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A question about the printing process [message #74019] Sun, 01 September 2013 15:10 UTC Go to next message
avatar KeXu  is currently offline KeXu
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Registered: July 2013
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What exactly goes on during this process? Does the model go straight to printing when it's "In Production"? Are there any other steps besides letting the machine print? And lastly, what parts of the process are automatic vs requires human touch? Do you leave the machines running over the weekend when they aren't the latter?

Sorry to bombard you with questions. Just curious Smile
Re: A question about the printing process [message #74023 is a reply to message #74019 ] Sun, 01 September 2013 17:13 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar mkroeker  is currently offline mkroeker
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View the video that is linked from the "How it works" at the bottom of the pages (and the other youtube videos uploaded by shapeways - they show the various production processes and virtual tours of both the Eindhoven and New York facilities). Roughly, the process is:
1. Automatic checking (as part of the upload process) - for things like supported file format, object size, watertight object, non-zero thickness
2. Manual checking (when a model is ordered) - for wall/wire thicknesses and other factors affecting printability
3. Creation of a printer-ready job file that contains objects from many individual orders packed together, maximizing printer utilization
4. Production (which for strong&flexible takes around 24h for printing and another 24h for cooling down)
5. Cleaning/polishing/dyeing as appropriate
6. Packaging

Models that survive stage 1 may be rejected in stage 2. Models from stage 3 may have to wait a bit depending on machine availability. Models may need to be printed again if a part breaks during stage 4, 5 or 6 or the orientation choice in step 3 led to excessive print lines. Some materials are not printed by production partners, requiring additional "internal" shipping. From experience, the estimated shipping date is usually kept, sometimes things ship a few days earlier. The material status page lists any delays caused by unexpected downtime.
Re: A question about the printing process [message #74032 is a reply to message #74019 ] Sun, 01 September 2013 19:30 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stop4stuff  is currently offline stop4stuff
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https://www.shapeways.com/about/how_does_it_work

Bottom of every page Smile

Re: A question about the printing process [message #74035 is a reply to message #74032 ] Sun, 01 September 2013 22:10 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar KeXu  is currently offline KeXu
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Alright thanks, guys. But does that mean there's only one "manufacturing" process -- the printing? If that's so, then am I correct to assume that there are a few days when my product sits idle?
Re: A question about the printing process [message #74037 is a reply to message #74035 ] Sun, 01 September 2013 23:59 UTC Go to previous message
avatar stonysmith  is currently offline stonysmith
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If your order is across multiple materials, yes. Any one item may have to wait for the others to be produced.
But, if all the items in your order are in the same material, it's pretty much going to ship as soon as it's cleaned & packed.

My sense is that there is usually a longer wait time on the front side while they assemble a group of items to make up a batch, rather than sitting around idle after printing.

======
Small addendum to the above:
7. Shipping, which may include a bulk shipment from Eindhoven to NYC, then distribution from NYC

Models can break in shipping and you can request reprints. If this happens to much, Shapeways may contact the designer to ask fro assistance in assuring that it can be delivered successfully.


Patience, Persistance, Politeness - the 3Ps will help us get us to Perfect Printed Products

 
   
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