Shapeways provides a wonderful and simple way to create many types of objects. Their software does have restrictions, but don't fret - you can always use your own 3D design software to produce, well, what ever you desire. And that's precisely what John Park did at MAKE magazine.
Using MAYA 3D software and a cute character concept, John built the basic shape first, then posed it by twisting the shape. After some final smoothing the design was sent to Shapeways for production. It's just that simple. Except for the 3D modeling part.