It was March 11, 2010, the day the most of us stopped getting this message.
'There's a problem with your new model, "Only manifold objects can be printed".
Tears of relief flowed down our collective faces as in came Mesh Medic to automate 3D printing file repair and save hours of hair tearing frustration.
Shapeways now has Mesh Medic in Full Color, where previously when Mesh Medic fixed your mesh you would lose your color mapping, now Mesh Medic will repair holes, invert your inverted normals so they're normal, repair manifolds, all in full color!
Yes, certainly things have improved here, however a point to consider: I have had at least two (three?) models sent for printing only to have the order cancelled and a credit note issued because the models couldn't be printed.... When I'm ordering them I can deal with it, however, I hope I don't ever have a customer buy something only to be told the same thing. Yes, I know the way round this is to order one of EVERYTHING I design but this is just too prohibitive, AND it is presently stopping me from designing some things that I would call edgy or different (and larger).
In the end it all comes down to my error in design but some things are hard to foresee... Sort of like Apple designing a phone that drops its connection - oops!
So what's the solution? Don't have one! I'm just throwing this out there so that anyone just getting started here can see some of the problems to work around.
I suggested to customer support to look into this idea:
Send the shop owner an error email with the problem in his/her model and a notice of 24-48 hours to fix the issue/s while WITHHOLDING cancellation.
Once its fixed, re-uploaded and checked again it can go back into production without cancellation and issuing a coupon to a confused customer...
The difference in printing cost will be deducted from shop owner's markup unless the error is massive and not just overlooked simple things like small parts with thin walls or a clearing hole isnt a full 2mm in size etc ... )
I was told by customer support that their current system cant do that... order must be canceled and re-ordered by that customer again - only it doesn't happen.. customer uses the coupon (most of the time valued more then the cancellation order...) else where.
So in fact its a loose loose situation both for the shop owner and shapeways.
My suggestion is a $1-$5 charge to have a model checked as though it was going to be printed, but not actually pass it to production for printing.
Since the checking is a manual (human) process, I fully realize that it consumes payroll to spend time checking models. I'd happily pay to have certain models checked so that my customers can order them without having to order one of each of them myself.
Another thing that I really wish is that we had a way to mark models as having been validated (or show that they have been previously ordered). I've got enough models in my shop now that I'm losing track as to what has been validated and what hasn't.