Category Archives: Interview

Artist Michael Leavitt on creating 3D printed sculptures

Sculptor Mike Leavitt has created an edition of 3D printed miniature versions of one-of-a-kind wooden sculptures from his “Empire Peaks” series through his Shapeways shop Innovation Kitchen. He spent two years designing and hand-sculpting the wood statue series and the pop culture mash-ups debuted at New York’s Jonathan LeVine Gallery in late 2013. Before opening night Leavitt had the largest wood statues, some standing 3 feet tall, scanned by a local hi-tech medical engineering firm. A classically trained wood sculptor based in the Pacific Northwestern United States, he taught himself the necessary software to bring smaller, 3D printed versions of his work to a new market. I caught up with Leavitt about how he translated his work with wood and chisels into 3D design and the possibilities that 3D printing offers to visual artists.


What inspired you to create 3D printed models of your “Empire Peaks” sculpture series?

Michael Leavitt: This might sound unexpected coming from an artist. My inspiration to create 3D printed “Empire Peaks” models was merely the marketing potential. As a full time visual artist, I’m the only one in charge of my career and I’m forced to consider these possibilities. I’ve passionately searched for ways to create affordable editions of my sculptures for years. It’s not as easy as it seems. Making quality prints of 2D paintings and canvases can be a challenge. Mass producing toys is a monumental task. Tons of quality control and capital investments are required. I learned of Shapeways somewhere during the process of 3D scanning my “Empire Peaks” figures. My first goal of 3D modelling and printing became crystal clear. Having the specific target really galvanized the learning process.


As a classically trained sculptor, what was your process like learning 3D modeling software?

ML: My learning curve with 3D modeling has been massively steep to say the least. First I have to learn to sit at the computer all day when I’d rather put my hands on something other than a keyboard and mouse. Next I have to learn a new language. Even ZBrush, my primary tool, is very intuitive but there’s a lot of lingo to absorb. I watched a ton of YouTube tutorials. I took copious notes. I could’ve gotten a full quarter’s worth of college credit for the time I logged. I almost had to chain myself to the computer. I guess the process was like training a free-roaming dog to stay in a small crate.

How is the process of preparing a piece for 3D printing similar to and different from your process of sculpting a one-of-a-kind piece?

ML: There are few similarities between preparing a piece for 3D printing and sculpting my originals. So far there are only small, brief moments when I feel like I’m actually “sculpting” on the computer. Maybe it’s just a matter of my learning curve. Once I get more comfortable it might feel more natural. A major difference between the two is that I really have to work hard to hold long, linear thoughts in my head while 3D modelling. Too often I want to do one simple, little thing- make this one knob a little smaller or something- and it requires several linear steps to execute. Whereas, in physical sculpting, it all comes naturally. I can just instinctively alter things without having to perform a prescribed series of actions. One might say physical sculpting requires it’s own tedious, methodical process. I don’t discount it. I’ve just been at it so much more of my life. Another major difference: the undo command. Wow. I still have to wrap my brain around it. It’s bizarre how easy it is to experiment while 3D sculpting. That one will keep on giving to me.


How does having a Shapeways shop and 3D printed versions of one-of-a-kind sculptures available open up new opportunities for you as an artist?

ML: For one thing, having the Shapeways prints allows me to more directly connect my work with people’s hands. My originals can be fragile or sensitive to hand oils over time. So we limit direct contact during exhibits. Ironically, I engineer moving body parts that can only be experienced with physical interaction. My original sculptures are also quite valuable and only rarely displayed in public. I do a show in New York about every two years. It’s only on display for about a month. I try as hard as I possibly can to tell everyone I can about the show. I promote like crazy. I really try to drive traffic to the gallery. Still only a small handful get to either own or experience the work in person. Having an on-demand 3D printing service accessible by the entire planet is nearly a dream come true.

photo 2 (1)

Do you have any advice for other artists who might be interested in incorporating 3D design and printing into their practice?

