Should MakeWithTech build a Thingiverse Alternative?

I am thinking about a crazy idea to build a very unique Thingiverse alternative.

Read about it and level your thoughts here:

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I think that pooling ideas something could be accomplished that benefitted everyone including the investors and maintainers.

The main issue I see is people and money. They don´t want to spend money on 3d models.

Yes, there are artist creating high detailed statues and figurines and release the models successfully, but beside that I don´t see many people paying for stuff.

Thingiverse is there and will stay. It is the Whatsapp of 3d printing. It is hard to pull people away as the amount of models and the daily added count is enormous. Even people not selling stuff want their 5 minutes of fame for their model. I count me in there, too. I am happy if someone posts his make of a part I designed or even just gives feedback on what he would change.

This interaction is fun. Thingiverse is not just a pile of 3D models. It is also a platform where people talk and share their thoughts on models and every model is a new topic.

The recent data leak is concerning, but well name a company which did not loose user data yet at least once? The real shame is that the people behind Thingiverse aren´t investing into it. It would just take a few little things to fixate all issue people have. Proper searching followed by a more powerful server and some moderation and boom. They would enforce their market position once and for all.

Unfortunately the company behind Thingiverse is just milking the slowly drowning cow. They added adverts (which is IMHO totally fine. The platform costs alot of money), but on the other hand change affiliate links within 3d model files to their own, which is - especially in secret - a bad idea. They at least should have communicated this with the user base, but communication isn´t their stronghold, too. As the data leak was kept secret for several weeks, even so the community was informed by youtube videos and news from third parties sources.

I don´t want to defend thingiverse here and I am not a fanboy of sorts. My point is that the chances of building a platform strong enough to compete with the monopolist is hard and when they change their sloppiness, update thingiverse properly and take care of it, then I don´t even see the newly created prusa platform (prusa cloud? no clue about the name) will stand a chance against it.

If someone asks you about where to find free 3d models for printing, the answer is out before you even think. It is Thingiverse.

These are just my 50 cents on the topic.

It always amazes me how articulate you are, but I am presuming that you are German. Perhaps one of your parents was American. Tell me to mind my own business and I will excuse myself.

Hah, lol. No we don’t have any foreign relations in our family I know of. At least not for 5 generations.

And for reference. In school I always was on the edge of failing in English. Usually a rocky 4 minus, which AFAIK relates to a D- in American measurements.

I learned English post school by watching Star Trek on SkyOne a British satellite channel and since then I prefer watching movies and TV shows in the original language. German television is 100% duped and there is no choice in language. Streaming services are the only proper source these days, as foreign TV is encrypted these days.

Fun part is that I sometimes write a text and then use google to confirm that the words actually mean what I wanted to say. They usually do. :smiley:

I agree with @roon4660 that many Americans do not write as well as you do—shame on the American school system. However, after listening to your background, my conclusion is that American kids need to watch more episodes of Star Trek.

My educational background is in engineering, so I took a minimal number of writing courses in school. As a result, these days, I rely on “Grammarly” to maximize the likelihood that I post coherent prose.

I hear you and have been thinking about your point of view regarding Thingiverse. Another data point is that my post generated very few comments, so this is not an issue for many people.

My goal would not be to complete with Thingiverse; many people are already doing that. Instead, my goal would be to build something entirely different by leveraging the power of OpenSCAD, which Thingiverse dabbled in but let go by the wayside.

I may try and deploy a proof of concept with a handful of models and see if it gains any traction. The downside is it probably will take me at least eight people weeks of coding to get something acceptable as a POC with no e-commerce component. For the POC, the only models would be models I upload from the backend. Then users can select a model, customize it and download the STL file. It would also include a very slick (open source) STL viewer to see your customizations before you download them.

This would be enough to allow people to see the power of customized models.

