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

I’m a weekend warrior type of woodworker and design only a few small projects per year as a hobby. Shapr3D has been super helpful in “materializing” the designs in 3D iPad drawings. I appreciate that the app is available for free. It is a great tool, big thanks to the team for building it!

The small number of projects I build per year and their relatively low complexity makes it hard to justify paying the full price for the annual subscription. Even paying for a monthly subscription and cancelling it feels a bit too much. The app wouldn’t get that much of a use for my simple ideas. Having said that, I would be happy to support the team with a per-project payment. As a customer, I’m not in the right position to come up with the price, but since you asked for a number paying $5 per design would look reasonable. Thanks for considering this as an option!


Hey there @Istvan! I love this software, as for the first time I was able to build 3D designs myself. I think that being free to use up to a couple projects is a great model for me right now, as I mostly use it for experimenting with ideas then throw most of them out, and only get to 3D print parts twice or three times a year for my hobby projects.

After working on a design for a few months I always end up buying a monthly subscription to export the file in high quality, then cancel right after. I feel like the $5 per project to unlock detailed 3D print export would satisfy my use case. I would even buy the annual plan if it was $5 per month and only unlocked 3D STL file export and nothing else more.

A potential idea I can give that would perhaps enable this cheaper tier, is that STL files get exported with a watermark (think about a 3D Shaper3D logo as a separate object), this way when I upload my STL files to Thingiverse or Printables the tool promotes itself, reaching more hobbyists along the way that would likely also pay the $5.

Just giving my 2c here. Thanks for such an awesome tool!

I can only confirm what has been said here several times already: as a hobbyist who uses it only occasionally, the annual price (for me $390 incl tax which I cannot recover) is too high.

I would be very happy with a “light” version that can do a few less things (I think @cbSTI’s post sums up a lot of good points) but is more affordable, and expand it with a credit system to enable pro options temporarily. That way I can financially support a program I enjoy using in a financially viable way. Then there would be a nice balance.

The day I would make my hobby my profession I would take a pro subscription without hesitation.

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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.

Credit to you already for listening and discussing and taking suggestions. That can only result in a win-win solution.


I too am a hobbyist who would prefer to use Shapr3D. My use-case is designing for stuff around the house and casual creative design, then exporting to STL to print on my 3D printer. The low resolution exports, and the cost of Pro are making me look at Fusion 360 or onshape instead.

For me the ideal situation would be either:

A. The current Free-level feature set with high-res STL exporting added to Free OR
B. ~$50/year for features similar Pro, but with a non-commercial stipulation in the terms, only standard tech support and any “team” and “organization” related features now or in the future disabled

If this is ever available, I’ll come running back :slight_smile:

I guess it depends if having hobbyists using your app now will result in having more professional usage of your app in the long-term. Or if there are enough hobbyists to warrant having a separate paid tier, and you can somehow reasonably trust or verify that they are not being used commercially. I think Onshape achieves this by making all designs on their free tier publicly available, incentivizing commercial users to pay for the appropriate license.


Hello Istvan. I notice this is a stock response — which I don’t blame you for using :smile: However, “we haven’t found a way” is disingenuous I fear. There are ways, you’re just choosing not to implement them.

Now I’ve started off with what appears to be such a negative commentary, let me set some context, and be a little more positive. I’m a product manager in the software industry by day, so I fully, very acutely, appreciate the balancing act of pricing and targeting the kind of customers you want. I also note that at the full pricing level, shapr3d is an absolute bargain compared to the competition! It’s also a modern interface, and is relatively simple for anyone, even with no CAD experience, to pick up and use. I love it, in short.

This is not something you’re likely to admit in public — but the obvious question to me, as a product manager, thinking ‘inside the company’, is who is our ideal customer? And then, of course, how do you attract them? This latter question is probably already answered — it’s not by the hobbyist. Which is why you restrict the free tier so much. One can get a taste of the UI, how easy it is compared to the competition, then realise the pricing is very favourable for a professional when comparing to competitive products, and it’s almost a ‘no brainer’ to sign up.

Serving the hobbyist community probably doesn’t stuff the top of the funnel for you in the way you’d like for your ideal customer type, hence not ‘finding a way to support your use case’. You don’t care about the hobbyist use case. And, again with my PM hat on, looking ‘outwards’ from your company perspective, I fully understand that! :smile: Like I say though, I don’t expect you to admit that in public. Many would not be as pragmatic as myself :smiley:

But I’d like to proffer that a ‘hobbyist’ subscription, with similar features to the free tier now, without visualisation, with restricted models (2 or 3), at even $12-15 a month would probably sit well with the home 3d-printer user, or the home woodworker, etc. Rolling monthly fee, not a forced annual sub. With the right restrictions in place (and that’s a whole other point — maybe the way the app is coded today means you can’t turn features on and off, easily, depending on subscription tier, which could be the truth behind ‘can’t find a way’. Of course, the answer then is, code better. “Feature flags” are not hard.) that the pro users are making use of, I’m fairly confident this level could be additional revenue and not a cannibalising move that causes higher paying users to drop a tier. That’s probably a customer-conversation route for your product marketing folks to take though :smile:

Lastly I’ll say, I do love the product. I’m currently not working, so can’t justify the expense, so when my annual subscriptions comes up for renewal next month, I’ll have to let it lapse and go use something terrible like Onshape for the two or three 3d prints I design a year.

