For this weeks designer spotlight, we are excited to feature Dane Saunders, industrial designer and enthusiastic entrepreneur and creator! Dane’s shop is full of interesting, fun items that clearly express a love for experimentation! Learn about his process and inspiration below.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I tell most people now days that I live & work in a little cave…and I accompany that comment with my best physical impression of a goblin or hunchback….that way they can appreciate my sacrifices! 😉 I think it’s a subtle ploy to downplay how cool my job really is. I’ve been doing freelance Industrial Design in Vancouver, Canada for the past 2 years. Prior to that, I spent the better part of a decade working for Boston Dynamics as a designer, technician, and build manager, gleaming as much knowledge as I could from the plethora of robotics engineers that I worked with daily.

Dane Saunders_portrait

Photo credit: Alexis McKeown Photography

What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
Most of my work on Shapeways is inspired by that insatiable need to simply make stuff! Behind that I would say I’ve always had that relentless entrepreneurial gene, plaguing me or pushing me (can’t decide), to find ways to not only have my work seen an used by others, but to also put a few dollars in my pocket…allowing me to explore even more ideas!
I am inspired daily by other creatives, not only in design and craft, but also in photography, or dance, or good ol’ ink on paper. If I’m not thinking about furniture or games, I’m thinking about product ideas….and wishing I had more dough to explore all these ideas in my head. Having an outlet like Shapeways is pretty unique, and I think it’s bringing out designs from myself and others, that would otherwise never see the light of day. For instance: the latest brass pendants I created as a set of 3….gifts for the three most influential women in my life. I think these show my tendencies to smooth lines, and retro styling. And, what a glorious thing to have access to printed metal! Beyond that, I clearly got wrapped up in Bow Ties for a while. I sat down one day, determined to design a bow tie that could be printed flat, then bent or assembled into shape. Well, I failed that…but something else came out this experiment with bending cardboard. I ended up with a simple form that could be customized with endless patterns…that was exciting enough for me. These are exciting times for designers, and I am so grateful for all the resources we have at our finger tips.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
I landed a client over a year ago who had started prototyping their product concepts via 3D printing, and using Shapeways as their primary resource. I then had the pleasure of flushing out their 3D models and getting some first hand experience ordering prototypes from Shapeways. The product line in reference hasn’t launched yet, but is now planned to be a 3D printed final product. Here’s a sneak peek.

How did you learn how to design in 3D?
The first time I used CAD was learning AutoCad, then Rhino in design school back in early 2000’s. It was mind blowing at the time. I was so engaged and driven to improve my 3D skills, and wow’d by the organic shapes I could created in virtual space. Since then it’s been 100% Solidworks, for work mostly…and now I’m jealous of all the people who can make these wild organic shapes. I really want to try Z-brush some day…looks fascinating.

How do you promote your work?
I give my samples away as gifts, or send them out for user feedback. Then of course Instagram and Facebook…one pushing to the other mostly.

Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
Ah, there’s so many good ones here! I seem to be drawn to the organic stuff, because it’s outside my skillset a bit. To list a few, I really enjoy works from Genghis, ShielaMunro, MichaelMueller, COVO. ‘Joabaldwin‘ seems to have the shop front thing nailed, and the stuff coming out of ‘Hunchakabunkis‘ land is bending my brain! Beyond Shapeways, my designer idol is Daniel Simon.

If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
Hmmm, maybe a 3D printer!? 😀


  • Really great selection of products
  • Great photography/different product shots
  • Shop sections for easy shopping
  • Nice shop branding
  • Great variation of similar products, shows more like a “product line” than individual pieces


Thank you, Dane! We’ve been admiring your shop for a little while now and are so excited to see it grow so nicely. Keep up the amazing work. Don’t forget to follow along on Instagram and Facebook, and to check out his shop! To be featured, email aimee @