Category Archives: Community

Shapeways at Dutch Design Week 2016

Dutch Design Week is here! Based in Eindhoven (Shapeways’ hometown), this annual nine-day festival draws designers and design-lovers from around the world. Each year, we join forces with our community of independent designers to showcase their amazing creativity. And in keeping with this year’s theme, The Making Of, we’ll be opening our factory to visitors — giving them a chance to see where (and how) the magic happens, get 3D scanned, and take part in workshops and presentations by some of our Dutch Shapeways designers.

Keep reading for a rundown of how you can join the fun at Dutch Design Week.

Visitors to Shapeways' Eindhoven factory during Dutch Design Week 2015

Visitors to Shapeways’ Eindhoven factory during Dutch Design Week 2015

Shapeways EXPO | Shapeways Factory | Oct. 22-30

Every day, we’ll be inviting visitors into our factory to explore how our community of independent designers is using Shapeways to break new ground in product design. We’ll also be offering:

  • A 3D scanning booth to bring more fans into the world of 3D Selfies. (11 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily)

  • Community Workshops and Presentations to connect visitors with Dutch designers and the products they’ve brought to life with Shapeways. (1 p.m. – 3 p.m. daily)

  • Factory Tours that provide a rare glimpse into how files are turned into finished products. (10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. weekdays; registration required)

A winning design from our 2015 Helsinki Design Week CHIL-DISH Project

Shapeways Presents: CHIL-DISH Project | Yksi Expo | Oct. 22-23

After our successful event with CHIL-DISH at Helsinki Design Week, we’re partnering up again to unleash kids’ creativity at DDW. At the CHIL-DISH Project:

  • Kids will be invited to reimagine everyday objects using paper and crayons.

  • We’ll then choose 10 designs to be 3D modeled by CHIL-DISH designers, turning the kids’ drawings into 3D printed porcelain objects. (11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Oct. 22-23)

Wired Life Tiger by Shapeways Designer Dot San

Wired Life Tiger by Shapeways Designer Dot San, on display in our Eindhoven factory

Shapeways Presents: Community & Materials Exhibit | Yksi Expo | Oct. 24-28

  • Come explore some of the materials we use and check out how our designers are exploring these unique and versatile media. (Oct. 24-28, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.)

A group of 3D Selfies

A group of 3D Selfies

Shapeways Presents: 3D Scanning | Yksi Expo | Oct. 29-30

  • Don’t miss your chance to get scanned for a 3D Selfie.

  • We’ll take a scan of your head and shoulders using Occipital’s Structure Sensor and an iPad. Then, you can easily order your mini likeness through Shapeways. (Oct. 29-30, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.)

If you make it to Dutch Design Week, be sure to come to one of our events and say hello! And if you can’t make it, keep an eye on the the blog, where we’ll be highlighting talented Dutch Shapeways Designers throughout the week.

Designer Spotlight: Erin Winick – Sci Chic

At Shapeways we’re huge believers that smart is sexy and 4th year Mechanical Engineering student, Erin Winick’s goal is to help show off the fashionable side of science and show that 3D printing and technology is accessible to everyone. Her shop Sci Chic features a wide array of gorgeous jewelry, all inspired by science and we were excited to learn more about her mission and her successes so far.


Tell us about what drives your designs.
My biggest inspiration is to encourage more young girls to enter the engineering fields. All of my designs are inspired by science and engineering. Everything is paired with science descriptions so that fashion can help spread science literacy. I enjoy creating a variety of items, some more obvious than others in their inspiration. I hope to intrigue people enough with the design that they want to learn about the science behind it as well.

As a mechanical engineering student, the whole experience has been rewarding and really given me a platform to talk about encouraging young kids to look at science and engineering in a new and creative way.


Know you said you created your jewelry to utilize fashion to help spread fashion literacy. Do you have any interesting anecdotes about how you’ve accomplished this as a result of wearing/selling your jewelry?
Absolutely. One of the coolest messages I got was a mom who had bought a necklace for her 11 year old daughter who has now worn it to school every day since. It felt great to know that she loved the piece so much that she was telling all of her friends about it! For me, wearing the Trajectory Necklace has sparked a lot of conversations at events. People look at it and don’t see the inspiration right away, and when I tell them that it shows the path of the Apollo 11 mission, they get super excited! It is really rewarding to see people get so excited about science. I even had an astrophysicist wear the Trajectory Necklace on an episode of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s TV show, StarTalk! The necklace even became part of the conversation for the live audience.

Additionally, I have had stories of teachers wearing pieces in the classroom when teaching about related lectures and students receiving pieces as graduation necklaces printed in precious metal. Bringing science into people’s everyday lives keeps me going.

With over 2,500 Instagram followers, what are the typical reactions you get from people about these creations?
When we first reveal a new piece on Instagram it is always really exciting. We usually show it in plastic first, and then in metal. People usually comment on how awesome the steel materials look. Also, when we release a piece covering a new area of STEM, it is fascinating to see scientists and engineers from that area flock to that piece. They get so excited someone is bringing attention to STEM in a new way. People love the variety of looks they can achieve with our pieces because of all of the materials we offer.

