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UK 3d printing marketplaces...


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Hello all.

 

So I've been seeing this asked for for a while, a need for a "UK shapeways" meaning the ease of marketplace etc and at least a mild variety of materials.

 

Initially I'd offer printing in resin, PLA, ABS and Nylon with an eye to expanding offerings at a later point. (In effect a relatively standard printer farm using commercially available machines in resin and FDM printing initially). I'm also currently investigating the possibility of lost wax casting using 3d printed resins after a suggestion by a recent acquaintence...

 

What I would be looking for, is interested volunteers initially just designers who would want to test the useability of the website and give feedback on improvements and other alterations, such as how the custom storefronts are set up and other features you'd like to see as a designer/seller. At present the website is not yet ready but gaugeing interest and volunteers is, as I am advised by my business partner, a good idea.

 

As most orders are likely to fall in the small parcels range, P&P would be a flat £4.50 (1st class) and £3.50 (2nd class) respectively and I shall simply eat the cost on any unusually larger parcels as I do not initially expect them to be all that many.

 

If folks are interested, private messaging me on here should be fine for now, if not, I'll sort out an email address.

 

~Din

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15 hours ago, Din said:

Hello all.

 

So I've been seeing this asked for for a while, a need for a "UK shapeways" meaning the ease of marketplace etc and at least a mild variety of materials.

 

Initially I'd offer printing in resin, PLA, ABS and Nylon with an eye to expanding offerings at a later point. (In effect a relatively standard printer farm using commercially available machines in resin and FDM printing initially). I'm also currently investigating the possibility of lost wax casting using 3d printed resins after a suggestion by a recent acquaintence...

 

What I would be looking for, is interested volunteers initially just designers who would want to test the useability of the website and give feedback on improvements and other alterations, such as how the custom storefronts are set up and other features you'd like to see as a designer/seller. At present the website is not yet ready but gaugeing interest and volunteers is, as I am advised by my business partner, a good idea.

 

As most orders are likely to fall in the small parcels range, P&P would be a flat £4.50 (1st class) and £3.50 (2nd class) respectively and I shall simply eat the cost on any unusually larger parcels as I do not initially expect them to be all that many.

 

If folks are interested, private messaging me on here should be fine for now, if not, I'll sort out an email address.

 

~Din

 

Are you saying you have a print farm of SLS, FDM and SLA printers at your disposal and just need a website to turn it into a marketplace? 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Quarryscapes said:

 

Are you saying you have a print farm of SLS, FDM and SLA printers at your disposal and just need a website to turn it into a marketplace? 

 

FDM and DLP. I have the FDM printers here already, DLP resin printers on order and my business partner working on the website side. Build volumes will be posted with an eye to larger machines if demand requires it. But as my aim is the model railway and Tabletop minatures market I don't see the larger machines as an immediate necessity.

 

What I will be looking for is volunteers to test out the useability of the site to ensure we have no blind spots as well as uploading .obj and .stl models as well as payment to and from the site and creators, alongside any improvements that either of us may not see, but people from the outside would. Those little tweaks and useability things that maybe people don't like on other marketplaces such as Shapeways and Etsy etc.

 

EDIT: When up and running I'd also print off some models for sale at shows, etc, and ensure creators get their share back from physical models sold.

Edited by Din
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I would be happy to try printing some of my stuff with you. Shapeways is just not interested in us modellers any more, they just seem to want jewellery creators. They are pricing us out of their way.

 

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Din,

Will the users of your service retain the IP of their designs or is transferring the IP so you can sell the prints part of your business model?
I’m interested in being able to print 4mm 70ft coaches so will you have a non filament option that can accommodate c280mm?

drduncan

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, drduncan said:

Din,

Will the users of your service retain the IP of their designs or is transferring the IP so you can sell the prints part of your business model?
I’m interested in being able to print 4mm 70ft coaches so will you have a non filament option that can accommodate c280mm?

drduncan

 

I'd have to check the exact legality side of that (mostly for the boilerplate in the EULA) but by my understanding I'd operate as a fulfilment service, meaning your IPs remain your own and you are selling them via my service. I'm charging you for slicing, printing and shipping (and keeping me alive).

