Category Archives: 3D Modeling

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.

Jena Chambers Creates the Perfect 3D Printed Pops

After perfecting the taste of her delicious lollipops, Jena Chambers discovered  a new way to add flair to her treats using 3D Printing.


Jena Chambers, founder of Pandora’s Pops, began her business in 2012 with the pure purpose of creating treats that are as nourishing as they are delicious. Only a few short years into her lollipop-perfecting business, she paired up with 3D designer Lana Briscella to create 3D printed molds for her specialty flavors.

Jena Chambers and popsicles!

Below, we chat with Jena to learn more about her pops and her process.

Jena, tell us a little bit about yourself and Pandora’s Pops?

Pandora’s Pops™ are delicious holistic lollipops, elevating your brain and body with intentional superfoods, herbs & essential oils.  Some are sugar-free (made with all-natural xylitol, crystals from plant fibers), and others are sweetened with organic cane sugar. The most adventurous are our Aphrodisiac Pops, activating your love life. We also offer The Alchemist turmeric pops, lavender & chamomile Calming Pops, Happy Genius pops, and more. All are vegan & free of corn syrup, artificial flavorings & colorings, gluten & GMOs. Instead, they delight your tongue with fresh, carefully-sourced ingredients. Pandora’s Pops are handcrafted by wellness artisans in California.

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

Our candy has always been forward-thinking with ingredients and purposes, and this year we started breaking into innovative shapes too.  I learned candy mold-making and have started coming up with concepts for shapes that match the purpose of each lollipop. Our Taste the Rainbow shape, which came out for Gay Pride this year, was the first of many that will be 3D printed.  Our Burning Man lollipops, intended for playa gifting and extending the celebration beyond Black Rock City, are the second.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?

Our process is to design a new shape for candy, and then 3D print it, for use as a prototype. Once the Shapeways prints/prototypes arrive, we cast them in food-grade silicone, to create molds that can be used repeatedly to form candy. This is a mirroring process, where the prototype is the positive, and the silicone poure around it hardens overnight and becomes the negative. We pull out the prototype, and it leaves an imprint of its shape in the now-solid silicone.  This is our mold.  We pour hot molten candy into the mold, the candy hardens as it cools, and now we again have a positive, shaped just like the original prototype. 

Popsicles created with 3D printed molds

We ordered prints from both a local 3D printer and from Shapeways. The local ones arrived faster due to shipping timing, but were far less crisp and manicured. Even if I had filed them down to capture details, they wouldn’t have been nearly as precise as the Shapeways ones. I also have been very impressed with customer service throughout, especially as I’m new to 3D printing and have needed some guidance.

How did you learn how to design in 3D?

Recently I teamed up with Lana Briscella, who designed the 3D model for both our Taste the Rainbow and Burning Man lollipops. She and her husband have a studio called Aminimal. Their work is always inspiring.

How do you promote your work?
We sell online via our website and through various stores.
Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?

Lana and John Briscella of Aminimal Studio.  I’m looking forward to meeting more of you!

If you’re headed to Burning Man this year, you can look forward to enjoying these tasty sweets out on the playa!

Custom Medieval Inspired Armor: Sovereign Armor from Lumecluster

Earlier this year Melissa Ng of Lumecluster made the Dreamer Regalia Armor for actress and cosplay extraordinaire Felicia Day. With support from Shapeways, she crafted a beautiful custom made piece of fantasy themed wearable artwork. It may not come as a surprise but she’s been very busy since.

Custom 3D Printed Medieval Armor Shapeways

Photographer: Eric Anderson
Model/actor: Marisha Ray

Ng recently unveiled her newest project, the Sovereign Armor. After the Dreamer Regalia armor Ng started to consider how she could take her design to the next level. When she launched it with Felicia and Shapeways, it sparked a lot of discussion around design, craft, gender and the functionality of artwork. She came away with two new concepts to explore; first to show the public that 3D printing is a craft that requires hard work and creativity, and second to show that even decorative armor for women doesn’t need to follow the gender stereotypes of fantasy and video games.

