Category Archives: Shapeways

We Cosplayed at PAX East

Last weekend, Community Manager Andrew Thomas and I were in Boston, Massachusetts for PAX East 2017, the festival that’s all about gaming. It was an amazing opportunity to check out the latest and greatest in video games, tabletop, and overall hot tech trends.

I went full cosplay

To give you an idea of the scene, there were tens of thousands of people in the Boston Convention Center, dozens of panels (ranging from how-to video game creation to tips on creating the best D&D campaigns), cosplayers galore – even the signage was in character:

PAX rules

Getting pixeled

We checked out a bunch of tabletop games and booths of designers who use Shapeways for prototyping. It was pretty incredible seeing how Shapeways enabled these designers to bring their tabletop games to life, letting them physically conceptualize the games before moving toward mass production. We spent some time in particular with the Dragoon and H.E.A.D. Hunters teams — stay tuned for interviews with both.

H.E.A.D Hunters

While Andrew and I are no strangers to cosplay (trust me, just click the link), this time, I wanted to wear something that really showed the magic of 3D printing. In my quest, my knight in shining armor was Lumecluster’s Melissa Ng, who let me borrow eight pieces of her Sovereign Armor. This was enough that I could mix and match the parts to create different looks, all easy to travel with. Thanks to Melissa I, got to cosplay like the best of them (and I did – check out my dance with the Yip Yip aliens).

muppet cosplay time with @ladybuglise #paxeast #pax #paxeast2017

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On the subject of dressing to impress, Andrew and I ran into some cosplayers we’d met at 2016’s New York Comic Con. Among the friendly faces was Thomas DePetrillo of Extreme Costumes, wearing his Reinhardt cosplay from Blizzard’s Overwatch. We met Tom at Kotaku/iO9’s Cosplay Ball last year (where we scanned him). We learned some amazing things about the Reinhardt costume:

  • It measures 9’6” / 2.89m and weighs 85 pounds / 38.55 kgs.
  • It took three people working nine weeks to create it.
  • The original costume was seven feet tall, but it’s since been rebuilt four times.
  • The only parts that remain of the original are the top part of the skeleton, the upper half of the external chest, the hammer, and the feet.

Tom DePetrillo’s Reinhardt cosplay

We met another member of Tom’s Extreme Costumes team, Nick (of Squiby Props fame), and he joined us for a Facebook Live, where he shared how he used 3D printing for his Ornstein from Dark Souls cosplay. He 3D printed his mask by himself, which took a whopping 200 hours.

Nick’s Ornstein cosplay

Andrew was also interviewed during a Facebook Live with GeekMom’s Karen Walsh, who was covering PAX East. She even shouted out Shapeways as one of her favorite things at the convention!

There were so many things to see and do, we could never have done it all, but we met some amazing cosplayers— many using 3D printing in ways that blew our minds. Let us know in the comments if you use 3D printing to bring your cosplay to life.

On the floor at PAX East — until next year, Boston!


Announcing a New Evolution for Porcelain

At Shapeways, we’re always innovating in the materials and processes we use to bring your products to life. Innovation and experimentation go hand in hand, and that’s why every material offering is a work in progress. Today, to support the sustainable development of our most innovative material, Porcelain, we’re undertaking a one-time price increase that will allow us to continue offering the material.

As we have evolved the Porcelain manufacturing process (detailed below), we have invested more handcraftsmanship than initially assumed. This has come at a cost to Shapeways, warranting a review of our Porcelain pricing. To enable us to continue to offer what we believe, and hope that you will agree, is a truly special product, we have set the pricing of our Porcelain to a market-competitive $15 per part and $0.13 per cm2 (surface area). We appreciate that any price increase will generate some disappointment. Having said that, this price will allow us to continue to make this truly special product available to our entire community.

We’re currently updating all models, a process that will take until Monday. If you’re a shop owner, make sure to revisit your model pricing on Monday. Once the base prices have changed, you’ll need to assess and adjust your markups. This price increase will not be reflected in the cost of your items to shoppers, which will remain the same — unless the new price of an item exceeds its markup. If that is the case, your markup will need to be reestablished.

If you’ve been with Shapeways for a while, you’ll remember that a year and a half ago we discontinued our legacy ceramics and began the development (completely in-house) of a custom process for 3D printing-enabled Porcelain. We developed a totally unique Porcelain compound which can be cast using 3D printed molds. This has opened up new possibilities for creative textures, surfaces, and geometries, while providing a extremely dense, strong material with low shrinkage — unlike any other 3D printed ceramics on the market. Our Porcelain is food, dishwasher, and oven safe.

