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.