New ordering system is sad.

I just cannot understand how anyone in a decision-making capacity at 3dhubs could have thought this system is good.  You guys seem set on standardizing everything as all costs, including misleading customers and removing services from search results.  Anything that doesn’t fit into your arbitrary (and extraordinarily misleading) classification system is basically hidden from customers with your new system.
Making things more efficient and less confusing is great but that not what you’re doing.  This is an artificial “streamlining” achieved by misclassification and omission of services.
You force the customer to choose 3 printing technologies (which already cuts out a lot of other methods) and not one of them is presented accurately.
 

SOME of the Issues:

  • FDM is more than just “plastics”.  I print anything that melts.
  • ALL my FDM materials are for “prototyping”, yet only half of them are visible when “FDM Prototyping plastics” is selected. 
  • Far as I can tell there is no way for someone to see the missing materials unless someone searches for them specifically. 
  • What happened to flexible materials?  TPU/TPE based materials have some of the greatest performance/properties in FDM and now they are missing.
  • I specialize in many materials that have special properties.  Why not promote this, instead of hiding it?
  • Minimum feature detail of 1mm for FDM?  Are you serious? I print layers below 50microns with 150micon nozzles on several of my machines, and with dimensional accuracy better than .5mm. 
  • SLA materials are always advancing/expanding. Not all SLA materials are “Brittle, not suitable for mechanical parts”.  But I guess anyone who prints those materials doesn’t matter.
  • Nylon is not specific to SLS (and vise versa).  If I had an SLS machine, the last thing I would do with it is waste it on nylon.  I print at least 5 varieties of nylon on FDM machines but no one will probably ever see them with this current system, and the materials that can ONLY be printed on SLS (like metals) are nowhere to be found.  Madness.

This is a very exciting time for 3d printing.  Everyday more materials and capabilities are available/possible and 3d hubs is full of people trying to push those limits and capabilities.  (Where is multi-extrusion/multi-material support???) It’s both sad and confusing that 3d hubs would not embrace and encourage the hub’s like this.  Instead they hide them and their services.  I don’t get it.  

How can you expect people to invest their time and money into making a real business out of this when you are so careless with them?  How many of them are unaware that you stopped promoting some/all of their services suddenly?

My advice to 3d hubs: If you want to compete with companies like Shapeways (which I assume is the motivation for this) you should embrace your advantages over them instead of imposing their handicaps on yourself.
 

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Hi Guys,

 

Thanks for sharing all the feedback over the past week. We’ve been following the conversation and have read through all your concerns and very valuable feedback. It took us this long to respond because we talked a lot with the team about the ideas and feedbacks. Good news is that we’re currently working on a complete overhaul of the way customers select materials, we think that it will solve the majority of the issues outlined in this thread.

 

We will be removing the arbitrary groupings of materials, such as “prototyping plastics” and “high-detail resin” and replacing them with objective names based on process and material (e.g: FDM, SLA and PLA, PET-G) with an emphasis on highlighting material properties. The aim of this is to leverage the unique breadth of materials and finishes our Hubs offer and to make it easier for customers to find the right material for their application. Also we feel (based on your feedback) it would be better if 3D Hubs as a platform takes a more objective stance on materials moving forward. Thanks for making that clear once more on this thread. 

 

Since we’re dealing with close to 600 materials and we’re collecting a lot more technical properties, while also overhauling the UX (user experience) completely the expected launch will be toward the end of the quarter.

 

Thanks again to all of you that provided feedback and your support for the 3D Hubs platform!

 

Cheers,

Brian

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This is a good move, as a 3D printing platform 3D Hubs should be objective as there are many different types of 3D printing.

Favoring one over the other is bound to upset a significant portion of Hubs. 

Additionally, it would help if an equal number of pros and cons are displayed on the order page for each method. 

Or instead of pros and cons, it could be displayed as "considerations/tips".

Right now, from a visual standpoint, FDM is undersold with 2 RED negative signs, where as the other technologies only have 1 red negative sign. 

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Please don't forget the Polyjet technology in the process. You killed my hub almost completely with your changes.

 

Customers should also be able to navigate through the hubs close to them without the need to upload a model plus choose a material.

 

I am already turning towards other websites to try to avoid going bankrupt...

 

Thanks for nothing in the meantime!

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Brian,

The reality is not matching your words.  I just checked the order page and I'm shocked at what I'm seeing.  I've been offering "casting" with FDM & SLA since almost day one.  Now it's a new service that require a special quote system from 3d hubs support?  This is the priority for your team at the moment?  This feels tone deaf at best and antagonistic at worse.

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Actually, this is just pointing to a knowledgebase article, something 3dhubs does on their main page from time to time.  Its actually a pretty good article that includes the advantages of doing casting with FDM.

 

 

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Did you click the button? Where is the link to see the hubs that offer this service or print casting materials?  I totally agree that the info is good and I actually really appreciate it since I don't think I've ever gotten a 3d hubs order for this service.  
It's also low on my priorities compared to everything else. 

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NOTE:  THIS IS MY SAMPLE OF A GOOD RESPONSE, WRITTEN BY ME
We are sorry it took us so long to respond to this thread.  We now know we need to improve upon that. We DO respect that our hubs are vocal about changes we make, and since we are a small company, with lots to handle, sometimes we drop the ball.  We will try to do better.

We have had a problem with hubs that are not meeting minimal quality standards.  When we have to refund an order, we have still paid the cost of being in business on that order, so each of these are a loss to us.  We need to keep customer expectations realistic, and figure out ways to make sure lower quality prints do not get into our market place.

 

We are a business.  We are trying to move into more business and professional areas that are often not suited for FDM printing, and we do like the idea of having higher margin prints available to those customers who would benefit from it.  As a business, it does help us when each order that takes the same resources, has higher profit for us.  We want to stay in business, increase our services, and improve our software, all of which requires good revenues, and as a result benefits the hubs.  

