Print It Anyway: Want to Experiment More with 3D Printing? Tell us to PIA!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by natalia, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. natalia
    natalia New Member
    IT'S HERE!!
    I am beyond thrilled to announce this:

    "Print it Anyway!" We've heard this cry from you more than once, so, here it is...

    Going from prototype to product often requires iteration, and in some cases, a level of experimentation beyond the safe boundaries of the Shapeways Design Guidelines. To help you explore the possibilities, we are piloting a new way for you to bring your products to life: Print It Anyway. You're no longer bound to the Shapeways Design Guidelines, only the rules of physics.

    So this means you can test your wires, your details, your interlocking parts & your compression fits to failing point to give you the ability to learn from your mistakes. We hope this will help you push the boundaries, and help us push ours.

    Read all the details in the Print It Anyway Pilot page like:
    - Currently available only for your own models
    - Materials available are Strong & Flexible Plastics, FUD and Full Color Sandstone.
    - We'll give you all the feedback we collect along the way, like if your model passes our checks, but then breaks in post processing
    -And much more!

    Then just click the "Print it Anyway" box at checkout...and wait to get your print!


    Because this is a pilot program, we're looking for feedback and ways to continuously improve to best meet your needs.
    So please post your feedback in this thread or drop us a line at

    Let the experimentation begin!
    Natalia & the WHOLE TEAM.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
  2. HOLDEN8702
    HOLDEN8702 Well-Known Member
    That's amazing to the designers that we have always been activate the label "Reject Anyway!".
  3. tebee
    tebee Well-Known Member
    Next question

    If we use print it anyway on a design that does not meet the design criteria and it prints OK and without production problems, does this set a flag that means customers can order it without it being rejected ?

  4. MitchellJetten
    MitchellJetten Shapeways Employee CS Team
    Hey Tom,

    Check the page Natalia linked to :)

    I'm a Shop Owner. If my model prints successfully through Print It Anyway, can I put it in my shop?
    We don't recommend selling products that were printed through Print It Anyway until they've successfully been printed through the normal ordering process. The goal of Print It Anyway is to help you iterate your design until you have a model that can print perfectly every time.

    Because your customers will not be able to use Print It Anyway, using the normal process to purchase your model will help you verify that it's ready to be sold.

    Mitch :)
  5. tebee
    tebee Well-Known Member
    Yes I read that.

    My point was, we make our wonderful object that does not adhere to material Design guidelines, run it through PIA, prove we can print it OK.

    We then submit it as a normal print without PIA, the first thing that's going to happen is it will be rejected as not being according to material guidelines.( well there is about a 50% chance of this from my experience)

    So unless there was some sort of flag set, I assume we would still not be able to print it anyway as a normal, sellable item , which makes me ask what's the point other than to satisfy one's own curiosity?

    Or is it a case we are going to have to argue with customer services each time, which seems not a good use of their or our time.

  6. MitchellJetten
    MitchellJetten Shapeways Employee CS Team
    Hi Tom,

    This is the only reason right now ;)
    Unfortunately right now it will not get any Printed Before Flag when using PIA, even if the model prints fine.

    Arguing will CS not work when using PIA, i'm sorry!
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2014
  7. tebee
    tebee Well-Known Member
    So it's not a gateway to having dubious items printed on a commercial basis, just that we can prove to ourselves that they would work if only Shapeways would allow it.

    It's just I wasn't clear in my mind what it was.

    It is useful anyway.

    Though I suppose there is nothing to stop us buying them ourselves and re-selling.

    I wasn't talking about complaining to CS about PIA items, rather than using a successful PIA print to beat them about the head with(metaphorically) when they say something is not printable.

  8. AmLachDesigns
    AmLachDesigns Well-Known Member
    Even if you print things without this flag, photo them and put them in your shop, there is a good chance that the next time they are printed they will not match the first print.

    In my experience...
  9. bdickason
    bdickason New Member
    This is absolutely the long term goal of the Print it Anyway program (we want to print EVERYTHING that's manufacturable) but we're not quite ready to make that leap.

    This is basically a pilot program for designers. Once we see what kind of models make it through, how often they can be manufactured reliably, we can either adjust our design guidelines or find a way to let a product 'graduate' from Print it Anyway to fully available.

