Factory of the Future: Our Plan to 3D Print 3 to 5 Million Unique Products Per Year in NYC

Shapeways Director of Industrial Engineering Kegan Fisher (@keganfisher) shares our vision for the future of manufacturing as we cut the ribbon on our NYC Factory of the Future. 

When we opened the doors to the Shapeways NYC office, we dreamed of building a factory nearby. A factory that would provide the thousands of designers and innovators in NYC a place to bring their products to life.

We are incredibly excited to announce that today marks the beginning of our Factory of the Future in Long Island City. We are cutting the ribbon on our new space with a little help from our friends…including Mayor Bloomberg of NYC and Kenneth Adams, President & CEO of Empire State Development.

Last month we signed a lease, sat down to ideate, and began construction on a massive 25,000 square foot space. Not only will it house 30 to 50 high definition, industrial-sized 3D printers, but it will also be a hub of innovation, research and development, and continuous community exploration.

Historically, the word factory brought up connotations of assembly lines and jump suits and iron and cement. It reminded us of the factory Henry Ford created and has been replicated time and time again. 

But today, I am proud to say we are giving the word factory new meaning. One that replaces mass manufacturing with mass customization. One that empowers the independent business, the craftsperson, the hobbyist, and the entrepreneur. We are building a factory that gives everyone the ability to create, where the only barrier to entry is imagination.

Factory of the Future at Shapeways

Over the next year, we will bring millions of products to life. We will see strandbeests walkgyros spin, and laugh when our iPhones drop safely in 3d Printed covers. When its fully up and running, our Factory of the Future will become the largest consumer facing 3D Printing manufacturing facility in the world. It will have the capacity to 3D Print 3 to 5 million objects annually.

It will house state of the art 3D Printers just hitting the market. Our focus will be on Selective Laser Sintering (used for Strong & Flexible nylon) and UV Acrylic Resin Printing (for Frosted Ultra Detail). But plans for 2013 include the addition of Full Color Sandstone and who knows what else.

We will have over 50 engineers, craftsmen, 3D printing specialists, and industrial designers fine-tuning and tweaking a Willy Wonka esque system in which pixels go in and objects come out. We will not only work to keep the promises we have made, but to improve upon them. All we ask is that you, our community, our dreamers, keep innovating products that we can bring to life.

So you are probably asking: that all sounds great, but what does it mean for me? Beyond local production, having a New York based hub will enable us to be faster and more affordable. Our progress will be reflected in both lower prices and faster production. It is the next step to making 3D Printing accessible and affordable for everyone.

This factory will support the growing number of Shapeways Shop Owners running their businesses on Shapeways.com, the nearly 200,000 users making unique products come to life, and a team of nearly 60 people making this vision a reality.

We are excited to be able to open our doors to the public here in New York and show people the infinite possibilities 3D Printing enables. 

We are bringing the future of manufacturing to NYC, and there will be sparks.

PS – Want to join us? We are hiring!

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  1. Xinxin Li

    Congratulations Shapeways! From mass production to mass customization, what a fascinating vision! Now all you need is to find the right *cost metric* for the new production paradigm. As a PhD of environmental engineering specialized in economic studies of energy technologies, I am fascinated with the space of 3D printing and would love to joint the maker/doer movement! Thank you for the inspiring work!

    1. Alan Gao

      Hi Xinxin,

      We are thinking to build something to foster more creativity in the 3D space. If you are interested, can we have a chat? My personal email is alanmgao@yahoo.com.


    2. Christophe

      Awesome project!
      Our organisation located in Montreal (Canada) works with many fashion designers here and I am sure that 3D-printing could bring amazing collaborations and new products to life…
      But this means as well specific training or “technical designers” available to formalize the creativity of the fashion designers willing to create new products: is this what you mean by “building something to foster creativity in the 3D space”?
      Once again, all the best

  2. Alex Delderfield (ADEdge)

    Great stuff, awesome to see Shapeways expanding! Also good to see Shapeways not trying to expand too fast. This was quite some time in the making, slow and steady 🙂

    The 3D printing of the scissors was a really good touch too, impressed as per usual.

  3. Kate

    Congrats– this is super exciting! Also I love that the factory is in LIC!

  4. Scott

    Awesome! wish you much success!

  5. Andreas

    I will soon build my own 3D printer and am fascinated with your initivative. All the best for you I wish!

  6. Arnie diamond

    Since I sit in front of a computer running
    Rhinocerous and autocad each day, I find
    The direction and vision of your company’s creatively
    exciting. I draw models that are cut out of foam blocks which
    Are then used form molds to produce fiberglass products.
    Unfortunately the company that i am employed by has not taken the step into
    The world 3d printing. I wish you the best of luck with
    Your new business.

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