Can we somehow get pre-order confirmation of object printability?

Discussion in 'Technologies and Hardware' started by artao, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. artao
    artao New Member
    I'm new here on Shapeways, and to 3D printing in general.

    I've created thus far one object for print, and had intended to place a test-print order this next week prior to making it available for purchase.

    However, I'm a bit disconcerted by everything I've been reading about objects being deemed unprintable, even tho the upload was validated as printable. On top of that is the apparent fact that, when one purchases an item that turns out to be unprintable one only gets in-store credit, not a refund.

    My intended print material is the alumide, and from what I can tell my object is indeed printable. My 3D software (Blender 2.67) has 3D printing tools in it, and indicates that none of the wires are under 1mm. In fact, all the wires are (should be) completely uniform.

    I understand that Shapeways is working to rectify this printability confusion. But in the meantime, what can we do so as to not place unprintable orders?


    Here is a 3D rendering I did of my object. For reference, the object's print size is ~10cm x 6cm.
  2. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    More than once, I have sent a model to and requested a "thin walls check", and they've happily run it thru the checking process. The problem comes when you pick a material that is done by a sub-contractor. In that case, the production team is off-site, so it makes it a bit awkward to have the actual producers check the model.

    I also have offered more than once to pay $1-$2 for such a service, and they keep refusing my money. <grin>
    I want badly to help reduce rejections, but I don't think that they should expend labor to check models for free.
  3. artao
    artao New Member
    Thanks. I'll try that out.

    Perhaps someone high-up needs to have a bit of a "discussion" with these sub-contractors about tolerances. :rolleyes:

    I don't disagree re: expending labor to check models. However, it would really really be nice if the automated validation was .. reliable.
  4. Mhagan
    Mhagan New Member
    The 'on upload' check is just verifying that the part is manifold and is of a format that our printers can understand. The final printability checks are somewhat labor intensive and it is not practical to do them at upload at this time(sorry :( we understand that this would be a totally awesome thing and the software team are working furiously on a better way to do it) There is hope though! We are conducting testing on a program that will increase the speed at which we notify you of problems much faster after your order (a few hours instead of a day or more)
  5. barkingdigger
    barkingdigger Well-Known Member
    Hi - as an occasional designer here at SW, can I make a suggestion?

    I've seen it stated in several threads that SW cannot be expected to perform detailed manual checks of everything that gets uploaded until it gets ordered for print. This is fair enough, but leaves us potentially offering goods for sale that cannot be made - embarrassing for the designer and for SW. Since the cost of every print is a mix of Postage, "Handling Fee", and printing price (per cm3) it stands to reason that SW has already set an amount within the cm3 cost to account for these manual checks. (It'd be fairly naiive if they didn't!) Why not add an extra "purchase" option for us designers that lets us order a manual check of our models in the same way we can currently buy finished prints? (eg - we click "order a check" instead of "order" on the model page) The rest of the existing purchase & payment routine can still be used, with "0" for the Handling & P&P fees inserted, so it wouldn't require a major rewrite of the system...

    This option would simply strip away the P&P and Handling fees, as well as the "printing" component of the cm3 fee, so it should be easy to calculate. And if SW is clever, a successful manual check purchased this way should set a flag on that model/material combo that says "no need to run further checks before printing" so it doesn't get examined each & every time it gets ordered - that way we eliminate the current nonsense of successful models suddenly getting failed because a new bit of "wetware" has got hold of it! Sounds like a win-win scenario to me.