Author Archives: Chelsea Gussaroff

Bring the Olympic Games to You

As seen and heard around the world, the 2016 Rio Olympics are in full swing. While most of us are not lucky enough to attend the live events, Shapeways has the goods you need to celebrate your favorite sports from the Summer Olympics anywhere. Bring on the Badminton, Basketball, Table Tennis, Fencing, and Golf!  Which sport do you enjoy the most?  Whether your passion comes from being a player or a spectator, our designers have got you covered.

Get in the spirit of slam dunking with this iPhone6  from lumlumpum.

This Ping ball from Shapeways designer holybowly calls for double duty as the product was designed for bounce and flexibility.  Throw it in your pocket and grab a few friends to get a match started in your location of choice.


If a golf course sounds like your terrain, here are a few product ideas to keep your game up to par.  We know that golf isn’t exactly a lightweight sport when it comes to equipment so free up some bag room with the Belt Plastic Golf Tee Holder from jlnuttle10.  Attaching the holder to your belt is as easy as one-two-tee!

Keep your razor sharp focus on the course and have some fun off the course with Desk Golf from UrbanoRodriguez.

It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s the Badminton Pendant Pendant from frankxie.


Marie, the designer behind this Fencing Mask Pendant, was inspired by different meanings she found within what the sport stands for: power and strength to face the fight and elegance.  Her pendant was designed to symbolize these facets.

See more designs from Marie’s shop, scientist2010 and check out other inspired pendants in last week’s blog post,  Symbols + Science= Jewelry Styles for All. 

We hope you enjoy the 2016 Olympic Games this month as we continue to spotlight designers and their creations around the world. You can catch more on the Olympics and Shapeways next week as we will be sharing a very unique story straight from Rio.  In the meantime, don’t forget to check out locally-inspired Sparks Across the Globe designer, Kjeld Pederson Junior.

Symbols + Science = Jewelry Styles for All

Looking to revamp your jewelry collection?  Symbols are one way to make a statement without going overboard.  They also lend as great conversation pieces for history buffs, trendsetters, and Biochem masters alike.  Our community across the globe has designing symbols down to an art and we’re showing you the creations you don’t want to miss. 

As the masterminds behind Shapeways shop somersault1824, Belgium designers Idoya and Luk make science look sleek. Their minimalist necklaces are perfect for channeling your inner lab geek and make for surprising, sweet gifts.


Phi pendant from somersault1824

There is more than meets the eye with Phi! This letter is the basis for the Golden Ratio, a principle frequently found math and science which can be dated back to sacred architecture and art.  Another important fact to know: Products from somersault1824  support science education. For every pendant sold, the designers invest $5 of the profit in educational resources for scientists, students and teachers with the aim to make these resources available to everyone. Read more about the cause here.

astrocyte pendant

Neuron pendant from somersault1824


DNA pendant from somersault1824

If you like this double helix, you may want to experiment with spirals from other Shapeways shops.  Just don’t get it twisted!  Instead, wear the Twisted Pendant by Jaacov Molcho, one of our featured designers in Sparks Across the Globe.

We also love the pendants Antonios Bliss of Athens, Greece created. His designs reflect a modern adaptation of symbols rooted in native New Mexico.


Native America Zia Sun Symbol Jewelry Pendant from Symbolica.

Any idea what the four parts of this pendant might represent?  Here’s a hint: up to twenty different meanings can be found in total. Read more about the multifaceted design here and discover other fascinating symbols in Symbolica.

Be sure to check out other jewelry designers on Shapeways to find the symbol that suits you and explore all the beautiful options for everyday wear.

50% Less Lead Time! Two Updates on Porcelain + 10 Maker Tips!

If you’re not already designing for Porcelain, it might be a great time to start. Why is this?

#1: You no longer have to order your Porcelain pieces in order to offer the product for sale in the Marketplace! While we always encourage ordering your products for a quality check, this allows you to stretch your imagination a bit and offer some unique pieces to your customers.

