Small items attached to a bearer

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by woody64, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. woody64
    woody64 Well-Known Member
    This was originally part of an answer in another thread but maybe it's worth discussing:

    Small items suffer from pricing by handling costs.
    Shapeways suffers from handling of small items per default since it's more difficult for most of the production lines.

    Currently I solve this problem by attaching 10 items of the same type to a carrier.
    So the price is now = handling fee + 10 * volume price
    Which is a significant difference for small items.

    For the creation of such a collection I have a blender script which can attach small items to a carrier. So at least it's technical doable for specific items.

    Unfortunately many users want to buy one or two of this and one or two of another item.

    A procedure which can make this automatically in the background would be great.

    For example items which have a specific flag will then be attached by shapeways to a carrier per default.
    This can be done with no buyer interaction (only with a remark on the order that marked items are attached to a carrier).

    Worth discussing?


    Picture of the blender script: 62&private=0 627&goto=30103#msg_30103
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2011
  2. LincolnK
    LincolnK New Member
    That would be very cool if SW could offer something like that.

  3. BillBedford
    BillBedford New Member
    You mean something like this?

    Luggage barrow package-750.png

  4. ana_xyz
    ana_xyz New Member
    Hey Bill, so that's something you created yourself, right? How'd it work out for you?

    Just another quick question to everyone in this thread: it seems that the term "bearers" is being used the same way as we've all talked about "sprues". Am i right in thinking these are the same?

    Just want to help us out by minimizing confusion. :D

  5. woody64
    woody64 Well-Known Member
    Yes I've ment sprues.

    You can see the sprues as I use them in this model: ug
    (sometimes it would be so helpfull to use the rendered picture directly in a text/forum ... , but I've found no possibility so far)

    I've discussed that with Pete when the handling fee for WSF was introduced.
    From our discussion I got:
    - many (n) small items in one file are not helpful, because it generates n x effort
    - adding n items to a sprue is from producing point of view one bigger item.

    I hope that's still true.
    Fortunately for me, I have already all items in 10 x packages available. So the handling fee is now covered for all materials with these packs.
    (Often customers asked why 10x WD packs are not cheaper then ordering 10 times the single item. Now it is)

    Still open:
    - how does the shipping fee effect sales

    But for all of my sales it would be a big advantage if it would be possible to arrange several items on a sprue. That must not be visible for the customer. It would save me a lot of work, because I don't have to add the 10x packs.

    At least my blender script would already work with the uploaded stl file when one single item is ordered n times.
    It would generate a sprue with n same items hanging on it.

    Last edited: Oct 3, 2011
  6. BillBedford
    BillBedford New Member
    Yep, it worked out fine. Part of the reason for doing this was to provide some protection while the pieces are being delivered.
    That's the way people seem to be using 'bearers'. The trucks are not attached to the framework so maybe 'caged' would be better.

  7. BillBedford
    BillBedford New Member
    I've tried using sprues similar to yours, but have decided against them for most applications. They have a tendency to break and leave a stub that has to be cleaned off. Better to use a cage, as above, or if your pieces have a hole in them, like yours, simply thread them on loop of material.

    Last edited: Oct 3, 2011
  8. woody64
    woody64 Well-Known Member
    I'm using spures since the introduction of the handling fee for WSF.
    (I think more then a year now)
    So far I haven't had any problem.

    The biggest disadvantage was the creation of the items.

    But with the blender plugin I've written that's a one minute task.

    Does anybody know of a python based 3d system which can :
    - load/save stls
    - manipulate 3d objects in a simple ways
    - create simple meshes

    blender does support a subset of it, but my current version is not able to:
    - load/save of stl files via commandline scripting
    - is not able to be used on a web server

    A very simple workflow for such a topic may be:
    - simple web interface which allows to sepcify the number and type of items which should be attached to a sprue/bearer
    - python program which does the creation
    - ftp upload to shapeways
    - and positioning the requester in shapeways shopping card

    For my items that could mean:
    - average volume price $1.7
    - markup $0.5
    - handling fee $2
    - shipping fee Europa $9.5

    A 20 items sprue then results in $2,75 per item.

    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  9. aeron203
    aeron203 New Member
    Woody, perhaps you should speak to McTrivia about that. I think he was working on something very much like that, though he is probably a little busy helping with the debugging of the interface and API.