We also love sharing pictures of our customers wearing the 3D printed creations. Many of the customers our in the STEM fields, allowing us to show some great role models in STEM for young women on our Instagram as well. However, we also have customers who are intrigued by the look of the piece and the fashion aspect of it, and might learn some about the science behind it in the process of buying it.

Instagram has been a great platform for us to build a community around.

What else can we see coming from you on the horizon?
We are working on some collaboration pieces right now with scientist and engineers from around the world. We are hoping to give them a platform to help share the fashionable side of science and reach a wide audience. We will be donating a portion of these sales to STEM related charities as well. We can’t wait for everyone to see them!

Check out Erin’s shop here, she recently added a ton of beautiful product images that we’re super excited about.


Designer Spotlight: Igor Puškarić – Iggy Design

Iggy Design features some incredible creations by Igor Puškarić, who is an award-winning 3D artist and animator with over 6 years of experience in the video game industry. He loves to design and create high-quality models that people can use in their own projects, films, games, and animation. We were particularly intrigued by Igor’s intricately designed chess pieces so wanted to share it with our community.


Tell us about your chess piece designs.
What I always strive for is originality and innovation. I would love to design toys and figurines; and chess was a popular game already so I decided to give it a shot and have my own take on it, with a strong intention to produce something that has not been seen before. I actually googled alternative chess images and see a huge potential there.

I tried to showcase something completely different, yet familiar and usable. I created them specifically so they would be difficult to cast, meaning I wanted to make them 3D-printable with the specific purpose of celebrating the technology. The great thing about printable chess is that you can afford to lose a piece– just replace the lost one, rather than having to buy a whole board again.

What inspired the design?
I started playing with general features of each figure but through a sort of steampunk direction to make them intricate while also keeping the industrial-futuristic tone. It was my wish to make them look cool no matter which angle you were looking at them from, so the flow of the shape was important.

So, what’s next?
I yet have to create the opposing army as well, so the black and white figurines aren’t the same armies painted differently. Painting is also something I intend to learn,but I am not there yet.

Chess pieces aside, Igor is most proud of his Swarm pendant which is printed in stainless steel and is loved by lots of happy customers. Check out his shop and consider picking something up for yourself!


World Maker Faire 2016 New York Round up!

It’s the time of year to kick-start your making — a sentiment that was entirely evident at New York’s World Maker Faire 2016!

Last weekend, we ventured up to the New York Hall of Science to set up our booth at “The Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth” aka Maker Faire. This year, our booth featured two 3D designed and printed dresses by Nervous System, as well as designs from several other Shapeways community members.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and below are a few from the event!

IMG_4117The Shapeways booth, moments before the crowd arrived!

IMG_4192…just a few moments later, our booth booming with guests!

A whirlwind of a weekend, Shapeways had over 300 people stop by the booth within the first few hours of the event!

Our booth was filled with displays showcasing the jewelry designs and works of art from our own maker community.  We shared not only each designer’s profile but what inspires their creativity through 3D printing. Take a look at some of the collections below:

Nervous SystemsNature and science insprired jewelry designed by Jessica and Jessie from Nervous System.We displayed the Kinematic and Petal dresses, as well as on both sides of the booth and folks could not stop taking pictures.   One young maker told her Dad she wanted to start working on dresses next too!

IMG_4129Math inspired designs by Bathsheba Sculpture (left) continued to draw attention from the crowd.   And alongside Bathsheba was jewelry by the mother and daughter design team known as DuetDesigns (right) Jessica_Kasia Equally loved by many were floral designs by Collected Edition (left) and Layers by Design (right) had many folks asking where they could get her miniature prop plane earrings!  At Shapeways Marketplace of course!

Products by The Rogue and The Wolf drew significant interest and fascination with jewelry printed in steel!

Jewelry by SeriaForma - Carol Butkovsky’s turbine fidget rings were a favorite to play with to many of the guests at the booth. Visitors also were blown away by the porcelain step candle holders.

BlessThisMessJewelry and home goods by BlessThisMessNYC. These adorable little succulent pots drew big attention from the crowd. 

Science inspired pendants by designer Somersault18:24

Designs by LikeSyrup. Scott Dentons rings showed off our wonderful selection of precious metals – people were trying on these rings all day!

These precious jewelry items by 3Different were the perfect showcase for our new interlocking metal material. The crowd was stunned by the ability to 3D print in interlocking parts, and couldn’t take their hands off the bicycle pendant and its moving wheels.

Overall, we had a great turn out this year at Maker Faire and are looking forward to seeing you again next year!

