Forbes' Andy Greenberg was able to get inside Shapeways' New York City production facility to interview Duann Scott. In the video, Scott explains to the layman the process used by Shapeways, which is different from the typical plastic extrusion used by personal 3D printers: powder sintering.
Scott explains that Shapeways includes a wide variety of 3D printers capable of producing objects in many different materials. Scott explains that Shapeways is able to manufacture in the USA because the location of the machine doesn't matter much for a 3D print service; objects are printed and shipped to the designer, where ever they may be.
For many Shapeways clients, the service is like a "black box": you press a button and stuff shows up at your door. But what happens inside the box? The Forbes video (at the link below) shows a brief glimpse of the machines and persons behind Shapeways.