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 Posted: Thu Aug 21st, 2014 01:01 am
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Wizmacnz
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I've had no reply yet from Shapeways to the email I sent them yesterday. 

I've been investigating alternatives to Shapeways. There is a company called  Sculpteo that operates similarly to Shapeways and seems to print currently in the USA and what would be more relevant to you, in France. I uploaded a file to get a cost comparison and unfortunately it's about 20% higher than Shapeways.



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 Posted: Thu Aug 21st, 2014 08:39 am
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Wizmacnz
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I've now had a reply from Shapeways which I'll paste below.

Hi Peter,
Thanks for your email.
The only thing that can be done is to rise the detail level a bit. I suggest to 0.5 mm. 
The models are being orientated so that the circle will be round and not oval. Unfortunately while doing this one side can be bad and one side is good.

Please let me know if you think you can change it (detail level) otherwise I will have the models be shipped.
Personally I think they are pretty good. The customer can sand it down a bit and the detail level is visible but as sharp as possible.

Regards,
Customer Service Agent






When I emailed him I commented that on the column trusses that I have the detail is sharper one side than the other. His email doesn't make it any clearer why this should be.
I'll look at the model and see if I can increase the height of the detail to the .5mm that he suggests (Shapeways spec for minimum height of detail is 0.2mm).


I took a couple of pictures of a recent column I have received here.




Good side ..












Bad side...






Earlier columns that I had printed in February do not have this issue.


In my case I have to say that I hadn't really worried about it because it isn't really that noticeable at a normal viewing distance. The picture below is of the bad side.










I'm not convinced that the increase of detail height by 0.17mm is really going to make much difference.  I think there is something in their current printing methodology that needs attention.  


It's your call Peter, but if I were you I think I would ask them to print to create an equal quality of finish on both faces of the model and ask them not to ship the columns as they currently are. I will be taking the issue up with them in a response to their email to me.



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 Posted: Thu Aug 21st, 2014 09:04 am
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Petermac
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Thanks Peter.

Certainly the columns you've shown are far better than in the photo they forwarded to me.  If they were like yours, I wouldn't have any issues but, the ones they've currently printed are, to me, unacceptable.

I'll do as you say and ask for a reprint.

Can I send them the photos you've posted here to show the difference ?



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 Posted: Thu Aug 21st, 2014 09:20 am
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Wizmacnz
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I've sent them those photo's in my email to them, by all means send them again. The material does have a grainy texture, particularly if you don't give it a light wet and dry sanding, so close up photography can really exaggerate this if the lighting is across the surface. His close up picture may be being particularly unkind, but I'm inclined to think that it isn't at the same quality as the ones I have.



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 Posted: Thu Aug 21st, 2014 10:51 am
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Thanks Peter.

I'll contact them and see what they propose.

As you say, close-up photography is very cruel but even so, I think the photo he sent me was rather worse than just close-up photography - more like a printing problem, particularly as one side looked fine.

I will give them a brush over with fine wet-or-dry although, as Maxmill isn't an exhibition layout, I'll cope with a few imperfections.  I'm building it so I've got used to imperfections ..................:oops::oops::oops::oops::cry:



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 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2014 08:29 am
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Wizmacnz
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Well I got a bit of a non reply from Shapeways. No explanation of why the ones printed in February were the same on both sides, but he did acknowledge that they have had some issues with their printers. He says they are going to reprint your columns. Let's hope they come out better this time.



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 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2014 04:03 pm
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I got a similar e-mail Peter - apparently the admitted problem with the printer has now been solved.  They'll re-print and ship then I have to let them know what I think.

Thanks for you help with this.  We'll wait and see what Postie brings when they arrive. They didn't give any dates this time ...........:roll:



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 Posted: Tue Aug 26th, 2014 03:43 pm
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A very strong cardboard box arrived via carrier from Shapeways today. :thumbs:thumbs:thumbs:thumbs

The platform benches, chimney pots, assorted windows including the set for the Kingsway Georgian terrace and the reprinted station canopy columns and integral trusses.

First impressions are extremely encouraging.  A really first class product Peter and one I'd urge anyone dithering about, to have a go at - you won't be disappointed.

There is an almost imperceptible grain on the windows and benches, slightly more noticable on the chimney pots although nothing worth doing much about and, on the reprinted columns, the underside of the truss bracket gussett will need a quick rub over with fine wet or dry to tidy up a slightly rough finish.

The strength of the products is incredible.

I'm delighted with what I've bought - many thanks for your design efforts Peter. :cheers:cheers

One further thing.

I've only bought the column and integral truss for the canopy - as a "taster" before lashing out millions of euros on the whole thing.  I'll need the intermediate "slot on" trusses, the central frame and the valances to complete the roof framing.  There is an "exploded view" of how all the components fit together both on here and on your shop site but it's too small for me to read properly.  If I blow it up, I lose difinition.  Any chance of a downloadable copy so I can order the remaining bits please ?



