Rocket Espresso Cup

by isohedral
Not For Sale

An espresso cup specially designed with fins, to ensure the successful deployment of your rocket fuel. All systems are go! Paraboloid bowl holds approximately 1.5 fl oz. or 45 mL. (Note that I previously claimed the cup held 60 mL. While my 3D modelling software still reports that as the internal volume, some combination of the printing process and glazing is robbing me of internal volume. Contact me if you'd be interested in a larger, more expensive 60 mL cup.)

After receiving feedback from Shapeways, I've created a slightly revised model for the cup. I'm told that this model will be easier to print and glaze, leading to a more reliable product. The changes are minor -- it's a little wider, a little heavier, and has more rounding on edges that were previously sharp (a 3D rendering shows the differences above).

Update (April 13th, 2013): The cup has had a great run on Shapeways, and I deeply appreciate the attention and positive feedback it has received. The bad news is that I've got to stop offering it for sale here. The good news is that the cup is now available commercially! It's being manufactured by Fred and Friends, sold under the name "Blast Off! Espresso Cup Set". It's already available for purchase online (,, and I'm sure you'll be able to find it in your favourite housewares store soon.


IN: 2.913 w x 3.008 d x 2.362 h
CM: 7.4 w x 7.64 d x 6 h


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I believe it only comes in white, though there's no reason why black couldn't work too. That's a good suggestion to pass on to the manufacturer. What I'd really like to see is white with red fins, though that might complicate the manufacturing process.
April 18, 2013, 2:51 pm
@isohedral Well that is a little upsetting, but at least its now available to more people, does the mass produced version come in black?
April 17, 2013, 11:08 pm
@Nerdbubblegum Sorry, I can't! I recognize that there are changes between the Shapeways version and the commercial version (I wasn't directly responsible for the latter). And personally, my preference would be to keep selling the Shapeways version too -- it's not like it would be in direct competition with the commercial version. But my contract doesn't allow it. I'm a bit sad about that but on balance I felt that going commercial was the right next step for the cup. If I have other successful designs in the future, I hope to negotiate a contract that allows me to keep them up on Shapeways.
April 17, 2013, 2:29 pm
Sould you please make this available again? Ive seen the mass produced version and there are numerous changes they have made to the original shape such as pointy fins. Presonally i prefer this version more and i would gladly pay more for yours.
April 16, 2013, 2:51 am
@isohedral Great news! Congrats.
April 15, 2013, 2:57 pm
@loosetony, thanks for pointing this out. The good news is that the Blast Off cups, now sold commercially by Fred and Friends, are a legitimate licensed copy of my original design. It's all on the up and up, and in fact I get a small royalty from sales of the commercial cup, so buy them for all your friends!
April 13, 2013, 7:49 pm
@isohedral Is this your design? I only ask because I saw this on Ebay. Just thought you should know.
April 13, 2013, 7:46 pm
rocket cup in gloss black ceremics
March 18, 2013, 1:26 am
The Rocket Cup Fan page on facebook can be found here:
February 20, 2013, 4:21 pm
Nice work, your design is in the top ten most viewed 3D printed designs of 2012!!!
December 28, 2012, 4:36 pm
My favorite espresso cup here.
December 10, 2012, 1:27 pm
Thanks for the push. The photos I have are up!
November 29, 2012, 3:24 am
@isohedral Ah. I see. Need those pictures!
November 29, 2012, 3:03 am
@ChristianA, there's a mug-sized version at I don't have one personally, but a friend ordered one and it looks good. I have a few photos I should post (but they don't offer a good size reference, so the photos look almost identical to the ones for the espresso cup).
November 28, 2012, 5:57 pm
Oh Yes @ChristianA
November 28, 2012, 5:34 pm
@isohedral Any chance of making a mug version?
November 28, 2012, 4:43 pm
real ceramics? shapeways doesn't have real ceramics. all mats are glued together out of particles.
November 23, 2012, 5:38 pm
@billmeade -- It's real ceramic, as appropriate to drink from as any other ceramic cup or mug. More information here, if you want to read up on it:
November 15, 2012, 7:03 pm
What is the material the cup is made of? Plastic? Ceramic? Newbie. Sorry.
November 15, 2012, 4:50 pm
@1011, thanks! Regarding mass production, I'm working on it. If I close the deal, I'll certainly post an update here.
November 12, 2012, 2:18 am
Ok. Good to know. Just send me a note if you drop dead from a contaminant-based illness and then I'll stop using mine too. Sarcasm aside, I love it. It really is a great design. You should have them mass produced in the conventional way.
November 12, 2012, 2:08 am
@1011, I know what you mean. The ones I have are also cracked all along the inside. The first time this happened, Shapeways was said there was a problem with the glaze and sent me a new one. The new one has the same problem, perhaps less so (and I think the thicker second version of the cup has even fewer problems with cracks). But they also assured me that the cracks don't prevent the cups from being food safe: "The cracks are not harmful in anyway, see it as an old cup (50's) which have these cracks after being used a long time but is still usable.". I've been using the cup regularly, cracks and all, and it seems fine.
November 8, 2012, 8:38 pm
I ordered two just before the discussion about cracks. The one I use regularly now has cracks all over the inside (but not the outside). I wonder if it is still food-safe to use. I wish I could upload a picture of it.
November 8, 2012, 8:34 pm
@mixmaven: Here's a scaled-up version, which I believe should hold 6-7 fluid ounces (hard to know for sure, because the process is a bit unpredictable; it might a bit closer to the low end of that range). I haven't tried to print it yet, much less evaluate the physical object, so let me know if you order one (and send me photos!).
September 21, 2012, 5:17 am
@isohedral a 6-8 oz cup would be reasonable in size. I would hope the cost would be $125 range?
September 19, 2012, 9:05 pm
@mixmaven: I expect that a coffee cup sized version of the rocket espresso cup would be considerably more expensive, and so I'm reluctant to upload a scaled version. There's also the separate design issue that I'm not sure the cup would feel quite so nice at that scale. Still, I'm willing to consider it. How big a cup would you have in mind? (I.e., how many ounces of coffee do you want it to hold?)
September 19, 2012, 8:55 pm
I really wish I could order as a nice sized coffee cup, I have emailed and recieved no response so should I just upload my own version? I understand the cost is higher.
September 19, 2012, 8:48 pm
Comment test
August 19, 2012, 3:40 am
@mkulpa: Sorry, that's not something I have any control over. You'd have to ask Shapeways. I can offer two hopeful observations. First, Shapeways told me that anybody whose cups hadn't yet been manufactured by the time I uploaded the new version would automatically get the new one. Second, the first one they sent me (the one in all the photos on this page) eventually developed cracks in the glaze. When I told them about that, they sent me a new one. So if you find that the cup you receive is defective, you should talk to Shapeways about it. Hope that helps.
August 16, 2012, 2:40 am
Will those of us who ordered the 1.0 cups receive replacements? I gave mine as a gift. I'm a bit concerned by the new version being "more reliable" given that I ordered the previous version.
August 13, 2012, 9:56 pm
@1011, I've uploaded a photo of the lovely and talented Lesley demonstrating proper use of the cup. Granted, Lesley is not an "object of known scale", but does that suffice as a size reference?
August 7, 2012, 6:59 pm
Would it be possible to add an object of known scale to one of the images to get a sense of size? Perhaps a coin or a ruler?
August 7, 2012, 1:30 pm
@aeus, how big would you like it to be? It's easy enough to scale it up, but keep in mind that price will scale with size; a cup holding 120 mL instead of 60 mL would cost about 60% more.
July 17, 2012, 6:15 pm
Is it possible to get this in bigger size?
July 17, 2012, 11:57 am
Are You the author of this? I need the hires photos of this cup - we're thinking about publishing it in AD magazine Russia. Can You contact me through facebook: marusya krjj or through email: ?
July 13, 2012, 8:46 am
Really nice. But a bit too expensive for a cup or two..
July 12, 2012, 8:56 pm
Awesome Design is getting LOTS of love..
July 5, 2012, 4:10 pm


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