Skip to navigationSkip to content
ONE OF A KIND

Now you can take your most outlandish gift idea and 3D print it into existence

  • Siyi Chen
By Siyi Chen

Video Journalist

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

If you want to put something personalized on your gift list this year, there are more options than mugs printed with family photos.

How about custom make-whatever-you-can-imagine, through 3D printing?

Jordan Coelho for Quartz

Shapeways, a major online marketplace for 3D-printed products, allows users to upload unique designs and make them available for anyone to 3D-print. As a buyer, you can order designs from over 30,000 “shops” on the website, which you can customize, or create something on your own with the basic software the website provides.

But beware: it can take a long time to receive your order from Shapeways, because the 3D-printing process is very time consuming (and the company is dealing with a ton of orders with limited 3D-printers).

Though the company says it can print over 58 materials, the functionality of some products might be limited because of the materials available. For example, the iPhone case we tested is very interesting, but is a bit hard to get off the phone because the lack of elasticity of its material.

The company says over 120,000 products are 3D printed in their factories and shipped each month. They create anything from an iPhone case with a foosball table on the back or jewelry that mimics the human circulatory system. Check out the video above to get an idea of what kinds of gifts are popular.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.