Custom 3D Printed Medieval Armor Shapeways Cosplay Elasto Plastic

Sanding the raw Elasto Plastic

In her blog Ng explains “A lot of people also still think that 3D printing does all the work for you…it doesn’t. Even so, there were debates on whether I actually had to do “real work” since I use 3D printing as part of my process to create intricate and complex pieces. “

Custom 3D Printed Medieval Armor Shapeways Spray Painting Cosplay

Spray painting the primed Elasto Plastic

To show the work that went into this project, she outlines in detail the total hours it took to create her masterpiece: over 518 hours (not including the time it took Shapeways to manufacture). As she did last project, she breaks down the steps it took and clearly demonstrates the care and artistic skill it took to conceive, design and post process the armor into its final form. Ng chose to print everything in Elasto Plastic due to its additional flexibility. After printing she polished and painted the armor, then added fabric and LED lights.

While exposing the craft and labor that went into the armor, Ng started to question the implications of aesthetics and functionality of the work.

Custom 3D Printed Medieval Armor Shapeways Cosplay Moving

Testing the motion of the historically based armor design

“there still seems to be an overwhelming belief that fantasy armor that doesn’t have actual breasts just “isn’t sexy,” “isn’t showing off those feminine curves enough” or “doesn’t help people easily identify that she’s a woman.” I know this is just my opinion but how are the below images not badass??”


Custom 3D Printed Medieval Armor Shapeways Cosplay Female

Inspirations for armor design and concept

As someone who started pursuing fantasy art seriously only a few years ago, all these discussions got me wondering how I wanted to grow as an artist. Did I want to throw my interpretation into the mix to help show that a woman can look just as beautiful and sexy in practical looking fantasy armor (that actually covered her body)? Of course “

Custom 3D Printed Medieval Armor Shapeways Cosplay Moving Helmet Mask

Putting on the mask of the finish custom armor

Melissa Ng was armed with a sense that her next project had to not just be beautiful but achieve a sense of meaning through functionality, that the armor was meant for a warrior to defend herself and not just be visually pleasing for a male audiance. Ng started to research traditional armor making techniques and discovered an expert in the  medieval craft: Ian LaSpina, a youtuber who goes by Knyght Errant. She contacted him and he agreed to be her armor consultant.


Custom 3D Printed Medieval Armor Shapeways Cosplay

Comparing the Dreamer Regalia and Sovereign armors

Knyght Errant’s Youtube channel and website offers easily digestible content that explores medieval history, armor, armor maintenance, and various types of armor attire and undergarments. His channel and website are an amazing source of inspiration and knowledge that’s perfect for the complete medieval armor beginner, cosplayer, costume maker, and anyone interested in getting an intro to historical armor design and expanding their visual library.

Custom 3D Printed Medieval Armor Shapeways Cosplay LEDs

Testing the Gloves and LED lights for the armor

Ian was kind enough to review my design progress every step of the way through Sketchfab’s 3D viewer to ensure I didn’t make any impractical armor components that might inhibit the wearer’s movement or…y’know…end up harming the wearer instead, haha (I’m looking at you, dangerously spiky pauldrons!! :P )”

The results speak for themselves. Check out the video below, and make sure you dig into Melissa’s Blog about creating the armor here, and actress Marisha Ray’s  photoshoot in the armor for her Geek and Sundry here.


Getting My Game on at Gen Con 2016

This weekend I went to Gen Con 2016 in Indianapolis. The largest convention for boardgames, tabletop wargaming, role playing games and all manner of cosplay and geek culture. People worldwide descended on the Indianapolis convention center for 4 days of gaming, exhibitions, films and revelry.

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Shapeways was introduced to the Gen Con community years ago when several of our makers started using 3D printing to make dice, game pieces and miniatures to bring their video games to life in the physical world.   Being on the exhibition floor was almost overwhelming to see the vast number of ways 3D Printing could be used to expand the gaming experience. Vendors, Game Designers and artists cover the floor showing off their newest games and prototypes.   My gamer self was in creative overload!   I will try to keep this short and share my top, top favorites…

Some of my favorite miniatures are from Wraith of Kings by Cool Mini’s or Not.

