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Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50489] Thu, 28 June 2012 06:14 UTC Go to next message
avatar Pilgrim1908  is currently offline Pilgrim1908
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I've just been told that Shapeways has decided not to refund sub quality prints - ie those where due to the failure of the Shapeways staff to align the model correctly in the print tray the model is marred by visible stepping and knitting. Please note this is the result of the actions of Shapeways staff and is not a problem with the materials or printing process. This is a big blow as I always had the confidence to order knowing that if there was a production issue Shapeways would correct it. Until this issue is addressed I'm sorry but I will not be reordering, and I would urge others to do likewise.
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50490 is a reply to message #50489 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 06:44 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Zoe Brain  is currently offline Zoe Brain
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A print this bad can only be classed as "defective".

http://www.wingsofwar.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=51139&d=1340816515

Suggestions about "light sanding" don't work. WSF, like all nylon, resists sanding very effectively. It's both strong and flexible.

Covering the entire model with fine-grain putty, then sanding, can work, but takes many person-hours for a result not as good as it would be if printed in the correct orientation.
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50491 is a reply to message #50489 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 06:49 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stop4stuff  is currently offline stop4stuff
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Before everyone jumps ship, please could you share the model and material.

By definition, 3D priting is an additive process whereby a model is built up layer-by-layer, some of that layering may be visable in a finished model, however there are steps that can be taken to reduce the visability of the layering that are independant to the print orientation. This may not be of much help to you with this issue at this time but it might help you and others reduce the risk of 'unhappy prints'



Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50492 is a reply to message #50491 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 06:58 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Zoe Brain  is currently offline Zoe Brain
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Material - WSF.
Model - http://www.shapeways.com/model/275935/1-144-fokker-d-vii.htm l

http://img1.shapeways.netdna-cdn.com/model/picture/640x476_275935_283547_1338416335.jpg

Compare with what is stated at http://www.shapeways.com/materials/white_strong_flexible

Quote:

Please note, because we print layer by layer, sometimes you might see "print lines." Usually, we organize models so these print lines are minimized, but sometimes the print lines are unavoidable. Here is a picture of what print lines look like at their worst.


http://www.shapeways.com/topics/udesign/materials/white_strong_flexible/wsf_stepping.jpg

Such a "worst-case" is one thing. This print is quite another.

[Updated on: Thu, 28 June 2012 07:00 UTC]

Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50493 is a reply to message #50489 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 07:11 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Zoe Brain  is currently offline Zoe Brain
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For comparison, here is a model printed acceptably., and of the usual quality for WSF we've consistently had in the past.

http://www.wingsofwar.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=49381&d=1339585432

And the finished product:

http://www.wingsofwar.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=49386&d=1339585497

See the problem?
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50494 is a reply to message #50493 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 07:16 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stop4stuff  is currently offline stop4stuff
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Hi Zoe, are you pilgrim1908?

The only image of yours I see is the one with the coin, the layering is as a result of the additive process, and I haven't a clue what size the coin is so cannot say if the layering is normal or not.

[edit]doh that's the shapeways image Embarassed

[Updated on: Thu, 28 June 2012 07:17 UTC]

Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50495 is a reply to message #50493 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 07:32 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar pfeiffer stylez  is currently offline pfeiffer stylez
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Zoe Brain wrote on Thu, 28 June 2012 07:11


(...)
See the problem?

Nope...

Usually, linking' on forums attachments doesn't work.

And, since I don't have an account over there, even in the WingsOf War forums I can only see a thumbnail.

Attach the pics here, or use an image hoster.


[Updated on: Thu, 28 June 2012 07:33 UTC]

Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50496 is a reply to message #50494 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 07:46 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Zoe Brain  is currently offline Zoe Brain
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stop4stuff wrote on Thu, 28 June 2012 07:16

Hi Zoe, are you pilgrim1908?


No - just a regular customer. I've re-ordered in the past, confident that in the case of the odd defective prints like this one, I'd get a replacement after a delay.