Every order has a cost, in server processing, customer support, software support and development, employees, benefits, rent, etc.  We pay a fee just for the computational events that occur with each order.  The more we make on an order the better it is for our business.  Likewise, the less we spend on an order, the better it is for our business.  So while we do not want to lose FDM hubs, we do want to do more higher margin prints.  We need profits to pay software folks for some of the requests we have in our backlog, for example.  We need to stay ahead of our competitors, and that takes revenues.  So obviously, we want to improve revenues, and moving into new market areas is a good way to increase revenues and stifle competition.  But we need to do this while maintaining our relationship with our existing hubs.  
Doing all this is difficult, as we are walking a tightrope between those existing hubs who have been loyal to us, and increasing our market share into printing technologies that we see being used more, but that some of our existing hubs see as competition.  It is not easy.  We need to do it in a way that encourages existing hubs to improve along with us, while avoiding cannibalizing our current market share. 

 

Admittedly, we have had some difficulty in doing this in a way that shows loyalty to our existing base, and we have not been as completely responsive as we should be.  We may have underestimated how delicate this situation is.  We now understand how important it is, for example, for us to maintain objectivity in describing materials and methods for 3d print orders.  We want to show loyalty to our hubs old a new alike, while growing our business and theirs.

 

As such, based on feedback from our most vocal hubs, who are at least emotionally and often financially invested in 3d hubs, we will be removing "Prototyping Plastics" from our FDM designation until our new materials database is online, and looking at other ways we might solve some of the issues here with some smaller changes that might be possible.  Thank your for your strong feedback on this.  Even though we do not necessarily agree this wording is not accurate, we are understanding it is a hot button to our FDM hubs.

 

We are immediately putting together a plan where we gather a collection of hubs in our largest markets, a consortium of sorts, who will serve as a group of advisers on what will and will not work as we make changes.  This will allow us to have a strong "voice of the customer" approach to changes.  We will soon be asking for volunteers, asking for hubs who are in the community, know other hub owners, attend gatherings, etc., so they can provide us with reliable feedback on how they think our changes might affect them and their marketplace.  We will then try to match this input with our own objectives as a business.

 

We will still be running tests to determine what works well for our business, what creates the most new customers, what creates the best customer retention, etc.  We are a data driven company.  But we will try to be much more open, honest, and informative about this in the future.  We think communication is going to be key here.

 

Without our hubs, and in particular our quality hubs, we would not exist.  We will be loyal to our hubs that have been so loyal to us.  We understand there are competitors, and there will be more.  Working together, we will continue to be the leader in customer and printer satisfaction!

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Why not "The LESS we SPEND on an order the better it is for our business." Support was originally done mostly by the hubs. Now my customers always show up with the wrong tech selected and confused.  Is this what they are paying for? 

Again, wrong strategy and waste of resources.  Should have just been eliminating the hubs not capable of proper customer support.  Instead of using the hubs as a resource, you spend resourced removing them from the equation.

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@MindFuLL, this was just my sample response.  I wrote it as an example of how you answer.  Sorry, was not trying to mislead...  Edited to make that more clear.

I was trying to show an example of a complete response!
PS, "Every order has a cost, in server processing, customer support, software support and development, employees, benefits, rent, etc.  We pay a fee just for the computational events that occur with each order.  The more we make on an order the better it is for our business."  This is a legitimate business statement, and is of course true here...

PSS, I added your part to the sample response as well....

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Got it.

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LOL, was not trying to be clever.  Was just trying to show how you handle a situation.

Complete response.  Show understanding for thier side of the story.  Tell your side of the story.  Apologize. Fix whatever can be fixed as soon as possible.  Set up reviews.

Public relations 101.

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Sorry @Brian but I must respectfully disagree with @MindFuLL in thanking you for this answer.  I cannot imagine what you folks are thinking.  You have had over a month to honestly, completely, forcefully answer to this issue, and this is the 3dhubs response....  You folks have been watching this thread and having meetings about it for a week, and this is your answer. This is a thread that lists competitors, has hubs asking for alternative competitors to start up, talks about the same issue from a previous thread about the same issue, and you folks give this as an answer?
Here is why your answer is so bad, weak, and outright disrespectful.
Saying our feedback is valuable, while you have ignored it for over a month, is a poor response.  Saying it took so long to respond because you were in meetings about it with your team, is pretty funny.  You should have been talking to us, I cannot understand why you cannot do both. Saying you are doing a materials overhaul is not news.  We have known for quite some time you were working on this, so implying that it is a result of feedback from this thread here is misleading.  Saying you have arbitrary grouping is an understatement, saying you are going to fix this sometime down the road is just insulting.  Thanking us for feedback and supporting the platform while not addressing specifically the issues here or agreeing to fix some of it right now is beyond bewildering.

 

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Can't argue with the content of @Perry_1's post and his tone is probably justified.  At the same time, I'm powerless here so my only options are to complain or leave.  Fully aware that this is most likely more lip service so I'm just hoping for the best and planning for the, more probable, worst.  Definitely exploring other options as I've been left with no choice and it would be personally irresponsible not to. 

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I am not encouraging anyone to go elsewhere, and never have.  It is better for us if we all, collectively support a good site.  It would allow us to have most of our revenues going into the development that would help us.  But loyalty that is not a two way street is abuse.
Here was my week this week:

On Monday, a prospect comes to me from a referral on work I did on a previous 3dhubs customer.  This prospect knew who I was and came to me directly, not through 3dhubs.  Should I put that new customer through 3d hubs?  I would think yes, since 3dhubs was the marketing source.  But I do not want that customer to see "Prototyping Plastics."  Before last month, I would not have thought about it for even a second.  3dhubs deserves to get paid.