Although each piece starts from a 3D printed model, your product is handcrafted throughout the rest of the process. Each product is given so much love and care by our ceramic artists that it is truly unique. We believe that this high-touch model produces the best 3D printed Porcelain available anywhere.

What is the handcrafting process?

In case you are interested, we wanted to share some insight into the production process.

Like other materials, first, each model is checked by our production engineers to ensure that it meets our design guidelines and can be printed. Then, we use special software to design a custom, multi-part mold.  That mold is then printed, cleaned and reassembled. Assembling the mold requires attention to detail to ensure it is clean, which helps the flow of material into the mold, and that it is properly aligned, maintaining the intended the geometry.

A funnel is added to the mold in order to pour and cast the Porcelain material. After casting (that’s right, ours is actually cast, which results in a considerably denser, stronger, more robust finished product as compared with Porcelain that is directly 3d printed), the Porcelain is allowed to dry, the mold is removed, and the Porcelain material is fired in the kiln.

After casting and firing, the real fun starts. A raw model will have seam lines of extra material from the multi-part mold as well as extra material where the spout was placed to pour the Porcelain material in the mold.

A ceramicist carefully removes these seam lines and spout marks using grinding tools. At this stage, any defects that are found on the model are also repaired. Defects are common due to the brittle nature of the material and the extreme amount of thermal stress the material is exposed to during firing. Ceramics can be fired up to 1,370 degrees Celsius, or 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit! In traditional ceramics, artists often create more pieces than they need because a portion of their art breaks or cracks in the process of firing. The repair process can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes depending on the complexity of your model.

After repairing, the product is then hand-dipped in glaze and carefully wiped on the base so that glaze does not get stuck to the shelves in the kiln. Depending on the model and glaze, it may also be sprayed with glaze after dipping. Before going into the kiln, each model is carefully checked to make sure all spots and cavities are covered with glaze. Any lumpy areas are smoothed down to ensure even coverage. Finally, your product is then fired again to achieve a glasslike finish.

It may sound easy, but at after each step in the process, your model is carefully inspected for quality and fixed if any defects are found. Our ceramicists maintain the highest quality standards in order to make sure we provide our community with truly amazing products.

This model is more labor-intensive than the techniques we use for other materials, but we believe that it is the best way to produce the amazing products that the Shapeways community is building out of Porcelain. What we have seen thus far has convinced us that there is an amazing future for Porcelain and we look forward to watching the community do even more with it in the future.

Announcing the 2016 Shapeways Transparency Report

Today we are happy to announce the Shapeways transparency report for 2016.  This report is designed to give everyone in the Shapeways community insight into how our systems governing intellectual property disputes and third party access to Shapeways user information work.

What is a transparency report, and why publish it?

A transparency report is a public document that sheds light on how internal processes here at Shapeways work in practice. While the entire Shapeways community is impacted by our policies covering things like copyright disputes and privacy, in most cases individual disputes over those issues happen behind closed doors. This is a good thing in specific cases – community members should be able to resolve their differences outside of the spotlight. However, it can also make it hard for people who are not directly involved in a dispute to understand how the process works, or how those processes are working in aggregate.

The transparency report helps to summarize how our processes work and to give the entire community a better understanding of the trends emerging from them. It also helps the larger public and policymakers understand how systems grounded in law play out in reality. As we note in the report, it is impossible to evaluate the laws that control how Shapeways operates without understanding how those laws impact Shapeways and the Shapeways community.  You can also compare the 2016 report to the 2015 report, which is available here.

What’s in this report?

I encourage you to check out the report itself, but three high level points are worth mentioning. The first is that intellectual property-related takedown requests almost doubled in 2016. This may not be a surprise since our community was larger in 2016 than it was in 2015. However, it is noteworthy.

The second is that 20% of trademark-related claims were withdrawn after low levels of scrutiny. As we have advocated for some time, there are real problems with current statutory safe harbors related to trademark infringement claims. As a result of these weaknesses, we evaluate most trademark takedown requests for facial reasonableness. In practice, this means verifying that the model targeted by a takedown requests has not been obviously misidentified (for example, if the trademark incorporates a common noun and the model just represents that common noun) or that the trademark is not being used in a way that merely connotes compatibility. It is something of a shock that 20% of all trademark claims fail what should be an exceedingly low bar for accuracy.

