Hobbyists - how do you manage due to no hobbyist plan/price?

I used to use SketchUp Free on the Mac and it’s great. But now I’ve an iPad I wanted to use that with pencil instead. Sketchup requires a paid plan. So I found Shapr3D and it’s great. I’ve used it to plan my new decking DIY project.

But there are limitations in the free plan of course. I can’t render nor have more than 2 projects. I would also like to plan a new loft conversion we have to view in my VR but I guess I won’t be able to export it.

The price is aimed at professionals who can make the money back.

As a hobbyist who just plans a couple of diy projects at home per year I can’t justify the cost. My 9yr old son wants a 3D printer but I guess he won’t be able to export the designs?

So what do you hobbyists do to get around this? It’s a great tool for hobbyists/diy but missing a plan.

  1. pay when you need it - subscribe one month then cancel?

  2. just use free with no extra features?

  3. alternate software? Sketchup for iPad is less than half price of this (but more complicated to use in my opinion)

  4. anything else?

I’ve got no problem paying a home user price for software but it’s not offered. Everything is subscription based these days instead of a purchase price so it’s not feasible to subscribe to everything unless it makes you money back or you use it all the time.


It’s only $20 per month, not even close to a “Pro” paid software that costs hundreds per month.

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Yes quite a lot for something you only use a couple of times a year for small DIY projects, considering so many subscription services these days. In 1 year that cost is more than the cost of the materials of some of a project I may want to plan.

At the moment I guess the only option is pay for 1 month then cancel, but if my project takes a bit longer it adds up.

I wonder if paying per project is better. I would pay a one off fee for a project. So professionals would still be paying more as they would have lots of projects. But hobbyists would have one or two. Maybe thats a solution.

But I just wanted to know what the non-rich DIYers do. I guess pay for 1 month and cancel perhaps.

Agreed! $20 per month is around $4.65 per week. Some people smoke and drink more than that each day!

I don’t smoke or drink and an injury prevents me from going to the gym or participating in other sporting activities so even if I’m not using it for work purposes it’s a small price to pay for a extremely satisfying hobby.

Hi, I understand that our price point does not work for you. We are always looking for ways to make Shapr3D as accessible as possible, but so far we haven’t found a way to support your use case. Eg. if we had a pay per design model, would that work for you? What would be a reasonable price per design for you?

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I agree if its a hobby so you use it often price is good, but if you dont use it often then its not justifiable to pay it. I am reluctant to subscribe right now as I am busy with other things in life so not sure when I will be able to work on this, as its not my hobby. I may dip in on a weekend for example if I have time to carry on the design, but if you dont use it often then you pay for it still. I dont know when I would use it, so its hard to subscribe and cancel. I would need to be able to commit to using it within the next month, but if I cant, then I pay for nothing as I am not using it. So therefore I am reluctant to subscribe just in case I dont use it, so when I use it I have these limitations even though I am willing to pay for it one way, just not the way offered.


I understand. I guess for very light use then it’s not quite as economically viable.

It’s a shame there isn’t a subscription model that takes into account actual usage time.

I recently learned that some CAD software does have such a model where they track your usage and charge appropriately but I can’t remember where I read it or which ones.

…or maybe I just dreamed it… :astonished: :rofl:

Yes I mentioned above a pay per project may be good. Hard for me to give a price, but you could work it out by the number of projects users have on average compared to professionals.

If I were a professional or even hobbyist who uses it all the time, perhaps I love 3D printing, then your current plan is great and its best stay on that. Perhaps it could be like $5 per project, then once I get to 4 projects it make sense to up the plan to unlimited for $20 a month or whatever it is.

But even if I have one or two projects only and its going to take me months of small amounts of time on it due to being busy elsewhere (as its not my hobby) then I am reluctant to keep paying for access even if its less, as I dont know when I would use it. I cant keep subscribing and unsubscribing when I decide to drop into my project. At $5 a month then it could be $50 a year for one project, which is plenty of time for me to work on it in short bursts now and again. Maybe we could still have additional free projects with no extra features, but pay extra per project for the rest of the features. Or pay small amounts per feature, as I only wanted rendering and exports.

At the moment I designed a decking frame I want to build, I spent about 3 hours on it but thats Ok to keep as free, although I would pay a small amount to render it!

What I would really like to do is replicate a loft space in my house and plan what I am putting in it (pool table!) and view it in VR so I can get a feel for the size. But as its just a hobby, and it would probably take many months to do dipping in and out on short bursts, I dont think I would pay the amount asking so cant do it, but I am willing to pay something less.

