Hobbiest should get the pro? Is there a one time purchase option?


I’ve just bought an iPad Pro 12.9” and I really love it very much. It replaced my Macbook Pro almost for any scenario. I used to use the Tinkercad on the web but I’d also like to use the benefits of my iPad. I was looking for an App where I could just customize some models that I find on the internet and sometimes build my own model.

Anyway, I end up downloading Shapr3d. It really looks great. It seems there is a great working team behind the app. The problem for me is its cost. It’s very expensive. I’m not comparing with any other price. I’m just talking according to my budget. But some apps also provide one time purchase option. I looked for that option but it seems there is only montly and annual subscription. And I really hate subscriptions. I always want to pay whatever it costs and I want to forget. So do you think there would be an option for people who wants to purchase the app at once?

And my second question is, do I really need to upgrade to Pro as a hobbiest? I’m not using this for my work. I’m just printing some models for my Pegboard, some toys for my kid etc… When it is not pro, it seems I don’t get a high quality STL file export option. But what does it mean? Is that high quality STL really mean something or worth for whatever I explained above I’m using the app for? Is the print quality noticable between a high quality STL and low quality STL?

Thank you very much in advance.


I am just a user and don’t represent Shapr3D and I understand your point of view but I think one time purchase is an artifact of the past. Software takes care and feeding or it dies. I have a whole shelf of boxed software that I bought forever which is dead; it doesn’t run anywhere.

I started using SketchUp and bought the Pro version for $495. I was happy with it until certain features quit working. So I looked to buy an upgrade but they said I should have upgraded earlier and wanted me to buy a new forever version for $695. So much for forever…

Shapr3D’s cost was much less and I could divorce and pay no more if I wanted to quit using it. And I have more confidence that the application will continue to be improved… And I didn’t have to buy a PC laptop or desktop to run my free version of Solidworks. So I came out way ahead $$$ wise and have a better design environment/ experience.

Good luck with your future modeling.




Tommyn thank you for your reply. I understand your point of view too. But I’m just this kind of a person :))) I really don’t like subscription models. It doesn’t make me feel I own the product. It’s like renting a house or buying a house for me.

I bought Final Cut Pro and I’m glad there is no a subscription model. I still get all the updates. And there are so many more app I own bu paying its price rather choosing to use their subscription models. I’m not saying Shapr3D is doing wrong. Because users like you for example is happy with it. So I just request a one time purchase option to be available as a consumer.

I read that we can’t import STL files into Shapr3d. And that’s something else that I should consider. Because I’m not an expert on creating models from 0. I usually customize some STL files that I find on Thingiverse. So maybe if they don’t add the option to import STL files, it may not be the right app for me. But I liked the tutorial very much. I’m sure some people are very happy to have this app.

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Believe it or not, the subscription model is actually the fairest and best way to acquire productivity and utility software – for all concerned. Both producers and users. Even if no new features are added, software that you intend to use “forever” (games may be a legitimate exception) requires regular maintenance. At a minimum, newly discovered security issues must be addressed and new iOS releases often require significant work just to keep the program functioning the same as it has in the past.

Your house analogy is very appropriate and perhaps even more illustrative of the issue. Without regular maintenance, the functionality and “value” of your house is likely to decline. There is no escaping the issue even if you buy the house outright. While I agree that home ownership has many advantages, renting does offer much lower up front costs as well as relief from most maintenance responsibilities and costs.

Historically, some software has been able to charge huge up front “forever” prices in the hope that continuing sales will be able to offset the ongoing costs of support and maintenance. With the exception of a few very specialized (and often over-priced) programs, this hasn’t worked very well. If sales decline (perhaps because of a new, cheaper competitor) then the producer can’t afford to support the program, thus leading to further decline in sales, etc.

As a retired software engineer, I am probably biased, but I believe that any careful observer of the software market will reach the same conclusion. TANSTAAFL (“there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”). It is inevitable. With programs such as Shapr3D offering much of the functionality of traditional CAD programs costing ten or twenty times as much, many or even most of the old school software providers have seen ongoing sales diminish to the point where they too have adopted fees for ongoing development and support.

Look at it this way. You may not be able to purchase this “house”, but you are able to “rent” a much nicer one – and only for as long as you continue to use it. If something better (or possibly cheaper) comes along in the future, then you won’t have spent the several thousand dollars that a traditional CAD program is likely to have cost.