Shop The Maker Faire Collection

Discovery Channel Star of Big Giant Swords and 3D designer Team up to bring Awesome Minifigure Swords to Shapeways

One of our favorite things about Shapeways is that we’re a digital maker space for creative minds to meet and collaborate. One exciting new project we’ve seen is between designer Nate Ryan and Swordsmith / TV star Mike Craughwell aka Michaelcthulhu. They teamed up to recreate Mike’s huge metal swords as 3D printed toys for mini figures

Mike Craughwell MikeChthulhu Big Giant Swords Discover Channel 3D printing Shapeways lego minifigures

Mike and Nathaniel reviewing some models over Skype

How did this project get started? What inspired you to work together?

Nate Ryan: ”I was watching Irish Mike’s show on Discovery Channel called Big Giant Swords. I was so inspired from Mike, this guy living his dream and sharing it with the rest of us. The swords were impressive to say the least, but for me I was more inspired with Mike, the person. You can tell he is authentic, a great father and husband so for me those qualities drew me in even more than the swords. I created Dragonsbreath as the first prototype and reached out to Mike on Twitter and Facebook that I could make 3D models of his swords. I was so excited when he responded and from there we have had several Skype sessions to talk about designing swords on a smaller scale where fans of the show that couldn’t buy a custom build at actual size might want a small scale version. The idea was to make replicas of the swords on the tv series scaled down to a size that would fit into a lego guy or other figurines.”

How did you get started with 3D design for 3D printing?

Nathaniel Ryan: “I use Blender 3D for all my modeling and used the swords to also learn how to print them, it took some trial and error, but have been extremely satisfied with the quality and precision that Shapeways printing provides. I have also been doing 3D modeling for several years as freelance. you can find some of my work at ArtStation, Pinterest, Facebook, or FullyCroisened.

What are the challenges you find in recreating Mike’s swords for mini figures?

Nate Ryan: “Due to the small scale, to maintain thickness, etc, sometimes I need to take some liberties on the actual details of the 3D printed versions. I try to get as close as possible to the original giant swords. Also before we enable it to the public, we print several versions until we get it to a quality level we are happy with. That process can take some time, but we want to get a repeatable and reliable print design before we make it available for purchase.

For me, I love the metal options but the plastic ones are safe for children and putting them into a lego man or some other figurine is too much fun!”

Check out the great video by Mike out on Youtube promoting the store:

Mike Craughwell MikeChthulhu Big Giant Swords Discover Channel 3D printing Shapeways lego minifigures

A collection of the swords printed in various materials

Mike, how did you feel when you saw the swords printed as miniatures for the first time?

Michaelcthulhu:I get a massive kick out of seeing the tiny swords, obviously. Not everyone can afford a massive sword, so it was cool to finally have a small piece of Mikemorabilia that people could actually afford. The wonders of the age we live in or whatever, even if I could make small stuff with this fine of detail (which is questionable when your primary tool is an angle grinder) it would still be out of most peoples price range cause of the time it would take me to do it. I’ve gotten messages from people who have bought these for their kids, warm cockles etc. They’re so much cooler than a Michaelcthulhu T-shirt or Mug, in my humble opinion.

Mike Craughwell MikeChthulhu Big Giant Swords Discover Channel 3D printing Shapeways lego minifigures

Mike Inspecting and using the sword

Also bonus for me: Nate did all the hard work! The 3d modeling work done by Nate is just as baffling to me as what I do is to most people. Let’s say Nate had never sent me his Rahab model pictures, at some point it might have occurred to me to pay some random guy to make the model, uploaded it to a Shapeways account and prayed it all worked. But if there was a problem with the model? Or if I wanted to modify the model in some way later on? Not a hope, I would have been totally stuck. These little swords only exist because of Nate. Is there a moral? Keep sharing your stuff with people I guess?

Also I have always secretly wanted to be an action figure far more than a real person, and this lines up with that nicely. Mike action figure– Nate get on it! (although that might be just the lack of sleep talking I went to bed at 6am).”

We love hearing about how designers are teaming up with other creative people. You can find their swords available for sale here. If you’re had a cool collaboration, let us know in the comments below! If you’re looking for a partner to work with, check out our designer for hire page here.

Designer Spotlight: Cro’s Miniatures for Tabletop RPGs – Anthony Hinton

Having recently opened up Black High Definition Acrylate for shop owners to make this material available to their customers, we wanted to highlight Cro’s Miniatures for Tabletop RPGs, a Shapeways shop that offers highly detailed and customized miniatures printed in this material. We asked Anthony about how he began creating miniatures and the tools he uses:

What led you to start creating miniatures?
I started designing and printing 3D models when my D&D group all created rare races of characters. We searched around and couldn’t find any miniatures that were suitable for our strange assortment. After creating these characters, I realized how powerful 3D printing is for tabletop RPGs. Each character is so unique and the miniature that represents it should match, and that’s only really possible through the amazing technology of 3D printing. One of my customers requested a gnome sorcerer with a squirrel on his shoulder and a smaller clockwork version of himself. There’s no way anyone would have such a specific miniature, but through the magic of 3D printing, Foodle was born.

