Customs: Shapeways service...is it just me?

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by Treadshot A1, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Posts:
    7,529
    Trophy Points:
    197
    Likes:
    +5
    Hey!

    I just wanted to gauge some opinions here, and also figure out what i should do next with regards to an order of mine.

    Firstly, the order. I place an order for my Fremble Minion (3 of them) and my WFC Scout Minions (1, 2 & 3) on 19th of February, paying literally immediately after ordering through Paypal. It's current status is "in production". It's the 6th of March now, a total of 15 days after the order date. Now, factoring in 2 weekends, that's 11 days (the long weekend this weekend here doesn't count as the extra day is tomorrow). Their policy is for it to arrive within 10 working days; they've had 11. I've gotten nothing from either UPS or Shapeways in terms of shipping notices (nor has the order status changed to 'Shipped"), so i'm pretty sure that the models have not been sent, neither to UPS nor to me. The worst part is, i've placed more orders after that one, 3 orders of which have already arrived. So what's holding up this one? I rechecked the model to make sure it was printable, and it is; Shapeways hasn't informed me of any printing problems. I don't know what's going on.

    So, why haven't i sent a complaint in yet? Well, i've had so many errors with them recently, it's not funny anymore. My Petal model, it came with two left legs. How they made two of the same part from a correct model, i have no idea. But i verified it was correct as another model, Phyta, which is 90% composed from Petal, came with correct legs. So it's not the model i sent that's at fault. I mention on their forum that the robot cam incorrect, i have not had any response from any moderators, customer service staff, anyone of any position at Shapeways, in regards to that problem. Secondly, my WFC Stego Minion came with two ball joints snapped. Now, i know 1mm shafts are risky, but Calyx came fine, two Calyxes came fine to be exact. There's no reason that this should break when both models use the same joints. Thirdly, my WFC Rex Minion's leg holes were not created well at all. I went at the with a Pin Vise, and then sanded down the 2mm diameter post, and the post still snapped as soon as i tried to twist the resulting joint.

    I'm honestly fed up now. I expected better from Shapeways, i remember the days when you could simply post a pic of the broken parts on their forum and they'd mail you out a replacement straight away. Now, i get no response, and i have to fund another copy out of my own pocket, still not knowing if i'll get a good print next time. Is there even any reason for me to put in a complaint anymore? I can understand that maybe more people are trying to fraud them by breaking parts deliberately, but i have two left legs on my robot, and i cant just magically "mirror" the part at home.

    The other problem this leaves me is that i can only release the models that have been printed more than once, or are extremely basic in their geometry. So, having printed WFC Sqwawk Minion thrice, and Ravager Minion twice (an upgraded model that printed, but ultimately wasn't worth teh extra cost), i can release those. Bat Minion, being composed of very blocky shapes, can safely pass through testing, and same goes for CJ's upgrade kit. AM Tread Partner v2 also works, but it means that many more models are being held back. Like those Fremble twins that haven't shown up 11 working days after the order was paid for.

    Sorry, i guess i just needed to get that out. [/rant]
     
  2. Ramrider

    Ramrider TF Art Lad

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Posts:
    4,131
    Trophy Points:
    186
    Likes:
    +0
    I haven't had any such problems with them as yet (touch wood). But while posting on their forums can sometimes get you an immediate response, you're far better off actually e-mailing their customer services, where you can guarantee they'll get the message.
     
  3. Delta Star

    Delta Star <b>Reprolabels.com</b> TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Posts:
    758
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Likes:
    +3
    Yeah, not much to complain about on my end either. Once had a model show up that was just a blob... it had none of the detail required. I didn't even complain though, because I appreciate them so much, and it was their only mistake for me. The next cheapest place to get these things done would cost about 8 times as much, so if I have a problem, I just simply reorder.

    But it also sounds to me like you're pushing the limits of the material. A 1mm shaft on a ball joint is very small. Just because it has worked in the past doesn't mean it always will - it just means you got lucky a couple times :) 
     
  4. leobreaker1977

    leobreaker1977 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Posts:
    957
    Trophy Points:
    101
    Likes:
    +0
    Ebay:
    I also have not had any problems ordering from them, the only thing that happened was that the order came in two parts. But I e-mailed thier customer sertvice and the got back to me that day
     
  5. process

    process Hanlon's razor Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Posts:
    7,735
    News Credits:
    35
    Trophy Points:
    272
    Likes:
    +167
    Ebay:
    I think the waiting time is forgivable. I've had all sorts of strange shipping delays, but I always received my parts sooner or later. I would presume that Shapeways has become a lot more popular in recent months, and with the increased traffic, they can only print so much volume at a time. They should probably just stop advertising that "xx day" policy since it's so unpredictable at this point. Their awesome free 2 day shipping usually makes up for it.

    As far as I know, they only take your uploaded model, put it into their print optimizing software (which does little more than position your object in the printer) and print. There's no interaction with the model, unless I suppose, you check the "please manually fix my model" box when you upload. It might be possible that because it was such a small piece, they lost it and had to reprint it, unfortunately using the wrong leg. From what I've seen, they literally have to excavate parts from the printers when they're complete.

    The other problems you mentioned are a result of the process. Because we're designing around small toys, our parts have a tendency to be small and close to the minimum tolerances. And because each part is made individually, you have to accept a certain degree of variation. Shapeways is great for hobby-grade prototyping, but I'm really hoping for something closer to injection molding.

    I once ordered a part that was never printed. Shapeways sent me a refund and eventually, the part. I've also had a few email conversations with their staff to correct errors in my model. Again, I suspect they're becoming overloaded and probably need to increase their production and/or staff size.
     
  6. Ramrider

    Ramrider TF Art Lad

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Posts:
    4,131
    Trophy Points:
    186
    Likes:
    +0
    Personally, I've had one order that came close to the wire in terms of getting to me within 10 working days. Most times it'll be delivered to me in a week or just over (or in the case of the order I placed on Boxing Day, it was actually shipped less than a week after ordering) - and I get them the next day.

    As I said, the key thing, if you have a problem, is to actually tell them about it via e-mail. The forums are not for airing grievances that you haven't given them a chance to fix yet.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011
  7. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Posts:
    7,529
    Trophy Points:
    197
    Likes:
    +5
    Ah, that makes a lot more sense now. Apparently the parts are so small they must have a hard time excavating them out of the machine.

    Now, i hope these parts get here soon, but also, i'm wondering if the scaling at upload was correct, as there shouldn't be any parts under 2.5mm in any dimension iirc. I'll check the model again, i'm not sure on the one. Having to fit in Sounwave's chest does make for some small parts. I'm betting it's the upper legs that are at fault here, but i don't know. I highly doubt anything else would falll under that category, as the arms are quite blocky and so is the head and chest and lower legs.

    Anyways, here's hoping the model gets here and works!

    EDIT: Wait a minute... The model runs on 4mm ball joints with 3mm stems. That means all parts (every part has a socket somewhere bar the head) must be at least 6x6x6mm to be able to contain the socket. There is no way anything can be under 2.5mm, unless the scaling was incorrect on upload...

    Oh crap...
    P.S. I pity SW, i ordered 3 Frembles, so that had 3 times the trouble! :lolol 

    P.P.S. I remember Sledgehammer mentioned he had issues with his Biped Minion as well, which is an even more complex and even smaller design than mine, so i assume the issues he had with Shapeways must be along similar lines to mine.
     
  8. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Posts:
    7,529
    Trophy Points:
    197
    Likes:
    +5
    Dammit. Apparently now they're complaining that the axle parts of my Scout Minion are too small and "get lost in tray".

    That means I've had to tell them to cancel the whole order including the three Fremble Minions which were in that order, and get a coupon to use later. Bloody hell. I guess we'll all just have to wait a little longer to get our WFC Soundwave equipped with all his pals. Damn. :mad 

    Also reuploaded Dark Minion Fremble and rechecked my files against the statistics on the product page compared to my file. The stats match, 4.6cm long due to there being spaces between parts, the numbers are the same on SW and in Sketchup. And there are no parts less than 2.5mm in any dimension in my file, so there can't be any for SW to print. IMO, they're now just making up shit to justify their own error, as their argument makes no sense. :( 
     
  9. chlokai

    chlokai Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Posts:
    608
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Likes:
    +0
    Just got my first order from shapeways today. far better than i thought it would be. Details are razor sharp and a bit of sand paper and everything fits together fine
     
  10. chlokai

    chlokai Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Posts:
    608
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Likes:
    +0
    oh yeah. Ordered on monday arrived the following tuesday. So no complaints there
     
  11. Ramrider

    Ramrider TF Art Lad

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Posts:
    4,131
    Trophy Points:
    186
    Likes:
    +0
    Yay! Looking forward to pics! :D 
     
  12. Delta Star

    Delta Star <b>Reprolabels.com</b> TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Posts:
    758
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Likes:
    +3
    Solution: Connect all parts to a tree so that they only have to dig out one giant piece. Then cut them apart yourself. That's what most of us have been doing to avoid lost parts.
     
  13. Dr. Grimlockisking

    Dr. Grimlockisking Twitter @GrimlockIsKing TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Posts:
    2,611
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    196
    Likes:
    +2
    Ebay:
    Anyone have a link to these minions? I'm interested to see them.

    Side note to Delta Star. Had a problem with an order of mine and just wanted to thank you and April in particular for you guys handling it so quickly and promptly. I REALLY appreciated it :thumbs2: 
     

Share This Page