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max volume throws price off [message #12826] Fri, 14 May 2010 00:32 UTC Go to next message
avatar jeff  is currently offline jeff
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sorry if this subject has already been brought up and complained about - searched and didn't see it.

so my canvas wrap model here http://www.shapeways.com/model/119276/canvas_wrap.html
has a base cost of 23.60. but w/ my estimate of what the maximum volume is, the max price is 56.50 and thats if some one wants to make the entire back solid, which isn't likely. the 56.50 is what anybody sees when they're browsing thru models. A price range really needs to be presented to the users. i would pass my canvas wrap w/o looking based on the price.

[Updated on: Fri, 14 May 2010 00:32 UTC]


Jeff Bare
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Re: max volume throws price off [message #12831 is a reply to message #12826 ] Fri, 14 May 2010 03:50 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar rawkstar320  is currently offline rawkstar320
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Totally agree.

My iPod Case (http://www.shapeways.com/model/115975/) is the same way. I dont like how expense I have to say it is, when really, it could be a little bit cheaper if someone drew a design that required less material. (although, in my case that would mean more work for me....)

I realize WHY Shapeways does this.....but i think there could be a better way.


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Re: max volume throws price off [message #12840 is a reply to message #12831 ] Fri, 14 May 2010 05:31 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar joris  is currently offline joris
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We do to. But does anyone know what this better way is?

We want to be enable the customer to buy something as they see it for the price they see it in.

Joris
Re: max volume throws price off [message #12853 is a reply to message #12826 ] Fri, 14 May 2010 12:45 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Youknowwho4eva  is currently offline Youknowwho4eva
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The way it is now is very nice for colored models. I've pondered this one myself. For smaller objects the difference is very little. But as we build larger things the price difference can be 100% (as seen here) or more. Perhaps in the future with these "draw it" things, We can have a pixel to dollar counter. Have the draw it be a MS paint like thing, and as the person adds pixels it adds cost.


I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me. -Maya Angelou
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Re: max volume throws price off [message #12859 is a reply to message #12840 ] Fri, 14 May 2010 14:09 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar jeff  is currently offline jeff
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yea, i agree the customer has to be aware of the potential cost they could be paying, but not turned away.

maybe for any co-create either don't show any price on the browsing/gallery pages, and then on the model page post a set price range. I don't think the customer needs an exact cost as they draw it, but if they have a range they know the more they add/draw the closer they'll get to the top of the range.


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Re: max volume throws price off [message #12861 is a reply to message #12826 ] Fri, 14 May 2010 15:48 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Youknowwho4eva  is currently offline Youknowwho4eva
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Another solution I suggested was the price range idea, but shapeways wants payment first, and I'm sure you don't want to design it for the person to say never mind. Perhaps it should be a Deposit of so much, with the notice that there design could add up to an addition so much charge based on material. So even if they say never mind you and shapeways still gets paid.


I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me. -Maya Angelou
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Re: max volume throws price off [message #12872 is a reply to message #12861 ] Fri, 14 May 2010 20:26 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar jeff  is currently offline jeff
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ohhh, you're saying thats how much they pay no matter what? i didn't realize that, probably from lack of reading. but I like that even less now. so when the actual cost of printing is 25 bucks and they pay 50 who is given the difference? does that all go to me? Yea, they need to be paying the actual cost. plus my mark up.


Jeff Bare
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Re: max volume throws price off [message #12903 is a reply to message #12826 ] Sun, 16 May 2010 23:39 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar WelshDesigns  is currently offline WelshDesigns
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where is the check to see the part we uploaded for a co-design is actually within the volume we set? meaning, I've set the max volume on my co-design stuff, but the change is in the texture, not the volume of the part. So if I upload a bigger part than I said, is the customer charged more later? Is the part printed anyway? Of does anyone even really know it's larger than we put in the template?

[Updated on: Sun, 16 May 2010 23:39 UTC]

Re: max volume throws price off [message #12914 is a reply to message #12826 ] Mon, 17 May 2010 12:43 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Youknowwho4eva  is currently offline Youknowwho4eva
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The volume is automatically checked when you upload your model for production.


I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me. -Maya Angelou
michael@shapeways.com Community Advocate
Re: max volume throws price off [message #12926 is a reply to message #12826 ] Mon, 17 May 2010 15:45 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar WelshDesigns  is currently offline WelshDesigns
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Does it get rejected automaticly at upload if it's too large? Or does it get kicked back later? So, since it's being checked, then I can put some guess for max volume, and as long as my design for that customer stays below that I can upload, so at least for some things I can live with that. It's still tricky to adapt that to some designs though, as the volume can be vastly different, making the max price unreasonable for most purchases.

