Shapeways is dead!

Sad but true - Shapeways filed for bankruptcy on Monday. If you’re waiting for an order it won’t be coming…

Now what do I do with my catalogue of designs?


Put them on or similar?


Dang, you had lots of good prints.

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Not sure Cults is the way to go - I liked the idea that customers bought actual prints rather than getting their mitts on my STL files. And from what I’ve seen nobody wants to pay much for files from Cults…


Sad news for my projects ! but sad news for the modellers community


Dang it! I always got my hands on prints for my builds from Shapeways. :pleading_face::frowning:


that sucks. I know a couple good designers who sell through them.
hopefully the bankruptcy just means reorganizing the finances and not affect the operations. I’m optimistic but cautious.

(edit. Nope. She’s dead Jim)

The BattleScale Collectica Show

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That really sucks, I’ve been buying from there for years, just got a banana tow bar for my M32, and planned on getting the Sherman E8 update for the Tokyo Ordinance Depot. I hope someone fills the void.

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Yeah, it’s a real blow. From what I read the staff only found out first thing on Monday, and were all unemployed and off the property before lunch. I may have lost a shop-front, but they have lost their income! I suspect the rise of the home printer was the final nail…


Very sad news… Shapeways was THE THING that inspired me to learn to draw in 3D plus for years they allowed me to have a very small almost passive income - that wasn’t much but it was so much better than nothing. Plus I got to know many interesting people through their forums.

Now it might very well be that the new home 3d printers got so good that the quality offered by shapeways paled in comparison. Then again they had some nice sevices like printing in silver and other metals - once I 3D printed silver earrings for my woman as a christmas present. Who could do it for me now?

I have put a lot of work in my Shapeways shop and now it’s probably lost…

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Craftcloud can print metals, but they don’t host other peoples products, offer fullfilment or host online “Shops” so I have no idea how all these sellers are going to sell their stuff.
The BattleScale Collectica Show

Interesting to see different perspectives here. In my view, the writing was on the wall, and the end was evident for Robberyways (a.k.a. Shapeways). Its prices were too high, S&H cost was high, and 3D print qualities did not keep up with the technological advancement. Sure, in the early days when the 3D printers were too expensive and not readily available, its business model worked because it was the only game in town.

I am actually surprised that it lasted as long as it did. Sure, it does stink for those people who lost their jobs and designers who were earning passive income. As to the void, I am sure some 3D designers/printers will step up (btw, I am not going to volunteer to make those OOP 3D prints) as long as buyers are willing to pay the deserving price - instead of expecting to get the stuff for free and underappreciating their time.

It’s only the beginning I think. AI may be able to 3D design, CAD, and 3D print stuff as long as you put in all the right data in the future.


Having been a customer several times, Shapeways was a mixed bag for me.

Sure, they had some very unique items, namely 1/20-1/24 guns that I couldn’t find anywhere else, but the vast majority of Shapeways products appeared to be toylike and key chain trinket quality, not for the scale modeler who desired high resolution, smooth surfaces, accuracy, detail, quality, precision, and affordable price.

The print quality, even at the “Ultra Fine most expensive” setting still had visible print lines and grainy texture. The resin was either opaque or translucent and very brittle, able to snap in half when I accidentally dropped a gun on my rug. At best, you can get a shape of something without fine details. I think this drove many to buy higher resolution 3D printers and print from home, thus the advent of 3D model sellers on ETSY offering much higher 3D print quality and customization.

The Shapeways website was hard to use. One had to click on the small upper right corner Search box for items and their vague product search tags made searching kind of difficult.

Shapeways also sold their 3D products mainly with 3D CAD images. There were no real photos of the printed 3D products or customers’ photos of their painted kits like on ETSY. It was buying “Sight unseen” that the customer would be satisfied with the 3D CAD image after it’s 3D printed. In truth, it wasn’t “What you see is what you get” as the 3D CAD image didn’t have grainy texture and visible 3D print lines when the final product, even at the most expensive “Ultra Fine” printing option did.

There were many ways Shapeways could have improved their website, print quality, business models, marketing, etc. I offered some suggestions to them during a Shapeways survey, namely that Shapeways should acquire higher resolution printers ASAP, but it’s my understanding that they have a few branches worldwide so that means replacing ALL the 3D printers to print at the same high quality.

I have stopped browsing and buying from Shapeways a long time ago and instead shop at ETSY for 3D printed figures.


Their downfall was the business model! In the early days they catered to hobbyists like us, and printed everything in-house. Then they sold out to the American side and the model changed. They turned their back on us hobbyists to pursue the big bucks of industrial printing, but of course big firms got their own printers and what SW offered wasn’t cost-effective for smaller firms to use it for production. Then SW started farming out production to a range of 3rd-party printers so quality became a roulette game. And the pitiful search function made it impossible to find anything without a direct link. They effectively painted themselves into failure.


Honestly I stopped looking at Shapeways site long ago, as said above quality was too low and price too high so it doesn’t come as a surprise.


You may print & sell directly, or sell your designs to any of the companies which are now printing & selling, of which there are a lot.

I wonder if I ever get married again, whether she will accept a 3d printed engagement ring?


I stopped doing business with Shapeways years ago. They screwed me very badly on a couple of prints that they simply could not get right. Refused to either re-print the objects (in the correct size) or to refund my money unless I first sent the improperly scaled prints back to them at my own expense (i.e. pay shipping both ways for something they screwed up). I sent then photos of the bad prints along with the measurements (the dimensions were not even close - the screwup was very obvious just from looking at the prints), but they put the costs of their mess right back on me.

At any rate, horrendous customer service for products which were over-priced to start with.

Good riddance, Shapeways. Don’t let the commerce door hit you in the a$$ on your way out…


If it’s gold or platinum, why would she say no? Plus it could be a nice design by you - one off, nobody else would have anything like it (now this could be a good thing or a bad thing :slight_smile: )


Well said. I was going to post a reply similar to that, but feared I would be roasted or black listed for daring to make such a remark. In the past I have bought several items from Shapeways, and they have never failed to disappoint. Low resolution printers, high prices, and expensive shipping. Alternative printers may also have high price and shipping, but at least the quality is MUCH better!
:smiley: :canada: