Shapeways-Seeing the World Differently

by Shapeways is the world’s leading 3D printing marketplace and community. The NY start-up harnesses 3D printing to help anyone turn ideas into a physical reality, making product design more accessible, personal, and inspiring.

Shapeways prints everything on-demand, which means that every order is customized and personalized. By providing a platform for community members to gain access to cutting edge 3D printing technology and share their designs with the world, Shapeways is democratizing creation for everyone.

What’s the Shapeways story?

On Shapeways, individuals can make, buy and sell their own products. By providing a platform for our community members to share ideas and gain access to cutting edge technology, we’re bringing personalized production to everyone, whether you’re already designing in 3D or are looking to find something just right. We 3D Print everything on-demand, which means that every order is customized and personalized.

Shapeways was founded in 2007 in the lifestyle incubator of Royal Philips Electronics in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. At the time, 3D Printing was still very expensive and used primarily for rapid prototyping, not for creating real products. People were using 3D software but thought it was impossible to hold their designs in their hands. We pushed, “Let’s assume it is possible.”

By 2008, we launched and started 3D Printing the impossible. In 2010, we spun out of Philips and moved headquarters to New York. Our current investors include Lux Capital and Union Square Ventures in New York and Index Ventures in London.

How does 3D Printing work? And what makes it so special?
3D Printing takes digital files and converts them into physical products. It is often referred to as additive manufacturing as the product is built up layer by layer in the material of your choosing. There are several different processes that often vary by material type, including Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), UV Cured Acrylic Resin Printing, and others. 3D Printing enables you to make incredibly complex designs at no additional cost, leveraging the scale of traditional manufacturing and the customization of handmade. It enables mass customization, or the ability for anyone to make a product that suits his or her individual needs. For designers, the benefits are revolutionary: time to market goes from months to hours, you can rapidly iterate on designs and improve products with real-time customer feedback, and the start-up costs are near zero as there are no molds and no inventory.

No 3D Skills Required: Create your own Ceramic Sake Set
For all you creatives out there who have yet to dive into the nebulous 3D design rabbit hole (i.e., most of the world!), Shapeways has an early holiday present for you! We launched a new Creator that lets you easily design cups, tumblers, vases, plates and other kitchen friendly creations.

We’re trying to make “making stuff” with Shapeways super simple: open up the Sake Set Creator, move some points around, save your design, and voila! Get it made in food-safe 3D printed ceramic. It’s not magic, but it sure feels like it.

How do I send you a design?
Easily! Go to and upload your design. We’ll run some checks on the model to ensure it can withstand the 3D Printing magic, and you’ll get a price quote within minutes for various materials.

What is the turn around time?
Every order is made on demand. Turnaround time is under 10 days for our plastics and 15-20 days for some of the more complicated materials like ceramics, silver, and steel.

Who are the people in your community?

We have a diverse, global community comprised of designers, shoppers, and creators of all kinds turning their ideas into reality on a daily basis. Many of those with 3D modeling experience are industrial designers, programmers, architects, animators, jewelers, or traditional artists. We also have thousands of members with zero 3D modeling experience who want to be more involved in creating the objects that populate their lives, whether it’s a custom gift or a tool for their hobby.

Headquartered in New York with offices in Eindhoven and Seattle, Shapeways is a spin-out of the lifestyle incubator of Royal Philips. For more information, go to:

Our sincere appreciation to Elisa Richardson and Shapeways for permission to publish Shapeways information and learn about Shapeways services and products.

Elisha Richardson
PR & Social Media Manager
[email protected]


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