Category Archives: New Features

Make Apps that Make Products with the New Shapeways 3D Printing API

Posted by in New Features

Shapeways Director of Product Brad Dickason (@bdickason) and VP of Engineering Josh Levine introduce the new Shapeways API.

We are proud to announce for formal launch of our 3D Printing API hosted at

Our mission is to enable anyone to make anything they want. Today’s launch is a huge step towards that goal and we’re hoping that you will join and celebrate with us and our community about Shapeways’ revolutionary marketplace and manufacturing platform.

Our marketplace of 3D printed products is a new economic engine for product designers. Now we introduce the endless possibilities of Shapeways apps. Think about it: Just as new materials at Shapeways have created new product categories, this API creates the opportunity for developers all over the world to make apps that make products.  In 2012, 8,000 Shapeways Shop Owners earned nearly $500,000 in profits, and many of these Shop Owners were app developers who took advantage of our tools for mass customization.  We are bringing the power of digital fabrication to the masses, and Shapeways’ mission is becoming reality.


This first release of our API focuses on our marketplace and manufacturing. We’ve tried to make life easy for developers to upload 3D models, sell to others, and 3D print in over 30 materials and finishes including our newest material Premium Silver.  

The functionality available via the 3D Printing API is continually growing, so if you are coding with us, you should regularly check our docs or the browse the JSON discovery (get JSON View).  We have also developed several reference clients that showcase the API functionality and can help you get started right away!


While our new API was in private beta, we worked closely with several users to test and refine the features. Here are a couple examples of the possibilities.

Mixee Me

Mixee Me enables you to create your own army of little people. Each character is created using a collection of clipart that the user can choose from.


Tinkercad is an easy to use, web-based CAD app designed specifically for 3D Printing. Users can create their own 3D models with no previous CAD experience and print directly to Shapeways by clicking ‘Order 3D Print’ within the app.

Creators Project

The Creators Project in collaboration with Softlab, Sosolimited and Sticky Monster Lab, accesses your Facebook profile to create a 3D Printed visualization of your interaction with family and friends, your likes and sharing patterns, so you can see yourself as others might see you, abstracted though the lens of the three artists and their applications.

Nu Bracelet

Nu uses audio analysis to transform music into a unique piece of wearable art.


“Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.”

–Martin Fowler

We’re a passionate and creative team spread over 3 time zones in 2 continents. We listen to each other and prefer to add and improve ideas rather than point out why something will fail.  We strive to enable intuitive leaps of understanding and readable code.  To make sure that we were hearing you, we offer direct contact via email (, IRC (#shapeways on, and dedicated Skype chatrooms.  We want to ensure frequent and open communication with everyone using our APIs. It is extremely important for us to maintain an extremely low barrier to entry for anyone who wants to create real-life products from digital 3D objects.

We hope you’ll join us in making the future. We’re here to help you create!




Track Your 3D Printing with Our New Order Status Page

Today we are excited to announce a brand new Order Status Page!

What once was a bland and static page detailing your order has gone through a transformation and is now the almighty “Order Status Page”. Why is it so awesome? Because it not only offers more transparency into the current status of your entire order, but also shows you what’s happening with each individual item. In addition to being taken to this page immediately after checkout, you can also get here from the My Orders overview.

We’ve also added detailed information on refunds and credits on a per-order basis for all new orders. Additionally, this overhaul lays the foundation for some even cooler features that will be coming in the near future.

With that said, let us know what you think!


New Website Feature: Photo Comments

We have been working on an exciting new feature for adding photographs to your model comments. You’ll be able to share YOUR copy of a model that you ordered and show how you use it, how it looks in your home, how you painted it, even point out possible improvements and suggestions to the designer.

I talked to Brad Dickason, our VP of Product and the initiator of this new function. Brad says:

“There are tons of products that have been purchased on Shapeways and used in unique and innovative ways by our community. I’m ridiculously excited to see those photos start to show up so the designer can see how his/her products are being used and loved!”


You may notice these photo comments starting to appear today, as we’ve been busy testing them. But now it’s your turn!

To attach a photo to a comment, simply click the camera icon and follow the prompts to upload your photo. You can even do it easily from your mobile device. We know you have some cool 3D printed products on your desk, so snap a pic and show the designer their work in the wild!

Lastly, just a little bit of fine print:

As with our general policy on comments  and the forum, please use common sense when uploading photos, and keep them polite, relevant and constructive. We’re not uptight, but we do need to make sure people feel comfortable. If you’d feel weird about your boss looking over your shoulder at whatever photo you’re about to post, you probably shouldn’t post it. For argument’s sake, let’s assume you’ve got a cool boss. That said, if you see something that offends you, hit the flag button and tell us why it offends you.


Big Changes Coming to Shapeways this Weekend

Our VP of Engineering Josh Levine shares what’s in store for Shapeways this weekend and moving forward:

Last month, we announced that we have taken on a seemingly impossible task: to rebuild the architecture of Over the past few months, all of us at Shapeways have contributed to this massive undertaking and through hard work, determination, and a lot of listening to our customers, the time has come to reveal the fruits of our labor!

Notice the little man standing next to this massive 200 ton stone in the
temple Baalbek. This stone is a metaphor for ~60% of our current
software architecture. Most of what you’d like us to build involves moving
the “little” stones (several tons each!) laid neatly beneath the 200
ton monster.

Tonight we are rolling out a major milestone for Shapeways – internally this project is called Inshape 2.0. Tonight, we’re moving the 200 ton monster.

Inshape 2.0 completely replaces our back-end systems for Order Placement and Order Fulfillment systems with up-to-date, state-of-the-art technology and processes.  In the past, we have had to hold off on so many great ideas from the community – 99% of that is washed away with this release. We anticipate faster turnaround times on orders, and on improvements to our systems.

Continue reading


Introducing the New Shapeways 3D Printing Material Selector

We have updated the Shapeways 3D Printing material page to make it easier to select the right material for your 3D Printing.

You can compare and select 3D Printing materials based on price, detail level, strength and smoothness so if you are new to 3D Printing it can help you find the right material for your needs and/or budget. 

Shapeways 3D Printing Material Selector

If you have a 3D model ready to 3D Print and you want to choose the right material you can enter the volume, surface area, thinnest walls or model size in bounding box to choose what 3D Printing materials can be used with your model.

This is especially handy if you know your model has very thin walls as it will let you know what materials are possible to reduce the chance of your 3D Print being rejected after upload. 

This is another update as part of our recent refresh of the Shapeways experience

Shapeways 3D Printing Material Selector


New Styling Makes it Easier to Contact a Designer on Shapeways

By now you have seen we have given the styling a much needed refresh on Shapeways but we have also improved features across the site.  One feature that was a little hidden in the previous layout was the ability to contact a designer.  We have lifted the Contact Designer button to the top left corner of every product page to make it easier for people to communicate with the designers of 3D Printed products on Shapeways. 

contact a shapeways designer