ML: I’m still struggling with how to define the line between my fine art and 3D prints. I think it’s extremely important for artists to clearly communicate their intentions and definitions in this respect. Especially for an artist such as myself who is “established” to a certain degree. I have many long-time, loyal and heavily-invested collectors of my original works who deserve a clear delineation between the original, hand-crafted works for which they invested and the replicated editions available on a larger scale. My advice to other fine artists is to be careful, sensitive, and clear when incorporating 3D printing with their practice. I sincerely hope I’m following my own advice on this point.


Conversation with designer Ning Hua about launching a 3D printed jewelry business

Interview by Xiaoxiao Zhang, Shapeways Crew member and founder of MCreatures, a 3D printing shop in Shanghai.

When Ninghua first got to know 3D printing through an article in Time magazine he was not yet a designer. Inspired by the possibilities of 3D printing he followed his passion and is now a jewelry designer with a shop on Shapeways and his website Plain Orb, featuring pieces that infuse his signature clean style with traditional elements of nature, Chinese patterns, and Catholic symbolism.

Ning Hua

Ning Hua

So, Ninghua, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

Well, I am from Fujian (a province in South China) and now working in Ningbo. I grew up in a small town. Not like in big cities, the life there is so close to nature. And nature has become one of my main design inspirations.

Another major source of inspiration for me is my religion. My family is Catholic and my religion has guided me, so I incorporated Catholic symbols such as PX or the fish sign in my designs as they are of special meaning to me.

As I Chinese designer, I also love to use patterns from traditional Chinese art to give my design some personality. For example, the Xiaozhuan font from Chinese calligraphy and the ice-breaking pattern from ancient Chinese wood window frame design. My habit is to keep the essence of those and give it a clean and simple presentation. Many of my non-Chinese customers love the idea.

How about your educational background?

My major in university was English, nothing to do with design or 3D printing, and got into international trade field later on. Working in this trade company got me to realize that the manufacturing industry of China is growing weaker and less competitive on the global stage since we are not good at producing our own original designs. Thus, it makes products “Made in China” less valuable. I believe design is at the core of mass production. However, many times my I was not able to execute my ideas for products through traditional manufacturing. 3D printing is different because I can make an idea into a real product without too much hassle or cost. This makes me think 3D printing is capable to inspire individuals to design more incredible things.

BingLie Bottle Opener designed by Ning Hua

BingLie Bottle Opener designed by Ning Hua

How did you know about 3D printing and why did you want to make it as your own business?

I first learnt about 3D printing from an article on Time magazine, and it was about Shapeways! I was quite bored at work one day and was reading Time magazine. This article popped out and I felt overwhelmed, though also a little bit confused, about this new technology called 3D printing.

The concept itself is so cool to ignore. It is called printing, but it is nothing like printing on paper. In addition, a product could be produced without using a traditional mold sounds attractive. At the time I was working on a start-up and was looking for some a unique product to launch. No mold, no stock, small investment, all these features of making 3D printing products sound like an appealing way to manufacture my future products.

I studied what material can be used for 3D printing, its basic cost, and what software I could use. After understanding this concept rationally, I decided that entering into the 3D printing field and make it my business was do-able for me. I opened my online store selling jewelry even if most of my friends around me who had heard of the 3D concept consider the idea new, bizarre and irrelevant. Now, of course, I am very glad that I did trust my own gut and started my 3D path.

BingLie or "cracking ice" pattern has been used as a window pattern in China for over 600 years. Photo by Ning Hua.

BingLie or “cracking ice” pattern has been used as a window pattern in China for over 600 years. Photo by Ning Hua.

What was the first 3D product you designed?

It was a leaf-shape USB port cover. It was the very first product I designed and produced after I intensively studied industrial design for 2 months from level 0. But it did not sell very well.

When did you start to design jewelry?

After the USB port cover, I was struggling to decide if I should mainly design products that are more practical or fancier and more decorative. After the testing of a few prototypes, and inspired by a few other designers on Shapeways, I finally decided to put my focus on jewelry. The main reasons jewelry became a desirable business focus for me are: 1) the cost of 3D print is still not cheap and my clients generally find the high price is more acceptable if the product is jewelry. 2) Jewelry can always be a piece of meaningful gift to oneself or to others and people can wear them for a long time.

