Gold Plated Stainless Steel is Back

Due to the positive feedback and fantastic models, Shapeways has decided to reintroduce Gold Plated Stainless Steel as a permanent materials option for the Shapeways community. 

With this reintroduction there is a change to the pricing from a flat rate with start up, to a stepped, non-linear pricing plan whereby the larger the volume the better the rate. Larger models are comparatively cheaper for us to produce so we would like to pass on that saving and encourage users create models of greater volume.

During the initial introductory period Shapeways did not cover its costs on the Gold Plated 3D printing and processing, especially with the smaller parts, so for Shapeways to remain viable we have introduced a new pricing structure for Gold Plated Stainless Steel.

So here is how it works:

0cm³ < to ≤1cm³    = Min. price $20
1cm³ < to ≤  5cm³  = $11/cm³
5cm³ < to ≤ 10cm³ = $10/cm³
                > 10cm³ = $9/cm³

With no initial start up cost.

More information on the Gold Plated Stainless Steel Material Page.

This means: a 1cm3 model will cost you   $20

                  a 2cm3 model will cost you   $31

                  a 5cm3 model will cost you   $64

                  a 11cm3 model will cost you $123

By introducing this pricing plan it will help to cover our costs for the gold plating process and make larger models a more attractive option for the Shapeways community. The pricing plan is over the material price not over the mark up made by
the designer.  As we continue to introduce new materials we will need to assess the pricing structure as we have recently with White Strong & Flexible and now with Gold to ensure we provide best possible value to all Shapeways community.

Please do let us know if you have any suggestions, questions or compliments (or complaints).

Pictured above is the Hive Cuff Bracelet by Designerica.

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  1. Madox

    That’s pretty reasonable pricing 😉

    Now I have to make something bigger…

  2. fx2

    I thought one of the Shapeways goals was to have a self explaining pricing model (unlike the apparently common practice of proprietary and undisclosed pricing formula). Now with this new one I think it’s safe to say it is gone, at least for gold plated stainless steel !

    Don’t forget that linear pricing (or linear with fixed startup fee) has the big advantage for the creator to be able to know the price immediately while designing.

    1. Jo De Lange

      Yes, we would like to be as clear as possible so we thought about this long and hard.
      We got some comments in the past that the community did not like the start-up cost price model as they do not get anything in return for the start-up cost. So we listened.

      In addition we then had to make the choice, if we stick with a very simple model, we had to up our Gold Plated Stainless Steel to a very high start-up cost and only 1 $-price/cm3, which overall meant that small models would become relatively a lot more expensive.
      So in the end we decided that using this slightly more complex model means we could offer you better prices, which we felt to be more important than the very straightforward model. To make sure we keep it very transparent though, we have tried to explain our new model by releasing the exact formula and by giving you some samples – see

      But I do enjoy feedback, so am very happy you wrote the above comment.

  3. Whystler

    Hey guys,

    Thanks for being clear about the pricing structure of gold plate.

    I understand that there is a process for the gold plating that happens after the model is made and that this should be paid for. While your pricing structure is clear, the accuracy of how it reflects the amount of work that goes into a gold model compared to a stainless model is not so clear.

    That’s why I am asking (just asking), why a model like this wouldn’t be more appropriate:

    gold model costs = the equivalent stainless steel model costs + gold plating costs.

    where, gold plating costs = $X + $Y

    where X=the cost of gold plating 1cm3 or less

    where Y=a sliding scale based on volume above 1cm3


    1. Jo De Lange

      probably main reason why we do not do this is because when we came up with the stainless steel pricing we did not yet have the option of the non-linear pricing model. I would always prefer it if large models become relatively cheaper, as that reflects our own costs.

  4. Alicia's Bunny

    Nice you added examples, because the explanation and table looks like an 11cm3 item would be 99, typical bulk rate, not 123, accumulative sliding rate.

  5. StarDust

    In reality, the actual cost of gold-dipping per item is really a function of surface area, not actual volume. Take for example Bathsheba’s Gyroid (no longer available for some odd reason), which I delightedly ordered gold-dipped during the trial period for US $92.22. The entire model is full of tiny perforated holes, which reduces volume considerably whilst greatly increasing surface area. Although I’m not sure how feasible it would be to implement a surface area calculator, it would much better reflect the gross added cost of gold-dipping than any sort of volume-based scale would.

  6. Robert Carlsen

    I find it interesting that if I have a model of 1 cm3 it costs $20, if I increase it to 1.5 cm3 it costs $16.50. hmmmmmm

    1. Anonymous

      Hi Robert,
      “1 cm3 it costs $20, if I increase it to 1.5 cm3 it costs $16.50”, this is not completely the case 1cm3 = $20 and 1.5cm3 = 1*$20 + 0.5*$11 = $25.5.

  7. Erica Schwartz

    stardust: true and false. the cost of the gold is based on the surface area. there is an additional cost of someone sitting there sticking the parts on hooks and dipping them.

    I’m with you on that Robert. This scale is fine, except if you have a really small part. The best result for me would be to put 6 pairs of small earrings into one file. i realize that is kind of like screwing shapeways because you really have to dip 12 things, not 1. but it’s also hard to rationalize a part costing $2-3 in steel and $20 when dipped in gold since it does have a lot less actual gold than the larger part. could there be a viable solution that is somewhere in between?

  8. Erica Schwartz

    ok i take back my previous comment. it’s totally fair, just confusing. I didn’t understand at first. the chart is not clear. it needs to include the words “for the first cm3” for “for the next x cm3” etc. it’s not $9 per cm3 for a model 9cm3 or larger, which would mean the gold would be CHEAPER than the stainless steel. according to the first chart, that would be the case.

    1. Duann

      Sorry for the confusion Erica

      when we say *> 10cm³ = $9/cm³* we mean for every cm³ over 10cm³ is $9 per cm³

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