Screen Shot 2016-10-03 at 3.41.51 PM

How do you do it?
I found some amazing tools that help me create quickly. Make Human is an amazing open-source base model creator that I’m now using for all my new models and from there I import the base into Blender and render the rest of the figure. Each of my models is fully rigged for animation using Rigify (Pitchipoy Human). With those tools alone, anyone can make amazing 3D models.

Screen Shot 2016-10-03 at 3.43.11 PM

And you do custom orders?
While I wish I could do this full time, 3D modeling is only a hobby for me right now as my day job keeps me from making more than one or two miniatures a week. If you have a character that you’d like to have made, let me know. If you have the time to wait for the perfect model, I’ll make whatever you can imagine.

Screen Shot 2016-10-03 at 3.44.10 PM

Check out Cro’s Miniatures for Tabletop RPGs shop here, his custom creations are well worth being patient for!

Designer Spotlight: Artur Dabrowski – Multiply Like Rabbits

Artur is a twenty-something maker from Brooklyn, New York who became fascinated by the idea of 3D printing while pursuing his architecture degree. While a relevant topic in the architectural field, Artur’s school didn’t offer resources to delve into the technology, so it wasn’t until after graduation that he found Shapeways by chance and took time to print a house in plastic to see how the process works. He loved the result and began attempting to print metals, making a pendant for a close friend of mine. She loved it and Artur was inspired to continue creating– leading to the launch of Multiply Like Rabbits, a line of whimsical jewelry and accessories. Artur pairs his products with gorgeous photos that tell a story, cute drawings that engage the audience, and work-in-progress shots… all combined with writing peeking into the thinking behind the designs.

Because the clarity of Arthur’s vision is carried out so impeccably throughout his Shapeways shop (and featured on our Jewelry marketplace), we wanted to find out more about his process and creative aesthetic.

What’s your inspiration behind your designs?
Everyone always asks ‘why rabbits?’ I started drawing rabbits in the margins of my notebooks during high school. I would personify rabbits to express thoughts, situations or feelings I was having. I think the imagery of the rabbit being personified is playful — the rabbit is cute, hops around, eats, multiplies… and lives naively in this world. Personification takes that image and crosses them with this highly rational and complex being, incapable of preserving its naivety. Rabbits were the vessel through which I felt comfortable expressing myself.

One rabbit leaps across the open gap of the two finger ring band while the other rabbit observes: Double Rabbit Ring

How do you approach the designing process?
Imagination lets you take elements inspired from reality into a world that is whimsical and of your heart’s content. I can remember as a child playing in my room, with little scraps of wood leftover from my father’s work, cutouts of printed paper, toy game pieces… and assigning them meaning and value. Elements of reality became extraordinary in this augmented world… little pieces became characters… desks and bed sheets became landscapes. I didn’t let go of that childlike fantasy — I still imagine things that don’t exist and stories that never happen. But I think, as an adult, we have the ability to turn that imagination into reality.

I do a lot of sketching on the subway. There are so many more serene places to sketch (on a deck overlooking the water) but I make the most of what I have. I ride the subway to get around the city in the morning. I’m usually hyped up on coffee fifteen minutes into my day, so I just can’t sit patiently. I need to make things. I can’t design in my mind because I get easily distracted. And to develop an idea I HAVE to draw it. Although the subway is crowded, I found that drawing has become a way to get into my zone… headphones-on I can zone out and be immersed in what I do. Plus, since I’m fixed in my seat, I can’t walk away from what I’m doing. It’s funny to think that such polished jewelry is inspired in the grittiest of all places. That’s NYC.

Brick Arch Ring
As an architect, I love working with brick because it’s one of those materials you can feel with your eyes. Roughness is rendered by light, adding depth to a seemingly flat application. Although bricks are cut with a machine precision, they are always imperfect. It’s such a beautiful material in and of itself. I tried to capture such depth when creating the 3d printed ring. The bricks are 3d modeled rough and uneven, and the roughness peeks through the joints of the mortar. Hand polishing won’t reach into the .04 mm gaps, leaving striated 3d print lines. But the roughness is only visually, it wears smooth and comfortable.

When I design, I like to create something as if it was a found object, as if all the details were meant to be and there’s no trace of the designer to be found. In architecture school, I preferred to work with existing ruins and other found “objects” on a site. With jewelry, I like to work with the body as a landscape. To invigorate the design process, I embed stories within the objects that govern design moves. Rather than be overt, I like to naively create a moment suggestive of a story that can be interpreted differently than my initial intent. Although I am expanding the line with more architectural pieces, I use rabbits as characters in this open-ended story.

For more beautiful photos of Artur’s work, check out his Instagram account where he documents his design process and ethos.


Make That Monogram Gift: Personal Monograms In 3D

You don’t have to know how to 3D model to print something really cool and special as a gift. If you’re in the hunt for that special someone check out, the monogram gift creator for the 21st century. The creators of this app developed the site from scratch and even the font was designed to be 3D printed, possibly the first font of it’s kind!

Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 12.52.04 PM

Available in silver or steel, in keychain, mini monogram necklace or statement necklace Mymo is a great way to commemorate a memorable event with simple, elegant design.

Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 12.53.29 PM

So head to their app page and get started making a one-of-a-kind 3D printed gift today:

Designers and coders: interested in getting your easy creator app featured on our site? Connect with our API team to show us what you’ve made or e:mail Dan directly at

Step into the Shapeways voting booth

UPDATE: In the closest Shapeways poll ever held (but also the biggest landslide), the 3D print of Hillary Clinton had 3,445 votes to 3,412 votes for the 3D print of Donald Trump.

Next Monday marks the first debate between U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. For over a year (though it seems like much longer than that) the media has reported on poll after poll of the voting electorate to try and predict a winner in November 8th’s election.


Here at Shapeways we do polling a bit differently. Designer Tomislav Veg has designed 3D printed busts of each of the candidates, allowing us to do a very unscientific poll of our community. Here’s how it works:

Visit the product page of your favorite candidate (you can click on your favorite candidate’s bust above to vote), add it to your favorites and order it in one of the available materials. At the end of the day on Tuesday we’ll tally up votes as follows:

  • 1 vote for every page view of a candidate’s product page
  • 3 votes for every person that favorites the product
  • 5 votes for every order of a candidate’s product


You have until the end of the day Tuesday September 27 to place your votes and we’ll announce the winner in the blog next week.

Happy Voting!
Vote for Hillary
Vote For Donald

Our Community of Jewelry Designers


Over the past few years the community at Shapeways has grown in exquisite ways that have exceeded the limits of our imagination. Today, Shapeways has launched an updated look for our jewelry marketplace — a design that truly compliments and highlights the beauty of the products within it.

In honor of our redesign, we thought it was a perfect moment to reflect and acknowledge a few of the many jewelry designers who have continually contributed to the Shapeways community.

Lucas Goosens, LucasPlus Jewelry


“LucasPlus designs all start with a motto I really believe in: “Think Positive”. The representation of the Plus symbol throughout the collection serves as a mental reminder to have positive thoughts and spread good vibes.” – Lucas Goosens

Lucas Goosens, a designer from NYC uses his jewelry as a means to propogate a message of positivity.



Lucas got his start on Shapeways in 2014 when he set out to find a ring that reminded him of a resolution he had made in years past: to harness positivity in all forms. Alas, he was unable to find the perfect ring he had envisioned for himself —  so he turned to Shapeways, learned to 3D model, and printed first LucasPlus ring.

Geman Wu, Alminty3D 


“I was always a big fan of geometry and mathematics in school. Whenever I looked at an object I like to simplify the shape and form to a “geometric abstraction” in my head.” – Geman Wu


A trained building scientist and lighting designer, Geman Wu has always viewed the world in polygons. A quick look at her designs and it is easy to see that these fun, fresh and colorful designs are inspired by geometric harmony and mathematical proportion.

Luk Cox & Idoya Lahortiga, Somersault18:24


“Our designs are all science-inspired. We both have a deep-rooted science interest and passion. Moreover, we are fortunate to witness cutting edge science every day and want to translate this fascinating world into everyday objects and accessories.” — Luk & Idoya, Somersault1824


Two research scientists from Diest, Belgium set out to combine their two biggest passions: art & science. The duo works to create science-inspired jewelry that gives us a lens into the microscopic world that, without their minds paired with 3D printing, we otherwise would not be able to see… much less wear as jewelry.

Michael Mueller, Pookas


“I think it is a good thing to act not too serious. I always try to add some fun and mystery to my work. There is a movie from the early 50s called “Harvey.” James Stewart plays the curious Elwood P. Dowd whose best mate is a mystery “Pooka,” an invisible 6-foot rabbit. Elwood is a very kind person who treats everyone equal and yes, he hangs out with an unseen rabbit all the time. To be open-minded is a good thing and if this means to see things that are hidden to others, so be it.” — Michael Mueller


The day Michael Mueller read about Shapeways and 3D printing, he was hooked. An active member of our community since 2011, Michael has made almost anything you can imagine: whistles, belt buckles, rings and more — his creativity allows him to consistently create the perfect accessory you never knew you needed.

“There is not one day I don’t work or at least think about 3D printing and what I can create next.”  - Michael Mueller

Kimberly Falk, Ontogenie


Kimberly Falk, the genius designer behind Ontogenie is a scientist and self-taught 3D modeler based out of Germany.  Kimberly’s shop consists of incredibly intricate jewelry pieces inspired by science and nature. What is distinctly unique about her designs is that she turns her fascination of filigree structures of microscopic organisms on land and in the sea into detailed a 3D prints that fully take advantage of the materials they are printed in.


If you want to see more designs from Kimberly, Lucas, Geman, Michael, Luk, Idoya and the many, many more designers within our community, head over to our newly designed Marketplace and browse the through the wonderment of imaginations-come-to-life.

To all of the jewelry designers in the Shapeways community: thank you for creating! We hope you enjoy our updated look and are excited to fulfill our commitment to the jewelry community by adding new features and collections in the coming months. Have some ideas and want to see your products featured? Head over to our forums and share with us your designs!

