Designer Spotlight: Tom Rethaller

This weeks designer spotlight features Tom Rethaller. Not only a Shapeways shop owner, Tom has created his very own app! Pupworkshop is one of the newest apps featured on our Easy Creator page. Personalize ears, colors, even tails with this adorable app to create a 3D printed twin of your best four-legged friend, or bring an imaginary friend to life!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I’m Tom, I live in Copenhagen. My background is in computer games development, but I’m also interested in design, 3D art and 3D printing.


What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
I realize that this is very cliché but three months ago I had my first child, a girl, and this had a huge influence on my personal work. As an expectant father, there is not much you can do except for worrying about the future, wondering if you’re going to be a good dad, looking for ways to make your child’s life better. So the idea came that I could make her toys, and working on it made me feel a little less useless while my wife was busy actually making the baby. I started allowing myself to do cute and funny and discovered that I really enjoyed it. This, and Adventure Time™.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
What is awesome here is the community and the helpful staff. Also, Pupworkshop needs a 3D printing service with an API, and Shapeways is working hard to make the developers’ work easier.


Photo courtesy of happy customer, MrAras.

How did you learn how to design in 3D?
I’ve been interested in 3D modeling for a long time but was focusing mostly on the technical aspect, and it was never really going anywhere. Last year, I realized (or rather, finally admitted) that I was limited by my creative skills rather than my technical skills. You know, the “but I can’t draw” syndrome. Long story short, I read books, blogs, watched videos, and ended-up waking-up one hour earlier every morning to draw before going to work, without letting any excuse get in the way. A few months later, funny things started to appear.


Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
I’m quite fond of Nervous System. They use randomness and procedural generation, and yet manage to keep intention and character in their designs. They use math as a tool to create beauty and surprise, not as a goal in itself. I like to play around with their apps on their website. Also, ModiBot really motivates me to try out articulated models.


If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
More toys! Mixed materials, in color, with mechanical parts and embedded software. Kids need to be able to hack their own toys. I’m waiting for the API to add LEDs and motors!


  • Fun, creative way for anyone to be able to create with 3D printing
  • Everyone loves their dog, why not let them make a fun cartoon version!
  • Instead of just making models of dogs, the step further with an app inspires designers by showing them how far their creativity can go

Thank you for the interview, Tom! We love seeing all the pups come through and are so happy to be a vehicle for your creativity. Keep up the great work! In case you missed the great video, here’s a little fun we had at Shapeways with the Pupworkshop app.

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