Having said all of the above, I’m still hoping that Shapr3D introduces a lower cost, feature limited “hobbyist” subscription or perhaps some type of ala carte pricing. I am very impressed with the program, but as a fixed income retiree, it is hard for me to justify even (the very reasonable) $240/year for occasional use doing woodworking projects.

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I also just purchased iPad Pro and started to test Shapr3D. In addition I have Sketchup background and I have always been against subscriptions. Anyway, I actually see that in my case I somehow feel comfortable with subscription pricing. Maybe my thinking has been changing over time.

Even though I am ok with subscription pricing I feel that Shapr3D pricing model is somehow odd. I think that the Pro version 20 USD per month is low for commercial companies and ok for freelancer 3D artists. But I see that the hobbyist pricing is totally missing nowadays. As a hobbyist I would actually feel comfortable in paying monthly/early subscription fee but 20 USD is just too much. I feel that I am more than happy to support this company with paying monthly feel because I see that the software keeps developing all the time. But the fee should be more reasonable for hobbyist.

It is however possible that Shapr3D has made the price quite high for hobbyist on purpose. If you get something for free I don’t expect any support (answers to your questions, 100% working software, etc.) but as soon as you pay something you also expect the support. Maybe Shapr3D has decided to set the price high because they don’t want to attract too many customers in this stage.


I agree that there are many different issues that would need to be addressed. The most important being that any decrease in “full price” subscribers must be offset by a large enough increase in partial feature subscribers to ensure an overall increase in revenue. Otherwise, there is no point in Shapr3D even considering a change.

However, I strongly suspect that the potential hobbyist audience is significantly larger than the limited professional marketplace (plus a few very serious and well-heeled hobbyists). The difficulty, of course, is providing the right mix of features to attract a lot of hobbyists without losing too many pro subscriptions.

Since, as you suggest, different features will have different value to different customers, perhaps the best approach is to offer certain features either individually or as function groupings. I’ve noticed that many of the economy drawing programs do exactly that. They offer various combinations of brush/stylus type, color schemes, tool types, etc.

For Shapr3D, speaking strictly for my own usage, just adding color capability would be valuable. Followed by limited import/export capability – perhaps further differentiated by resolution level, formats supported, etc. Also, some of the more advanced tool functions (especially those still in the pipeline) could be only available at extra charge. And, of course, for those needing more than just a few additional features (i.e. pro users), the best value would still be the “full subscription” rather than purchasing each individually.

I’m aware that finding the right mix of features and prices is not necessarily simple, but I’m hopeful that Shapr3D collects enough usage data to be able to do so. For example, I suspect that at least some of the supported formats are only used frequently (or needed) by true professionals. Other optional features might include number of drawings/projects used, number of import/exports per month, or even number of hours of usage per month. I imagine that there are many different possible ways to sell some combination of increased functionality without significantly impacting the absolute number of full price, unlimited users.

I see this topic come up every now and then (and I regularly pipe in on this too when it does), but there have been hobbyists asking for a cheaper subscription model, but the response from the shapr3d people is that the market isn’t large enough to be worthwhile catering for hobbyists.

I’d be curious to know if a recent sampling/polling has been undertaken to determine if this is still the case. With the addition of the Apple Pencil to the “normal” iPad range, I’m sure the potential market has opened up more.

Perhaps a poll along the lines of

  • which features would be beneficial to you as a hobbyist?
  • if there was a new subscription tier with the above features at $X/month or $Y/year, would you subscribe?
  • if you’re on a full subscription at the moment, would you downgrade to the new subscription tier or would you remain on your current?

The current application developer behaviour hasn’t been… hobbyist friendly. The removal of the medium level export means I’ve just stopped using the application entirely, and their stated reason for it was because they felt it didn’t sufficiently differentiate from the pro level high quality export. I.E.: “we want you to pay to get this feature.”

As I said then, and will say again, I’d be willing to pay… just that I’m unwilling to pay that much for something that I make no money from.
And just to provide something useful, what I’d like from a paid subscription would be unlimited workspaces, medium quality STL export, and some image exporting capabilities. For that, I’d be really happy at USD50/year, but will be willing to go to USD100/year. (I’m also Australia based so I’ve got currency fluctuations to worry about)

shrug for the app developers, think about what else you pay for on a monthly basis, how often you use those, and what quantity of benefits you get out of it. I pay for Netflix and use that almost every night. I pay only for Adobe lightroom and only use it 3-4 times a month, and not the full creative suite because I don’t need the rest of them, and again, my photo taking is a hobbyist thing. And this is despite having decent OOTB photo organisation & touchup tools on the Mac.

