Category Archives: 3D Modeling

Sparks Across America. Sparks Across the World.

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Today we ignite our 2016 Sparks Across America, Sparks Across the World celebration to recognize the magnitude and diversity of our maker community. Shapeways is honored and proud to be the platform that enables new frontiers of creativity.  By giving everyone access to state-of-the-art 3D printing technology, we enable makers to bring their ideas into the physical world.

Throughout July we will spotlight makers in our community across the U.S. and in August widen that spotlight to encompass the globe. Each maker has a different story of inspiration and we’re excited to share those stories and the amazing diversity of their creations– from art and 14K  Gold jewelry to Aluminum drone accessories and Acrylic miniature scale trains to wearable tech accessories in Strong and Flexible Nylon.

Not only is the Shapeways community creating across the U.S., but what they’re creating is being manufactured right here in the U.S., in New York City, because digital manufacturing is local manufacturing.

Our maker culture is a contemporary culture representing a technology-based extension of the DIY movement. It intersects with hacker culture and revels in the creation of new art, games, inventions and accessories that enhance our personal passions.  We took our community’s interest to heart and built Shapeways to comprehensively support their creativity with digital manufacturing and a global marketplace to share and sell their products.  Today thousands of products are made daily by our talented community, and each day this month we’ll be sharing a new product and the “spark” that ignited the maker who created it.

Here are the first ten makers we are thrilled to spotlight:



Enjoy the wide variety of creativity the Shapeways Community brings to life every day.  Join us and explore all their products on the Shapeways Marketplace, the world’s largest maker community by clicking here to see our Sparks Across America map.  You don’t have to be an engineer or product designer to get started.  While we work with all major 3D modeling software, we also provide newbies with ways to bring their creativity to the physical world. Customize a product in the marketplace, use one of our easy creators, or even partner with one of the community members in our Designers for Hire program.

What spark of creativity inspires you?  We would love to know and help you bring it to life. Happy Making!


Step into a Miniature World

Someday scientists will truly understand what it is about elegant objects at a tiny scale that makes us so happy. Until that mystery is solved let’s just enjoy this beautiful set of 1:48 scale furniture, hand-selected to perfectly decorate your 1:48 scale living room in time for that 1:48 scale cocktail party you’ve been planning.

Let’s stage the room with this incredible set of Queen Anne furniture. Imagine they’re wedding gifts from your rich 1:48th scale aunt.

There is no better way to entertain your 1:48th scale party guests than to serenade them on this beautiful grand piano.

Of course you can’t set your 1:48th scale old fashioned cocktail on that antique piano, so you’ll need this nice little stand to put it on while you perform.

Finally, while you play you can sit your little 1:48th scale tail on this matching piano bench. Bravo! Bravo!

Ready to keep fleshing out your 1:48th scale world? Explore our miniature marketplace.

Shapeways and New York Public Library to Launch Open Source 3D Printing Curriculum

We are announcing an exciting partnership with the New York Public Library TechConnect program to develop an open source curriculum for libraries and other public institutions to teach 3D modeling, printing and digital entrepreneurship skills. Below is our press release about the course. We will be keeping you updated on the progress as we make the program available:

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In response to the White House call to action for National Week of Making (June 17-23), encouraging organizations to empower a nation of inventors and entrepreneurs by providing access to technology, Shapeways EDU and the The New York Public Library’s TechConnect Program today announced a partnership to introduce creative minded patrons of the New York Public Library to the entrepreneurial side of 3D modeling and printing technology through a free, open source curriculum. Among the many goals is to educate the public so they can further engage in the current digital era and become entrepreneurs of their own 3D creations. The collaboration will kick off in the fall with a pilot program offering multiple courses over a ten-week period. Continue reading

Designer Spotlight: Todd Blatt

This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Todd Blatt, long time community member here at Shapeways, This spotlight is an update from his previous one found here.


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

My name is Todd and I’m a well-known maker in Baltimore as well as around the globe. I feel proud to call Baltimore my home. I’m a 2007 UMBC Mechanical Engineering Graduate and am an active member of the Baltimore Node Makerspace.

