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"Shapeways changes all material names" Topic

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19 May 2018 6:08 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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1,011 hits since 15 May 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Aotrs Commander16 May 2018 9:48 a.m. PST

So, a head's up for everyone that uses shapeways.

(No, they don't deserve capitalisation, not today.)

They, in their usual finite wisdom and ballistic approach to customer service, have elected to change all the names of their materials, overnight, with literally no warning, even after the fact.

I only found out myself when I noticed someone had made an order from the Shipyards in a material I didn't recognise.

White Strong Flexible => White natural versatile

Frost Ultra Detail => Smooth fine detail plastic

Frosted Extreme Detail => Smoothest fine detail plastic

(Like that's not going to cause confusion.)

Other details here.


I can only apologise to my customers for circumstances beyond my control (and believe me, if they weren't heads would have rolled the moment the suggestion was even brought up…)

The stupidest part? They had a newsletter our earlier this week, talking about materials, which they mostly used to shill some new ones, while giving six day's notice on the cancellation of others (leaving folk who used, say, porcelain up the spout).

I have unfortunately never yet found a suitable alternative for the Shipyards, though you can be sure as soon as I do, I will be gone. The level of regard to the customers is secondly only to HMRC in my experience…

(I foresee that in a few years, when more people have access to home printing, that more business will come from selling the model files directly, rather than from using a print house that seems to specifically delight in riling its own customer base with truly idiotic decisions – that they must know are idiotic, since they refuse to announce them beforehand…)

TheWhiteDog16 May 2018 10:29 a.m. PST

At least with FUD the closest comparable is Sculpteo, but the minimum for supported walls is 1mm. Since most of my own personal prints are fleetscale fighters, the extra .4mm I get from Shapeways is necessary.

I think the new CEO wants to direct them towards more business and bulk customers, since he sure loves pissing off the miniatures and jewelry people.

Aotrs Commander16 May 2018 10:40 a.m. PST

Which is of course, profoundly stupid, since business and bulk customers have far better and more competative options. And fracking off your customers (including same) isn't usually a good idea anyway.

But, recently, CEOs/companies seem to have this urge to chase the impossible and rely on consumer apathy to carry them through and I'm pretty sure it hasn't worked for Photobucket, for one or for EA, for another…


Roll on the robot overlords, I say.

I'll even take CABAL, Aida or SkyNet at this point over the current crop of People In Charge of Things…

Yellow Admiral17 May 2018 2:07 p.m. PST

I noticed this on Monday and was quite perplexed. It took me a while to figure out that it was just a name change, not a complete change of materials.

I just got this announcement in email:

As part of this week's update, we changed the naming of certain materials. Some bigger changes include:

Strong & Flexible Plastic is now Versatile Plastic

HP Plastic is now Professional Plastic

Stainless Steel is now Steel

Frosted Detail Plastic is now Fine Detail Plastic

If you have a marketplace shop, these names have automatically been changed.
For the full list, please see the announcement post. Feel free to reach out to Customer Service if you have any questions or concerns.

Kirk Alderfer17 May 2018 2:30 p.m. PST

I really miss the days when we the folks in Eindhoven was it. They were a lot more interactive and open about the materials, changes that affected the shops. SW's does work, but they are just another big business now. Sigh…

Aotrs Commander17 May 2018 3:02 p.m. PST


It might be an ill will that blows nobody any good but Shapeways might actually start to listen.

As at the same time as I got the (belated, and one suspects, shunted out due to feedback!) email with the materials changes, I got an email from Shapeway's new CEO inviting me to a google hangout in a couple of weeks for a chat about Shapeways in general. (You're not as surprised as I am, believe me! But I would be very surprised if I was the only person to recieve such an invite.)

Which I will have to try and attend first thing being working out how to even DO that, since (from an initial analysis), it would have to be with UshCha's laptop or tablet, since I don't have a mic/camera for my PC!

So, to be fair, there's that, which is… unexpected, to put it mildly! Maybe I can point some things out and try to suggest some stuff[1], maybe I can't, but at least I should be able to say I made a proper effort to try, right?

[1]As daft as it sounds, sometimes common sense is not all that common and sometimes you need outside perspective to say "why don't you just do this?"

SouthernPhantom17 May 2018 5:09 p.m. PST

I really don't understand the logic behind this. I first realized that the names had been changed when I went to upload a new model.

Zephyr117 May 2018 8:10 p.m. PST

The name changes were probably done by some high-level exec trying to justify keeping his job by appearing to do something. (If you've ever seen your grocery store's product layout changed around every few years, same thing. ;-) I liken it to a hobby paint company changing the names of their colors while still putting out the exact same paint…

Dynaman878918 May 2018 2:48 a.m. PST

Grocery store layout changes are different – the idea there is to maximize the shelf space you browse through (and thus tempting you to buy something you were not after) without pissing you off in the process.

Aotrs Commander18 May 2018 4:03 a.m. PST


That actually does frack me off in the process, though…

But I suppose I am the sort of person the marketing idea people truly loathe, the sort of person that isn't very temptable in that sort of manner, knows what he wants and won't tolerate attempts to shill something that isn't that…!

Conversely, though, on a serious note, neither Amazon nor ebay (and to a lesser extent, though there was a period where it was true for them as well, the online superstores) tend not to move things around for no good reason. My opinion is that if you are and online shop, you should be modelling yourself after Amazon and not trying to frack about being flashy.

Dynaman878918 May 2018 4:41 a.m. PST

It is an art and not a science. I guess I should have said "not annoy the customer enough to have them go to a different store"

Amazon and Ebay track your spending habits through cookies and thus can be more targeted in their approach – those "other items you may be interested in" are not random…

Aotrs Commander29 May 2018 1:05 p.m. PST

So, as if to prove the point about how hopeless they are?

Remember that I said the CEO had organised a google hangout chat for tomorrow with members of the community?

I just got an automated email saying that the appointment had changed, to something that appears to be "" whatever the hell that is. (Looks like something I have to install.) No covering email from anyone at Shapeways to say "sorry, we had to change things for [reasons], just an automated update."

Which means, guess what? I have to waste ANOTHER load of time tomorrow trying to get all that sorted out (having spent a good hour sorting out how to use google hangout) before this "chat."

Seriously, this is EXACTLY the [excrement] we're shouting at them for!

I do not EVEN.

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