Way too expensive for what should be a reasonable sized object

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by 411363_deleted, Jul 16, 2014.

  1. UniverseBecoming
    UniverseBecoming Well-Known Member
  2. SavIsSavvy
    SavIsSavvy Member
    @MrNib: The Made with Code bracelets are sponsored by Google and are paid for my their generous initiative to get more women coding.

    @aelxproter: We work hard every day to bring our prices down and make 3D printed, unique products more affordable for all. Our prices is based on the the cost of machines, material and fabulous humans working tireless to bring your products to you and your customers. 10 people on average handle, clean or polish your product before it's sorted, packed and shipped. We're confident as time goes on, demand rises, and new processes are optimized we'll be able to lower costs.

    We work hard every day to bring our prices down and make 3D printed, unique products more affordable for all. We find that many of the Shoppers on Shapeways don't even know that the product they bought was 3D Printed; they purchased it because they thought it was beautiful, cool, useful, unique, custom, etc. There are plenty of people who support great design, and the products in our marketplace at the cost that they are currently. We cannot wait to see even more people be able to take part in opportunities on-demand additive manufacturing presents.

    Thanks for the discussion all. We are reading & listening & working hard to make it happen :).
  3. MrNib
    MrNib Well-Known Member
    Now if only I could get Google to pay for all my development prints!
  4. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    Try suggesting a "STEM for nibs" campaign to them...
    (Am I the only one who thinks that those acronyms are created by liberal arts majors who could not care less about engineering or any of the sciences they cram into snazzy abbreviations ?)
  5. Bobbiethejean
    Bobbiethejean Well-Known Member
    Oy! I'm a liberal arts major and you'll be hard-pressed to find a more fervent, unabashed science and technology enthusiast than myself! *Bite bite bite* >8P Hell, I'm a transhumanist. ^__^ It doesn't get much more YAY SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING than that. :p
    llialynnolsen likes this.
  6. MrNib
    MrNib Well-Known Member
    I remember teaching an introductory electrical engineering lab course in the mid 80's. Prior to that most students had some exposure to building and tinkering with stuff, maybe through Heathkit or for science fairs. So most went into engineering because they had some skin in the game. But when I asked my students why they decided to go into engineering about half of them said they heard there were big engineer shortages in high school and that it would be easy to get good paying jobs upon graduating. Not a bad goal but a lot of those students didn't "get" basic concepts and as I recall a lot of them transferred out to LAS majors. That's not necessarily a bad thing because now a lot of the engineers that did graduate are unemployed, yet so many companies are crying about not seeing enough qualified STEM applicants. Maybe the older engineering skill sets are now considered obsolete? Thank goodness Google and others are coming to the rescue!
  7. FreeRangeBrain
    FreeRangeBrain Active Member
    Per Shapeways terms & conditions: "... suitable only for decorative purposes..." So there's that...

    I think your basic premise is wrong. A Matisse or a Renoir are not only worth the mark-up on paint & canvas with a bit thrown in for a few days' labour. Likewise for prints thereof. The value is in the art itself, not the medium. Bespoke articles, regardless of practicality, are inherently more expensive. A hand made business suit will fetch a higher price than an off-the-rack one, as will handcrafted jewelery, lamp shades, and cars. If I hand craft a common paper clip then no, I shouldn't expect to be able to sell it at a premium. You may note, however, that Ferrari manage to sell key ring fobs for an outrageous amount of money, and not just a few of them.

    If a designer used 3D printing to make an ordinary picture frame, they are doing the equivalent of buying 3,000lbs of steel wool and knitting a car - you might be able to do it, but that doesn't mean you should. Alternately, I have 3D printed a fairly complicated differential gearbox demonstrator model for only a couple of hundred dollars and around one hundred hours of my own time, design iterations included. If I had used traditional techniques it would have cost tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, and taken months to complete.

    The company I work for has had me print some piping design concepts to be used as a sales & marketing tool. We had a model in our hands within a few business days. The model is cheap, accurate, and valuable well beyond its price as a sales tool. To manufacture this model by conventional modelling techniques would have been prohibitively expensive.