I’m an expert in digital fabrication and knowledgeable about a great many things. I have wide variety of maker skills, including 3D modeling software, operating the 3D printer and laser-cutter hardware, 2D design programs, software for the laser-cutter, and have silicone molding and resin and metal casting skills, wood shop, electronics, and programming.

I’ve been a member of the Baltimore Node Makerspace for about seven years now and spend most of my time there. I’ve held the Vice President position at the Node, have done much of their marketing online and outreach at festivals, and lead weekly workshops and training sessions. People say I’m the go-to person in Baltimore for all things 3D related. I even ran a pop-up store for 3D printing and 3D scanning the last several holiday seasons.


I’m also skilled with traditional tools like a bandsaw, drill press, router, jointer, planer, and know arduino programming, CNC routing, and basic electronics. I’ve also been a member of the CCBC FabLab since it’s inception and am on the advisory board there.

I’m on the Board of Directors and the Vice President of Market Direction for Tinkerine Studios in Vancouver. We manufacture 3D printers and are an education company. I have helped developed workshops, curriculum, projects and training videos for them.

I also run a maker business where I mostly create movie props, replicas and jewelry to sell to collectors, primarily through my Etsy shop and The Replica Prop Forum. You can see some of this work up at

I regularly attend, exhibit, and give talks at local and national Maker Faires. I’ve exhibited at every World Maker Faire since 2011 and Bay Area since 2012.

One of my favorite art projects came to life through a collaborative community I created called WeTheBuilders. I organized an effort to create a website where people could come, download a piece, print it out, and send it in. We have hundreds of active members who are each assigned a piece to 3d print, label, and mail back. I glue each of the pieces in place to create the bust. We’ve made George Crowdsourcington, Ben Franklinstein, and Edgar Allan Print so far. We plan to have our fourth project underway this summer and are actively seeking a woman to create the model for us to build. It was written about on many sites, including interviews for Home Depot’s blog, and this article.

wethebuilders on table

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

Replica movie props and math shapes.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
I came to Shapeways in 2009 to build a replica radio that’s part of the cosplay costume.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
JED a level editor for Jedi Knight (computer game) in 1997, then AutoCAD in 2001.
How do you promote your work?
Poorly. I just post to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, forums, and I ran a few pop-up stores which
got me some press. I do runs of projects on forums and use Shapeways to
create the parts.
Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
Ryan Kittleson because he’s so hot right now.



The Game of Drones

Winter may be coming in the land of Westeros but here in the U.S.A. it’s almost summertime: the time to start building your own 3D printed battle drones for a Dance of Dragons style aerial showdown. Here are three of our favorite drone frames available on Shapeways.

These prop guards for your Crazyflie could help you prevent an accidental Red Wedding by blocking the propellers from hitting anything or anyone.

Represent the sigil of House Manwoody with this awesome flying skull case for the Microdrone 3.

This innovative, foldable drone frame is easily portable, perfect for hiding it in the secret passages of the red keep.

Thats all for now. Happy flying!


What Happens When a Design Patent is Infringed?

Imagine you are selling a porcelain coffee cup in your Shapeways shop.  It is a complicated piece with a complex handle and an intricate design on the outside of the cup.  The lip of the cup is also funkily askew.  After the cup has been selling for a few weeks, you get a letter informing you that – unbeknownst to you – the lip of your cup may infringe on someone else’s design patent.  If the letter is correct, what kind of damages should you have to pay to the person who owns that patent?  Should you have to pay them all of the profits you have made on the cup, or just the percentage of the profits that can be attributed to the lip covered by the patent?  Shapeways, along with Engine, just filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court urging them to get this rule right for 3D printing designers.

The U.S. Supreme Court is trying to decide which rule to apply in the context of a long running dispute between Apple and Samsung over smart phones.  Apple had a handful of design patents on elements of the iPhone such as its shape and icons, and accused Samsung of infringing on those patents.  Apple won the dispute, which meant that the court had to decide what damages Samsung should pay.

In regular utility patent infringement cases, infringement damages are generally tied to the value that the part of the object covered by the patent brings to the entire object.  So if, for example, a car company infringes on a patent for a bolt that holds the tire onto the car, the damages are proportional to the relative importance of that bolt to the entire car.  In other words, the fact that part of a car infringes on a patent does not mean that the patent holder gets all of the profit generated by the entire car.

