Category Archives: 3D Modeling

idesign Challenge 2016 : Get $15 towards prototyping

In life there are some things you can always count on. Spring turns to Summer and is followed by autumn, the Mets will disappoint the few fans they have in New York, Apple will make a new line of products that are just begging to be accessorized through 3D printing. This season, the ever daring hardware lineup is the iphone7, apple watch series 2 and the wireless airpods.

apple design 3D printing shapeways

Share your new 3D printed Apple product accessory here!


Create an accessory compatible with any new apple product and share in our forums. Get 15$ to prototype and we’ll pick our favorite designs to be part of the 2017 gift guide.


All Submission are due by Sunday October 13th at 12 PM EST. Shapeways Money will be processed the following week.

Share Submission

How to Join the Challenge


Design an Apple accessory

  • Using your favorite 3D modeling software, design an accessory for a new Apple product. Cases, mounts, adapters, holders, anything that inspires you works. Feel free to design for whatever material you think is best.


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 Tech and applicable categories and 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 accessories idesign 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 idesign 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 14th at 12 PM EST.

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

Boston Festival of Indie games, 3D printed board games bonus interview!!!!

Last week we highlighted 2 Game designers at the Boston Festival of Independent games, and you’re in luck because we’ve got one more for you. Meet Patrick Fahy, 3D modeler extraordinaire and Designer of Mech Deck.

Patrick Fahy 3D printing Mech Deck board games Shapeways

Patrick showing off his modular mech designs

Where did the concept for Mech Deck come from?

The concept for Mech Deck came from a love of building things and wanting the piece on the board to look like the giant robot you custom built. Many board games allow you to choose a character, setting them up with equipment and abilities, but the piece on the board is usually static. In Mech Deck the piece on the board was custom built by the player every time they sit down to play.

My second biggest motivation was to capture the fun of really complicated hobby wargames and try to create a more accessible version that doesn’t take all day to play. The goal was to find something that both casual and more dedicated players will find fun.

Patrick Fahy 3D printing Mech Deck board games Shapeways

The awesome painted, customizable Mechs of Mech Deck

How did you create your (beautiful) game pieces?

I modeled all the figures using Rhino and 3D Coat. Their designs came from a collaboration between my illustrator Toni Bell and myself.


Patrick Fahey 3D printing Mech Deck board games Shapeways GFIG

Playtesting Mech Deck at BFIG

How does 3D printing help indie game designers like yourself move through iterations to a final product?

For my game 3D printing allowed me to work through the design problems of a modular build-your-own miniature. Without it, a project like this would be unthinkable for anyone but a large game publishing company. The newest magnetic version are my favorite so far. The ease of use and added articulation is just too fun compared to the mini “statues” you usually get in board games.


We love how Mechdeck uses 3D printing to innovate this cool futuristic wargame. Are you also an indie game designer using 3D printing? Let us know in the comments below or share your designs in our forums.

Tips for 3D printing your Cosplay

To get ready for Cosplay at New York Comic Con, we’re sharing a series of articles with tips on designing 3D printed cosplay by the Laser Girls Sarah C. Awad and Dhemerae Ford. You can find their full article here and their Shapeways shop here.

Kicking off content for our Comic Con Chronicles series, we wanted to bring up some preliminary points we both practice and have learned while working on 3D printed cosplay.  So, for those of you just now prepping for New York Comic Con 2016 or another upcoming convention you plan on cosplaying to, let us help you as you begin your journey!

 Set your Context, physically and conceptually:

Dhemerae and I always keep the following list of questions in mind not only as we are beginning the brainstorming process, but also as we work, for they keep us grounded and pragmatic as we create with our heads in the clouds.  Being mindful of these contexts may save you headaches further down the road!


Regarding the convention/event itself:

  • Where is the venue located?
  • What possible weather conditions could you encounter while you are there?
  • How are you getting there?  How do you need your pieces to travel?
  • What is weather like? Could you possibly do an outdoor photoshoot while you are there? How long it needs to last? How you need to feel in it?


Regarding your character/character design:

  • Is your character maybe getting a lot of action, and would potentially have battle damage or dirtied clothing?
  • Is your character royalty or of high status?  What materials would they be wearing in contrast to their subjects?
  • What are the most iconic/important aspects to the character’s garb?
  • At what point in the character’s story do you visualize him or her, and is that important regarding how you construct things?
  • Do you want to look just like your character, or look like you as your character?



Obviously, you can only project so far in the future, for many things on your costume will change as you move forward, but being mindful of all the context is going to cut down time on your prototyping, as well as tie up any dangling concepts you may have.




Be a Method Actor:


Watch the films, play the games, look at figurines, read art books, see other cosplayers’ interpretations, make Pinterest boards; 3D printing cosplay is all about materiality, and the journey of manipulating those materials in ways that best suit the nature of your character’s garb.


It is pertinent to be well versed in how the clothes move and function in order to create both a visually rich and practical 3D printed cosplay.  Dig deep into the material, get up close and personal with it.  All your research will pay off the long run, cosmetically, technically, and personally; physicality aside, this process is a great way to grow closer to character and begin a dialogue with him or her that is solely yours.

3D printing cosplay the laser girls Shapeways

Sarah’s Preliminary sketches for her Lightning as Cloud Cosplay, a living document!


Go to the Drawing Board – Literally:


As individuals with an art background, we always recommend sketching, even if you are “bad at drawing,” during the brainstorming process.  The physicality of working on paper in contrast to working on a computer can put you in a different mindset, and help you express certain ideas that may not be totally realized digitally (for now).  Drawing a cosplay on a person can also help you understand your anatomy in a more up front way, and give you a better sense of scale and function.


Choose your Challenge:


Depending on your experience with 3D modeling/printing, we recommend choosing your battles wisely, based on your current knowledge, what you hope to learn during this process, and your deadline.  Do you want the challenge of attempting a direct replica of a Wonder Woman costume or do an interpretation of her garb based off of contexts you create?  Do you want to make one 3D printed part that is highly complicated, i.e. Jinx’s gun from League of Legends (pictured above), or a number of relatively less complicated parts, i.e. Sandstorm Katarina?  Each scenario, while different, can equalize based on a number of factors.




print time estimates for Dhemerae’s buster sword, totaling over 73 hours for just the printing!


Layout a Timeline:


This may be the most important aspect to your prep work, for your deadline will have great influence on the feasibility of certain ideas, iterations, and materials you hope to print in.  Especially for those of you who are making engineered parts, wearables, or for those who are first time 3d printing, iteration is not only inevitable, but vital in making sure everything functions as it needs to.  Another thing to factor in is turnaround time if you are working with a vendor such as Shapeways; your model could be rejected and you will have to make adjustments, printers can crash and cause extensions to turnarounds, and unfortunately, parts may break during shipping.


With all of these potential setbacks considered, we recommend that at least three months before your deadline, you have started 3D printing your parts.  This frame should be adjusted accordingly, depending on the scale of your project and how you plan to finish them.  For us, the earlier you can finish, the better, because you never know what could go wrong- finishing early has no consequences.






Scan your Body:


Whether it is with a high end machine or just with your phone, having a 3D scan of your body to build off of or to reference when building parts of your costume can help you get the closest to perfect fit on you armor, headpieces, and jewelry.  It can also be very useful when building weapons to check their sizes.  If you are making non - 3D printed parts or applying special effects makeup, you could print parts of your body and work off the physical print.



Work on More Difficult Parts First:


This may seem like common sense, but it can be very tempting to bang out all of the smaller parts first! Larger, multi-part pieces will not only require more iterations, but their size can also increase the likelihood of a printer crash or surface quality issues, which can lead to devastating setbacks if you do not model or plan correctly.  If you can model and print a ring within a week, but potentially need a few weeks to make a chest plate,  make the latter first.


You Can Always Make Something Thicker:


You will not only save a ton of money printing thinner parts, but adding bulk to parts using foam or fabric underneath can also make your pieces more modular and comfortable.  Do you best though, to make sure to build your parts at a thickness that will not sacrifice its integrity.  In other words, do not make something that should be a quarter of an inch an eighth of an inch to cut corners.


Understand your Materials:


Going along with the previous tip, pick materials that are going to produce the best results, while being able to withstand normal wear and tear. Cons are crowded! And you’re going to be bumping into A LOT of people.  It’s best to not bring your most valuable, fragile, and coveted items to walk around with on the show floor.  If you’re 3D printing, understand the qualities of the material you’re printing in.  If you’re printing in a very flexible plastic for example, it’s not a good idea to print long solid objects, as they will naturally bend.  If you’re printing in a fragile material that requires thicker walls, make sure you’re not printing something that’s going to be too heavy for you to handle.


Lastly, it’s important to insure that your parts are going to be weather resistant, because there’s nothing worse than a wilting costume on a wet day.  If they’re not weather resistant, than plan a system to temporarily cover your prints in transit.


Prioritize Function Over Flourish (at first):


When prototyping, it is always best to nail down your scale, fit, and material first before adding in all of your decorative and supplementary details.  This forces you to build with design intent, for adding details in too soon could result in a rebuild of the part.



Iterate, Iterate, Iterate!:


The ability to quickly iterate is why 3D printing is such a pertinent part of a diverse number of industries and personal practices; and yet, it is so easily misinterpreted or brushed over.  There are so many factors at play that influence the final print- from material shrinkage and orientation to modeling mistakes- that you may not realize of their power until you get that first print.  Especially when it comes to fit, going straight to final may give you an unexpected surprise, and burn a hole in your wallet.


If printing the entire part will be too costly, prototype priority sections, like areas with the most detail or the part that houses a mechanic, to save on dollars.  If your model is more minimal, and it is not pertinent that you to see it in its final material, or if you have a bit more experience printing in a diverse number of materials and understand the process and results more fully, prototyping in a less expensive, but like material could be beneficial.


And another thing- break your prototypes!  Handle your test parts, put them on your body, flip them about, and if they break, you only have more knowledge on how to make adjustments or redesign.






Nail down your post-production technique before touching your final prints.  Spend the money and get sample chips in various materials before you determine the materials that are going to give you the best results.  This is extremely important because you don’t want a potentially expensive mistake on your hands.


