Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Missing from Internet - Categorised repositories for 3d-printable models

Today's topic is going to be about issue, which is the main gripe and main waste of time and resources in the world of 3d-printing.

The one thing that is missing from Internet are Wiki-type repositories for 3d-printable models. What we have now? For example one of the biggest is Thingiverse, so far so good, but there is catch, most of the models are unfindable or unprintable. So if we can't guess the name that was put on by the creator of the file, the next best thing is to hope that what we are looking for was already found, deemed significant enough and put on some of the more popular list. Once we managed to find what we need (slim chance), we are present with the next problem that there is good chance the model was not optimised for 3d printing and without extensive knowledge how slicers and other programs work is unusable. Other sites are much better organised, but have mostly copyrighted models, which can't be downloaded without paying. And so on, and so on. The lack of properly organised and maintained site means, that the 3d-printing enthusiasts and professionals have to spend on orders of magnitude more time searching then actually working and printing the models.

My vision is to create site for uploading and categorising 3d-printable models similar to Wikipedia. The administrators and volunteers will take care to have all uploaded models categorised and tested for printability. On first thought it may look not very feasible idea, because of the limited number of enthusiast who have enough knowledge on the topic and some other concerns, but I believe that the future will show that such project is going to turn something like Wikipedia of the shapes, free and accessible for all. I picture it in my head as the big repository not only of the shapes of all objects, but in some future where the "Replicator" already exists as place one can find the blueprints for making of all human-created and natural objects.

I believe that the existence of such repository will have the biggest impact on the spreading of the 3d-printing since the creation of the first affordable Reprap style printers.

Soon, once I have a bit more disposable income, I'll start working on the project. Let me know if you have some ideas or are just interested in the topic.


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