Shapeways Launches Interlocking Metals for 3D Printing

Shapeways announced the launch of interlocking metals in their printing portfolio, making it the first online 3D printing company to publicly offer this capability. Available in three metals—brass, bronze, and silver—with two finishes, these new materials allow designers to have up to six interlocking parts printed together—making it an ideal offering for makers creating jewelry, games and decor.

“The launch of interlocking metals is a huge step in how jewelers and designers can use Shapeways to bring their creations to life. From chains to earrings to necklaces, the introduction of interlocking metals not only eliminates post-processing production, but also invites the potential for more complex and intricate designs,” said Peter Weijmarshausen, Shapeways CEO. “By consistently expanding our materials and production offerings, we move steadily toward our goal of being the ultimate creative platform for makers--their designs being limited only by their imaginations.”

The interlocking metals will be offered in two finishes, raw and polished. Products with a raw finish are briefly tumbled for a rustic, matte look, with rough surfaces and some tarnishing. It’s great for antique-looking objects, functional parts, jewelry prototypes, and for metal models that will be polished and finished by hand. Polished products are put through an extensive hand-polishing for a smooth and shiny finish, perfect for jewelry and precious products. The printing for interlocking metals ensures a more durable product construction, due to there being no interlocking seams which would have been otherwise present when manually connecting parts.

The launch comes after having successfully introduced interlocking brass and silver to the Shapeways community via the materials pilot program last year. Bronze was added to the interlocking metals portfolio launch as a result of the feedback from the designer community during that test period.

Among the designers that have already embraced the interlocking metals capability is Lana Lepper, of LanaBetty. "To design jewelry specific for 3D printing is to design a piece that could not be made any other way. What I love about interlocking metals, is that it encompasses this idea perfectly,” said Lana. “Clients look at my interlocked pieces with wonderment and curiosity, searching for the point at which the metal was cut and re-soldered together. When it clicks and they begin to comprehend how the jewelry was designed and created, is the best moment. They get it and they immediately love the piece even more.”

With 13 new materials having been released this year, Shapeways now boasts 59+ material offerings.

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