In a future post, Sarah and Dhemerae will be detailing some spray chrome tests on Shapeways’ Strong and Flexible Plastic.  This is so we can pick the right material finishes and painting techniques before we move onto painting and sanding the final prints.


Nothing is Perfect:


Customization is a huge pull to use 3D printing for wearables, but even though we can 3D model something to exact dimensions does not necessarily mean we have kissed perfection.  Due to the repeated heating and cooling of the material during the process combined with how it is orientated in the machine, the size of 3D prints can be skewed in the slightest to the significant.  Make sure to research the material you are printing in, check its tolerances, and model accordingly to that information.  If you have two parts that must fit together, calculate your dimensions with those tolerances.  If you are making a part for your body and are a bit unsure about fit, going slightly larger is better than going smaller, for you can always add undergarments or other filler like foam to compensate.


And MOST importantly…

Be Safe:


Since 3D printing and its material are relatively new, there is not much information on the potential future effects it could have on those who handle it; as young people working with 3D material from its raw form to when we are sanding it down for a project, we have no idea the potential skin, lungs, and other medical ailments we could potentially develop.


This makes taking safety precautions even more important; wear gloves, (the proper) mask, lab coats, whatever you feel you need to protect your body while you are sanding, cleaning with acetone, melting down, or working with the material in ways that “kick it up” into the air or create fumes. Most uncured 3D material can cause skin irritation, while other materials, such as the Full colored Sandstone gypsum powder and Strong and Flexible nylon powder, can get all in the air if not cleaned well, entering your mouth and lungs.


Stay tuned for our next article, where we cover specific materials that Shapeways offers and discuss which materials would be great additions to your costume!

If you want to hear learn more from Dhemerae and Sarah you can take their 3D printing course at NYU here

From Ugly Sweaters To Pretty Pendants: A Maker Story

Having recently joined the Shapeways team as PR Lead I was extremely excited to be delving into a world of digital design and manufacturing. While my DIY background was limited to making Halloween costumes and very, very ugly Christmas sweaters (actual creations below)– the possibility of taking more complex ideas and printing them was something I couldn’t wait to tackle.

The problem was that I was a little apprehensive of where to start with tackling the world of 3D design, because it’s kind of a huge departure from my familiarity with hot glue and felt. Fortunately Shapeways has some pretty cool tools to help ease beginners into the world of digital manufacturing. My colleagues suggested that I start with the easy Custom Pendant Creator– a tool that would allow me to create a pendant either from a drawing or using one of their existing templates. Being in the market for a new signature necklace, I immediately was intrigued by the possibility of being able to create something that was undeniably something “me”. The inspiration stemmed from a PR pun I’d made, that while by no means the first, was something that became a bit of a cheeky mantra, “Pitch, please.”

While I’d been wanting to create something with this pun for years, I never had the tools or capabilities to create something quality-enough that I’d feel comfortable wearing. The pendant creator and digital manufacturing seemed like it would do just the trick here. Because I’m not particularly proud of my handwriting, I recruited my boss to write out “pitch, please” in Sharpie on a blank piece of white paper. She also added two little loops, one on the first “p” and the other on the last “e” so that I’d be able to turn it into a necklace.

I snapped a photo of the design and used Afterlight to crop the image and improve contrast between the paper and ink, ensuring the pendant creator would have an easy time identifying the outline I wanted printed.

After uploading it to the pendant creator, the automatic system check identified a few issues with my design– namely that the walls were too thin for printing in most materials. Fortunately the creator also makes it effortless to fix, giving me the option to automatically “Fix Thin Walls” at the click of a button.

Once my design was fixed and passed an initial check for printing in polished brass (my choice for this one), all I had left to do was order it and wait for my package. Two weeks later…

Yahoo! I got to hold my sassy, classy little pendant in my hand! I’m extremely excited to find the perfect chain to turn this into a necklace and proudly tell everyone, “I made this”– because it’s a huge upgrade from my DIY ugly Christmas sweaters.

Making your holiday gifts this year? Make them here at Shapeways, but not for everyone!

As I perused the internet for inspiration, I read several forums sharing numerous handmade gift ideas.   In fact I found several great Christmas gift ideas for my family this year BUT I also learned there are friends and family out there we should NOT keep making gifts for.

So as you start thinking of gift ideas, here are a few tips on whom we should make gifts for and whom we should NOT!

DO NOT make gifts for friends and family that:

  • Really only want your cash

  • Believe making things is being “cheap” – obviously they have never made a gift before!

  • They actually like mass produced junk and can’t get enough of it.

DO make gifts for folks that:

  • Appreciate thoughtfulness

  • Recognize you took your personal time to create a gift just for them

  • Love individuality and unusual gifts

  • Value the story that typically goes with a handmade gift – because it usually is all about them.

  • The person who has it all.  Store bought gifts will just not do here…


So now that we got that straight, let’s get down to the list of folks we want to make gifts for and inspiration around what to make…

Interlocking metals BHDA

At Shapeways this year we have a ton of new materials (Black High Definition Acrylate and Interlocking Metals in brass, silver and bronze to name our newest!) as well as low tech and advanced tech features for you to make the perfect gift for him or the perfect gift for her that will never look HOME MADE when it is printed on Shapeways professional grade 3D printers.