 

As for the larger build space in resin, yes, but it will likely be towards the end of the year, if not early next year when it is available. 

Edited by Din
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Hello Din

 

This sounds like a fantastic idea chap, I could well be interested as I much prefer spending my time creating and prototyping new designs than printing models out. I have quite a bit of stuff potentially, mostly 4 mm wagons, and 4 - 6 wheel carriages, some buildings, along with some 7mm stuff I am working and some Bolt action wargame buildings also I have been working on, be good to know what you are thinking of charging, obviously dependant on the model size/time etc?

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2 hours ago, woko said:

Hello Din

 

This sounds like a fantastic idea chap, I could well be interested as I much prefer spending my time creating and prototyping new designs than printing models out. I have quite a bit of stuff potentially, mostly 4 mm wagons, and 4 - 6 wheel carriages, some buildings, along with some 7mm stuff I am working and some Bolt action wargame buildings also I have been working on, be good to know what you are thinking of charging, obviously dependant on the model size/time etc?

 

Big fan of the workbench thread.

 

Pretty much this!

 

To break it down so people understand costs as I see it at the moment:

 

Material would be charged on pennies per gram basis with perhaps a charge of a penny above or so of actual cost to ensure any short term price fluctations are absorbed, or a pool can be built to buy more material in bulk. I feel this would help against sudden jumps and if there's big price rises they can be absorbed in the medium term and give everyone plenty of time to adjust to any larger price changes.

 

Time of the print would also be calculated and costed as you're effectively filling up/taking up the machine time, so mostly charging wear and tear, the small electricity cost and to get the printers to "pay for themselves" relatively quickly.

 

Then myself slicing/processing/post processing and keeping me alive cost. I suspect its the labour cost which would be the biggest "jump" versus doing it for yourself, but as you say you want to model, prototype and tweak while I could then flog them on your behalf on demand.

 

The big change I'd like to see is I want creators to get a bit of a decentish money back versus the joke of Shapeways and its pennies per model for creators. The site won't work without enthusiastic creators putting products on my site to sell, so I'd like to see people get pounds back, not pennies. If people have models they want to "freebie" as some friends have offered to me, then I shall donate their portion, and a portion of my own costs to charity. Either local ones in my area, or a railway themed one.

 

If all the above results in Shapeway level prices then the biggest win would be on shipping. No more £14 shipping costs for anyone in the UK. If I can pan it out (or try and level out the cost across many orders) standard shipping will either be a flat fee, or free.

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5 minutes ago, Din said:

 

Big fan of the workbench thread.

 

Pretty much this!

 

To break it down so people understand costs as I see it at the moment:

 

Material would be charged on pennies per gram basis with perhaps a charge of a penny above or so of actual cost to ensure any short term price fluctations are absorbed, or a pool can be built to buy more material in bulk. I feel this would help against sudden jumps and if there's big price rises they can be absorbed in the medium term and give everyone plenty of time to adjust to any larger price changes.

 

Time of the print would also be calculated and costed as you're effectively filling up/taking up the machine time, so mostly charging wear and tear, the small electricity cost and to get the printers to "pay for themselves" relatively quickly.

 

Then myself slicing/processing/post processing and keeping me alive cost. I suspect its the labour cost which would be the biggest "jump" versus doing it for yourself, but as you say you want to model, prototype and tweak while I could then flog them on your behalf on demand.

 

The big change I'd like to see is I want creators to get a bit of a decentish money back versus the joke of Shapeways and its pennies per model for creators. The site won't work without enthusiastic creators putting products on my site to sell, so I'd like to see people get pounds back, not pennies. If people have models they want to "freebie" as some friends have offered to me, then I shall donate their portion, and a portion of my own costs to charity. Either local ones in my area, or a railway themed one.

 

If all the above results in Shapeway level prices then the biggest win would be on shipping. No more £14 shipping costs for anyone in the UK. If I can pan it out (or try and level out the cost across many orders) standard shipping will either be a flat fee, or free.

Well it sounds good to me Din, I would happily trial some of my stuff on your site when its up and running, as I certainly have no intention on using shapeways because of it being so expensive, for both the creators and buyers a like, but I do hope you can get it to work, and it would be awesome to have a dedicated platform for 3d printed railway modelling and miniatures for folks to sell or buy from.

