interested in attending  and will be in these places send an email to to let us know about it. Let’s grab a drink and talk shop.

ShapewaysEDU and California Universities Roundup

Posted by in Education

Shapeways EDU recently wrapped up a road trip visiting university students in California who are pursuing 3D printing and oh boy were we impressed! After talking with all these passionate students and professors and. At Shapeways our biggest concern is enabling others to realize incredible things with 3D printing. Part of enabling is providing access to these powerful tools and machines. University students have more access than they may realize so here are some ideas to help YOU get started 3D printing on your campus:

You can incorporate 3D printing into an existing club theme. At UC Berkeley the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society members are investigating the career opportunities related to 3D printing and design.

Greetings to you too, TBP Berkeley!

California College of Arts lab manager Zane Murray encourages students to seek out facilities on campus and get help from the knowledgable technicians working their. For the very interested student many of these labs offer campus jobs running these facilities, a great way to get hands on experience before you graduate.

Stanford University students use their Product Realization Lab to do everything from test an idea to develop a new beta product in their cross-disciplinary facility.

UCLA and the University of Southern California have joined forces by forming the 3D4E, or 3D For Everyone, club which is comprised of students across majors to using 3D printing in their competitions and club activities.

Student check out Shapeways material samples at the Stanford Product Realization Lab

Southern California Institute of Architecture and Art Center College of Design in LA have more facilities than you can shake a stick at but lab manager David Cowley at Art Center encourages the students to really use as many types of production processes before they graduate. You won’t always have access to such top notch stuff once you’re out in the real world!

Art Center connects the tools with the outcome

If you are a student, teacher or staff of a school make sure to register your Shapeways account for our 10% education discount. Also students should keep an eye out for our upcoming ShapewaysEDU grant deadline coming up on April 1st. You can apply for up to $1000 in printing credit to support your 3D printing project or research. As always, more details on

Two New Visualizations in Shapeways 3D tools: Bounding Box and Parts

Designing for 3D printing is more than just making a 3D model.  It’s understanding how big you want your figurine to stand on your desk, how thin your ring can be in plastic versus gold, and keeping track of all the details on intricate models while making sure all the parts are connected.  We launched Shapeways 3D tools in January to help bridge the gap between creating and designing a 3D model and actually  having it printed by giving you more confidence to know when your model is ready for the printers.

Today we are launching two new visualizations in 3D tools to help you further understand what your model will look like when it lands in your hands: a bounding box visualization and a part count visualization.

 Understanding Model Size: Material Specific Bounding Box Visualization

Understanding how big or small your model is physically and what materials you can print it in based on it’s size can be challenging when you are staring at your model on a screen and can easily zoom in and out.  This is especially true if you are designing for multiple materials – what’s the right size model that lets you print in all your favorites? Understanding how to change your model to make it the right size – is one part of the model too long? Do I just need to scale it slightly smaller? – can be tricky without being able to see the maximum and minimum size you can print in for a specific material.

By clicking on the bounding box tool in 3D tools, you can understand both how large or small your model is in relation to the bounding box for a specific material, and what part of your model is too big or small. Our visualization combines two elements: coloring parts of the model that are too big or too small red so you know which parts have issues, and visualizing the maximum and minimum bounding box oriented around your model as a transparent box.

When your model is within the size guidelines to be printed, you will see it inside the maximum bounding box.  So if you were thinking of making it a bit bigger or smaller, you can get a sense for how much you could change the size of your model.

size, bounding box, visualization, shapeways

If your model is too large, the part of the bounding box where the model is sticking outside the maximum bounding box will turn red to help you identify along which dimensions your model is too large.  If you have a multiple part model, only the parts of the model that exceed the bounding box size restrictions will turn red. Parts of your multiple part model that are OK in size will remain grey.

bounding box, size, too big, shapeways, visualization

If your model is too small, you will see it colored red inside a minimum bounding box.  By moving your model around, you can see which dimension(s) of your model are too small.

bounding box, size, too small, visualization, Shapeways

Identify Accidental Loose Shells: Part Count Visualization

Building detailed, complex models can result in incredible creations that are a marvel to hold and see.  Sometimes though, with so many details and parts, loose shells can accidentally be created.  Loose shells are pieces of your model that are separate and unconnected from the base part of the model. These can be intentional, but are often unintentional.

Our new part count visualization helps protect you from ordering a model you expect to come in one piece, but actually receive in many pieces because it uniquely colors each and every part. For example, in this model made of connected stars, all the stars were intended to connect to each other except two of them were slightly misaligned.  With the part count visualization, you can clearly see the accidental loose shells – the two unconnected stars – and fix your model appropriately.

part, multiple parts, part count, 3D tools, Shapeways

Go to 3D tools today from My Models or Model Edit and check out your models in the bounding box and part count tool to see how big or small your models are or if you have any accidental loose shells!