Introducing White Strong & Flexible… Polished and Smooth

DISCLAIMER: When we launched this material in 2011, we used to polish models for much longer; this is how we achieved a smooth and shiny finish. One of the disadvantages of this process was a loss of details on fragile models. When we changed the whole process to achieve more efficiency and faster turnaround times, we were also able to find the right balance between a smoother finish and sharper details. Please note that we no longer offer such long polishing times and if you order this material, your models will have a smooth, matte and velvet finish.   

Shapeways is launching a smoother (and a bit shinier) White Strong and Flexible: WSF Polished.


Click to better see the polished shine


Click to enlarge

Chain Maille by 


Click to better see the polished shine


Click to see SLS (left) vs. Polished SLS (right)

iPhone Cases by C Westbrook Designs


“The quality exceeds my expectation! It feels the same as injection moulded nylon, like for example the plastic part of a car key…With this quality level it makes the product perfect for selling in a store… I am really enthusiastic about this new SLS treatment!” -Gijs de Zwart, studiogijs

“With the new smooth finish, White Strong & Flexible material has the same feel as a molded plastic part. It doesn’t feel like a “prototype” anymore and the smooth surface stands up much better to daily use.” -Jessica Rosenkrantz, Nervous System

“The finish is silky smooth, and even gives glints of reflections! The surface feels almost as if the model has been injection molded…My wife has just has a feel of the polished SLS, she says, Ooo… they feel like Mentos!” — Paul King, Stop4stuff


Unlike Mentos, WSF Polished is not edible (Duann, I’m looking at your son). We even have a video testimonial from Oskar, discussing both pros and cons of the new material

For more information on Polishing process and design precautions, please consult the WSF Polished Materials Page.

Polished WSF will start at just $0.25/cm3 extra in addition to the WSF costs. We will add the material to all items currently available in White Strong & Flexible, with the same markup as the WSF. If you want to remove this material, or set a percentage based markup price for your products in this material, please see the Markup Bookmarklet an awesome community member hacked together.



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  1. Glenn Slingsby

    Very nice! Can’t wait to get something made in this material. Would like to know a bit about the polishing process to know what we have to look out for in terms of delicate or thin areas.

    1. nancyliang

      Hey Glenn. We use a vibratory tumbling machine. The process is described a bit more in detail here:

      Basically, little grains of plastics and ceramics in soap & water vibrates against the material. The result is that the material evens out, and the pores closes. Meaning it * should * be more dust resistant. We haven’t had one in the office long enough to test out how dust/stain resistant it actually is yet. But do let us know when you make your orders what your thoughts are!

  2. Glenn Slingsby

    Oh, yes, forgot to mention I checked out the “Markup Machine” as noted in the above. Haven’t yet tried it but if it works this will be a timesaver for me. I never understood why Shapeways didn’t include the markup by percentage option…

    1. nancyliang

      It will work as long as the format of the page stays the same. It’s a very short term solution. the Dev Team is working out a way more elegant, long term thing. Let me know how the bookmarklet works out for you!

    2. Glenn Slingsby

      Sorry. Didn’t work for me. Using Chrome under Win7. All the markups change on the Inventory management page but after saving the changes and going to my designs nothing has changed. I tried this by marking up a percentage and applying to all materials, then with just two materials. Same result each time.

    3. nancyliang

      The bookmarklet doesn’t actually save the changes. It just fills out the text boxes and checks checkboxes for you. You still need to hit “Save” at the corner (or the Cancel button if you don’t want to make your changes). When you say “saving changes” do you mean that you actually clicked the button in the corner?

    4. Glenn Slingsby

      Yep, I hit the SAVE button in the corner. I’ve tried this numerous ways. Both before closing the Markup widget and after… all materials, one material…. nothing. Like I said the Markup works and changes the markup, but they don’t save…

    5. nancyliang

      And I’m guessing if you don’t use the markup widget but click Save, it does indeed work?

    6. Glenn Slingsby

      Yes, if I use it normally it works. I was really looking forward to using this since I like the percentage markup option.

  3. Silverbeam

    what method are they using to polish it? It looks like it doesn’t get inside edges as well as the outside….