This week we are kicking off Holiday Making and for the next six weeks we will share a low tech creator option as well as new advanced features for unleashing your creative side!   And if you have no 3D modeling experience but have THE IDEA you have to make, we will be spotlighting our Designer for Hire program as well.   This group of Shapeways community members have helped numbers of people bring their ideas to the physical world easily and quickly.   So check this program out if you haven’t already.


And our marketplace is also a great place to “make” your gifts this year.   Look for community members products that can be customized.   Add a monogram, secret word you joke about with your friend, or something special between the two of you that makes it a personalized gift.  Choose the material they will like the most and print. This gift making option supports one of your fellow Shapeways makers, plus gives you the ability to personally make a gift quick and easy!

The options are endless and let’s face it, 3d printed just for you is still a super cool gift!  Tell us what you are thinking about making this year in the comments below.

And Happy Holiday Gift Making from us here at Shapeways!


 P. S.  if your initials happen to be MP,   Melanie has enabled this pendant for sale in her Shapeways shop.   Just click the visual above and enjoy!

Boston Festival of Indie Games : 3D printing boardgame Round Up

This weekend I attended the Boston Festival of Indie Games. Independent game designers exhibited a huge array of both tabletop and digital games. In the tabletop exhibition area I was lucky enough to meet designers who are using 3D printing with Shapeways to create gorgeous 3D printed game pieces.

Here are two of my favorites and what they had to say about their games and 3D Printing!


Jonathan Ritter-Roderick, Product Manager for Dragoon:

Where did the concept for Dragoon come from?

Dragoon was created and designed by developers and brothers Jake and Zach Given of Lay Waste Games. Seeking an alternate means to hash out their sibling rivalry, they found pummeling each other as dragons was even better than the real thing! Jonathan Ritter- Roderick, Director of Operations and Product Designer at Lay Waste Games, was brought on to find a unique way to make Dragoon a reality. His solution? Metal and fabric! While the game was being refined in early 2014, Nick Nazzaro was brought on board as the resident Art Director of Lay Waste Games. His imaginative illustrations and unique visual translation of the world of Dragoon has truly helped bring this game to life.

Dragoon by Lay Waste Games 3D printed boardgame Shapeways

Dragoon by Lay Waste Games

How did you create your (beautiful) game pieces?

It was a five step process with Shapeways smack in the middle!


3D Model

3D Print (Shapeways!)



For Step One, our illustrator Nick conceptualized designs in both clay and Photoshop sketches. After multiple refinements with the team, we brought in 3D modeler Pat Fahy for Step Two. Modeling! His extreme talent allowed the sketches to be directly translated into 3D form. Step Three was having Shapeways print various models to help us properly determine ideal shape and size. After testing the pieces, we brought them to our caster in Rhode Island for Step Four. He dropped the Shapeways models directly into a rubber mold and vulcanizer. After many hours, the shapeways models were pulled out of the mold and the master metal pieces were cast. Metal was poured into the molds, pieces were cast by the thousands, and then passed off to the finisher. Step Five, the pieces were tumbled to remove sharp edges, the precious stuff (18k gold, silver, copper, and black nickel) was poured over the pieces, and briefly electrocuted, which adhered the metals.

Dragoon by Lay Waste Games 3D printed boardgame Shapeways

Dragoon by Lay Waste Games

How does 3D printing help indie game designers like Lay Waste Games move through iterations to a final product?

Indie game development can often be an extensive process. As such, anything that can make your job easier is a welcome addition. If you have metal pieces, like Dragoon, you end up increasing your timeline. With 3D printing, we are able to reduce our timeline, exploring various shapes and styles, and reduce expensive model making costs. With Dragoon, we had an idea, were able to print pieces through Shapeways, and have metal pieces in a matter of weeks!

Jonathan Ritter-Roderick, Product Manager for Dragoon Shapeways BostonFIG

Jonathan Ritter-Roderick, Product Manager for Dragoon

What would you like to see from Shapeways in the future?

If Shapeways was able to do low-cost, high-volume metal pieces in various styles, it would be a game changer for us. We are always talking about limited edition pieces and it would be amazing to do that through Shapeways. Or maybe we will just use current processes and make all of our pieces in solid gold!

You can find and order dragoon here:

Jeff Johnston, creator of Moonquake at Pair of Jacks Games

Where did the concept for MoonQuake Escape come from?

I had completed a children’s game called Flashlights & Fireflies that had you playing flashlight freeze tag, but first you had to catch fireflies to power your special flashlight before your game of hiding and seeking (Gamewright publishes F&F).  Starting from that core, I “grew up” MQE for an older audience by setting it on this alien prison planet, adding a bluffing mechanism (an Energy Shield you could hide under…or not!) and I was curious how much fun it could be if the board was moving, bringing players together unexpectedly.  I began experimenting with these game concepts.