#2: Porcelain products now ship in 10 business days (rather than 20) for US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia customers, and 12 for rest of the world. That’s a 50% decrease which means less waiting, faster unboxing, taking pictures, enjoying your product, and sharing with the world!

With this exciting news, we had a chat with our Porcelain team in Long Island City to see what they’ve learned, and if they have any new tips for designing. Here’s the jist of it:

1. A 5mm wall thickness is ideal, but make sure that your walls meet our minimum 3mm thickness.

2. Models MUST stand on their own in the kiln; flat bottoms and selecting the correct orientation are key to getting your model on time.

3. If you are adding a foot to the bottom of your model it should be at least 5mm in height if you would like the rest of the bottom to be glazed.

4. Add a hollowed out core to models thicker than 35mm.

5. Holes in your models should always be larger than 5mm. Please keep in mind that depending on your geometry, the holes may still fill with glaze during the firing process.

6. Filleting the edges and corners of your work on the interior and exterior of your model will help with even glaze distribution.

7. For small models, like figurines or busts, solid models are both easier for us to cast and cheaper for designers to make. If it is less than 35mm thick, make it solid.

8. Make sure your orientation selection is correct.

9. Reference the materials page to make the correct glaze selection for your model. There are in depth explanations and sample photos that allow you to see how each glaze behaves. Sample tiles are available at the bottom of the page.

10. If you make a 2 part model, make sure you leave 1mm clearance for the thickness of the glaze. We get models where the top and the bottom of a jar will not fit together after glazing because the designer did not realize they need to consider that the glazes have an additional thickness.

This Molecule Sugar Bowl from designer DRogers‘ exemplifies the beautiful results that can be achieved with Porcelain by meeting two important criteria. Here is why his model worked:

#1: He made sure that the wires were connected to a solid section. Following this method allows all the wires to fill during casting.

#2: The wires are simple, thick, and placed geometrically and symmetrically. They are cut in only a few sections, which makes the repair and gluing processes possible.

Molecule Sugar Bowl

As is the story with 3D printing, sky is the limit! Here are a few more creations to get you fired up (no pun intended)!


Cheese Candleholder Planter from BlessThisMess


Anatomical Heart in a Mug by mila_mits


Knowledge Seeker Bookend by Likesyrup

We look forward to sharing more tips and inspired products on the many dimensions of Porcelain as our community continues to fuel the creation of a new kind of ‘ceramic’- near and far!

Designer Spotlight: Joaquin Baldwin

As a long-time member of the Shapeways Community, Joaquin Baldwin has not only mastered the art of optimizing his designs for different materials, he has also managed to flawlessly photograph his creations. 

With two amazing collections specifically designed for Porcelain, Joaquin shared more with us on how he makes his creations shine by amplifying the strongest attributes of this material while taking advantage of the color spectrum.


What was it like designing for porcelain, did you need to approach your designs differently?

I approached the designs based on function and specific glazing color options. The colors are vibrant and very specific, so I wanted to make objects that played with all of those unique combinations. For function, they are all planters, but with very small spaces so they can only carry tiny plants. The size limitations were tough to deal with, and so was the minimum thickness for walls, but luckily the material cost is calculated by surface and not volume, so making things thick and heavy is not a problem, but making them too detailed can be troublesome.

What inspired you to make two related series of products this time rather than the more eclectic array of designs you’ve done previously?
It’s a brand new approach I’m taking for these and a couple of other series I’m working on. I’m planning on selling items in gallery shows and local stores and wanted them to be presentable as sets, with an artist statement and more solid conceptual roots. I have a lot of inexpensive designs in my shop already, but I was missing higher-end home decor items, and since I’ve been having fun decorating my home recently, I thought this was something worth investing in.

