Shapeways, The Community

How To 3D Print High Polygon Models with Shapeways

AN IMPORTANT UPDATE: As of April, 2013, Shapeways no longer offers this high polygon workaround. If your model has over a million polygons, use this handy tutorial to reduce them so you can upload your model in the normal way. Thank you for your understanding!

Ok Zbrush users, organic algorithm artists and character modelers, Shapeways have developed a workaround so that your models can now exceed the 1,000,000 polygon limit currently in place. 

It is not elegant, and takes some negotiating, but if we get enough demand we will try and automate the process to make it easier for everyone.  Let us know what you think, is this something you would like to see as standard? 

Order Process for High Polygon Models:

  1. Send your zipped High Polygon file to Shapeways service(at)
  2. Shapeways will manually check the file and inform you if it can be printed,
  3. Once you have confirmation from Shapeways that it can be printed you will need to upload a dummy file of a cube with the same volume as your high polygon model to your Shapeways account with the file name ‘POLYGONENFILE‘, order and pay for it.
  4. You then need to email your order number to service(at)
  5. Your High Polygon model will then be 3D printed and delivered to your door.

We warned you it was not pretty, but if there is enough uptake we can automate and speed up the process, until then these manual steps mean there will be an increase to the time it takes to process the model Update: the volume of the cube needs to be the same actual material volume, no bounding box. The price is the same as for a “low” poly model.

Once the resolution of the model is increased, Shapeways can then work on increasing the resolution of the 3D printing processes to make the most of the high polygon models.  

You might wonder why we have not fixed this problem already? Well
processing those big polycount files takes a lot of memory and we
process multiple files at the same time. We can improve our algorithms
(rocket-scientists are welcome to help) or add memory. Currently we
already have around 8GB of processing memory, so this is also not that easy.

Now let’s see your high polygon models….

About me
Shapeways Designer Evangelist
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