Please change your model review/print pipeline

Discussion in 'Bug Reporting' started by lensman, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. lensman
    lensman Well-Known Member
    So I uploaded a pendant to be printed in silver on the 2nd November. As the expected ship date (22nd Nov) came and went I saw that silver orders were behind and so didn't bother requesting an update. My client contacted me and wanted to know the satus. "All's good" I told him, "Just running a bit late, I'm afraid. Should be ready in a week or so." Today, seven days after the expected ship date, I decided to check with Shapeways as to what the actual ship date was really expected to be. A few hours later I got one of the dreaded 'We can't print this due to thin walls' messages, and a refund.

    Come on. Really?! 27 days after I uploaded the model and NOW you're telling me you can't print it?! :mad: And how long would that have taken if I hadn't made an enquiry?

    Is there really no way to adjust your review to print pipeline so that models you know are going to be printed late can be looked at as a sort of preview to printing? That way we won't be left in the embarassing situation of having to explain to clients that their order isn't coming... In the past I have received these emails in a fairly quick time and have been able to adjust the model withouth affecting my promised delivery time too much.

    Yes, I have complained to Customer Service, but felt I needed to post here so that anyone else facing these issues can chime in and maybe let Shapeways know they have concerns too.

  2. natalia
    natalia New Member
    HI Glenn,

    I'm really sorry this has been your experience, and I'm glad you already contacted service so they can work out a solution with you.

    I want to provide some clarity into our process so you can see what happened in your case, and that it is the exception, rather than the rule.

    The process works like this:

    You upload a model.
    We do an automatic check on upload.
    When it gets ordered, it gets sent to the production facility, where they manually check it.
    A person checks for printability within 1-2 days (which for the most part actually happens within 24 hours)
    Sometimes we can see immediately that it should be rejected and sometimes we can't. If it gets rejected this usually happens right away (and we notify you with time to change your model - Glenn this is your usual experience)
    If it gets approved, they print it and here is where delays can happen: they may try to print it once (which will take a few days) and it may break in post production, or crash the tray, or even break in shipping - so they will try to print it again (another few days) and the same thing may happen. At this point they reject it, but it is now officially late. (and in the worst case, this Glenn, was your recent experience)
    The percentage of orders that this happens to is low (it hovers around 10% and is decreasing)

    We do it this way to allow as many models to get printed as possible. To make it stricter means making design rules stricter and rejections higher. So yes you would get faster rejections, but you would also get more. We are pushing the boundaries of what is possible with this technology and any advances we make, we want to pass on to you to let everyone design things.

    I hope this provides some insight....and to leave you with some (related) good news:
    This weeks release included a Printed Before tool into InShape (our internal system), which allows us to see (internally) if a model has successfully printed before. This is not to say that all models which have been printed before should always be printable again--there are exceptions, like by material, or if it was printed several times unsuccessfully (as above), but we will be diligent about checking them, and we should no longer have any issues with mistakes in rejections of Printed Before.

    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  3. lensman
    lensman Well-Known Member
    Fair enough, Natalia, and I like that last part; that has been a big issue with some people who have had models printed up to five times and then all of a sudden they get rejected...

  4. X3N0Wolf
    X3N0Wolf New Member
    Hi Natalia,

    I happened across this topic whilst looking for something else, and thought I'd just chip in. Personally, I prefer the concept of faster rejections, even if we got more of them. I frequently place orders for multiple models whilst developing items, and it can be quite frustrating to have only one fail after going to the printer, as I then have to pay another shipping fee to have that model sent later.

    It would be a lot more convenient to have all the models in an order confirmed as definitely printable before printing, or at least, give us the option to delay printing/shipping on the successful models until the entire order was good. I realise this would be a logistical issue including extra people-hours and storage space, but it's a thought for the future perhaps =)

  5. figurebang
    figurebang New Member
    Matt, I've been dealing with your same issue for a while now and just kind of "living with it" but the environmental impact on wasted packaging materials as well as extra gas or shipping vehicles (not to mention the additional shipping charges to me) has been REALLY bothering me. I just sent customer service this email:
    " I do have an issue I think you guys, and the environment, and other customers might benefit from.

