Shapeways is the world's largest 3D Printing Marketplace and Community where you can make, buy and sell 3D Printed Products. Our community of over 350,000 have uploaded over 1 million 3D designs to Currently, over 11,000 Shop Owners sell their designs through our marketplace. We currently print products in 30 materials including gold plated brass, silver and ceramic.

I started Shapeways 5 years ago with the hope of leveraging additive manufacturing to enable product personalization for all. We started as a part of the Phillips Incubator in Eindhoven, in the Netherlands. We are currently headquartered in New York City and have factories in Long Island City, New York as well as Eindhoven, NL.

I'm here to answer your questions about 3D Printing technology, the future of 3DP, how Shapeways can power your models and your business, etc. You can continue this conversation with me on twitter or facebook and be sure to take advantage of our free shipping on orders over $25 for the next 24 hours with special code: reddit.

My Proof: Here is a photo of me with some 3D Printed Reddit swag at our HQ on Park Avenue, go on, ask me anything!

Thank You Reddit!! This has been a blast. We will be back next week for more fun. Feel free to continue to add questions and the Shapeways Team will keep an eye on this thread.

Comments: 290 • Responses: 18  • Date: 

only_one_catch11 karma

1) Would you say that Shapeways prints more design-oriented things or function-oriented things at this point?

2) Do you see your company partnering with other companies in the future, or are you going to remain the platform for printing 3D objects independent of the people/companies that print them?

3) Are personal 3D printers a threat to your business?

shapewayspete6 karma

1) We see both! Depending on popularity sometimes we print more functional things like camera mounts, puzzles etc. Sometimes we see more design-oriented things. But then you have beautiful products that combine both. Like Bathsheba's Klein bottle bottle opener :) 2) We already partner with other companies that print parts for our community. 3) No :)

MercurialMadnessMan1 karma

Do you have plans to open more factories to distribute the 3D printing to areas closer to their destinations?

shapewayspete2 karma

that's definitely the way we are thinking! First lets complete our NYC factory...

gowhitefish9 karma

Would you rather print 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?

shapewayspete11 karma

100 duck-sized horses! Everyone can make his/her own and make them super special. That's the power of 3D printing :)

TBones00724 karma

Curious what your views on 3D printed firearms are. I know it was a pretty big controversy for a while there.

shapewayspete3 karma

Actually our T&C is that we do not allow the uploading or the printing of anything that looks like a weapon.

To be precise: We do not print or allow weaponry of any kind to be posted on, as outlined in our Terms and Conditions and Content Policy, following applicable Dutch and U.S. law. We have checks and balances in place throughout the printing process to ensure that these items are not printed. Additionally, any files containing such content will be promptly removed and those respective users will be notified immediately. Shapeways does not hold a firearms license, nor intend to (To produce any weaponry, Shapeways would legally need a firearms license, which we do not possess, nor intend to). For additional information, please see our Content Policy. We do make an exception for miniature weaponry (maximum size 10cm).

TenderFoot_Alien4 karma

Hello Peter, thanks for doing this AMA.

I love Shapeways and in fact would like to post my designs there.

Which countries are a biggest market for Shapeways right now?

How do you see developing countries in respect to 3D printing?

As someone who wants to start a 3D printing start-up in India, what are your suggestions?


shapewayspete3 karma

Thanks for your kind note. Most of Shapeways customers are located in the USA and Europe. However a substantial amount also goes to the rest of world. I think 3Dprinting has a potential huge impact of the developing countries. Think spare parts in remote areas or specific tools. To anyone wanting to start a company: JUST DO IT!

loisc2 karma

Will shapeways acquire an mcor printer so we can print paper objects?

shapewayspete1 karma

What would you make?

loisc1 karma

I've got a couple of ideas but not yet ready to share! I like that the material is recyclable and would probably be inexpensive and the colors would be great also.

shapewayspete2 karma

Thanks for sharing. Actually the problem is not the material, yes paper is inexpensive, however you have to run the machine a long time and that costs money actually much more than just the paper.... So a part made on an Mcor machine would not be substantially less expensive than on other tech unfortunately. The fact it is recyclable and in colors is cool and appealing !

TheBlitzbolt1 karma

Do you see 3D printing becoming cheaper and more popular in the near future? I really love it and the possibilities that can come from it, but it is quite expensive for the average man.

shapewayspete4 karma

Yes, 3Dprinting is becoming cheaper!

Example: When we started an iPhone case costed over $70, now you can get one on Shapeways for less than $20! We are really committed to making 3D printing much cheaper still in the future. That's what everyone at Shapeways is focused on!

TheBlitzbolt1 karma

Follow up question: since it is becoming cheaper, do you see it replacing some other forms of creating objects that we are used to?

Thanks for the AMA and the answer!

shapewayspete1 karma

Absolutely! Combine the decreasing cost AND that you can make anything you want in any number you want (no mass production required) and you can see how this democratizes manufacturing!!

rhmsaddles1 karma

Could I place an order and pick it up at your Long Island City factory?

shapewayspete3 karma

Hi, that's a great idea. [EDIT] Contact customer support and you can make an appointment!

Vulfmeister1 karma

What sort of materials are used for 3D printing? I'm aware that its mostly (if not all) plastic, but if I understand correctly, there are different types. Are there any pros and cons between materials?

shapewayspete1 karma

We actually print in several plastics AND stainless steel, gold plated brass, ceramics, full color, silver and a wide range of finishes.

For an overview of all materials check:

YevP1 karma

If you could print a woodchuck, how much wood could he chuck?

shapewayspete3 karma

We would print the woodchuck in metal - assemble it to a power tool and guess what - lots of wood will be chucked ;)

loisc1 karma

Will shapeways ever allow stainless steel prints with interlocking parts?

shapewayspete5 karma

We would love to! However the current technology does not allow this. When we find the tech to make this happen, we will allow it.

hanselton1 karma

If I wanted something custom printed, what file type would I have to submit to you to make it happen? I'm somewhat unfamiliar with design software, so recommendations for that would be helpful as well.

Edit: Thanks for the responses, guys. I'll have a look at all of your reco's when I get the chance!

workin4weekend2 karma

Use Blender!

shapewayspete3 karma

Blender is a great and free place to start!

Actually - I used to work for the Blender team :)

shapewayspete2 karma

The formats we support today are: STL, OBJ, X3D, VRML and Collada. All design software supports one or more of these formats!

21teeth1 karma

When your company purports that "3-d printing is the future"….. Do you see 3-d printing becoming fast/reliable/efficient enough that it will be replacing other traditional fabrication processes in the future?

Or is it actually something with limited scope of use?

For example, lack of ability to create interlocking metal parts as mentioned but possible future developments that would make this so. This is not available with other fabrication processes but is plausible to conceive with 3d printing. True or false?

shapewayspete2 karma

3D printing already is fast/reliable and efficient enough to replace some traditional fabrication! Example you can make iPhone cases for less than $20 or rings in sterling silver for $50. For lots of items we have a ways to go, but that is what we are working on. From a capability front we have a lot to work on still, but that is what we are doing!

theRIAA-1 karma

What do you fear the most?

shapewayspete2 karma

Insects :(

aaon2nyy-2 karma

Would you be able to print out food at some point like a pie of pizza?

shapewayspete2 karma

Maybe, not sure whether we would do that at Shapeways. It's not near term anyhow (2+ years)