We look forward to highlighting the imagination within each and every one of you. Keep making and stay tuned!

Black High Definition Acrylate Now Open for Sale! + New Design Guidelines

Earlier this year, we launched Black High Definition Acrylate to our community. The material was such a success, we saw amazing scale model planes, miniature figurines and cool science fiction characters. Our makers were so enthusiastic that we had to rapidly expand capacity to meet demand.  Since then, we tested the material to the limits and learned how to make it better through feedback from the community. We are now ready to open B-HDA up for shop owners to make this material available to their customers.


Black High Definition Acrylate BHDA Shapeways Hereforge, Decapod, Max Grueter

Designers from From left to right: Hereforge, Decapod, Max Grueter

While we expand this material offering, we also wanted to share some changes to our design guidelines based on what we have learned is possible and what is more difficult to print consistently.  Updating the design guidelines was important in order to provide more reliable and higher quality prints to shop owner’s customers.

For B-HDA, the design guidelines are driven by the printing process.  B-HDA uses Direct Light Projection technology where light is projected through a liquid resin which solidifies each layer of a design on a build platform.  As the platform moves up, the next layer is cured by the projected light.  To secure your model to the build platform and support overhangs, intertwined toothpick-sized scaffolds are printed to reinforce your structure.  Since the support structures are the same as the material of the model, they are carefully removed by cutting and can make certain thin walls/wires or complex geometries more difficult to process.

Test wires Black High Definition Acrylate BHDA

Test model for wires in Black High Definition Acrylate

We found that unsupported wires should be a minimum of 0.7 mm thick and supported wires should be a minimum of 0.8 mm thick for wires less than 35 mm in length.  This is determined by our ability to successfully break away support material and clean your model.  Wires that are too thin will break during post processing.  As wires get longer, they typically need to be thicker in order to maintain their strength.  We recommend making your wires 0.1 mm thicker for every additional 20 mm in length over 35 mm to ensure we can post process it without breakage.

Test Black High Definition Acrylate BHDA

Test model for wall thickness

We added similar guidelines for wall thickness.  Walls under 5 mm in length should be a minimum of 0.5 mm thick.  For every additional 20 mm in length over 5 mm, we recommend making supported walls 0.2 mm thicker and unsupported walls 0.25 mm thicker.  The minimum wall thickness is determined by our ability to successfully remove support material without breaking your model and prevent the model from warping.

Finally for hollow models we added a requirement of at least 2 escape holes with a minimum diameter of 6 mm each per interior cavity. Escape holes are important for us to be able to clean the inside of the model and remove any uncured resin.


Black High Definition Acrylate Hereforge Shapeways

Designs by Heroforge

Black High Definition Acrylate has been a smash hit material for scale models and prototypes because of its high detail and smooth surface.  It looks great right out of the printer, but also takes well to painting and post-processing.  It’s flexible and durable.  We have seen some incredible products in our factories and can’t wait to see what shop owners are going to make available for sale.

If you have questions or comments about BHDA please join the discussion in our BHDA Shopper material thread here. Do you have a product you are offering for sale here? Share your photos and products in our feature this forum here.

Boston Festival of Indie Games : 3D printing boardgame Round Up

This weekend I attended the Boston Festival of Indie Games. Independent game designers exhibited a huge array of both tabletop and digital games. In the tabletop exhibition area I was lucky enough to meet designers who are using 3D printing with Shapeways to create gorgeous 3D printed game pieces.

Here are two of my favorites and what they had to say about their games and 3D Printing!


Jonathan Ritter-Roderick, Product Manager for Dragoon:

Where did the concept for Dragoon come from?

Dragoon was created and designed by developers and brothers Jake and Zach Given of Lay Waste Games. Seeking an alternate means to hash out their sibling rivalry, they found pummeling each other as dragons was even better than the real thing! Jonathan Ritter- Roderick, Director of Operations and Product Designer at Lay Waste Games, was brought on to find a unique way to make Dragoon a reality. His solution? Metal and fabric! While the game was being refined in early 2014, Nick Nazzaro was brought on board as the resident Art Director of Lay Waste Games. His imaginative illustrations and unique visual translation of the world of Dragoon has truly helped bring this game to life.

Dragoon by Lay Waste Games 3D printed boardgame Shapeways

Dragoon by Lay Waste Games

How did you create your (beautiful) game pieces?

It was a five step process with Shapeways smack in the middle!


3D Model

3D Print (Shapeways!)



For Step One, our illustrator Nick conceptualized designs in both clay and Photoshop sketches. After multiple refinements with the team, we brought in 3D modeler Pat Fahy for Step Two. Modeling! His extreme talent allowed the sketches to be directly translated into 3D form. Step Three was having Shapeways print various models to help us properly determine ideal shape and size. After testing the pieces, we brought them to our caster in Rhode Island for Step Four. He dropped the Shapeways models directly into a rubber mold and vulcanizer. After many hours, the shapeways models were pulled out of the mold and the master metal pieces were cast. Metal was poured into the molds, pieces were cast by the thousands, and then passed off to the finisher. Step Five, the pieces were tumbled to remove sharp edges, the precious stuff (18k gold, silver, copper, and black nickel) was poured over the pieces, and briefly electrocuted, which adhered the metals.

