Discussion in 'Technologies and Hardware' started by Bunrattypark, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. Bunrattypark
    Bunrattypark New Member
    Here is another request for user-specified orientation.

    On 23/09/11, I took delivery of two seven inch long 1:50 scale model buses. While the models were impressive at seven inches long, I noted that they were printed on an orientation I don't like, which leaves lots of unsightly layering lines all along the length of the roof. Plank details on the roof racks did not print well, and the models seemed not to be cleaned properly, being covered in white dust, with dust caked in the corners.

    The latest 1:50 scale model bus arrived today, and my eyes popped out of my head when I saw it. The quality of this model was A1 100%. The model was clean and sharp, and printed in my preferred orientation, which leaves a perfectly smooth roofline, all the better for painting and finishing. Even tiny rivet heads on the front and rear bumpers printed, at about quarter of a millimetre in diameter!

    Here's the rub. These are not small items. They are big, substantial sized models, which I am trying to develop a market for. There is much interest in them, but at €90 retail, they are going to be very expensive for prospective collectors. I must say that today's model is well worth the €90 price, and I am delighted to pass it on to my customer. However, there is a very noticeable difference in quality between the earlier and later orders, entirely down to the orientation of the print.

    Indeed, previous smaller model buses, at 1:76 scale, suffered badly under polishing, when every single seat frame the length of the floor sheared off when the print orientation was wrong. Those models too had unsightly layering in all the wrong places. Yet other identical models arrived 100% perfect when the orientation changed.

    At €50 for 1:76 scale models, and €90 for 1:50 scale models, I really would like to guarantee the quality of today's model for all the models my customers order. If only I could specify one particular print orientation, it would mean the difference between 100% quality and about 80% quality for what is a top end retail price for my target market.

    Does purchasing a model from Shapeways have to be a lottery with regards to 100% quality? Have Shapeways been having any discussions on this matter? Anything in the pipeline?

    Lovely smooth roof profile, with sharp plank detail on roof rack. Why can't they all be this good?
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  2. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    I know there has been talk of orientation, but I don't know if anything is currently "happening" about it (discussions, planed changes, whatnot) but I'll ask around and see.

    Edit: for some reason I didn't see the image at first. That does look great!
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  3. GWMT
    GWMT New Member
  4. ana_xyz
    ana_xyz New Member
    @Bunrattypack thats a wonderful model!

    The desire for print orientation is a by product of something else -- it's the fact that your models aren't always the same quality when you receive them. If you received a reliably high quality print each and every time, you'd be happy (I think... :) ) regardless of what was done to it.

    Right now, while we're not focusing on print orientation per se, we're focusing on how to improve overall quality and reliability, which would take care of these issues. Since we now have our own machines, and do some of our own production, we get to do a lot of playing, tweaking, and fiddling with all different aspects of the process in an effort to optimize for the best results. We're basically taking this technology and pushing it forward, really stretching what it can do so it can meet your needs faster.

    You might be wondering why we don't we just start doing print orientation if that fixes the problem instantly?

    The reason for that is cost. We plan each tray of prints as efficiently as possible so that we can fit as many prints as possible into each print session, which helps us keep costs low. If we started taking specs for print orientation, even if we charged a premium for it, that would drastically reduce efficiency over time, and we'd have to raise prices eventually because of it. Since we want to keep our prices low, and do so sustainably, our focus is on improving the whole process, holistically.

    So, sorry if that's a bit wordy, but I hope that helps to explain where we're at with this. If you're not beginning to see more reliable quality in a few months, we may open up the question of print orientation. For the time being though, we're taking the big picture approach.

  5. Bunrattypark
    Bunrattypark New Member
    Many thanks Ana, I am just glad of the opportunity to raise the issue, and keep quality at the forefront of your discussions.

    Excellent service from all involved in Shapeways production and distribution, as always! Thanks again.
  6. GWMT
    GWMT New Member
    Ana said:

    "If you received a reliably high quality print each and every time, you'd be happy (I think... "

    You got it, Ana. My main concern is that the customer receives product of consistent quality every time they order.