2011 has been a great year for new Shapeways materials! We've introduced silver--opening up the market for jewelry desginers; frosted ultra detail--providing miniature designers with a high detail alternative; ceramics--enabling foodsafe dinnerware on Shapeways; and much more (25 materials in total!). As we are always looking for ways to expand our materials and enable new types of product designs on Shapeways, we also need to think about which materials our community do not find inspiring. When looking across the materials portfolio, over time we have found find less and less shoppers and designers who are enthusiastic about Grey Robust.
Grey Robust has a special place in our hearts since it was one of the first materials we introduced when launching Shapeways. However, as the rapid manufacturing technologies improve, we have--in response to your feedback--introduced materials with finer resolution and smoother finish. We will focus our energies on improving materials and innovating to develop new materials that better suits your needs while phasing out the materials that don't.
With that, we will stop accepting new orders for Grey Robust on January 18th. For shopowners who have sold Grey Robust, we will reach out to you personally and make recommendations for new materials to use.
Let us know if you have any questions! We look forward to all the new materials and technologies to bring to your fingertips in 2012! Farewell Grey Robust, hello to ???????
The FDM process was not popular, maybe due to the color, maybe due to the price, maybe the flood of RepRap babies is reducing the need...
Would you want FDM if it was a different color, finish, biodegradable PLA? what if we had an army of RepRap's pumping out super cheap prints?
Or should we move on with higher grade/definition materials?
The types of things we are considering do indeed include your ideas:
- a super cheap, poor resolution FDM that can be fast and deployment (there are production quality issues, but I guess that's the downside for offering super cheap material)
- higher resolution FDM.. smoother polished FDM
- different colors in FDM (I've seen some pretty vibrant samples already)
- polished and dyed polymide (in fact, there are some samples in boxes to me right now.. and I've already seen a version of black polished.. oh yeah!)
- more precious metals
- and a whole whiteboard filled with more ideas
So yeah, when we say clearing out bandwidth for new materials, it's no joke. Keep the suggestions coming!
Unfortunately, the printer stays with our production partner Stony.. so not a prize to give out. Look out for other contests though, I know marketing is very fond of such things.