It feels like beating a dead horse, but I continue to hope that you guys will have a change of heart towards the hobbyists.


I think that the Shapr people should create some type of marketplace ( models, services, tutoring) so that amateur users could make money using the App. That would lessen the absolute cost of the Pro version. It could start small and grow big…



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Hi Tommy
As a 100% hobbyist I would like to see an In-App purchase concept. Every user would be able to create his own basket of tools from basic features up to a full pro version. Your proposal to lower costs for hobbyists by selling products/knowledge might work for a very little number of high skilled users but has nothing in common with a non commercial hobbyist (who does it just for fun). The 3D printer market is constantly growing. Apple implemented the pencil technology in cheaper iPads and reaches a new kind of users. Shapr3D should urgently think about the future market. A smart pricing policy might secure a growing business. A rigid pricing policy might cut it in the moment a cheaper or more consumer orientated competitor occures.

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Do you fully pay for the pro subscription? (Off topic: A friend of mine uses a free version downloaded around two years ago and uses it as a pro version, paying not a nickel for it.)

An in app subscription model (not purchase) would be a very good argument for many potential users. You need less features, pay less. You need more features, pay more. On the other hand some Pro users will downgrade their subscription, right. But market research and a excel sheet would probably show that it works.

Very interesting, and how does he do it? :slight_smile:

I think he’s using the older version probably

Interesting comments about pricing. I also believe that there could be many users benefiting from Shapr3D who are interested in 3D printing. It seems that 3D modeling is one of the skills that these people are lacking the most which is the reason why thingiverse, etc. are so popular. I also agree that the new iPad 2018 with Apple Pencil support can be a really big thing hobbyist who want to start learning 3D modeling. I think that there are only very few modeling apps with Apple pencil that could be attractive alternative for those people and Shaper3D is definitely one of those.

When talking about pricing of Shapr3D I don’t personally see that this king of “build your own tool” would be a working solution. Maybe it could work for the end users but I would assume that it would be much more difficult to maintain this kind of product when developing the tool. Anyway, Sketchup with commercial plugins is working a little like this. If you want some special tools you need to pay for those individually.

I believe more in a kind of “value based pricing”, you pay what the value of the software to you. If you are a commercial company there is no problem to justify even higher pricing because it will enable you to make money. If you are just a hobbyist you would pay much smaller amount with less support. In case that your revenue is over 50 000 EUR I am sure that it is no problem to pay 20 EUR per month for this kind of tool and you are even able to reduce the cost from the tax you pay annually. I also see that the free version should be just the trial version just like the Shapr3D is now, no exporting no working with multiple files, etc.

Finally, I think that Shapr3D has created something special in the market and they should not set the price too low either. If you create something great you deserve to make good money out of it.

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In a way I wish to support Shapr Programmers, they deserve license money more then well to feed their families and devellopp this nice product. But in another way there should be a license system devellopped easy to book a license key even working off line with permanent license access, when sitting on a airplane or a german train with no or bad, limited wi fi. Licensig and programm access is a painful thing in apple world, almost everything has to happen via webb which is very often unaccessable especially in USA and Germany. So I want to get license without identifying via network, time limited for the version and new offers for next versions, with no press, hurry och installation forced, killing my project time at the moment running. Hash tag licenses like that from Austrian ReconstructMe are frankly sabotated by Microsoft OS, and there are many sabotated apps by Apple OS. That is my probleme not the money or how much it cost, its just the way to access without disturbances an payment administration killing my free time! Man, make life easy for oss it is too complex and time killing… Hans

Well, you actually don’t need a network connection, only if your subscription have just expired. For an annual subscription that’s once a year.

As I am also a programmer I totally agree with the subscription business model which is much better for a software since the continuous maintenance and updates are quite essential. In other hand, I’m a newbie to iPad 3D modeling looking for a decent tool. The subscription price is a little too high for a hobbiest imo. I’d love to see if there’s a cheaper option with limited functions for beginners.

Unfortunately financially this would not be feasible.

Some companies did find a way, JetBrains with inteliJ for exemple, each year of subscription unlock a lifetime use for the version used during that time

Seems fair, if you keep adding features, I’ll keep paying, but if one day you decide to stop working on this app, at least I’ll be reassured to know that I can continue using a pro version I paid for





This is what he said, using Google translate.