Xiao Zhuan cufflinks based on a popular font in ancient China from 2000 years ago

Xiao Zhuan cufflinks based on a popular font in ancient China from 2000 years ago

What are the difficulties when running your 3D print jewelry store all by yourself?

At this stage, I am doing everything by myself. I worked out lot of things by myself, my website, how to use design software, etc. And my business volume still allows me to do that.

In this business, the challenging part for me is marketing and promoting my products effectively. I am working on using the social media channels such as Instagram to promote my products to more of my target customers. I need to figure different channels to reach Chinese customers and international ones as their habit of using social media is difficult. It’s important to use social media to convey the the quality of 3D print jewelry and build trust if customers have never seen a 3D product before.

What has exceeded your expectations?

My design. When I started to learn 3D design from scratch and I was not even sure how the final product would look. I kept improving my models with more and more test products so I got more experienced. Now I do think a lot of my designs have exceeded my original expectations.

Do you have tips for other people who are fascinated by 3D printing and want to make their own products from scratch like you?

Very simple. Your design shall always represent no one else but you. Your own design and your style will remembered by the market. Creating interactive 3D printed jewelry

Jussi Ängeslevä is the creator of Ciphering, which is part of a research project project of Berlin University of the Arts and the Technical University Berlin, which is using scientific methods to explore the role of rapid manufacturing, like 3D printing, in product creation. The ring uses the Shapeways API to create beautiful rings with hidden number messages that you can see when you take the ring off your finger and shine a light through it. As the Ciphering is part of the research process its only available for a short time – until December 31, 2014.

ciphering1 Introduce yourself. What is your background and what inspired you to create Ciphering?

I’m an interaction designer juggling my time between academia and industry, creating experiences in fantastically different scales. My role as Vice Creative Director at Design Studio ART+COM keeps me busy with creating larger public space experiences, ranging from museums to public art commissions. In parallel, as a professor at the Berlin University of the Arts, we are looking at the impact of digital technologies and “computational thinking” in everyday life. In both contexts, the meaning of interactivity, code and digital is increasingly shifting to physical world, where creating experiences with mechatronics, robots doing things designed by some complex algorithm, or where the physical form and the digital behavior cannot be separated anymore, as the programming takes place in both.

“Ciphering” is a generative jewelry, where the customer can encode 4 digits to the physical structure of the ring, which can be decoded when shining light through it, or when aligning the ring just right, and looking through the pattern. The project is a part of a larger research effort at the Berlin University of the Arts, where we are currently working on a research project called “Beyond Prototyping.” Together with the Technische Universität Berlin, we are trying to find the sweetspot between atelier service and mass manufacturing, and find out what aspects of design makes sense to leave open for the customer to decide. So, in the case of Ciphering, the idea is that the designer defines the aesthetics of the form but the customer decides the four important digits that then define the physical shape of the ring.


What was your design and iteration process like?

We did a lot of iterations with the design, where the initial ideas were based around using caustic reflections that could be decoded with focussed light source. These studies took place purely in software, and the first test print through Shapeways showed the physical limits with surface smoothness and resolution, and we shifted to using shadow casting as the carrier. With a quick iterative loop we designed different pattern languages for encoding text to the ring surfaces, and printed them in larger scale with a MakerBot that is sitting at our studio. When the over sized prototypes showed promise of success, we ordered lot of different material samples of the rings through Shapeways. With these results, we then decided the final wall thicknesses, the material choices and edge roundings. We also decided to limit the content that the customer can encode to four digits only, as we realized that only by strict limits, we could provide the aesthetics right, and with pixel fonts you can only do so much.