On Wednesday, a customer who had previously done orders via 3dhubs contacts me via email.  Do I put that customer on 3dhubs, or work directly.  In the past, I would have said it was a sin not to put that order on 3dhubs, 3dhubs earned some continuing commissions for some period of time on that customer.  You can see in previous threads my position on this.  Now, not so sure...  have to think about it...
On Thursday, a customer comes to me via my website.  Should I have the 3dhubs widget turned on, or off?  I certainly would never advertise on my website that my work is low quality or "Prototyping Plastics"
This morning, I get a inquiry on 3dhubs that is asking about an order for 200 items.  This is an inquiry.  There is a lot of work in just getting this customer from the inquiry to a paying customer.  But I believe I should put it through 3dhubs, because that is where the work came from.  This could be a long term, high dollar customer over time.  I would not even think of not doing it through 3dhubs.   Because loyalty.
This was just this week...

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I feel the same way. I experience the same situations with my orders and also would not cheat 3dhubs out of their fee on a customer that originated here.  Not only that, I do a lot of work locally and really liked the peace of mind offered by the payment system (especially when dealing with someone I haven't established a relationship with yet).  I stopped bringing in outside clients because of the hassle, misinformation, and interference.  Their fee was never my issue either. 
I also used to give pages of advice on countless inquires that went nowhere and spend time trying to be helpful and answer questions in this forum. Kinda lost steam for that as well.

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@mindfull Yes you have.been prolific in helping with us here. Things will get resolved hopefully and your enthusiasm will come back. I also been prolific on the forms putting in my effort and helping anyone then I can help. Always ready to give input.

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Thanks Brian.  I think you can see that aside from all the frustration we all want 3d hubs to succeed but many things we have requested improvements on for a long time have been ignored while it appears that a lot of effort and resources are put into things that work against us.  I know more big changes are on the horizon and many of us are concerned it will be another leap in the wrong direction. 
I know you guys run this site with a relatively small team and I'm pretty sure we would all rather channel this energy into being helpful rather than waving pitchforks so please consult us and ask for assistance on anything in question.  We would rather be used this way instead of as a lab rats.
I stopped participating as much several months ago because I felt my concerns were being ignored (or just given lip service) but the most recent changes are nearly a death blow to my hub so I wanted to try reaching out one more time. If this path is better for 3d hubs and its profits, that's fine but please be candid about your intentions with us so we know how to proceed.

Thank you for acknowledging our concerns.

-Jesse

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Thanks Jesse, it's really encouraging to hear you all want to see the platform succeed and keep pushing us in the right direction :-) I also agree that we should make better use of your expertise and experience from running a 3D printing Hub day to day. So as soon as we have a mockup of the new material database and user interface we'll share it with you guys to collect feedback.

 

Does that make sense?

-Brian

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I think that's exactly what most of us want to hear.  
Thank you very much.

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If you try to send them complaints, you will see how they answer. They seem to think that it's going better since they messed everything up for us.

Go figure...

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Yeah that wouldn't be a too intelligent reaction :D 
 

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Slightly side tracking, but ....

 

Originally 3DHubs was a community hub, while listening to both sides, bringing both sides of the 3D Printing community together.

Now that they have gone through a number of investment rounds, they need to have a business model which proves its financial/monetary value. 

So the focus obviously will shift from "community" to generating return & profit as fast as possible.

 

Looking at the margins, profits obviously are much higher for the more professional printers on the platform than the pro/consumer printers.

 

It feels like the same is happening here as with other share economy platforms (look at Uber, originally really interesting for the drivers and customers, now there is no room anymore for the occasional drivers, its competition is happely taking over the thousands of unhappy Uber drivers)

 

Maybe it's time a different/new team restarts with a fresh hub/platform, with focus again on the community.

Currently there is not really an alternative to 3DHubs (I've been looking around, and only found maybe one alternative). Maybe some healthy competition will make 3DHubs listen better to the community again, or react more clear or with better feedback to our complaints.

 

I'm not the biggest provider here, but I've run into loss, or unpleasant surprises after a lot of these so called improvements. Don't get me wrong, there also have been lots of real/good improvements! But recently, we seem to loose more than we win.

 

I would be a supporter of a new effort for a new platform

 

 

 

 

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Uber is an excellent example of how to lose a large chunk of your business to a competitor.  Lyft took hold immediately because of Uber's mishandling of their base, which included both their riders AND THEIR DRIVERS.  Its a classic example of how a company that owns a marketplace gives up millions in market share to a competitor overnight, by FORGETTING who brought them to the dance.  Uber is still a large and profitable company, but gave up so much market share in just one year.

Makerbot is a good example of how you LOSE a market that you own -- practically overnight.  Underestimating the power of forums, news sites, etc., they trampled over their users, failing to listen to the direction of the base.  They were supposed to be the next Apple.  They could have been, by creating strong loyalty with the folks that were their market, and collaborating with users, and listening.  Instead, they made the ill fated decision that more margin was more important than their base.  They also decided they were the only people around who could do what they did for a living, thinking that was their value.  They wasted the brand, instead of owning the market.

Apple is an opposite study- during their early growth days.  They have always shown loyalty to their base (I consulted with them).  It was always about how can we best keep those that have already done business with us happy.  How do we keep people from "looking around" at alternatives.  They kept their market share, while IBM lost the entire game.  Apple always understood someone else could do what they did, so they valued their base over everything else.  Apple never forgot who got them out of the garage.

3dhubs has not responded on this thread, and continued to implement a poor design that hurts their base, including those of us who put in the time to help on this forum, put up posters at universities, added 3dhubs to our own web site, gave talks at maker spaces, wrote articles for the knowledge base, etc. We did this in the early days with the desire to increase the market overall.  

 

Now they have labeled what we do as low quality work in prototyping plastics, which affects our entire marketplace and our reputation outside of 3dhubs.  How loyal do they expect us to be?  Do they expect us to bring our customers back?  Do they have a way of making sure we don't take customers off 3dhubs when customers need reprints?  They don't.  So loyalty needs to be their number one issue right now.   I am loyal to 3dhubs, and have admonished any suggestions by other threads where folks talk about doing business brought to 3dhubs outside of 3dhubs.  They need to return this loyalty in spades.

In the first thread on this subject, I said they need to make sure this does not cost them large market share to the first competitor who put outs out a competitive website with a big banner that says "HIGH QUALITY FDM PRINTS".  Or when this all gets picked up by the news sites, with a headline like "3dhubs now defines FDM as low quality prototypes."

Instead of making sure customers end up working with FDM printers who do high quality work by utilizing their data correctly and setting up ranking that works, they are trying to take a short cut.  It will hurt them.  We will look back on these threads two years from now and say, "Yup, that was the beginning ...."

 

 

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There is definitely demand for the original concept and they are absolutely in danger of giving up their position.

 

The strategy they are on will never compete with shapeways. Current path is delusional. They think they can get standardized results and services from people all over the world with completely different skills and completely different equipment.  The advantage they had, was in fact, that variety of people/skills/equipment.  If they would have kept investing in that path they would of been way better off at this point.  Now they are chasing the sun.  Wouldn't be surprised if they if started buying their own machines (if they haven't already), because that the only way they can make this path work. 

 

3d hubs, do you guys need help?  Does anyone work on this website who actually runs (or has run) a 3d printer for a living?  Is anyone home?  You have my e-mail.
-Jesse

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These are some alternatives, but not 100% ideal for us here in Europe:

 

https://www.makexyz.com 

https://www.treatstock.com

 

 

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There are many startups here in the US that do what 3dhubs does.  I am not going to list them here, as that would truly be bad form.  (I am trying to be loyal...)
This includes those that are pushing directly into competition with 3dhubs, and there are other services like service bureaus that have purchased large amounts of FDM printers to handle large volumes of prints.  None of these competitors are going to say their work is low quality prototyping, you can be sure of that.
I just got back from a major industrial show.  There were several competitors in FDM of both of these types.
There are also the direct competitors to Shapeways, such as 3d Systems Direct and Stratasys in house.  3dhubs should not be looking to compete with them.  These companies can not only print anything, they have extremely low cost of acquiring the printers...
I have had several companies get work done from shapeways.  They usually come back to good old FDM PLA.  Because it is fast, strong, and reliable.
3dhubs needs to focus on their base, those that brought them.  They need to solidly remember the business they are in.  Because right now they are the leader in that business.  
 

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I would definitely be up for a new platform to compete with 3D Hubs too.

Let's propagate this to find willing web programmers!

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Im in the Myminifactory studio as well as the Wonderland group at the same site... (we who print your designs uploaded before they are published).

They started to build something to keep track and connect makers with designers, it was kind of stopped because of 3D hubs, but maybe I should push them to develop it further :) 

https://www.myminifactory.com/connect/

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I'm in this whole thing just ticks me off I bought 2 printer and the first week I had great success on this site but then they screwed fdm and will lie to your face and say we have seen no drop in fdm orders. my printer has not even been turned on in about 3 weeks.

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I still don't believe there's a drop attributed to the changes. Thats great you had 3 orders in first few week but I wouldn't have bought equipment based on that. You need to market your printer and also find work when theres a slow time. As they say don't put all your eggs in one basket.

 

My orders have been going up steadily. There was a slow period but now its back to growing. I have 10+ open orders at the moment.

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yes I know. most of my work is local. I started to use 3dhubs to add more to it. I advertise locally and this is where most business comes from. i had big hopes for 3d hubs to fill in the slow spots during the month but its not as good as was expected.

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Bottom line is 3dhubs is trying to run off the FDM printers because they see us as a hassle.  Low income for the work put in.  All of their "great" ideas are ill conceived and very poorly thought out and implemented.

A recent customer found it so confusing to place an order he did it twice by mistake.  Now, instead of just deleting the duplicate order it is a "decline" for me and the customer.  And someone please explain to me how archiving an inquiry is a "decline"?  This is ridiculous.

I agree completely with @MindFull.  This is becoming a joke.  Why would we ever want to have a return customer actually go through the hub?  This is the one complaint I get from customers.  The hub is not user friendly and a pain to use.

 

You can wash and wax the car all you want to make it look good, but if it doesn't run, it still won't get you anywhere.

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As an SLA printer- I'd love the option for customers to be able to search and easily find the specialty materials as well - flexible and durable are now possible

 

*EDIT*

You know what would be cool is if they listed all the materials on the materials page (plus more) and a customer can select the characteristics that were important which would dynamically start to eliminate options. So they can click 'high-detail' or 'flexibility' or 'durability' or even 'quick turnaround' or 'low-cost'.  Even cooler would be if they don't just click like check boxes but can rank each one on a scale from not important to critical.  I know that's not a trivial dev project but I just think that'd be cool for customers that don't know what they really want...

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To your edit:

As a consultant on such matters, I will say, this is a great sounding idea, but in reality is not practical, because of the human element involved.  "Automated Wizards" typically fail in complex situations.

1. The customer would have to "know" what they do -or do not know.  That is, 3dhubs has added guidelines to let customers know that FDM printing has lines on the surface, because many were unaware.  Many customers are not educated on 3d printing.