    If you have the script already, saving and uploading shouldn't be that big of a deal. If you really can't be bothered to do it manually, you could use a macro recorder to drive Blender and/or your browser. I believe Dizingof uses one called AutoHotKey to... do those things that he does.

    Just so we're clear on terminology, let's say that both "sprues" and "cages" are types of "bearers". Even though the usage of sprue is not technically accurate, it is common parlance in the model building world, so let's run with it.

    You may have noticed I just posted some tutorials on building sprued arrays, and the whole series is less than 15 minutes. Without the explanation it can be done in a few minutes so I am not in favor of Shapeways investing development time to save a few minutes or dollars for only a handful of users, when they could be doing things that help everyone. We have to pay those developers salaries anyway, so that would be going in circles. We experienced members are technically capable and not lazy, so I'm sure we can figure it out ourselves. Let's share as many examples of sprues and grouping as possible to give some inspiration for those who haven't tried it yet. Below is a "kit" I used to get around the minimum model sizing to test 3D printed hinge clearances.

    Last edited: Oct 5, 2011
  10. mo_design
    mo_design New Member

    the point is not the creating of bearers for our one designers. As you say, this can be done at home for most experienced users.

    The interesting part, is creating bearers on the fly while ordering multiple parts, also from different shops. So this must be done on the shapeway server.

    King regards
  11. woody64
    woody64 Well-Known Member
    I've tried to figure out one possibility, but that's a lot of handwork which is a nightmare with the current interface:

    Interface Problems:
    - loading the page needs a minimum bandwidth and can be very slow
    - where the hell are the private links gone, I don't want to flood my shop with 2x and 5x items
    - where's the button to deselect all materials at once gone
    - why is the grouping of materials (all WSF and clones grouped together) not done
    - why is it not possible to add a markup to all materials
    - already discussed the cropping of text which leads to not visibility of links
    - new pricing affects the results in a massive way - sure that will be visible in shop results

    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011
  12. mctrivia
    mctrivia Member
    Yes I have writen a system that can take and combine STL files on my server on the fly.
    Pro: customers can select what they want and build group packs in real time
    Cons: I only support STL files at the moment. Have not yet writen in cages and pures but that would not be hard to do. Busy with school and other stuff though until Nov 10th
  13. woody64
    woody64 Well-Known Member
    Can you please share the link?

    Did you add sprues or only combine them?

    What language did you use (php)?


    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011
  14. mctrivia
    mctrivia Member
    no link as it is not up at the moment. Was for a while.

    I wrote it in PHP.

    I was trying to figure out how I could make some money on this(or at least get back my costs). I have decided though I will release this as an open source project and if someone wants to write a nicer UI I will even host it on my server farm for a low monthly charge(with your own domain)

    Give me a bit of time to add spurs, and cages to the script and clean the code up a bit.
  15. baltimore
    baltimore New Member
    That's awesome to think that you've automated it. Peter said it was cool if we do this as long as we're smart about nesting and packing. If we take up too large of a bounding box, then shapeways loses money.
  16. woody64
    woody64 Well-Known Member
    I made a very rough test of concept:

    - The form asks for generation of 6 items type budenovka and 8 russian helmets
    - it calls a php generator doing the assembling
    - the resulting stl is currently stored on my server. I've downloaded it and checked it in blender
    (here the ftp api should do it's job in the future)
    - to be perfect the uploaded file has to be added ti the shopping card

    1. (to be fair the generator works on some prework and some basic assumptions how this prework can be connected together - very simple but efficent)
    2. currently I don't work with my full smoothed objects since the mass of data is to high. But the process is the same (currently I store as stl-ascii - and that's to heavy in size)

    but based on this adding further items is a very small task for me (5 minutes each)

    Last edited: Oct 9, 2011
  17. woody64
    woody64 Well-Known Member
    And it also works with smoothed items now (much more more points) and binary stl.

    Next step would be the ftp upload.

    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  18. woody64
    woody64 Well-Known Member
  19. pfeifferstylez
    pfeifferstylez New Member
    Usually, a little red X icon is the replacement for a missing or inaccessible graphic.
  20. woody64
    woody64 Well-Known Member
    I know what you mean, but it's an explicit shapeways icon. And I haven't seen it so far.
    Bildschirmfoto-My Designs - Mozilla Firefox.png