I created two series, the Samsara Series (based on organic shapes that act as fossilized vessels for new life), and the Geometric Series (based on a synthesis of polygonal shapes that naturally occur in minerals as well as in plants), thinking that having a contrast between organic and polygonal shapes would be the best way to explore the limits of the porcelain material.


The photographs you take are consistently top notch, what’s your process for taking them?
I have a very cheap lightbox with very cheap lights. Sometimes I let sunlight from a window hit the lightbox instead of turning on my crappy lights, or use a super strong flashlight and move it around until it looks right. Terrible process, really, but I do have a good macro lens (Canon 100mm), a good tripod, and lots of experience with Photoshop to clean up the pics. I try to overexpose the background to have a pure white with just a hint of a shadow or reflection below, and have some fill light from both left and right, and try not to use too much frontal lighting. Sometimes my exposures are up to 4 seconds long since I use a macro lens up close or natural light indoors, so the tripod is a must. Balancing the lights and shadows in Photoshop is really important, and also trying to not abuse contrast and saturation, so that the materials look like the real thing and not exaggerated.

I always take a main photo in pure white, and then take some more natural ones, which vary depending on the model and concept. The white keeps the storefront consistent, that’s always my main goal, to look professional. I’ve seem some do it with black, that looks sleek as hell too, but I would need better lighting equipment to deal with black backgrounds.

I had some amazing floral design work done by Birch & Bone which really helps bring the photos to life, it makes them stand out with great color palettes, and it also showcases the potential of each planter.


Smilodon Skull Planter from Joaquin’s shop, joabaldwin

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
Animation is what got me into this. I made a CG short, I had the main character modeled already, and thought it would be great to have a figurine of it. It all started from there, and then I became a bit obsessed with the idea of having a physical copy of whatever 3D designs I came up with. Being able to pay for the hobby with an online shop just made it all work out great.


Polyhedral Dice Planter from  joabaldwin

How do you promote your work?

I share it on social media, and also post a few links on Reddit if I think they are relevant (I don’t like spamming). If it goes viral I’m all like “Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talking about” and I don’t have to do any promotion, it’s all done for me, so I hope that every idea resonates with people and that it gets shared enough. If it doesn’t go viral, I self-flagellate and cry myself to sleep for not doing a good enough job. I guess my biggest strategy is to trust strong ideas, since I don’t have the time or resources to be actively promoting, this is still just a hobby for me.


  • Really, really amazing photography. The detail shots, context for use, angles and “empty” planters are so helpful for shoppers to see every detail they need before purchasing
  • Thoughtful, unique collections (more reason to buy more than 1 thing!)
  • Sections for easy shopping
  • His Porcelain planters. The perfect antidote for adding a splash of summery color to your home!
  • Inspired product descriptions. We particularly loved reading the stories behind his Smilodon Skull Planter and Chocolate Molecule Mug. 

Thank you so much, Joaquin, we are looking forward to seeing more beautiful porcelain and can’t wait to hear about your next discovery. Make sure to check out Joaquin’s shopTwitterFacebook,Instagram and his website! To be featured, email

Designer Spotlight: Austin Robey

This week, we’re putting Brooklyn based designer Austin Robey on the map.  New York City is known for its spectrum of personality and we love how Austin Robey’s products capture this very essence. Austin takes concepts that may otherwise be transient or out of sight, such as a winking face or city landscape, and transforms them into bold, tangible creations. In fact, if you take a look at his shop, you can see that his 3D emojis were meant to be held in your hand.  He’s also made iPhone cases of popular NYC and Brooklyn neighborhoods, so you and your emojis will never get lost again!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?

My name is Austin Robey and am located in Brooklyn, NY. I have an academic background in architecture, a professional background in designing jewelry and accessories, and now have a studio called Make Mode, which helps people realize fun and inventive product ideas through digital design and 3D printing. As a side project from our 3D design services, we wanted to make a Shapeways store of some fun products we designed. It’s also called Make Mode.


What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you?

