18 Sept 2018

Update and Releases from Aotrs Shipyards

Not great news, unfortunately – immaterial was looking promising, and then I was just starting to get the shop setup when it told me you can only sell things you’ve printed there. And at the expense of printing a half-dozen or so of every model in the entire Shipyards… I could buy several printers and pay someone to set up a website for me…! (And that is well outside my current funding.)


Aotrs Shipyards is a webstore on Shapeways.com, a 3D print house which had production and shipping facilities located in the USA and the Netherlands. At the moment...

So, update.

The test prints from imaterialise arrived today, and are of adequate quality (i.e. they aren't inferior to other print houses for the same material).



BTR-80A WSF Sprue

BTR-80A WSF Sprue

The pricing is definitely competitive with Shapeways; though until I actually work out my mark up would be and other factors, I'm not prepared to elucidate more specifically.

There are a few provisos. One, imaterialise has a floor price model (which maybe what Shapeways is trying to do), which means that, practically, things will have to be sprued together to get the most out of your money - and they require 3 mm sprues, not 2mm, which means that the six BTR-80As here have proven to be difficult to get off the sprue.

Two, and more problematically, something I discovered while starting up the shop process (as a back-up/addition to Shapeways)... They only allow you to sell something you have already printed. Which is kinda of a major problem (imagine having to basically re-buy the entire Shipyards range AGAIN and in groups of three-to-four - at that point, it'd be cheaper to buy a new printer and do it myself), and disappointing. I'm making enquiries.

So, I am having another look at Scuplteo, but the prices there are already higher than Shapeways; though single models appear more viable, the one I checked was about 9 euros (by the time I have added my mark-up) instead of 7.5 euros at Shapeways currently. So, not a good alternative, either.

The initial indication is, for the same BTR sprue, they are more expensive. (I can't check against Shapeways, since, hilariously, the file is too large for their software - that's not going to basically cause problems for anyone who wants to keep using them, is it...?)

At the moment, the [i]Shapeways Shipyards hasn't been affected by the price change yet[/i] - but as I won't be notified when it is, it could be at any day.

Thus, in the short- to mid-term, it might have to be that I will have to take orders on an ad-hoc basis (in the short term, via  the current channels) and then either:

1) Print it myself on the Replicator 2/additional printer bought for that explicit purpose (which would mean the cost would be a lot cheaper for you, I'd get more profit, but turnaround would be "when it is done") and Paypal invoice

2) If WSF was requested, make up a specific file for that order and print it A N Print house (imaterialise or elsewhere) and then ship it to you again and Paypal invoice you. (The problem with THAT is, if I cannot have the package delivered from them to you, you'd have to pay postage twice.

3) For those who don't like WSF higher detail, there may possibly be an option to get printed with someone who kindly made an offer using an optical resin printer (they are going to try one of the models when they get chance and get back to me).

(The price changes look like they are coming, since at least one forum poster there reported that, yes, they have been told more or less explicitly that Shapeways doesn't want the model business, because they don't make enough money or small parts and "hope you find somewhere else.")

Option one and two you can consider open, effectively immediately; just contact me via the available channels. At the moment, the best channels are my email (if you already have it) or Shapeways PM (ironically) (or pretty much any forum with a PM system open for anyone to use (not here, then, sadly!) if you happen to see me on - I'm Aotrs Commander pretty much everywhere!)

I will have to look *sigh* into some sort of social media - possible Facebook - page that has a suitable private mail system with which I can pass along my email address on request (which in the short- to mid-term will be necessary for Paypal invoices and whatnot).

I will also take the opportunity to say that I am still open for commissions, the standard price for a new moderns vehicle (which grants you shared rights to the file so you can print the model yourself however and wherever you like) is £50.

So, with that said, while Shapeways *is* still a viable option, I will continue to make releases (not like I have much option at this point!), so this month's release is the Chinese ZBD-03 in 144th scale.

 MG144-CH04 ZBD-03 IFV (aka ZLC-2000)


Photo is of the Replicator 2 prototype.

Next month's release is - pending the priceapocalypse - likely to be either the Luchs (as designed by UshCha) or the BRDM-1. (I am also working on a Toyota Hilux technical presently.) But for the moment, it is, I'm afraid, a case of keeping you posted as the situation develops.

We will be attending ChillCon in Derby this weekend (in lieu of the Worlds); we'll see how that goes!

Shapeways, Aotrs Shipyards

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