Over the past three years shapeways has grown from an ambitious idea, to a vibrant community passionate about making their ideas real with 3D printing. In that time we have introduced 21 new materials, experimented with processes and pricing models. The time has come to consolidate the pricing structure to be more consistent, and better reflect fabrication, handling and distribution costs.
The basic philosophy
Before going into the details, it is important to state that our goal is to make it possible for everybody to make whatever they want using 3D printing. To enable this, we feel it should not be the case that large models are too expensive and small models are too cheap. The new price structure is based on the true cost Shapeways is incurring to print all the awesome models made by the community. Why is this important? It gives an incentive to behaviors that helps the community. As an example, shipping a $100 order in one shipment is more efficient than doing so in four shipments. In the old system, there was no incentive for this, with a shipping charge there is. If we all behave in a way that makes Shapeways more efficient, Shapeways will give back those efficiencies in lower prices. That in the end will make it possible for all of us to make whatever we want!
What have we learned
Our current system has “free” shipping and in quite a few cases does not charge a handling fee per model. Why is this the case? When we started we wanted to make the pricing system as easy as possible. The result is that small models and small orders are actually costing us money while large parts and large orders are generating a lot of money. This is, we feel, in both cases not right. Everybody should pay what it costs to produce and ship their products, plus some margin for Shapeways. In doing so we do not penalize certain models or subsidize others and in the end this will make it easier for us to lower prices faster, which is our goal.
The cost of 3D printing is made up of 4 major components:
Material (the material used, the support used, cleaning and polishing materials)
Machine cost (the amount of machine time attributed to the production of the product)
Labor (preparing / checking the file, operating the machines, cleaning the product, sorting and packing the product)
Shipping (shipping cost with UPS)
It is quite easy to reflect the material and machine cost of the products made in the cost per volume (and this is how we started). The cost of labor is reasonably constant per product, whether big or small (the handling cost). The cost of shipping is mostly the same whether one or multiple products are ordered. The main difference with shipping is the shipping destination. Currently our cost within certain European countries, the US and Canada are similar, where we have higher cost when shipping to the rest of the world.
Therefore we will introduce new prices based on:
price per product = handling fee per product + cost per volume of product
price per order = price of products + shipping cost
digitally crafted ornamental timepiece by Gilbert13, Fable displays the time in an
engaging and captivating way. The classically shaped domed cage houses a
tranquil scene, the rotating tree moves with every second gently
swaying the swing as time passes by.
It is human nature to be fascinated by unanswered stories and in the abandoned scene portrayed within the cage the designers have deliberately given little away allowing for individual interpretation of the intriguing spectacle. This encourages the onlooker to take ownership of the product, provoking thoughts and allowing them to create their own narration of the scene.
Fable will be on officially launched at Tent London, Old Truman Brewery between 22nd - 25th of September on Shapeways stand A02.
Dolf Veenvliet aka macouno of Enotforms fame has been working on some fun tools to generate 3D forms for the 3D Cad illiterate. Under the ShapeWright moniker Dolf has produced a random space ship generator entitled ShipWright that generates unique configurations of space ships ready for 3D printing with Shapeways... Yeah, awesome.. You can also have a personalized Space Ship generated by your name, or whatever text you enter into the build system... Yeah, super awesome. ShipWright is another awesome project that uses the Shapeways API to upload 3D files to Shapeways, if you have a project to generate 3D forms take a look at the API documentation to see how you can send the files to Shapeways for 3D printing too.
The original version generated space ships based on the nicknames of all Blender 3D coders The code is based on the entoforms scripts... which you can find here: http://www.entoforms.com
Last weekend it was New York, this weekend it is your turn London to spread the 3D printed love!
Join us for drinks, bring your 3D printed models and let's talk design! Friday, September 23, 2011, 8:00 PM at King's Bar, Hotel Russell, Russell Square. Please RSVP via our meetup page so Bart, Ralph and Michon can have a frosty cold (or luke warm) beer waiting for you when you arrive. If you can't make it Friday night come and say hello to us at TENT London..
Create your own silver ring on your Android device and 3D Print it with Shapeways!
kelecrea is developed for the Android platform by Shapeways community member Lajos Kelemen that lets you add text as engraving or embossing to 3D models. Currently you can modify a choice of rings, pendants, nameplates, coins, brooches and hairpins. You can already see some of the designs generated in his shop gallery.