Jeff Johnston, creator of Moonquake at Pair of Jacks Games Shapeways BostonFIG

Jeff Johnston, creator of Moonquake at Pair of Jacks Games

How did you create your game pieces?

Using some local makers activities, DangerAwesome and Technocopia (and my local library), I tried several different approaches using 3D printing and laser cutting to making a board that was easy to assemble, manipulate, and manufacture and yet still had a “look and feel” of a planet with a moon.  The moon component was actually born of necessity–I simply couldn’t remember who’s turn it was. So, instead of adding a simple turn token to pass between players, I decided I could make a moon that would “orbit” the board–a bent wire and ping pong ball. From there, replacing a die with the moon itself as a spinner was a no brainer.  These modest components were fine for play testing, but after a few minutes of training on AutoCAD’s 123D, I was soon combining simple shapes and using a 3D printer to model different approaches on something that could be manufactured.  This was critical–no publisher was going to look twice at MQE no matter how much fun if it couldn’t be made for a profit.

Once I saw the game itself was on a fun track, I found Michael Parla who is MQE’s Art Director. He brought a really fun art style to the game, helped it really “pop” on the game table, and completed our vision–to create a planet we could play a game on, not make a game board pretending to be a planet.  AdMagic’s Breaking Games saw the potential of what we created, excepted the challenge, and has done a wonderful job producing the game.

How does 3D printing help indie game designers like Pair of Jacks Games move through iterations to a final product?

Over an 18 month period, I spent of lot of time figuring out how to *not* make this board through iterations.  I’ll admit that designing by the process of elimination is extremely inefficient, but it helps you decide which areas to abandon and which to think about more. In the end, there are two plastic pieces integral to MQE, the moon and the post it spins on, but I experimented with many, many more.  Having free and intuitive tools like AutoCAD’s 123D and access to inexpensive 3D printing services can help an inventor create quickly without being afraid of making expensive mistakes.  Once I’d finalized the physical design, that’s where Shapeways came in to help me quickly make high quality prototypes for playtesting, impressing game publishers and making new fans.

MoonQuake Escape will be available later this year on-line and at discerning hobby game stores near you (MSRP $60).  Find out more at  You can find Jeff on FB at or on Twitter at


Do you have a boardgame or tabletop game you’re designing with 3D printing? Let us know in the comments below and check out our prototyping meetups here.

Designer Spotlight: Cady Carlson

Shapeways designer Cady Carlson’s shop is a fun mix of whimsical and lighthearted products (a “I Love You More Than Bacon” bracelet, anyone?), while also having incredible stories of inspiration behind the creation of each piece.

Cady specializes in designing and CAD-Programming custom jewelry for individuals and businesses and one of her particular loves is giving older jewelry an updated look. While using traditional jewelry as inspiration, Cady says, “I believe we’re often given so many rules and processes that viewing something built or created before there was an ‘official’ way brings me back to the innovation that is inherent in all humans before it was beaten out of us.” Because of this philosophy, she makes a conscious effort to trust her instincts when designing. “Once I have sketches, I’ll put on HGTV or Netflix while modeling in CAD — this helps to keep me distracted enough so that I won’t second guess my aesthetics,” Cady says of her creative process.

Below are some of Cady’s gorgeous designs and the inspiration behind each.

Body Language Ring was inspired by the Queen song and is a part of my “Dimensionality in Music” series. The design process began after sculpting with sand while listening to the song, after which I made ring sketches based on the final sand product.

Love Song Cufflinks were inspired by Sara Bareilles’ song. The tempo was easy to visualize as a beating speaker, which is where the final design came in.

Seeking Shelter Pendant was created for a show that addressed homelessness in the Tulsa (Oklahoma) community, combining the artwork of both the homeless community and the socially conscious artists who would like to address the issues that homeless folks deal with on a daily basis.  My design represents a fragile asylum sought but not attained by many in the homeless communities around the world.  The fire in the basin symbolizes the intense need for safety and comfort.

Check out Cady’s beautiful designs in her Shapeways shop below!

Click Here For More Of Cady’s Designs

Recapping Eindhoven Mini Maker Faire

Last weekend Maker Faire, the Greatest Show (and Tell) event we know, descended to Eindhoven for the third time. Over 100 makers showed off their work, ranging from robots that can play football to wooden guns for rubber bands. From 3D printed selfies to jewelry handmade from electric components and organizations working on building their own maker communities.

In the Facebook video broadcast below I take you on a quick flight through the event.

Our booth was hidden in mystery. While walking by you couldn’t see much, but behind a black curtain our 3D Scanning Engineers Brigitte and Astrid scanned many visitors. One by one people could enter and for the first time see themselves from a whole different angle on the computer.

scan anouk 1

Also a true celebrity in the fasiontech industry gave her presence at the Eindhoven Mini Maker Faire: Anouk Wipprecht. You might recognize her from cool projects such as the Spider Dress, the Audi Dresses and the Unicorn Horn. The Unicorn Horns have been 3D Printed at our Eindhoven located factory, and were on exhibit last week at ARS in Linz, Austria.

scan anouk 2
Anouk Wipprecht is being 3D scanned by Astrid.