I dont know whats best. I just know I dont use it enough to justify subscribing, yet I really want to access a few features like rendering and exports for my loft space project, and I would pay for that (possibly a one off cost) but not the amount asking or on a regular basis as its wasted on me.

The more I think about it the more I realise its hard for you, because people use it in so many different ways, and the time they spent on it, and the value associated with the project. My decking project is not much value, but my loft space I place more value on it.

Maybe if I can find time to start the loft space I can subscribe as a trial, but I have such a busy life I know it will take me such a long time to finish so the cost would add up, so then I wont bother doing it as I would be paying every month and not using it some months.

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There have been so many people asking for a lower price, free this or free that. Shapr3D is frequently compared to Microsoft, AutoCAD, SolidWorks, SketchUp, Fusion360, etc. What people don’t seem to understand is that Shapr3D is a startup company. They have to raise funds to support their development. They offer free access to students already. Each free account, diminishes Shapr3D’s financial support. I’ve tried almost every 3D drawing program available. For the $250/year, and the ability to do things so much faster, I can’t imagine a better value. They allow you to do monthly for $20.00. If you don’t see the value in Shapr3D for this nominal fee, then perhaps Shapr3D isn’t right for you. Once Shapr3D overtakes the 3D drawing industry, and their stock goes public, and skyrockets to $1000, then maybe some lower cost options might become available. Until then, I say Bravo to Shapr3D and I feel their minimal charges for it’s use, is an outstanding value.

Shapr3D’s team, read every message, and have continued to deliver on features where the majority of users, and investors have requested. Go Shapr3D!


Well said Tom!


I never asked for free :thinking:. Think the points being missed. At the moment they don’t make money from me as I won’t use it enough. But with a lower tier pricing plan they will. Of course, the challenge is to stop all the higher tier people downgrading.

My note wasn’t specifically targeted at you. No offense intended. Your message in my mind is bundled amongst the many people who don’t care for the pricing scheme. Shapr3D has to survive on their funding, which is driven by revenue growth. Investors won’t support further funding if revenue growth isn’t increasing. Shapr3D has to balance features, resources, and grow revenue, which sometimes doesn’t lend itself to lowering prices. Hope you find what your looking for.

That’s fine. I disagree with free, no problem paying. I just don’t want to overpay for my small/infrequent usage. It’s a shame I can’t use some features just because I don’t use the product as much. I dont think I should pay the same as others who use it all the time but happy to pay.

My son may still want a 3D printer for Christmas so if you can export for 3D printing who knows maybe it will become a hobby and I can justify paying then :grinning:

Anyway, it’s great it exists as I think it’s better than SketchUp Free which I used in the computer and it feels much nicer using an iPad and pencil so keys see where it goes. Although I would have finished all my diy projects by then probably :joy:

I wanted to throw my 2 cents in here. I’ll start off by saying I do have the Pro subscription at this point but I didn’t for the longest time because $20/mo is a lot for some people.

I hate to say this but the way I “got around” paying for Shapr3D was to just not use it. I instead used Fusion360 for over a year even though what I really wanted to use was Shapr3D.

Fusion360 has a free plan, as does Solidworks now, so in my opinion I don’t think Shapr3D is going to gain a lot of traction in the hobbyist community against options like that without a reasonably functional free tier.

What I would envision a good, hobby use, free tier would be.

-limit active designs, You can export unlimited designs as a .Shapr file but only a set number (let’s say 5) can be in the app at any given time. This is an inconvenience that a home user could easily handle, but a business would not.

-for 2D drawings, charge a fee per page, and don’t allow customizing the template or adding a logo…in fact watermark the print with the Shapr3D logo…most home users don’t need prints anyway, and on the rare cases when they might, you get to bring in a small fee and get free advertising.

-only allow importing .shapr, .stl, and maybe .step. The only reason I even included step is because of sites like McMaster Carr that let you download screws, bolts, etc, as step files.

-only allow exporting .shapr, and .stl (any quality). I can’t think of any format a home user would really need except maybe 3mf.

-disable the visualize module completely. This is great for presentations, but not something a home user would NEED. Or like the 2D drawings maybe charge a small fee per render.

-when it’s fully released make syncing with the free tier limited to only sync one active design and that’s it. That way users get a taste for what they’re missing out on by not paying.

Just my 2cents as someone who wanted to use Shapr3D for over a year now but the free version was just too limited for it to be practical. I actually got so used to Fusion360 in that time I almost bought their subscription instead. I also ended up recommending Fusion to 2 friends during that time too, even though I thought Shapr would have been a better choice for them, but again it was just too limited. So that’s 2, almost 3 lost users.