The third point of note is a positive one. In the 2015 report, we raised concerns around takedown requests that ambiguously claimed that a model infringed on a number of different types of IP. These types of requests — often as a form letter— made it hard for users to determine exactly what type of infringement was being alleged. One of the results of this ambiguity was to remove the disputes from the user protections in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) process. In 2016 we saw a dramatic reduction in the use of these sorts of combined notices (from 70% in 2015 to 9% in 2016). We appreciate that rightsholders are using more specificity in notices.

That’s the high-level summary of the report. The whole thing has more details, numbers, and even some graphs and charts. We encourage you to take a look and let us know if you have any thoughts in the comments below.

10 Years Ago, Shapeways Was Sparked


Ten years ago today, Shapeways was just an idea. “I remember the day well. Walking into a small office in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, there was a chair, a table and that was it. I had a plan, but also a lot of figuring to do.” It was March 1, 2007 – Co-Founder & CEO Pete Weijmarshausen’s first day working full-time on Shapeways, and the unofficial birthday of the company. Still, to Pete, it seems like yesterday. “I almost can’t believe it has been 10 years. It seems time flies when you are having fun!”

Having fun has a lot to do with why Pete was drawn to the idea of Shapeways; he’s always loved to geek out on futuristic tech. “I love to share cool technologies with as many people as possible, and I felt 3D printing was one of the coolest, most magical technologies I’d ever seen.” And, it’s no surprise that the idea for the company was born in the 3D design community – the same community that still fuels and sustains it. “When I learned about 3D printing, the first thing I thought was, ‘OMG, this is something I need to share with my friends in the Blender community!’ I knew that so many people use 3D software (like Blender) to create beautiful things they are passionate about on their computers, in the digital domain, but could not hold those in their hands. I wanted to change that.”

I sat down with Pete to talk about how he took that vision and turned it into a 10-year-old company that’s now the world’s largest 3D printing community.

What would you say is the biggest or most unexpected challenge you’ve encountered and overcome since starting Shapeways 10 years ago?

The biggest, perhaps not unexpected challenge was (and perhaps still is) that the technology we call 3D printing was not initially made for manufacturing. When we started Shapeways, the technology was called Rapid Prototyping or Rapid Manufacturing. It was for the largest part used for prototyping, which has totally different requirements than manufacturing in terms of quality, speed, and especially cost. The challenge for us was to use what was and is available for manufacturing.

The biggest challenge of the three components was cost. For years we struggled to make the products our community wants at a cost that was a good fit. We have made huge progress in that front, but I do not think we are done yet. That is also why I am still very excited about the entry of HP into the market. They have built a new machine, starting with the idea that 3D printers are not (completely) made for manufacturing, that they are too expensive, do not yield high enough quality, and are too slow. The new machine we are currently testing seems to fix that to a large extent. But again, we are not done.

Pete's opening Shapeways' New York office in 2010

Pete opens Shapeways’ New York office, 2010

The landscape of 3D printing has changed widely since 2007. How has Shapeways adjusted and remained a big player in the space?

The market of 3D printing final products for consumers almost did not exist when we started. We are still growing that market. It is really cool to look back 10 years and observe what has happened.

When we started, there was no one that knew about 3D printing, although the technology had existed for almost 20 years, even back in 2007! So, our first hurdle was to create awareness. Together with MakerBot, we started the 3D printing hype. Where we have the vision that consumer 3D printing is a platform play, the industry seemed to think it was the desktop machine.

I think what has happened over the last two years or so is that the idea of the desktop printer being the answer for consumer 3D printing has been debunked. In a sense, we have stayed true to our vision that giving consumers access to high-end 3D printers is the way to unlock their creativity and enable them to make amazing products. We continue to work to make our website easy to use, adding features and tools that unlock creativity, and helping our users to get what they want. We also continue to work to make the quality top-notch, for a great price, and as fast as people want – which is now! The progress we have made and the things we can still do will further unlock the market.

What does the future of consumer 3D printing look like?

I think as the technology matures, both on the printing side and on the creation side (3D software), it will become easier and more relevant for anyone to use it. I think that the announcement of HP’s entry into the market has incentivized other big players like CANON and Toshiba to consider making 3D printers.

HP's groundbreaking printer arriving at our Eindhoven factory

HP’s groundbreaking printer arriving at our Eindhoven factory

At the same time, new players are preparing to and are entering the market, like Carbon3D and Desktop Metal. But, it has also re-incentivized existing players to accelerate their R&D. All of that leads to enhanced abilities to deliver amazing products for consumers. Meanwhile, the software is getting better and better. New web-based 3D software like Onshape, but also Oculus Medium (a VR 3D modeling tool), Sixsense (VR) and 3D scanning are becoming mature. All of that will enable people to more easily express what they want. Shapeways’ role is to be the platform to connect people with all this technology, making it easy for them to get amazing products.

