best 3d printing services – Shapeways, 2017

Shapeways is an online 3D printing service that allows you to design, print and market products. Its online marketplace allows you to manage a virtual storefront and to sell products around the world.

The process begins with 3D printing designs. Shapeways supports outside programmatic, parametric, sculpting and modeling software, so you can use whatever application you’re comfortable with. You can also tweak and adjust your design using the 3D printing company’s mobile app. Shapeways also connects you with designers and 3D modelers that can be hired to bring your concept to life. Then, once you’re satisfied with your design, you can upload it to the 3D printing website and choose from more than 50 types of materials that your product can be made from. Materials include precious metals, full color sandstone, stainless steel, nylon plastic and UV-cured acrylic plastic. Price is based on the type and amount of material used, so there is no penalty for more complex or intricate product designs. You’ll receive a price quote to print your product as soon as you upload it the website. From there, your product will go through Shapeways’ 10-step custom 3D printing process before it’s completed and shipped to your door.

Shapeways’ 3D printing store allows you to browse hundreds of products that were created by other users, and to add your own products to the inventory. The online marketplace features gadgets, accessories, jewelry, art, home décor, games and miniature figurines. Once you join, the online store handles production, distribution and customer service. Products are printed and shipped by Shapeways as they’re ordered, so there’s no need to worry about inventory. And the online community gives designers and artists an opportunity to receive feedback on their products and designs from customers. An active community also lets you connect with likeminded artists and designers from around the world.

Shapeways has an easy-to-use interface and resources to help those who are new to 3D printing get acclimated. Resources include a pre-print checklist, a guide on converting file types using Meshlab and Netfabb, and a tutorial on designing for cheap 3D printing. Shapeway’s resources, online marketplace and flexible design process make it an accessible entry point for people with little or no 3D printing experience.