One thing I've considered is creating the same model, but done 3 different store entries, for "small" "medium" and "Large" which would at least give customers a bit of a break if they have a "small" co-design instead of a large one. Maybe Shapeways could allow 3 buttons in a single store entry for S/M/L, each haveing a different Max volume amount. They then charge based on what the customer picks when they order. and the designer then makes sure the uploaded model fits the approprate size as well.
Re: max volume throws price off [message #12927 is a reply to message #12826 ] Mon, 17 May 2010 15:59 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Youknowwho4eva  is currently offline Youknowwho4eva
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Yes it automatically tells you, that it's too big and needs to be redone. If you go under the extra goes to shapeways. I agree with the S/m/l idea, I think it would be nice to go to a ring and have the choice of size. you click on the size, it tells you the price of that size. But that's why shapeways is in Beta. When you're the first of you kind in many aspects you have to do it, and either take the praise or the hazing. In most cases an equal amount of both. With our help they will be bigger strong faster, and by helping hopefully in the long run they'll make us richer Very Happy.


I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me. -Maya Angelou
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Re: max volume throws price off [message #12931 is a reply to message #12927 ] Mon, 17 May 2010 16:46 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar euphy  is currently offline euphy
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Very good point. I agree that a "range of sizes" approach would be great, so one "product" would actually consist of a set of models, and the buyer would choose which to have printed.

Actually, it doesn't even need to involve multiple models, a simple price / category calculator would be ok. The main price would say "from $25" (the pricing for 0.9cm2+markup, taxes etc), but the co-creator ordering form would have drop down select boxes to choose the size, and the price would update when its changed, just as it does now when changing material.

The designer would have to complete a little table of variations and their max volumes (that needn't just be sizes of course - could be thickness or number of points or number of letters) like:

small - 0.9cm2
med - 1.2cm2
large - 1.6cm2

Although this simplistic approach is very useful for a product like Jeff's where the user decides how much complexity to put in. A different solution is required for that - it needs to be interactive, and I don't see how that can be done using the current cocreator workflow.

Sandy Noble
Re: max volume throws price off [message #12939 is a reply to message #12931 ] Mon, 17 May 2010 17:55 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Magic  is currently offline Magic
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Hi all,

There are different issues here, I think.

For rings (or for shoes Smile) it is very usual that the prices do not depend on the size (simplicity is sometime better than precision). For me, in this case, the only problem is who get the money paid by the client for inexisting material. Currently it is Shapeways, and I guess shop-owners would be less reluctant to this mechanism (one price for all sizes) if the extra money would go to them (or at least part of this money).

In the case of big variations, it is different and I see two solutions:

1) the co-creator page calculates automatically (and immediately) the price based on the data entered by the client: the shop-owner has to provide a formula depending on the parameters that gives the actual volume. Not always possible, but in case it is feasable this should be available (small/medium/large is a special case of this).

2) the client ask the shop owner for a quotation (an estimate). This change a little bit the process. To be fair for the client, the shop-owner has to do this estimate for free (even if after seeing the estimate, the client decide not to buy the object) and the actual price once the object is designed cannot be more than the estimate. Perhaps some shop-owners are ready to do so.

What do you think?
Re: max volume throws price off [message #12942 is a reply to message #12826 ] Mon, 17 May 2010 18:12 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Youknowwho4eva  is currently offline Youknowwho4eva
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In most cases your are right about sizes all being the same price. But go to a ring store, and look for a ring. Find one that you love. And ask for it in your size. Chances are the ring you found isn't the right size, and that if it is re-sizable, it isn't cheap. Go to a clothing store, and most are now set up that kids are one section adults are another, and the racks are set up by sizes. Sometimes you'll see a shirt in medium that isn't available in XL. And in some occasions, you'll find it and it could be a few dollars more. Now as far as clothing and shoes, you are more likely to find the price be the same, but I've noticed that changing lately.

As far as your fix ideas, the first seems similar to my add pixels add cost. A co-creator, where the person draws it themselves, or even uploads an image and it auto calculates the price of the added/subtracted material.

The second, I could see, at this point in time, a lot of quotes being requested with no orders. Once more people know what Shapeways is about, then that could be feasible. But quoting takes time. You go to the mechanic and a quote costs money. My girl went to get a quote on a tattoo and it cost $20 just for them to draw it up. Time is money.