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Miniature painters were all over the floor showing of their techniques. For example I love this lighting effect of this glowing sword by James Wappel.


Impressed by the quality of painted figures on the floor, I decided to try my own hand at it in the paint and take area, where we were generously given free figurines and a paintbrush by Gencon.


I also attended to a workshop by David Dresch who gave some expert advice on how to create terrain for wargaming tables. Here’s my work in progress of adding grass and dirt below.


Naturally Gencon is all about gaming, and I got the opportunity to play numerous great Role Playing games including Dungeons and Dragons. Here’s a scene from a short and fun campaign where we save christmas from being ruined by the minions of Cthulhu, featuring Dwarvenite Game Tiles terrain shown by Dwarven Forge.

Dwarvenite Game Tiles terrain Dwarven Forge shapeway


But of course, Gen Con is all about meeting cool and colorful new people. Whether they are in awesome cosplay costumes as your favorite video game characters, acting in a 6 hour LARP quest or just goofing around with some D20 dice, Gen Con was a blast to make new friends. The best part about Gen Con is the way it brings the gaming community together to play and be creative.

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What games do you play? Do you use 3D printing to make your game pieces? Are you making your own game? Let us know in the comments below!

Bring the Olympic Games to You

As seen and heard around the world, the 2016 Rio Olympics are in full swing. While most of us are not lucky enough to attend the live events, Shapeways has the goods you need to celebrate your favorite sports from the Summer Olympics anywhere. Bring on the Badminton, Basketball, Table Tennis, Fencing, and Golf!  Which sport do you enjoy the most?  Whether your passion comes from being a player or a spectator, our designers have got you covered.

Get in the spirit of slam dunking with this iPhone6  from lumlumpum.

This Ping ball from Shapeways designer holybowly calls for double duty as the product was designed for bounce and flexibility.  Throw it in your pocket and grab a few friends to get a match started in your location of choice.


If a golf course sounds like your terrain, here are a few product ideas to keep your game up to par.  We know that golf isn’t exactly a lightweight sport when it comes to equipment so free up some bag room with the Belt Plastic Golf Tee Holder from jlnuttle10.  Attaching the holder to your belt is as easy as one-two-tee!

Keep your razor sharp focus on the course and have some fun off the course with Desk Golf from UrbanoRodriguez.

It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s the Badminton Pendant Pendant from frankxie.


Marie, the designer behind this Fencing Mask Pendant, was inspired by different meanings she found within what the sport stands for: power and strength to face the fight and elegance.  Her pendant was designed to symbolize these facets.

See more designs from Marie’s shop, scientist2010 and check out other inspired pendants in last week’s blog post,  Symbols + Science= Jewelry Styles for All. 

We hope you enjoy the 2016 Olympic Games this month as we continue to spotlight designers and their creations around the world. You can catch more on the Olympics and Shapeways next week as we will be sharing a very unique story straight from Rio.  In the meantime, don’t forget to check out locally-inspired Sparks Across the Globe designer, Kjeld Pederson Junior.

Symbols + Science = Jewelry Styles for All

Looking to revamp your jewelry collection?  Symbols are one way to make a statement without going overboard.  They also lend as great conversation pieces for history buffs, trendsetters, and Biochem masters alike.  Our community across the globe has designing symbols down to an art and we’re showing you the creations you don’t want to miss. 

As the masterminds behind Shapeways shop somersault1824, Belgium designers Idoya and Luk make science look sleek. Their minimalist necklaces are perfect for channeling your inner lab geek and make for surprising, sweet gifts.


Phi pendant from somersault1824

There is more than meets the eye with Phi! This letter is the basis for the Golden Ratio, a principle frequently found math and science which can be dated back to sacred architecture and art.  Another important fact to know: Products from somersault1824  support science education. For every pendant sold, the designers invest $5 of the profit in educational resources for scientists, students and teachers with the aim to make these resources available to everyone. Read more about the cause here.

astrocyte pendant

Neuron pendant from somersault1824


DNA pendant from somersault1824

If you like this double helix, you may want to experiment with spirals from other Shapeways shops.  Just don’t get it twisted!  Instead, wear the Twisted Pendant by Jaacov Molcho, one of our featured designers in Sparks Across the Globe.