Even when 22/25 models in one recent batch came through as bad as this one. It's no longer an unusual occurrence.

Shapeways has had in the past perhaps $10,000 of business from these aircraft. That rapidly-growing business will evaporate if this is the new standard.

If the models were printed with tail or nose up (aligned with z-axis) this problem shouldn't happen - and I suspect shouldn't be as bad as it is looking at the resolution of the z-axis printing anyway. The terracing effect is in 0.2mm layers at least, comparable to minimum detail resolution. It obliterates the finer details.
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50497 is a reply to message #50495 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 07:54 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Zoe Brain  is currently offline Zoe Brain
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pfeiffer stylez wrote on Thu, 28 June 2012 07:32

Zoe Brain wrote on Thu, 28 June 2012 07:11


(...)
See the problem?

Nope...

Usually, linking' on forums attachments doesn't work.

And, since I don't have an account over there, even in the WingsOf War forums I can only see a thumbnail.

Attach the pics here, or use an image hoster.




http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/c66.0.403.403/p403x403/564136_3724093534346_1129848225_n.jpg

http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/c99.0.403.403/p403x403/481051_3724094814378_1523462095_n.jpg

http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/559343_3724096654424_1036089823_n.jpg
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50499 is a reply to message #50497 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 08:14 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stop4stuff  is currently offline stop4stuff
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Zoe, a basic concept of designing models for 3D printing is to make the faces of the model as small as possible, smaller than the minimum detail, half the size of the the minimum detail is good, 1/3rd the size is better. Yes, this becomes a juggling act between the quality you want and Shapeways triangle limit on upload, but the efforts are well worth the end result.

You may ask. 'But, why must I make the faces so small? The model looks good on screen.' - even in the Shapeways image of your model, I can see faceting. The printer translates faceting to layering when the model is sliced up - the bigger the gap between vertices, the bigger the slices and the bigger the layering (or stepping).

Here's an example, the top image shows the stepping, the middle image shows the faces, and the bottom image shows the scale against a 1mm grid - Bracelet ID = 65mm, total triangles = 615,456 - ideally this model should have had double the number of faces to reduce the stepping further, but like I already mentioned, its a juggling game and the print is more than acceptable.

index.php?t=getfile&id=17986&private=0

Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50502 is a reply to message #50499 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 09:12 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Zoe Brain  is currently offline Zoe Brain
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If that were the problem, the results would be consistent, would they not?

Same model, same material, but (assumed) different orientation of printing.


http://img521.imageshack.us/img521/4049/20120130201237576.jpg

http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/554167_3724940275514_2098270366_n.jpg

[Updated on: Thu, 28 June 2012 13:06 UTC]

Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50503 is a reply to message #50502 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 09:30 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stop4stuff  is currently offline stop4stuff
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Yes, exactly - the results are consistent and in the case of a model such as yours, the faceting-converted-to-stepping is prevalent when the model is printed wing surface up because of the size of the faces that make up the wing surface although admittedly, the previous image of the stepped wings does look duff to say the least compared to the latest image. What did SW CS say about the print?

Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50505 is a reply to message #50503 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 11:06 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Pilgrim1908  is currently offline Pilgrim1908
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Hi - no Zoe isn't me Smile

We both use Shapeways regularly to print model aircraft, and are part of a much larger community. I have over a year of ordering experience and own something in the region of 50 models, although the total number ordered by the rest of the community must be several orders of magnitude greater.

This is not a complaint relating to the material used. We understand the limits of the materials and processes. The general consensus is that Shapeways WSF is adequate for our needs, and indeed this has proven to be the case, with problem prints being reasonably few and far between. When there has been this kind of problem Shapeways have identified the cause as being orientation in the printing tray

However, in the past when there has been an occasional problem such as identified in Zoe’s pictures, Shapeways customer services have been excellent in offering to reprint. This has provided us with the reassurance to continue to order with confidence, and I have used precisely this argument to recommend them to other members. One of our members has now been informed that Shapeways are no longer prepared to reprint these “miss prints”. This has shaken our faith in Shapeways to say the least.

