Already printed model being rejected

Discussion in 'Shapeways Shops' started by Calistotash, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. Calistotash
    Calistotash New Member
    This has been mentioned a few times now, but I have a model, being held in my hands right now, been through minor stress test (being shipped, and being held by weak points), and so I put it for sale in my shop yesterday.

    Today I have a few emails saying it can't be printed as the tail would snap off. The model I'm selling is the exact same model I ordered for myself, and while I know other models (in other people's shops) have had this issue, my models are smaller and slightly sturdier.

    I have emailed Support back about this to get an answer, but I also want to double check something. A while ago, I saw a post by a Shapeways worker mention something about adding a tag onto models that have been successfully printed, so that all future prints of that model can guarantee bring printed. I'd love to see this implemented sooner rather than later; it would save me and a lot of others heartache on having to go around apologising to customers. I hate disappointing them.

    Model I'm on about: .html (I've taken it off for sale for now until this situation is fixed.)
  2. natalia
    natalia New Member
    Hi Calistotash,

    I'm glad you've already emailed service, so they can help you.

    InShape 2.0 is going to allow us to do these 'Printed Flags' and I am adding your vote to the sooner rather than later side!

    Thank you,
  3. Calistotash
    Calistotash New Member
    Oh excellent, thank you! Now I can only hope I can get this model available for sale again soon, and not have to run into this problem again. That's why I order nearly everything I upload into my shop, afterall, to test it.
  4. natalia
    natalia New Member
    Actually, this is great, and what we suggest everyone do - not only to test that your model is exactly as you imagined it, but to check for printability, and to TAKE MAGNIFICENT PHOTOS of it for you shop too :D

  5. Calistotash
    Calistotash New Member
    I got a reply back from Support; I want to keep this thread updated until the issue is solved, just in case anyone else has similar problems, and finds this thread.

    "Unfortunately we are currently not able to print your model due to previous experiences, 9 out of 10 models break during the shipment, leaving a lot of unhappy customers as they will have to ask for a reprint, which will take time.
    This is mostly because of the connection between the tail and the body."

    What I take from this is that I'll have to fix the model myself with the suggestions they've suggested (hollowing out the tail and making the tail to body connection thicker), until Shapeways implements the "Printed Flags" system. Annoying, but doable, it's just a shame, as I know the model I have is incredibly sturdy.

    I further stress tested it last night by holding it by the tail only and waving it around (I would not dare suggest this to any customers buying the models), and I'm confident that it would work. Nevertheless, I'll spend today making the necessary alterations.
  6. Yartek
    Yartek New Member
    Well, I have had a similar experience with some minis I have been working on.

    I had to do 2 print runs on a variety of 30-32mm high figures. They were mostly ordered in White Detail and whilst there were some initial difficulties with the first order most of these printed out OK. I actually decided that the figures were too small and so did a second order with larger figures and a few more new files I had uploaded. Again these were produced in White Detail and they were returned to me in a short space of time looking excellent. That was 25 figures in two orders printed with no problems.

    So I opened up my shop in full confidence everything was checked and double checked, literally.

    Yet as soon as my first customer ordered their figures they were rejected as being 'unprintable'!

    Shapeways have sent me two emails apologising for not telling me that these files were printed but were 'difficult to produce' and that the print people were scared that the fragile nature of my figures would cause a crash that could affect a whole batch of products.

    I have been given a real runaround by Shapeways and poor communication.

    And I can't 'beef up' my files as they suggest as this makes the miniature figures the wrong scale for my target market. :mad:
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
  7. Calistotash
    Calistotash New Member
    I wouldn't say Shapeways has poor communication; I've very much had only good experiences when talking to the Support staff via email and on this forum.

    I will agree that it is annoying that I've had to alter my designs, and I'm in the middle of my testing now, awaiting a prototype to be printed and shipped. But I can understand fully that 3d printing still has it's limitations in the world. I can only trust that the printing flags mentioned will come into affect sooner rather than later.

    That would help us both, and maybe if there was an option we could select, to show the print checkers that we intend to sell certain designs in our stores; maybe then they could check for that. It would have saved us both some hassle right from the very start. Thanks for sharing your story though, it's good to know there's others suffering from the same issue.
  8. Yartek
    Yartek New Member
    Well this only happened yesterday so I'm still a bit fired up about it. And your experience just sounded so like mine. It is small comfort that I'm not alone in this experience.