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 Posted: Wed Aug 27th, 2014 03:13 am
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Wizmacnz
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Glad you like the models Peter.

I have the instruction sheets for canopies as PDF files. I don't think there is a way of posting them here, so I've sent you a PM.



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 Posted: Wed Aug 27th, 2014 04:47 pm
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Well I am blown away by what I have stumbled upon here.
Superb items and I just know that I am going to be spending a fortune for the 'OO' gauge items both buildings and furniture.
Superb work and I will be bulk buying in 2015, when I hope to have the railway room finished and track laid!
ATB,

:thumbs Ian



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 Posted: Wed Oct 1st, 2014 12:05 am
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Wizmacnz
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I received a notification from Shapeways today about a major restructuring of their pricing. With major fanfare they say that their new pricing model will decrease the cost of 3D printing. This is however a somewhat misleading piece of spin for those designing small model railway components. They are going to impose a "per part" labour charge that eliminates the economy of supplying items as sets of things. The impact on my pricing is in some cases up to a ten fold increase in price.

I will be looking at how I go about restoring a more competitive price; printing things on sprues, looking at alternative printers etc. If anyone has been thinking about buying any of my products, the price re-structuring is due to be implemented on October 7, so get an order in quick!



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 Posted: Wed Oct 1st, 2014 07:07 am
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I've heard about this price change elsewhere Peter - a tram modeller friend who uses them in much the same way you do.  He also  complained that larger prints seemed to be coming down in price whereas his small articles were going through the roof.

Time for a re-think as far as Shapeways are concerned I think.  Either, as you say, printing on a sprue or even looking elsewhere - I think you said there was another printer here in Europe but their prices were higher.  Is that still the case.

I received my doors and platform canopy skeleton the other day - I'm as pleased with them as I was with my first order although, as far as Shapeways themselves are concerned, I heard nothing for what seemed like ages, then an e-mail to say they were running late, immediately followed by another saying the order was on it's way !!!  I'm not sure how the company operates but their admin leaves a little to be desired to say the least .........................



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 Posted: Wed Oct 1st, 2014 07:59 am
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Wizmacnz
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Well the platform canopy skeleton, even though it's a single item, will more than double in price under the new pricing regime. The new system of charging is based more on the space taken up in the printer and less on the amount of material printed. 
I'm sure the pricing will settle down again in the long term. In the short term there are a lot of angry designers who have had the rules turned upside down with very little notice.



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 Posted: Wed Oct 1st, 2014 08:20 am
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I can imagine how angry you all are Peter - yet another example of lack of support for the "little man".

If the canopy skeleton doubles in price, it's dead in the water.  It's already a pricey item and the cost of building a platform of any length would become prohibitive.

Time for a look at another printing company I think ......................................they must be out there  :roll::roll::roll:



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 Posted: Wed Oct 1st, 2014 09:15 am
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Wizmacnz
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I'm sure common sense will prevail again at some stage. The attached picture shows how ludicrous it is. The little loop of plastic I've modeled passing through the windows reduces the price Shapeways will charge by US$28.50. Shapeways then see it as a single part in the price calculation. The price with the loop  is still higher than the old price by about 25%. This is all on the back of an announcement from Shapeways of "better pricing". I note their choice of words, i.e not cheaper or lower but better. 




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 Posted: Wed Oct 1st, 2014 11:16 am
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Better pricing for whom Peter ?  Not, it would appear, for their customers .............

As you say, that loop shows just how stupid their pricing policy is - more plastic printed but a reduced price !! :twisted::twisted::twisted::twisted:

Is the loop attached to the windows or just a "loop" ?



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 Posted: Wed Oct 1st, 2014 12:07 pm
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Wizmacnz
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It's just a loop passing through the window pane. The windows would then all be like charms on a bracelet. Cut the loop and throw it away and you have 20 windows without any sprue marks.



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 Posted: Wed Oct 1st, 2014 12:54 pm
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Who operates the brain at Shapeways ? 

A totally bizarre situation and one that ultimately, will do them no good at all - unless there's something about 3D printing we're missing ..................:roll::roll::roll::roll:

Maybe they're not interested in our kind of printing .........................:hmm



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 Posted: Thu Oct 2nd, 2014 04:08 am
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I know that Hattons are starting to promote their 3D printer... Always worth asking.

Cheers, Gary.



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 Posted: Thu Oct 2nd, 2014 10:01 am
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Wizmacnz
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Hi Gary
I already have a domestic 3D printer. Unfortunately it's not anywhere near in the same league as the commercial printers that Shapeways use.



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