Update On Fine Detail Plastic Pricing

Discussion in 'Official Announcements' started by avim, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. TrentTroop
    TrentTroop Well-Known Member
    Moving away from sprues is nonsensical if the srpue-costs aren't dropped across the board. I'm already doing multiple versions of each model for scale. I offer my customers all versatile print options, the HP, and smooth detail for pretty much every item, with certain items being offered in metal as well (which requires yet another single-sprued version of each item, since you can't srpue in metal and the multi-part cost is crippling there)

    Now I'd have to have sprued versions for the other materials, and non-sprued or limited-sprue versions for smooth detail.
    crashtestdummy likes this.
  2. ecs_norway
    ecs_norway Well-Known Member
    Does the pricing model take into account the different-sized bounding boxes of separate parts in a model?

    Let's say I have a ship that, printed as a single piece, is about 2cm thick and has bits projecting up and down in various places by 2cm each, but are only 1cm wide.

    So I cut the model into parts, separating out the various extrusions, and part it out into two models - the main hull, and the add-on bits, the latter sprued together into a single object about half the size of the main hull in each x, y, and about 3/4 of it in z.

    So, can the pricing model account for this as two parts, one of an a by b by c bounding box and one of a 1/2 a by 1/2 b by 3/4 c box, or would it treat the entire thing as one bounding box of 1.5a by 1.5b by c?
  3. MitchellJetten
    MitchellJetten Shapeways Employee CS Team

    I'm not sure if I follow your question 100%.
    But if you split parts, they all get their own little bounding box, made to fit those parts.

    So one will be the bounding box for the little parts sprued
    The second bounding box will be for the main hull
  4. ecs_norway
    ecs_norway Well-Known Member
    That was what I was asking, yes, if each separate part was treated as its own bounding box when pricing the model. It makes parting a model out easier as we don't need to try to jam everything together to minimize total size -- that particular exercise in Tetris is left to the poor guy building the print platter. Yes?
  5. daj600bp
    daj600bp Member
    1/700 scale ships are now more expensive in FUD than resin kits with PE details. The REASON I shop with Shapeways is that these models are not available (yet) and I could have them now at a reasonable price. Besides the 1/700 accessories and aircraft, all ship models are OUT-OF-RANGE for this modeler.
  6. adbinc
    adbinc Well-Known Member
    A report on how the new pricing has affected our shop.

    Prices for Smooth Fine Detail Plastic went up by 30% or more.

    Sales have dropped by 30% or more (praise be for our customers who order in Versatile Plastic). This is our new third worst month. One of those "worst months" was the month when we opened our shop mid month.

    I have told my customers that using any sort of rush processing appears to be unnecessary at this point as I am seeing orders for Smooth Fine Detail Plastic being produced in little more than a week.

    Maybe this is what Shapeways wanted. I cannot see that they will need to "farm out" printing if our orders are any indication. Keeping production in house would certainly cut down on their expenses.

    javelin98 and crashtestdummy like this.
  7. railNscale
    railNscale Well-Known Member
    Well luckily the price changes were not as horrible as predicted initially. Of course it is typically SW not to provide any useful tools to work-around the price changes. You have been telling so many stories about proper calculations, and tools.
    Nr. 1 problem: You do not ommunicate properly. etween the price change of October 22nd, 2018 and the final price change of May, it was basically not possible to introduce new kits due to the horrible prices.

    Nr.2 problem: You do not provide tools. Uploading the corrupt csv-documents does not work. Therefore you have to dig in the individual models and change prices accordingly. This is far from ideal.

    Nr.3 problem: You always introduce new problems. Just noticed while changing my mark-ups that a well known kit becomes 'private'. I get the notice: “Your model ids currently set to private pending review by the Shapeways team. We will notify you when it is ready for sale.” Sorry, a kit that was sold almost 130 times since 2014 needs to be reviewed by you???? I don't like these kind of interruptions, and really reminds me that SW is not customer friendly.

    For your information. It is possible to adopt my price settings to get more-or-less back to the previous customer prices at the cost of mark-up. Unfortunately the sales are less than previously. That means that SW is attracting less-and-less customers. That is not a good sign. Also I notice few customers complaining that the market place is not visible or that the search function at SW is not working properly.

    It is a pity that a 'professional' company like SW is not able to maintain their activities on a workable level. Of course in the normal world one would expect impriovements over time. But that appears too much to ask for....

    crashtestdummy and srnjm420 like this.
  8. This is insane. I was unable to work on the shop for the last month, knowing I'd return to a new pricing algorithm. What do I find? An absolutely MESS.

    Prior to the last pricing change, we had retooled our entire line of multi-part models to include sprues. Under the older pricing algorithm this was _absolutely_necessary_ in order to bring the price down. We spent a couple of MONTHS doing that work.