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7 minutes ago, woko said:

Well it sounds good to me Din, I would happily trial some of my stuff on your site when its up and running, as I certainly have no intention on using shapeways because of it being so expensive, for both the creators and buyers a like, but I do hope you can get it to work, and it would be awesome to have a dedicated platform for 3d printed railway modelling and miniatures for folks to sell or buy from.

 

I'm largely keeping an eye on others in the field, so folks like Hardy's Hobbies, CWrailways under its new owner etc. They all point to a £35-45 tolerance for locomotive bodies, for example. People who do print themselves know its largely a time and labour cost versus material and machine.

 

I suspect the price point will be similar, and would likely reccomend FDM prints of buildings on a costs and suitability basis.

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On 06/08/2021 at 06:55, drduncan said:

Din,

Will the users of your service retain the IP of their designs or is transferring the IP so you can sell the prints part of your business model?
I’m interested in being able to print 4mm 70ft coaches so will you have a non filament option that can accommodate c280mm?

drduncan

I've got a larger format MSLA printer coming in the next couple of months, feel free to drop me a PM if you want me to print bits; I'm not interested in massive profits, others may as well benefit from me having a larger printer! I put an O gauge wagon through Shapeways and it was £1200 :lol:

 

On 05/08/2021 at 10:05, Din said:

 

FDM and DLP. I have the FDM printers here already, DLP resin printers on order and my business partner working on the website side. Build volumes will be posted with an eye to larger machines if demand requires it. But as my aim is the model railway and Tabletop minatures market I don't see the larger machines as an immediate necessity.

 

I'm happy to help out Din, I've plenty of designs from N to O gauge. I have my concerns if you're only just ordering the DLP printers (are they actually DLP, as opposed to MSLA?) about how well you're going to be able to handle things like supporting and orientation, but I assume you know your way around a resin printer! What size will you be able to handle too? Even OO gauge items are often tickling 300mm long, which very quickly becomes an issue in most mid-size printers.

 

  

 

 

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7 minutes ago, njee20 said:

I'm happy to help out Din, I've plenty of designs from N to O gauge. I have my concerns if you're only just ordering the DLP printers (are they actually DLP, as opposed to MSLA?) about how well you're going to be able to handle things like supporting and orientation, but I assume you know your way around a resin printer! What size will you be able to handle too? Even OO gauge items are often tickling 300mm long, which very quickly becomes an issue in most mid-size printers.  

 

 

Unfortunately they arrive when they arrive and I rather fancied some 4k ones. You're right, they are MSLA but most of these terms seem constantly interchangable and sometimes a bit cross eyeing to follow. If I type in both DLP and MSLA 3d printer, the same printers appear so probably some confusion elsewhere as well!

 

I've been tinkering with both my filament and resin printers for a while so know about orientation (and yes, even the calculations to get the prints at their best!) so feel confident in getting stuff out and going to people.

 

From the feedback here, I had initially hoped to get things at least rolling and money coming in before investing in the larger resin printers as they had been on the plan (I suspect you're getting the same ones I'd buy) so this just means a slight reshuffle which I'd been told to expect in any plan anyway. It's no worry, and simply moves when I'd have hoped to be up and running to offer a better service.

 

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I’m getting a Phrozen Sonic Mega 8K FWIW. 

 

DLP and MSLA aren’t the same, all of the hobbyist printers from Elegoo, Anycubic etc are all MSLA (which itself is different to SLA).  Worth getting things right, even if lots of people get them wrong, it’ll help your credibility. 
 

Don’t get hung up on ‘correct’ angles (the whole 45 degrees for a 50 micron screen etc). That works if you’re printing cubes, but falls down otherwise IMO.

 

I suspect there’s a market for it, but I think it’ll take up huge amounts of your time for a small return. I still think the main reason people use Shapeways is for the library of others’ designs. If you’re capable of design there are already plenty of viable options out there, so I think you need to understand your market carefully. You won’t pull people away from Shapeways while they are still the sole source of designs from others. 

