Shapeways printed and sent me a model that actually doesn't pass the thin wall analisys

Discussion in 'Technologies and Hardware' started by K4rl33, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. K4rl33
    K4rl33 New Member
    Hello guys,
    with reference to this model ( ) I would like to know if it is still actually printable, since it does not pass the thin wall analysis, but shapeways printed it and sent it to me last month.
    Thank you,
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  2. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    The wall thickness checker is just a guiding force. It checks to see if the model meets the minimum unsupported wall thickness. It can not differentiate (yet) between unsupported, supported, wall, wire, or detail.
  3. stop4stuff
    stop4stuff Well-Known Member
    Wall thickness is a crap shoot.
    With your model, it looks as though the thin walls are nicely supported - this is important for the wax print stage of your model before casting.
    Same as in steel*;


    *one of my models, that Shapeways just show without credit, and they even messed up the resolution even though the original is better :(
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  4. worksbysolo
    worksbysolo New Member

    I did not see a clear answer to the original question starting this thread.

    I have a very similar situation with my model It printed beautifully a few months ago, but now does not pass the automated Thin Wall test.

    The questionable areas are emboss details, not structural components. I feel that thickening these areas will change the design. If the design changes then my current photography will not represent the actual model, and should be redone. This would obviously mean the expense of reprinting.

    SW support, please advise as to any suggestions you may have.

    Thank you,

  5. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    The concept of "Pass" or "Fail" the Thin Walls Check is not an absolute. A human will re-check the model upon purchase.
    The new terminology in the tool is "Suspect" - not "Fail".

    Yes, it's going to highlight embossed/engraved details, and things like the trailing edges of airplane wings.
    The software is not sophisticated enough yet to check all the possible situations, and it's going to flag a few things that are permissible.

    It's a good tool for showing you large areas that are expected to fail - it's not so good yet for embossed/engraved areas.

    The thing you must take into account is whether a thinner-than-normal area is going to get polished off or lost in the resolution accuracy of the printer. If you're above those minimums, then you likely can have the item printed without trouble.

    At this time, the human checkers are making judgement calls as to whether the embossing will be lost during processing - they'll reject the item if they feel that your details are too small to make it thru, but they will allow it to pass if they feel that the details will survive.
  6. worksbysolo
    worksbysolo New Member
    Hi stoneysmith,

    Your explanation is very clear, and I do understand that we are on the leading edge of this art-technology adventure. This means that together, we are constantly learning, and making adjustments to the way we design an produce these objects.

    Okay, now... I would like advice on my next steps. Here is the scenario:

    Fact: The model ( of my Vine Ring was approved by the human checkers to be printed in wax, cast in brass, plated in gold, and polished to a beautiful sheen. That ring is shown in the photograph below. Upon close examination the "suspect" areas of the emboss details came out just fine. Good judgement call humans!

    Next: I have a customer who wants to order that ring, in that size, but this time in the new 14k gold. So, the way I see it, it should once again get the green light for printability, right? (By now you probably see my predicament.) This means there will be some substantial cash on the line. Above all, I want the customer to have a positive Shapeways experience and return for more.

    So, to possibly boil this down to a couple of questions; If a model has been approved by human checkers once, does it get flagged as a "printable" or "Designer Authorized" object, or will it be rechecked every time it is purchased? And, what about different human checkers making conflicting judgements?

    I know, I know, we should just always stay within the guidelines and sidestep these issues, but when dealing with items like jewelry with embossed/engraved areas, those little details make the piece what it is.


    As always, thank you for taking the time to help us with these ongoing concerns,

    -- Bernie
  7. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    A couple of answers for you.
    1) There is not a "printed before" flag that indicates Yes/No. Instead, they can COUNT the number of times a model succeeded or failed. It amounts to much the same thing, but actually gives them a bit more info.
    2) BUT: the SuccessCount is PER MATERIAL. In theory, something that works in Silver might fail in Steel, etc. so they look at the Success Count in each material. That means your model might get rejected in Gold even though the same model worked in Silver. I know that Shapeways is working to reduce this kind of 'false rejection;
    3) At this time, there is no such thing as a "Designer Approved" flag - I'm uncertain as to whether something like that is being developed.
    4) Yes, most models are rechecked by a human as it goes thru processing, even if it has been printed before successfully, and sorry to say, yes, sometimes the humans make errors. I am fully confident that Shapeways is working to improve their processes so as to reduce this specific issue.
    5) One of the biggest issues with #4 is that some materials are still outsource to external vendors. That means there is a certain level of checking done by those external vendors, and they may not have full access to the information in the Shapeways database. Here again, Shapeways IS striving to improve the process end to end, but as with any system, it's not perfect yet.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2014
  8. Thomas
    Thomas New Member
    Hey Bernie,

    Your questions are right on point. You want to know (before the transaction) that your customer's order will be fulfilled in a new material that we just launched, gold. This is where my team can help. Yes, there are automated checks and checks by engineers after the purchase. However, we have a dedicate team of Customer Service agents (most of them designers like yourself) that can review the ring and give you a heads up on any issues they see. After all, the system works really well but sometimes you need to connect to a human being to help you through. We just happen to be a great group of human beings.

    Send us an email at (you can even put Attn: Thomas in the subject) and I'll make sure you have someone look over the ring to help you on this first dive into gold--yes, that is a Scrooge McDuck reference for those that care.

  9. worksbysolo
    worksbysolo New Member
    Hi Thomas,

    Your reply is very much appreciated. Stoneysmith, yours too!

    Email is on it's way.

    Thank you,