Shapeways community manager Joris says goodbye

Dear community members, I will be leaving Shapeways as per tomorrow. I’ll continue to do some Shapeways blog posts but will no longer be your Community Manager. I’m leaving Shapeways in order to pursue other opportunities.

The past two years have been the most invigorating & exciting of my life. To be able to let Shapeways grow from a group of beta testers to a large and vibrant community with tens of thousands of members, tens of thousands of designs and more than 8000 models ordered a month was an incredible experience.

Those first few months were rather chaotic. It started with a bang with articles on TechCrunch and Boing Boing. We were inundated by email, questions & problems (and in one fell swoop thousands of members). Materials had to be introduced Black Detail, White, Strong & Flexible; Transparent Detail, Full Color, Stainless Steel, Glass, High Gloss Glass and above all else we were impatient.

Impatient to show you what you could do using 3D printing technology. We were getting to grips with letting you “upload and print” but already working on the Creators, the Co-Creator platform and all the other features you’ve seen. The learning curve was steep, not only for our growing community but also for us. Nonmanifold, open edges and coming to grips with software packages we’d never even heard of meant we were learning all the time. Bugs were popping up everywhere, as if we were gallivanting around the jungle tossing sugar cubes every which way. At the same time we had to organize and visit events such as SIGGRAPH, Dutch Design Week and Makerfaire. As a net result I’ve explained 3D printing to more people than I’d ever think I’d meet in a life time. Somewhere along the line I managed to write 347 blog posts: some of dubious quality, many in dire need of editing but hopefully some good ones in there somewhere.

I also got to dive into model trains, 3D puzzles, space ships, design schools, jewelry designers, Fablabs and many other communities we engaged. So not only has Shapeways let me meet a large number of people and these people have been very diverse. I’ve also gotten to learn about 3D printing and: graduation ceremony deadlines, N & H0, sculptural intent, live action role playing, remote control helicopters, replica steam boats, racing teams, 3d scans of clavicles, jet engines, fashion accessories, dinner wear, knives & forks, Snoopy, the Virgin de Guadalupe, LEGO swords, fractals, elves, chocolate molds, brass knuckles, Facebook games, UAVs, action figures, Second Life, insects, proteins, DNA, photography, stamps, RFID tags, augmented reality, watches, chess sets, manga, robot arms, fighting robots, board games, desktop wargaming and many other things. Opening up your eyes every day to new communities, new designs and new challenges was wonderful. Thank you all for letting me learn about your community!

We’ve spent the time since trying to encourage and marshal the incredible skill and energy level of the Shapeways community by holding contests and reaching out through You Tube, this blog and our lively forum. Whereas initially we were focused on just letting people upload to Shapeways, later on it became a question of inspiring people in creating more and more diverse things. The quality of work in the gallery and on It arrived (Ralph’s idea!) has continually improved remarkably as people have mastered designing for 3D printing. The sheer variety of the designs on Shapeways right now is mind blowing. While I’d like to think I played a small part in this I know that it is really the community that made this happen.

Fairly quickly the first heroes started to emerge in our community. Whether by tirelessly submitting bug reports or suggestions, spending hours helping on the forum, writing tutorials or by spreading the word it was these community heroes that really have made Shapeways what it is today. Shapeways is a very high engagement community and it is these people’s pioneering work that has made this possible. We’ve had members spend 10-12 hours fixing someone else’s complex design and others have spent over a 1000 hours on Shapeways. We’ve seen hundreds of blog post and tweets by community members spreading the word.

These heroes were brought to us by sites linking to us and writing to us (over ten thousand!). I’d like to especially thank Bruce Sterling, Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing, the Wired Blogs, the guys at Makezine, Gizmodo and Engaget for bringing us talented creative people that have helped shape Shapeways. I’m intensely proud of Shapeways and the Shapeways community. Not only am I proud of what we’ve all achieved together so far but I know I will be proud of what you’ll achieve after I’ve left. I would like to thank each and every community member from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for your friendship, ideas & encouragement. I am indebted to you for inspiring me with your creativity and hard work for this community.

Should you wish to keep in touch with me you can follow me on twitter here or email me at joris (dot) peels (at) gmail. (dot) com. 