However, a lower court interpreted the rules differently for design patents.  There are many elements of a Samsung phone that make it valuable for a purchaser that are totally unrelated to its rounded edges (for example, its ability to make and receive phone calls).  However, the court decided that because the Samsung phone incorporated elements that infringed on Apple’s design patents Samsung should have to give Apple all of the profits from the phone.  The U.S. Supreme Court is now trying to decide if that rule makes any sense.

What Does This Have to do with 3D Printing?

Although Shapeways designers do not sell smart phones in their shops (at least not yet….), they do offer many objects that could potentially be covered by a design patent.  That means that they could potentially be infringing on design patents – even on design patents they do not realize exist.  If and when that happens, it is important that the remedies for infringement are proportional to the value that the elements protected by patent bring to the final object.

In our brief, which was primarily drafted by Katherine McNutt and Hyosang (Mark) Kim of the Juelsgaard Intellectual Property and Innovation Clinic at Stanford University Law School, we argue that design patents should use the same sort of proportional damage system as the utility patent system. Just as someone who owns a patent in a bolt should not be able to recover the profits for an entire car, someone who owns a patent in a lip should not recover the profits for the entire cup.

Fundamentally, this sort of proportionality is the just result in disputes over complex objects that include many elements unrelated to a single design patent.  It also avoids problems where the first patent holder who sues recovers all of the profits, leaving any additional patent holders with limited options for recovery.

It also helps disincentive the creation of design patent trolls.  If a patent holder can lay claim on a designer’s entire profits simply because they own a design patent that may cover a small element of an object, the value of a design patent infringement claim increases exponentially.  The prospect of recoveries well beyond the value of the patent’s contribution to the final object could encourage the same sort of patent troll behavior that we have seen in traditional patents.

Although the brief was filed this week, it will be some time until the Supreme Court makes a decision in this case.  When they do, we’ll be sure to update you on the case and try to explain what the decision means for our designers.



How We 3D Scanned the Phantom 4 For You to Use

In preparing for our search and rescue 3D printing design contest with DJI, we wanted to remove every possible roadblock for designers to help save lives. We decided to scan the new DJI Phantom 4 and make it available for download so you don’t have to own one to participate in making your ideas a reality.

3D scanning the Phantom 4

 One of the biggest challenges to designing functional parts–like search and rescue modifications for the Phantom 4–is making sure everything is measured correctly. Measuring by hand with calipers and a ruler can be time consuming, and if the object has complex curves it can further complicate things. 3D scanning helps reduce these limitations.

By scanning the object you get an accurate representation of the part and can import it directly into your 3D program of choice as a base template. And as we’re doing here, the scan can also be widely distributed via the web, enabling people all over the world to work on something without needing the physical object itself.


To see how the 3D scan was made using a Faro machine, check out the video below.

Learn more about our search and rescue design contest.

Download the 3D scanned template for the Phantom 4 here.


Spin It to Win It! Contest

As you know we’re big fans of Gravity Sketch, the new app putting the power of 3D design at your fingertips. It’s so fun and easy in fact that today we’re celebrating it by launching a contest to win some Shapeways printing credit! Simply use the Gravity Sketch app to design and upload your original model of a spinning top to Shapeways by June 23, 2016. For the first round the top eight top designs will be 3D printed. For the second round the top three top designs will win the prizes. Details about the contest and prizes can be found here.


Our panel of judges, Shapeways community manager Andrew, Seyi from Gravity Sketch and top specialist Designs by Dalton, will be looking for:

  • Originality and creativity
  • Perceived physics
  • Design aesthetics
  • Best use of the Gravity Sketch app

Download the Gravity Sketch app today, upload your models to Shapeways and tag the model with ‘GravitySketchTop2016‘ to enter the contest by June 23, 2016. We can’t wait to see what spins out of your brains!

Responsibility Meets Design in New 3D Printed Wristwatch : An Interview with Frederic Pieck

As technology develops, so too do consumers’ tastes and desires. It used to be that consumers only needed something to look good to prove its value. Today, aesthetics are only part of the equation. The sources of materials, the manufacturing process and the environmental footprint are now all factors in the value of luxury products. We live in an age of intelligent products and a new generation of designers are leading the charge.

