So Regarding The Manual Checks, A Discussion.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by CybranKNight, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. CybranKNight
    CybranKNight Well-Known Member
    So I've been using Shapeways for three years now and I guess my shop is small/slow enough that I've not really had to do with more than a couple rejections but the recent threads have gotten me thinking. Now I mostly work with S&F and FUD so I can't really comment on other materials and my knowledge of how things work currently could be flawed but it's my understanding that currently everytime something is ordered it gets a manual check and thus, can be rejected even if it's been printed 100 times.

    Isn't that a bit wasteful? I mean, I understand checking new designs and all that but seems like Shapeways would be better off "letting designs go" once they hit a reliability threshold and spending more time on new and troublesome designs, both to ensure that initial checks are thorough enough to try avoid "False Positive/Negatives" and provide a deeper analysis of troublesome models, including providing examples of previous issues/breakages.*

    This might be feasible for all materials but for S&F and FUD/FED this should work now that we can define a specific orientation, once the model is checked any issues that arise should be from printer issues and Shapeways' handling, neither of which is something a design has any control/influence over. Obviously designs need to be checked initially but once that passes it shouldn't need to be rechecked until/unless is can't be printed or handled properly. In fact we can simply repurpose the "First to Try" system to track this, as long as the print history is above a set amount for a given model it shouldn't need to be checked again and again needlessly.

    Seems like something like this is a win/win set-up, designers don't have to worry about a design getting rejected out of the blue after months of printing fine, Shapeways can spend more time checking designs and working together with designers in more depth when dealing with troublesome designs.

    * Shapeways really need to really keep better records of how and why prints fail instead of simply record that it failed.
  2. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    I may be wrong, but my understanding is that the presence of a successful print history (or a simple "printed before" flag) is already checked and the manual check skipped in that case (at least for materials that are processed by shapeways themselves, materials like steel may be different). Where this does not help is when (a) a model suddenly fails for unrelated reasons - printer fault or careless handling and is then subjected to a manual check where a formal flaw without previous practical consequences is found, or (b) the geometry of a successfully printed model is reused in full or in part in another design.
  3. CybranKNight
    CybranKNight Well-Known Member
    With A that's something that Shapeways needs to deal with more internally, they shouldn't be rejecting/rechecking models based due to mishandling/printer faults, Ideally these shouldn't even count against the models score either due to the file itself not being responsible. Ideally a model shouldn't have passed initial checks if it had a "formal flaw" and if a model has something that ends up with no consequences it's history should speak for itself in that regard.

    I do agree with on your B point but that's understandably a much more complicated problem to tackle, if it's even possible you know?
  4. Anyuta3D
    Anyuta3D Well-Known Member
    Well, we all have received this "help us resolve issues with your customer's order" message. Actually Shapeways need to change this message, because they do not ask our help to resolve issues - they just cancel first and ask questions later. Sometimes cancelation may be justified - other times not. After years of experience here, we all became more skilled and know what to expect from Shapeways engineers who manualy check files and we all try to maintain some typical wall / wire thickness within proper limits as adviced by Shapeways. The problem starts when Shapeways employees who manualy check the files before 3D production, cancel orders that had been produced before and 3D models with all details within proper limits (which is more annoying). For example, I recently received the well known "help us resolve issues with your customer's order" message, which notifies that a Shapeways employee, decided to cancel an order because the walls were (according to his/her measurements) 0.56mm... while the minimum limit is 0.3mm thick! Oh, great!

    Another annoying issue that need to be solved ASAP, is that (somehow) measurements done by Shapeways employees (to justify a cancelation), are always false. For example, since we both sides use the netfabb software, it is NOT possible Shapeways employee finds a wall 0.56mm thick and when I measure the exact same wall, I find it 0.79mm. The SAME wall! ...and they cancel this specific wall for being "only 0.56mm thick" (which is 0.79mm thick actually) while the minimum thickness limit is 0.30mm!!! If this doesn't sound crazy enough, then what does? As long as Shapeways officialy advices us to use this specific software to execute measurements, please make us a favor and use same netfabb software. It is not possible to say that you use the exact same software and find different results for same item measurements.