    Sometimes the point of using 3D printing is that the item in question is either difficult or impossible to produce using conventional manufacturing techniques. What price does one put on "you can't do that"?

    In Shapeways shops I have seen the equivalent of Renoirs, paper clips, Ferrari key fobs, and everything in between. I would not be surprised to learn that much of what is uploaded never sells. This does not negate the value of those that do sell. Remember: if someone thinks it's worth it, they will spend their hard earned money regardless of why they think it's worth it. Sometimes uniqueness has a value all its own.
  8. CarvedMetal
    CarvedMetal Member

    When one purchases an ink toner cartridge, you are not just paying materials cost. There is a large markup on that from the company, and then the retailer from which you purchase it. Profit is how people get paid, and everyone along the way gets a cut. That's capitalism.

    Shapeways is using a low-cost platform to encourage others to use their services, and provide some designers with a potentially profitable venue which they only pay for if they get an order. Who can blame them for that? And if the designs suck they won't sell, and Shapeways won't have to print anything. Made to order is definitely the way of the future. Customization in various materials appeals to many many people, and Shapeways isn't dum, they're not statically minded, they will adapt.

  9. stop4stuff
    stop4stuff Well-Known Member
    OP seems to be a bit of a non-understanding troll.

    Shapeways is what it is, if you don't like it, go somewhere else and whinge how Shapeways are cheaper.

    Kill this thread.

    From your friendly say-it-how-it-is stop4stuff...
  10. i8kermit
    i8kermit Well-Known Member
    There's a lot of rhetoric being tossed around here. I'd like to simplify a bit:

    Take any of the models you find here at "expensive prices." Send those files to a model shop, like many of us designers (myself included) use on a very regular basis at their day jobs. You'll find the Shapeways price to be far more attainable.

    And attainable is exactly what Shapeways is doing.

    Before I started at Shapeways, many of my designs would never be attainable. I don't have $500k to open tooling for a product. Nor do I have the cash to pay for models at many model shops. But I can do it at Shapeways.

    I also make cufflinks. I seel them for about $40 for a stock design and $85 for custom (in stainless). Walk into Nordstrom or Macy's and you'll find my prices are quite competitive. And I profit enough to keep me interested.

    For designers, there is always the issue if finding the right medium for your product. So maybe making a run of the mill mug on Shapeways is silly. But you want something one of a kind that you literally can't get (or often manufacture) anywhere else, and suddenly the prices ain't that bad.''

    You can't compare the process here to mass manufacturing. Because it's not that. Nor are the products. For some people, product they make here are a stepping stone to getting them made at mass. They can build recognition and some modest sales numbers to prove out that they have a viable concept. For others, 3D printing may always need to be the method behind their product, and whatever their prices are, you can't really argue with. If I want am Eames Lounger, it'll cost me $3500+. Yes, I can get a Layzboy for $250. It's not an Eames.

    I'm happy to stick to my cufflink store on Shapeways. It's enabled me to share my madness with the world at a reasonable price.
  11. numarul7
    numarul7 Well-Known Member
    Everybody wants to buy a Picasso painting with 1$ and sell it with 3.000.000$ .

    And get rich! Or go to jail! *grin*
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
  12. mkroeker
    mkroeker Well-Known Member
    Guys, can't we just put this topic to rest now ? The original poster was angry and frustrated because his newfound passion did not work out as planned,
    and the last thing he will want is daily reminders from yet another wiseguy how and why he was wrong...
  13. wsimonton3
    wsimonton3 Member
    I have found another manufacturer who is 30-40% less expensive for larger items in Stainless Steel. For instance, a part that Shapeways would charge me $909.00 in Stainless Steel would be $588.00 from the other vendor. However, their quality control has not been as good as Shapeways. All the items I have received from Shapeways have been excellent with a few exceptions which were related to the materials and the the 3D printing process which I must admit I was pushing the limits on those few items.