2. The customer would have to know what trade-offs for each selection would be, in relation to the need.  For example, the customer wants quick turnaround and SLA quality.  How does the customer understand which has cause/effect and how to prioritize them.
3. Some terms are relative.  ABS is more flexible than PLA when you need a little bend or hinge.  But it is not flexible when compared to TPU.  Flexible is relative to the need of the customer, who may not really understand such needs. Can we expect a customer to understand that a PLA hinge will break immediately, but an ABS hinge can survive for awhile?  Durability is a relative term.  PLA is very durable.  How does the customer measure what durability means without an understanding of the materials in advance?
4. As soon as a material is eliminated by question, the available materials may be a really bad fit for the user, who has chosen to answer a question in a way they understand it, when in fact it may have been incorrectly chosen.  How does the customer easily move back and forth in the wizard to determine the correct final result.
5. Based on the mess that 3dhubs has already made in defining materials, I don't believe they could effectively pull this off.
6. Since I am suspect of 3dhubs motives, I don't trust them to do this without intentionally walking a customer to a higher $ print they do not need.

7. When a customer wants a print, and uploads a model, they are at the end of the buying curve.  We would want any steps to follow to be quick and easy.

This is just my opinion on your idea.  I am not being harsh or disagreeable.  Just disagree it could be done correctly by 3dhubs.

 

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I like where @MFishBrooklyn's head is at but @Perry_1 is correct about the challenges involved.  When you're offering this variety of services it's nearly impossible to remove the human element.  3dhubs wants to remove/limit the human element, hence the narrowing/simplifications of services.

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@Kerry@Enza3D@imagine3dps@BoozeKashi@Pepstick@Steelmans@PlastiPrint3D@plvcpt@AlltechM@Vienna3DPrint@btdevine@cobnut@MikeD@jminer85

 

Opinions? I missed the last round of complaints on the recent changes. Have your concerns been addressed in any meaningful way that I'm unaware of?

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I've been refraining from commenting on these changes, as I was trying to give 3D Hubs some time to work out any issues that are occurring on their end of things regarding ranking algorithms, material algorithms, etc. but my opinion regarding trying to get into the more "professional" sector has not changed. I understand wanting to find new revenue streams (especially as the availability of 3D printing machines increases, and the prices decrease), but, in my opinion, a community like Hubs will just never appeal to a "professional" consumer. This is not reflective of the quality Hubs here can produce (you all do great work), it's just the nature of the site and this is for several reasons. 

 

The first reason, is time. It just takes too long for a Hub to respond (average time being hours across the platform), and without listed telephone numbers or contact emails, I can't immediately get a hold of someone and know when I'll have what I need in my hands. I can call up Interpro or ProtoLabs (two prototyping shops) and know within minutes when I'll have my order. The system here of messaging is just not efficient or quick enough, and it never will be. There's a reason why companies still have landlines instead of just communicating solely through email. 

 

The next issue is payment. As a company, we work on invoice based payment systems. Invoices from prototyping shops get paid on "invoice day", but here I have to pay immediately via PayPal (which is a whole other issue) and that makes it really difficult for accounting to deal with. This isn't as much of an issue for small orders (sub-$1000 or so), but it becomes problematic if I want to submit an order in the monetary values prototyping shops usually see. When I do work outside of Hubs, invoicing is done on a net-10 basis, and my clients/myself have a variety of payment options. Additionally, the invoice can be split so XX% is due before the work starts and then the rest is due within the time specified on the invoice. There is none of that flexibility here, and it makes Hubs more unattractive than other options. 

 

Another big issue is the intellectual property issue. For me, this is the number one reason I would never print something using the 3D Hubs service. Hubs can claim that files are secured, and my intellectual property is protected, but that claim is meaningless without an NDA from the Hub I'm actually doing work with. I have to just blindly trust someone with files that represent hours of work and thousands (sometime hundreds of thousands) of dollars, and that's just not going to happen. I have no idea who I'm dealing with on here, and even just someone seeing something cool and showing a friend could spell trouble for me. So yeah, as an engineer, this a huge one for me. 

 

Finally, just plain old reliability. It's not about money at all; as a company, I don't care if something costs me 10x what it would cost here as long as I get it when I need it and it's right. For most of you who post on here, this wouldn't be an issue. But without any guarantee of print quality (other than the guidelines, which aren't that useful), any reliability history, or knowing who my print operator is, I'm not taking that gamble. Money is meaningless when I need something for a client, and a refund won't make up for not having a print for a client if a Hub screws it up. 

 

At the end of the day, as Perry said, Hubs will never compete with Shapeways for consumers, and it will never compete with in-house printing/a prototyping shop. This isn't always true, but most of the time, it will be. I know a lot of what I said is a bit off topic, but I do have a reason for my opinion and I wanted to make that clear here, as I feel a lot of these changes are being made to appeal to a more commercial market. I think what 3D Hubs has is a fantastic community, really dedicated to 3D printing technology, and I'd hate to see them driven away with these changes trying to push the community into a more commercial market. I know a lot of these changes are trying to standardize the system, and make it easier to use, but doing so does seem to be hurting more than helping. The nature of 3D printing is highly dynamic, and really doesn't lend itself well to imposed standards. 

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Nope.  (They did make some changes to the part where they try to talk your customer into going to a new method of printing after they select your hub and your materials.)
Our primary concern that they are presenting "FDM as low quality prototyping plastics" in order to move prospects and existing customers to higher quality prints still exists.

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not much at all. still no orders. i have had one person that keeps putting fake orders in but that's it. i sent a message to 3d hubs and they just told me to cancel the orders and take the hit i told them that i will not cancel the orders and that they should with out knocking my hub down a few pages but even when they cancel it it still puts you down to the bottom of the search. does anyone know of a different site to advertise on. it just sucks as i just got my new printers and now nothing. very disipointed in 3d hubs.

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This is the kind of thing that is ridiculous on here.  A fake order and you have to take a hit for it.  This type of thing shouldn't even be an issue.

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I know. my hub is new I set it up one week before the switch and I printed 3 orders that week. then the switch and I have only done 1 order. i just had to cancel an order after i accepted it because the guy submitted the same order to 7 different hubs then he asked me to cancel it because a different hub is printing it for him so i take another hit because of someone being inconsiderate. the rating thing should take into account a buyers cancel and approved rating and how long they have been active.  