Edited by njee20
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1 hour ago, njee20 said:

I've got a larger format MSLA printer coming in the next couple of months, feel free to drop me a PM if you want me to print bits; I'm not interested in massive profits, others may as well benefit from me having a larger printer! I put an O gauge wagon through Shapeways and it was £1200 :lol:

 

  

 

 

Would this new larger printer happen to be the phrozen 8k by chance :D

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1 minute ago, woko said:

Would this new larger printer happen to be the phrozen 8k by chance :D

Sounds it, don't it?

 

They're doing a nice double pack n all right now... just a shame the shipping is horrific.

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I have the phrozen 8k on order to dude, looking forward to its eventual arrival, however apparently despite the mono screen its super slow

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1 minute ago, woko said:

I have the phrozen 8k on order to dude, looking forward to its eventual arrival, however apparently despite the mono screen its super slow

 

From what I understand its to ensure the prints are viable, same with the holybuildplate. I wonder if it's not a setting thing as well as the website claims a nice and breezy 70mm/hr but the people who've had one have said how slow it is.

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I imagine if you print a small item then you can achieve that, but the problem with larger printers will always be the suction forces. I suspect the lift height is big too, to offset the deflection of the FEP in the centre. 
 

I stuck the aforementioned wagon through Chitubox on a Phenom L with reduced exposure times and it was a 70 hour print! Sure it’ll find a use though! Got the other printers for smaller items, and I’m never in that much of a rush!

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3 hours ago, njee20 said:

I imagine if you print a small item then you can achieve that, but the problem with larger printers will always be the suction forces. I suspect the lift height is big too, to offset the deflection of the FEP in the centre. 
 

I stuck the aforementioned wagon through Chitubox on a Phenom L with reduced exposure times and it was a 70 hour print! Sure it’ll find a use though! Got the other printers for smaller items, and I’m never in that much of a rush!

YeahI have to agree speed is not my primary focus either, though can understand from Din’s perspective how that would be a bit of a factor! 

But im finally looking forward to printing larger items, especially some O gauge locos, and, 6 wheel carriages.

I’m also looking forward to the new prusa XL rumoured to be out this year, for doing buildings etc.

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I'm interested, and could upload some STL files for tests. My stuff is only appropriate for the resin printers.

 

To make this a viable replacement for Shapeways, we'd some agreements on how printability is worked out. Who does the support generation? How many iterations of test prints (with support variations) are needed to prove printability, and what cost to whom? What's the consistency of prints after printability is proven? If a third-party customer is unhappy with the results, how is this resolved and who pays?

 

There's also the question of spruing parts. At Shapeways one has to sprue repeats of the same part. On my home printer, it's usually better not to.

 

Would the resin parts be supplied trimmed or on their supports? How fully cured would they be?

 

Shapeways FUD prints seem to be a little more robust that resin prints on my home machine. There are things that I can print at home but they break too easily in service so I don't bother. We'd need to know the minimum feature-sizes for the resin. If it's "no wires or walls thinner than 1 mm", then none of my range is viable. Also, if a print does happen to break during washing, who pays for the replacement?

 

Sorry if this seems a bit picky, but to make 3rd-party sales work well we have to sort all this out. I'm sure that there are workable solutions if we don't have a rabid pack of shareholders making things difficult. If some prints are commercially infeasible (i.e. only OK for printing at customer's risk) then that's understandable, but we'd need to know before putting them on sale.

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14 minutes ago, Guy Rixon said:

I'm interested, and could upload some STL files for tests. My stuff is only appropriate for the resin printers.

 

To make this a viable replacement for Shapeways, we'd some agreements on how printability is worked out. Who does the support generation? How many iterations of test prints (with support variations) are needed to prove printability, and what cost to whom? What's the consistency of prints after printability is proven? If a third-party customer is unhappy with the results, how is this resolved and who pays?

 

There's also the question of spruing parts. At Shapeways one has to sprue repeats of the same part. On my home printer, it's usually better not to.

 

Would the resin parts be supplied trimmed or on their supports? How fully cured would they be?

 

Shapeways FUD prints seem to be a little more robust that resin prints on my home machine. There are things that I can print at home but they break too easily in service so I don't bother. We'd need to know the minimum feature-sizes for the resin. If it's "no wires or walls thinner than 1 mm", then none of my range is viable. Also, if a print does happen to break during washing, who pays for the replacement?