3D printing was essential to realize this project. These computational shapes would be very difficult to produce manually. Especially, as every single ring will be different. Actually, the project is still very much on-going, because for the research project, my ultimate question is to understand the “aura of the digitally fabricated.” What is it in these artifacts that differentiate them from the handmade or the mass manufactured? Ciphering is trying to give one tangent to this, by having people be part of the meaning-making, by encoding their own special numbers in the shape but we as designers still control the overall aesthetic. If people are interested in the ring, I would like to ask them few months later, how they feel about it, what will it end up meaning.

Can you tell me more about the the research project between the Berlin University of the Arts and the Technical University Berlin that Ciphering is part of? What is the focus of this project and what else are you working on?

We have an organization between the two Universities called Hybrid Plattform which tries to facilitate transdisciplinary projects. Our collaboration “Beyond Prototyping” is one such things, enabled by generous funding from Einstein Stiftung. In this project we are looking at how things can be designed partially algorithmically, and partially with an in-depth knowledge of the materials and manufacturing processes, and then apply them to different fields, where the end-user can be part of the creation, therefore having a stronger sense of agency about the final outcome. The work falls somehow under the trendy “mass-customization” but we are trying to push the customization much more to the meaning, not only focussing on the optimization with sizing, or choosing random parameters like colors of different parts of a design.

Another case we have almost ready as a service is an oak table, where we use openstreetmap to let the customer define the meaning of the table. You can see a software prototype at ,but it’s not quite ready yet.


Happy Mothers Day From Success Kid’s Mom

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What makes a successful mom? For Mother’s Day this year we caught up with a mom who knows a thing or two about success. Her name is Laney Griner and she’s known for bringing Success Kid into the world. Because Mother’s Day is a special day where we recognize that special woman in our life who helped raise us, I caught up briefly with “Success Mom” to learn more about her and her son Sammy and her love for 3D printing.

Laney and her son Sammy along with 3D printed Success Kiddesigned by Ryan Kittleson.

1) What does being a mom on Mother’s Day mean to you? 

Sammy is such a great, fun kid. I feel fortunate to be his mother all year long.

2) How does it feel being the mom that birthed Success Kid? 
It never stops being super awesome and equally bizarre. But it’s not like he’s recognized anywhere. Not so far, anyway.
3) What does it mean for you to be able to hold the 3D printed Success Kid meme in your hands? 
I fell in love with it from the first moment I saw it on and was so excited to get it in the mail. Every parent should be so lucky.
4) What does your son want to be when he grows up? (He is already a success as it is.) 
Right now, at age 7, he wants to be a painter and tattoo artist, like his dad, Justin. He’s already a pretty talented little artist.
5) What is your favorite 3D printed meme on Shapeways besides success kid?

They aren’t memes, but I love all of the skeletal ones, human and animal. The whole process (3D printing) is just so cool.

We’d like to know what does Mother’s Day mean to you? Let us know by commenting below or tweet us with the hashtag #3DMothersDay 

You can purchase your own 3D printed Success Kid here.


From Animated Character to 3D Printed Figurine with Bill Plympton

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This spring we were thrilled to welcome animation legend Bill Plympton to the Shapeways community. Bill is an Oscar nominated animator whose studio, Plymptoons, is based in New York City. He draws all of his work by hand, but was intrigued by the possibility that 3D printing offered to enable him to bring his characters to life. Bill teamed up with 3D animator and modeler Andrew Thomas to realize the The Dog, the “most loyal dog in the world,” and the main character from his hit 2005 animated short of “Guard Dog” and subsequent shorts such as “Guide Dog” and “Hot Dog” as a figurine for sale in his Shapeways shop.

I talked with Bill about his process of bringing The Dog from animation to desktop sculpture and the possibility that 3D printing holds for animators.

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The Designer Behind the Chris Christie Bridgegate Figurine

Posted by in Interview
Today we are celebrating Fernando Sosa for his 3D modeling skills, sense of humor, and ability to quickly turn a trending topic into a 3D printed desk top toy and figurine.

You may have seen his Chris Christie directing traffic BridgeGate figurine this week on, NY Daily News, MSNBC Hardball with Chris Matthews or other media outlets. Well, Fernando offers even more 3D printed products in his Shapeways shop, Amznfx, including all-in-one custom iPhone cases, accessories and other figurines.

We chatted with Fernando to better understand the inspiration behind his figurine and his design process.

What inspired you to create this model?  

I wanted to make something unique, of my own, and I liked politics and always wanted to make political figurines. I had an idea for Obama, but it wasn’t “hot.” When I was watching Gov. Chris Christie’s interview, he mentioned cones, overalls, and I got a mental picture of him wearing a construction vest directing traffic and just started modeling.

How long did it take and what 3D software do you use?

About 40-50 hours. My figurines are original and copyrighted and so it’s a worthy use of my time.  I use Maya, Meshlab, sometimes Netfabb, but I tried almost everything out there.

How did you get into 3D printing?

I learned 3D modeling in school, but I learned most of what I use today on my own. I have always worked in design, and had an idea for a custom iPhone case (iPhone case + wallet + money clip + bottle opener), which was almost impossible to make. So, I decided to try 3D printing it — that was the first thing I ever 3D printed with Shapeways and I was really happy with it. I now also have my own 3D printer and run a prototyping company called nuPROTO.

Why do you use a 3D printing service like Shapeways if you own a 3D printer?

For prototypes and things I need right away, I use my 3D printer at home. You guys have the highest quality and can print in detail that home printers can’t. I find it valuable to be able to use both.

How would you describe Shapeways to a friend?

3D printing for the everyday guy. You don’t have to know how to model, you can just find something you like and buy it.

Want to see more of Fernando’s designs? Check out his shop or his prototyping company, nuPROTO.


MYMO: The Beautiful Pendant Generator Built on the Shapeways API

Did you know Shapeways has an API? New companies are forming around it everyday!

MYMO is a great recent example of Shop Owners taking advantage of the API. I sat down with them at their office to discuss the launch of their jewelry app, MYMO, that lets users combine any two letters or numbers in an elegant form factor. Our Alan Hudson helped them set it up, has worked with them a lot. He even connected them to a geometry generator. Rex, their developer, built MYMO off the Shapeways API which let him leverage his existing coding database.

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Dinovember Feature: An Interview with 3D Printing Dinosaur Design Master David Krentz

Are you a fan of Dinosaurs? Or a recent #Dinovember bandwagoner? If you just answered yes, and should you like your Dinos in cinematic form, you’ve likely seen the work of David Krentz. Given his feature in our recent Bronze launch, the timely nature of viral heartwarming dinosaur stories, and in an effort to showcase some of the Shop Owners we’re so grateful for, I give you…

Interview with David Krentz: “I still pinch myself that someone pays me to make dinosaurs.”

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Basketball Fans, This is the Egg Cup For You: Nothing But Egg

This may be the first time basketball fans have had a way to celebrate their favorite game at breakfast thanks to 3D printing.  The Nothing But EGG Holder by makerb1ocker holds your boiled egg and spoon so that you can slam dunk your breakfast.  Perhaps you can even try for a 3 pointer and throw your egg straight from the pot and into the holder.  Available in all of the Nylon color options on Shapeways this might even make the perfect mother’s day gift for your basketball loving mother?

absketball eggcup made with Shapeways 3D printing


Designer Spotlight: Wayne Losey, 3D Printed Toy Designer

This weeks Designer Spotlight focues on Wayne Losey, who is striving to get us to play again, by making modular, interactive toys.

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

I make playthings! My background is in toy and character design, visual storytelling, and play systems. I’ve worked on action figures for 20 years. I’m based in Providence, Rhode Island and am a member of the vibrant local maker, startup and entrepreneur communities. Providence is a great place to bring unconventional ideas to life.

