During the last years large efforts were made, to get able to supply large and complex components made of gas pressure sintered silicon nitride. This opened new applications for such ceramic materials in ambient and very harsh environment and generated new markets for ceramic producers. The paper presents, a newly developed rapid prototyping routine for complex components as well as the properties of corresponding materials. Components for innovative avionic and space applications, dynamic materials testing, liquid metal processing, metal forming and mechanical engineering are shown. Not only unique properties of the material itself, but also newly developed and adopted shaping and machining technologies for this specific ceramics have let to highly valued products. Due to its very specific set of material properties, silicon nitride has gained a lot of interest. New approaches in technical equipment were undertaken with corresponding research. However, except of seals, bearings and cutting tools, none of all expected high volume applications is industrialized. On the other side, a lot of less spectacular applications are state of the art today. They have opened a wide field for niche products and lead to technical solutions with less wear and corrosion but improved products.