Dragoon by Lay Waste Games 3D printed boardgame Shapeways

Dragoon by Lay Waste Games

How does 3D printing help indie game designers like Lay Waste Games move through iterations to a final product?

Indie game development can often be an extensive process. As such, anything that can make your job easier is a welcome addition. If you have metal pieces, like Dragoon, you end up increasing your timeline. With 3D printing, we are able to reduce our timeline, exploring various shapes and styles, and reduce expensive model making costs. With Dragoon, we had an idea, were able to print pieces through Shapeways, and have metal pieces in a matter of weeks!

Jonathan Ritter-Roderick, Product Manager for Dragoon Shapeways BostonFIG

Jonathan Ritter-Roderick, Product Manager for Dragoon

What would you like to see from Shapeways in the future?

If Shapeways was able to do low-cost, high-volume metal pieces in various styles, it would be a game changer for us. We are always talking about limited edition pieces and it would be amazing to do that through Shapeways. Or maybe we will just use current processes and make all of our pieces in solid gold!

You can find and order dragoon here:

Jeff Johnston, creator of Moonquake at Pair of Jacks Games

Where did the concept for MoonQuake Escape come from?

I had completed a children’s game called Flashlights & Fireflies that had you playing flashlight freeze tag, but first you had to catch fireflies to power your special flashlight before your game of hiding and seeking (Gamewright publishes F&F).  Starting from that core, I “grew up” MQE for an older audience by setting it on this alien prison planet, adding a bluffing mechanism (an Energy Shield you could hide under…or not!) and I was curious how much fun it could be if the board was moving, bringing players together unexpectedly.  I began experimenting with these game concepts.

Jeff Johnston, creator of Moonquake at Pair of Jacks Games Shapeways BostonFIG

Jeff Johnston, creator of Moonquake at Pair of Jacks Games

How did you create your game pieces?

Using some local makers activities, DangerAwesome and Technocopia (and my local library), I tried several different approaches using 3D printing and laser cutting to making a board that was easy to assemble, manipulate, and manufacture and yet still had a “look and feel” of a planet with a moon.  The moon component was actually born of necessity–I simply couldn’t remember who’s turn it was. So, instead of adding a simple turn token to pass between players, I decided I could make a moon that would “orbit” the board–a bent wire and ping pong ball. From there, replacing a die with the moon itself as a spinner was a no brainer.  These modest components were fine for play testing, but after a few minutes of training on AutoCAD’s 123D, I was soon combining simple shapes and using a 3D printer to model different approaches on something that could be manufactured.  This was critical–no publisher was going to look twice at MQE no matter how much fun if it couldn’t be made for a profit.

Once I saw the game itself was on a fun track, I found Michael Parla who is MQE’s Art Director. He brought a really fun art style to the game, helped it really “pop” on the game table, and completed our vision–to create a planet we could play a game on, not make a game board pretending to be a planet.  AdMagic’s Breaking Games saw the potential of what we created, excepted the challenge, and has done a wonderful job producing the game.

How does 3D printing help indie game designers like Pair of Jacks Games move through iterations to a final product?

Over an 18 month period, I spent of lot of time figuring out how to *not* make this board through iterations.  I’ll admit that designing by the process of elimination is extremely inefficient, but it helps you decide which areas to abandon and which to think about more. In the end, there are two plastic pieces integral to MQE, the moon and the post it spins on, but I experimented with many, many more.  Having free and intuitive tools like AutoCAD’s 123D and access to inexpensive 3D printing services can help an inventor create quickly without being afraid of making expensive mistakes.  Once I’d finalized the physical design, that’s where Shapeways came in to help me quickly make high quality prototypes for playtesting, impressing game publishers and making new fans.

MoonQuake Escape will be available later this year on-line and at discerning hobby game stores near you (MSRP $60).  Find out more at  You can find Jeff on FB at or on Twitter at


Do you have a boardgame or tabletop game you’re designing with 3D printing? Let us know in the comments below and check out our prototyping meetups here.

Recapping Eindhoven Mini Maker Faire

Last weekend Maker Faire, the Greatest Show (and Tell) event we know, descended to Eindhoven for the third time. Over 100 makers showed off their work, ranging from robots that can play football to wooden guns for rubber bands. From 3D printed selfies to jewelry handmade from electric components and organizations working on building their own maker communities.

In the Facebook video broadcast below I take you on a quick flight through the event.