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I have not posted about this because I’ve been thinking it over. I’m not sure how much of a market there is for something like this, but it might be worth exploring. I’m also not sure how viable it is to only have openSCAD models. The poor implementation of filleting in openSCAD is a real negative for me. Some models lend themselves to no filleting but, in my experience, not many.

@Ender5r Check out this OpenSCAD library which provides an interesting way to model items in OpenSCAD and adds fillet capabilities.

Basically instead of modeling with 3d shapes you use the OpenSCAD 2d modeling capabilities and extrude – just like in a traditional CAD program like FreeCAD or Fusion360. The 2d set of points are your sketch and you use the library instead of the native OpenSCAD extruder capabilities to convert to 3d. The round anything library does the extruder and also adds the fillets.

The author of this library is also the lead developer on a site called that lets you play with script-based 3d modeling online. He is targeting developers while I would be targeting end-users with a new model repository. I have exchanged emails with him about potential collaborations in the future.

It would certainly be a very challenging endeavour.

Very interesting, and about time. Of course, I haven’t tried it yet, but I smiled a little when I read that the author “can’t imagine making an OpenScad part without Round-Anything”. I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that I agree with the sentiment. The more I print, the more importance I assign to filleting (and chamfering). If it works as well as the author seems to indicate, it could really make your idea much more viable.

I used the internet when I first got internet 21 years ago, to learn to read and write Spanish because I just learned Spanish on the street in different continents during my roving life. I used to have 4 chat messages going at the same time to different people in different countries and different languages. Usually English to foreigners whose Language I couldn’t speak and Spanish to every Spanish speaking place in the world except Spain, no one chatted in Europe in those days because it was so expensive.

I rarely chatted in french but when I did I would never last more than half an hour before I started sending the wrong language to the wrong discussion and had to close some windows to regroup. I used it for brain therapy. I find it very exhilarating to be in a place where the three languages are buzzing all around me and I get to talk to everyone because I made myself devoted to learning these languages when I was 21 after wasting years in school. I took 5 years of french and couldn’t speak it. One year in Europe and I was started speaking badly but communicating in Spanish and French.

You obviously have an innate talent for language.

I was ashamed of myself when I met all these kids from Scandinavia and Germany and Switzerland that could speak four languages fluently enough for dinner conversation. So I was extra determined to become as cool as they were. It is criminal to teach languages the way they do in all school all over the world with rare exceptions.

There is no substitute for actually living a language, learning it by being immersed in a society that speaks it day to day.

One to one video chat between two people who could barely communicate with persistence would teach both of them faster than you could ever believe.

I love your idea of a 3D printing depository with customization in mind. It should be at another level than Thingaverse in my option. There are several models there that are just not printable because they are created only to be interesting. For me most of what I enjoy printing are practicable parts to fill a need or for repair of an existing broken and unavailable part. I make a few parts for older BMW Motorcycles that were plastic but just not available anymore.
I’m also not a big fan of subscriptions and would rather see limited advertising by 3D printing manufactures or suppliers as well as a practical per model price. I also agree that everyone should have their own slicer program as several of my printers are customized and require special settings.
I just retied from a big electronics firm as an lead engineering technician which is just someone who designed and built electronic testing equipment for what ever projects the design engineers dreamed up. If you need anything to further development let me know I would love to help.

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Can someone tell me when on Make with tech will be possible to sell openscad models? Is this in one month or in one year. Is there any page where you can sell such a model?

For the openscad models, so far MakeWithTech has been following an open-source mindset. It could change in the future, I suppose, but if you use any external libraries that use a license that’s not completely open (such as BSD), you might expose yourself to some legal issues. I’m somewhat familiar with open source licensing (such as GPL-3) for a typical software project, but openscad models are kind of a different beast, so you might need to read into that subject a bit.

But admin was talking about selling models on this page. It is written on this page that this should be in this year(2023). But i dont know or he was talking about stl models, or about openscad models.

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Ah, I missed that post. My bad. Thanks for the correction.