Creating hollow parts and semi-hollow parts

“I’d tell him to put the damn thing back in the box, and send it back.”

Really? It’s just a failure of your imagination. Or maybe you just have a pedestrian use, and don’t understand how complicated thiings can get when you’re pushing the envelope, and how much fun collaboration can be.

For example, the just released ESD resin. Is it suitable for a base for electrolytic coating wiith copper? It’s worthy of a discussion, and the engineer will have to talk to the materials people. That’s a couple of calls.

Then, what can I do to minimize my experimental costs? Couple of conversations, because no one really knows. It’s new territory.

Or, the issue of permanence, since I’m making sculpture, which sells for a considerable sum, and I’m concerned about long term deterioration. What can we work on together, if anything. That’s an escalation.

And how about making molds which hold scan lines quite well, and which have complicated geometry, with serious limitations on things like internal supports which would steady the print. How do I stabilize the print and minimze print times, since it’s taking a day and a half for each print. Any help would be appreciiated, and they’re happy to collaborate. They’ll send suggestions, and .form files to try. Sometime the magic works, and sometimes, not. But a fresh take is helpful.

Which variable can we look at to gain maximum effiiciency while gaining maximum quality; orientation, mold thickness, support density, attachment size, and slope, hight above platform all make a difference. Can I get access to square attachments for toudgh2000 to minimize divots? I need to move from experiments to production as quickly as possible, and pro support is my ally, If they can just tell me, rather than my trying something out can save me days.

And it looks like with some of the engineering resins, the recommended lifespan of the tanks on the 3L is only 3 prints. Which is $100 per print. What can we do to minimize that? What’s the real lifespan? And since the software counts total print time against lifespan, can we adjust the algorithm so that fill time and heat time and level checking don’t count, since they don’t stress the membrane and are more the ½ the total print time. And what can they do on their end to shorten that, since it’s obvious to me that there’s room for optimization. My data can help them.

Or should I pack up the 3L and the 3, forget my experience with Form2’s and 1+s, and forget about what I know, since I’m obviously unqualifed to own the device.


Hmmm… Let’s do a little math here:

Formlabs has about 600-700 employees worldwide, and about 400 in the US. If we discount the management, marketing, logistics (shipping, receiving, packaging, purchasing, etc), HR and sales, that leaves probably less than half in the development, software, hardware engineering and customer support.

Then let’s consider that Formlabs claims they have sold 90K printers worldwide to date. Assuming only 50/60K of those are of the Form2/Form3 variety, and less than half of them are still under warranty, and even less (1/3) are covered by premium service, that still leaves some 10K printers that need to be supported. Finally, let’s just say that the average customer that buys the premium support has 5 of these printers, that’s still 2000 customers with a premium account.

So back to the numbers, 2000 customers with premium accounts that need to be serviced by roughly 200 employees, assuming those employees have no other duties.

You can just see how eager those guys are to be your BFF on a daily basis, right?

I’ve founded and run company’s all of which considered engaged customers the foundation of renewed support, and future sales, industry reputation, and growth.

Retained customers were essential, and I found that if we took care of the most difficult customers, those with the most demanding needs that pushed us in all directions, we were a better company. With better products. With higher renewal rates. And follow on sales, And terrific customer referrals.

Which lead to companies that bought mid six figure installations with a “I’ll have what they’re having, how soon can you install it” sales process.

I never considered over delivering on support a cost center, but rather, the foundation of profits.

They’re far, very far from perfect as a company. But one thing that Formlabs does well is Pro customer support. Which is exactly the opposite of what you suppose.

They contain costs by keeping to a two tier level; no phone, email only for base level, and pay to play. The Pro folks have never pushed back on useage.

Why do you suppose they’re not eager? Do you have any personal experience? I’d love to know.

p.s. Your math isn’t based on how support works. Support is a separate operation, and doesn’t involve nearly as many as 200 people. In one company I ran, we supported literally billions of dollars of production with a double handful of people.

Basic Demming, donchya know.

I was just replying to your comment of daily engagement with, what would be for all intents and purposes, your “personal” FAE.

And while I’m sure that a tech would be more than willing to spend a couple of days, maybe more to get someone up and running or help them figure out some special technique required for a special project, I doubt he would be willing to forgo all other duties (and customers) just to be your personal helper day to day.

Somewhere down the line, there will be a “let me get back to you on this” with no follow up, and more and more unanswered emails and questions.

Simply put, you’re not the only one that needs help, and there will be others with more pressing needs than yours. This idea that you can simply monopolize and FAE’s time with your needs alone doesn’t work. Especially when customers outnumber the available support by 10 to 1 or more.

I’m sorry, but I wasn’t familiar with Dr. Demming’s 14 points of management, and after reading it, frankly I don’t see how it’s applicable to this conversation. But I may be slow on that respect.

But you also did not mention how you managed to provide technical support for the “billions of dollars of production” with only a couple of dozen people or so. Did you provide daily one on one support for the same customer that couldn’t figure out how to use the product or needed daily support for whatever reason? I bet not.

I think you missed the entire point of my post.

I was trying to point out how unrealistic the comment you made about “daily interaction with your own FAE that learns all about your needs and wants” (I paraphrase).

Support is there to provide you with what you need to get you up and running, and answer questions and such. They’re not there to become sounding board or daily go to helper. They have other users that need taking care of.

And if you abuse the service (which daily interactions qualifies as such), they will simply stop providing the service, until such time as there is a real need, assuming they can differentiate between real need and daily banter.

“Cry wolf too many times”, dontcha know !!

Too funny. You’re MSU. I’m not sure why.

