Thanks Shapeways

Set of four sideframes. The production version will have a different layout to save on printing cost.

It’s been quite a while since I posted an update on the RSC13 sideframe project. I think the last I wrote was an update that my set of four had been shipped from Shapeways.

Though I’ve been openly critical of Shapeways past insistance on using only UPS to ship parcels to Canada I’m excited that they now offer a United States Postal Service option. It was never about the cost of shipping, I just find that UPS shipping to Prince Edward Island is about as reliable an option as just firing the parcel into the nearest river and relying on time and tide to bring the order.

This post isn’t about UPS. I wanted to update on the RSC13 sideframe project and where I’m at with that and to do something I should have done just about two weeks ago: thank Shapeways and recognise supber customer service.

Once you’ve placed your order with Shapeways they provide a web page where you can track your model through the printing process. As the print job nears completion they add the parcel’s tracking number and a link to the shipper’s website so you can track its trip to you.

My model had travelled through the Shapeways process meeting all their projected timeline points and it left Shapeways as they planned. I copied down the tracking number and periodically checked the USPS website to see if it was closer to the Island. USPS’s service standard for the parcel put a delivery time of around ten working days. Around day fourteen my parcel hadn’t arrived. I’m not in any rush for these but wanted to ask in case there was anything going on I wasn’t aware of.

Within a few minutes of my sending Shapways an email I received an auto-reply notifying that my question had been received. What impressed me so much was that well within that first hour, I received my first personal email from Shapeways. No generic email either. A nice personal note to let me know they’d seen my note and to reinforce that they were going to see what happened. By the end of hour two, I’d received two more personal emails. Both were really nicely composed notes and by the end of the third they apologized and offered to re-print the model and send me a second one. I replied that their extra attention was appreciated but unnecessary, that I was okay to wait. They insisted and I took them up their offer. Shapeways had done their job printing my parts but immediately took responsibility for USPS loosing the parcel. I am so impressed with their personal attention and the way they offered to take responsibility for developing a solution that suited us all. A lot of folks do a lot of talking about owning a process and last week, Shapeways really went out of their way to prove their commitment to their service and their customers. I’m really impressed and already looking forward to doing more business with them.


Now, back to the trucks.

On July 8th they shipped my second set of sideframes. I’ve been following this on on USPS’s website and today the parcel cleared customs. I fully expect to be holding onto them this coming week and I am pretty excited. I have a Kato RSC2 here (thanks, again, Greg!). I expect within minutes of getting the parcel I’ll have a photo to post showing how these look on the stock Kato truck they were designed for. I already have the final version of the drawing ready to post to Shapeways and if everything goes to plan, I’ll open the model up for ordering on the Shapeways website by the end of this month.



  1. I also live on an island, Nantucket, off the coast of Massachusetts, and smaller than PEI, I think.

    We also have dreadful service from UPS Ground (UPS Air is better).

    Service is so bad that I no longer order any product that can’t be shipped USPS or FedEx. Sad, because those of us on islands have to order a LOT!

    1. I’ve adopted a similar approach for ordering – selecting the firm based on their shipper. UPS is terrible and became the reason why I stopped doing business with Shapeways. Now that Shapeways are offering USPS as an alternative I’m looking forward to doing more work with them.

  2. Well, I am ashamed to say that I got it backwards last night, though the issue is the same. It is FedEx Ground that is impossible here, not UPS. My bad!

    You will see that I am posting here at 0345. By the time I posted last night, I was on my way to dreamland! Apologies to all, especially UPS. But USPS is best.

    As a great fan of British modeling, though doing US prototype myself, I am very much enjoying your blog, which I found through Trevor Norman’s blog.

    Thank you!

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