Inside the Shapeways factory: a Willy Wonka wonderland for 3D printing (photos)


Twenty hours a day, seven days a week, 13 3D printers — whose combined value reaches well into the millions of dollars — chug along at the Shapeways factory in Queens, New York. Since its founding in 2007, the company has grown into a go-to resource for people to 3D print their high-quality or everyday objects.

I had the chance last week to step inside the factory, where printers turn out hundreds of objects a day. (Check out my interview with Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen here.) Then those objects are finished, packaged and sent out to people all over the world.

Shapeways factory

Each order begins as a digital file. Shapeways workers go over each file and determine if it is possible to 3D print the design.

Then, objects are assigned to a print batch. A worker organizes them into either a flat surface or a stacked cube, depending on…

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