The way I see it having a useable free tier is critical to getting word of mouth and gaining traction, that’s why Sketchup was so popular even though in my opinion it was not a very good program. A majority of the free users will likely fall into 1 of 2 groups, people who will eventually turn into paid users, and people who were never going to pay anyway but using your free tier is easier than pirating Solidworks. In both cases your going to at least gain word of mouth.

I would give this some serious consideration. Especially considering there are only 2 actual good CAD programs for the iPad and that’s you, and OnShape. OnShape already has a fully functional free tier, their catch is that it’s cloud only and on the free tier all your designs are publicly viewable and can be copied by anyone. But, OnShape is not what I would call user friendly anyway, and it’s VERY expensive.

On desktop your already competing with, Sketchup, Fusion360, Solidworks, OnShape, and some smaller ones like 123D Design. All of which have functional free tiers. However on the iPad you have virtually no reasonable competition in this space…yet. I’d definitely suggest getting the biggest chunk of those users as possible before AutoDesk ends up releasing Fusion360 for iPad or something.

Add in a slicer so people can slice their designs right on their iPad, and send them over to their printer, and I have a feeling Shapr3D will become untouchable in that space for a good while. Hint hint, there are still ZERO slicers on iOS and the Cura engine is open source…

It doesn’t need to be free though. Or it could have a free plan as now but offer something in between free and pro for people who don’t use it much.

I miss the days you can buy software for $50 or whatever as a one off. Everything is subscription now so it really limits what you can buy as it would just cost too much. $20 a month is not a lot but 10 software subscriptions at $20 each is and so you have to cherry pick. For those who don’t use it much like me, I’d be fine buying it one off $50 and not worry about not using it for a few months, but not subscribing. But so much software is not available to buy anymore it’s all subscription so people with low usage miss out then. It’s like joining the gym and only going once per year. What a waste. Quit the gym but then you can’t go at all.

That’s business in today’s world. Shareholders, investors, and financial institutions want to see both sustained revenue, AND revenue growth. Programs that are one off, can sell for a single price, but programs that have ongoing support, need a steady stream of income to pay for the ongoing technical resources. I’m done with this topic. I’m not seeing any sustained revenue or growth! :rofl:

Very insightful, thank you for sharing. If we had a consumption based model (eg. you can buy X credits for $10, and then for a certain amount of credits you can create a new design or export something), would that work for you? Eg. from $10 you could create a new design and export 3 times?


Something like that is ideal for people like me who will be low usage nevertheless would like to properly model something. If I get around to building my loft room then I would pay to use visualisations and if I ever try to export for VR purposes (if it’s possible) I’d pay for that too. Per project is fine so it’s only a benefit for low projects/usage. Those with multiple projects high usage still best stay on the plan. I guess you just need to work out how many people already subscribe who don’t use it much and only have 1 or 2 projects, because if it’s a lot you don’t want them downgrading. Whatever you do I totally understand it would be something that makes more profit by targeting only those like me who wouldn’t subscribe and not reduces it! If there is no solution that is profitable then I understand if there’s no change. My post was never meant to ask for anything that reduces sales/profits.

Yah, I think something like that could definitely be a good middle ground. You guys obviously need to make money, I don’t think any of us want to find out you got bought by Dassault or PTC…at least I don’t anyway :grimacing:

My thought would be to let people do just enough for free that it gets new users more engaged, and allows them to stay engaged with your program instead of just switching to something else. While making it completely impractical if not nearly impossible for heavy users and businesses to take advantage of it.

I do want to point out that your prices are fantastic already and insanely competitive. I’m only trying to think in the context of users like OP who cant justify $29/mo for lite usage, and home tinkerers who likely wont or cant subscribe to anything anyway. Which I totally get, I subscribed because I use Shapr almost every day and I use it for work, but if I didn’t have the job I have I wouldn’t have wanted to subscribe to anything either, I probably would have just reluctantly stayed with Fusion.

Game of Thrones is still one of the most pirated shows in history, and you can check out this Business Insider article to see remarks from Time Warners CEO on how it has actually helped them gain HBO subscribers. Just some food for thought.

Shapr3D Pro subscription is €29.99 a month where I live. I use it for hobby and learning and as hobbies go I think €7.50 per week is a good deal. Of course I’d love it to be cheaper or have a purchase option, but the current price is manageable for me personally as I get a great deal of pleasure from using Shapr.