Shafted by Shapeways


Last night I received an email from Shapeways proclaiming a new pricing policy for certain materials –

Better Pricing for Strong & Flexible Plastics

is what they said. The claim is that 75% of models they sold in that material last year would have been cheaper under the new pricing structure. So I logged in and checked out our shop, looking forward to reduced prices for the many items we make. Oh no. The new system heavily penalises low density models (ie big structures that use little material) – things like our power pylons, comms tower, Tesla tower, Chain Home station etc. The basic power pylon set, for example, is going to be about 4x more expensive than it was previously. There is a brief page of tips for optimising models to make them cheaper, but having followed these all I’ve managed to do is bring them down to being 3x more expensive than they were before. The Chain Home radar station, which used to sell for around £25, is going to be more like £50 under the new structure.


It is true that some items will be cheaper – the Vorpostenboot will drop a couple of pounds, but it seems that around 90% of the items in our store will go up by anywhere from 50% to 300%, while the remaining 10% might drop by 5-10% in price.

To say we’re mightily p***ed off is an understatement – we’ve put a lot (and I mean a lot) of time and effort into developing these models and carefully designing them to be as good value as we can – and this new pricing structure negates everything we’ve done.

So, this is fair warning – if you were thinking our power pylons looked neat and you fancied a couple, get them now – don’t wait until next week. The new pricing structure kicks in on the 7th, so you have at best six days. We have some stocks left which we’re going to take to shows, so there are several opportunities to get these items from us in the next month or so. But once those have gone, that’ll be it, we probably won’t get any new stocks in since they’ll just be too expensive and we can’t see anyone buying them 🙁

We’ll continue to carry some models, but not many – at the moment I’m too annoyed to sit down and work out the pricing implications of this on other items.

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