What's it like to visit the #1 3D printing service company in the world? I was fortunate enough to be able to do just that - see a bit of the behind-the-scenes at Shapeways - thanks to @AviMuchnick (don't miss his awesome Cake panel, I'm re-sharing the link below)!
When you first enter the Shapeways space, there are a variety of display cabinets showcasing
different types of printing technology, materials, styles and techniques, ranging from this intricate hollow skull to a beautiful metallic bracelet.
Shapeways offers a wide variety of 3D printing tools and techniques. This is a EOS Selective Laser Sintering machine doing its thing.
Another closer-up view of the EOS Selective Laser Sintering process. What the camera didn't capture was the laser flashing over the substrate, "aiming the laser automatically at points in space defined by a 3D model, binding the material together to create a solid structure" as per Wikipedia. It's pretty cool.
The materials for various types of 3D printing arrive in bulk to the Shapeways factory, where they're sorted carefully.
For certain types of printed items, you'll want to polish them with gigantic polishing machines like Thor, pictured here.
The interior of Thor, with various pellets to buff and polish off any surface imperfections.