Our booth was hidden in mystery. While walking by you couldn’t see much, but behind a black curtain our 3D Scanning Engineers Brigitte and Astrid scanned many visitors. One by one people could enter and for the first time see themselves from a whole different angle on the computer.

scan anouk 1

Also a true celebrity in the fasiontech industry gave her presence at the Eindhoven Mini Maker Faire: Anouk Wipprecht. You might recognize her from cool projects such as the Spider Dress, the Audi Dresses and the Unicorn Horn. The Unicorn Horns have been 3D Printed at our Eindhoven located factory, and were on exhibit last week at ARS in Linz, Austria.

scan anouk 2
Anouk Wipprecht is being 3D scanned by Astrid.

Despite the warm weather we had a great time 3D scanning visitors and hosting the afterparty for the makers. In special I want to thank René Paré, Maud Bongers and Anne-Marijn Burgers for organizing such a fantastic event! Eindhoven Mini Maker Faire – see you next year!

maker faire flyer

Designer Spotlight: Ellen Mueller #TinyTuesday

For this Tiny Tuesday, we’re highlighting Ellen Mueller because we’ve fallen in love with her tiny depictions of office life.

Ellen is an internationally exhibited interdisciplinary artist who explores the everyday challenge of living with hyperactive news media and corporate management systems. She creates experiences that engage with social and political issues through imagery, performance, and installation.

While Ellen’s Shapeways shop reminds us a bit of Office Space (particularly this little stapler in red), a number of her designs are part of a cheeky, in-progress 3D print-on-demand sculptural street art project, she’s called Synergism. Each cluster of office-related objects is designed to fit into corner-shaped spaces– and Ellen is encouraging participants to print these subtle sculptures, and install them on office buildings they feel could spontaneously start leaking bureaucracy (DMVs, corporate headquarters, office parks, etc). Note: we’re not endorsing that anyone glue something to anything that doesn’t belong to you. Each design is 3D modeled in SketchUp and is defaulted to print in matte bronze steel. Ellen chose this particular material because of its connotations with other large-scale recognizable public sculptures, whether life-size portraits of politicians or members of military on horseback.

She currently works as an Assistant Professor of Art at West Virginia Wesleyan College, and while the school doesn’t have its own 3D printer, she uses Shapeways to give 3D printing access to her students. Side note: if you haven’t noticed, we’re all about students using our services!

We’re also particularly loving that while Ellen’s creating some incredible miniatures, she has some ideas for bigger, better tiny things if 3D printing limitations weren’t an issue, saying, “I would print tiny houses that are really well insulated. I think it would save a lot of energy.”


3D printing and Game Design Collide at GameSmash

Last week I had at the awesome opportunity to participate in the first GameSmash Tabletop Game Design and Fabrication Challenge at the Fat Cat Fab Lab in New York City. Hosted by MakerOS and Ultimaker, groups of designers were challenged to create a brand new board game from scratch. The games had to be based around the idea of “Bed-time stories”, be playable in a short amount of time and include 3D printing components.


Shapeways Ultimaker makerOS gather at Fat Cat Fab Lab

The Teams gather at Fat Cat Fab lab and prepare to playtest and judge the final games.

With only 48 hours to complete the games, teams of game designers raced against the clock to conceptualize, prototype, playtest and iterate on their designs. To meet the challenging deadline set, teams had access to all the tools and materials the fab lab provides. These include multiple 3D printers (provided by Ultimaker), a laser cutter, a wood shop and a table full of cards and paper.


Shapeways 3D printed lasercut ultimaker board game pieces

Close up of a Grimm Task by the Doomsday bunnies. Parts created on laser cutter and 3D printed


By working in small groups to quickly iterate a game concept, we could quickly move through prototypes to a final game product. Without the support of the group or the access to technology, this would be much more difficult. Getting together with a group of like-minded game designers gave us the ability to share feedback and test hypothesizes around game mechanics and figure out how to use digital manufacturing process to create unique game pieces.


Playtesting the Winners of the competition: Wraith of Heaven by team Lazerdog

Playtesting the Winners of the competition: Wraith of Heaven by team Lazerdog


With a hard deadline fast approaching, the massive advantage that 3D printing provides quickly became clear: Using 3D printing game designers could prototype very advanced mechanics quickly and with ease. “Greener Pastures” included a fully functional catapult. Landfall Saga had modular shapes to control the fall of ball bearings. These ideas simply couldn’t have been executed this quickly without 3D printing.


Bedtime Frenzy by Fractal Attack 3D printing with Ultimaker MakerOS Shapeways at Fat Cat Fab Lab

Playing the spinning Bedtime Frenzy by Fractal Attack

board game Shapeways Ultimaker MakerOS GameSmash marble rolling game of Landfall Saga by Zack Freeman

Check out this incredible marble rolling game of Landfall Saga by Zack Freeman


Finally, every group was given Shapeways credit to make a final version of their models to be playtested again at the 20 Sided Store in Brooklyn and displayed at the Ultimaker exhibit space at Maker Faire in early October. Through quick iteration in a group of creative game designers, each game can grow and potentially be shared via a Shapeways shop or Kickstarter project.

GameSmash Shapeways

Team Doomsday Bunnies shows of our game, soon to be in a store near you!