This isn’t a marketing stunt. This is story is so unbelievable and so magical, I know no other way to present it than to lay out the facts before you and let you marvel in their fun.



Photos by Silas Pelsmaeker, whom I thank for being able to do this so last minute and so early in the morning. 

On Saturday, when our website unfortunately went down due to data center issues out of our control, I asked you all to share your #SWPaws. Dozens upon dozens of great animals photos streamed in through our social media channels, immediately turning our frowns upside down. One such photo, from our new friend Roel, featured Kai, the Reindeer and the “Boss” (Santa) wearing a Shapeways 3D Printed belt buckle and hat broach inspired by Kai.



Santa’s Kai Inspired 3D Printed Belt Buckle in Gold Matte Steel



Santa Models His 3D Printed Hat Broach in Gold Matte Steel

I was elated! This was unbelievable! I know more than most how delightful our community is, but even I never could have anticipated that we had printed swag for Santa and his Reindeer! I had to know more, so I asked Roel where they were located and how exactly this photo came to be.



Photo Roel Ruwaard posted to our Facebook Page for #SWPaws

Turns out, Roel, Santa and Kai all live only an hour away from our factory in Eindhoven, in The Netherlands! On top of that, Roel informed me that Kai is actually quite portable, and that they would love to come visit our factory sometime. Mind blown, I immediately reached out Ruud, a priceless member of our European team. He was just as astounded as I, and we immediately began plotting what had the potential to be the greatest Christmas miracle in Shapeways history.

We knew we had to act fast. It was now the wee hours of Sunday, December 21st and we knew Kai & Santa’s schedule’s had to be packed. After our initial attempts to get ahold of Roel failed, Ruud reached out personally on facebook and managed to schedule a call.  Tuesday morning Ruud and Roel connected, and in one fateful chat, the dreams of many Shapies came true. Turns out Santa and Kai were ecstatic about the invitation to the factory, and were willing to carve out two hours early this morning, make the drive, and come by to spread some Christmas cheer.



Santa Getting Ready for the Big Shoot at our Eindhoven, Netherlands Factory.

At 7am today, Ruud welcomed Santa and Kai to our factory. Kai was very comfortable around people and heavy machinery, not surprising given his work at Santa’s factory. In a rare inside look, Santa prepared for his big day in our distribution center, is there a more fitting place to get in the sleigh riding zone?






Santa Putting on the Finishing Touches to his Ensemble

They were then given the full tour, and did a VIP pickup of Shapeways holiday gifts. They even let us have this epic photo shoot in front of our biggest Strong & Flexible Plastic printers as they selectively laser sintered away. Has Santa ever been more high tech or hip?



Sleigh Packed to the Brim in Front of our Biggest 3D Printers

Ruud was nice enough to Skype me in for a chat with the big man, too!



On Skype with Santa, Kai and Ruud from Shapeways HQ in New York City – Can You Tell How Happy We Are?

Their special sleigh loaded to the brim, Santa and his reindeer slipped out the back and on to the rest of their Christmas Eve pickups, leaving a factory full of Shapeways employees simply enchanted. 


To think that this beautiful experience arose from unexpected site downtime is unreal. It is truly a testament to the incredible individuals that make up the Shapeways community. You, yes YOU, and Kai, and Roel, and everyone else our service and products touch, define the Shapeways spark. Christmas Eve is historically special for us all, as we wait to hear stories about the thousands of Shapeways powered packages under trees around the world. Today, however, is one we’ll never forget:

As we look to the sky,
Hoping to catch sight of Santa’s great sleigh,
We can turn to our loved ones,
And let them know where he started this day…


A admittedly misty eyed, very proud, Shapeways Global Community Manager here, hoping some of this same magic may reach you this holiday season.

From all of us at Shapeways,

Merry Christmas to All!

A very special Thank You to Roel Veldhuyzen for originally posting these one of a kind #SWPaws, Santa for following up and making the journey (also named Roel Ruwaard), Kai the Reindeer, Ruud, and entire Eindhoven team for being just as big of children as I inside and working hard to make this magic happen at the last Christmas minute. You can learn more about Kai and Roel’s awesome animal family (and how to meet them) here.