Are there any Shapeways designers who have been with the community since the beginning? How did you form those first relationships?

Yes of course! I remember well the first time I talked to Bathsheba Grossman and Oskar van Deventer. I think Bathsheba found us through our website. I noticed what she was doing and I reached out. Bathsheba was already using 3D printing way before we started and could tell me a lot about the industry. She also introduced me to Oskar, who unleashed the 3D printed puzzle scene! In those early days it was incredibly difficult to get designs uploaded (I remember Oskar having made a tutorial several pages long to get his puzzles uploaded – things have changed!)

I’m glad to see that after all these years they are still a loyal part of our community!

Oskar van Deventer's (unofficial) world-record-breaking puzzle

Oskar van Deventer’s record-breaking puzzle

Bathsheba Grossman's Gyroid sculpture

Bathsheba Grossman’s Gyroid sculpture

What are some of the biggest growth areas for the community, and the company in general? Do you have any predictions for the next 10 years?

We are building a platform that provides access to the next generation of manufacturing for anyone to use, which will play a huge part in the 3rd Industrial Revolution. This platform works in two ways: We give our community access to incredible machines, and we help 3D printing companies gain access to the biggest community of Makers. As a result, we are going to see some incredible growth in the amount of products made, and what it’s possible to make.

The new 3D printers coming to the market will be the next generation of professional 3D printers which will enable our users to make even more compelling products, at an even higher quality. The machines will be made for manufacturing, making it easier for our team to get those products in the hands of our community faster (next-day shipping!). In terms of materials, true full-color plastic will really open up a lot of creativity.

From a software perspective, I expect it to become easier and easier for people to express what they want. The rise of VR tools, next-generation online 3D software, and 3D scanning will have a large role to play in that.

Overall, I think we will see the mass adoption of 3D printing as a way for Makers to get their own products, and just as important, as a way for anyone to engage and get the products they want. This will massively disrupt how we think about the way products get made, and even have an impact on society at large. I think and hope Shapeways will play a pivotal role in this change, that we continue to earn the trust of our community, and that they continue to see us as the one-stop platform to make their dreams come true.

Shapeways Goes to India: Maker Fest Ahmedabad

Perched on the western side of India sits Ahmedabad University, the site of the fourth annual Maker Fest Ahmedabad. This past weekend Shapeways attended the three-day event which welcomed over 30,000 attendees from Gujarat and around the world.

Maker Fest was founded by Asha Jadeja, an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and philanthropist. Jadeja’s vision for the festival is “to catalyze innovation and entrepreneurship in India at the grassroots level.” Maker Fest is fulfilling this vision through the incredible artisans, makers, and hobbyists who showcased. These included everyone from ceramicists with wheel-throwing tutorials to local drone startups. The diverse group of regional and international makers offered over 45 workshops throughout the three-day event.

The author at Maker Fest

The author at Maker Fest

Lauren Slowik (Shapeways Design Evangelist) and I represented the Shapeways community at the event. We featured a bevy of Shapeways designers and offered a variety of workshops from 3D scanning to hand-dyeing 3D printed products. The visitors, of all ages and expertise, were introduced to the different 3D printing methods and the possibilities of the technology.

Lauren Slowik demonstrates 3D modeling

Lauren Slowik demonstrates 3D scanning

The Maker Fest included over 15 speakers with a keynote by Jan Jannink, Stanford professor and entrepreneur. The lecture covered the importance of A.I. to modern society and what the future may hold.

india 4 

To learn more about this continuously growing event, click here. Let us know in the comments what local maker events you love, and where you’d like to see Shapeways go next.


We Have the Droids You’re Looking For

For Star Wars fans, this is a huge week. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opened across the country and, for Shapies, there’s even more Star Wars action in the galaxy. Because now, you can now create your own personalized Star Wars droids with the 3D Print Studio at Disney Store, powered by Shapeways. The 3D Print Studio allows collectors to customize their own droids, choosing the droid model, size, material, and even custom text. These custom Star Wars droids are only available through So harness the power of The Force — and the amazing power of 3D printing — to create your own custom droids.

disney 1

Dream team: 3D printed R2-D2, C-3PO, and BB-8 droids

droid 2

A pair of 3D printed Astromech droids in stainless steel

Thanks to You

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We wouldn’t exist without you, our makers. Inventors, designers, artists, hobbyists, and, of course, all our small business owners that keep the printers running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And, we’re equally indebted to our shoppers for supporting these independent makers. So, this week, we want to say “Thank you.”

