Fine Prints

Shapeways Got That Hockey Stick: 3D Printer Community Takes Off

photo 51647 shapeways Shapeways Got That Hockey Stick: 3D Printer Community Takes Off

Useless but awesome: a Shapeways specialty.

Shapeways, the 3D printing startup that moved from Europe to New York after an investment from Union Square Ventures, has had a good year. The art of 3D printing seems to be zeitgeisting between the Dutch startup and Brooklyn-based Makerbot (the two love each other) and the coverage in media like Wired and Make magazine.

Shapeways is shaping up to be the factory behind the DIY movement, empowering an artist to print and ship 1,000 perfect, tiny skulls after a Kickstarter project and printing perhaps the first plastic bra. Shapeways shop owners earned $270,000 over the year, versus $100,000 in 2008-2010.

The site has more than 100,000 members, Shapeways says, who uploaded 238,000 3D models to the site. More than 2,500 “shops” [think Etsy] opened in 2011.

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