 

Sorry if this seems a bit picky, but to make 3rd-party sales work well we have to sort all this out. I'm sure that there are workable solutions if we don't have a rabid pack of shareholders making things difficult. If some prints are commercially infeasible (i.e. only OK for printing at customer's risk) then that's understandable, but we'd need to know before putting them on sale.

 

Guy, your points are all the reasons why Shapeways costs as much as it does. 

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3 hours ago, Quarryscapes said:

 

Guy, your points are all the reasons why Shapeways costs as much as it does. 

Yes ... but (for me at least), the big problems with Shapeways are not their print costs, but their vast shipping fees and their refusal to accept things as printable that are known to print well. If their charges per print could be matched, then I think a British version might have a market.

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3 hours ago, Guy Rixon said:

I'm interested, and could upload some STL files for tests. My stuff is only appropriate for the resin printers.

 

To make this a viable replacement for Shapeways, we'd some agreements on how printability is worked out. Who does the support generation? How many iterations of test prints (with support variations) are needed to prove printability, and what cost to whom? What's the consistency of prints after printability is proven? If a third-party customer is unhappy with the results, how is this resolved and who pays?

 

There's also the question of spruing parts. At Shapeways one has to sprue repeats of the same part. On my home printer, it's usually better not to.

 

Would the resin parts be supplied trimmed or on their supports? How fully cured would they be?

 

Shapeways FUD prints seem to be a little more robust that resin prints on my home machine. There are things that I can print at home but they break too easily in service so I don't bother. We'd need to know the minimum feature-sizes for the resin. If it's "no wires or walls thinner than 1 mm", then none of my range is viable. Also, if a print does happen to break during washing, who pays for the replacement?

 

Sorry if this seems a bit picky, but to make 3rd-party sales work well we have to sort all this out. I'm sure that there are workable solutions if we don't have a rabid pack of shareholders making things difficult. If some prints are commercially infeasible (i.e. only OK for printing at customer's risk) then that's understandable, but we'd need to know before putting them on sale.

 

Whoof! Brilliant points. No worry on being picky, I'd like to have these ideas bounced and feedback given so I know what people want who want to try and use my service.

 

If we're going with repeats of the same part, then I don't see why you couldn't put a few on a file as opposed to putting them all into an awkward sprue. The flexibility offered there would be because I'd be using printers similar to your own, just more of them available. If you upload say, a dozen buffers, or a detail pack, then the sensible solution would be you can specify what way you want it printed.

 

For smaller parts that require some toughness, perhaps we could consider tough resins?  Looking about costs-wise we'd be looking at a higher cost per gram, but the trade off is that more reassuring strength. So perhaps those more finicky and smaller parts of your own? We can also tag that one as "at customer's risk" if it's something experimental.

 

Being as resin is toxic when not fully cured, for the safety of myself, Royal Mail and the customer everything will be fully washed and cured before being sent out. A large jewlers sonic bath and big curing machine is on my to-buy list as I am still in the set up and this thread is judging demand, interest and other parts not considered.

 

I will try my best to cut all supports off before sending them out. If this has to change due to sheer demand then I will either let people know beforehand, or pressgang  get some of my friends to come help out as they foolishly kindly offered to assist me during the early days. I could even offer people a slightly cheaper model without that "prep" work meaning the model arrives still on its supports for you to do everything yourself. I beleive this is what Hardy's Hobbies does for the "detail pack" for their models as I have one of their 16" bagnalls

 

As for support generation, my friend and business partner is currently pushing for us to do all of that in-house, however as I know a number of people, especially some of the "pioneers" interested in this thread will have already done that themselves in their own prototyping and printing phase I'll begin pushing for us to also accept g-code as you know it will have been viable on your own machines for personal use, and thus should work fine for printing here. It's also what a lot of third party creators increasingly do when selling their own models for 3d printing, the minatures market especially does this.

 

Now, if a print fails on my end, or breaks during washing, then it will most likely be my fault, and will simply accept it as part of the risks of printing.

 

Customer-wise, if there is disatifaction and a refund then I think we can follow the standard law here, so within 14 days for any reason (distance selling). This will likely mean I'd hold off sending the money on to creators for 2 months so that if sales have to be cancelled and refunded, nobody is effected.

 

 

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