Frederic Pieck is one of them, a young industrial designer who creates sharp, thoughtful lifestyle designs using 3D printing. Driven by a sense of responsibility towards sustainable design, Pieck has adopted 3D printing due to its range of materials, customizability and on-demand manufacturing.



Studio Pieck’s newest concept, commissioned by the 88′; the Monicker, is a fully customizable wristwatch built from modular 3D printed parts manufactured here at Shapeways. We interviewed Pieck to learn more about his design approach.

What got you into design? How did you start creating when you were younger?

It started really early. I think LEGO was the ideal basis for me to start creating stuff. After high school I went to college to study interior architecture. After the first year I realized that smaller objects got my attention more than the whole interior.

So first I started more 2D-based like laser cutting wood. After that I started to experiment with new materials and my first leather wallet collection was born. I called it “Burissa” which translates as money keeper. It was a collection made using only laser cutting and folding techniques; no other materials were added.


How did you find 3D printing and Shapeways?

After that adventure I wanted something different and more complicated. Because I was already a watch addict, I started thinking about creating a watch myself.

First problem: creating a watch with a small budget is really hard if you want to do some prototyping and start from scratch! A friend of mine told me about 3D printing and that’s the point where everything started. I managed to learn 3D software–I was highly motivated to finish the watch–and discovered Shapeways while searching the web. The perfect match!

I wanted a watch that was as clean as possible, minimal and slick! After the eighth prototype, the first Monicker was born:


Describe your iterative process. How did you arrive at the current design?

I wanted more, more qualitatively, and to add some extra materials. The watch needed to be modular, and parts needed to be replaceable. For me it’s important that the customer can interact with it and create their own personal Monicker! This is where Shapeways is the perfect partner! We can launch this watch with a small budget because of the demand driven approach. Customers are free to use the colors and materials they want to make it unique and personal!

The examples you’ve shared do a wonderful job of using design to tell a story. How do you approach that?

For me, designing a new product always starts by telling a story. These day I think it’s the most important ingredient in launching a new product. You have to grab people’s attention not only by the design, but also about the story behind it; the purpose to create something new. Innovation is needed, but not only innovation–eco-friendly production and innovation.
This part is not always easy and this is an aspect of why I use shapeways. For me, open and transparent communication about how Monicker is made and who’s the manufacturer is really important. The product is clean and minimal and that needs a clean and fair production. So a blog post on the Shapeways website is a great start to tell the whole story! From design to production to the end user.

Make His Day, and Win $500 Dollars for Dad

Dad deserves serious recognition on his special day, but sometimes it can be tough to find a Father’s Day gift that’s as special as him. That’s why we’re giving away a $500 Shapeways gift card so you can Make His Day with unique gifts he’ll love.

All you need to do is put together a Father’s Day list on of all the 3D printed products your dad would enjoy. Whether it’s something new for his bicycle, or that reminds him of his classic 911 , or that helps him maintain his DadBod , there’s a ton of items he won’t find anywhere else that he can customize to meet his needs and personal taste.

Here’s the deets on how to enter:

1. Create a account if you don’t have one.
2. Start a Father’s Day wishlist and build it out by searching the marketplace.
3. Share the link to your list on either Facebook or Twitter; make sure to include the hashtags #makehisday and #Sweepstakes to officially enter.
4. The contest runs until June 16, 2016 at 11:59pm EST.
5. A winner will be chosen at random June 17, 2016, and will receive a gift card for $500 to be redeemed on

Shapeways Sweepstakes Rules
1.     Eligibility. This contest is operated by Shapeways.  It is open to Shapeways users in the United States over 13 years of age at the time of entry who live in a jurisdiction that does not prohibit this contest.  Employees, officers, and directors of Shapeways and their immediate family are not eligible to enter.  Individuals may enter more than one entry into the competition but may not do so by way of automated means.  By entering this contest, you agree to be bound by these Rules.
2.     Prize. The winning entrant will receive $500 in nontransferable Shapeways Credit
3.     Contest period. This contest is open from 12:01 am EDT on June 8th 2016 to 11:59 pm EDT on June 16th 2016.
4.     All entries must be received by June 16th, 11:59 pm EDT.
5.     How to Enter. Upload a link to your list to either Twitter or Facebook and tag it with both #makehisday and #Sweepstakes. Entries are not valid unless they include both hashtags.  You may also enter by sending a postcard with your name, phone number, and email address to:

Attn: Contest Department
419 Park Ave. South
Suite 900
New York, NY 10016

 Postcards must be received by the end of the contest period in order to enter.