    What do I find under the new pricing algorithm?

    Sprues don't matter. Number of parts don't matter. The multi-part models with the same bounding box size are the same price with and without sprues. WE WASTED OUR TIME.

    But the larger sets that we sprued together? Are now significantly more expensive. For example, one of our better selling products in Smooth Detail went from 26.83 to 38.60 cost. 43% increased cost. Adding sprues increased the height by a few mm and the small increase in the bounding box increases the price 43%...seriously?? Returning the old unsprued model to service costs less in Smooth Deatil. It now has a new cost of 27.35.

    You're going to say, so use the old models. Except the prices are reversed for every other plastic. The new model costs significantly less sprued then unsprued. For example, in white natural versatile the old unsprued model costs 30.00 while the new sprued model costs 9.83.

    That's more than a 300% pricing difference.

    And to add insult to injury, the unsprued version can be printed in Smoothest Detail while the Sprued version cannot, under the newer super restrictive size restrictions that were introduced when you changed from Ultra Fine to Smoothest Detail.

    So what? We are supposed to have both sprued and unsprued versions of the same models so we can reduce the costs in each plastic separately? So now we are supposed to support TWICE AS MANY MODELS just so we can have the minimum price in Smooth Detail and the minimum price in everything else?

    We are a small shop that does this more as a hobby then as a business. We simply don't have the time to spend months rebuilding our models every time you make changes like this. Not only are you completely opaque about calculating the costs, but you make changes with little forward notice that are causing us wasted time and effort. Further, you are now making us jump through hoops in order to provide the lowest pricing for the SAME MODELS in different plastics.

    Reading through this topic, and many others, I have this deep-pitted sinking feeling that is telling me to give up, this is not going to work, that Shapeways doesn't give a rats *** about our shop and our trying to make something from it. You're responses do not take into consideration the time and effort that we've put into building these models, as if our time is worth nothing at all. "Just spend hundreds of more hours doing it all over, it's ok!" Yeah screw you. I can't calculate the costs offline... the U.S. President is more transparent then you are.

    At this point I'm really considering just leaving the shop and giving up. My modeler is going to absolutely lose his mind when he finds out that you just caused him to waste hundreds of hours of time retooling the models for sprues on the majority of our multi-part models, something that he does in his spare time.

    Choose your response carefully. It's costing you creators like me.
    TinyDemon and FerretDesigns like this.
  9. Greaseball
    Greaseball Well-Known Member
    I see uploading small 1cm cubes cost $7.50 for one, and $7.50 for two in FD. Printing in VP costs $5.00 for one and $10.00 for two (unsprued). Sandstone $8.25 and $16.50. What makes FD so different?
    crashtestdummy likes this.
  10. What I'm seeing is that they don't have a "per item" charge on the Smooth Detail. Instead, most of the price is determined on the bounding box of the total print area. So it's calculated completely differently from everything else now.
    crashtestdummy likes this.
  11. avim
    avim Shapeways Employee Product Team
    A reminder that this forum is only open to those who can talk to each other respectfully. I do understand your frustration, but posting anything disrespectful to other members here - shapeways staff or otherwise is not OK. If anyone can't respect that rule, you will not be welcome on our platform anymore.

    My perspective on why we have to make the changes we did was explained earlier in this thread (or at least I tried to!). If I have not adequately answered your questions, then please feel free to email me directly at avim+pricing@shapeways.com and I'll do my best to speak with you directly.
  12. Attacking me won't solve the problems presented here.

    I find it tremendously disrespectful for a creator, who says he has sold over 102,000 dollars worth of product in the last year, to basically be ignored. The only public response he got was "make more products"... which I would take to mean that Shapeways does not value the time the creators have put into their shops and products. You can couch that in all the nice words you want, but then it goes from being disrespectful to being insulting as well.


    In my particular case these changes mean that I would have to support TWICE as many products -- one for Smooth Detail and an identical product for everything else -- because the way you calculate the costs are different for Smooth Detail compared to everything else. It's pretty obvious that other, much more successful creators, are frustrated and insulted that they have spent a lot of time and effort and then have to throw it away or spend more time doing the work over again. ALl because Shapeway's communicates so poorly with the creators. Creators are telling you that you -- Shapeways -- isn't listening to what we need to make this work. And listening is 90% of communicating!

    When you say "email me so we can talk in private" it screams I don't think anyone would like what I have to say if it was in the public forum. Whether that is true or not isn't the point; that's the image that I see you are projecting.

    Just in this topic alone a dozen creators are telling you that you are not being transparent, that your communications is inadequate and untimely, and that you are costing us a tremendous amount of time and sales. And the changes have not only increased our prices, but decreased our sales to levels not seen since we started our shops!