The problem is one of quality control, not an intrinsic problem with the printing process or materials used. Shapeways appear to be saying they are happy to provide sub standard goods.

Apart from the questionable legality under EU consumer protection legislation, this is in my mind a very poor example of customer service and business practice. Shapeways can rectify this by either getting it right when they print, or as they have done in the past, reprinting the “duff” ones. If they do, then I’m more than happy to keep placing orders.

Ken

Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50506 is a reply to message #50503 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 11:06 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Zoe Brain  is currently offline Zoe Brain
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stop4stuff wrote on Thu, 28 June 2012 09:30

What did SW CS say about the print?


I'll quote:

Quote:

I know we have been refunding these kind of prints in the past, but since we have put this on the website we are warning people that this can happen and we unfortunately can't compensate this any more. I know that this is a disappointment, but this is the way 3D printing does work. You can see print lines on models, which we call stepping, and this does happen a lot with these small airplane models.

We have tried a lot of things, by putting them differently in the printer, but unfortunately it does happen to these models.

Maybe you can try to use some fine sanding paper to get rid of this stepping on your model.

I am very sorry that I can't help you further with this issue.


If they replaced the WSF "worst case" example with the two photos above, to show how bad it can be and still be considered an "acceptable print", that would be one thing. I think it would scare away customers though, seeing the huge variation in quality. This is more than just "print lines" that may be filed or carved off.

Customers have tolerated such bad prints in the past, knowing that at least they'll get replacements, when they submit photos of the items. This new policy is ill-advised.

It also may contravene EU customer protection laws regarding "fit for purpose" unless only the worst examples are used in advertising.

When they're good, they're very good. The rough surface can be dealt with, it's inherent in using WSF. Go to FUD if you need to. What can't be dealt with is the Russian Roulette of "do I get a good print or not" when there's no refunds.
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50507 is a reply to message #50505 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 11:29 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stop4stuff  is currently offline stop4stuff
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Hi Ken & Zoe,

I understand the situation now and have sent an email to, hopefully, the right person who'll be able to help you out.

Anyhow, have either of you tried a high-poly model to see if that does make the difference? The method I use for near-smooth (i.e. reduced stepping) WSF models is what I've learned through the experience of modelling, buying, and refining the model and the method works. Perhaps, I should create an aircraft and put my money where my mouth is Wink

Another little 'gotcha' - Shapeways is US based these days, so EU legislation isn't gonna work, haven't a clue how US advertising standards work though.

Paul
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50508 is a reply to message #50503 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 11:35 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Zoe Brain  is currently offline Zoe Brain
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stop4stuff wrote on Thu, 28 June 2012 09:30

in the case of a model such as yours, the faceting-converted-to-stepping is prevalent when the model is printed wing surface up


In other words, if Shapeways would just print the models with the fuselages aligned to the z-axis, there'd be few or no problems, right?. A simple fix.

With their increased scale of operations, and subcontracting to 3rd parties of mixed competence, this appears impracticable though. The differences are clearly visible to the naked eye too, a simple QA check would stop such things from leaving the production facilities. This too appears too hard.

I really feel it for the Customer Service people. So far, they've been permitted to do an excellent job. This new policy ties their hands.
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50509 is a reply to message #50489 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 11:38 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar virtox  is currently offline virtox
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@stop4stuff Sorry, but I have to disagree on the faceting as the major stepping issue here. Stepping occurs on shallow angled surface that nearly align with the horizontal plane.
And is most prevalent on the bottom of the prints, as far as I have seen. But this is usually regardless of the number of faces.

In the case of curved surfaces, when it nears the horizontal plane, it has some influence, but mostly on the distribution of print-lines.

For example:

index.php?t=getfile&id=17987&private=0

Whether the model is "perfectly" round or more faceted, the shallow angle parts will show lines, the shallower the angle the clearer the lines, because the horizontal distance will be larger than the vertical distance.