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Re: max volume throws price off [message #12950 is a reply to message #12931 ] Mon, 17 May 2010 19:52 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar euphy  is currently offline euphy
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sorry I meant to say that this simplistic approach is _NOT_ very useful for a product like Jeff's. minor details!!!
Re: max volume throws price off [message #12953 is a reply to message #12939 ] Mon, 17 May 2010 20:27 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar euphy  is currently offline euphy
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I agree Magic, size is not traditionally the thing that affects the price, because traditionally the main cost is the labour, and the the actual material is the cheap bit.

Most clothing of a particular design costs the same regardless of size - at either end of the bell curve (very small, very big) cost more but it's because of volume of sales rather than amount of materials. The cost of material isn't big, and doesn't have a big effect of the final sale price except for very high value materials and very low cost products.

This kind of automated additive manufacturing that we do turns all that upside down of course and it's possible to very closely measure the various costs of manufacturing, design and materials. We barely have overheads. I don't even think it's necessarily a good idea to try and imitate traditional models of manufacturing pricing and cost in this brave new world, but I appreciate that me still might want to, even if just so we fit into the common retail environment.

I think we'd all agree that Magic's first ideal is the best one - there's some magic (ho ho!) equation that will automatically calculate the volume. Unfortunately I think the answer to this is a parameterised 3d model in conjunction with a bunch of equations, and it'll get resized in real-time and the volume recalculated. It's the only way I can think of doing it properly.

Co-creators are A Big Idea though, and could quite easily become little mini-apps for customising 3d models, the same way that ordering a pizza online tots the cost up as you add toppings and change the size. At the moment Shapeways can't do something of that sophistication, but I don't imagine it's too far off.

Youknowwho - Ponoko have a system where you can upload a simple scan of a hand drawing and they convert it to line art and tell you how much it'll cost to have laser cut, so it's actually baked already.

(There's room for a canny coder to come along and develop a web front-end that allows a user to modify the parameters of a 3d model, and that could quite easily slot into the shapeways sales model.)

The idea of the quoting system I think wouldn't be a winner for Shapeways, I think they buy into the idea of being able to appear to be a regular retail outlet - one price, one order, and a lot of users will be put off by knowing that they have to wait for a real person to deal with them and decide how much they can be taken for.

Still no solution! Lots of talking though Smile

sn
Re: max volume throws price off [message #12995 is a reply to message #12826 ] Wed, 19 May 2010 10:57 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar jeff  is currently offline jeff
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good discussion here!

ok, the ponoko solution would work pretty well for any 2D application. on my ipad wrap i can just convert any sketch to line art and determine the percentage of the space covered. I know the price range so i can apply the % added and figure the new cost. Using that method I'd be fine with quoting as i could do it very quick. that being said it wouldn't work for a 3D application, if i had a lot of orders or other co-creators to quote I'd get backed up, and i don't think its best for the customer.

at this point i think having a tiered price range s-m-l would be the best temporary fix. Its not the final solution but its better then what we have now.


Jeff Bare
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Re: max volume throws price off [message #12999 is a reply to message #12995 ] Wed, 19 May 2010 12:42 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar euphy  is currently offline euphy
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An automated system to calculate cost from a digital drawing would be fraught with problems, but it could be made to work if it supplied a "guess" based on the image uploaded and then added on a safety margin so the designer has some scope for interpretation and fixing problems.

So even though the system only sees $20 worth of pixels, it charges 50% extra and the designer gets $30 worth of plastic to play with. If the designers then only ends up using $15 then of course there's still that spare $15 that falls into shapeways' account, but at least the overall price to the buyer is a bit more reasonable.

Difficult to perfect and open to abuse.

The size range sm/med/large would be perfect for something that has a static set of sizes like rings. In your case I guess you'd have flexible/regular/stiff or light/medium/heavy, but I don't see any way to stop users from uploading a complex solid image into a co-creator that has a "light" price.

A compromise might be to physically restrict the size of the customisable bit of the design - the "light" only has a designable portion that is a quarter of the size of the "heavy", if you see what I mean. That's a rubbish solution for the wrap actually but might work in some other products [that I can't think of right now].

cheers
sn
Re: max volume throws price off [message #13010 is a reply to message #12999 ] Wed, 19 May 2010 16:03 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar jeff  is currently offline jeff
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i could kinda see that idea of limiting the amount of possible co-creation to different tiers kind of working. i could make 3 versions of the canvas wrap with the actual canvas border being smaller/bigger in each. that way there is less possible total volume.

that being said it still is specific to certain applications and not an overall solution.

hmmm.

and you're right, there could be a visually complicated design someone draws that covers the whole back, thats actually only 50% max volume. and it could be hard for the customer to look at their design and guess accurately what category S-M-L it falls into...