We also love the pendants Antonios Bliss of Athens, Greece created. His designs reflect a modern adaptation of symbols rooted in native New Mexico.


Native America Zia Sun Symbol Jewelry Pendant from Symbolica.

Any idea what the four parts of this pendant might represent?  Here’s a hint: up to twenty different meanings can be found in total. Read more about the multifaceted design here and discover other fascinating symbols in Symbolica.

Be sure to check out other jewelry designers on Shapeways to find the symbol that suits you and explore all the beautiful options for everyday wear.

Laika Studios and 3D Printing

As part of the Autodesk Vision series at SIGGRAPH 2016, Michael Laubach gave a presentation on how animation studio Laika used 3D printing to create the stunningly detailed facial animations for the upcoming feature film Kubo and the Two Strings.



Using machines such as the Z650 (Full Color Sandstone) and the new Connex Color Printer from Stratasys, Laubach explained how his team combines art and engineering. Focusing on each of the characters faces, the team creates and animates a huge range (over a million combinations!) of facial emotions by separating the features of the face into parts and making the frames into separate, interchangeable pieces. The parts are then printed and then handed over to the stop motion team to put on the character and move in the frame.

It’s incredible to see how 3D printing is being used by the film industry to revive styles like stop-motion animation. Have you ever used 3D printing for a film? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Wolfram and Shapeways Meet Up

Last Thursday, Shapeways and Wolfram Research came together for a Meetup at the the Orange County Makerspace.  The Meetup was centered around a dialogue between makers and software engineers on available tools for using code to make 3D printable models.


Alan from Shapeways showed off ShapeJS IDE, which is powered by an online voxel engine used to create customizable, solid models.  We also had the opportunity to learn more about Wolfram’s Mathematica as Charles xxx took us through this incredibly expansive tool, which is used for transforming data visualizations into 3D printable objects.  You can learn more about Wolfram Research’s tools for 3D printing here and check out Alan’s ShapeJS demo from our Facebook page below.

Curious to see more?  We recommend watching Alan’s ShapeJS  tutorial series and don’t forget to check out  WolframTeam, Wolfram’s shop on Shapeways.

50% Less Lead Time! Two Updates on Porcelain + 10 Maker Tips!

If you’re not already designing for Porcelain, it might be a great time to start. Why is this?

#1: You no longer have to order your Porcelain pieces in order to offer the product for sale in the Marketplace! While we always encourage ordering your products for a quality check, this allows you to stretch your imagination a bit and offer some unique pieces to your customers.

#2: Porcelain products now ship in 10 business days (rather than 20) for US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia customers, and 12 for rest of the world. That’s a 50% decrease which means less waiting, faster unboxing, taking pictures, enjoying your product, and sharing with the world!

With this exciting news, we had a chat with our Porcelain team in Long Island City to see what they’ve learned, and if they have any new tips for designing. Here’s the jist of it:

1. A 5mm wall thickness is ideal, but make sure that your walls meet our minimum 3mm thickness.

2. Models MUST stand on their own in the kiln; flat bottoms and selecting the correct orientation are key to getting your model on time.

3. If you are adding a foot to the bottom of your model it should be at least 5mm in height if you would like the rest of the bottom to be glazed.

4. Add a hollowed out core to models thicker than 35mm.

5. Holes in your models should always be larger than 5mm. Please keep in mind that depending on your geometry, the holes may still fill with glaze during the firing process.

6. Filleting the edges and corners of your work on the interior and exterior of your model will help with even glaze distribution.

7. For small models, like figurines or busts, solid models are both easier for us to cast and cheaper for designers to make. If it is less than 35mm thick, make it solid.

8. Make sure your orientation selection is correct.

9. Reference the materials page to make the correct glaze selection for your model. There are in depth explanations and sample photos that allow you to see how each glaze behaves. Sample tiles are available at the bottom of the page.

10. If you make a 2 part model, make sure you leave 1mm clearance for the thickness of the glaze. We get models where the top and the bottom of a jar will not fit together after glazing because the designer did not realize they need to consider that the glazes have an additional thickness.