Thank you to our designers, for opening shops on our platform, creating microbrands, and for making our marketplace the world’s destination for the unique, wonderful things you can’t find anywhere else. And thank you to our shoppers for helping bring our designers’ visions to life by supporting their small businesses.

We know that there are a lot of options when it comes to holiday gifting. Thank you for choosing to make your gifts on a platform where craftsmanship, originality, and ingenuity are in our community’s DNA.

Together, we’re shaping and bringing these ideas to life, from 3D renders to amazing finished products — many of which would never have existed without digital manufacturing. Thank you for being there, every step of the way. We look forward to seeing all the incredible things you’ll make in 2017 and beyond.

Sharks Across America

While you’re out celebrating the long weekend, it’s only fitting that you kick, relax and enjoy some waves… as long you’re willing to share the ocean with some of nature’s most feared predators! Undetectable, and willing to strike at any moment, Sharks are constantly looking for a good, tasty meal; so why not protect yourself by becoming one.

Here’s a few ways to tout your sharkiness.


You’re lying on the beach, reading, sipping a fruity, relaxing beverage in the sun while enjoying a warm summer breeze when suddenly…. DUN DUN. There’s a commotion. Oh no! The bookmark by StewMM, that you’re using also happens to have the same profile as the predator currently lurking 10 feet off the shore.


Hammerhead sharks may not be particularly dangerous to humans, as they have been responsible for only 33 reported incidents since 2013 (and no fatalities!) But that doesn’t mean that you should cast fear aside. Wear this hammerhead pendant by Collective 3D when you’re floating around the gulf to show that you’re one of them.


Congrats! You’ve spent your entire vacation either becoming, or avoiding sharks at all costs. Whether you’ve survived braving the surf or stayed dry the entire time, you deserve an award. Display your trophy in your favorite beverage with this Shark tooth cocktail pick by BluGrn_design and celebrate not getting eaten… this time.

Surf To More Sharks

Whether or not you’re a nautical aficionado, check out our Sparks Across America page to see what designers in YOUR area are creating! Happy 4th of July Weekend!

That Dorne Dagger on the Season Six Premiere of Game of Thrones? We 3D Printed That. [SPOILER AHEAD]

Image Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO

Game of Thrones, Season 6 Episode 1 | Image Credit: Macall B. Polay / HBO

When Ellaria Sand whipped a dagger out of her bracelet on Sunday’s Game of Thrones season 6 premiere, we gasped, but not for the same reason you did. For months now we’ve been keeping a secret: the designers from Game of Thrones partnered with Shapeways to create items for the show and this–this!–was the dagger we had 3D printed for them.

We were thrilled to get plunged right into the heart of the seven kingdoms in collaborating with them on this hidden blade. You know, THIS one, the Dorne Dagger:

Image Credit: Tommy Dunne, Weapons Master / HBO

Ellaria’s Dagger | Image Credit: Tommy Dunne, Weapons Master / HBO

Like all the designs that make up the rich, detailed world of Game of Thrones, the dagger is intricate and gorgeously appointed, thanks to the work of Sean Forsyth (3D designer), Tommy Dunne (Weapons Master) and David O’ Brien (Bronze Art Foundry). They chose to have it 3D printed by Shapeways in high resolution Frosted Ultra Detail which is the perfect choice for such fine details–as you can see from this behind-the-scenes peek at what the dagger looked like straight off the printer.

Ellaria's Dagger, 3D Printed in Frosted Ultra Detail | Image Credit: Tommy Dunne, Weapons Master / HBO

Ellaria’s Dagger, 3D Printed in Frosted Ultra Detail | Image Credit: Tommy Dunne, Weapons Master / HBO

It was then shipped to Weapons Master Tommy Dunne, who did the meticulous work of finishing the dagger and bringing it fully to life.

Ellaria's dagger | Image Credit: Helen Sloan / HBO /

Ellaria’s dagger | Image Credit: Helen Sloan / HBO /

“I have always wanted to incorporate 3D Printing into armoury, and this was our first chance in actually doing so,” Tommy shared with us. “The outcome of the Dorne Dagger far exceeded my wildest dreams from our original drawing concept, so it was a great first experience in using this technology in our field. It was a delicate scene to shoot, but the producers of the show loved the dagger so we’re really happy with the results.”

We are too, and we can’t wait to see what the producers of this show bring us next!

Are you a fan of Game of Thrones? Then click on the pictures below to shop the Game of Thrones inspired designs in our Marketplace.   Complete with dragons of course!


