TFA E-11 blaster finished, but over 800$ on Shapeways...


Active Member
Hello everyone,

I've finished my personal 3D design of the new E-11 blaster from TFA, but i now run into the problem of the printing cost. As i state in my thread's title the final quote from shapeways is over 800$, Sculpteo being even worse regarding this price issue.

So i'm asking people experienced with Shapeways: is there a way to optimize the printing to reduce the cost? The inside diameter of the pipe section is smaller than 40mm so i can't fit anything inside to save some "Machine space", i've already hollowed some parts to save on the "Material cost" and merge others together to save on the "Labor".

Is there a particular way to lay down your parts more efficiently before sending the file to Shapeways? Should i prefer to stack them on upon another, or lay them next to each other, or doesn't it make no differences?

Thanks in advance!


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There's no way i'd sell that at an 800 mark, even if i personally think my model is more accurate than anything i've seen so far. And i don't even know if the print would be a success right now, so it would be a huge investment for possibly nothing...
BTW, here my current lay out of the parts i've sent to Shapeways and where i've already merged a lot of parts together that i wish would have been individual instead.
Lay down.PNG
What a piece of junk.......j/k

Looks nice. Have you thought about just offering the parts for an upgrade kit on the Hasbro toy versions? Might be a cheaper route.
No i actually haven't thought about that. I'm kind of a "accuracy only" guy, so i didn't took that possibility into consideration.

One thing i can consider would be to remove a good part of the pipe from the print. I'd keep only the front and rear sections and design plugs onto them to make them embbedable to a PVC pipe that has the right Outside and Inside diameters. I will lose some details that way but i think they wouldn't be too hard to recreate and that would surely save some money.
I was thinking compared to some other resin kits out there that have been on the market a long time I see that there is definitely more detail in your 3D print. Of course the other kits have probably been using molds from years ago. A fresh 3D print or resin mold is just an idea for kits.
So you spend 800 to get it printed, another 800 to get it molded and cast. Sell 16 at 100 a pop and you've already broken even.
Are the prints you're sending to Shapeways solid or have you removed as much material as possible to bring down the cost?
I have absolutely no experience in casting that's why i want to avoid that way, but ultimately i have friends who know that stuff so maybe i'll see with them... But to be honest, leaving Shapeways handling pretty much all the work would be awesome.

And yes, i've hollowed the biggest parts such as the pipe sections, the central bloc, a part of the folding stock (even if i reckon there's more material removable here), etc...

I'll keep hollowing things and merge others together, but honestly i don't think i'll be able to make the price on Shapeways drop under 700-750$.

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And here I thought shapeways had a "no gun parts"-policy? If not then that would open a few opportunities ...
I assume this policy is for actual real internal parts for a working gun. Here there are no internal or moving parts!;
keep in mind that when you hollow out pieces you need to leave a hole to the outside of the part for them to drain the interior material - otherwise you're charged as if it was solid.
Also, the thinner you keep the pieces, the better. Within reason of course. I think we printed the batman pieces we did at around 1/8" thick.

For whatever reason separate parts drive up the price. I did the E-11 part that sits on the magwell. Put it up there as a single part and got a price of like $50. Separating it into its respective pieces all laying flat for printing to be assembled later was something like $75 IIRC.
$800! We could almost buy our own printer for that!

Yeah but who's going to use it kid? You?

you bet he could... he doesn't have to sit there and listen...

We can give you 400 now, plus an additional 400 when we receive the blaster.

SHOW ME THE MONEY! Uh... wait... which movie were were doing again? :wacko

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How much for sterling silver? :devil
Cboath is correct. Shapeways calculates their pricing on a combination of material selected, quantity used, and amount of bed space or build volume your piece takes up on the machine. If you are using the "Ultra detail" clear material, look for a noticeable increase in price as its the most expensive of the normal plastics they offer. It is also the smoothest and best looking after being printed. The White, Strong and Flexible, (WSF) material is laser sintered nylon powder, and as such is printed in a bed of the powder as it goes. As was mentioned, even if the pieces are drawn hollow, if there is no way for the operator to remove the un sintered powder from inside the cavity, you get charged for it. Another thing to be aware of with this material is the fact that it WILL NOT be smooth. Its a condition of the process. You can order it in a polished version, but this is done in post processing by hand by one of their technicians. There will likely be some places not as smooth as others. Take a look at their materials pages for close-up views and characteristics of each material you are thinking of using.
If going for the nylon powder you can make the walls as thin as 1/16 inch and still have great strength. The clear detail plastic, while giving a superior finish, will be brittle. Better for making a mold master out of rather than a finished piece, IMO.
As was mentioned before, how about deleting the parts that are round tubes or square blocks and have the end user furnish those for you to add your detail parts to during final assembly. Could drop the cost by a lot depending on how much you get rid of.
Maybe they've changed their policies - i don't know.

We tried to print the batman arkham gel gun on there as a single piece and they refused because it looked too much like a gun to them. It doesn't look anything like a gun to be honest.

They said, at that time, their printing was done in europe and that the stringent laws prevented them from doing gun-like parts and sending them to the US (NYC) where they'd be then shipped to the customer from their NYC offices. They did say they were working on setting up shop in the US as well and that when they did those restrictions would lighten up a bit. If they goes through, they've lightened up a lot.

FWIW, they won't refuse until after you pay and place the order. Then an employee sees it and makes that determination. If they refuse, they refund the money.
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