    I just wish that Shapeways would begin to taper the cost per cubic cm on larger items. One of the items I would really like to print - a 1.6" Scale Climax steam locomotive cylinder is 113 cubic cm without machining allowance and at $8.00 a cubic cm at totals $909.00. https://www.shapeways.com/shops/ClimaxShop

    That said it cannot be produced any other way. I will just have to wait until the prices come down or another vender with Shapeways quality control and lower costs comes along.
  14. PeregrineStudios
    PeregrineStudios Well-Known Member
    I'll always be the first in line to admit that I am wasting - absolutely, unambiguously wasting - the true potential of 3D printing on fairly standard jewelry designs. But it's enabled me to get into that world. Through designing and printing jewelry with Shapeways, I've broken into more conventional (and cheaper) jewelry making processes, or at least I'm starting to. Not that I'll be leaving 3D printing behind. The ability of 3D printing to handle capacity for a home designer is unparalleled - sure you could put together a toy or ring or what have you at home for much cheaper, but you'd also spend so much more time doing it yourself, assuming you even have the necessary skills, which many don't.

    3D printing opens simple creation up to the masses, and it opens creation at capacity up to the home artists who wouldn't have that capacity. It is by no means the cheapest method nor has it ever pretended or tried to be. Nothing good ever comes without cost, and any system of doing things has its drawbacks and its advantages. 3D printing, particularly if you use a service like Shapeways, is efficient, easy, and accessible. It makes very little distinction between making one of something or making sixteen of something. It puts things like sculpture, home decor, jewelry, even practical part manufacturing into the hands of more people than ever before. The drawback is cost, and time. For some people, like me, it's enabled skills to grow and mature. I'm now printing masters to use to create molds for pewter casting, something I would never ever have been able to do by hand (my hands are hopeless). For other people or other applications, it may not be ideal. If you're a skilled woodworker, a 3D printed plastic or metal bookend will as a rule be more expensive and not as good-looking as anything you can make. It's all about finding the right tool for the right job. In this case, 3D printing does not appear to be the right tool for your job.
  15. newsty123
    newsty123 Member
    I understand that 3d printing won't be cheap due to it at least looking like it's not easily done - it just disappoints me a fair bit that my roughly 10cm cubed model costs me over £100 which just isn't worth it at all in my opinion.
  16. MrNibbles
    MrNibbles Well-Known Member
    10cm can be kind of large in the 3D printing world. One thing you might try is combining 3D printing with conventional materials to reduce your overall costs. I have products that will never sell at today's production prices, but there's always hope that prices will drop in the future as better technology hits the scene or effective competition arrives to push down prices.
  17. fb32aeb
    fb32aeb Member
    I think the original poster has a valid point. Most items are too small to be of most real world value. Even in the concept of small detail part they are fast becoming over priced. I will agree it appears all the online service are still applying Industrial MFG prototype pricing to small business / consumer produce applications. I judge this on the rapid decrease pricing on home units that are increasingly user friendly and product competitive quality. So when 1 small box cost the same as desk top printer, I would do better to by the cheap desktop printer and produce more then 1 box.

    The strong advantage these site will have are two, printing is still slow, so a small business may not be able to wait a day/per part rate of production. Or an individual really doesn't want to bother to get a printer and material to just run 1 or 2 parts. Hence I believe the industry is going to have to adjust their pricing matrix soon or just no longer be competitive to alternatives. (Like small business of owning a desk top printer and printing one offs at a far cheaper price.)
  18. stonysmith
    stonysmith Well-Known Member Moderator
    You must ask yourself.. how much do you want the price to be "adjusted"? 2x, 3x, 1000 times cheaper?

    It's going to be a very long time (decades) before the unit cost of 3d printing is going to match that of injection molding.

    The prices here are not from greed. The prices directly relate to the cost of the electricity (and time) to run the machine, and the cost of the labor for production, packing, shipping. Yes, there is a profit percentage by both Shapeways and the Designer(s), but if you were to remove those profits, the cost of production is still much greater than other high-volume production methods.

    You'd basically need "free electricity" before the prices can come down the way you wish.