The Shapeways team was so excited when we saw all the buzz around one of our creators Yuri Schuurkes and his spot-on Spider-Man costume. His passion was so evident and his work so meticulous that we reached out to learn more about what inspired him to become the creator he is today. In Yuri’s own words:

“When I was younger, I once dreamed that I was Spider-Man, slinging web and swinging between skyscrapers”

That dream made such an impression on me that I would often wish before falling asleep that I’d dream about being Spider-Man again. And yet, I wasn’t a die-hard Spider-Man fan — I had none of the comics or toys; I only knew him from a cartoon TV series that I would occasionally watch with my brothers and sister.

But I was incredibly excited about Spider-Man coming to the big screen. When the movie was released, it exceeded my expectations. To me, the most important thing about Spider-Man is the transformation from boy to superhero. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies created a beautiful contrast between the nerdy school boy Peter Parker and the incredibly surreal, mysterious super creature that he becomes, who fascinates at first sight and is adored by everybody. I wanted to be like that too!

When searching for a costume, I quickly discovered that the very best suits available, all of which were handmade by fans, weren’t able to capture that same magic as the original movie costume. The only way was to make the costume myself.

I had no costuming experience but I got help from a fan in New York and quickly managed to make my first costume in 2004. The result wasn’t nearly good enough for me and what followed was a series of Spider-Man costumes in which every attempt would improve in quality. It took me about three years to create something that was acceptable to my own standards. I filmed it with my aunt’s handycam, uploaded the video on YouTube, and quickly attracted millions of views.

The success inspired me to keep working on my costumes while I studied media design at the Art Academy. I turned out to be a talented game and interaction designer and through my graduation project, I managed to get a job at a Dutch gaming company. After several months of being utterly unhappy, I decided to quit and go back to the thing I loved most: making Spider-Man costumes.

“It wasn’t until 2014 that I decided to take the suit to the next level with the help of a new technology that was becoming more and more affordable: 3D printing”

I realized that 3D printing would allow me to recreate the face shell with magnetic eyes that was used in the original movie suit and so crucial to capturing Spidey’s exact look.  

For several weeks, I sat with an experienced 3D designer to create the perfect 3D model of Spider-Man’s face shell using Max 3DS software. Eventually I was able to continue the work on my own. It took about six months to finish the job completely. Being a beginner is frustrating and the steps you take are slow – sometimes you can sit for days without any progress. But you learn from every step and eventually you get the hang of it.

The face shell is only 2mm thick and printed in Versatile Plastic material offered by Shapeways. The material’s strength is incredible and because it’s slightly flexible, it’s ideal for wear.  

The new design with 3D-printed face shell and eye frames was an immediate hit on my YouTube channel, SpideyPlanet.

With my Spider-Man costume finally reaching a point where it began to impress even me, I started uploading videos to my channel on a regular basis. The channel is growing rapidly as we speak with an average of 1500 subscribers joining every day. I never aimed to become a YouTube influencer – it just kind of happened to me. I believe the most important thing is following your gut feeling and sticking to that. No matter what you achieve, your gut will guide you to where you need to be.

A huge thank you to Yuri for sharing his inspirational creator story with us! We can’t wait to see what he and the rest of our creative community come up with every day.