    On orders like mine (#188464) where a model has an issue that needs to be fixed before printing, and there are other parts that are printable in the same order, hold the whole order, and give the customer the option of continuing to print the rest while they fix the unprintable model and pay a separate shipping charge (like you do now),

    OR allow the customer to cancel the original order (with a Shapeways credit so YOU guys don't lose any money) so they can fix all the models that need fixing. That way, Shapeways doesn't use as much shipping materials or waste time packing multiple orders that will be going to the same place anyways, probably a day apart (wasting fuel) and the customer doesn't have to pay multiple shipping charges (which REALLY sucks).

    I hope my idea has been brought up by other customers and Shapeways can somehow implement this option. You all are great and I really love the people, company, community, and products from Shapeways and would like to see this one problem disappear! "

    I really think they could solve this problem in a way that benefits everybody.
  6. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    @figurebang: There's one small problem with your proposal.

    If your order is for only one material, then your suggestion makes sense.

    But, if you order multiple materials at once, then at this time, "The production facility" is not a single entity. There are several different production facilities and they operate independently. "Stopping the order" would be a logistics nightmare. It's even entirely possible that one portion of your order has already been printed before the validity checks are performed.

    Even if you do order in a single material, (from what I understand) the valiity checks are made when "a batch" is being assembled. If your order is split across multiple batches, then it's possible that part of your order will be in one batch, and another part of your order is in the next batch. That would mean that the validity checks are split up (across multiple days) as well.

    I agree that your proposal is a place where we need to end up, but there are several logistical hurdles to it. There is also an extra labor cost involved with your suggestion - that of shelving and tracking partial orders, and/or doing the validity checks as a separate process. For now, it makes sense to ship what passes the checks, and let you re-order the failed part(s). I too would like to find a way around the extra shipping, but it's a function of

    Please be patient with Shapeways.. it will take a good bit of time to work thru all these hurdles.
  7. stop4stuff
    stop4stuff Well-Known Member
    If an order has different models and in different materials that all arrive from different production facilities at different times, how does the order get into one box to be shipped to the customer at the same time?

    I ask as there already seems to be a method in place for catering for the different materials of different models to be delivered to the same customer. If one model in a particular material is delayed due to technical issues, the whole order is placed on hold until that model is ready to be shipped - maybe the solution could be as simple as an extra field in the order details (I haven't a clue how that works) to cover for a rejected model within the order?

  8. figurebang
    figurebang New Member
    Thanks Paul, that's what i'm thinking... Shapeways can continue on with their normal pipeline process, but treat the rejected model like they do the ones that have a delay printing by giving the customer the option of waiting for the order to ship complete until the fixed rejected model is uploaded, and any additional fees paid (because of the now thicker parts) and printed, because more often than not, models get fixed pretty quickly ESPECIALLY if they're part of a whole order, so in most cases there would only be a slight delay. How does that sound?
  9. X3N0Wolf
    X3N0Wolf New Member

    Aye, as I said, I realise that it wouldn't be a simple task to implement at all, the additional costs, time and logistics are readily apparent. I didn't realise the logistics were quite so complicated though, so I see what you mean about the difficulties. It's more a suggestion for the long-term, something to factor in when future changes are made if possible. Like figurebang, I love working with you guys, I just hope to see a few of the wrinkles ironed out for the benefit of everyone eventually :)

    @figurebang, stop4stuff

    That's interesting to know, it occurs to me now that one or two of my orders must have suffered from the 'technical difficulties' you mention, as I had a couple of orders miss their ETA. And as you say, they still end up in one box coming my way. I can only assume that Shapeways' current logistical capacity is capable of handling those blips at their current frequency, but that if such a procedure was implemented for all orders with failed models, it would exceed their ability to manage it, as stonysmith points out.