So maybe Youknowho's suggestions of a deposit might work. So in the gallery the price would say starting at 25$. the customer pays that, submits the completed sketch template, the designer uploads the custom co-creator file and the customer is billed the remaining amount. then shapeways prints the custom part. And the customer will need to be aware of the maximum price their design could potentially be so as to avoid customers backing out.

Or a little twist on the deposit idea is this- the designer chooses what the deposit is. The deposit becomes the designers mark-up. So the designer gets 100% of the deposit at the beginning. then we make the co-creator file - upload it- shapeways charges the user however much the 3D printing cost and they keep all that money. so bad part is the customer has to pay twice. good part is they get a cheaper product, designers are paid for their time no mater what, and shapeways doesn't print till paid in full.

what ya think?


Jeff Bare
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Re: max volume throws price off [message #13025 is a reply to message #13010 ] Wed, 19 May 2010 21:26 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar euphy  is currently offline euphy
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I'm not sure any kind of to-ing and fro-ing with quotes or deposits and things like that would appeal much to shapeways - They seem very keen on the idea of pay up front, and then they subcontract the design. They're attached to the idea of being a manufacturer first and foremost, but one with a big library of in-house design/ers that a customer can choose from. There are plenty of other "showcase" type sites that get sellers directly in touch with makers (etsy, and I suppose ponoko is another) so there's no point in reinventing that, and I have to say, I like not having to deal with shipping and all that stuff.

I think the products that are on offer here are so diverse that there can never be an overall solution, without some sort of API to allow sellers to write their own co-creators. So that a seller can code something that arrives at a object volume, using whatever algorithm they can cook up, as long as they also promise that they can create a final model that sticks to that limit. That way shapeways get their firm price straight away and can get paid up front, the designer gets a max volume target to work within and the customer gets a price that actually reflects the cost of the manufacturing.

Actually, that fact (cost changes depending on size) alone is the thing that most turns things upside down for me (and people I tell about shapeways) - you get what you pay for and there's no sneaky sales/marketing stuff going on to try and fleece you. And the fixe prix of a co-creator seems to defeat that a bit. It just doesn't seem fair to anyone. I agree that there is not an awful lot to be done about it right now.

Maybe the difference between what the item cost to manufacture and what the customer paid could be reissued as a credit note for the customer, to encourage them to come back, ("Good news! Your co-creator design turned out smaller than expected, why not come back and buy some more goodies!?" etc) and to make them a little less afraid of buying the big ticket items? It would be automated. Of course a bit less profit for shapeways, but joris always seem fairly embarrassed about that money going to them anyway!

Good work on your solid smack writeup too jeff!


Sandy Noble
Re: max volume throws price off [message #13026 is a reply to message #12826 ] Wed, 19 May 2010 21:52 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar WelshDesigns  is currently offline WelshDesigns
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I've been pretty turned off on creating any designs for Co-Creator designs unless they are just texture changes becasue of this max price issue. If feels very much like a no-win for anyone really. I have to set the price high, so I can make sure I can actually make a part that "might" be bigger than expected. Customers don't want to buy something because it "looks" overpriced compared to what they see in the renders or other similar items not co-design. Add on top the issue I need more markup to be a custom product, and we just overprice the item past the point of being desirable anymore. My ideal world is similar to Sandy's. Charge the max price, and then refund the difference once the model is uploaded. My company has automatic refund to PayPal, so I know it possible using existing API's. That way you avoid the voucher issue as well. It's fair, and reasonable and I think everyone wins.
Re: max volume throws price off [message #13043 is a reply to message #12826 ] Thu, 20 May 2010 15:22 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar jeff  is currently offline jeff
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yea, i'd back the refund idea as well.

I've been thinking about experimenting w/ etsy and splitting up the co-creator process. I don't know if customers will be willing to go along w/ this process, but that's why it'd be an experiment.

I'd basically sell my template on etsy for X amount, the customer would pay, fill it out and send it back to me. I would then promise a 7 day turnaround on a 3d model of their design on shapeways. They would then go to shapeways and buy thier design i post there.

but of course i'd prefer to stay in the shapeways ecosystem, and the customer probably would too.


Jeff Bare
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Re: max volume throws price off [message #13048 is a reply to message #13043 ] Thu, 20 May 2010 18:50 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar euphy  is currently offline euphy
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It'll be a bit more trouble and more people to keep track of jeff, but the entry costs are pretty low.

Points to be aware of (I'm sure you already are) -

Etsy (understandably) prohibit publishing links to other sites where a buyer might get the same product. I know you would only be selling your design services on etsy, and not the product itself, but that distinction might be tricky to make clear, and at any rate you'd be potentially funnelling buyers into another service eventually and that might raise an eyebrow. Shapeways might not be too happy about it either like - they'd be making less profit and (probably more importantly) would be reduced to a manufacturing service only - potentially just one of any you might choose to go with.