Despite the warm weather we had a great time 3D scanning visitors and hosting the afterparty for the makers. In special I want to thank René Paré, Maud Bongers and Anne-Marijn Burgers for organizing such a fantastic event! Eindhoven Mini Maker Faire – see you next year!

maker faire flyer

Must Have Cat Jewelry! Hand designed from Cat People from around the world.

I fully admit being crazy about cats.  Now if that makes me a crazy cat lady, so be it.   Loving cats and being a cat owner vs. a dog owner can tell you a ton about that person.   It is well documented that cat people tend to need less external praise compared to our lovable counterparts, dog people.   We are content to spend long evenings at home curled up on the sofa watching a good movie.  We also love to let other folks know we are crazy about cats by wearing cat jewelry and accessories or just putting cat stickers on the back of our cars.

Cat car stickers

Here at Shapeways, we have our share of Cat enthusiasts sharing their jewelry designs for all us Feline Lovers to wear.   I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite kitty designs and even a few quotes from some of the artists about cats.

kitten earrings

Kittens earrings by Vaclav Mazany.   These earrings remind me of the Siamese cats in the Disney Movie Lady & the Tramp.   They were so evil, but I loved them just the same!  Vaclav does not claim to be cat exclusive, loving dogs too.  Here is what Vaclav had to say about cats and these adorable earring design, “It is true that I love cats. Sadly, it’s already 4 years when my beloved cat passed away, she was blessed to live to age of 19 years. I was literally growing up with her, she really was my best friend. The reason behind making these earrings, was that I just love how cats act and play. To be honest, I love both dogs & cats, but cats are my favourite – because their personality, I think I’m one of them actually. Those earrings were made as a gift for my girlfriend which loves cats as much as I do. The actual shape of those, was inspired by how lovely cats look when they stretch.”


Pocket Cat Anatoly by Ola Shekhtman.   It would be such fun to bring my Princess kitty to work with me in my pocket.   However, that just isn’t a reality.   But this Pocket Cat is pretty darn cute and CAN go to work with me!

Funny that is exactly what Ola had in mind; “the idea to make a pocket cat came to me suddenly. I was lying on the floor, watching a movie and suddenly I jumped up, ran to the table, grabbed a sketchbook and began to draw.

It was a simple figure of a pretty fat cat with a tail, paws and serious face, who had a pin under his paws. I made the model in the few next hours and in 2 weeks I had my first pocket cat Anatoly.

Anatoly – it is a very serious male Russian name. So Anatoly watches out of your pocket and amazes everybody around.  Thinking back to where I got this idea,  I think is was linked to missing my cats so much when I leave them at home. Anatoly doesn’t replace me my cats, but he definitely makes me smile each time I see his serious face!”

Cat on limb pendant

The Cat pendant by Lees Smith is another favorite!  This designs captures the calm and patience I see in cats while they wait to pounce!  What is it with cats and birds?  And here is what Lees had to say about what inspired this design, “This pendant was inspired by my partner Lauren, she is a cat lover to the extreme. I wanted to make something that if would appeal to her would appeal to cat lovers far and wide. The piece incorporates two of her loves, cats and jewelry.”

hunting cat

Hunting Cat by Olivier Ehlinger.     When I reached out to Olivier about his design he explained; ” I wanted to create a pendant that is stylish and fun at the same time.   So the idea of a cat trying to catch a necklace came naturally to me.  My favorite cat is “Shironeko” whose name means “white cat” in Japanese.  He always seems happy and ahas an amazing talent for keeping things balanced on his head.”

While my own cats sleep more than anything else, I do love watching them hunt their cat toys, especially a simple piece of string.  This design is both clever and stunning in black strong and flexible plastic as well as sterling silver.

Cute Cat ring 

Which brought me to this Cute Cat Ring by Queens Park Studios.   This design completely reminds me of how my kitties wrap themselves around their toys and attack them with such enthusiasm!   It inspired me to attack each day with the same enthusiasm.  Queens Park Studio shared this about his design, “For the cute cat ring. I love cats, they are so cute and I had a few in my life. Unfortunately due to my circumstances having to travel a lot, I am not able to have one. So I designed one to keep me company wherever I go.”

Cat Hair PIck

Kitty Hair Pick that you can customize!  By MelonieDC.   I put my daughters name on this and she loves it!   Here is what Melonie said about this particular design of hers, “I love designing with cats because they are such amazing, versatile creatures. My goal with this piece was to create something cute but subtle – a little surprise peeking out of an everyday hairdo.”

Orions belt cat charm

And here we have Orion’s Belt by Paul Elder Designs – inspired from the Men In Black movie.  There are so many great movies where the cat holds the secret.   Remember Escape to Witch Mountain?  Or am I dating myself too much.

Well, this blog could go on for pages,  so here is a link to all my cat faves on Shapeways.  Or you can have fun making your own cat favorite list searching our marketplace yourself!   Enjoy discovering all the amazing products from designers, artists, makers from around the world on Shapeways Marketplace.

DIY-ers Share At Shapeways! Easy Pendant + Keychain Designs From Our Community

A quick survey with our creative community about what they are making with our EZ Pendant and Keychain creators is in and they share their favorite materials to 3d print in plus where they get their design ideas!   They also agree this is so simple and fun for making gifts for friends or just for themselves when they have a personal message or design they want to show off!

