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"Shapeways extended manufacturing speed option - 25% cheaper!" Topic

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980 hits since 15 Mar 2017
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Aotrs Commander15 Mar 2017 11:11 a.m. PST

A PSA for Shapeways customers (and the Aotrs Shipyards customers in particular!)

I came to put a Shapeways today and discovered that Shapeways have implemented an extended manufacuturing speed option (to go with their rush one). They implemented that pretty quietly, since I don't recall seeing it anywhere up until now!

This may well be material dependant, but certainly applies to WSF, which is the recommended material for Shipyards models. I don't personally order anything from Shapeways aside from in WSF, so I don't know whether it applies to others.

Using the option increases your waiting time; it looks like the prjected time is about a month instead of two weeks (but I suspect the actual time is "when they have a slot to fit your bits in to make a full tray"). The reduction in price appears to be about 25%, however, which is quite significant!

I thought this ought to be brought to everyone's attention, at least.

valerio Inactive Member15 Mar 2017 11:44 a.m. PST

Thanks, good news! Price is mainly what keeps me from ordering these ships..

nvdoyle15 Mar 2017 2:01 p.m. PST

Aotrs – why do you choose WSF over some of the more detailed, less grainy options? I'm still hesitating on pulling the trigger on some Shapeways stuff, that's one of the reasons.

Aotrs Commander15 Mar 2017 2:36 p.m. PST

@nvdoyle The grainy-ness of WSF is a vastly overstated issue. It has way less effect on the models than casting flash does.

(Worth noting that the close-up pictures on the Shipyards webstore are about way-oversized coimpared to real. You literally can't see them that proportionally with your naked eye without being well into cross-eyed territory!)

In practise, it really doesn't make a difference once painted, and the vastly higher cost of other other materials is, in my opinion, not just not worth it. You're just gilding the lily.

(I support FUD and FED for those customers with deep pockets who are really bothered about the finish, but my recommendation is always for WSF).

At wargames distance, you don't notice. As I've said before, in all the time we've toured conventions and shows in the past four-five years, no-one has ever vene noticed the finish on unless we specifically pointed it out.

(Heck, at the level you're peering close enough to for the finish to become evident, you're well passed the point I can PAINT to.)

To give you some idea (because this is something that comes up semi-infrequently), in the link to a prior thread below, second post from the bottom are some photos* from our various games with WSF models in situ (and there's more on my photobucket accounts and the Shipyards webstore (older models, mostly, since the majority of my own personal models tend to be off the Replicator now).

TMP link

WSF is also a pretty bullet proof-material structually; which is more than I can say for the now-defunct Frosted Detailo material; the one model I had printed in that is the only starship model I've ever had to throw away.

*Some with my Mum's camera, before I inherited my grandfather's, the former not being good at artifical lighting, and thus not astoundingly great quality, I'm afraid…!

(Major Disaster) Inactive Member15 Mar 2017 9:28 p.m. PST

@ Aotrs Commander

How's about WSFP? Will you print in that?

Aotrs Commander16 Mar 2017 3:59 a.m. PST

That's not suitable for this kind of model. You might gain a marginally smoother surface[1]; at the expense of scouring off the majority of the fine detail, any shaprness to the model and standing a high chance off breaking the exposed parts e.g. machine guns/ sensor masts etc and a a lot of cold-war era main tank guns, come to that.

(But the requirement for minimum 12mm diameter holes for WSFP means that the vast majority of my models dont meet the requirements for WSFP anyway.)

Whatever you do, you're not going to get 3D printing at injection-moulding level quality fine detail and surface at an affordable price until MAYBE laser/resin printers come out that don't use a proprietary resin material they can charge several arms and legs for. (You can get that level with the FUD/FED, but you're paying a steep price for it).

But as I say, honestly, WSF, is perfectly serviceable for wargames models. Unless the surface is so important because you paint with airbrushes or something (at which point, you would be WELL beyond my level or artistic skill), it's not worth losing any sleep over.

[1]From the one thing we did do in that, which was some tail-fins for UshCha's slotcars the surface is smoother, but not like, injection-moulded-smooth, if that's what you're thinking. It's a surface polished by 5mm beads and that's only going to do so far.

MacrossMartin Inactive Member16 Mar 2017 4:09 a.m. PST

Thank you Aotrs for this 'community announcement'! I was loading up some models last night, but didn't see this option come up. Where did you discover it?

On the issue of materials – Here's my unsolicited opinion… ;)

Having now some items printed in FXD (Frosted Extreme Detail) I can't see myself printing in anything else, budget permitting.

Granted, I'm printing quite wee things; weapons and accessories for 1/400 mecha. Obviously, if you're aiming to make (say) 25mm sci-fi armour, this will certainly prove prohibitively expensive in FXD!!

But, for sheer fineness of detail, FXD is astonishing. Having said that, there are STILL some striations present on the surfaces, even with this wonder material. Polishing and gloss varnishing is essential, especially if you're creating things in small scales, or in need of a smooth surface (to be decaled, for example.)