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Their metrics are based on making you a better subcontractor (employee). Our concerns do not seem to be a priority to them, in fact, the opposite.

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Hm... I went through all my pricing, I removed some filaments which Im out of, added some extra layer heights which im now printing and after that change I've got 4 orders (24 hours ago I updated the prices roughly). All the orders was from outside of Sweden, really strange...

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Anyone down-voting these legitimate concerns, without even commenting why, should be ashamed of themselves.

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@MindFuLL  Dont worry about the downvotes.  They mean nothing.  They do not change the order of comments, or anything like that.  They are silly.  Ignore them!

You would think that someone from 3dhubs would have jumped on here...  You know I abhor no response...  In the last thread, I posted for every day they did not respond.  Got pretty unwieldy.
 

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They will not say anything.  If they ignore us then they can't be held to something they say when proven false or inaccurate!

 

They just want us lowly FDM printers to go away.

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As an SLA printer- I'd love the option for customers to be able to search and easily find the specialty materials as well - flexible and durable are now possible

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I have still been getting ninjaflex and other exotic filament orders. Customers that need those know to search for it.

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If you scroll to the bottom of the homepage there is a "rubber-like plastic" option. Great, this should be where the tpu/tpe material are found right? WRONG! Only one material, tango polyjet. Unbelievable.

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Again, not being disagreeable, and glad you are getting some more orders.  But most hubs have stated outright that their orders have declined.

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I understand the search feature and that's great for the customer who's already well informed and knows exactly what they want but for customers who need a prototype and are unfamiliar with the capabilities of different technologies it's useless and overshadowed by the "select a material" tool.

You don't think the way this tool classifies the tech, materials, capabilities is an issue?

It doesn't even properly execute it's own inaccurate classification system. If someone selects "prototyping plastics" many of my "prototyping plastics" are hidden and there is no way to make them visible without starting over and only using the search function for the exact material. I call that BROKEN.

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so I just had an order that I could not print the cust has has this part printed by a fdm printer in the past but for what ever reason after about 20 parts I had to give up. so I contacted the cust and let him know and he was happy and said he was going to have the hub that printed it last do it. the problem is that there were 2 small pins that are long and they kept breaking off during support removal so I went ahead and requested a refund for the customer and here is the message send by Robin from 3d hubs telling them to go to sls hubs even though the customer has already found a solution? very disappointed in this.

I have removed the cust name for privacy

Cancel Reason: Other

Hi guys,

I've gone ahead and cancelled this order for you. ****, your refund will be processed in the next 1-3 working days. I would actually recommend to have this part printed in SLS Nylon instead, for more information please see: https://www.3dhubs.com/material-group/sls-nylon

Please feel free to contact me through support@3dhubs.com or the help center on the right hand side of this order page if you would like some further assistance from 3D Hubs support.

Best,
Robin - 3D Hubs

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Interesting read on this thread.

 

Apparently all of us that have seen the dramatic declines, our capabilities criticized, and our materials disappear are supposed to just shut up and not have an opinion or go elsewhere. I would think that the 15.5% in fees that I have been paying to 3D Hubs would entitle me to some kind of a voice even though I have been subject to their arbitrary decisions like everyone else. Even when I also maintained blind loyalty and chose not to take customers away from the platform when I easily could have. Loyalty and morality must always be reciprocal or they will not exist for very long.

 

It is quite fascinating, as I am sure 3D Hubs has discovered in their studies and tests that all of us who have seen business drop to nothing has apparently all gone to keebie. That has got to be such an interesting aberration in the datasets I am sure that is what is taking them so long to do anything. Surely they must be paralyzed after seeing that their innocent, purely for testing, and without an agenda, changes caused that to happen.

 

I have a brand new Laser SLA printer on the way. At this point I am seriously not sure if I will bother adding it to my hub or not. It does not seem like there is much point in doing so.

 

One final note, those that are saying we must contact 3D Hubs, email them, etc.  Surely you have never done so or you would already be aware of the kind of responses they send back.

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It's surprising how out of touch they seem to be with the hub operators. Hub operators tend to be technical people with analytical thinking yet they continue to have a "customer service" double-speak strategy in interacting with us. I expect this kind of response from my cable company.
Even customers are complaining now.
There are two possibilities I see:
1. they are so far down this path that a course change is very difficult and they are they are scrambling to figure out what to do.
2. these changes are bringing in big revenue overall and they don't care. they are just waiting for us to burn ourselves out or go away.

 

Either way they should stop sending public relation, customer service types to deal with us.  We want clear, honest communication that contains information. No more doublespeak about metrics, testing, road-maps, thanking us for feedback, etc...

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Hey BoozeKashi,

About your comment :

*One final note, those that are saying we must contact 3D Hubs, email them, etc. Surely you have never done so or you would already be aware of the kind of responses they send back.*

Do you think it has more impact to whine on this forum and explain your philosophy about the pros and cons of the stupid things 3D Hubs administration is doing?

If all of us keep harassing them by email and by phone about the losses we are confronted to, it will surely have more chances of getting them to listen than to do nothing but complain to people who have no power over it.

The influence of a few individuals is rather week unless they form an alliance to speak with the same voice.

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Again, why not both?

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Yes, exactly the reason why I started replying here. But I keep pushing them by email and I'm calling this week and every week to come to push them to give us back the visibility.

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I contacted them several times when the first round of changes came. Again when exotic materials disappeared.

 

I can describe the responses I received from 3D Hubs Customer Support in one word.

 

Snarky.

 

 

Good luck with your emails though.  One key difference that may not have occurred to you, or perhaps you may have overlooked is that the public can see this forum. That can make quite a difference.  As far as an alliance, I believe that this is possibly the best if not only way we have to do so. 3D Hubs management can 'hear' our voice here, and the conversation is visible and transparent. Taking it offline to email or phone calls would just put it all underground and make it easy to hide.

