Shapeways Announces New Pricing Scheme, and Creates Voxel Based SVX File Format

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There has been a lot of news coming from Shapeways last evening and this morning. The company which has been growing tremendously over the last year has made several interesting announcements.

SVX File Format Created:

To start, they have just created an entirely new file format called SVX. This format will be used for transmitting voxel data for 3D printing. For those who don’t know, a voxel is simply a three dimensional pixel, and the word ‘voxel’ itself comes from combining the words ‘volume’ and ‘pixel’. A voxel represents a single data point on any three dimensional grid, therefore when modeling in 3D the term can certainly come up.

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“One promise of 3D printing is that complexity is free,” stated Duann Scott in a blog post. “Sadly with STL files we’ve had the disconnect that more complexity equals more triangles equals larger files. Above a certain limit you just can’t use triangles to specify the details you want in a 3D printed model. Whether that information be material allocation, density, RGB color both internal and external or a custom id that could be used for another variable, not yet available in the 3D printers on the market.”

This new SVX format looks to overcome these downfalls you would find in STL file formats, and Shapeways has just added support for voxel uploading, meaning that full resolution voxel files can now be used.  It is also very interesting to note that earlier this morning ZMorph announced an update to their Voxelizer software which also centers around the modeling of 3D pixels, or voxels.

Revamped Pricing Schemes:

Shapeways has announced some of the largest price drops yet, on objects fabricated with their White Strong Flexible (WSF) Plastic material, as well as in steel. WSF models will now be priced with a 20% discount, and Steel models will be s230% off their previous prices.

With that said, the company will be implementing a new pricing structure which may raise the prices of certain models. The price of a model is based on several factors which include, material, labor involved, and space on the print bed a model takes up. The new pricing schemes will go into effect starting on Otober 7th.

“We are excited about this new way of pricing and at the same time are empathetic to the ones which are hardest hit by these changes,” wrote Peter Weijmarshausen, Co-founder of Shapeways. “In the end, we believe this is the right thing for everyone in the Shapeways community, making 3D printing more accessible and affordable for everyone.”

Although some products may rise in price, a good deal of products will drop in price substantially. As a growing business, within a rapidly growing industry, this kind of thing should be expected.

Let us know you thoughts on both these rather important updates within the Shapeways forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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