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An Interview with Joshua Harker on Shapeways 3D Printing, Kickstarter and the 3rd Industrial Revolution

Joshua Harker on the 3rd Industrial Revolution

We were happy to have Joshua Harker visit us at the Shapeways HQ in New York City to finally meet after 3D printing SO MANY of his skulls.  We took the opportunity to record our part of our conversation about how he used Shapeways 3d printing and Kickstarter to take his career into a new direction, how on demand 3D printing makes it possible for artists and designers to realize their ideas, and how platforms like Shapeways and Kickstarter make it possible to reach a massive audience with no financial investment or risk.  In short, 3D printing and the 3rd industrial revolution as celebrated by his latest Kickstarter project, Anatomica di Revolutis.

The full interview runs for around 15 minutes and covers much of Joshua’s amazing success over the past 12 months, check it out.

Relevant posts on the Shapeways Blog.
Shapeways Innovation 3D Print Kickstarter
Shapeways 3D Printed Skull Kickstarter
Innovation Amplifier : Crowdsourced Capital and On-Demand Digital Fabrication
Anatomica di Revolutis: The 3D Printing Revolution on Kickstarter


Designer Spotlight: Justin Howlett

This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Justin Howlett, an animator who uses the 3D modeling skills he learned through animation to create steampunk inspired rings.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?

Hi my name is Justin Howlett, I am 24 years old and I have lived in London for about a year. I studied animation at Bournemouth University where I used my computer model making skills to make 3D sets and props for animation productions that we would put on as students. After leaving university and now working as a freelancer I continue to develop my practice.

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

I’ve been working on my ring project for the last few months. Much like the steampunk aesthetic, I really like to imagine my rings as something someone from the future might wear or something you might find that was once lost in the ground centuries ago. I have always been interested in ancient Egypt and especially the pyramids and I often have this in mind when I start a design. I like to use triangles or other simple forms as a starting point for the shapes in my designs. Sometimes me and my girlfriend Jess brainstorm ideas together which can lead to interesting results! 

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
I was asked to design some 1/24th scale props for a stop motion short film, and we chose to 3D print them. Shapeways stood out as the most feasible and convenient place to produce them. Shapeways has plenty of materials and a boasts a good detail resolution which appealed to us as the props would be viewed close up and a good level of detail was very important. When I discovered people’s Shapeways shops and their designs I decided to give it a go myself. Holding my computer designed models, as real objects in the real world felt amazing, and now I’m hooked!
How did you learn how to design in 3D?

When I was 12 I bought a game and it came with an editor which lets you create maps for the game. Later on taught myself to use 3D modeling programs like Maya and 3D Max.

How do you promote your work?

I have recently used Pinterest and Twitter to get more exposure for my shop. My website is where I keep my portfolio of work and a link to my Shapeways shop, but I am new to this and I’m still figuring out the best way to do it.

Who are your favorite designers or artists?
I love the graphic design work of chrislabrooy it’s amazing that his pictures aren’t real! HR Giger and MC Escher have always inspired me too. 
Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
I love the skull rings hdrop has made, his designs are fantastic. I like the dark nature of them and how the skulls form seamlessly into the ring shape . I especially like the ‘masked skull ring’. Other designers that I admire are: kacheric, sbruins, jeff.  I also love the impossible triangle pendants by SB3D, Eragatory and The Museum of Small Things.
If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
I can’t wait until I can print larger 3D printed interlocking parts in metal and silver. 


Designer Spotlight: Stijn van der Linden

This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Stijn van der Linden, the creator of one of our most popular items on Shapeways: Gyro the Cube. He is an avid and prolific designer, and he also finds time to answer questions on the forum as one of our moderators.

Hi everyone! My name is Stijn van der Linden, probably better know as Virtox around here :-) . I live in Tilburg, in the Netherlands together with my lovely wife and son. I am a work-at-home dad, so I juggle my time between housekeeping, changing diapers and late night sessions of tinkering, designing and programming. I have a college degree in Electrical Engineering and worked as a software engineer for several years, but shortly after discovering 3D printing and Shapeways, I switched careers to my life long passion of 3D Art & Design.

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

Initial sparks often come from the intrinsic beauty found in nature, science and life: a twig, an atom or a kitchen sink. I have a particular fondness for using primitive shapes, such as circles, cubes and spheres and morphing them into the desired forms.

How did Gyro the cube come about?

I have a great love for trying to create the impossible and this is clearly visible in Gyro the Cube. At the time I had just discovered the real power of 3D printing and the possibility to make stuff with moving parts. So, while I was playing around with morphing cubes into spheres and vice versa, I noticed that two of these closely nested cubes could rotate freely about a diagonal axis. I could then repeat this and change the axis for each one and make this impossible looking gyroscopic sculpture, that could (theoretically) move and spin straight from the printer! I was quite anxious after ordering, whether I had made any calculation errors and if it would actually work. It did spin (phew!) and the ease of movement exceeded all my expectations! I still keep one handy near my desk.

How did you learn how to design in 3D?

I am mostly self-taught, as a young kid I started with simple 2D graphics and programming in C64 BASIC. This quickly went on to more advanced programming languages and working with 3D in PovRay, a very elegant scripted 3D rendering engine. During college I had access to more advanced software, like 3D Studio Max which had even more powerful scripting languages and programming APIs. All this evolved to the point that I stopped using off-the-shelf software and I currently make most of my work with home-brew software built in C++.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?

In August of 2008 I saw a mention of Shapeways somewhere and I signed up for the closed Beta. At the time I thought it was mostly expensive and very complicated,  but I kept a close eye on the newsletters and forum and started to learn about the wonders of 3D printing. I tinkered about on the site, uploaded some models and tried the shop feature. To my shock and amazement, I sold something within mere days! Someone had actually bought Holey, a model I had designed years before and now someone, somewhere, was actually going to hold something I had once designed to be impossible to make. And worse, they beat me to it! So this led me to quickly place my first order and ever since I’ve been hooked on 3D printing.

How do you promote your work?

It has never been my strong suit, and it’s hard to find the time, but I try to post updates to social networks as much as possible, such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, my own blog and occasionally to design blogs and websites such as Designspotter and Behance. But all things marketing, I learned from the Shapeways blog, as it contains a goldmine of tips, tricks and hints on how to promote your designs and shops. ;-)

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

My all-time favorite artists are Salvador Dali, M.C. Escher and H.R. Giger. Their mind-bending work really sparked my love for art and I am very fond of surreal and impossible looking stuff! After four years of being part of this community, I must say there are so many great members helping and inspiring others, I could not hope to name them all! So a big thank you to ALL for making this place the success it is today! A special shout-out to Youknowwho, Magic, StonySmith and Stop4Stuff for driving the community forward and to Nervous System, Bathsheba, Unellenu and Opresco for making the most inspiring works. And apologies to all that escape my mind at the moment!

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

Oh wow, well just about anything and everything! I can’t wait to sink my teeth into an impossibly shaped designer steak, sit down in a fully personalized chair and strap on that pair of extra robotic arms to get things done. But this technology is evolving so quickly I really do not feel limited. If anything, 3D printing just seems to be the ultimate addition to any toolkit.

Thank you to all Shapies for all your efforts to make the impossible possible, you are changing lives and the world with it!

Check out Stijn’s incredible designs on his Shapeways Shop, his website, or hop onto the forums and chat with him and the rest of the Shapeways community.


Glowing 3D Printed Architectural Models on Shapeways (VIDEO)

We see many architects 3D printing their models using Shapeways 3D printing service but most of them remain behind the scenes and never make it onto the Shapeways site or blog so it is always cool to see architectural 3D prints in the Shapeways marketplace to share what architects are doing.

Shapeways 3D Printing Architectural Models : 1 WTC

One of the coolest architectural models we have 3D printed at Shapeways lately is the 1 WTC by Stefdos which is a 3D model of One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) that glows when lit from within with an LED.

Shapeways Architectural 3D Printing Service

Shapeways Architectural 3D Printing Service Glowing Models

This amazing model that is 3D printed in full color at 25cm high is only $25 on Shapeways, that’s $1 per cm… bargain. Check out the video below….

Also check out New Orleans tower Rotterdam 15cm by the ame designer that also glows when lit from within. 

3D Printer architectural models Shapeways