I'm quickly loosing my faith in Shapeways

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by PopeDesign, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. PopeDesign
    PopeDesign Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty much at my wits end right now.... D-8-rops-winch-kit-04-20-13 has been successfully ordered and printed 5 times and D-8-with-blade-kit-04-20-13 has been successfully ordered and printed 3 times (both models shown above). Since then I have announced these projects for sale on 2 websites and on a local TV interview that Shapeways contacted me and asked me to do which I gladly did. I just got 2 new orders for each model and they were both rejected at final review....

    This not only makes me publicly look like a fool but also puts into question the rest of my models for sale in my store. I take great pride on actually spending the time and money to make sure every model I sell has printed out and can be painted and finished not just once but a minimum of at least 2 times before its offered to the public in my store ( http://www.shapeways.com/shops/Micro%20American%20Rail%20Pro totypes). I have never posted a model for sale that has not gone though this process first.

    If there have been no customer complaints how can Shapeways just start rejecting my models that have a track record of no problems and obviously can be printed out? So they want me to redo my CAD geometry that is proven to work and then spend the money and time to print out and finish a whole new set of models? I can say after 20 years of experience in the manufacturing world, a vender for tooling or rapid prototyping of any kind could never get away with this and expect to stay in business for very long.... I'm not saying Shapeways is going down because of the problems I'm having but come on, this is unacceptable from a professional level down to the customer that's printing out projects just for the fun of it.

    What do I tell my future customers now? Buy at your own risk, I can't guarantee my models will print even though I'm showing nothing but actual models that have printed out in my store? I've already shifted my personal projects to another vender that does Multijet Modeling with FUD. But the purpose of my store is not to make money, its to share my models with other Z scale modelers that have limited Z scale products to choose from in the retail world. But I'm starting to think its just not worth it if I potentially have to redo my entire product line for Z scale...

    Last edited: Oct 3, 2013
  2. coaster
    coaster Well-Known Member
    You have some great models there Jon.Incrediable stuff.
    Have been in your situation aswell............Damn annoying sitting in front of computer holding a model in your hand reading an email saying that model cannot be printed..........Duh!!
    I have wondered at times if its all worth the trouble.
    Some body should be made to explain very clearly how these things actually come about.
    It seems to be happening far too often now.

  3. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    Have you complained directly to service ? This might be a quicker route than through the forum and "community managers". From what little
    I know, FUD may be handled by a production partner, so possibly something changed outside of shapeways' immediate control. (I do note that
    there have been some complaints about tightening design rules for FUD lately, and there is a rather long and sadly inconclusive thread about
    "Preventing Rejections" in the suggestions forum (where your message will probably be moved to).
  4. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team

    Sorry to hear about your issue, looking into what happened here to see how we can resolve this. I've contacted service, I'm sure they'll ask me for your order number, if you could share that please.
  5. PopeDesign
    PopeDesign Well-Known Member
    Thanks michael,

    I have contacted them and they contacted me back this morning and I've sent them the requested info. So things are in motion. My issue is since FUD rules have been changing so much (I had to even call them out on one occasion because the rules said one spec and I was being told the model got rejected for a spec that had not been changed in the rules, but they still rejected my model....) So I know if I change anything, it will probably get rejected again for another reason. Then before I know it, I have to completely change the model just to get it to print again even though its printed several times over.


  6. PopeDesign
    PopeDesign Well-Known Member
    Hi mkroeker,

    First thing I did was contact customer service and things are in motion. But this is not the first time I've had issues with geometry that prints out with no problems to only be rejected. This post is out of a sheer feeling of being backed into a corner. I don't normally like to be a squeaky wheel because I don't believe its always the professional thing to do and it can come back to bite you. But my entire product line is now in jeopardy if this is going to be the norm for models that have already printed. So I've got nothing to lose and I feel this unfair issue needs to be brought to the Shapeways community.


  7. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    Sure. Maybe I should have been clearer about the "Preventing Rejections" thread - it is full of designers relating similar experiences. Unfortunately
    it also gets derailed from time to time as forum threads do, bona fide rejections get mixed up with real issues etc so it is hard to distill shapeways' stance
    and corrective measures from it.
  8. AmLachDesigns
    AmLachDesigns Well-Known Member
    This is true. But although SW does not really join in this discussion, they are addressing the topic with Blog posts such as Dealing with Rejection.

    There does seem to be a cruel irony in giving tips on how to make better shops, improve our photos etc (and who knows what is to come) when we cannot properly control how our shops look, and printing and photographing a print is no guarantee that a model will print consistently at all.
  9. PopeDesign
    PopeDesign Well-Known Member
    Thanks for your kind words about my models Stu (may I add you've got some incredible stuff on your shop). Its extremely frustrating. The two models shown below obviously printed out. A lot of time and energy went into previous prototypes of the same models that also printed out with no problems. They where doubled up side by side so I could make two of each. When all I did was trim each file down to one model per file to do the first test print as a kit (and changed absolutely no geometry), they got rejected and the requested changes were to much work to make it worth it just to sell as kits.... Just two of several models I have printed, painted and ready to go for Z scale kits that will never see the light of day for Z scale consumers.



