Welcome to the Jungle... of the STLs Part 1
We've got fun and games... and some annoyances
Part 1: Problems with Etsy
By: Minna A, Pikkujuttuja3D
Etsy is a wonderful site for sure. People who manufacture things in small quantities, often by hand can find customers there. You can easily find unique designs and handicrafts But...yeah. There is a big but on the site which I want to tell you about.
Etsy is full of stolen things. Some malicious and greedy users steal other people's designs and sell them as their own. They often sell them at a ridiculously low prices, which absolutely doesn't cover the different expenses of manufacturing. People then ignore the original creator because of this. The price on the original site is the proper aka higher one though.
Handicrafts is not charity, nor should it be. Someone manufacturing things by hand never gets fully compensated for their work and time spent on the project. If they asked for a full compensation, nobody would buy their designs. Its the unfortunate reality.
What does this rant have to do with STL's you ask. Well, 3D-printing is handicraft. 3D-designing is handicraft. Even in a digital form, in our tiny scale, its handicraft. The printer does the heavy lifting, but all the rest from designing supports on a computer to washing and curing of models is done by yours truly and my partner. The work we do is always included in our prices.
That is where I have beef with Etsy, or rather some sellers there. They undercut prices so hard that either they get no compensation for their work or they print with such huge volumes that they can afford it. This doesn't seem like a problem to a customer now does it? Its a problem only to jealous competitors like us, right? Wrong.
People who manipulate prices like this won't be having time for quality control, or even need to take responsibility when they eff up. I'm willing to bet several different accounts on Etsy are actually controlled by some money hungry company (most likely in China) that prints models of dubious quality in huge quantities from a low-quality resin and then ships them dirt cheap to Europe.
Some poor soul makes an order for a model on Etsy and gets a crappy piece of plastic or doesn't even get anything. The seller won't get any repercussions of course, because they have dozens of accounts anyways. Its like with malicious bot-users. Closing of one account doesn't mean a damn thing.
The customer on the other hand won't be ordering again from anyone. Not even from the respectable ones. According to their own experience, 3D-prints are bad and the sellers are all sus.
This harms the whole 3D-printing scene, the designers, printing services, and customers. Everyone.
So what to do?
How to fight against crooks on Etsy:
1. Don't buy the 10 € proxy (or blatant copy of someone else's work) from Etsy.
2. Look for respectable designers who do include work in their prices. You will get better service and a decent model. Many designers also have a Patreon, which provides them adequate compensation. Consider supporting them, even for a month. 3D-designing is hard work.
3. Also, do a Google-search for the image to look for the model. You'll see if its a genuine one or stolen property.
4. When you find a model you like, contact someone like us, who takes responsibility and actually serves the customer.
Our prices will be higher, but at least you know what you'll get: a detailed resin model, handmade with respect and love.