Where did you get your visual idea for your pendant or keychain?

Where design came from pendant

Most common place cited for finding silhouettes and photos was on Google Images.

Favorite materials are…

Material choice copy

Note: Plated Precious includes gold plated.   Precious Metals includes Gold, Silver, Brass, Bronze

We also asked if they made their pendant or keychain for themselves or for a gift.   Here is what our community said…

gift or for self

And here is the best part of the survey! Enjoy a slideshow of a few designs the community shared with us!  Drum roll please…


Hope you are inspired to join us and make something uniquely you or uniquely for your BFF!   Click here to go to our EZ Pendant Creator.  Then share it with us on social tagging it with #shap3dbyme and we will share it with the rest of our creative community!

P.S. if you post a model with the # above you might just get a cool Shapeways t-shirt too!  Just saying.

P.P.S.  have ideas for our next EZ creator for newbies to our community to try?  Leave me comments below!   Love chatting with our readers.



Designer Spotlight: Francesco Carli and Lorenzo Imprenti

Today we chat with design duo Francesco Carli and Lorenzo Imprenti of 3Different. Based out of Milan, Italy, Francesco and Lorenzo were one of the first designers to make the most some of our most innovative metal materials.

Spinning wheels bicycle

Spinning Wheels Bicycle by 3Different

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

We’re Francesco and Lorenzo and we’re located in Milan, Italy. We both love traveling, visual arts, handcrafting and new technologies.

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

It may sounds corny but actually our interest for 3d printing started from the need to find, as a couple, a way to be involved in a creative project we could share! Coming from different backgrounds (beauty consultant and architect) we found in 3d printed jewelry the perfect outlet to express our complementary skills and experiences. Inspirations behind our designs are sci-fi movies, contemporary architecture, 80s new wave.


What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?

Browsing for 3d printing services both locally and online we found in Shapeways the easiest way to bring to life our designs in a different range of materials.

How did you learn how to design in 3D?

Learned 3D modeling during my professional experience as an architect (Francesco).

How do you promote your work?

Mainly through local creative and handmade markets. We’d like to concentrate more on social medias and online shopping in the future: that’s why we just started making our models available on the Shapeways shop!


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

In no particular order: Brian Richardson’s sculptures, Opera Magna’s jewels, Made by Wombat’s dice, Vertigo Polka’s bracelets…

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

We’re very interested in 3D printed food and edible materials!


Meet the hand painted, 3D printed Dieselpunk Russian Tank of doom

Set in alternative WW2 soviet Russia, this terrifyingly awesome walker dieselpunk tank would make short work of even the heftiest tiger tank on the battlefield. Created by shapeways designer NoahLi, the walker tank is fully 3D printed in Strong and Flexible plastic and available for sale in components to be assembled as a kit.

Soviet ww2 Dieselpunk walker tank 3D printed shapeways scifi

Turnaround of the soviet walker tank

NoahLi has been been updating us on his progress via the shapeways forums and his imgur gallery, and the results are simply astounding. By designing the parts in separate components, this tank is fully posable and can be customized with a variety of turrets. After printing NoahLI demonstrates how to paint details onto the plastic model to give it that grimmy, worn look.




NoahLi has been been updating us on his progress via the shapeways forums and his imgur gallery, and the results are simply astounding. By designing the parts in separate components, this tank is fully posable and can be customized with a variety of turrets. After printing NoahLI demonstrates how to paint details onto the plastic model to give it that grimmy, worn look. Check out the photos below and on how he assembled and painted the walker tank.

3Dprinted Dieselpunk ww2 soviet Russia tank Shapeways NoahLI

The 3D printed parts layed out with one painted for reference


Glueing the two sides of the legs together so that they can hold the ball joint in place for movement

3Dprinted Dieselpunk ww2 soviet Russia tank Shapeways NoahLI

The walker tank fully assembled, all done in about an hour. Soviet Steel!


Base coating the separated parts of the walker tank in Green with brown added to show dirt.


Metallic paint added to to edges to pick out detail for worn steel


Final pass is highlighting edges. Base color mixed with white or light gray, then applied to raised edges with a fine point brush. Works in tandem with the stains earlier to add depth to the paint job. Without highlighting the model will look flat and lifeless. After everything is dry, A spray clear matte top coat can be applied to protect the paint job.


We’re blown away but the level of detail in this scifi war machine. You can find all the parts of the N Scale Walker Tank here, and show us how’d you’d paint it!

3D printing and Game Design Collide at GameSmash

Last week I had at the awesome opportunity to participate in the first GameSmash Tabletop Game Design and Fabrication Challenge at the Fat Cat Fab Lab in New York City. Hosted by MakerOS and Ultimaker, groups of designers were challenged to create a brand new board game from scratch. The games had to be based around the idea of “Bed-time stories”, be playable in a short amount of time and include 3D printing components.


Shapeways Ultimaker makerOS gather at Fat Cat Fab Lab

The Teams gather at Fat Cat Fab lab and prepare to playtest and judge the final games.