This Molecule Sugar Bowl from designer DRogers‘ exemplifies the beautiful results that can be achieved with Porcelain by meeting two important criteria. Here is why his model worked:

#1: He made sure that the wires were connected to a solid section. Following this method allows all the wires to fill during casting.

#2: The wires are simple, thick, and placed geometrically and symmetrically. They are cut in only a few sections, which makes the repair and gluing processes possible.

Molecule Sugar Bowl

As is the story with 3D printing, sky is the limit! Here are a few more creations to get you fired up (no pun intended)!


Cheese Candleholder Planter from BlessThisMess


Anatomical Heart in a Mug by mila_mits


Knowledge Seeker Bookend by Likesyrup

We look forward to sharing more tips and inspired products on the many dimensions of Porcelain as our community continues to fuel the creation of a new kind of ‘ceramic’- near and far!

Innovations to 3D Scan Reflective Materials

Near the front of the Studio section of SIGGRAPH is a large, spherical contraption. Covered in circuitry and emanating an intense light, this object looks like something from science fiction. In actuality, the object is the output of a research project.  This high fidelity 3D scanner is capable of solving one of the biggest problems with current technology right now; scanning reflective surfaces.


I spoke with Borom Tunwattanapong, founder of Lumio3D and he explained how the scanner works.

“This is a 3D reflectance and geometry scanner. It will project basis illumination on the object inside. We extract the reflection of the object out and use multi- view stereo algorithm to reconstruct the geometry. The final result is an accurate geometry with the texture on it, which is viewable in 3D.”


Tunwattanapong demonstrated by placing a soda can inside of the scanner. A pattern of flashing lights strobed and the camera snapped shots 360 degrees around the can.


“When we project the basis illumination we can extract some information, including a diffuse map, specular and a normal map. The diffuse map will show the texture, the specular show what is reflective reflectiveness and the normal map shows the angles angles of the surface.”

These textures can be reassembled back onto the 3D model file in most software packages.

Given the complexity of this machine,  I was pleased to learn that parts of the machine were 3D printed by Shapeways. Tunwattanapong pointed out that he used Black Strong and Flexible to make the most complicated parts for the structure that holds the components together. He chose to print in this material because of it was much less expensive than CNCing the part.  The turnaround time also proved to be faster than if he had cut out the parts from metal, while still being strong and dense to hold the scanner together.


Tunwattanapong predicts that this scanner could be useful in the manufacturing industry to help engineers analyze the structural integrity of parts, as well as the medical industry for scanning organic materials. Additionally, this tool could be used to scan common household objects, artwork and jewelry that have reflective surfaces.

We’re excited to the future of 3D scanning, and technology like the Lumio3D will continue to expand the types of materials capable of being captured and turned into a printable 3D object.

Designer Spotlight: Joaquin Baldwin

As a long-time member of the Shapeways Community, Joaquin Baldwin has not only mastered the art of optimizing his designs for different materials, he has also managed to flawlessly photograph his creations. 

With two amazing collections specifically designed for Porcelain, Joaquin shared more with us on how he makes his creations shine by amplifying the strongest attributes of this material while taking advantage of the color spectrum.


What was it like designing for porcelain, did you need to approach your designs differently?

I approached the designs based on function and specific glazing color options. The colors are vibrant and very specific, so I wanted to make objects that played with all of those unique combinations. For function, they are all planters, but with very small spaces so they can only carry tiny plants. The size limitations were tough to deal with, and so was the minimum thickness for walls, but luckily the material cost is calculated by surface and not volume, so making things thick and heavy is not a problem, but making them too detailed can be troublesome.

What inspired you to make two related series of products this time rather than the more eclectic array of designs you’ve done previously?
It’s a brand new approach I’m taking for these and a couple of other series I’m working on. I’m planning on selling items in gallery shows and local stores and wanted them to be presentable as sets, with an artist statement and more solid conceptual roots. I have a lot of inexpensive designs in my shop already, but I was missing higher-end home decor items, and since I’ve been having fun decorating my home recently, I thought this was something worth investing in.

