I created the model below for a very nice scientist who works at a nearby college. He hired me to create this model of a virus which he would then use for demonstration purposes. I created it 100% in Blender and its dimensions in centimers was: 10.556 w x 12.91 d x 12.112 h. I exported it in .WRL format and it has vertex colors rather than UV-wrapped image textures.
The scientist was thrilled with my sample renders and was very excited for the product. He paid me $100.
I placed the order with Shapeways, even though they have repeatedly accepted payment from me and then, weeks later, told me that they couldn’t produce the item. But in this case, the model seemed relatively simple, and it whizzed through their automated inspection. I placed the order on August 6 and this was what the order page read:
So, they took the $127 and said the item would be shipped on August 14. I relayed this to my customer, the scientist. He expressed sincere excitement.
However, on August 16th (two days after the deadline), they still hadn’t shipped the item or contacted me. So, I had to contact them (the customer has to go begging to the business). They eventually responded saying basically, “Just a few more days.”
Finally, on August 18, they contacted me and said they can’t print it. They said they would give me store credit (even though they’d just, once again, proved themselves incapable of delivering products they say they can deliver).
I requested a cash refund roughly one week ago (I don’t know the exact date because I sent the request via their internal messaging system). I didn’t hear back. I sent them a regular e-mail asking for cash, not store credit, this past Monday, August 25. They responded with a stock e-mail saying they’d have it to me in 3-5 days. This was very bizarre because, of course, most companies give automatic refunds, instantly. (For instance, I just returned something to Meijer, a local general goods store, last week and, of course, they deposited the funds instantly. This is how everybody does it, but Shapeways said they’d need 3 to 5 days.)
I sent them another e-mail firmly stating that I would like the refund for the $127 as soon as possible. (The customer wants his product, and I am going to give iMaterialize a shot, as this is at least the third frustrating incident I’ve had with Shapeways.) It is now five days after they said, “3 to 5 days”. I still have not received any refund. This morning, I sent Shapeways an e-mail asking where the money is. (And mind you, even after they make the deposit it will still take a further three days for the bank to process it.)
They haven’t responded in several e-mails.
I’m sure that, sometime next week, after I write another dozen e-mails, I’ll get another phony, condescending, “We’re sorry to hear that you had a bad experience! We’ll issue a refund in just 3 to 5 days!” letter. (Shapeways loves putting patronizing exclamation marks at the end of all their e-mails: Shapeways thinks it’s cool to treat their customers like they’re struggling Kindergarten students.)
I’m done with Shapeways. They said they would ship this on the 14th. They didn’t. I contacted them, so they said it would be a few days late. Then they said they couldn’t ship it, thus embarrassing me in front of my customer. Then, they said a refund would take over a week to give. Then, they still didn’t give me a refund. All the while, their e-mail correspondences have been sparse and, when they arrive, patronizing and unhelpful.
Shapeways has stolen $127 from me which they refuse to refund (this is now past their own retarded five day deadline).
I’m done with them. I’m going to move on to iMaterialize. They cannot possibly be worse than Shapeways, which is a scam company that has robbed me of $127. If anybody has any suggestions for any other 3D printing vendors - especially ones with color machines, particularly ZCorp printers, that would be helpful.
It’s also worth noting that I’ve had previous frustrating incidents with Shapeways (items shipping weeks later than the due date, not printing items months after I paid for them, etc., etc.)
TL;DR: Please let me know of any other good 3D printing vendors, and stay away from Shapeways. They steal your money.