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  • Exciting Announcement Join the Fix Thingiverse POC Test

    I have an exciting announcement about a working Proof of Concept to solve the Thingiverse challenge.

    After reviewing all of the comments, here and on Youtube, I decided to help fix Thingiverse instead of competing with it by creating a website that acts as a front end to Thingiverse using their official API.

    The goal of the application is to present a clean and simple "Google Like" front end to Thingiverse with limited graphics and two added features:
    • 3d Viewer you can use to view and rotate any STL file
    • Working OpenSCAD customizer
    In future potentially paid versions, users will additionally have the ability to upload models, save customization parameters and add 3rd party modules to the rendering process. I also anticipate adding OpenSCAD tutorials and links to OpenSCAD resources.

    The site's future availability of free and subscription versions is necessary to pay for the Amazon AWS hosting fees. I anticipate the availability of the basic customizer capabilities to retrieve a model and render it will remain accessible at no cost to everyone.

    The site will support the following in the initial release.

    You will have to create a FREE account and log in to use the app. User accounts are necessary to create separate processing queues for each user.

    Then you can:
    • Search Thingiverse for traditional or OpenSCAD models. In the future, I will expand on the search capabilities, including support for other model repositories.
    • The models' parts are viewable as thumbnails or with a fun-to-use 3d viewer that will allow you to rotate and scale images of the STL parts.
    • For non-OpenSCAD parts, a link is presented to the Thingiverse part on Thingiverse. I do not allow downloads of non-OpenSCAD parts to ensure compliance with the Thingiverse API terms, which states, "Make limited intermediate copies of Content only as necessary to perform an activity permitted under the Agreement."
    • For OpenSCAD parts, you can download the OpenSCAD file and/or customize the part.
    • When customizing a part, the OpenSCAD parameters are presented, and then you have an option to queue the part for rendering (processing). The same thing that Thingiverse did when it worked

    I have the POC about 80% complete with support for basic customizer features using the current version of OpenSCAD on the backend. Here are some screenshots of running software, not a mockup.

    Click image for larger version

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    Current Known POC Limitations:
    • Ranges and selections lists are not yet available in the customizer, so it is possible to configure a part that will not render.
    • If your part does not render, it will disappear from the queue but not appear in the rendered list. (In the future, the error log will be added to the rendered list instead of the file.)
    • The U.I. still needs work. So I am looking for suggestions.
    If you are interested in becoming an ALPHA tester, please leave a request here. I will contact all ALPHA testers via the email address in your forum registration and include a private link to the application. I request you do not share this link with anyone.

    While testing, please leave general comments here and use the feedback button on the site to report bugs and request specific feedback about a function.

    When I am comfortable that the application/website is stable, I will release it to the public via a video on my channel. Unless you ask me not to, I will share your forum I.D. in a thank you as part of the video or in the video description.


    P.S. For those of you that want to geek out.

    The application is built in Javascript using the Vue.js framework (version 2) and the Vuetify extension. It is hosted in the Amplify subs-system on AWS and uses Cognition for authentication, S3 for storage, and Fargate to run containers with the OpenSCAD image. A container is started and run for each customization which is why it is both robust and scalable and also why it takes 60 seconds to start a customization run. Future features will utilize a GraphQL database on AWS for private user data.

    The application relies on the official Thingiverse API, which looks complete on paper but is inconsistent. Specifically, Thingiverse's handling of CORS policy headers varies from "thing" to "thing," which is quite complex to handle.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    An interesting approach. Why not, sign me up. I can at least have a look and see if there is anything I can contribute. Have to say, though, my skills are definitely getting out of date, considering I don't even know what a "container" is.


    • #3
      Glad to see you have decided on a platform, and I think that it will work. Keep it up1
      I would love to say that I would help, I just do not have enough experience, and none in CAD. Maybe I can contribute by saying if it is over my head.


      • irvshapiro
        irvshapiro commented
        Editing a comment
        The idea is to allow people with NO CAD experience to customize cool models. You would be the perfect tester.

      • roon4660
        roon4660 commented
        Editing a comment
        If I can be of any use with no real experience then I'm in.

    • #4
      irvshapiro Thankyou!


