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Massive 3-D Printing Factory Opens In Long Island City

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | October 18, 2012 3:12pm

LONG ISLAND CITY — A massive 3-D printing company — which will soon be able to print as many as 5 million products a year — opened up shop Long Island City Thursday after moving from the Netherlands.

Shapeways’ new 25,000-square-foot “Factory of the Future” on 48th Avenue and 30th Street, which contains a production and distribution center, is partially still under construction and is the latest company to move into the once-bustling manufacturing neighborhood.

“When its fully up and running, our Factory of the Future will become the largest...3D Printing manufacturing facility in the world," Shapeways wrote on its blog. “Not only will it house 30 to 50 high definition, industrial-sized 3D printers, but it will also be a hub of innovation, research and development, and continuous community exploration.”

The facility, which creates designs on the surfaces of 3D objects, will be able to print up to 5 million unique products each year and it will create as many as 50 manufacturing jobs, the company announced.

Shapeways' work can be seen on circular bike racks around the city among other things.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Economic Development Corporation also announced the launch of “New York’s Next Top Makers,” a competition to promote 3-D printing in New York and aiming to find promising local designers and inventors.

“This contest will make sure New York City stays on the cutting edge of 3-D printing, an exciting new industry with virtually unlimited potential, and which could completely revolutionize manufacturing,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “New York City — the center of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship — is a natural home for Shapeways, and we look forward to seeing what kinds of exciting products — and quality jobs — they can create.”

Entrepreneurs and inventors — who will have to pitch the product they want to bring to market — will be judged by a panel of experts and the public. Six winners will be chosen.

Competitors will get studio space at NYDesigns, an economic development program at LaGuardia Community College, as well as business mentorship from industry experts including Shapeways, Adafruit Industries and Honeybee Robotics.

“We’re thrilled to support the New York City's prototyping competition and help entrepreneurs bring their innovative products to market," said Peter Weijmarshausen, Shapeways CEO and Co-Founder. “New York is a creative epicenter with thousands of designers and innovators, many of whom are now using Shapeways to bring their products to life. We hope the competition further enables hardware and product innovation.”

To read more about the competition, go here.