    As a final - and I would apreciate if I could have an official answer on this - can anybody explain how it is possible the 99% cases of cancelations happen by the NY, USA located team? How it is possible, models that had been checked and already succesfully 3D printed by the Eindhoven Netherlands team, get canceled when the 3D model is re-checked by the USA team? To NY, USA team & engineers: Please call your coleagues to Eindhoven Netherlands and learn from them. Ask them how they manage to do same work and pass same models with no problem, while the US team blocks them (most times with no obvious cause)? What exactly is the reason? Is it some different work habit? Are the Europeans trained different way? Is it a specific engineer in USA team causing the problem and frustrate us all? Is it the (different) method of working? Are the Europeans more cool? Are they more clever? Do European team have more fun while working? Is it because the climate in Eindhoven? Is it because the water they drink? Are they less stressed? It is not normal for NY, USA team engineers to cancel orders (with all dimensions within proper limits) that had been produced before succesfully by the European team and when the issue comes to the USA part, the 3D models gets somehow canceled. There must be a reason! I dont know what it is - please find it and solve the problem once and for all.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2018
    he6agon likes this.
  5. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    I'd say scenario a), the way you put it, puts a lot of blame on our engineers and/or equipment. Failure can happen for a lot of reasons. It'd be great if prints came out nice and clean, ready to pack. But they always require some sort or cleaning. For WSF, they're in a giant block of unsinthered powder. FUD and FXD have to be carefully scraped from the print bed, and then have the support material removed in a wash. I don't know how they do this to the sizes that we print. I know I couldn't do it as successfully as our engineers do. I know for WSF, print quality is determined by humidity, temperature, and the quality of the raw material. We do our best to control all 3 aspects.
  6. jimmyadvice
    jimmyadvice Shapeways Employee CS Team
    Hi All

    Thanks for the feedback on these checking issues. We certainly appreciate your passion for your designs and wanting to make sure our processes work best for you.

    I do agree that there are parts of this process we could improve and it's certainly a focus for the coming year to improve how we handle design issues, especially for pieces that have printed before. We do have some controls in place for pieces that do have a high success rate and we are looking at how to translate this to more models.

    Part of this is aligning checking standards across facilities and maintaining a "roster" of common design issues in a central place so we can easily diagnose designs that may be borderline.

    I also want to say that while we do encourage your feedback and opinions on issues, speculating on why you think one team is "better" than another is another is just that: pure speculation. It does not help further the conversation or provide any real feedback. "99% of cancellations" do not just come from the US team and I would imagine there are customers that feel the complete opposite when having models cancelled by the Netherlands team.

    Part of the reason we do not keep thorough records of past checks is because we allow you as designers to update your designs at any time! As you know, once you do this, you are basically starting the checking process over and the past print history will not apply to the new version of the model.

    We do hear you and we want to make the manual checks better just like every other part of our process as we work to improve what we offer our customers daily. Your patience while we develop, test and roll out new features is always appreciated. Just because you don't see it in front of you now does not mean it's not being worked on or on our radar!
  7. Frozenrain
    Frozenrain Well-Known Member
    Wow,this is really frustrating.And the differences between two teams that you mentioned are……hahahaha:D.They are really that different.:D
  8. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    So does this mean the "printed before" status flag and history still does not exist, or is only advisory ?? This spurious rejection business has been with shapeways for years, and at some point just keeping to tell us that you are a daring startup and "want to improve" is not going to cut it.
    When I have a perfect shapeways (WSF) print on my desk, I want to be able to order a new copy months or years later, or put it for sale with confidence. On several occasions this has resulted in rejections, and I have then sent the exact same file to a competitor and again received a perfect print.
  9. Anyuta3D
    Anyuta3D Well-Known Member
    I 'd agree with mkroeker.

    I insist that the biggest problem is the difference on way of working between NY, USA based team and the Eindhoven, Netherlands team team. Canceling / rejecting an already 3D printed and within proper limits model, is always possible to happen and we (designers & shops) accept the fact that Shapeways engineers are humans and they could make mistakes sometimes - OK, it may happen.

