Customizing rings

If you visited my Kickin’ Wiccan shop on Shapeways or Etsy in the past couple of days, you may notice that the rings are gone.

This is because Shapeways, without any warning (at least to me), pulled all the listings for rings from my shop. I had to pull the same listings off my Etsy shop, since if I received any ring orders via Etsy I had no easy way to fulfill them.

It wasn’t that Shapeways pulled my rings in particular. They pulled every listing from every Shapeways shop that used a form of customization known as a “co-creator.” To explain what this means, I’ll stick just to rings in my shop: When a customer placed an order for one of my rings, they typed in their ring size in a text box I set up as a co-creator option. Shapeways would then notify me that I had to create a 3D model with that customization.

If I’d previously created a model in that size, I simply uploaded it to Shapeways. If I hadn’t, I adjusted the 3D model for that size, uploaded it to Shapeways, and had the new model for potential future orders.

Not anymore. Shapeways no longer permits arbitrary customizations of items in their shops (except for restricted cases that don’t apply to me, like engraving text). You can still offer rings in different sizes, but you have to create every ring size you want to offer in advance.

I felt pride in being able to offer rings in any size from US sizes 4 to 16 in quarter increments. If I were to do that now, I’d have to prepare 36 models for each style of ring I sell on Shapeways.

For now, I have only one solution: To offer on Shapeways only those sizes that I’ve already created for that particular style of ring. In the description, I’ll include the text: If you don’t see your size in the list, write me. I’ll add your size, usually within a day. This isn’t as good, but it’s all I can do.

There are still two issues I have to face:

– Shapeways deleted all my ring listings, including descriptions and photos. I have write new descriptions for each style of ring, upload the photos again, and write captions for them.

– The procedure for creating the new type of listing requires me to specify both the model and the price for each combination of material and ring size. There are some shortcuts available, but the bottom line is that this takes time.

The ring listings will come back gradually. In the meantime, I ask any potential customers to be patient. This was not my choice.

In case it’s not clear: I’m mad as hell about this. It’s a lot of extra work for me, and I see no benefit to anyone except Shapeways, who doesn’t have to maintain the co-creator functionality on their website anymore.

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