While designing the improved actuators for SMMB I’ve given Shapeways a lot of business. I can definitely recommend it, their selective laser sintering (SLS) parts are easy to order, their website gives plenty of control, and you can expedite things to your hearts content.
That said, with the amount of 3d printing I am doing, I could have already paid for a fused deposition modeling printer several times over. Thus, I recently acquired a Prusa i3 MK3S. It certainly can’t print everything that you can do with an SLS process, but with slightly tweaks to the models it can do a lot of it. The biggest upsides of course are the lower per-part costs… something like 20-100x cheaper, and the faster turnaround time. Nearly anything I care about I can have a draft of overnight.
My first impressions are very positive. After printing the test PRUSA panel, I CADed up two more quick name panels that printed flawlessly. A simple flexi-dragon (thanks TheBeyonder!) also came out perfect on the first try. It really is as easy as flexing the print sheet, popping off the part, wiping it down with IPA and kicking off another print.
Next up is switching from PLA to PETG and trying to get the mech chassis designed and printed.