This is one of the most important blog posts of the year. We’re changing the way we price Strong and Flexible Plastic and Steel in a way that makes it more transparent, and better for you, our customers. This change is based on over nine months of research in our factories and an analysis of the over 2.6 million parts we’ve printed.
Why are we doing this?
We’re learning and iterating towards a pricing model that truly reflects cost as we gain experience and better understand the production process and range of products we’re capable of making. From the very beginning, we’ve strived for the most transparent pricing possible. But this is a new industry, and figuring out the cost of a single model inside a machine with 400 others is far from easy. It’s taken us this long to figure out what the right price structure should look like, and therefore how to give every model the “right price.”
We expect you to optimize your models for cost, and we want to make it so that when you do that, the models are getting easier – not harder – for us to make. Now, when your model gets cheaper, it’s because you’ve made it easier for us to make. With your prices based on our manufacturing costs, our incentives are aligned.
Pricing in this way lets us lower the price of 75% of the models we’ve printed this year in White Strong & Flexible Plastic, and 85% of the models we’ve printed in steel. On average, across the marketplace, WSF models are now 20% less expensive, and Steel models are now 30% less expensive. This is the biggest price drop we’ve ever had on these materials, and we’re excited to see how it will enable you to make even cooler products than ever before. Unfortunately, some of the popular products on Shapeways are much more expensive to produce than we realized, and as a result will go up in price with the new price structure.
What is the new pricing structure and how will this impact you?
As you’ve learned from my blog post on the Selective Laser Sintering process, a huge amount of work and some very expensive equipment go into producing your products. Our new pricing structure reflects these realities by pricing models on three components:
Labor (part count): the number of things that need to be handled individually during production.
Material: the amount of material that is needed to manufacture your product.
Machine Space: the amount of space your product takes inside our 3D printers.
To see a more in-depth explanation of how we price, refer to this support page.
Starting today, and for the next week, you will see the new prices on the models you own. We offer this week as a way to get used to the new prices, and if you are a Shop Owner, an opportunity to prepare your shop for the change. There is no immediate change for products sold in shops, but we expect Shop Owners to change their product prices starting next week (here’s more info on how to update your prices). If you happen to be negatively affected by the change, you can still buy a few of your own models at the old price.
On October 7th, we will implement the new prices.
Below are a few models and their before and after prices to illustrate.
1. Basic iPhone 6 Case by Duann
Old: White, Strong and Flexible Plastic: $22.46 Red Strong & Flexible Plastic: $24.71
New: White Strong and Flexible: $16.31 Red Strong & Flexible: $17.31
Machine CC: 50.55 Material CC: 14.97 Parts: 1
2. Humble Drops by HenrikRydberg
Old: White Strong & Flexible Polished Plastic: $20.38 Red Strong & Flexible Plastic: $20.63
New: White Strong & Flexible Polished: $13.65 Red Strong & Flexible Plastic: $15.15
Machine CC: 20.1 Material CC: 12.25 Parts: 3
3. Parametric Faceted Bracelet uploaded by rstargrove, found on thingiverse
Old: Red Strong & Flexible Plastic: $64.72 Metallic Plastic: $112.27 Steel: $512.37
New: Red sf: $37.39 Metallic Plastic: $64.10 Steel $322.45
Machine CC: 81.73 Material CC: 63.3 Parts: 1
You’ll notice that in the Strong & Flexible family, the machine space and material prices are the same for all materials, making large models in finishes much less expensive. This is because the different finishes and colors are achieved with post-processing and all use the same 3D printers and raw materials. The difference is in labor, which is a fixed cost per part.
We are excited about this new way of pricing and at the same time are empathetic to the ones which are hardest hit by these changes. In the end, we believe this is the right thing for everyone in the Shapeways community, making 3D printing more accessible and affordable for everyone. Definitely share your thoughts by commenting below or discuss with our community in our repricing forum.
Pete / CEO Shapeways.