  10. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    Well, I thought it was a bit inappropriate too - on the other hand, the blog articles are the work of the public relations people who get paid to sing "happy happy joy joy" no matter what. (The recent website glitches also did not exactly make it look as if it was entirely the shop owners' fault if sales are below expectations)

    But to be fair, the rejections thread may suffer from selection bias - we do not learn how many of these sometimes bizarre rejections there are
    compared to the number of successful (repeat) orders, so what looks like the top of an iceberg may turn out to be an ice cube gone overboard after all.
    (Though it worries me that some "key figures" are not as active - in the forums at least - as they used to be a year ago)
  11. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    Unfortunately a majority of the checking is done manually. And people are flawed and will sometimes miss things. The machines we have are awesome and can sometimes do better than we expect. So sometimes, something will print and ship that doesn't work all the time or even most of the time. We're working on making the job a little efficient.
  12. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    If I may ask - was this meant as a general statement, or relevant for this particular case ? (I assume the "other" meaning of FUD is known even
    outside the free software community...)
  13. PopeDesign
    PopeDesign Well-Known Member

    In all fairness, I would have to ask how much of this is related to growing pains? Yes there are job shops out there that do FUD, they orient the part the way you want it printed out for the best quality print possible and they do a superior cleanup on support material before you even get the model. But they are also a lot more expensive and they don't have a "store" option that you can sell your products to the public. So I don't want to sound like I'm bashing Shapeways as a horrible service because its not. They are doing some great things and I hope they keep on doing great things.

    But consistency is important in keeping everybody happy. I hope they do not become the Walmart of rapid prototyping. Squeezing the life out of its venders (us modelers) so they can get products to the customers with the least amount of effort for more profit. I realize that's a bit of a cynical view. But I also know that other venders have no problems printing out to the specs for FUD that Shapeways went by a year and a half ago when I first joined Shapeways. Instead of penalizing the modeler (the backbone of Shapeways business) , maybe they should look at how other venders are doing it before just changing the rules and taking away from the product instead of adding value to the product.


  14. PopeDesign
    PopeDesign Well-Known Member

    I have gotten that exact same explanation from customer service before. In all due respect, when you have geometry that you have spent hours or even days working on and its printed out numerous times before, the last thing you want to hear is what you just said for an explanation as t why things failed. I'm sure you don't mean it but it comes off like "Even though it printed out fine before, to bad, tough luck, we don't want spend the time to even verify that it had printed out fine numerous times before, we have washed our hands with this." At least that's how I felt when I was given this response by customer service.


  15. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    Jon - I'm a designer as well so I understand the frustrations of designing stuff that gets rejected. I also design for a manufacturer, that I've worked on projects for months to have it never be produced (I know different as I still get paid but still frustrating). We are working on alleviating the oversights.
  16. KeXu
    KeXu New Member
    If there was a button, "skip manual check at risk of ruining product"

    Would you click it?
  17. Innovo
    Innovo New Member
    That's a good question. I think any experienced 3dp designer would, knowing the limitations and risks of their items.
    I certainly would.

  18. PopeDesign
    PopeDesign Well-Known Member

    In a heart beat. Design specs for FUD where a lot different a year or so ago when I first started using Shapewyas and I got excellent results conforming to those constraints. I put very small parts on parts trees. I have to understand structure and have to design with structure in order to do do my professional job so out of discipline alone I do the same with all my Shapeways models. I can honestly say I've never received broken parts from Shapeways with any of my models.

    But in Shapeways defense, a poorly designed model can wreak havoc on the printer and production and me saying "I know this" and "I do that" really doesn't mean anything if my model royally screws things up for Shapeways.
  19. stop4stuff
    stop4stuff Well-Known Member
    Hi Jon,

    I know your frustration and have had more less the exact experiences with FUD models for OO scale - printed fine with no reported issues, promoted by Shapeways in the blog on Friday Finds, featured with credit to Shapeways (not me) in the Hornby Magazine (June 2012), then again featured by Shapeways in another blog article only to have all subsequent orders rejected due to changes in the 'rules'.

    I used to really enjoy pushing the boundaries of 3Dp technology, but now after a serious breakdown, I am quite content to take my life in a totally different direction, only popping back to Shapeways once in a while to see if much has changed - sadly things don't seem to have changed.

    On the upside, keep banging your head against the wall, sometime it might crumble.

    All the best,
  20. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team

    I heard back from service over the weekend. It appears your last rejection was the result of a small piece not being connected to the rest of the model. If you attach the small piece to your framework, your item will be printable. If you have any other order numbers you'd like me to check into, please let me know.