Cast Metals Price Restructuring

Discussion in 'Official Announcements' started by virginia_gordon, May 15, 2017.

  1. Lightbringer
    Lightbringer Member
    On reviewing the whole spreadsheet, the good news is that it's a net drop in price for most materials, but I really get killed on Raw & Polished Silver - but the bad news is that raw and polished silver is probably 85% of my sales. The original claim was that the price would only go up for "very large pieces", but my signet rings are hardly "very large". The larger the ring, the bigger the price increase.


    Harry R. Burger
    Lightbringer Designs LLC
    Wax Seals, Signet Rings, and Custom Creations
    Instagram @LightbringerDesigns
  2. PenistoneRailwayWorks
    PenistoneRailwayWorks Well-Known Member
    Sorry I still think you've got this wrong. Shapeways are first and foremost a 3D printing service; i.e. you pay them to print a model in a given material. That isn't a business relationship in any way. Yes it gets slightly confused by the fact that they also host the shops/marketplace, but that isn't because they are a partner in your business, but because the more models there are for them to print the more money they can make, and not only do they get the standard profit on each item but a % of the markup; i.e. you pay for them to host your shop. Would they be as successful as they are without the shops, maybe not but that doesn't make them a partner in your business. Even the line you quoted "Run Your Business on Shapeways... we'll help you reach a global market" just emphasises this; it's your business they are just providing a platform (which as I said you pay for with the % they take from the markups) to reach a bigger market than you might otherwise do, but that isn't because they want/need your business to succeed but because it helps their business. As a service provider (whether that's printing models or hosting shops) they will do what is in their best interest, if it is pleases their customers even better, but at the end of the day there is no business relationship between them and us that they need to care about. They set the prices and we choose if we want to pay them or not, It's that simple.

    If you think about it shapeways is very similar to CafePress but handling 3D printed objects instead of t-shirts, mugs, etc. and I don't think anyone would claim CafePress was a business partner there either. Business partners have an investment in a business and a common goal. Clearly as we've seen from the complaints on this and the FUD repricing thread, the goals of shapeways and some designers are clearly not the same, and with no investment in our shops they can't possibly be business partners.

    At the end of the day, as I said before, I believe that both this repricing and the FUD changes are about making the costs of a print fairer, by charging more accurately for each print. This will mean some prints get more expensive while some get cheaper. It also means that some people were being essentially overcharged for their prints and subsidising the printing of other models. The new pricing structures should therefore be fairer whether you benefit from them or not (some of my private designs have gone down in price, some have gone up so I can see both sides).

  3. brianberman
    brianberman Member
    New price structure for my precious metal castings is confusing. Why would 14K, 18K, and Platinum pricing go down, when Silver, Brass, and Bronze for the same model go much higher. This lowers my chance of selling unless I eliminate my larger models, or reduce the size of them to try and keep my selling price. This is like the smaller sized packaging in the grocery store for the same price but less volume.)

    HOLOS Silver 125.jpg HOLOS Silver Boxed.jpg

    I'm as frustrated as all those who have established business with Shapeways cast metal jewelry. As you have given the new price structure a second look, I don't see any improvements. I have been a loyal customer for about 4 years now, and these prices on silver for sure will be a hard sell. Even now, people are turned off by silver pricing because the price of silver is so low, yet the casting price is so high.

    Not sure what others are doing, but you are welcome to post a reply to me here. Thanks, Brian
    oliverjewelry likes this.
  4. Evette
    Evette New Member
    I had seen people saying Shapeways is good for prototyping and not for mass production in this forum. While I have been using Shapeways for both due to the moderate pricing, with this new setup, I will have to use them for prototyping only. Gotta cast the larger pieces somewhere else.
    oliverjewelry likes this.
  5. Leander
    Leander Member
    Well this price adjustment was a godaful pricepocalypse.
    If you have been selling jewelry with cast precious metals, which is what I thought it was intended for, this will most likely force you to find new supplliers. The only thing that adding surface value accomplished was a price reduction for anything that is a chunk.
    Also all cufflinks and earrings now don't benefit from being pairs anymore.


    What a frustrating day I wish everyone with a business luck in finding another way of production.