 6.     Winner Selection.  Shapeways will randomly select the winner from the pool of applicants on June 17th, 2016 There will be only one winner.  Shapeways will be prepared to award the prize to a runner-up in the event the winner cannot be contacted in a reasonable amount of time.  Shapeways will determine the winner by randomly drawing an applicant from the entire pool of applicants.
7.     Winner notification. The winner will be notified via email to the email address associated with the winner’s Shapeways account.  Upon contact, Shapeways may need to obtain confirmation of the winner’s eligibility.  If Shapeways cannot contact the winner through the contact information in their Shapeways account in a reasonable amount of time, a runner-up will receive the prize.  If a runner-up cannot be contacted, Shapeways will select a third place finisher to receive the prize.
8.     Taxes.  The winner will be solely responsible for paying all federal, state, and local taxes that may be due on winnings and, as a condition of receiving the prize, Shapeways may require the winner complete tax documentation.
9.     Liability and Jurisdiction.  All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply; void where prohibited.  All disputes arising out of or connected with this Contest will be resolved exclusively by a court located in Manhattan, New York, USA.  Decisions by Shapeways regarding the interpretation of these rules are final.  By participating in this contest, you agree to release Shapeways and its agents from any and all liability, claims, or actions of any kind of injuries, damages, or losses to persons and property which may be sustained in connection with the receipt, ownership, possession, use, or misuse of any prize.  Shapeways reserves the right to amend these official rules and to permanently disqualify from this contest any person it believes has intentionally violated these official rules. Shapeways reserves the right to suspend or cancel this Contest in the event of hacking, security breach, or other tampering.  Any questions regarding this contest should be directed to
10.  Other Restrictions.  Users discovered creating multiple Twitter accounts in order to enter this contest will be disqualified from entry.
11.  Additional Considerations.  Sponsors are not responsible for (i) any typographical or other error in any communication relating to the Contest; (ii) lost, illegible, late, misdirected, or incomplete, entries or emails; (iii) interrupted or unavailable satellite, network, server, Internet Service Provider (ISP), websites, telephone, cable or other connections; (iv) any technical failure or jumbled, garbled, corrupted, scrambled, failed, delayed, or misdirected transmissions; (v) hardware, software or network malfunctions; (vi) other errors of any kind whether human, mechanical, or electronic; (vi) any damage to Participant’s or any other person’s computer resulting from participation of the Contest or downloading or uploading any materials.

Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to (a) abbreviate, modify, suspend, cancel or terminate the Contest, without notice or other obligation, in the event that Sponsor is prevented from continuing with the Contest or the integrity or feasibility of the Contest is undermined in any respect, including due to fire, flood, epidemic, earthquake, labor dispute, tampering or other unlawful act, or if, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, the Contest is not capable of running as planned by reason of infection by computer virus, worms, bugs, tampering, hacking, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures or any other causes which, in sole opinion of the Sponsor, corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this Contest; (b) determine winners from entries received prior to action taken, or as otherwise deemed fair and equitable by Sponsor; and/or (c) disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry or judging or process or operation of the Contest.

3D Print Your Custom Awards

Posted by in 3D Modeling

Unusual materials and unique designs are the hallmark of designing and printing with Shapeways. Recently there have been more and more examples of clubs, groups and contests using 3D prints as trophies. Paired with the CustomMaker options these 3D statues open up a whole new world for giving tokens of recognition. See below for a collection of unique ways to make a lasting 3D memory.

This year Eyebeam Art and Technology Center 3D designed and printed their 2016 awards with White Strong and Flexible Nylon for a truly unique commemoration.