I certainly agree that WSF is pretty tough, but I honestly don't buy the "at wargaming distance" excuse for the graininess; Wargamers are ALWAYS picking up miniatures, or getting down to 'eye level' and peering at them from about 20mm away! Its just what we do…

So for me, WSF is ok for cheaper prints, or, ones that are just too big (and expensive) for finer materials, but if I can afford it, I'll go FUD or FXD every time.

- Martin

Aotrs Commander16 Mar 2017 11:40 a.m. PST


On the shipping options on purchasing an order.


Cards on the table. I'm a wargamer. (An english wargamer.) I'm tight. I therefore assume the majority of my customers are going to be tight, too.

FED and FXD might be acceptable if you have a large budget and are doing small things (I dunno how big 5mm mecha are). For starships and 144th, WSF is in the competative range with metal castings. (At least prior to Brexit, a fleet of my starships was broadly the same sort of price to buy as, say one of Ground Zero Games; I dunno about now without actually having to work it out.) FUD and FXD are definitely not.

I consider £6.00 GBP-10 (which is more or less the same in dollars and euros now thanks Brexit…) to be an acceptable price for 144th armour. (Would I like to buy/sell them cheaper? Oh certainly, but, the far and away majority cost of the things I sell is Shapeway's cost, not my slim profit margin[1]. But I consider it acceptable.)

I do not consider £20.00 GBP-50 (what the same vehicles cost in FUD or FXD) to be acceptable, personally; I wouldn't (and couldn't afford to) buy a model at that scale at that price myself. (Frag, I drew the line at £30.00 GBP for 28mm scifi vehicles of more than twice the size and considered that excessive.) I support those materials for those people who really want that extra (and also because their material requirements are already met by anything that will print in WSF I stopped supporting Transparent detail because it no longer did); but I don't recommend it. I don't consider the benefits to be worth the half-order of magnitude cost increase. I do not believe the quality increase is a half-order of magnitude better, and my limited experience with the frosted materials is that they are much more fragile.

I started out doing 15mm (1:100th) into additon to the 144th and when I made this my day job, took a look and realised that I had never sold a single 15mm model because even in WSF, they are impractially expensive. So I stopped. Larger scale than that (e.g. 72nd or 28/30/35) is only suitable for infantry and MAYBE small vehicles (by which I mean, real-world-sized small vehicles, like Scorpions and jeeps or something that are themselves not much bigger than a tank at half that scale).

WSF is not a perfect material (but what is?), but at the moment it is the best commrcially available material in the price to quality margin, certainly at the scales I design models for.

"Peering at from 20mm away?" Really? I can only postulate you are being a bit hyperbolic and mean something more like a foot to eighteen inches (i.e. reading sort of distance); otherwise your experiences are completely different to anything I can relate to in twenty-seven years of wargaming, I'm afraid. Most wargamers and roleplayers, for that matter (and I absolutely include myself in that category[2]) can't PAINT to a standard that does not look naff at closer than that range. Sure, if you are like that one guy on Star Ranger I saw once, who painted his models with airbrushes, but that's several ordes of magnitude beyond what most of us lesser mortals can aspire too.


[1]For the record, my profit margin per model I set from a percentage of WSF cost; i.e., I don't make any more money on FUD or FXD I figure anyone buying my models in those models is already paying over the odds, so I don't feel it is necessary to increase that even further.

[2]My SSA starships, easily the best-painted stuff I've ever done, don't hold up that well at the ranges I take photoes of.

My SSA Bulwark cruiser, at 45mm long:

is in reality half the size of this image in the photo at native resolution (10.5cm on my monitor), and you can see the flaws in my painting easily. (And these are the best I have ever done.)


[Rant]Entirely unrelated, and more for those of us that do use Shapeways as store owners, while typing this post, I have that once AGAIN, since YESTERDAY, Shapeways has changed the layout of the website. I cannot adequately reiterate how annoyed I am at these (always[/i[] unannounced) changes. Whoever the employ at web design should be taken out and shot. Changing the UI every five minutes is just not good business practise. Amazon don't do that, Sainsbury's don't do that, Ebay don't do that; and if you are not using the likes of those for how you do your website store design you're doing it wrong! For frack's sake, Shapeways, just fracking pick something and STICK WITH IT![/rant]

Ahem. This is something of a sore point, though it affects my end more than the customer end. Usually.

Personal logo Waco Joe Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2017 5:14 p.m. PST

Web designers showing marketing their ideas for the new webpage:


Verdict: "Does not evoke stylized penile display in me, take back and redo."

Murvihill17 Mar 2017 9:50 a.m. PST

I've ordered many 1/2400 scale modern naval ships from Shapeways and I've found that WSF makes the ships look puffy, more noticeable the smaller the ship. I order FUD for my ships. I have a couple bigger ships where it isn't as noticeable and I can see for larger models WSF will work great. Just my 2 cents.

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