Shapeways, The Community

White Glaze: our new 3D printing material

Until the 2nd of October we will test White Glaze with you. It is a smooth, bright and shiny 3D printing material that looks a lot like porcelain from a distance. The model above is Bathsheba’s CTRL-ALT-Whelk. The material is tough and strong. There is another blog post here explaining the 3D printing process, Stratasys’ FDM Vapor Smoothing that is behind White Glaze. We also have a materials page for White Glaze here that summarizes the relevant materials information.

We’ve selected this material because a lot of you were asking for smooth 3D prints. We’ve been looking and testing for months. This is the smoothest material we could find and it looks great. The material will be available until October 2nd.


The detail on this material is less than that of our White, Black & Transparent Detail materials and our White, Strong & Flexible material. Therefore, I would not recommend it for models where details are of critical concern. However, the material has a high dimensional stability. I would use it for designs where the overall shape is of primary importance such as Rob Mack’s Elegant Bowl Sixties Series I above. Because it so dimensionally stable it is also very suited for housings and parts. When making a housing or part though I would recommend ‘oversized’ connectors or holes since the Vapor Smoothing process limits surface detail. You can get an indication of surface detail by looking at BAROBA’s Bowie the Bunny below.

From a few feet the material looks very smooth. If you are extremely close you can see some unevenness but it still has a glossy smooth finish. 

Material Details

  • The material is a white ABS plastic.
  • The minimum detail is 2mm.
  • Minimum wall thickness is 1.4mm.
  • Maximum build volume is: 35 X 40 X 40 CM.
  • The delivery & production time is 15 working days in total.
  • It will be our cheapest material at $1.45 per cubic centimeter.

 “But the minimum order amount per model has to be $23(16 cubic CM). People often think that we just push a button and then the 3D printers do the rest.
But, a substantial cost component for us is people. People have to
clean your models, take them out of the machines, check them, package
them. Every single model is expensive because each requires individual
handling, checking and tracking. By having a minimum order amount per
model of $23 we can substantially bring down the overall cost of the
material. We understand that designers that make tiny models such as
Woody with his great Minifig customs are negatively impacted by this. But, this is just an experiment for White Glaze and we hope you all appreciate that we are also trying to be innovative in our pricing in order to make Shapeways as affordable as possible.”

I hope that the pricing decision is clear. We are not trying to disadvantage any one individual group on Shapeways. Our mission is to bring production capacity, the ability to customize and make to as many people as possible for as many applications as is possible. We will concentrate on making 3D printing as cheap as it can be and then stand back and watch you guys make amazing things.

Since we’re testing both the material and the pricing model for you we’d really like to get any feedback you have here.

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