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Something needs to be done [message #74966] Wed, 18 September 2013 11:48 UTC Go to next message
avatar TDRWholesale  is currently offline TDRWholesale
Messages: 0
Registered: May 2012
Go to my shop
Junior Member
I am the owner of TDR Innovations. I am an engineer who has been doing 3D modeling for about 25 years now. TDR Innovations makes scale model car parts for hobbyists.

The Shapeways printing service has opened up the world of 3D printing to a lot of people and I do applaud you for that. But as we all know the pioneers always take the arrows.......and I have an arrow for you

TDR Innovations has over 1000 kits we offer for sale to the automotive modeler. In these 1000 kits is about 5000 individual parts. We follow your guidelines on the design of our parts and we print them out to make sure they are printable. We then offer them up for sale through our website and our wholesalers and then the problems start.

"Your part cannot be printed" or there are missing parts.

Here is an email I just received from one of our wholesalers:

Another item that can't be printed! I have a back order for this and now it's further delayed.
Why are these items that I've been buying, now unable to print?
I'm losing confidence here and don't know what error I'll get in each order.
I ordered U-Joints recently and at least 6 of the actual u-joints were missing. That's one complete set I can't sell. I only have the yokes. It's too much trouble to deal with Shapeways on missing items, so I don't. It's getting to the point where I've stopped ordering anything with small parts in it. The U-Joints are now on that list, too.

Shapeways, your quality control process on the printability of the parts is subjective at best. This may be OK for the one or two time buyer but when it is an every day thing it can get quite maddening, as outlined in the email above. Is there anyway we can get a pre-approved model file offered up on your site. One that your technicians have looked over and oriented in a certain way and will just load and print the file when it is ordered? This would remove the subjective re inspection every time an order is placed for the parts and it would probably reduce your work load in the future. I will gladly work with you to help remedy this situation.

Missing parts:
I can understand how small parts can get lost. I try and prevent this by attaching them to a sprue. The problem is that sometimes the parts get broken off of the sprue. Sure I can thicken up the sprue and make it massive so it wont break, but this just jacks up the cost of the parts to the modeler for something that he is just going to throw away. If Shapeways could give us some kind of price break on the material used to print the sprue (this could be on one of the pre-approved designs outlined above) I could then beef up the sprue and reduce your expense in having to deal with lost parts.

Shapeways you have really pushed the envelope on binging 3D printing to the public, but 3D printing has to move beyond the artisan (one at a time) approach. It really needs to start shaping the system to deal with mass production and reduce the inconsistencies that I have been dealing with. Until these inconsistencies are significantly reduced I am afraid that my business as a wholesaler is limited, and so is your growth.

TDR Innovations

[Updated on: Wed, 18 September 2013 14:52 UTC]

Re: Something needs to be done [message #74973 is a reply to message #74966 ] Wed, 18 September 2013 14:33 UTC Go to previous message
avatar Youknowwho4eva  is currently offline Youknowwho4eva
Messages: 6713
Registered: September 2008
Go to my shop
Shapie Expert
I work here

Sorry to hear about your troubles. We are working to improve both QA and rejections. We have a very long thread regarding rejections, with a sprinkling of missing parts in there as well. I'll personally be sure this is discussed this weekend while I'm in NY.

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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