Update to Pricing of White Strong & Flexible – SLS 3D printing

In our mission to enable everyone to make, buy and sell their own
products, we know that the price of each product is important. Whether
you’re making something for yourself or selling your design in our
shops, a product that’s too expensive immediately sends you back to the
drawing board. Shapeways’ model is and will be to give everyone access
to state of the art 3D printers at the best possible price.  As a
result over the years, our prices have come down substantially. White
Strong & Flexible
is one of our most popular materials, and we are
continuously working to lower our cost to enable us to lower prices for

Before we can further lower prices, we’ve run
into an issue that’s holding us back: Some products are very large yet
use very little material – typically these are “wiry” in design
 and have very low density, meaning they use very little material for the size of the object.
In some cases these products take up an entire print tray in our
largest printers. The technical term is that these products have a large
“bounding box with low density”. As a result, some of these products
cost us much more than what we charge to produce today. In some of the
most extreme cases, we might charge $100 for a product today that costs
us $3,000 to make. I’m sure you understand this isn’t a healthy
situation for us, particularly as our goal is to make 3D Printing
affordable for everyone.

As part of our effort to
lower our prices across the board, we have to solve this issue with a
change in our pricing structure that will only impact these “extreme”

For the White Strong & Flexible, the pricing change will be as follows: for models with an overall bounding box of 10,000cm3 or more (for instance, a cube of 20 x 20 x 25 cm) AND that have a density less than or equal to 2.6%, we switch to a new pricing scheme.

Instead of a price per material volume, the new price will be based on the total bounding box volume. This will more accurately reflect the actual costs. The price per volume of bounding box will be $0.0385/cc.

be clear: products that are either small enough OR have a sufficiently
high density will not be affected by this change – this only affects
very large 
models with very low density. 

Today’s change is a necessary step in moving towards a lower price for
the White Strong & Flexible and this price change addresses a few
edge cases that were blocking this effort. All existing models will be
updated with the new pricing models as will all future uploads.

the change goes live we will monitor what happens and are confident that
it will enable us to lower prices for the rest of the products made in
Strong & Flexible in the future.


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  1. Alienology | Igor

    Well hey – this will impact at least one of my objects… when does this new pricing kick in? Right away?

  2. Alex1a

    Is the orientation optimized prior to calculation to decrease bounding box size?
    Can you show density on model page. Most software does not calculate this.

    1. Peter Weijmarshausen

      Yes, the bounding box is optimized to be the smallest possible before calculations.
      Good suggestion to show density on the model details page – I’ll make sure the product team knows.

    2. Peter Weijmarshausen

      The density of the model is available now in edit mode – thanks to a quick release by product and engineering! Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. Anonymous

    Will this be used for other materials?

  4. mkroeker

    Please copy that info (perhaps in abbreviated form) to the Official Announcements
    forum, recent experience e.g. with the various contests has shown that many
    designers do not (or not regularly) read the blog.
    (BTW, with density becoming more and more important, it might be useful to
    have it displayed on the model pages in Edit mode.)

    1. Youknowwho4eva

      I’ll make sure it’s in Official Announcements today. As for on the edit page, I will include how you can calculate your density with the information provided on the edit page. I’m verifying which bounding box is used, but in edit mode you can see both the bounding box and the volume. One of my models as an example is Cm: 3.0 w x 3.4 d x 1.5 h with a Vol: of 3.84cm^3. So the cube of the bounding box is 15.3cm^3. You divide your volume by the bounding box cube and you get .2509. Move the decimal right 2 places and you have 25.09% density.

    2. Brad

      As Youknowwho4eva pointed out, you can calculate your model density today.

      However, I agree with you that it makes sense to add this information to the model edit page. We’ll work this into a future release.

    3. Bart

      Hi mkroeker,

      thanks for the suggestion, we have now added it to your edit model page!


  5. GD

    Is this White Strong & Flexible material available for purchase to use in our own 3D printers, or only for your printing service?

    If the material is available, is it usable in any 3D printer or only certain models?

    1. Bart

      All our materials are only available through our printing service – we’re not a ‘raw’ materials provider for home printing.

  6. Anonymous

    Essentially this means that if you have paid for a model more than 385$ then if you are lucky it might now cost less. So yeah, still pretty expensive.

  7. Yezariael

    How is this minimal bounding box computed? When I design my models, they are always oriented in a nice looking orientation, but this is not the optimal bounding box. How can I calculate the orientation or how are you doing it within the upload?

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