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Well I believe I've just had an order that shows the issues with the new system.  The customer ordered a print to be done on my SLA printer in resin.  By the time the support material was added the order topped £200.  The parts themselves weren't difficult for an FDM printer (electrical casing prototypes).  They weren't going to go ahead with the order as it was too expensive.  I offered to shift it to my FDM printer and the order dropped to £45.  They were much happier at this and went ahead with the order.  I delivered parts that slotted together nicely as they should.  It's getting tiring having to deal with the issues 3Dhubs keeps throwing up.

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Yeah, I am a little worried about this.  Customers who are new to 3d printing could very easily get the wrong impression of just how inexpensive getting a 3d model printed is, because they do not see a price comparison anywhere, at least getting a price comparison is not intuitive.

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Just found this thread! Yes something is off...
I'm trying to close in to my 100th order, and I've had a pretty even flow of orders since I started, I would say 2-3 a week roughly. 
Since a few weeks back ZERO, and I havnt changed anything in my hub settings. I dont have time to research what's happened but its clear that something in the ordering system is changed for sure.

 

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My orders have stopped almost completely since their stupid changes occurred and they are doing nothing after I sent numerous suggestions to make small changes that could at least show clearly that the more exotic materials are still available.

 

If others would also suggest the following to them, maybe they would be more inclined to change it :

 

3D Hubs should let the list of local hubs be visible without the need to choose a particular material so people could at least navigate through all the Hubs in their neighborhood.

 

Put all the resin material like Polyjet and Multijet together with SLA in the so called "high detail resin" section and all the FDM technology material like onyx and fiber reinforced ect.. in the FDM section.

 

Please help me and all the other hubs that lost their visibility to make 3D Hubs stop this non-sense !

 

HELP! MAYDAY!

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They don't care about our visibility or unique services. They want customers moved through the assembly line quickly. That's all.

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And push them toward more expensive services when it may be overkill.

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This gives the impression that all the materials are "select"-able, when they are not.  No more browsing local hubs to just see what they offer???

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You can still click view hub and see all they have to offer. 

 

I realize a lot of the changes seem drastic but as 3dhubs has mentioned in other forum posts that they are trying new things, running tests and collecting data on changes. According to them these changes have caused more orders made.

 

I have not noticed any negative affect with these changes in last month. Im currently having best month ever on my hub and have still been getting orders for materials besides PLA. So customers that know what material they need are still finding me.

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@keebie81 not disagreeing with you, but can you show me where they state that these changes have caused more orders made for FDM.  I think you might be falling prey to semantics, where they continually state that "no fewer FDM orders" which is something entirely different.  This statement says that FDM is holding steady, not exactly a laudable goal.

--------

 

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“According to them these changes have caused more orders made.”
They have said this in response to EVERY SINGLE COMPLAINT about any new changes for the last couple years.  I can think of at least 3 specific ones that were reversed after implementation regardless. 
 

As someone who understands the effort involved in what we do, I sincerely congratulate you on your success and wish you many more successful months ahead.  However, the assumption that these changes are directly related to your "best month" does nothing in terms of addressing my concerns, even if the relation is substantiated.  

 

The "view hubs" menu, which used to show local hubs before you narrowed the search, is only visible after you "select material" or "advance search".  If someone clicks on a hub in "view hubs” there is nothing to indicate to the customer that they’re not already seeing all the "prototyping materials" offered, so why would they view the hub page?
 

Even if someone does make their way to the hub page, they are terrible.  It takes FOREVER to scroll through materials.  My materials can no longer be viewed in a drop-down menu (that fits nicely on the screen) from the "view hubs".  I've tried to have clients from outside of 3d hubs place orders off my hubs page and it’s always a nightmare, which is really part of my bigger point here.  
 

If they cared about the hubs then that’s where they would be making improvements.  When is the last time they did any work to the hubs pages?  They don’t because it’s a relic of the original strategy, which has since been abandoned.  I’m literally trying to give them money from my outside clients because I like the payment platform and it's more and more like pulling teeth every time.  The payment platform and hubs pages should be light-years ahead of where they are but it’s been crickets for the last year.  Multi-extrusion? Design work? 3d Scanning? More abandoned relics.  Seems like they are no longer interested in empowering the hubs and expanding their tools, features, services.  We got one widget a year ago…. abandoned relic.
 

It’s obvious that they want orders to take place on the main page and they want them standardized.  They want most of the decisions to be made before the customer gets to a specific hub, and then THEY will decide which hub is best.  Remember when they used to be excited about the number of hubs (and hubs in general)?  In fact I don't think the word "hubs" is used at all anymore on the homepage.  Now we are "3D Services".
 

The focus has shifted away from the service you and I provide to the service that 3d hubs provides.  The new model is to get customers for 3d hubs and outsource the work to us. They are focused on 3d hubs customers instead of getting more customers for hubs.  Those might sound like the same thing but they are not.  All their “improvements” seem focused on efficiently routing jobs to hubs.  They give you metrics of the data THEY think is important.  These metrics are all geared towards making you a better subcontractor, not a better hub. 

I didn’t join 3d hubs to be a subcontractor or a "3d service".  I joined because it was a platform for me to operate MY business and get customers for that business.  For this, I gladly give them a cut.  When I started, I felt like I was their customer.  They were providing services to ME.  Now I feel like they want to make me their employee.  This current strategy of 3d hubs is at odds with my own.
They stopped putting work into anything that would empower me or my business individually because I’m not their customer anymore.

-Jesse
 

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With everything they had to eventually put in some quality guidelines and dimensional standards so people understood the quality or accuracy they will get with a printed part. That may be why you feel like an employee since theres rules to follow now. Its not the wild west from when they just started.

