BernieDawg Cap Shapeways and i.materialise Sales Issues!!

So! Lots of people are wondering what is going on at my Shapeways and i.materialise BernieDawg silent damper cap stores.

I wish I had good news. And, I wish I knew all the details of the real things that are going on “behind the scenes”. This all hit me as a big surprise and I’m still discovering and researching the truth behind the problems, but here’s what I know for sure right now.

Shapeways Increases
Shapeways raised its prices to print my products at the end of June 2022. The increase on the models ranged from 86% to 113% increase per model, depending on which model. But, generally speaking and on average, an increase of 100%.

What this means in practical pricing terms is that a Minicap without Legs that was selling for about $30 USD in May was jacked up to $62 USD at the end of June. The PolarDawg, my most popular cap, increased from about $35 USD to a whopping $65 USD. The DragonTamer went from $45 to $90 USD. And, biggest jump of all, the massive Top Dawg cap for the British military #12 stove increased from $91 USD to $192 USD.

And, all this is before shipping and VAT taxes and the fees and add-ons that Shapeways likes to do. For the record, my markup, the amount I actually was seeing from the sale of each cap coming to me, was less than $2 USD per cap.

I questioned the folks at Shapeways about all this. Here is what they said:

I’m afraid this is not a repricing we have taken lightly and I can honestly tell you we would have loved to prevent this from happening.
Unfortunately however this repricing doesn’t come directly from Shapeways but from the vendor Exone who prints the Bronze Infused Binder Jetting Steel material, so we had no choice but to reflect these changes to the end customer.

Since Exone changed their pricing structure, It’s very likely that i.Materialise will soon have to change their prices as well, as Exone is the only company printing this material and thus very likely they are using them as well.
 
Again I’m sorry for the inconvenience.”

A 100% increase on printing my products raises the cost beyond what I think people will pay. The price increases effectively kill my silent damper cap business with Shapeways. So… I erased all my designs at Shapeways, erased all my customer photos and text descriptions and left you with the simple message that now appears at the entry page to the BernieDawg Shapeways store. https://www.shapeways.com/shops/berniedawgshop I’d hoped to alert folks that changes were in the works beyond my control so that caps could be ordered from i.materialise before they, too, changed their pricing (as suggested by the rep at Shapeways).

i.materialise Product Freeze
This morning (July 4th, 2022) I received notice in five emails from i.materialise that the last five orders placed at the BernieDawg i.materialise store had been cancelled. (Sorry to those who placed those orders. I had no foreknowledge from i.materialise this would happen and no-one at i.materialise gave me any warning.) All my models at i.materialise have been put “on hold” until they figure out what they are going to do. Here’s their reply to my email asking what was going on:

Thanks for checking back with us.
I must admit that I planned to contact you regarding steel printing around this time, but my colleagues were faster and already cancelled steel production orders. Apologies for this unexpected news.
So, for your information we unfortunately had to suspend the steel printing offer until a further notice (around end of July). This happened due to a technical issue over the weekend and the orders that were placed during this time and a bit before got affected. Thus, on Monday when everybody got back to work we removed the steel offer from the website and all the shop-items we had in steel changed their status to “Display only”. This is indeed a short notice or even a delayed one, considering the fact that issues happened on the weekend and we couldn’t react immediately.
We are working hard together with the production team to make sure steel printing is back asap, but still can’t advise the exact date when it is back online. On a side note I must also inform you that there will be price changes as well very likely, but more information should be available in the coming weeks.
Kind regards,
Ivan Mangushev
Inside Account Manager

 

What does this all mean for BernieDawg silent damper caps going forward?

Well… as of the moment (July 4, 2022) I guess I’ve been forced out of business.

I have some of my designs I’ve ordered in alternative metal materials, but, just like you, I have to wait for those to be printed and shipped to me. Once they arrive (end of July 2022), I can do some testing to see if they will work out for use on stoves.

But, that said, they will likely cost 20-30% more than the bronze-infused stainless caps that I’ve been selling for the last 10 years. I will also have to work out some method of distribution/shipping/ordering, etc. Pretty tough stuff for an old guy like me to be doing.

I should imagine that IF you see my products for sale again, it will not be until the Fall of 2022.

I’m very sorry that this should be so. It is both sad and very, very depressing. When it comes to humans, it seems nothing good ever seems to last very long, no matter how hard some of us try to create something good and special in the world.

Now!! All of the above is factual truth as it has been presented to or experienced by me.

Here are some conjectures (informed guesswork, not fact) based on some of the statements you see above:

  • Both Shapeways and i.materialise NEVER printed their steel products. They lied to me and the rest of the world about this for years. Instead, both Shapeways and i.materialise acted as brokers and farmed the actual bronze-infused steel printing out to the single company that was actually printing bronze-infused stainless steel 3D printed metal  – ExOne.
  • ExOne has either decided to increase its prices (for unknown reasons) or has been hit by increases in prices from their metal powder suppliers in China(?).
  • China, meanwhile, has been rapidly developing metal printing technology.
  • It is possible that Chinese companies printing bronze-infused steel are hoping to drive ExOne out of the bronze-infused steel printing business by making the raw materials too dear for any serious person in the West to consider printing it.
  • It is likely that you will see my competitor who sells imitation caps that look suspiciously like mine continue to sell for some time yet as that vendor maintains a stock of caps. I would predict you will see that vendors prices increase in the absence of my competition. But, eventually that vendors stock of warehoused caps will be depleted, too. So, if you can accept the issues and problems with the competitions models, then best grab those whilst you can.

Thanks for all the support and products purchased over these years. You are the greatest! BD