With only 48 hours to complete the games, teams of game designers raced against the clock to conceptualize, prototype, playtest and iterate on their designs. To meet the challenging deadline set, teams had access to all the tools and materials the fab lab provides. These include multiple 3D printers (provided by Ultimaker), a laser cutter, a wood shop and a table full of cards and paper.


Shapeways 3D printed lasercut ultimaker board game pieces

Close up of a Grimm Task by the Doomsday bunnies. Parts created on laser cutter and 3D printed


By working in small groups to quickly iterate a game concept, we could quickly move through prototypes to a final game product. Without the support of the group or the access to technology, this would be much more difficult. Getting together with a group of like-minded game designers gave us the ability to share feedback and test hypothesizes around game mechanics and figure out how to use digital manufacturing process to create unique game pieces.


Playtesting the Winners of the competition: Wraith of Heaven by team Lazerdog

Playtesting the Winners of the competition: Wraith of Heaven by team Lazerdog


With a hard deadline fast approaching, the massive advantage that 3D printing provides quickly became clear: Using 3D printing game designers could prototype very advanced mechanics quickly and with ease. “Greener Pastures” included a fully functional catapult. Landfall Saga had modular shapes to control the fall of ball bearings. These ideas simply couldn’t have been executed this quickly without 3D printing.


Bedtime Frenzy by Fractal Attack 3D printing with Ultimaker MakerOS Shapeways at Fat Cat Fab Lab

Playing the spinning Bedtime Frenzy by Fractal Attack

board game Shapeways Ultimaker MakerOS GameSmash marble rolling game of Landfall Saga by Zack Freeman

Check out this incredible marble rolling game of Landfall Saga by Zack Freeman


Finally, every group was given Shapeways credit to make a final version of their models to be playtested again at the 20 Sided Store in Brooklyn and displayed at the Ultimaker exhibit space at Maker Faire in early October. Through quick iteration in a group of creative game designers, each game can grow and potentially be shared via a Shapeways shop or Kickstarter project.

GameSmash Shapeways

Team Doomsday Bunnies shows of our game, soon to be in a store near you!


The 3D Printed Robots of the Future aren’t What You Were Expecting…

Admit it, the moment you heard of 3D printing you imagined a giant robot stepping out of a machine. 3D printed robots that walk right out of the printer are coming, but taking an unexpected direction.

As you can imagine, robots are complex machines; each motion typically requires a concert of rigid parts assembled together. Therefore robots would need to be constructed from a variety of materials, including a power source and electrical components as well as extremely accurate mechanical parts.

Soft Robot 3D printed Shapeways

3D printers are fantastic for many things but they still have limitations. One of the current challenges to 3D printing technology is that most machines can only produce a few different materials at once or moving parts have comparatively large tolerances (if they are even possible at all). Currently you can print most of the components for a functioning robot, but you have to make them separately and then assemble afterwards (although some designers have figured out how to get around this with our strong and flexible plastic). This is exciting but not quite the revolutionary way 3D printing can be imagined as a futuristic, automated way of making.

Soft Robot 3D printed Shapeways

Scientists are already researching solutions. Multiple institutions including Carnegie Mellon, MIT and Harvard are working to create hydraulic mechanics that could walk right out of the printer. The key here is that the robots are designed such that when a liquid is pumped through it, it changes the form of part. By expanding and contracting portions of the robot in a controlled way the robot can move. Therefore, instead of using things like gears, which would need to be assembled, you literally “just add water” to these robots for it to begin moving.

Soft Robot 3D printed Shapeways

As the materials available for 3D printing continue to expand we look forward to designs that rethink the way we approach motion and mechanics. How would you design a 3D printed robot?


Designer Spotlight: Gavin Bain of Celtic3d

Today we’re highlighting Gavin Bain of Celtic3d, a designer who creates gorgeous keychains inspired by the deep traditional heritage of Scotland. Most of Gavin’s designs are customizable, reflecting his (and our!) belief that personalization is a key component to the success of his Shapeways shop.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I’m Based in Aberdeen, Scotland. I am a seasoned IT professional with an interest in 3D printing and Scottish design and heritage.


What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
I believe 3D printing is all about customization and small production runs. That is the advantage 3D printing has over traditional manufacturing, and the only reason I can see that customers would be willing to pay a slightly higher price than they do for mass manufactured goods and be willing to wait a couple of weeks for delivery for made-­to­ order designs. So in exploring what can be done with 3D printing, it is not only about coming up with interesting designs, but figuring out how these can be customized and made personal for customers.


What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
The main attraction for my joining and using Shapeways for 3D printing is the ability to offer customization, backed up by the ever increasing range of materials. I try wherever possible to include a customization option for the products in my shop.

If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
As I said earlier, I believe customization is the future for consumer 3D printing. I’d love for there to be expanded options in CustomMaker, whether the ability to add text along a curved path, multiple customization options, or the ability to combine and morph shapes. Anything and everything that allows customers to make unique items that are personal and meaningful to them. Ultimately, the designer’s job should be to create a base design and make configuration options available, allowing the customer to personalize their order however they’d like.