Thanks for reading :smiley:

Hi @m4rk , it’s a very honest answer that we haven’t found a way yet, we continuously work on pricing and packaging, and we’d like to be as inclusive as possible. But obviously we can’t afford to cannibalize our customer base. While we’d love to go as broad as possible, there are financial constraints that we need to consider. We love hobbyists, and many of our enterprise customers started using Shapr3D as a hobby, but we also need to build a business. While I understand that for you our price does not work, Shapr3D is still the most affordable Parasolid based CAD, and the only one that you can use across iPad, MacOS, Windows PCs and tablets with a single subscription.

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The monthly cost is $25 — if you pay for a year up front ($299). The monthly cost otherwise is $38. For the occasional 3d print job that is not cheap.

I pay full price for Shapr3d, and I can understand why Shapr3d can’t use my subscription to subsidies hobbyist. If they did, it would lower the value of the service i get from Shapr3d, and increase the value of the service provided to anyone else using the service. Shapr3d is cheap in relationship to other programs, why would Shapr3d diminish their relationship with me, and go after people that can’t or won’t pay for the full value of their product. “Socialism is great until you run out of other peoples money” comes to mind.

Before we used fusion 360 for free. They had a free subscription for companies that don’t earn above a certain amount. I am not sure if it’s still available , but you could try it. I switched to shapr360 because I can work on the ipad everywhere I want, this is not possible in fusion.

Free things are are not free, especially for a business. But people, they are the most expensive thing of all. I have often wondered why if a business takes a customers advise, and the business fails the customers never come back around to help the business pay its mortgage. I guess the customer just figures he has no skin in the game, and smiles knowing they got over on a sucker.

I honestly think they charge too little compared to far more inferior offerings on iOS and other platforms. Compared to what I am paying for Fusion 360, this is a walk in the park, and I don’t even need a PHD or the performance of a quantum computer to be able to use it successfully for most of my design needs. Yes, consumer affordability is very important, but even more important is the ability of a business to be able to finance the continuos delivery of their offering. Consumers could always choose not to use it based on financial constraints, but if a business wants to exist, that is not an option a business could consider.


I like the ideas suggested above of a restricted version of Shapr3D which only allowed (say) STL export and removed functionality like Visualisation which isn’t needed by hobbyists and was therefore offered at a lower price (I certainly don’t think it should be offered for free). That would avoid cannibalising the market since the professional users will presumably find this overly restrictive, but it could encourage people who would prefer to use Shapr3D (given its obvious strengths compared with something like Fusion360) the incentive to pay for access on a continuing basis.

I currently have an annual subscription, but it is expensive for the level of use that I make of it. I’ll need to review this when it comes up for renewal, but I would definitely appreciate a ‘hobbyist’ option.

A project based approach sounds interesting, but difficult to police. How do you stop someone having a single long-running project that they keep changing all the time? I guess you could limit the number of designs saved (as with the trial version) but it seems to me that you risk giving away the full functionality of Shapr3D for a proportion of (currently) paying customers in doing so.


Who will pay if Shapr3d fails financially because it offers it’s product at a discount or free?
Not the people who get the product for free or at a discount, but the shapr3d employees, owners, investors, and people with a fully paid subscription will pay. In other words, people with skink in the game will pay,

I don’t think anyone here wants Shapr3D to fail. The suggestions that I’ve read have been aiming to grow Shapr3D’s revenue by getting hobbyists on board as paying customers when currently they may end up going with other (poorer) options purely because they can’t justify the price that customers making money out of their projects pay.

Personally I don’t think a free option makes good commercial sense since it would just reduce revenue for no real benefit (unless it was so restrictive as to be pretty much useless). But a slightly cheaper and reduced feature set version to cater for the hobbyist market seems worth considering. It may be that Shapr3D decide that isn’t viable or practical, but I think the suggestions are made in good faith with a view to seeing Shapr3D be even more successful.

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“To each according to his needs, from each according to his ability”

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Seeing as this thread keeps resurfacing, I guess it’s worth replying to again.
I’m still very happy with my subscription. Shapr3D has for me been so satisfying to use and has resulted in some opportunities coming my way at work, more by chance than by intention, but opportunities all the same. That has added to my enjoyment and I’ve been able to incorporate Shapr into my workflow with ZBrush, Keyshot etc.

The regular updates to Shapr are well worth waiting for and add greater value for our subscription every month. That’s no small thing and I feel I get much more from Shapr now than I did a year ago, and for the same price.

I’d add also that the forum here is really a big part of the whole deal. We have some great members who go out of their way to help others, and the support crew are also always there for us.

That said, I do feel for those who are on a very tight budget and while only a few of them give up on Shapr because of it, there are some of them who I miss no longer seeing here on the forum.


That is very true. But free things are quite often a marketing cost — you use a free tier to increase the user base at ‘the top of the funnel’ (if you’re not familiar with that metaphor, just search for “sales funnel”)

Hobbyists often use free stuff to save money. But then they often turn into great word of mouth for commercial uses of a product — and there’s no better advertising than word of mouth :smile:

Nobody wants shapr3d to fail, or to cannibalise their existing user base, just so we hobbyists with little money to spend on our hobbies can use a fantastic tool. We certainly don’t want shapr3d to go out of business — we’re here because we love the product at the end of the day :smiley:

But, we’re trying to proffer possible solutions so we can reconcile cost and value in our heads and be pragmatic about the business shapr3d has. Even fusion360 can be used for free in a slightly more useful context than shapr3d (full resolution STL/3MF export would be my personal dream :laughing: )

Balancing user desires and keeping a business on track is hard. Shapr3d is a fantastic product, and at its commercial price point it is incredibly cheap. That’s the reason why the hobbyist isn’t important, or necessary [as a marketing tool] for them. I get that, as clearly, so do others here.

A good few hobbyists here have gone on to be very useful here, posting lots of useful tips and solutions. All credit to them as well :+1: