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Type Private
Industry 3D Printing, e-Commerce, Marketplace
Founded 2007 (2007)
Founder(s) Peter Weijmarshausen, Robert Schouwenburg, Marleen Vogelaar
Headquarters New York City
Area served Worldwide

Shapeways is a Dutch-founded, New York-based 3D printing marketplace and service, startup company. Users design and upload 3D printable files, and Shapeways prints the objects for them or others.[1][2] Users can have objects printed in over 55 materials and finishes, these include: plastics, precious metals, steel and food-safe ceramics, which were discontinued and have been replaced by porcelain materials.[3]

As of June 20, 2012, Shapeways printed and sold more than one million user-created objects.[4]

On October 19, 2012 Shapeways opened a new '3-D printing factory' in Queens, New York that could house 50 industrial printers and produce millions of consumer-designed products a year.[5]


In 2009, Shapeways employed over 90 people. The headquarters is located in New York with offices in Eindhoven and Seattle. Shapeways is a spin-out of the lifestyle incubator of Royal Philips Electronics. Investors include Lux Capital, Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz in New York and Index Ventures in London.[6]


File:Madurodam Shapeways 3D selfie in 1 20 scale after a second spray of varnish FRD.jpg
A 3D selfie in 1:20 scale printed by Shapeways, created by Madurodam miniature park from 2D pictures taken at its Fantasitron photo booth.

Shapeways began as a spin-off of Royal Philips Electronics, the Netherlands in 2007. It was founded by Peter Weijmarshausen, Robert Schouwenburg and Marleen Vogelaar and the idea came forth at the Philips design department. It achieved further development under the `Philips Lifestyle Incubator` program which offers support for start-up companies with innovative ideas.[7][8]

In 2008 a service was launched that allowed customers to design their own 3-dimensional products through rapid prototyping by sending a CAD-file to the Shapeways website to 3D print.[9] Designers can also sell their own designs to be 3D printed on demand for customers, Shapeways handles the financial transaction, manufacture, distribution and customer service; profits go to the designer.[10]

Originally the rapid prototyping could only print using simple materials. Later nylon was added as a possibility. In 2009 it was made public that they succeeded in also manufacturing stainless steel. As of 2012 the scale and possible materials have been further expanded to include sterling silver,[11] acrylic, full color 3D printing and food safe ceramics.[12]

The option now exist for consumers to adapt designs without prior knowledge of 3D design programming[citation needed]. There are models which can be adapted real-time by uploading new text or pictures: so-called 'Creators'. There is also the possibility of participating in Co-Creator platforms in which consumers and designers work together to achieve optimal results. In July 2014, Shapeways announced a partnership program with Hasbro, Inc. to produce 3D printed models of characters from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic based on designs created by the adult fan artists from the show and approved by Hasbro. The approach has been seen as a way to lead into other licensed media productions from Hasbro and other Hollywood companies.[13][14]

On February 21, 2018, Shapeways named Gregory Kress as CEO, replacing Tom Finn.[15]

See also


  1. Caleb Garling, “3-D Printers Will Build Circuit Boards ‘In 2 Years’”, Wired magazine, November 4, 2011
  2. Daniel Terdiman, “Autodesk bringing 3D modeling to the masses”, Cnet, November 3, 2011
  3. Nick Bilton, “With Help From Shapeways, You Can Print Your Dishes”, New York Times, May 12, 2011
  4. Shapeways hits one million 3D printed creations, June 20, 2012, Raven Lovecraft, TG Daily, retrieved at June 22, 2012
  5. [1], October 19, 2012, Dave Mosher, Popsci, retrieved at October 19, 2012
  6. [2], September 23, 2010, Peter Weijmarshausen, Shapeways, retrieved at October 19, 2012
  7. "The Shortest Path To Being Everywhere". SocialRadius. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  8. "Shapeways raises $5M and opens HQ in New York - Shapeways Blog on 3D Printing News & Innovation". 2010-09-23. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  9. "Nederlandse Shapeways start printen 3D-objecten | B R I G H T". 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  10. "Shapeways 3D Printing". Business Insider. 2012-12-19. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  11. Bruce Sterling (2011-03-10). "Spime Watch: Shapeways fabricating in silver | Beyond The Beyond". Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  12. Trout, Christopher. "Shapeways Glazed Ceramics make 3D printed objects you can eat off of". Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  13. Harris, Elizabeth (2014-07-20). "Hasbro to Collaborate With 3-D Printing Company to Sell Artwork". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-07-20. 
  14. Alt, Eric (2014-07-21). "Bronies, Little Girls Rejoice: 3-D Pony Printing is Now Legal". Fast Company. Retrieved 2014-07-21. 
  15. "Shapeways hires new CEO to shape the future of 3D printing" (in en-US). VentureBeat. 2018-02-21. 

External links