Behind the scenes at Shapeways' New York 3D-printing facility (pictures)
Every day, the company's Queens production center turns out thousands of individual items from its nine industrial-size 3D printers. It's a lot of fun to watch.
Before and after skulls
NEW YORK -- Shapeways has become one of the biggest players in the growing field of 3D-printing services. The company, which allows anyone to open a store and sell his or her wares, then 3D prints each item and ships it to the buyer.
At its Queens production facility, Shapeways turns out thousands of items a day, all of which emerge from one of nine industrial-strength 3D printers in a white nylon. But Shapeways can dye the products a number of other colors, such as blue, seen here.
A look inside one of the nine EOS 3D printers in Shapeways' Queens facility shows how a print job is done. Each pass of the arm lays down another layer of nylon powder. The machine applies heat where necessary for the creation of an item.
This is one of nine EOS 3D printers that Shapeways has at its Queens production facility. The machines cost between $1 million and $3 million each and can turn out dozens or even hundreds of items per print run.
After each print run, the machines turn out a stack of dozens or hundreds of items that are jammed together for peak efficiency. During postproduction, a team member carefully breaks them apart, using the diagrams as a guide.