    Shapeways have been quick to communicate once it was established there was a problem and I too have only positive things to say in terms of their feedback. The communication problem was that they didn't tell me there was a problem in the first place which led me to carry on blindly creating files unaware that there was a potential banana skin.

    It would seem that you are able to take steps to rectify your problem calistotash, whereas I can't really scale up my files, which is basically the only way I can solve this.

    The flag system sounds like it could be useful if it works effectively. Here's hoping!
  9. Calistotash
    Calistotash New Member
    Maybe if you posted up an example of your models, and the exact comments you recieved from Support, maybe others can suggest alternate methods? Try it out in Work In Progress, I'm sure there has to be a different method other than scaling them up.

    For example, the suggestion for my models was to hollow out the tail and part of the model; but as the model is so small, this just isn't feasible. So I just moved the tail, the weak link, and now it's connected at two points on the model, making it much more secure.

    I can understand perfectly, and can imagine you'll be fired up for a few more days at least over this, I can only imagine how much work you've put into it so far. I can only wish you luck, and hope that there is another method.
  10. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    Shapeways has said more than once.. if you have a model that you think might be trouble, sent it to and ask for a "Thin Walls Check", etc.

    I keep advocating that they shouldn't do this for free.. there should be a nominal ($1) charge for the service since it takes labor on their part to do this work.

    But.. whilst it is free... use it!
  11. Dragoman
    Dragoman New Member
    Even if it's free, it might be good business for them, the alterenative often would be that the problem gets caught only when the item is ordered, which I assume is rather more hassle than doing the check earlier - and also poor customer relations.

    But this service only helps if it actually guarantees that the checked item will be printed when it is ordered i.e.setting the promised "Has been printed" flag. If it could still happen that the operator doing the printing sees problems which the service checker didn't, it would not solve the issue.


  12. japhyr
    japhyr New Member
    It sounds like a simple "has been printed" flag isn't quite enough. It sounds like Shapeways will do some work to get a single copy printed right, but does not want to get into large print runs of really delicate (borderline breaking) models.

    It sounds like a useful flag would be "has been printed, and we are confident we can print this repeatedly".
  13. Calistotash
    Calistotash New Member
    It may be free, but I'm also kind of concerned about doing this for every single model I make in the future. If they did charge $1 or something small for it, then I'd feel a lot better about using that service, as odd as it may seem.

    Japhyr: I very much agree with that printed flag idea; I get the feeling that Shapeways tries it's best to print everything that comes it's way, just the problem arises when they have to sort of mass produce it.
  14. Yartek
    Yartek New Member
    I suspect you may be correct japhyr. The two print runs I did were for 12 and then 17 figures. I was a new customer too.

    My first customer order was for just 6 figures but of course I was hoping that many more figures would consequently be ordered. Maybe someone looked at this scenario and didn't fancy having to print out 'borderline' cases. Of course , I was unaware that anything was borderline.
  15. BillBedford
    BillBedford New Member
    One of the things that is happening as a result of the recent update is that Shapeways is using new automated software to check the STL files so it maybe finding problems that were missed by the manual checks.
  16. Yartek
    Yartek New Member
    Good point.

    The update began between my final test print run and my customers order. And there were some very finickity measurements being pointed out to me as 'problem ' areas.
  17. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    Bill: yes, there are automated checks now, and yes, those checks are used by the system to indicate that some model is not available in a certain material.

    HOWEVER: there are still the "human" checks being performed again as each batch is assembled just before they hit "go"' on the printer.

    There is also the whole issue about stuff that tends to break AFTER printing.
  18. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    Hmm. I guess I also like the idea of a (surcharged) option where all the human checking
    is done when the order is received, or at least well before the model is batched for printing.
    The current system feels a bit like standing in line for two weeks, fearing to be turned away
    by the doorman in the end.
    (Yes I am new to it, and yes some of my models may turn out more fragile than I thought... :blush: )

  19. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    The plan is not only to improve the checking software, but to also have quicker model checking.
  20. Dragoman
    Dragoman New Member
    Count me in on the "sooner rather than later" vote, too.

    Today, a customer's order for this model was rejected because of thin walls:

    And I don't just have a single test shot in that material (Transparent Detail), but two samples printed on different occasions :(

    From the Shapeways E-mail I have a good idea on how to fix the problem, but this definitely is a nuisance.

    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012