What would you want to make for the show? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Is 3D Printing the Next Industrial Revolution?

“Is 3D printing the next industrial revolution, or just hype?”

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We get asked this question a lot. The answer, as Peter Weijmarshausen, Shapeways Founder and CEO, has been sharing this past month in talks at SxSW and Inside 3D Printing NYC, and in interviews with Xconomy and, is a resounding yes—digital manufacturing will be the third industrial revolution and will change the who, what, where and when of how goods are made.

Until now, several factors have been holding this manufacturing revolution in check: 3D printing needs to be less expensive, have faster turnaround, offer more materials, produce better quality, and print in full color. The very things we hear regularly from you! 3D printing technology has not innovated fast enough to keep up with demand and not at the rate we’ve grown to expect from software. The same 3D printing machines Shapeways started printing on eight years ago still run today, and run as well as new machines on the market.

But that’s about to change.

“The fact [that] we see huge corporations with huge budgets and resources starting to take industrial 3D printing very seriously means that the qualities and capabilities of those machines will start to rapidly evolve, which is exactly what the industry needs,” Pete told Xconomy.

“We also see a lot of money pouring into new startups, which is something I also asked the investment community to do, into companies like Carbon3D, Desktop Metal, and Formlabs. We see big companies and small companies starting to tackle the technology challenges the industry faces. As a result, the end user will get much better products exactly as they want them.”

HP, and possibly Canon, is coming out with new 3D printing technology this year that will be 10-100x faster than current machines. It will print more materials, print them at a fraction of the current cost, and the quality will be significantly higher. Not to mention, they’ll also print in full color.

Combine these innovations with three major trends—the rise of megacities, globalization and digital disruption—and the grounds for an industrial revolution have been set.

Who produces products will shift from major brands that mass manufacture goods based on market research to individuals who will design what they want when they want it or who will work with designers to create what they want.

It will change what gets produced. With the ability to produce goods on demand, the huge investment to mass manufacture disappears and more experimentation can occur. A variety of new products will come into existence—with digital files sent from around the world to be printed locally.

Factories will no longer need to be enormous and located where labor is cheap with products shipped worldwide from these central locations, putting a strain on environmental resources like the crude oil used to fuel container ships. Instead, small factories can be housed in or right outside of major cities, with products customized to suit that city’s needs and culture.

And time to market will be drastically reduced—shrinking from months or years of lead time to research, test and market products to mere days.

We already see this revolution happening at Shapeways, but it’s not real for most people yet. They may be aware of 3D printing, but they haven’t tried it because they don’t see why they should. There are two killer apps evolving this year that, added to the innovations in 3D printing technology, will make 3D printing mainstream.

  • 3D scanning—The reaction we’ve seen to being able to create scans of people at parties or of loved ones to send to family members has been overwhelming. There is an instant emotional connection, as well as an intellectual understanding of how a digital file can be turned into a tangible, physical object. With the next generation of phones being equipped with scanners, wide spread adoption is close at hand.

  • Customization—The time and expense needed to make customizing mass produced goods, like sneakers, a good experience has been enormous. We’ve been developing tools, like CustomMaker, that enable people to customize designs on Shapeways, such as adding your name or picture to a product. Since CustomMaker’s launch, over 2,000 customizable products have been added to the site with more being created every day. By opening up product customization on this level, more and more people will expect to be able to put their personal stamp on the items they buy and will seek out 3D printed goods.

And there is so much more to come. What we make is defined by how it can be assembled, but with the evolution of 3D printing technology and of new materials, how materials and shapes merge will change completely. Even 4D printing could become a reality—where items assemble themselves out of the box due to a reaction with light, or heat, or a chemical being added to it.

As Pete shared with, “People have been led to believe that 3D printers as they are today are close to what is possible — I think the opposite is true. We are at early days in this technology. So many things will become possible that people haven’t thought possible, it’s going to revolutionize how we make products.”

To read more about Pete’s keynote at Inside 3D Printing NYC, check out his interviews with and Xconomy.

Tell us what you think about the next industrial revolution in the comments, or share your thoughts with Pete on Twitter: @Weijmarshausen.


Prioritize your Personal Self-Expression with 3D Printing


‘Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live.’ – Gianni Versace

Inherently, fashion is a form of self expression that has the ability to show the world who you are without having to say a word. In today’s world, we style ourselves (and our homes) with the clothing, jewelry and goods that are made readily available to us by different brands, be it large or small. Thus far, that’s worked just fine — but what about a world where you are your own brand? Where you decide what gets made, based on your own preference. Is it possible? Is it even realistic?

