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…