    Sir, I would assume that we all want the same thing -- we want Shapeways to be able to sell 3D printed objects from now until eternity. But if you keep raising the prices, keep costing us hundreds of hours of time, and keep denying us the information we NEED to operate efficiently; then eventually another company will come along and provide that. Then Shapeways will wither on the vine.

    I would like to assume you don't want that. I would rather not see that. But if someone else came along tomorrow with a store front, print-on-demand, transparency in pricing, and didn't make me feel like I'm not wanted -- I'd take those many hours of time I'm looking at needing to fix my shop and switch tomorrow.

    I don't understand why that's not a problem for you.

    Shapeways doesn't create products. Since we are creating the products that get sold to make you money, our problems should be your problems. And the vibe I get from Shapeways is the exact opposite.
    crashtestdummy likes this.
  13. rolsen01
    rolsen01 Well-Known Member
    I have opted to take the 'do nothing' approach unfortunately. Since this was a hobby for me to try to enhance the car model hobby industry, it is not worth my time to retool the 1300+ parts I have every time they change the rules (sprue, no sprue). Avi and I have discussed this privately, and I understand where Shapeways is coming from, but with the price increases, their forward direction will probably not include much help from my store anymore. I went from over 2100 parts a month down to 300 last month, and this month on track to do less than 200. I have stopped adding/adjusting parts, as the market no longer warrants this work and will let the store wither itself out as it appears to be doing. It appears the venture of trying to offer affordable plastic printing is unrealistic. I have no interest in the other opportunities Shapeways offers (high end plastics, metals, wax, ceramic etc), so I wish them luck. With the availability of sub $1000 SLA printers, many hobbyists are adding them to their toolkit, and no longer needing to buy parts, they just want the files which looks like the next direction of the hobby.
    crashtestdummy likes this.
  14. Rick_D_Ryo
    Rick_D_Ryo Active Member
    Unfortunately I didn't have time to spend on any of this repricing issues and have chosen to do nothing.

    I guess numbers will speak for themselves as our shop sales dropped drastically in 2019 compared to 2018.
    I don't even raise our voice anymore and try to work things out with Shapeways, our past discussions have lead to absolutely no follow-up whatsoever... (an we receive some generic copy/paste email from our account manager that make things worse as proving tthe lack of personalized follow-up to our immediate raised problems)...

    My only regret as business owner is all the time invested in building a niche market and growing sales with (and for) Shapeways and finally haven't got anything positive in return from this company.
    Time to see if other companies could be interested in our business...
    crashtestdummy likes this.
  15. MrNibbles
    MrNibbles Well-Known Member
    For some smallish parts I could put two or three copies of a model in a file without sprues and fall below the minimum price or perhaps add a dollar or two more (detail plastic). That's assuming that my goal is to provide a customer with the most value for their dollar but it would require creating additional multi-element models and possibly shoehorning those into the variant structures. It's also assuming that the pricing formula won't change again every few months.

    Perhaps Shapeways could add a mechanism that automatically adds additional copies to the shopping cart as if they were included in one model file as long as the minimum production price isn't exceeded, or provides a discount opportunity for ordering multiple individual copies of a model. This pricing does seem contrary to everything that's been said for years about the extra handling costs that are required for multi-element files but if it is what it is I'd be happy to pass on the benefits to customers.
  16. javelin98
    javelin98 Well-Known Member
    No. I refuse. What you're doing is trying to suppress dissenting voices.

    Unless you're willing to reveal the pricing formulas to me via direct email, there is nothing to be gained for taking this offline, where other frustrated designers cannot get the benefit of seeing their questions already asked and answered.

    If you don't want me here anymore, say so and I'll close my shop. But until then, I'm still a shop owner and I will speak my mind on matters of concern to the entire Shapie community.
  17. Rick_D_Ryo
    Rick_D_Ryo Active Member
    @javelin98 has a point, what good is emailing now after 6 month?
    I understand the point of containing a bad job at change management back then by addressing each concern privately, but we're past it now and 6 month without proper follow-up to help our business doesn't look very good to me...
    crashtestdummy likes this.
  18. Spitfire2865
    Spitfire2865 Well-Known Member
    Glad to see after a month of being away from Shapeways, the shitshow is still going.
    ComradeWave and crashtestdummy like this.
  19. crashtestdummy
    crashtestdummy Well-Known Member
    Like anything else at SW in six months the rules will change and once again everyone will be scrambling to change. Maybe net time the phase of the moon or the price of tea in china or maybe the height of the tide at the moment in new York harbor will affect the pricing.
  20. adbinc
    adbinc Well-Known Member
    Just so you know, we had the second-worst month ever. The only one worse was the partial month when we opened our shop. It is sad to complete our second year on Shapeways on this note.

    The sales figures were less than half of what they were last June 15. To say that the CFO of our company is less than happy is an understatement.