    I am very excited about this!

  4. George Bell

    Very interesting, I too will want to try this new stuff out!

    The materials link in the post doesn’t seem to work … ??

    1. woody64

      Yes, I also want to see some dyed pieces that looks very promising.

  5. Tom van der Zanden

    I have been hoping for a smoother material. It would make printed puzzles much more valuable.
    I don’t think Unlucky Twist was a terribly good choice for testing this new finishing option. It already is inherently loose and the polishing just made it worse. I really wonder how it would work for more traditional puzzle, in which the looser tolerances could be adjusted for by the structure of the mechanism and the tension of the screws.

    Can the material be dyed or does the smoother surface prevent absorption of the dye?

    I notice the density discount does not carry over to this new material. A 75cm^3 puzzle becomes $60 more expensive when polished. Too bad… $20 seems reasonable for the service but $60 is less acceptable for me. Cost is still a key issue for me and my customers.

    1. George Bell

      Tom is correct, the density discount does not apply to the new material. I have a 89 cm^3 model where the price jumps from $83 to $157 in the polished material. This doesn’t make much sense, as I understand it the density discount is a printing discount, whereas the polished WSF is an extra post-printing process.

      I have a few puzzles which could greatly benefit from this new material. I have been sanding the parts by hand to smooth them sufficiently.

    2. Peter Weijmarshausen

      Guys, you are right regarding the density discount.

      We will update the material formulas to capture it shortly. We will blog about it when done and will also apply it to BS&F and other colors.

      We will update the density discount to a better formula shortly also.


    3. Peter Weijmarshausen

      Tom, what puzzle would you recommend? Interested in doing a test, to try it?

  6. ErkDemon

    I’ve recently added a couple of models to my FractalHeaven account that are specifically scaled to only work in FUD (they have a wallsize less than 0.4mm), and I carefully got rid of all the other materials as options when I made the models orderable … but then when WSF-P was introduced, those models switched to WSF-P by default, instead, so I had to go back and manually delete the new material from the listed options. If I hadn’t spotted the change, people might have been trying to order the models in an “impossible” material.

    So I was wondering … might it be worth adding a little numerical textbox to each model where the designer could fill in a nominal value for the model’s minimum default wallthickness in millimetres, so that any materials that can’t cope with the quotedl value are automatically deselected? Otherwise these problems are likely to resurface each time a new material is introduced.

  7. Michiel

    I love the material, but about half of my models don’t show it as an option – there simply isn’t a checkbox in the inventory. Is this an updating thing that will go away over time?


  8. Mark Bloomfield

    This is brilliant although it looks like I’m not going to need that vibro finisher I just bought! I’ll be doing some finishing experiments anyway with the strong & flexible samples I have, including the dyed versions. I’ll let you know how it goes! 🙂

  9. Glenn Slingsby

    I don’t suppose Shapeways could find a way of employing a similar technology to smooth out stainless steel? It is possible to get a silver-like polish to this material but not without a lot of work and inability to get into small areas…

  10. Gijs de Zwart

    I guess that’s possible for stainless steel, although larger area’s are better done by hand I think to smooth out imperfections and print layer texture. An automatic system will probably not do that.

  11. Shapeways Blog

    Since the introduction of Shapeways Frosted Detail and Frosted Ultra Detail we have had a flood of orders from people making most of the high resolution 3D prints.  Many of you have shared your items as they have been delivered to your door and it has b

  12. Derek Bosch

    too bad there was unannounced back-log on polished WS&F… parts shipped two weeks late…
    plus no communication that things were to be delayed…

  13. Shapeways Blog

    Hi community, I have asked our head polisher Michel to explain more about the polishing process used for our Polished White Strong and Flexible 3D prints. One of our core values is fun, Michel is it fun working with the polisher? Yes it

  14. Shapeways Blog

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  15. Shapeways Blog

    Since the release of the iPhone there has been a challenge to protect the phone while still maintaining the Apple integrity, we have seen super minimal cases that protect without drawing attention to themselves but the The iPhone 4/4S case MacPro&nbs

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