These simple awards for the Urban Assembly Maker Academy were made with Tinkercad shapes and then customized on Shapeways with a CustomMaker script using the school logo.

There are also great products that can be customized to be a nice token of participation or a contest without designing from scratch, like designer Michael Mueller’s What A Day Pendant.

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And of course with 3D scanning all kinds of customization is possible, like this baseball trophy designed to hold a real baseball from a 3D scan of a pitcher’s hand.


Shapeways and DJI Team Up for Search and Rescue 3D Printing Design Challenge

DJI’s Phantom 4 with its sleek body, integrated camera and long flying range make it the perfect search drone. Now you can use Shapeways 3D printing to turn it into the ultimate rescue drone.

Shapeways and DJI want you to push the drone boundaries and help save lives. Your challenge should you choose to accept it: design an attachment for a DJI Phantom 4 which can be used to help first responders better serve the public in their search and rescue efforts. In addition to the satisfaction of a job well done, the grand prize is a DJI phantom 4 and $1000 in Shapeways printing credits. The winning design will also be demonstrated at the New York City Makerfaire this October.

To learn more, check out the video below:

If you don’t have a Phantom 4, fret not. We’ve got you covered. Design off these scans.


For all things drone, check out our new drone hub.


How To Guarantee A Perfect Fit For Your 3D Printed Pebble Accessories

Posted by in 3D Modeling

Considering the vast amount of new accessory designs we receive at Shapeways for smartphones, Apple Watches, FitBit products and Pebble, it’s safe to say wearable technology is taking the world by storm. Like most traditional businesses, these companies are often keen to make their own accessories for their products. Offering a set of accessories is great as they enable different functionalities for the base product, but they can also be limiting. With only a few options to choose from, products do not become personal. They don’t showcase individuality, or why that product was bought in first place.

A while back Pebble shared a Reddit post of a Pebble Round customized with a non-official wristband on their own social channels. Is this showing how a big brand is embracing customization of their products?

A while back Pebble shared a Reddit post of a Pebble Round customized with a non-official wristband on their own social channels. Is this showing how a big brand is embracing customization of their products?

As we at Shapeways know well, mass manufacturing does not deliver on our desire for personal products. From bumpers that can be personalized using our CustomMaker, to affordable watch stands for easy smartwatch charging, to mounts for connecting your smartwatch to your bike (photos at end of post), we’ve seen a lot of accessories at Shapeways that really tap into that demand for giving an identity to your wearable tech. The bigger question in this growing demand for custom objects is: how to do it without going through multiple prototypes to test it out?

In the case of Pebble, they did a great job making their CAD files available on GitHub. This enables you as a designer to use a virtual Pebble Watch to design your accessory around, making sure you can keep an eye on the right tolerances and guarantee that your and your customers’ Pebble Watches have a perfect fit with your accessory.

Seeing Pebble open up their product to their community and encouraging them to customize it really shows how a company values the personal experience of their users without fear of losing territory. On the contrary, I believe this will give new users a broader perspective on how to implement the product into their lifestyle and customize it to their personality, thereby increasing the demand for the base product. While there still is a lot of ground to be gained on the customization front, I consider this a small victory in making the products and objects you love to be really you.

Celebrating 125 Years of Philips – a live demo of the 3D Shaver!

Posted by in 3D Modeling

As you might have read in our blog about the 3D Shaver a couple of weeks ago, we share a close relationship with Philips. Last weekend, Philips celebrated their 125th (!!) anniversary in the place where it all started for them over a century ago, and also our homebase in The Netherlands; Eindhoven.

3D Shaver 4 Colors (712 version)

Last week I already had the honor of unpacking a personalized 3D Shaver, as you can see in the video below. To my surprise, Philips already personalized it with my name on it!

After receiving a personalized shaver, I couldn’t refuse the request to do a proof of concept during the event. So during one of the busiest moments of the event, I gave a live demo of the 3D Shaver and my beard (unfortunately) had to go. You can view the full video of the shaving demo here.


Want to order a personalized 3D Shaver for yourself or as a Father’s Day present? At this time they are exclusively available in The Netherlands via with only a limited 125 shavers being produced, so don’t hesitate too long and start personalizing!