Overwhelmingly, yes. I envision a future where your personal and aesthetic expression are prioritized over that which is made in mass — and without a doubt believe that 3D printing is the avenue that will help us achieve this future. Why is your self expression important? Below are a few reasons.

It’s sustainable. In traditional retail, a brand will come up with designs that they believe will have consumer appeal, and then manufacture a certain number of those designs based on projections. All too often, those brands will over-manufacture a piece, only to have hundreds (or thousands) wind up sitting a warehouse — which is an effective waste of material, space and labor.

The beauty of creating your own products with 3D printing, is that the only market validation you’ll ever need is your own. Since products are produced as you order them, you have ease of mind that you’re getting exactly what you want, from an environmentally friendly source that you can trust.

It’s infinite freedom. With customization made more accessible, you no longer have to settle for the almost perfect item. Not everyone may want to design their own everything – sometimes, it’s about making custom modifications to the things that are almost what you’re looking for. Perhaps it’s a piece of wall art that would be so great for your room if only it were just a little bit smaller, or in a different color than is available.

The made-to-order nature of 3D printing means there’s infinite possibility to customize products in a way that is true to exactly what you want. Today, we already have powerful tools such as CustomMaker and ShapeJS that make it easy for anyone to make modifications to products they love.

It’s tools like these that begin to pave the way to the wave of the future, where we’ll see more software and hardware applications expanding to a point where you can customize literally any item you could possibly want.

It’s uniquely you. The most important piece of this is you. Today, you can take your passion and wear it close to your heart, literally. Whether you have a love for science, or a love for ravens – it’s all made possible with 3D printing.

We are lucky enough to be living in a world where we are finally liberated from the mass-produced constraints of our predecessors, and it has only just begun. The future will only give way for more opportunities for you to be you.

Trademark and Copyright Safe Harbors

On Friday we, along with our colleagues at Etsy, Foursquare, Kickstarter, Makerbot, and Stratasys, filed comments with the United States Copyright Office regarding how copyright works online.  The Copyright Office had requested the comments as part of a study it is doing in the laws that allow websites like ours to let anyone with an account share their work with the world.

Specifically, the study was on what is known as Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  This provision is what gives structure to our copyright complaint process.

The provision is important, but imperfect. It was drafted in 1998 – eons ago in internet time – and it is good that the Copyright Office is taking the opportunity to ask questions about how the provision is working in the real world.

While there are plenty of things that we could have mentioned in our comments, our focus was not strictly on copyright.  Instead, we collectively decided to explain to the Copyright Office how trademark is impacting copyright online.

We have raised this issue before.  Back in October, as part of a similar group we filed a similar set of comments with the White House Intellectual Property Coordinator. We also highlighted the impact that trademark complaints have in the Shapeways transparency report released in February.

At its core, our concern is that Section 512 establishes a carefully calibrated balance between users, rightsholders, and online platforms.  It incorporates checks and balances designed to give everyone an opportunity to be treated fairly.

However, the entire system is limited to the world of copyright.  When rightsholders incorporate trademark claims in their takedown requests – something that, as we highlight in the transparency report, happens often – those balances disappear.  As a result, no review of the Section 512 system is completely without an understanding of the broader context that it operates within.

This is not the last word, or the only word, on this issue.  As mentioned earlier, even the parts of the Section 512 system that are directly tied to copyright are imperfect.  Many of the other comments submitted to the Copyright Office draw attention to those imperfections. Similarly, the just released study by Jennifer Urban, Joe Karaganis, and Briana Schofield on this process contributes important data about how the system operates day-to-day to the conversation.  If you are interested in this issue it provides a fantastic resource.

For now we will continue to operate within the current legal structures and balance the rights of everyone connected to the Shapeways platform.  At the same time, we will work to make sure that policymakers understand how the systems designed in law operate in practice.  As with the previous comment, we hope that this provides an opportunity to policymakers to reexamine the scope of safe harbors and reevaluate them in light of the goals they were intended to achieve.

Get Your Phone Off The Ground: Shapeways Review of ClipIt iPhone Dock

To show off some of the incredible products our community creates, we’re starting a brand new column; Shapeways Reviews.

So you travel a lot. Or maybe you attend lots of events, where there’s never anywhere to charge your phone except an outlet way up high, which means You’ve left your phone on the ground, next to an outlet charging, only to have it stepped on; or worse, figured “ah… this is fine, it’ll work” when leaving it swinging like a pendulum, where it inevitably falls or rockets off in a random direction.

