Dec.29, 2011, the biggest dutch news website interviewed recently with Peter Weijmarshausen, CEO of Shapeways about entrepreneurs and innovative trends.

Philips spinoff Shapeways was founded in 2007, it offers an online marketplace where 3D designers and consumers can print their products and upload/download, sell/buy 3D printed products.

Weijmarshausen recalled what they have experienced in the 3D printing field since 2007, "The best thing that has happened over the last four years, is that 3D printing has gained an excellent reputation. In 2007, almost nobody heard about it, and now it is totally different. Initially it was only possible to print in some sorts of plastics, but now we are offering to print in stainless steel, silver, ceramics and glass. In addition, the cost of printing is getting lower and lower in recent years. That makes it more attractive for consumers to design their own models. "

What exactly are the advantages and disadvantages of 3D printing for consumers?

"The biggest advantage is that there is no limits in creating objects, the only limit is the imagination. Our database contains over 300,000 different designs, which shows how much people want to make their own products. The disadvantages of 3D printing is that it requires knowledge of design programs and computers. At Shapeways we try to use some simple editing tools and pre-made designs to make it easier for customers."

"Furthermore, the price and the production time are obstacles for customers. We start to produce the objects only when the order is placed. It takes about ten days before the product can be delivered, that's too slow for many people. Next year we will try to halve production time. "

In answer to the question what makes Shapeways so successful, Weijmarshausen says that they are constantly adding easier and cheaper materials to their service and that is interesting for people.

"Mass production will be partly replaced by 3D printing because it makes possible to design your own products. The demand for consumers to get involved with the products they order is enormous. Custom T-shirts, shoes and debit cards are very popular. With 3D printing we want to eventually allow all the products to be self designed. Companies can also take advantage of 3D printing, for example developing prototypes or orders in small quantities. There will be significant cost savings because of 3D printing. "

photo credit: crunchbase 


Posted in Interviews


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