I am inspired by the immediacy of 3D printing and its ability to help people quickly realize product ideas. It’s definitely a catalyst for innovation. That being said, I also enjoy the challenge of designing products around the limitations of 3D printers (size, material, cost). The idea of producing a product that can be manufactured locally on demand is fascinating. We thought that making 3D emojis would be a fun project because it really represents what is exciting about 3D printing – taking something digital and making it physical.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
Shapeways has built an amazing infrastructure to produce and distribute 3D printed products. It’s marketplace allows us to sell products that we could not produce ourselves. It also serves as a useful service for iterative testing of designs.

How did you learn how to design in 3D?
I was introduced to 3D design tools while studying architecture at Pratt Institute. Architecture is great, but working in an architectural practice didn’t interest me, so I applied 3D design tools I learned in academia to other disciplines. I use Rhino, Maya, and Zbrush.

Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
I am inspired by the design community in New York City. Two people I know from Pratt Architecture are doing really interesting work: Francis Bitonti and Brad Rothenberg. Joris Laarnman makes very cool digitally fabricated furniture. Also, some designs that are coming from Nike research and development are exciting – like their 3D printed duffel bag.

If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
If it wasn’t so expensive, I would want to design and print my furniture. Or maybe 3d print some more 3d printers.

Thank you so much for sharing, Austin! Don’t forget to check out Austin’s shop, Make Mode and website.

Designer Spotlight: Noe & Pedro Ruiz

To ring in the month of July,  we’re spotlighting designer duo Noe and Pedro Ruiz of Pixil 3D.  Thanks to the great appeal of their functional and unique designs, the Florida natives (and brothers!) cultivated a strong local presence their home state which helped them to move their creations to the forefront of the greater maker community.

Noe and Pedro demonstrate that it’s the destination and the journey that matter as their inspiration is rooted locally yet constantly evolving.  Sharing new approaches to meet every day needs with the experiments and discoveries that happen along the way is part of their DNA as makers.


Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?

Hello and Hola! Pixil 3D is a design studio in West Palm Beach, Florida started by myself Noe Ruiz and my brother, Pedro Ruiz. Our parents are from Southern Mexico and migrated to the the United States in search of work during the early 70′s. They actually met at work while picking tomatoes from the fields of South Florida! We’re first-generation Mexican Americans and we grew up influenced by cartoons, visual effects and videos games. We’re both creative artists with a strong background in graphic design, video production, animation, and web design. We’ve worked on serval video projects as an agency, and self-published a productivity iPad app. We strive to make amazing quality products and we’re passionate about design, technology, the maker culture, and of course 3D Printing!

What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you? 

We like to design fun products mostly out of necessity, but it didn’t start that way. When Pedro and I first purchased our desktop 3D Printer, we really didn’t know what we were going to make. We loved the idea of being able to bring our 3D models to life with 3D printing. We knew we wanted to design interesting planters for our carnivorous plants garden, so we started with Tiki inspired designer toy planters. Once we got our printer dialed in, we started experimenting with fixing things around the house. Our creativity really started cooking once we got inspired to remix things around the house. Inspired by icon design and typography, our products are influenced by combing these with aesthetics and function.

Earlier this year, Pedro and I decided to shift our focus exclusively to 3D Printing, designing products and offering 3D printing services. We both work from our home studio and wear multiple hats to run our small 3D printing business. On the local level, Pedro and I have presented at local 3D printing meet ups to give demos, share our work, experiences and raise awareness about 3D printing and market places like Shapeways.

Pedro and I find ourselves giving back to the 3DP community. We get a real kick out of sharing our designs on Thingiverse for other people with 3D printers to download and print for free. We also like producing video tutorials about 3D printing on our YouTube channel. From an editors stand point, we enjoy photography and putting together sequences. It’s a passion that has carried over every industry we explore. We’re inspired to give back because we like sharing our experiences and helping others. We’ve only been 3D printing since March 2012 but we hope to continue to make fun and interesting products.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?

Running and operating in-house 3D Printers is empowering but it’s liberating when designers don’t have to worry about their 3D printer breaking down or shipping internationally. Pedro discovered Shapeways while attending college and had his eye on getting his models printed since. We begin listing our home 3D printed products on Etsy to test the waters. For the first six months our shop slowly grew traction, we expanded our product line and we started generating enough interest to pursue other marketplaces. We think Shapeways is one of the best marketplaces for designers to market, fabricate and sell their 3D designs. Shapeways offers more materials and finer print quality we simply could not. They also ship world-wide that gives everyone a chance to experience amazing 3D printed products.

How did you learn how to design in 3D?

Pedro and I learned 3D modeling and animation in college but we’re mostly self-taught. We use a combination of Autodesk Maya, ZBrush and Adobe Illustrator to design our products. Previously, we used our 3D skills to make visual effects for ads and commercials. We’ve had the pleasure of working on a few iOS games and learned the importance of optimizing models and a stream lined workflow. The transition to 3D printing continues to be a learning experience and it’s important to learn how to teach yourself new skills. Right now is the best time to learn new skills with resources from Instructables, YouTube and free open source 3D modeling software like OpenSCAD and Blender. Artists can quickly get involved with 3D printing today with intuitive web apps like Tinkercad and 123D Design.

How do you promote your work?

We love sharing our work on social channels like InstagramTwitterFacebookPinterestYouTube and vine. We think highlighting our products usefulness along with its aesthetics in creative ways is the best and we just try to have fun with it. With our background in agency services, we learned to create content, campaigns and ultimately make demand for products. We have experience publishing digital products so naturally we try to leverage those techniques. We curate content for our Facebook page and schedule Tweets using Hootsuite with beautiful images and relevant hashtags. By hosting local 3D printing meetups we have opportunity to raise awareness. We also enjoy giving back to the diy 3D printing community by sharing designs on Thingiverse. It’s also a great way to expose your brand and products. Overall, we think social media is the one of the best ways to promote our brand and products.

Who are your favorite designers or artists?

We’re really inspired by Nervous SystemBathsheba, and Joshua Harker. We love their work and products because we believe they are awesome examples of people pushing the technology to its boundaries. We think the Shapeways design community as a whole is awesome and we’re stoked to be a part of it. Each designer here is diverse, creative and passionate. It’s inspiring to browse the products page and discover new designers and products. We’re still new to Shapeways and hope to meet other awesome designers in the community. We’re also inspired by brands like UK Suck, Kid Robot, Threadless, Jinx and ThinkGeek.

If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?

Every day it feels like we’re limited by our imagination and not technology. I’d love to make an iPhone case that changes color relative to its battery life (green, yellow, orange, red), not with an LED but the actual material of the case. There’s some interesting stuff happening in material science like self-assembly, synthetic smart material, and even organic manipulation. Experimental material is coming out and it’s great to see progress happening in material science. Everything has its own set of properties that make designs unique to them. We would love to see 3D Printing conductive material, multi materials and 3D Printing with edible materials!

Anything else you want to share?

Prototype, prototype and prototype again! Shapeways is awesome for prototyping close-to-final designs and we love the ability to offer our products in different materials to people all over the world! If you’ve looked at other 3DP market places, no one comes close to Shapeways. If anyone is in what we’re working on, please check us out on the social channels! Keep it awesome guys!

Ruiz and Pedro’s shared talent for reverse-engineering from a desired function or aesthetic to result in stellar creations never ceases to impress our community.  We can’t wait to see what they come up with next!  Be sure to check out Check out Noe and Ruiz’s shop and their website.  If you’d like to be the next featured designer, send an email to

Nautical by Nature

Posted by in Jewelry

Hey, sailor!  There’s no better way to usher in the summer sunshine than with nautical-inspired goods for your everyday style and home. Don’t let these finds pass you like ships in the night.