Am I just being too picky with 3D printing?

Discussion in 'My Shapeways Order Arrived' started by gibbage, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. gibbage
    gibbage New Member
    I have been working on a project to make phone cases. Its nothing new, as there are PLENTY of iPhone cases out there! The phone case I was working on is for the HTC 8X, and I had planned many others like the 920 and 820 from Nokia. These are MUCH more complex shapes then the flat iPhone, and not as popular. I was also planning on selling them, and even had quite a few sales on the first few days of it being available! The problem is, I got my "final" case back from Shapeways, and the quality was bad. To top it off, this shipment was to replace a previous shipment they had already messed up!!!!

    There are two problems. First was the surface quality on a black acrylic case I printed. It was very wavy and lots deep lines through it. Very poor surface quality for something rated "high" for smoothness. The second was it seems they left the WSF case in the polisher WAY WAY too long. I have had polished items from both Shapeways and competitive service and never really lost a lot of detail. The detail loss was almost total! Simply put, I could not sell this to customers.

    Take a look at this video showing the problems in detail.

    Am I being too picky? I have seem good prints from other people, and on my own stuff (like the ring), but to have two bad prints like this in a row? If I sell products through Shapeways, I cant QC stuff before it goes too the customer, so I need to trust them, and right now after two failed prints, I cant. Anyone else having problems with the quality?
  2. AmLachDesigns
    AmLachDesigns Well-Known Member

    have you contacted SW to complain. My experience has been that they are normally very good about reprints or credits if you can show them the problems. I would suggest photos rather than a video, though...

    Having said that, I am not selling to customers (unfortunately). I have had a significant proportion of bad prints which is not so bad since it's just for me and I can deal with the reprint and wait until my next batch (to reduce postage costs). I think the quality control issue is a difficult one if you are really using the SW shops for finished, ready to use products.

    More to the point perhaps is that I am still waiting for resolution of an issue I had with 3 polished strong and flexible prints I had made over the christmas hols - one white, 2 coral. The essence of the problem is that one side came out crisp and sharp and the other looks soft, almost like it's melted or ... over sandblasted. I can deal with either case and design around it, but not for both in one piece. I complained, had my complaint requested because they did not understand what I was complaining about, and then requested they revisit these pieces. I have had no reply to this last request, nor to the mail I sent asking if they were looking into it. (See the pics below for examples.)

    So to answer your question, are you being too picky? No, but as you say, you may have to rethink your strategy or wait until the print output is more reliable.

    RdL Decoration bad side.jpg
    RdL decoration good side.jpg
  3. duann
    duann New Member
    Hey there

    Please send an email to duann at shapeways dot com,

    I would love to get some more feedback.

  4. AmLachDesigns
    AmLachDesigns Well-Known Member
    So, an update.

    I made some minor mods to my design and resubmitted it, along with another in the same batch that I was unhappy with.

    Here are the results:

    RdL Decoration v2 ridges.jpg RdL Decoration v2 Clear Side with ridges.jpg RdL Decoration blurred side v2.jpg

    Still the same loss of detail on one side, but now I have ridges. And these ridges are apparently 'because of the curvature of the design. Those stepping marks are not avoidable.' The design is not curved at all....

    Here is the other reprint Roude Leiw Coaster which is nothing short of perfect, despite being essentially the same design.

    Roude Leiw Coaster - Blue.jpg

    The lack of consistency in results and the non-informative answers as to the reasons why is undermining my confidence in using Shapeways: the saving grace as always is the helpful support staff at and their readiness to offer credits.
  5. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    I'm assuming, like you, that it was printed at an angle. Perhaps because of the loop? I'd expect the loss of detail as all dyed models are polished. I'm checking into whether that also means that the stepping should have been polished off as well.
  6. AmLachDesigns
    AmLachDesigns Well-Known Member
    Yeah, like I said I came to this tilting thing a bit late.

    I can kind of understand it but it's frustrating since the model is essentially planar and if it were not for the tilt I think the stepping would not be a problem.

    But the issue that I can never get to the bottom of is why the detail/crispness/finish is different on two sides of a symmetrical model. As an example, If you look at the foreleg that is raised in front of the lion's face there is a point where it joins the rest of the model at the mane. In the second of the 4 pictures the detail at this point is sharp and crisp and the angles quite rectilinear. In the 3rd of the photos, the other side, this same detail is softer more rounded.

    Thanks for looking into it, I would love to sort this out.