I created two series, the Samsara Series (based on organic shapes that act as fossilized vessels for new life), and the Geometric Series (based on a synthesis of polygonal shapes that naturally occur in minerals as well as in plants), thinking that having a contrast between organic and polygonal shapes would be the best way to explore the limits of the porcelain material.


The photographs you take are consistently top notch, what’s your process for taking them?
I have a very cheap lightbox with very cheap lights. Sometimes I let sunlight from a window hit the lightbox instead of turning on my crappy lights, or use a super strong flashlight and move it around until it looks right. Terrible process, really, but I do have a good macro lens (Canon 100mm), a good tripod, and lots of experience with Photoshop to clean up the pics. I try to overexpose the background to have a pure white with just a hint of a shadow or reflection below, and have some fill light from both left and right, and try not to use too much frontal lighting. Sometimes my exposures are up to 4 seconds long since I use a macro lens up close or natural light indoors, so the tripod is a must. Balancing the lights and shadows in Photoshop is really important, and also trying to not abuse contrast and saturation, so that the materials look like the real thing and not exaggerated.

I always take a main photo in pure white, and then take some more natural ones, which vary depending on the model and concept. The white keeps the storefront consistent, that’s always my main goal, to look professional. I’ve seem some do it with black, that looks sleek as hell too, but I would need better lighting equipment to deal with black backgrounds.

I had some amazing floral design work done by Birch & Bone which really helps bring the photos to life, it makes them stand out with great color palettes, and it also showcases the potential of each planter.


Smilodon Skull Planter from Joaquin’s shop, joabaldwin

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
Animation is what got me into this. I made a CG short, I had the main character modeled already, and thought it would be great to have a figurine of it. It all started from there, and then I became a bit obsessed with the idea of having a physical copy of whatever 3D designs I came up with. Being able to pay for the hobby with an online shop just made it all work out great.


Polyhedral Dice Planter from  joabaldwin

How do you promote your work?

I share it on social media, and also post a few links on Reddit if I think they are relevant (I don’t like spamming). If it goes viral I’m all like “Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talking about” and I don’t have to do any promotion, it’s all done for me, so I hope that every idea resonates with people and that it gets shared enough. If it doesn’t go viral, I self-flagellate and cry myself to sleep for not doing a good enough job. I guess my biggest strategy is to trust strong ideas, since I don’t have the time or resources to be actively promoting, this is still just a hobby for me.


  • Really, really amazing photography. The detail shots, context for use, angles and “empty” planters are so helpful for shoppers to see every detail they need before purchasing
  • Thoughtful, unique collections (more reason to buy more than 1 thing!)
  • Sections for easy shopping
  • His Porcelain planters. The perfect antidote for adding a splash of summery color to your home!
  • Inspired product descriptions. We particularly loved reading the stories behind his Smilodon Skull Planter and Chocolate Molecule Mug. 

Thank you so much, Joaquin, we are looking forward to seeing more beautiful porcelain and can’t wait to hear about your next discovery. Make sure to check out Joaquin’s shopTwitterFacebook,Instagram and his website! To be featured, email

Spin It To Win It Contest Winners!

There’s no doubt that Gravity Sketch provides endless fun and incredible access to simplified 3D design and printing. Which is why we partnered with them to create the Spin It To Win It Contest where contestants utilized the features in Gravity Sketch’s app to create their most unique and personalized spinning tops ever.


With 30 entries, choosing a winner was no easy task. The incredible talent and creativity that went into every single top created is unfathomable, and we’re amazed by our community’s dedication every day.

But, without further ado, here are the winners of the 2016 #SpinItToWinIt contest!

In third place, twoshay’s Gravity Prop Top was light, fast and stable. It’s design allows a straw to be aimed at it and further propelled past the initial spin point. How many times do you think you could spin it?


Second place was awarded to the defender of rain storm, the Umbrella Top by PamC. The uniqueness of this top was unparalleled by its ability to spin. That’s right, it spins! We love the creativity that went into this design.


