Rapid Prototyping Services by Shapeways

While traditional manufacturing methods limit how rapidly you can prototype, 3D printing ensures that you’ll get your prototypes faster.

Why Trust Us?

Industrial 3D Manufacturing

We use the most advanced manufacturing technology and materials to provide you with professional and market-ready products.

Fast Turnaround

Our quick turnaround times ensure that you’ll get your prototypes back faster than you would with traditional manufacturing processes.

Reliable Quality

Accurate and repeatable printing process allows you to print your products with precision every single time.

Rapid Prototyping

Rapid prototyping with 3D printers allows for quick iterations of product designs to physically determine look, feel, fit, and functionality before going into full-scale manufacturing. Multiple materials and finishing options provide final product likeness. 

75+ Materials

With over 75 materials ranging from versatile plastic to steel, aluminum and other precious metals, we have what you need for any case.

E-Commerce Ready

Once your rapid prototype is ready for the masses, sell your product on Etsy, Shopify, or integrate a customer API into your website. Shapeways can manufacture and fulfill your customer orders on-demand to free you up to focus on running your business.

Case Studies

Manufacture high-quality products in 75+ of the best materials and finishes, from plastics to metals.
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Evan Gant
Based in Boston, Evan Gant is an industrial designer who’s been experimenting with the possibilities offered by different materials. His product, the Twist Light, started out as an exploration of how to use the flexible properties of the material in an interesting way.
SNOOZ is known as the world’s best-sounding white noise machine. Working with Shapeways to 3D print iterations of the design to reach the ideal sound system, the SNOOZ team cut substantial time and costs in their production process by rapidly prototyping.
"I was always fascinated with the capabilities of 3D printing technology and when I found a need in the market for lightweight headpieces designed for people who want to move around in them and dance all night, I immediately thought, ‘I have to be able to 3D print them!’”
Ola Shekhtman is the designer behind Cityscape Rings. Her jewelry collection is 3D printed by Shapeways and sold on-demand via Shapeways’ e-commerce integration with Etsy.


Michael Martel, Product Development, My Track TechnologyRobotics 3D Printing
Unless you have $100,000 or more to invest in an SLS or HP printer you will never have the quality, robustness, precision and surface finish of a Shapeways part.
Eli Lazar, CTO and Co-Founder of SNOOZConsumer 3D Printing
The Shapeways printing service has really been instrumental to the success of our product and company. We used Shapeways to print probably 100+ variations of our product to perfect the acoustics and create our signature sound.
Drone 3D Printing
By using Shapeways, Kespry is able to quickly iterate to meet evolving customer needs while maintaining reasonable costs.
LuxMea StudioMedical 3D Printing
We have been working with Shapeways since early 2016 and Shapeways has always been our trusted and go-to partner for commercial 3D printing production.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Rapid prototyping refers to the technology of using a 3D printer to turn a computer-aided design (CAD) file into a physical model. The technology emerged in the 1980s and is now commonly referred to as 3D printing or additive manufacturing, as the technology involves adding layers of material to build the final object. The term rapid prototyping was used in its early days to refer to the technology’s ability to quickly fabricate a product, bypassing many steps needed in traditional manufacturing methods.
To rapidly prototype a product means to turn the expression of a 2D drawing into a 3D digital file using a CAD (computer-aided design) program, then feeding that digital data into a 3D printer to create a physical, tangible object. Prototyping is typically a development process that involves multiple stages to meet the needs of developing a new product. From a conceptual design to an end-use ready model, designers go through multiple iterations to create and refine prototypes before a final product is able to meet all the necessary design and functionality requirements.
While the time needed to rapidly prototype will vary depending on the purpose and complexity of the desired product, prototyping is typically done in multiple stages where each progressive iteration will be done to meet the goals for each stage. From conception to fit to functionality and in some cases, regulatory requirements, using 3D printing can save considerable time as each prototype can be done in a matter of hours compared to weeks or months when traditional manufacturing methods are used.

For the fastest turnaround in fabrication, rapid prototyping allows you to bring a design from an idea to a tangible object in a time- and cost-effective way. Rapid prototyping eliminates the need for expensive molds and tooling, saving months of development time while minimizing upfront costs. For products involving complex geometries, the technology allows much more flexibility and intricacy that can be difficult to achieve with traditional manufacturing techniques.

The most commonly used material in early prototyping stages is Versatile Plastic, or commonly known as Nylon 12. This is a durable nylon plastic that can be used for a wide range of applications, both for prototyping and for end products. For later prototyping stages, materials with different properties are used for more realistic presentations and for functionality and durability tests. Shapeways offers a wide range of materials from clear plastic for architectural models to multi-color prints for visual prototypes to precious metals for jewelry designs.

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