Pricing And The Blackbox Thereof And The Problems It Causes

Discussion in 'Suggestions & Feedback' started by AotrsCommander, May 20, 2020.

  1. AotrsCommander
    AotrsCommander Well-Known Member
    It might be nice if the pricing wasn't now so bizzarely obfuscated (and just plain bizzare) to the point that I have to try uploading models in all sorts of configuratons (taking up time) to try and find out what is actually best for my customers.

    And then finding out that stuff like this happens, where the price slews between 50% and 100% between different materials in opposite directions between configurations. Where the model as a sprued kit is +100% more expensive in VPN and as a single model is +50/+100% more expensive in detail material as a single model. Meaning that, if I wish my customers to have access to the latter, I have to have a second model.



    (I only uploaded the assembled configuration as a check, because it was larger in every respect than the kit version; to the point I had to print it as the latter on my HOME printer... Only to find the full model was half the price of the sprued version, for reasons that are completely unknown.)

    Playing a game of "guess what the algorithm will price this at" is not a good use of my time (or your server load).
  2. Echoco
    Echoco Well-Known Member
    I feel your pain but I gave up trying to understand a long time ago.
  3. coelian276
    coelian276 Well-Known Member
    Well, it's quite logic when you get behind it. Versatile Plastic is all about material volume and machine space. Smooth(est) Fine Detail is almost exclusively based on the bounding box.

    In your example, both are about the same when it comes to material volume as it is the same model just arranged differently. But the upper one has a big bounding box (a rectangular box drawn around your model) due to the spread wings, all the space inside this box is the volume you pay for in Detail Plastic = expensive. On the other side, machine space is determined with a virtual sphere (or ball, with a diameter of 40mm) rolled around your model. Only the areas the sphere can not reach are considered used by your model. Due to the spread wings the sphere can go deep between them = cheaper.

    The lower one is more compact, thus the bounding box is much smaller, so Detail Plastic = cheaper. But here the sphere can not reach the spaces between the wings, and so they are considered used and you have to pay for it. Versatile = expensive.

    Ok there are also a few other things, but this is basically how it works.
    MitchellJetten likes this.
  4. MitchellJetten
    MitchellJetten Shapeways Employee CS Team
    Well explained @coellan276

    Regarding the machine space, this is actually slightly different.
    "Machine space consists of the space your model occupies plus a buffer of 1mm around your entire model. Holes smaller than 40mm are considered ‘closed’ because we can’t fit other models that we are printing into a hole smaller than that."

    On the 3D tools you can actually see the machine space of a model;

    As you can see, there is a small gap that isn't considered "machine space" since that area is big enough (40mm distance).

    The actual holes on the mask are "closed" by definition of the machine space since we can't use those holes for other models and thus you end up paying for that hole using the machine space pricing.

    Additional picture:

    So everything in blue = machine space.

    Your Fine Detail Plastic explanation is completely correct :)
  5. EmilyLane
    EmilyLane Active Member
    Didn’t that Shapeways @avim dude post a document that shared the general pricing mechanisms for each material but without specific $ numbers attached for different components of pricing? That might give you some idea how different materials could be affected in price for different structural arrangements. Maybe it’s also posted in an official Shapeways how-to directory although I can’t find it.
  6. coelian276
    coelian276 Well-Known Member
    I know that, but to explain the basic principle i thought to keep it simple. I said there is more about it. For example the extra fee for the parts bounds volume when it gets over a certain length in Versatile to name one.

    But this would go too deep for someone who has no clue at all how it works.

    My intention was to give a comprehensible explanation for what happened at the example above.
  7. coelian276
    coelian276 Well-Known Member
    When i explained the principle vor machine space to anyone, i learned the thing with the imaginary sphere rolled arround your model is much easier to picture in your head. It visualises why certain areas are calculated as machine space and others not. Therefore it's easier for that person to understand.
  8. EmilyLane
    EmilyLane Active Member
    My problem is for differences between materials. For example I can put 2 chairs in a file either connected together or not. Not connected the price jumps significantly for versatile plastic because they are counted as two parts. But in detail plastic separate can be cheaper than connected. I don’t even know how many parts can be in a file for detail plastic before that changes if at all.

    I could link a different model for the detail material I suppose but how long until things change again? There’s way too much maintenance that’s required as Shapeways keeps adjusting things over time.