    Maybe ordering larger amounts of wax models to send them off to some manufacturer will be an option?
    MANDELWERK and oliverjewelry like this.
  6. atarivandio
    atarivandio New Member
    Never fear... Produce your models as before in plastic and create molds for casting. Using a furnace is way easier than you might realize and way cheaper. In fact you may come out way ahead if anything. There are some great tutorials for this process by TheKingOfRandom on youtube.
    P3PPERS and oliverjewelry like this.
  7. stannum
    stannum Well-Known Member
    That is for Paypal's fee.
    ASHE_JEWELRY New Member
    Hello Shapeways-Team!
    My silver items have become now much more expensive than before. 14 K an 18 K gold items are still the same prices – has silver become that much more expensive than gold? As I know, the casting process is the same for silver, gold or brass (except the plating- but material is much cheaper…). Y ahora qué pasa?
  9. mariv
    mariv Active Member
    Looks like I will no longer make my rings with Shapeways. Most of them doubled in price!
  10. Way to "lower prices" my upcoming products have all doubled in price. I guess its time to use another service or buy a resin printer to print wax cast and then cast my own parts. Way to price your company out of the market.
  11. DaveC1964
    DaveC1964 Member
    I think I said it before but this doesn't pass the giggle test especially for RAW metal. Yes it may need more support material, If I use one of my objects as an example this means that support wax costs as much as silver since my piece doubled in price! It is raw so there is no hand polishing. Where did this added cost come from? Over $150 in support wax? Doubtful as the piece is mostly flat and only about 1/2" high. Hand finishing? It is RAW so not that either. None of these "reasons" add up, sorry. There is definitely some flummery going on here.
  12. nervoussystem
    nervoussystem New Member
    I'm late to this discussion but I'm sad to say the price increase is over 200% for many of our most beautiful designs. These are pieces that were created specifically based on Shapeways pricing and with 3D-printing in mind. We will no longer be able to manufacture these designs unless we switch to a new supplier. Any recommendations?

    Here's a few examples

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  13. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    Broadly speaking these are artistic counterparts of many of my crystal structure models (and of course a host of others' work featuring minimal surfaces - both in the context of crystallography or solid state physics and in pure mathematics) - intricate porous designs with huge surface area (most of which is inaccessible as far as polishing is concerned, as has been remarked earlier).
    I am not so delusional to expect my scientific fringe work to feature in any of shapeways' business decisions, but it is disconcerting to learn that key customers are similarly affected although their works have been promoted by shapeways - and used to promote shapeways - in the not too distant past.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
    mariv likes this.

  14. Hi, I must say I really feel for your problem, your company was one of the very first that attracted me to Shapeways in the 1st place, along with Unellenu, both for your beautiful large pieces, I must say Shapeways dumping this on you and letting you down as well as the other pioneers who contributed in a large part to attract a lot of customers to Shapeways is really not the way to go, they seem to have forgotten who contributed to their success in the first place.

    I was also planning to design several large metal pieces, so this is affecting me as well.

    It seems that Shapeways have designed their new system to increase the price of anything that is longer than about 3cm or so....

    The bad news is that i just found out that most ofl my brass items have seen price increases... including some dramatic ones (beyond the dreaded 100$ price mark...). My brass items were already somewhat beyond what i would call a competitive price in most cases, but now with this new change they may have priced them out the market.....

    Worse, i had worked pretty hard on all those brass items (3 months full time), some of them gave me lots of trouble (despite what may seem like 'simple' shapes, the Laser for exemple was a real headache, with lots of wrong surfaces that had to be repaired one by one, lots of bad triangles in the mesh which were quite difficult to find and repair, and so on. I had to re-construct it many times due to the idiosynchrasies of the software (typical cases of non-manifold edges which happen in specific situations, other problems that get created when you try to fillet edges and so on.

    So given that i had already designed these models to be close to or at the limit of what Shapeways allows for surface details and skin thickness, if i reduce my models it would deface them and i would loose all those surface details for which i had chosen brass specifically to bring them out. In fact, i would not be able to print most of my metal models in anything else than brass because otherwise too many surface details would disappear or the Shapeways software would simply block my files for other types of metal. And dumbing down the details ? (the usual Shapeways demand when they see you are not happy with their bad new changes): Already done that during the design stage. If i had to dumb them down further, not only would it take me more days/weeks to desing and repair a new mesh from scratch (due to the problems mentionned earlier)(and also due to the fact that each time you change a file, you add more errors in the new mesh, all of which must be repaired first if you want a watertight mesh... So, LOTS of extra work costing lots and lots of money to please a big company who it seems COULD NOT CARE LESS how much you will spend just to fit their new mold), and the end result would be that my models would end up looking like Fisher Price toys instead of finely detailed miniatures/keyrings (nobody comes here to buy Fisher Price toys).

    So there is NO WAY i would spend several more weeks at MY EXPENSE to redesign all of those models to make them fit the new demands of Shapeways ! I have had enough trouble designing, repairing and cleaning them already water as it is.

    Only 2 of my items (sold separately, as i previously didn't know it was allowed to put 2 items together in a the same file) have not changed price, due to their more simple shape, but strangely enough the base for my Monolith did not increase in price, though it is simple it does have a lot more surface area than meets the eyes, as it got sort of a 'double hull'.

    Only one of my model saw a slight price decrease, my Carved Stone Spear Tip, weirdly enough because it is solid, i thought it would have gone up, but no, it went down... Go figure. Given that the explanation of Shapeays that "Parts that use a lot of support material (anything that is made of a mesh or wires and hollow) goes up in price", it seems totally illogical that this one goes down when it fact i am pretty sure it would have more surface area than the same thing it it was made of a simple mesh structure. Maybe i should have designed my Laser and my Commlock solid to avoid the price hike...?? That seems counter-intuitive because the cost of material was the driving factor (per cm cube) for price, and so it was designed as thin skinned as can be. If i made this solid, it would be afraid it might crack ? (uneven cooling does that to metal, especially if thickness varies in an important manner along the model, like on this one, everything must have pretty much a constant skin thickness to avoid problems.

    All of my other models prices went up, some of them nearly double... (and i am not making large metal pieces, to me 3,4,5 cm, that's small).

    So you are damned if you do, and damned if you don't with their new system... So all in all, if you are not into making only small rings and small earings, it sucks...

    It now looks like i just devoted 3 months of work full time to build a range of brass products to generate some funds so that i could devote my time to design my more complex scale models products, and i just found out Shapeways made me waste my time as most of my new models have now become much more expensive thanks to their new brass price hike... After their new price hike for FED and FUD plastics, i only had my brass products left to try to generate new sales, but Shapeways now have seriously messed that up for me and for many people also... as the price of all my plastic models have already gone up, and now the price of all my most important and more numerous brass models also... Seems i will have to send things to Rinkak, competitive service and so on.

    I would have a question for Shapeways, i have no idea what you are using for you mold material to cast your brass parts, but whatever it is, if it is costing you too much (i suspect your higher cost is for post operations: i.e. specifically breaking off the mold), then it might be a good idea for you or your contractor to change material. Are you using a refractory plaster as mold material ? If yes, you might want to switch to calcium sulfate bonded investment, that would save you lots of trouble during demolding. And what kind of pour are you doing ? Gravity or vacuum assist ? Or under full vacuum ? Anyway, maybe i am wasting my time trying to help Shapeways once again when they are doing everything to sink my new products and my revenue...
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
  15. That said I am surprised there are not more people on the brass price increase thread. My guess was that Shapeways probably now had more jewelry shops than scale models/plastic parts shops because the small size metal items seemed to be the direction Shapeways was content to follow from now on. But with only 11 pages of complaints from Designers / shop owners here versus 31 pages for the FED and FUD plastics price hike and other related problems due to the new Shapeways policies, I have to wonder. Or maybe it is that the plastic modelers are a more openly outspoken bunch than the jewelry modelers ? A bit more energy boys and girls :) ! Do not go for this and voice your displeasure. I believe Shapeways is counting on its bigger shops who have lots of models (the smaller models anyway) to remain with Shapeways and not make the move to a competitor because it would take them a lot of time and money to re-upload all of their models and set up everything, and it's clear they are relying on that bet, it is even more clear when you observe how they have managed to even turn shop owners against each other in the FED/FUD plastics price increase thread, where they let those who are for the price increase attack those who are against it.

    But I think people should not fear a transfer of many models to another sales platform, it would be an occasion for them to streamline and remove those models that are not selling to save them workload. Given how much manhour it will take them to refesign lots of their models to fit the new Shapeways 'mold' they might find out it might actually be more economical for them to move than to stay.
  16. aliciafelber
    aliciafelber Member
    May be you could try this site to compare prices:
  17. aliciafelber
    aliciafelber Member
    Also I would like to add that the work you do is fantastic! As another member mentioned your work and others "have been promoted by shapeways - and used to promote shapeways" - why won't they listen to you? So sad to see that talented artists may be leaving Shapeways... A creative community of artists that are expanding and exploring the boundaries of 3D printing... what a sad loss...