If the model is faceted, the chance of a larger near horizontal area increases and the stepping might be more regular/pronounced.
But in that case we are talking major face size, meaning much larger than 0.2 mm then. Looking at the airplanes that is not the case.
The preview render has a tendency to exagerate this on small models.
On the rounder version, the stepping will be non-linearly distributed, which might obfuscate it more.

@stop4stuff, looking at your example the facets are smaller than the print lines, so I doubt making the faces smaller would improve anything.

Back to the airplanes, yes I think it is the orientation that is the MAJOR factor here, but I am surprised the WSF material was ever suitable for these models.
I would think the detail or ultra detail would be far better suited?

Some more speculation:
Another factor which may explain differences between orders may be which printer was used to print it, I believe there are quite a few different printer models used for WSF.
And it would depend on the settings made by the operator.

I can not tell how large the complete model including all sprues was, but if this was very large, the chances of it being printed flat will increase, and might even end up in the printer for large models (which according to some page I read Embarassed ) has a coarser vertical resolution/more stepping.


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Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50511 is a reply to message #50507 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 12:15 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Zoe Brain  is currently offline Zoe Brain
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stop4stuff wrote on Thu, 28 June 2012 11:29

The method I use for near-smooth (i.e. reduced stepping) WSF models is what I've learned through the experience of modelling, buying, and refining the model and the method works. Perhaps, I should create an aircraft and put my money where my mouth is ;)l


As for your offer - good idea. Contact me privately and I'll send you some 3-view plans of a relatively simple aircraft to model in 1/144 scale, plus photos for details. Profit margins are small on these items though, they're very price elastic. No designer is going to get back in profits the time it spends to build the model, it's very much a labour of love. Too much competition from metal and resin models.
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50512 is a reply to message #50509 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 12:20 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stop4stuff  is currently offline stop4stuff
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Yes Virtox, see my image of the red bracelet earlier - the image clearly shows a flat zone with stepping around it - however from experience sub 0.2mm faces reduces the stepping to the printer accuracy (0.1mm layer thickness with 0.05mm laser positioning accuracy for the EOS P100) and yes I have received models with major (0.3mm+) stepping - these were 'low' poly models with 1mm+ sized faces.

I understand what you are saying about shallow inclines pronouncing the stepping, however Zoe's last image should have stepping on the fuselage of the plane as pronounced as on the wings in the image previous to that.

The model Baritone Horn that I made & had printed in wsf has curves in all three axis, the faces work out to be about 72 triangles per square mm and the model has virtually no visable stepping.

As for the printer settings used by different printers, surely that should be dictated by Shapeways, and if the settings are different to Shapeways specification (as in noticable stepping different to 'as advertised') then the model re-printed?

Anyone got a choice of aircraft they'd like to see?
(I have the full set of The Illustrated Encylopedia of Aircraft to work from) - PM on its way Zoe.
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50514 is a reply to message #50507 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 12:44 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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stop4stuff wrote on Thu, 28 June 2012 11:29


Another little 'gotcha' - Shapeways is US based these days, so EU legislation isn't gonna work, haven't a clue how US advertising standards work though.

Paul


They're EU registered and trading here so they're covered by EU regulations.

Shapeways B.V.
Commercial Register
Eindhoven no. 17239507
VAT no. NL/820321394B01.

Look, we dont want a witch hunt, we want a return to a reasonable standard of service.
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50516 is a reply to message #50509 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 12:55 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Zoe Brain  is currently offline Zoe Brain
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virtox wrote on Thu, 28 June 2012 11:38


Another factor which may explain differences between orders may be which printer was used to print it, I believe there are quite a few different printer models used for WSF.
And it would depend on the settings made by the operator.

I can not tell how large the complete model including all sprues was,


cm: 8.66 w x 6.4 d x 1.46 h
in: 3.4 w x 2.5 d x 0.6 h
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50517 is a reply to message #50512 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 12:55 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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stop4stuff wrote on Thu, 28 June 2012 12:20

Yes Virtox, see my image of the red bracelet earlier - the image clearly shows a flat zone with stepping around it


Yes but I think that has to do with the fact that the surface is relatively flat, and the polygons in your preview look smaller than the layer surfaces.

Just saying, from my experience with printing both high an low polygon models. Stepping (sometimes) happens on both, just not as much in different print runs.

Does the bracelet have the same stepping on the other side?
Same question for the planes, is the bottom as bad as the top?

Quote:


however Zoe's last image should have stepping on the fuselage of the plane as pronounced as on the wings in the image previous to that.


I don't follow? All major surface on that were probably oriented vertically? So only the front and back of the plane might show stepping but on small surfaces this is less clear.
Looking at the image is see slight horizontal striation on the fuselage which are the print lines?

Anyway, Shapeways can only dictate so much, same goes for quality control. But I agree something must be done here, either in communication or in quality control.


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Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50518 is a reply to message #50489 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 12:57 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Youknowwho4eva  is currently offline Youknowwho4eva
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Good morning everyone. Hold up a minute, we're just waking up and getting started over here. I'll see if I can find some answers for everyone!


The Mad Moder
michael@shapeways.com
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50519 is a reply to message #50516 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 13:04 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar virtox  is currently offline virtox
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Sorry I missed that, I was going from your 5th post, 1st image.
And thought it might be part of a larger lattice with more planes.

And I misjudged the scale (not into model planes, so no idea about scale)

In this case, smaller triangles might help. But only so much.

Anyway, if you have not done so please raise the issue in Uservoice or vote on it, if you have not yet.

http://feedback.shapeways.com/forums/111989-shapeways-feedba ck

Anyway, I'm off my game, I'm being slowly cooked by the first real summers day, so I'll sign off now Wink

Cheers and good luck!

Stijn

[Updated on: Thu, 28 June 2012 13:05 UTC]


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Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50520 is a reply to message #50514 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 13:10 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stop4stuff  is currently offline stop4stuff
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Ken,

Agreed about standards of service, and we shall see, I'm waiting on a coupon for a 'duff' purple S&F model myself .

Anyhow, let's see what we can do to get your aircraft flying true again - like I said, I'm up for putting my money where my mouth is and using my methods to find out.

@Virtox, yes, the stepping is on the other side and is slightly more pronounced, which I assume is due to the surface being downside in the print tray and aquiring the customary 'sag'.
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50522 is a reply to message #50518 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 13:10 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Youknowwho4eva wrote on Thu, 28 June 2012 12:57

Good morning everyone. Hold up a minute, we're just waking up and getting started over here. I'll see if I can find some answers for everyone!


Let's put it this way... Shapeways customer service has never let me down before. I don't expect they will here either.

But yes, please reconsider this decision.

These two prints, of identical models in identical materials, are not the same quality. Neither is the difference inherent in the printing process, nor accurately described in the WSF data page under "worst case" print lines.

http://img521.imageshack.us/img521/4049/20120130201237576.jpg

http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/554167_3724940275514_2098270366_n.jpg
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50523 is a reply to message #50522 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 13:27 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar pfeiffer stylez  is currently offline pfeiffer stylez
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Wow... from a painter's point of view, the surface is a nightmare. Shocked

( But I'm wondering why Kampfflieger doesn't enable WSFp as material option... )
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50527 is a reply to message #50522 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 13:52 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar BillBedford  is currently offline BillBedford
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Let's see a side view of both these models.



Bill Bedford
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50528 is a reply to message #50520 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 13:52 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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It seems that the quality depends on the print orientation which the customer has no control over. When orientated correctly these models are fantastic. When orientated incorrectly the models are of such a low standard that they can not be used. If refunds are not given for incorrectly orientated models, buying from shapeways becomes a lottery.

I'm not willing to risk wasting money on a sub standatd product. I will not be ordering any more shapeways models unless refunds are issued for sub standard printing.

Ian
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50532 is a reply to message #50523 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 14:22 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Zoe Brain  is currently offline Zoe Brain
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A recent comment:

Quote:

I'm one of those "3D-printing-sceptics" and have stated this fact repeatedly on this forum.

And I was actually about to place my first order this week end!
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50535 is a reply to message #50507 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 15:27 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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stop4stuff wrote on Thu, 28 June 2012 11:29

Perhaps, I should create an aircraft and put my money where my mouth is Wink



Just printing an aircraft wouldn't work because it might just be orientated in the 'preferred' orientation. What you need is a shape that will show the banding which ever orientation it is printed in. I suggest a cube with a shallow pyramids on each face.



Bill Bedford
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50541 is a reply to message #50535 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 17:28 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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BillBedford wrote on Thu, 28 June 2012 15:27

stop4stuff wrote on Thu, 28 June 2012 11:29

Perhaps, I should create an aircraft and put my money where my mouth is Wink



Just printing an aircraft wouldn't work because it might just be orientated in the 'preferred' orientation. What you need is a shape that will show the banding which ever orientation it is printed in. I suggest a cube with a shallow pyramids on each face.





The project is in hand. What I shall do is create a cube of 6 aircraft - Zoe has been good enough to send me details of two aircraft which will suffice for the test.
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50548 is a reply to message #50489 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 18:13 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Hi Guys,

My apologies for the delay in responding, I've been chatting with Customer Service about this issue all morning and I want to stress that customer happiness is first priority in everything we do. We know print orientation varies the finish on a model and while we do not guarantee a specific print orientation, we do try to orient a model in a way that minimizes inevitable stepping. I agree the picture on the materials page (link) is currently inadequate and I will change it shortly to accurately reflect the "worst case but still acceptable scenario".

The reason we can not guarantee print orientation is one of cost effectiveness for you and for us. We strive to provide the lowest prices by packing the printer as efficiently as possible - with as many models per print run as we can. So if there is a space that a model plane will fit in that is vertical, we'll pack it in there. Next time, it might be in horizontally. As you notice, this changes the finish due to the direction of the stepping. We also use production partners who operate the same way, in a manner of efficiency. We DO try to take into account which print orientation works best, but we just can not guarantee it every time, so we do not say that we can.

Your happiness is our top concern, and if you are very unhappy with print quality, right now our policy is to reprint or refund. We are happy to do this as it is not a major issue for us on the first print, or even the second, however, as you can imagine, this becomes very problematic if models with intrinsic concerns re: print orientation are being ordered regularly, particularly through a shop as is the case here. We want to guarantee both your happiness and that of the customers ordering from your shop, but continuously reprinting due to orientation issues can become very costly for us over time and will ultimately hurt us and the community. By making it more clear on the materials page about the variation in finish possible due to stepping, I hope we can present realistic expectations so that refunds or reprints can be issued when there is a clear discrepancy.

With that context in mind, we want to come up with a a sustainable solution that puts your needs first. Josh, our VP of Engineering, wrote a great post earlier today about what is happening under the covers at Shapeways as we work on solving all the issues that we know will make it a better experience for you. The full post is here: http://www.shapeways.com/blog/archives/1460-Inside-Shapeways -Building-an-Infrastructure-for-Growth.html

To pull from it, we know what you want, we hear it through threads like this and from the CS team directly. Moving a 200 ton stone (our current software) to get to the foundations underneath is what we are doing creating In Shape 2. It is taking a while and we're 33% there. I want to be clear that the ability to specify print orientation is a tool that we want and will be available with InShape 2. This is not something that is going to happen tomorrow but it is something we both want and are working towards.

To get back to the specific issue here, there has been no change to the refund policy, and we are going to take another look at this order. From what I can see this should be a refund, and we will follow ASAP with you.


Community Manager | Shapeways
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50549 is a reply to message #50548 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 18:51 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stop4stuff  is currently offline stop4stuff
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Natalia,

As you can see from my images, the print orientation is not necessarily the issue (and so it shouldn't be), however the images that Zoe Brain has provided definiately show signs of either the wrong printer or print settings being used for the size of the model. Now, the printer settings or the machine used is nothing that a Shapeways customer can ask for or expect, however the expectation is that models come out as is shown on the material page - changing the material page because of 'efficiency' is not going to placate Shapeways customers, in fact if the goal posts move it will more than likely drive Shapeways customers to another company that can provide what they advertise.

Just saying it like I see it,
Paul

Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50553 is a reply to message #50549 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 21:03 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Pilgrim1908  is currently offline Pilgrim1908
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OK now I'm confused. This is what Christel Hagens has posted re the subject

"Christel Hagens
JUN 28, 2012 | 09:53AM CEST
Hi Keith,

Thank you for this link, I am afraid this is indeed the way we do work. These things can happen to White Strong & Flexible models, here you can see the stepping on some models. And this does happen a lot to these small airplanes. We do mention this on our material page but I must agree that the picture isn't that clear.

We are working on adding some better pictures so the customers and designers can see the stepping better on models. The issue is that if we would reprint these models the same thing might happen again, because we do mention this on our material page to warn customers and designers about this we unfortunately also can't refund this.

Sorry about this.
Kind Regards,

Mrs. Christel Hagens
Customer Service Agent
www.Shapeways.com
bkupton
JUN 28, 2012 | 03:39AM CEST "

So basically which is it? I should add that the mixed response is far from reassuring and is playing directly on our concerns.

[Updated on: Thu, 28 June 2012 21:05 UTC]

Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50554 is a reply to message #50548 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 21:37 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar GWMT  is currently offline GWMT
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Hi Natalia;

Natalia wrote: "The reason we can not guarantee print orientation is one of cost effectiveness for you and for us. We strive to provide the lowest prices by packing the printer as efficiently as possible - with as many models per print run as we can."

Rather than print (for example) the model plane horizontally to completely fill the print run why not select the next item in queue to be printed that will fill the available space and leave the model plane as the first item to be included in the next print batch?

You wouldn't have to deal with an upset customer and additional reprint and shipping costs this way. Shapeways could add a few days to the delivery time to account for this if necessary; I'd trade a few extra days to print if the item gets printed correctly the first time.

There are lots of people who are interested in purchasing via Shapeways but won't because they aren't sure they'll get useable product. You're going to be deluged in orders when you put that fear to rest.
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50555 is a reply to message #50554 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 21:50 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar GWMT  is currently offline GWMT
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Here are two side-by-side pics of a WSF part printed in different orientations:

http://www.shapeways.com/forum/index.php?t=msg&goto=2679 5&&srch=print+orientation#msg_26795

Note that this has only happened to one out of six prints of this part.
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50556 is a reply to message #50522 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 22:39 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stannum is currently online stannum
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The bad airplane looks a lot like problematic prints years ago. Those were blamed on poor printing settings (the avaliable modes go 60 to 180 micron layers, so things can vary a lot) or too much recycling of the nylon dust.

If the airplane is the new acceptable quality, that is a step backwards. The current image used in material info page shows stepping but not as bad.
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50558 is a reply to message #50489 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 22:56 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar natalia  is currently offline natalia
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Hi guys, thanks for the feedback, I totally hear your confusion.

We are actually working across European and US timezones, which may explain the apparent communication gap.

We're getting in touch with Keith directly to come up with a solution that he is happy with, whether it be a reprint or a refund.

We want to make sure everyone in the community has transparency into the refund policy, which this case has proved is not clear enough. I'm working on making it clear and fair and you can expect that in the next week at the latest.

Best,
Natalia


Community Manager | Shapeways
Re: Serious Customer Service Issue [message #50560 is a reply to message #50558 ] Thu, 28 June 2012 23:20 UTC Go to previous messageGo to previous message
avatar Pilgrim1908  is currently offline Pilgrim1908
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To be clear - we dont want refunds! Refund policy is not really the issue, we want a product we can use, or the reassurance that if the product is substandard this will be reprinted. I'm interested to find out just how many models this effects as a % of the numbers produced. Anecdotal evidence is that it is a small %, at least as far as customer comments is concerned, yet Christel says " this does happen a lot to these small airplanes". Sorry but it seems like something doesnt tally.

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