One designer recognized that burden, and took to fixing it.

We checked out the ClipIt by Remi van Oers, an awesome little device that clips onto the stock Apple charging brick and lightning cable, holding up your phone as it’s plugged into a socket.

Assembly is simple:

Line up the hole on the ClipIt with the USB hole on the charging brick, and press fit it on.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 2.42.02 PM

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 2.42.26 PMNext, plug in the lightning cable to the brick, securing the ClipIt.

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Route the lightning end into the small holder, and press fit in.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 2.43.09 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 2.43.33 PM

Then just plug in, and slip your phone right on top. There’s a small extrusion to help hold the phone up while it’s charging.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 2.43.48 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 2.44.01 PM

And there it is! Simple as that.

Want one of your own? Of course you do.  And be sure to follow Remi Van Oers on Shapeways for some more awesome products.

What do you think of the ClipIt? Leave us your comments below, and don’t forget to tag us @Shapeways with your products you want us to review, and show us what you’re making with #Shap3dByMe!


Better With Shapeways video series kicks off with Will Haude of 3DBrooklyn

Here at Shapeways, we are inspired by the creativity and enthusiasm of our community and are passionate about enabling you to make anything you can imagine. This week, we’re launching a series of videos to celebrate our community and inspire others to bring their ideas to life with Shapeways.

Today, our spotlight is on Will Haude, creator of  3DBrooklyn. He says “3D printing empowers me to create whatever object I can think of, because that’s exactly what it does. Shapeways lets me print in a range of high quality materials that I cannot print with my printers. It’s great to have a manufacturer and marketplace on one site.” Watch his video below to see how he brought to life a 3D printed bike blinker with Shapeways and littleBits.

Want to win $100? Each day this week, we’ll be launching a new video featuring a designer and their 3D printed product. Share the video of the day on Facebook and tag it with #BetterwithShapeways, and you will be entered to win $100 in Shapeways credit! See below for details and make sure to come back, see all five videos, and enter the sweepstakes each day.

#BetterwithShapeways Sweepstakes Rules

1.     Eligibility. This contest is operated by Shapeways.  It is open to Shapeways users in the United States over 13 years of age at the time of entry who live in a jurisdiction that does not prohibit this contest.  Employees, officers, and directors of Shapeways and their immediate family are not eligible to enter.  Individuals may enter more than one entry into the competition but may not do so by way of automated means.  By entering this contest, you agree to be bound by these Rules.

2.     Prize. The winning entrant will receive $100 in Shapeways credit to make a purchase on

3.     Contest period. This contest is open on Monday, September 28 from 10:00am EDT to 11:59pm EDT.

4.     How to Enter.  Share the video or a link to the video on Facebook and tag it with #BetterwithShapeways.  You may also enter by sending a postcard with your name, phone number, and email address to:

Attn: Contest Department
419 Park Ave. South
Suite 900
New York, NY 10016
Postcards must be received by the end of the contest period in order to enter.

5.     Winner Selection.  Shapeways will select the winner from the pool of applicants on Tuesday, September 29.  There will be only one winner.  Shapeways will be prepared to award the prize to a runner-up in the event the winner cannot be contacted in a reasonable amount of time.  Shapeways will determine the winner by randomly drawing an applicant from the entire pool of applicants.

6.     Winner notification. The winner will be notified via email.  Upon contact, Shapeways may need to obtain confirmation of the winner’s eligibility.  If Shapeways cannot contact the winner through the contact information in their Shapeways account in a reasonable amount of time, a runner-up will receive the prize.  If a runner-up cannot be contacted, Shapeways will select a third place finisher to receive the prize.

7.     Taxes.  The winner will be solely responsible for paying all federal, state, and local taxes that may be due on winnings and, as a condition of receiving the prize, Shapeways may require the winner complete tax documentation.

8.     Liability and Jurisdiction.   All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply; void where prohibited.  All disputes arising out of or connected with this Contest will be resolved exclusively by a court located in Manhattan, New York, USA.  Decisions by Shapeways regarding the interpretation of these rules are final.  By participating in this contest, you agree to release Shapeways and its agents from any and all liability, claims, or actions of any kind of injuries, damages, or losses to persons and property which may be sustained in connection with the receipt, ownership, possession, use, or misuse of any prize.  Shapeways reserves the right to amend these official rules and to permanently disqualify from this contest any person it believes has intentionally violated these official rules. Shapeways reserves the right to suspend or cancel this Contest in the event of hacking, security breach, or other tampering.  Any questions regarding this contest should be directed to