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  1. Michael Williams

    :’( Now who will I bug every 5 minutes about something and anything? I know I will definitely miss you here. But we’ll keep in touch buddy.

  2. WiKKiDWidgets

    It is a sad day to see one of the iconic figures of shapeways step away. You will be sorely missed Joris. My best to you in your new adventures.


  3. Dimitri Kobzar

    heey Joris!
    That’s definitely a bummer for all of Shapeways users and members!! But I do really hope that the opportunities you set off to pursue will prove even more beneficial.
    I’ve admired the level of your enthusiasm and commitment! Take care! We will miss your videos and blog posts!

  4. Vijay Paul

    Sorry to see you go Joris, you’ve been brilliant, good luck with your future plans mate.

  5. Paul Sauberlich

    Hi Joris; sorry to see you’re leaving. Thanks for your efforts at Shapeways and the best of luck for the future.

  6. Dizingof

    Unbelievably sad news for all shapeways members! :(

    It was you 9 months ago who inspired me to pursue materializing my ideas with 3D printing..
    with that one line email “I really really like your “my buddy” USB charger for iPhone”.
    That line made me dive into the 3D modeling realm.

    Thank you for all your kind responses and blog/forum posts.

    I wish you the very best of luck in your new opportunities – You will be missed.


  7. Andrew Plumb

    Hey Joris,

    Thanks for all your help, shared links and ideas while at Shapeways.

    Looking forward to seeing what you do next!


  8. Mitchell Jetten


    thank you very much for all your help!
    you’ve been very good to the whole community in answering questions and making blogs!

    i hope you’ll stay around and follow the shapeways community from your new work!

    and sure we will send you an email if we have “shapeways” questions!

    thanks again for everything!

    Mitchell Jetten

  9. Michael Raphael

    So sad to see you leave Joris!

    Will you pass along our concepts for our ShapeShot 3D face capture opportunity? We’re real excited about our progress, we have a new system going to NYC next week. Please pass on the torch to somebody and let me know!

    Best to you!


  10. Erik

    You’ve done a terrific job! I’ve seen the Shapeways name pop up everywhere and MANY people mentioning it during my RepRap ambassadorial work, you’re definitely possible for a significant share of that. Good luck with your “new opportunity” :)

  11. Jake Drews

    Good luck Joris! It is sad to see you go. You have been a super great help with all my Shapeways questions, and I wish you the best!

    I thought I had explained 3D Printing/Shapeways to a lot of people, I cant imagine how many people you have explained it to.

    Good luck Joris!

  12. Stijn van der Linden

    Dude !
    I still don’t see this option in the “co-create you community manager survey”.. :-P

    Hate to see you go.. you’ve been one of THE faces of Shapeways for many of us.
    Your humor, enthusiasm and encouragements will be missed.
    Thanks for the most excellent work you did for us !
    Without it, many of us would have failed and quit.

    Cheers !


    Joris, I wish you the best for your future plans.

    I already feel sad because you are leaving.
    I did my first steps in 3D printing with Shapeways and you! During this period, not only I was able to print my models, but also, I exhibited my 3D printed work into various exhibitions.

    You’ve been a great help man! Thank you!

    Good luck!

  14. Michiel Cornelissen

    All the best to you Joris – it’s been a great ride. Can’t wait to see where you’ll pop up…

  15. Shapeways Blog

    So what will I miss most now that I’ve left Shapeways?My colleagues? No, what I will miss is the Shapeways Makerbot. We got a beautiful Makerbot Industries Cupcake CNC some weeks ago. Our Makerbot is quite noisy but we love it. Hans put it together for us

  16. T. Shawn Johnson

    I’m sorry I haven’t responded to this thread yet. I’m going to miss Joris a lot! I wonder if maybe in the subconcious part of my brain I was thinking … “if I ignore this information, maybe it will all go away and Joris will be back, and everything will be the same again”.

    I guess I’m just glad that he’s not totally gone, and will still be doing posts here and keeping track of what’s happening in our community.

    You really are a gem lost in the crown of Shapeways Joris! I will miss your goofiness and your philosophical musings. I hope the one that takes your place will glow as brightly and treat everyone with as much patience as you have.


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