We mentioned Joshua Harker's Kickstarter project a few days back where he was looking for $500 worth of backing to get his intricate skull sculptures out into the world but with 34 days to go and over $25,000 dollars raised it is fair to say Joshua is very happy with his decision to put his project on Kickstarter.
We also mentioned the Mathematician's Dice by Matt Chisolm who raised $19,620 when seeking $2000 to get his project off of the ground using Kickstarter. I am sure a market research department would have been hard pressed to find enough respondents to take the product to market through any other means, but crowdfunding reveals itself to be a perfect way to find a market for really unique items.
And of course you know how much we love the Glif which raised over $137,000 when seeking $10,000 to get their iPhone tripod connector off of the ground using Kickstarter. The guys from Studio Neat have become the poster boys for success on Kickstarter by successfully launching a second product, 'The Cosmonaught' that even trialled a Radiohead inspired 'Pay What You Want' pledge. Maybe not for everyone but definitely proving the point that products are becoming more digital, in that the way they are designed, fabricated, sold and distributed.
Dutch artist Catharina van de Ven has produced Hybride Male, a stunning series of works that uses Shapeways 3D printing and some incredibly impressive post processing and casting techniques to explore the surface properties of the form.
The Project is an exploration of Male Power and Female Strength:
I designed a (male) work in clay which I wanted to execute as smooth and symmetric as possible. As smooth and appealing in shape as a car. Male Power I named it. Its about power, tenacity, sexuality, so I gave it shoulders, claws and a scrotum, all male features a man need, and a woman likes in a man.
Catharina van de Ven then enlisted the help of Shapeways community member and artist enabler DotSan to turn her vision into a 3D printable file. Catharina then had some models sprayed using an automotive finish and a limited edition of eight cast in bronze..
It is fantastic to see an artist produce works of such high caliber that explore the existing material of 3D printing as well as post processes and even casting.
Maker Faire NYC is only a few days away and we want to make the most of the influx of the Shapeways community to get together and share tips. tricks and beer.... If you are in New York on Friday night join us at Ginger Man 11 E 36th StRed Sky Bar 47 East 29th St, New Yorkto partake. RSVP via our Meetup page to ensure we have a cold beer waiting at the bar for you..
Shapeways 3D Printed Full Color Sandstone just got a whole lot brighter thanks to a change in our post processing. Full color 3D prints will now have whiter whites, brighter colors, greater contrast and definition.
You have seen the beautiful results from community members Magic and Stony's experience with better color quality and resolution! Now this same quality is available for all. All orders in Shapeways Full Color Sandstone will now be finished with the new process so you and your customers will have the best quality 3D prints possible.
3D print a miniature version of yourself with just two photos and ShapeMe (developed by Archipelis).
Shapeways community member Archipelis has developed a really fun and mildly addictive app that lets you make a miniature version of yourself with NO 3D modeling skills needed. You simply download the ShapeMe app, take a front on and profile head shot of yourself, use the simple interface to map your head onto a range of bodies and you are ready to 3D print in our new full color... You can also add other elements such as hair, glasses and a base.
ShapeMe is currently only for Windows but soon to be released in the Apple app store so you can also use ShapeMe on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.. Being so easy to use it is a perfect way to get friends and family to start playing around with 3D printing. What better gift for grandma than a miniature grandchild to put on the mantlepiece, or perhaps you could do a personalised wedding topper, with the bride and groom imortalised in full color. Whatever you choose to do the ShapeMe is fun and easy. Take a look at the gallery of ShapMes so far.
Check out the tutorial page (download link is in the tutorial page), and the video below to get started.
A few months ago, it became really clear to me that the Shapeways community was not satisfied with the quality of Full Color Sandstone. It was clear that something needed to be done, so Nancy and I set out to find better alternatives.
Since the community's feedback was the catalyst for reviewing Full Color Sandstone, we decided to ask for help of some special testers within the community. We reached out to Stony Smith and Magic, and we were excited when they agreed to help. Stony and Magic sent us a couple of their models, which we printed in FCS using 3 different methods. They both wrote up a review comparing the 3 different methods. We are continuously improving and looking into better ways to produce. This time, we are developing by enlisting the help of our community in the research process.
This is the second installment in the review of Full Color Sandstone, initiated after active community discussions over the previous months. You can check out the first review here, by Magic, one of two community testers for this project. The second review by Stony Smith is below. So take a look, let us know what you think, is this something you would like to see as an option on Shapeways?