 

Before when response time and orders declined didnt affect hub ranking, hubs would take time responding or possibly cherry pick the orders. Now that those metrics affect your ranking they become more important to provide a better experience to the customer. Quicker response times and only declining orders if not feasable to print.

 

I think they are focusing more on the changes that benefit ordering page and technology they recently acquired. Now theres 3d model and it shows sections that may have print issues.

 

The changing from using the word hubs to service doesnt bother me., Its the same as some places calling HR people service instead of human resources. I added a picture from the site that still shows the amount of 3d printing services on the site

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You might see all this as "benefits" but I don't and I have explained why. The things I do care about are ignored and neglected.

What they call "issues", are the kind of prints I specialize in. What you call "rules" I call limitation. They are literally telling my clients that I'm not capable of doing things that are my specialty. I don't need them getting involved in my orders like this. They don't help my clients, they confuse them.

They give you the metrics that an employer gives to an employee. Other than "hub views", I'm interested in none of them. I don't need to know my accept rate, it's meaningless to me. I want to know what people are searching for when they end up on my page. Do they place an order elsewhere after viewing my page? Etc...

They have no interest in providing such tools because they just want the order to get made quickly.

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Well if you are so dissatisfied with change you can always take your toys and leave and start your own playground.

 

And as they have mentioned before things such as remove supports or accuracy guidelines are just the basic rules. If you and the customer can agree on something different you are fine to do so.

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Wow, great attitude.  I should like it or shut up and go away, huh? 
This is why I stopped contributing to this forum.

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well if you feel its so bad here you can always start your own site providing the service the way you feel it should be. It just seems every time theres any change everyone freaks out and starts complaining. Why stay with something if you dont like how it is ran

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I guess "everyone" doesn't know what they are talking about and "everyone" should just be happy to get experimented on, especially if they don't even think the goal of these experiments are in THEIR OWN best interest.

Are you telling me that I should start my own 3d hubs as an alternative to posting some complaints about the direction of the current 3d hubs?  You're sounding like a troll now.

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@MindFuLL has every right to post his dissatisfaction without being told to go away.  You have no right to say this.

 

 

We all pay a fee to 3dhubs, and many of us have brought customers to 3dhubs.  Many of us have websites that take customers directly to 3dhubs.  So yeah, we have the right to point out our dissatisfaction without being told to go away, and we deserve honesty from 3dhubs.
 

 

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This is the danger with putting all your eggs in one basket, it's the same for all businesses. If your primary source for leads/customers/sales is a third party, you are are in a precarious position - even if you are paying them. It's much harder to stand on your own two feet, but it's the only way to ensure long term stability. It's unfortunate, but true.

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I agree, but like Perry, this is a fraction of what I do.  Still, this is a unique platform and I have gotten some interesting work from all over the globe as a result.  I would hope to expand that, not see it disappear.

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Yes, 3dhubs is not my primary source of customers, and 3d printing is only one of several things I do.  But my main complaint has always been that this affects my overall market perception from my customers, defining FDM as low quality prototyping by the currently most well known site.  That is, they are labeling it this way, and that could affect business that I do with direct customers and future customers.
 

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That's a slightly different point, but a fair complaint. As with the lead generation, you just have to do your own education better than the marketplaces :)

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I agree with @Perry_1 and @MindFull.

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Few things that I'd like to see changed: 

1). Customer created an order a few days ago, and then realized she would not be around to pick it up, so therefore did not need the order anymore. I said no problem, but now I have no way of getting rid of the order without declining it, which affects my ranking. 

2). Why does FDM have two cons listed for it, while the other types have two pros and only one con? Shouldn't customers be presented with a non-biased view of each type of printing?

 

Hope to see some change here very soon. 

 

Thanks,

Brendan

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Agreed, especially on your first point.  The whole "decline" thing needs a complete redo.

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It's all interesting what is happening on this thread but the real impact will come if we all send them messages directly to complain about the loss of orders that is directly related to the changes they made that is preventing the end users to find us as they could before.

Please send your complaints directly to the 3D Hubs management.

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As I said before, there is no historical precedence that anything we say is going to change this.

Direct contact, phone calls, and discussion here.  At least discussions here are an open forum.  

I have done both direct email and phone, and posted like mad in the first thread on this subject.

This was done without any input from us, was done in secret, did not appear in the changelog.  It was done specifically to move FDM customers to higher $ prints.  This was a result of internal goals set inside 3dhubs, as a result of their series b funding.

It was described as a "test" but it was not.

It was, from day one, going to be the new policy.

 

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Ok, its time to order that Form2 then :D

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Thing is though, I've noticed a significant decrease in SLA orders too. I was debating buying another Form2 at the end of 2016/early this year, but now I don't come close to the volume to justify doing so. 

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We've also noticed that decline :(

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Your latest customer review did make me laugh!  Customer William reviewed 27 days ago:

Why is leaving public feedback required? I have nothing in particular to say.

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Problem is that I cant really see exactly what's causing the loss of orders.
And are there a loss of orders in general all over 3D hubs because of a messy order system, strange categorization of materials, or does my potentional customers just order somewhere else than on my hub? 

I'm listed as #1 in my city (STOCKHOLM), and I still have high reviews and rates, so I assume that the total numbers of orders on 3D hubs has went down, if this is the case I'm pretty sure we can await a change/update by the 3D hubs guys, since they'll loose the most money at the end right?
 

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They are trying to increase the number of customers that move to higher $ prints.  Just because FDM hubs are losing business, does not mean they are.  They are also probably willing to take a loss in the short term if the metrics show they will do better in the long term, or if they have internal goals (such as employee bonuses) that are related to moving the base in a particular direction.  So no, don't expect this to change.

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Your customers are being moved to higher $ prints, whether they need them or not.

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But there are no hubs in Stockholm offering higher $ prints! I will be one of two Form2 in the whole area when I order mine! 
I hardly think the customers I'm missing will order from outside of Sweden. 

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