Designer Spotlight: Kerbal Space Program

This week we are highlighting a well-known shop who has used Shapeways to make their beloved game, Kerbal Space Program, come to life! Based in Mexico, it takes a team to build the wonderful world of the Kerbal Space Program. We’re hearing from Dan Rosas, one of Kerbal’s 3D artists.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
The home of Kerbal Space Program is in Squad, Mexico City. Squad is an indie developer that started small, and is right now in active development of KSP. I have been on the team for almost three years, and currently lead the team developing in-game assets. My work consists mostly around the Kerbals, whether they are used in graphics, animations, or being 3D printed by Shapeways, and it’s my responsibility to make them (suffer) have interesting stories.

kerbal_miercoles (45 of 45)

What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you? 
The original design of the Kerbals was made by Felipe Falanghe, Lead Developer of KSP. Once I got in the team, and got into a conversation with Felipe, I was in charge of breathing life into the Kerbals. Along with him and the rest of the team, we developed the look and feel that the Kerbals currently have. While developing the Kerbals, I always like to take into consideration the background of each character that we portray. Most of the time, I do some research about actual rocket scientists, those real life characters that can inspire the life of a Kerbal. Sometimes I ask the team interesting questions like: “If you were a Kerbal, what would you eat in space?” or “What’s the lifespan of a Kerbal? Do they get old?”.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
We wanted to bring the Kerbals to life, and our first thought was the emerging 3D printing technology, focusing on online services and stores. We did a couple of tests with the Kerbals, mostly rocket parts and simple Kerbal designs. And after trial and error, we came with the 3D printed Kerbals that you currently know and are available on the store.


How did you learn how to design in 3D?
I learned 3D modeling while studying Animation. But it wasn’t until after joining the Kerbal team in the adventure of breathing life into the Kerbonauts, that I pushed my 3D skills and learned the tricks of 3D printing. With help from the Shapeways team, as well as the different resources available online, I managed to print the first Kerbal with a couple of happy accidents. After that experience, I developed a pipeline inside Maya to export the files the Shapeways store needed, without those accidents.

How do you promote your work?
We have the usual promotion of our social networks. But we are really grateful for the community that we have, they have helped us grow into the team we are, and they have made our Shapeways Store possible.


Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
My favorite artists are mostly animators. Naming a few, I always look at inspiration on the work of David O’Reilly, Bill Plympton, Julia Pott, Keith Lango, Sylvain Chomet, amongst others.

If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
I am extremely thrilled by the use of 3D printing in space travel. I’ve read a couple of articles that expose the possibilities of the technology in space, how astronauts are able to generate the tools that they need to repair ships, without the need of a trip back home. And that particular case where Pizza can be 3D printed, in order to feed astronauts that will travel for lengthier periods of time.



  • Awesome photography of every character
  • Great banner and shop upkeep
  • Great pricing


Thank you for the awesome interview Dan. We are so glad you’re part of the community and are able to realize such an amazing group of characters! Fans, stay up to date by visiting their shop, website, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. As always, to be featured feel free to email aimee @ shapeways.com.


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