    What is really frustrating (according my experince with Shapeways), is that when order gets canceled by USA team and I ask for explanations, they always have an excuse ready. Most of times the USA team reason for rejection is not justified (they cancel 0.6mm thick walls when material limit is 0.3mm thick) and has nothing to do with the case, but since I am not willing to get into an argument with a Shapeways employe who answers hundreds of emails daily, I do not continue asking excuses. Ofcourse they do not bother to fix the situation or call the potential buyer and notify him/her that the mistake happened accidentaly and they (engineers) apologize. On the other hand when the Eindhoven Netherlands team (rarely) accidentaly reject some order, they accept responsibility, they contact with customer to explain their mistake and they do whatever possible not to loose the sale. IMHO, this is huge difference in work method and I cannot say that both teams equaly effective while working and processing orders. From my point of view, the Eindhoven team, is by far much better and more customer-friendly by the NY team.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
    JoyComplex likes this.
  10. jimmyadvice
    jimmyadvice Shapeways Employee CS Team
    @Anyuta3D thanks again for the feedback

    You are certainly welcome to your point of view/opinion, but as one of those employees who "answers hundreds of emails" daily, I can tell you with certainty that we get complaints about both production facility locations equally.

    @mkroeker if we had the same guidelines for years, that would be feasible but as we print more designs and get more data, we do adjust guidelines and this can affect older models that may have not been printed in several years. It's part of the process and I agree it's frustrating but when we are printing new designs everyday, we can't set the guidelines based on one group or type of designs.

    We can see the history of designs and the printed before flag does exist. Does that mean it is seen and reviewed by checkers every time? Not necessarily but we are working on improving this part of the process to cut down on instances where established parts that have printed with great frequency are cancelled by a new checker or someone learning the process.
  11. Frozenrain
    Frozenrain Well-Known Member
    Hey, you guys are not Asia friendly.The shipping price force me to print some small part on my own. Please set your next factory in Asia and let me feature them sometime.:D
  12. jimmyadvice
    jimmyadvice Shapeways Employee CS Team
    @Frozenrain thanks for the feedback! If we make plans to expand to Asia, we'll certainly let you know.
  13. Shockbolt
    Shockbolt Member
    I've had this happen to me several times. 3D models that have been tagged with 100% successful have suddenly been rejected. In 99% of the times, the customer never re-orders the print. I'm truly sad to see this happen as it makes 3D modelers appear like amateurs to the customers this happens with, and both the seller and Shapeways lose money, instead of rejecting the order, the seller would at least get a chance to correct the issues, without stating to the customer that the order has been rejected.
  14. jimmyadvice
    jimmyadvice Shapeways Employee CS Team
    Hi @Shockbolt

    Thanks for the feedback on this issue.

    We are working on improving this system but please also keep in mind that we have seen models that print fine the first 4-5 times they are submitted but then we start seeing production issues for later prints. At this point, we review the model file again and are able to locate an area or areas that may be borderline/causing the production issues.

    We are looking for long term sustainability of a model to print over time, not just that it printed a few times before. Of course if you are seeing this issue with a model that has printed 10-20 or more times, that should not be occurring and you should definitely contact the service team so we can look into it.
  15. Shockbolt
    Shockbolt Member
    Hi @jimmyadvice ,

    My main point was that instead of straight out cancelling the order, perhaps it would be a better approach to contact the seller and allow for the needed adjustments to be made. It would be a win-win situation for all parts, both modelers, Shapeways, and the customer who placed the order.
    jimmyadvice likes this.
  16. jimmyadvice
    jimmyadvice Shapeways Employee CS Team
    @Shockbolt I definitely agree that it would be a great addition for designers and cause less headaches. I always channel this type of feedback to the people on my end who look for this so perhaps it's something we can add in the near future.
  17. Youknowwho4eva
    Youknowwho4eva Shapeways Employee Community Team
    @Shockbolt We are currently in beta with this option. If you're in the beta group, and your order is rejected, you'll have the opportunity to resolve the issue without cancelling the order. Unfortunately this is only for your orders currently, not for customer orders. You can read the thread here.
    Shockbolt likes this.