Have you had problems with Pro support? Cuz that’s not my experience. And I use them alot, from virtually ever since they developed pro support

I’m not considered a pest, at least as far as I know. And if I am, it’s not obvious to me. More of an ally that’s trying to get the very most out of a machine, and resins, and who can, on occasion, deliver a free R&D effort.

What I do is hit them with carefully crafted, often considered good questions that include as much useful and helpful information as is proper, to eliminate unecessary and ineffcient back and forth questions. And which may help with other customer issues, perhaps not as well explained.

What I don’t do is attack my support person, no matter how frustrated I am. And I’ve been driven to near apoplexy in the past (but not lately, since they switched to a named support person, so I don’t have to start from the beginning all the time. It’s far more efficient for both sides).

They do run on rails. I’ve had less luck with them on some adventursome ideas, which they rejected with “lots of luck with that” sort of a reply. But that wasn’t support, it was about developing a specific market that didn’t fit with their plans. A well within reasonable response to a rather large request. And to be fair, it was probably better for me too.

So, let’s put this discussion to bed. It’s not productive.

Fair enough, but what MSU stand for? at my age, I’m not up on all these new acronyms

Making shit up.

Happy to help! (I’m probably older than you, FWIW) :joy:

out of curiosity, what shit am I making up?

I’ve been trying to be respectful, so i haven’t unloaded on you.

But, (and my apologies in advance) you haven’t a clue as to how a techcompany or division works, and less than nothing about how a support organization works.

You apply math that has no (none, not any, zero) relationship to actual facts, and calculate a fantasy based on ignorance. You decide, aparently with no practical experience, how something, in your mind, should work, and go from there. So, on first principles, you’re wrong, and then it gets worse as you opine.

Trust me, I know what I’m doing, and you don’t.

I’ve built a few support orgs for companies I owned. One, for example, that ran the New York Times quality control for color reproduction across a dozen remote printing sites, some owned by the parent company, and some just contracted for the production runs. A bad page of color could cost the Times $100,000. Oh, and I designed the system on the back of a napkin, over lunch, and it ran, and we supported it for about 8 years, which is forever in technology.

I supported many ad agency’s production with servers that could not go down, given the demands on them, and which had hundreds of users on them.

In the early days of my career, I had a company that made platinum coated photo paper, and had to support customers ranging from the famous fashion guys to the completely ignorant newbie.

We were one of very few who knew how Time magazine got to the newstands every week, from article submission to on the truck. Because we had to support the production, having replaced the embedded sytem with something faster, better, and cheaper.

There’s more, but you get the idea.

I find your assumptions appalling from beginning to end, since in their entirety, they have no grouding in the real world. There’s nothing in particular to point out. You have a conception that you cling to, which I don’t understand. It’s everything you hold true, except possibly aritcles and conjuctions, and those only sometimes.

One more thing, at no time despite an enormous responsibility for a large number Fortune 500 customers using us for mission critical work, did we have more than a couple of dozen support engineers. Didn’t need more.

p.s. Those customers included some three letter agency folk, and we had to figure out how to support them never having seen the work product, and without direct access to the computers after we installed them.

Again, I apologize for dumping on you. It’s been a long and hard day as i try and get some sculpture finished for delivery Thursday, and this is my respite. I just can’t tolerate fact free missives of any stripe, when they feel free to MSU, and then dispute the point as if it were justified by the core data. When in fact, they’re data free…

Rather than learn, you argue, like a two year old saying someone else shat in his diaper. Don’t do that.

1 Like

Well, at least now I know what your train of thought is. You’re entitled to your opinion, but I’ll just leave you with this.

I have been working for a San Francisco Bay Area computer manufacturer since 1995, and the last 22 years as product development engineer/manager. I work with other engineers, production techs, support techs, software developers and marketing. Besides developing the company’s product line, I also provide pre and post sales support and if needed what you might call Tier 3 (engineering level) support.

So I’m pretty sure I’m not talking out of my butt.

Yes, we have some needy customers, but none that are what you might call daily callers. Most of them once they are shown how things work, or how to set things up, don’t usually need any further support. Nor do they presume to try and teach us how to do our jobs or what market niche we should develop. We do medical and industrial computers, and we do those very well.

Despite your delusions about me and how tech support works, I bear you no ill will, but I think I’ve had enough on this subject.

Oh, ok, that explains alot.

it really is time to put this to bed, but I can’t resist telling my absolute, most bestest favorite manufacturer’s support experience. It was with IBM.

We had installed a large server at an ad agency, and it would spontaneously reboot at unpreditable times, wreaking havoc with production.

We escalated to 3rd tier support at IBM, which took weeks, and several meetings with half a dozen managers at IBM to get to that level. Eventually, and I do mean eventually, with no help from IBM, we discovered that the server was incompatible with KVM switches. It was due to a problem it had with KVM cabling into the comm port. (lurkers: KVM was how you controlled multiple servers in a rack from one keyboard and it was widely accepted as SOP).

IBM’s official answer was that it wasn’t their problem, because we hadn’t used IBM OEM cabling for the switch, nor an IBM approved 3rd party cable.

We asked for a part number so that we could get into compliance.

IBM’s official answer was that there was no OEM part, no 3rd party approved cable, nor any specifications for such. But ,unless we used an OEM or approved cable, the system was officially unsupported!

We asked if KVM was disallowed for this model? No. Approved? Yes. But not without an OEM or approved 3rd party cable.

We asked them to work up specs. Nope, no plans for that. But don’t call us about it anymore. We’re done wasting resources. It’s not our problem.

Over and out. I’m really done now!