      • #5
        I’m interested in helping Irv. Sign me up as an Alpha tester.
        Last edited by Timon42; 12-15-2021, 10:00 PM.


        • #6
          Hi Irv, I'm not sure what I can do to help but since you've done sooooo much to help me with your videos & commentary, I'd love to help.
          sign me up...


          • #7
            I'd like to help test this. I have very limited CAD experience, so I can help verify usability for that audience, which I suspect is broad. I never used the Thingiverse feature because it was broken before I arrived, so my expectations are not pre-set by its scope.


            • #8
              If you are still looking for alpha testers, let me know!



              • #9
                Still looking for alpha testers. Pass the word to folk you know that are into 3d printing. The alpha will go live either next week or the week after. Just finishing up some details.



                • #10
                  I'll help. I'm a tech industry veteran and find your approach interesting. I learned TinkerCAD from you and your videos and just went from there. Let me know how I can help.


                • #11
                  OK, everyone, we are ready to start testing.


                  Here is what you need to know before we get started:

                  1. This is a Proof of Concept.

                  2. The Thingiverse API is unstable, much like the rest of Thingiverse, and this application relies on the official API. I am not scraping the site, and I am attempting to stay compliant with the Thingiverse terms and conditions.

                  3. Because of the API issues, when you click on the customize option about 50% of the time or more, you may see an error message. The message is a link to manually download the SCAD (openscad file). Next, follow the link to the actual Thingiverse page and download the .scad file. Then select the upload option in the menu bar on the top of the app and continue to customize.

                  4. If the OpenSCAD file you want to customize produces the retrieval error, you can try another one. I have found some models work one day and fail the next. Very frustrating.

                  5. I still have a lot of work to do on the customizer parser, but enough models should work that you can get a good idea of where this is going.

                  6. Please use the FEEDBACK button right in the app (on the bottom right) or post ideas, bugs, etc., here.

                  7. This app only works with a full-size screen, and while it is minimally responsive, it will not work on a phone.

                  8. Please read the home page from top to bottom to learn about the app. Instead of a separate help option, I have tried to use meaningful error messages and text on the screen to guide the user.

                  9. OpenSCAD external modules are not included in this implementation. I have to figure out the best way to support them on the backend.

                  Enjoy and feel free to ask other people to join the testing.

                  Unless some show stopper is found, I intend to release this to the full YouTube audience next week, with an enhanced customizer parser.

                  Thanks for your help.



                  • #12
                    I'm not seeing any FEEDBACK button in the application. How would you like feedback?
                    Basic functionality as specified seems to work (i.e. searches, displays, customizer). Images and photos, as well as the customizer view could be bigger.



                    • irvshapiro
                      irvshapiro commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I tried to make the images as big as possible while keeping the pages relatively dense and ensuring they would work on small laptop pages. I need to think about the layout. Thanks for the feedback.

                  • #13

                    gives me a blank Page. Tried 3 times with a refresh (F5)


                    • irvshapiro
                      irvshapiro commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I have just discovered that Safari on MacOS 12 produces a blank page. Firefox, Chrome and Edge all work fine. Need to figure out what is happening. Thank you for the feedback.

                      This is now corrected.

                    • irvshapiro
                      irvshapiro commented
                      Editing a comment
                      This was probably due to development work. Sorry. Please try again. The advantage of being an early tester is you have a lot of influence. The disadvantage is that you see how the sausage is made.

                  • #14
                    Lowteck, just a suggestion: it might help Irv Shapiro if the OS and browser (including the version) are specified.


                    • #15
                      I tried Brave browser (based on Chrome, but with actual security). I couldn't get it to bring up a 3D view. I clicked on1 SCAD file and waited. 30 minutes later; still no 3D view.


                      • irvshapiro
                        irvshapiro commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Are you sure you were clicking on the 3d icon next to an STL file? You can only see 3d images of STL files. For SCAD files you have to customize and then look at the 3d image of the rendered file.

                        If I am showing the 3d icon next to a SCAD file that is a bug.

                        P.S. I have not tried brave but I will.

                      • Ender5r
                        Ender5r commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Just tried the 3D viewer with Brave. It works. Nice work on the 3D viewer: left mouse button to rotate; right button to move; scroll wheel to zoom. The only thing I would like is the ability to maximize the 3D window.