Santa Claus Visits Shapeways, Considers 3D Printing as Alternative to Traditional Toymaking Methods
I’m not sure how old I was when I stopped believing in Santa Claus. My parents put a lot of effort into manufacturing evidence that he had been to my house. Of course, when I was a child, the fact that someone had eaten the cookies I left out on a plate was absolutely incontrovertible proof that Santa had been there. I always left a carrot for the reindeer, too, which, come to think of it, was kind of inconsiderate. One carrot for nine reindeer? Did he break it up and give each one of them a small chunk? Or did he pick his favorite reindeer, like, “Blitzen, you’ve put in the most effort this year, you get the carrot?” That had to sow a bit of discord within the ranks. Regardless, there was always a gnawed carrot stub next to the cookie crumbs as further proof (thanks for cleaning up after yourself, SANTA).
In case I still had my doubts, though, one year I found sleigh tracks in the snow outside my back door. I didn’t own a sled, so what possible other explanation could there be? I should add that Christmas wasn’t the only time my parents pulled the wool over my eyes; there were leprechaun treasures (chocolate gold coins and those shiny rocks you see in fish tanks) for St. Patrick’s Day, and, one Easter, there were very realistic rabbit tracks in colorful chalk all over the house. That’s what your childhood holidays are like when your mother is an artist.
Or so I thought. The photographic evidence that Shapeways has presented makes me suddenly question whether Santa might not, in fact, actually exist. I completely missed it last year, but it seems the old man paid a visit to their Eindhoven, Netherlands headquarters shortly before Christmas 2014. This year, he and one of his reindeer stopped by again, and Shapeways has the photos to prove it. It makes sense, when you think about it. Someone has to deliver all those 3D printed gifts, right? He’s got to respect Shapeways employees for how much work they put in to manufacture Christmas presents; they probably rival his elves.
Anyway, Shapeways had more to offer Santa and his reindeer than cookies and a carrot. Last year, after picking up his packages to deliver, he walked away with some personalized 3D printed swag including a gold reindeer brooch and belt buckle. This year, he was wearing his bling when he returned to the factory, and he and his reindeer also posed for a 3D printed selfie. (How did he decide which reindeer to bring with him? Was it like the carrot lottery all over again? These are the things I worry about.)
Santa took another tour of the factory, and declared himself pleased. It appears that he and the Shapeways elves have built up a pretty good professional relationship; it’s nice to see that Santa is embracing modern technology when it comes to making toys.
“As always, we love being so connected to a community that helps us make the holiday a little brighter,” Shapeways states. “Santa knows he’s always welcome to our factory, and we can’t wait to see him again.”
Speaking of technology, the NORAD Santa Tracker shows that he’s in Shanghai as I’m writing this. That’s the end of my doubts; sleigh tracks are one thing, but radar doesn’t lie. Discuss this article in the Santa Claus Shapeways forum on 3DPB.com.
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