And finally, our First Place contender. Sethdesigns created this amazing Blue Angel Number 6 top to honor fallen Marine Corps Blue Angels pilot Capt. Jeff Kuss (#6). But it wasn’t just the story behind the top that we loved. It’s bi-level design, accompanied by the detail and ability to spin left us amazed.


Thanks again to all the contestants, and a huge thanks to Gravity Sketch. We’d love to continue seeing the amazing products you’re creating using Shapeways and the Gravity Sketch app, so please tag us with #Shap3dByMe on social media to show off your creations!

Spin (Click) To See All The Gravity Sketch Entries!

Advocating for a Clear Test on Copyright and 3D Printed Objects

This may be one of our last blog posts about Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, the cheerleader uniform case we’ve been writing about since last year.  As you may recall, while nominally about copyright and cheerleader uniforms, the case is really about how copyright protects objects that combine decorative elements and by contrast, does not protect functional elements.

Since so many 3D printed objects combine both decorative and functional elements, this is an important question for the 3D printing community.  Conversations about licensing 3D printed objects cannot happen until everyone understands the types of rights that actually protect those objects.  Right now there are at least ten different tests geared towards figuring out if and how copyright might protect an object that is both functional and decorative.  Unfortunately, this situation has not yet proven to be helpful.

Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court will have the opportunity to settle on one test soon.  In February we urged the Supreme Court to take a look at this case, and in May it decided to do so.  Late last week we, along with the International Costumers Guild, the Open Source Hardware Association, Formlabs, Printrbot, the Organization for Transformative Works, the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Association of College and Research Libraries joined a brief written by Charles Duan and Meredith Rose at the public interest organization Public Knowledge.   Although the brief does not push for a specific test, it does ask the Court to select a single test that is clear and easy for the greater community to understand.

In the next few months the Court will schedule oral arguments in the case.  After that – probably next year – an opinion will be declared.

We will be sure to keep you posted as events unfold.  In the meantime, you can read the brief here.  In addition to the substance, you should take a moment to appreciate the font that Charles designed exclusively for Supreme Court briefs – exceedingly rare among lawyers – to master the inclusion of imagery in legal briefs.


Feature image from petful.

Our New Favorite Way to Build

We love to see what new projects our Shapeways Shopowners are working on, when we saw Urbano Rodriguez‘s new TriToy series our jaws dropped. A simple concept of connecting two pologyon shapes to build complex forms has unlimited potential.  We talked to Urbano to learn more about what exactly went into this fun, new building system.


Tell us about your new project the TriToy, where did you come up with the idea?

Since I start making models to 3D print, about two years ago, I try to make things that really bring a new concept of design, and at the same time, a creative approach to solve simple things. Of course, some of these designs, only come as a result of a large research, and many sketches, trying to achieve a harmony with these two things.

Through my research, in what I was seeing some amazing low poly, and wireframe 3D printed models, I realized that almost all of them, are made by many joined triangular shapes, and suddenly, I thought how amazing would be if I have a modular triangle- a triangle that would encompass building not one, but many shapes as you desire, so this way, the idea to TriToy was born.


How did you decide to use the colored Strong and Flexible Plastics, what advantages did this material provide for your design?

After I developed the basic idea, and designed the first attachment system, I quickly needed to 3D print a prototype, to make the tests and see if the project was really feasible. The colored Strong and Flexible Plastics was my first choice at Shapeways. The material characteristics, short production time, and lower cost made the material ideal for my project.


What was the process like iterating on this design? What did you learn through printing?

The iterating process, in fact, was not quite easy with the TriToy project, and I needed to print 3 prototypes, until achieve the result I desired to the toy.

The first prototype, showed me that the idea and design were really feasible, but the attachment system didn’t work as I expect.


I completely redesigned the attachment system, and printed the second prototype, which worked great.  This prototype was way better than the first one, but after some days playing, and building many shapes, I realized that some times, the pieces get stuck together when I try to detach them.  So I needed to go back to the design, and change again some details in the attachment pins, and finally, the third prototype worked great!

All of these processes proved that even when you are sure about a design, you’ll really only understand the feel needed when you have it materialized in your hands.  Knowing this helps to ensure that you have a finished, and ready to market, product.

See the Tritoy in action below and order here!