Shapeways may have figured out how to make 3D printing easy for consumers. It works like this:
- Log into www.shapeways.com, and then register.
- Click Make, and then click Make your own.
- A Java apps downloads, and then runs a constricted app that turns a poem or saying into a candle holder. The interface is straightforward: enter the message; choose a style; choose the material; place the order. (As you enter text, the 3D image updates in realtime, and a yellow warning alerts you to text that is structurally unstable.)
- It is 3D printed, and then delivered within 10 days.
The cost is around $90.
Alternatively, you can upload 3D files in Collada or X3D format.
The company is located in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and was incubated by Royal Philips Electronics.