Pricing differences - your co-creator on shapeways would always be more expensive than the bespoke version, and buyers could easily be confused about what's going on. A buyer who see it first on etsy would wonder what they were missing, and a buyer who sees it first on shapeways might feel taken advantage of.

Big problem with shapeways for bespoke work is that a model is either visible to everyone, or hidden to everyone - there's no way to publish a model but keep it out the shop. So all of your custom pieces would end up on display in your shop, which might not be great. I'd love it if shapeways did something like a "phantom" publish, where a model can be got to if you know the url, but otherwise won't show up on any lists or shops or anything.


Some thoughts. Off to eat me tea now.
sn
Re: max volume throws price off [message #13049 is a reply to message #12826 ] Thu, 20 May 2010 18:58 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Youknowwho4eva  is currently offline Youknowwho4eva
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I'm fairly sure this is related to the Max Volume, but today I put up my iPhone cover, and notice when I changed the max volume, the price didn't change on the page, but when browsing my designs it did. So I had to set the mark up to 0 go to my designs to see the actual price, than go to the design page and add my desired mark up to make the price what I wanted it. What I did to minimize impact, is the customizable part is only a raised design. It is only raised half a mm. So the total increase from min to max is a dollar or so.


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Re: max volume throws price off [message #13254 is a reply to message #13049 ] Fri, 28 May 2010 22:30 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar robert  is currently offline robert
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I enjoy this discussion very much. You all raise very valid points.

I like the idea to refund the difference to the customer. We investigated the option to give the difference back to you designers, but this is not possible from an bookkeeping perspective at this moment. It is at least not our intention to make more profit.

I know that Etsy employs a similar system for shipping costs. I got refunded with my order because the shipping costs were lower than I paid for.

- Robert
Re: max volume throws price off [message #13340 is a reply to message #13254 ] Thu, 03 June 2010 10:45 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar jeff  is currently offline jeff
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god to know you're listening. You guys are always open to comments and thats what will make shapeways better.

I think if its presented clearly to the customer then the refund idea could work.


Jeff Bare
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Re: max volume throws price off [message #14270 is a reply to message #13254 ] Fri, 02 July 2010 13:44 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar fx2  is currently offline fx2
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Any news about this refund idea ?
Co-Creators are nice but unfortunately the fixed price is really not that great. I don't like the idea to create a design in stainless, and just to be on the right max volume-side, having to almost double the price. Confused
I believe a price range ($12...$18) is much better for the customer. The designs are customized designs, why are the prices not ? Smile

[Updated on: Fri, 02 July 2010 13:48 UTC]

Re: max volume throws price off [message #14276 is a reply to message #14270 ] Fri, 02 July 2010 14:37 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar robert  is currently offline robert
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No, not yet. Sorry. I understand it is important for you guys.

I am working on it. It just one of those things for which some existing things are in they way. I need to find a creative solution which does not impact our complete administrative process.

- Robert
Re: max volume throws price off [message #14283 is a reply to message #12826 ] Fri, 02 July 2010 17:09 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar photosfromrob  is currently offline photosfromrob
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How about a deposit? Say an item sells for $12-$24; require a deposit of $12. Then the designer completes the model and is paid his markup. The remainder of the cost is required before production starts. If the transaction isn't completed within 30 days, the deposit is forfeited and the order is canceled.
Re: max volume throws price off [message #14289 is a reply to message #12826 ] Fri, 02 July 2010 18:25 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar robert  is currently offline robert
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Creative thinking! I like that.

The customer pays for the customization first and gets the model. If he or she likes it they buy it right from their own My Designs.

Hmmm that maybe works...

Anymore ideas?
Re: max volume throws price off [message #14292 is a reply to message #12826 ] Fri, 02 July 2010 18:58 UTC Go to previous message
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As for the ring one, even if I have to upload a ring for each size, it would be nice if it said something like
Size 7: $8
Size 8: $8.30
so on.
For design you come to the difficulty of whether your customization is subtractive or additive. So for subtractive designs, the more custom the less expensive the material would be but the more labor intensive it could be. So for such items a Set price could be better, but where the excess go to the designer (he/she is the one putting in the extra time) Then additive designs would range from 0 to the maximum limit of area. Again a complex design could take more time, but being additive more design also means more $. So the current setup would be good to keep for subtractive co-creators except excess go to the designer. But Additive co-creators could be changed. So I guess I'm saying that it shouldn't be one way or the other. A new method should be added instead of replacing.


I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me. -Maya Angelou
michael@shapeways.com Community Advocate

 
   
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