    Today, however, we're going to start gathering data and see how you all use the system so we can figure out the best way to make the above possible :)
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
  10. HOLDEN8702
    HOLDEN8702 Well-Known Member
    I've only a year of 3d printing experience, but all kind of rejections ,including rejections of before ok printed models, tells me another different tale.
  11. stop4stuff
    stop4stuff Well-Known Member
    great! [/sarcasm]


    I had a whole lot of grief from Shapeways over some OO scale phone boxes that where printed then subsequently rejected.
    Shapeways then promoted the phone boxes (along with one being featured in Hornby magazine) this caused so much hassle I practically gave up with Shapeways even after adjusting the models so that they should have been preintable... and now this revelation. :-(

  12. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    In just the last few months we've released the wall thickness visualizer and now Print it Anyway, with even more coming. This should tell you that we want to improve. Part of improving is showing you what's wrong before you order. Part of improving is you telling us to print it anyway and maybe we'll learn something that can be done.
  13. natalia
    natalia New Member
    Hey guys,

    A few answers:

    Paul - because of exactly this! We know this has been an issue for some time, and this is the best way we can help you learn and us learn.

    Tom- to reiterate what Brad said, we're trying to get to a place where we KNOW a product will always print successfully, rather than the place we're at, where we estimate probabilities.

    The 3D printing process is not binary - just because a machine printed one thing successfully one time, does NOT guarantee that it will again. It's more a question of probability. (And this explains those infuriating printed-before rejections). We may ship you a successful print, but what you don;t know is that we tried to print it 4 times before it was successful. When you order it again, it has a 1/4 chance of being printed.

    Now with this program, we together get to test our machines and process to see where the real line of "printability" is. So if you get a successful PIA print, by putting it through the regular process, you get TWO data points about it's success, and a better likelihood that when you put it for sale and a customer orders it, they get a successful print too.

    As Brad said, this pilot program is about information, both for you in helping you design a good product, and for us in what can be printed repeatedly.

    Please keep the questions coming, as always, we're in this together so we really value your input in making our process better!


  14. stop4stuff
    stop4stuff Well-Known Member

    All along, I've been asking for clear and open communication about models.
    All along, models have been printed without any reported problems.

    And now this PIA, print it anyway or pain in a** - your choice of TLA* ;)

    IMO this is maybe two years too late... yep, adapt to survive and all that but running around in circles like a headless chicken is not adapting and stresses survivability.


    * TLA = Three Letter Acronym
  15. natalia
    natalia New Member
    Paul, I appreciate your candor, always, and you have been here long enough to see just how much we have improved, and how much of it has been as a direct result of input from people like you.


    Print it Anyway is exactly about providing more communication about your models. I'd love for you to try it, and tell us what you think, so we can keep continually improving!

  16. tebee
    tebee Well-Known Member
    I too, think Shapeways is slowly improving, which must be hard at the same time as expanding.

    Things like this are maybe not all we want just yet, but they are steps on the right road.

    And I am so glad we will finally get detailed feedback about the problems that occurred producing the model - but this still should have been something done years ago for all models - I assume this is the intention in the future?

  17. stop4stuff
    stop4stuff Well-Known Member
    To be frank, which I usually am, three years ago, try to 'print it anyway' was the norm. If a model failed there was more often than not a fairly good explanation as to why the model failed. Shapeways expanded, failure emails became seemingly automated with unclear details, sometimes a model would go through & print ok, other times not, reasonable discussions as to why the model failed ended up in lengthy email exchanges. Occasionally Shapeways (great) team did their best and the model subsequently printed ok.

    However, 'print it anyway' seems to me like taking a step back three years, which might be a good thing, but once bitten, I'm twice shy.

  18. railNscale
    railNscale Well-Known Member

    Reading the consequences of the Print-It-Anyway options, I will not choose for this option.

    It appears to increase the amount of discussions and certainly doesn't help preventing the rather annoying rejection procedure.

  19. Brian123
    Brian123 New Member
    Even with a model that meets guidelines, passes inspection and approved for printing, there can still be unexpected issues. In the situations, receiving a refund or credit has been a big peace of mind.

    So with PIA...

    1: If the model doesn't meet quality standards, such as print layering issues, color issues, not fully cleaned, and other machine/handling related issues, will those situations still get a refund or credit as they were not the result of the model?

    2: Is the price the same despite added risk? I figure Shapeway's pricing structure has been designed to handle reprints or refunds on failed models that were initially approved. If PIA lacks that support, will there be any kind of a discount since you are essentially waiving the right to a refund or credit if your model as issues during printing? Or maybe a discount on printing the next iteration of the same model through PIA after fixing an issue?

    3: I assume if the model breaks, it will still be fully cleaned and prepared just as if it didn't break, then shipped. Not like production on it stops in its tracks at the first sign of an issue and shipped not fully processed? Like if a character's arm breaks off, will both pieces still be cleaned, finished and shipped, and let the buyer decide how to repair?
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
  20. MrNib
    MrNib Well-Known Member
    In one sense this might benefit me. I've been holding off on submitting some flat designs with random surface noise that I assumed would be rejected for small features and/or engraving/embossing violations.

    On the other hand, since the part orientation is another unknown factor the parts could have variable print results depending on the tray orientation. Perhaps the fix is to map the features to a cube or a sphere to gauge orthogonal effects. Math!