Issue With Steel Ring Quality Arrival

Discussion in 'Customer Service' started by RamaRakosi, Mar 17, 2017.

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  1. RamaRakosi
    RamaRakosi Well-Known Member
    Received two new skull ring designs, one arrived great, the other not so much.
    You can tell the angle of the print changed based on the visible lines. I'm not sure why the operator would angle one vs the other if the two were of the same order.

    One is slightly more bronze looking, while the other is very white / steel looking, I know the color can vary, but the print orientation is what is worrying me. If I take a picture of this one with heavy lines (in one of many angles you could choose), how would I know the next one would come out the same? or not(90° 180° 45° or hopefully not 28° randomly) depending on orientation they decide on the fly.

    Actually this has happened to me once already with my first skull ring design and 2nd ring order of that model, I received one at a 45 degree angle and had to polish it much further to remove most of the unwanted angle the lines produced on the piece (thankfully they were ok with the results). I upload every model the same angle, so I know its nothing I can change.

    Why would practically the same model come out so extremely different on the same run?
    Is there an option for steel to select print orientation?

    Maybe Implement a system where you use the last orientation it was printed in?
    I was about to buy 4 more designs, but I'm worried.




    This is how they look apon arrival.
    skull horn 001.jpg

    skull smooth.jpg

    Render sample
    skull horn.jpg
    Update (added smooth skull design render)
    SkullRender.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  2. RamaRakosi
    RamaRakosi Well-Known Member
    Just found orientation, I thought there was a process, and stumbled apon it again. Looks different, I do recall using the old program / app. On one ring and still receiving a 45° skull print. I guess ill give it a try again..

    Would it be possible to be credited the amount of the ring? Or another be sent?
    (It's far too gone for me to sell as the intended design).
     
  3. RamaRakosi
    RamaRakosi Well-Known Member
    After doing some polishing, the same amount of time, about 15 mins each (correction). Horned Skull clearly still deep and rough as hell.
    After Polishing.jpg After Polishing 2.jpg
     
  4. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    Email service@shapeways.com (ideally before - or instead of - trying to sand or otherwise repair a bad print).

    Customer-defined print orientation is only available for the "strong&flexible" nylon material, and as the "steel" material is done by a production partner it would probably be harder to communicate special requests to them along with an order. I am not even sure they would know (or care about) that these were originally two items from the same order at shapeways, and production constraints may have led to them being assigned to two different batches, different shifts etc.
    Lastly, the presence of the horns may have influenced both their choice of print orientation and the outcome of the machine-polishing.
     
  5. RamaRakosi
    RamaRakosi Well-Known Member
    The first set of pictures is before any sanding or polishing, Also I'm not talking about the casting process, It looks like the printing layers were terrible and sent out with a stamp of approval to be cast.

    I agree two batches is a possibility (based on the difference in color and texture) And this post was mainly about shapeways picking the print orientation / sending out bad prints.

    I honestly think customer service fourm is basically the same thing as emailing service.
    The weight of the rings are generally the same balance, (the face is heavier) I would assume it would polish more or less the same.

    Good idea about the horns influencing choice of orientation, I wonder if two operators will think alike.

    Thanks mkroeker
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  6. RamaRakosi
    RamaRakosi Well-Known Member
    The pictures are to show I cannot achieve what I should be able to, based on a normal print, that happened to be in the same order.

    Thanks for raising another question for support, is Shapeways unable to influence choice of orientation whatsoever? other than strong&flexible?

    I guess I've assumed they've at least had some part of the building process, don't they at least print everything to be sent out, to be casted / infused?
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  7. Bathsheba
    Bathsheba Well-Known Member
    Steel is printed completely remotely. Unlike brass/bronze/precious metals, it is not a casting process but directly printed in metal.

    I agree that the horns are probably what's making the steel guys want to put it in that orientation. There's a green phase in steel printing where the parts are fragile, and they have to be handled to depowder them, and they're stronger if the layers run along long features rather than across them.

    I agree that's a lousy print. I'd bet it was also under-tumbled because they thought the horns would be fragile. That might also contribute to the color difference.

    (Then again, the hornless skull looks over-tumbled to my eye. If it had the sutures on top those are completely gone, while they're still visible in the horned one. Customers prefer over-tumbled models, so it's become the standard.)

    I personally don't feel that steel is in general a good choice for jewelry. Yes some designs look great in it, but only certain types of detail will work consistently: you need to either be lucky or design carefully to the process.
     
  8. RamaRakosi
    RamaRakosi Well-Known Member
    Thanks for the reply, I really appreciate the detailed explanation. Will it be possible for shapeways to own / rent steel printing machines in the future? (shapeways would have more control of orientation and layer quality) plus more useful website features.

    I've updated the image assortment above to include the smooth skull's render.

    I personally have not had many issues with steel other then being able to choose alignment, or consistent operator choices / rarely if ever a terrible print.

    I like that it's more durable then the precious metals. And can become just as shiny and beautiful given a little time / effort. Thank you for agreeing with the horned skulls lack of a print quality, Not sure if it will be reprinted or a credit? haven't been given a definitive answer as of yet. Still hoping for the best.

    Thank you again for your time.
    here's an update to how I should be able to polish the skull rings based on normal shapeways print quality.
    With minimal to no detail loss. (this is still one of two rings that just arrived) I've been polishing the nice one.


    Skull shiny - 1.jpg Skull shiny - 2.jpg Skull shiny - 3.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  9. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    This is not just another machine, but an entire process the workers would need to be trained for - while it shares some features with the "sandstone" (brittle intermediate stage) and "porcelain" (sintering/firing requirements) I expect we would see a huge setback in the first few months at least if shapeways tried to move this inhouse. (And I gather that their current production partner is the manufacturer of this type of printer, ExOne - even if they make the occasional mistake it is probably hard to beat their experience )
     
  10. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    The size of the ExOne printing part of their facility is probably just about the same size as the current LIC Shapeways factory. That's a huge footprint for one family of materials.

    For your print, email service. We guarantee all orders.
     
  11. RamaRakosi
    RamaRakosi Well-Known Member
    Well said Mkroeker, experience would undoubtedly stand as the better choice.
    Whenever I mention something here like improvements or even ideas at Shapeways it usually gets shut down with long explanations of how it would be very hard and probably not worth the time. (or ignored completely by staff or a quick "ill look into it message" then nothing). Not dissing Shapeways at all what-so-ever. I love this place. (just explaining how it seems on my end) (may not be the case in every situation). (hell they may even be bad ideas I've brought up)

    Shapeways is obviously making money, why not reinvest into what your customers want? we need orientation? put up some guidelines and throw down the cash to make it happen. something not figured out? put someone on it.
    Or is the money train set up and going to push on through the mountains until we lose a wheel or fall off the track?

    YouknowWho4eva, I've emailed support, explained what happened, neglected to send images in the first email as I mentioned this forum in the email. They responded with saying they needed pictures (whats the point in this forum section (possibly needed the images to send to ExOne?)), I sent pictures, and now I have received another email explaining they are filing a complaint somewhere. Would this be a complaint to ExOne? how long does that process take?

    Why not look at the pictures I've sent and posted, start me a new print so I'm not inconvenienced by time?
    Its going to take another week or two to remake the item anyway right?
    I'm planning to order another one to replace the first if I'm denied a free reprint.

    There's no way a rotated model would affect how badly the layers are printed / built. I understand the sand castle rule as well but all my other rings are shaped this way, and haven't broken apart on their way through the green stage.
    Unless the operator wanted to hold the ring by the horns, I really don't see why this happened. as its been moved through this stage many times before without horns. Also the horns are fairly thick. Also if they printed the ring in the correct orientation the horns would face upward and have literally less weight on them apon removal.

    (customer support)
    At this stage I feel I should just pay for another so I can take a decent pictures for my store and save time.

    I appreciate all the responses and time you've taken to help me.
    Thank you so much everyone!
     
  12. RamaRakosi
    RamaRakosi Well-Known Member
    Is this the current standard at shapeways? Or something you will be reaching for?
    ExOne announced finer detail of ceramics and metals.

    http://www.investor.exone.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=992363

    Some excerpts from the article / announcement
    "ExOne is adding stainless steel 316L to its material portfolio"

    "The Company is currently accepting product pre-orders from customers for job shop printing, with full commercialization expected in the first quarter of 2017. Further, as ExOne applies these fine powder advancements throughout its machine portfolio, it will be positioned to address additional commercial, energy and automotive applications. "
     
  13. Bathsheba
    Bathsheba Well-Known Member
    @RamaRakosi I don't think you're likely to get much satisfaction from customer service. You might get this print replaced, but you won't get a guarantee that the replacement, or any future prints of this design, won't look the same. It's unsuitable for jewelry, and not a showpiece for the process, but it's within the standard for steel printing.

    Steel isn't an ideal material for jewelry, and to get good results you need to design to its limits. One of these ring designs does a great job with that, and the other doesn't.

    I agree with above commenters that it will likely never be feasible for Shapeways to bring steel production in-house. The production facility required would be out of proportion to the rest of their operation. And there's no reason to think they'd get better results -- having a printer in a different location with different guys running it won't make those horns easier to depowder with the layers running across them, or make them survive longer in a high-energy tumbler.

    I'm not aware that the fine-layer 316 material is commercially available yet. As is always the case when layers get finer, I'd expect it to be quite a bit more expensive than what we're getting.
     
  14. RamaRakosi
    RamaRakosi Well-Known Member
    "@RamaRakosi I don't think you're likely to get much satisfaction from customer service. You might get this print replaced, but you won't get a guarantee that the replacement, or any future prints of this design, won't look the same. It's unsuitable for jewelry, and not a showpiece for the process, but it's within the standard for steel printing.

    Steel isn't an ideal material for jewelry, and to get good results you need to design to its limits. One of these ring designs does a great job with that, and the other doesn't.

    I agree with above commenters that it will likely never be feasible for Shapeways to bring steel production in-house. The production facility required would be out of proportion to the rest of their operation. And there's no reason to think they'd get better results -- having a printer in a different location with different guys running it won't make those horns easier to depowder with the layers running across them, or make them survive longer in a high-energy tumbler." .. you have me convinced, Agreed thank you.

    Bathsheba are you an employee of Shapeways? it says well known member below your name.
    Wanting to know what a Shapeways employee knows about 316L stainless steel and its availability
    Thank you!
     
  15. Bathsheba
    Bathsheba Well-Known Member
    No, just a user making user guesses, same as you. The experience I speak from is that I've been a customer of Ex One since 2003, and I've seen a lot of steel parts; I've also visited their factory and seen the production process.
     
  16. RamaRakosi
    RamaRakosi Well-Known Member
    Bathsheba,
    That is awesome thank you! Very cool to hear you got to check out the production process in person.
     
  17. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    We've looked at offering more ExOne materials, and will continue to. It's finding a balance of price and quality that work for both them and us (what works for our customers), as with all materials. The current quality and color is what we get for the price. I don't know where your horned ring falls in the quality that is expected, to me it'd be a little lower than expected. If you post about it in suggestions, with what you'd use it for, and other members agree, then it's something we'd look harder into.
     
  18. RamaRakosi
    RamaRakosi Well-Known Member
    Thank you I appreciate your time.
    Maybe shapeways can present the question as I have no way of debating whether it would be a good choice without knowing how much it would cost. Other than material properties or a steel jewelry quality increase.

    Thank you again, I think I will end up trying that in suggestions.