Apr 12, 2016 | By Tess

As our readers will well know, Thingiverse, currently the largest 3D printing community site in the world, has helped in many ways to make desktop 3D printing a more accessible and attractive technology. Makers from all over the world have been able to upload their amazing 3D designs, which we write about on a regular basis, and people can then 3D print or remix these designs for free. Now, with 3D printer company MakerBot having announced the launch of their new Thingiverse Developer Program, the maker community’s functions are continuing to grow and evolve.

The Thingiverse Developer Program is effectively inviting its makers and developers to shape the future of the 3D printing community by allowing them to add new services and functions to Thing pages through new APIs, as well as allow for in app purchases and tips for developers, and the new Thingiverse Developer Portal. The new app APIs will now allow developers to create and implement apps directly onto Thingiverse pages. The apps that can be added onto Thing pages will include those in the categories of print services, customization apps, and utility apps that can analyze and fix a 3D model. The announcement was made by MakerBot yesterday, at Inside 3D Printing in New York.

“MakerBot has been leading the 3D printing revolution by popularizing desktop 3D printing, developing a connected experience around its printers, and growing the largest 3D printing community in the world,” explained Jonathan Jaglom, CEO of MakerBot. “What makes Thingiverse special is the incredibly talented community of designers who share their work with the world. The new Thingiverse Developer Program will enable even greater possibilities in the Thingiverse community by adding new functionalities and services while giving designers full control over how their content is being used. The sky is the limit in terms of what’s possible and we can’t wait to see what developers come up with.”

To kick off their new Developer Program, MakerBot and Thingiverse collaborated with 3D Hubs 3D printer network to bring their services directly to the website. This partnership will give Thingiverse users who may not have access to a 3D printer an easy and direct way of having their Thing additively manufactured. By adding a “Print” button on certain 3D models (specifically those licensed under a Creative Commons license with commercial use) MakerBot and 3D Hubs are hoping to make 3D printing even more accessible to those without 3D printers, as well as increase their makers’ audiences. Of course, as a maker you will have the choice of giving 3D Hubs access to your designs as well as the option of choosing whether or not you want to receive “tips” for your work.

Tips, a part of the new Developer Program, will essentially give developers the option of charging a fee for their app services, which in turn will give the original 3D model designers a portion of these payments, known as “tips”. Thingiverse is also implementing a tipping system outside of the apps where users can voluntarily choose to give back to the makers whose designs they are printing as “a way to give back to the people that invest their time and energy to share their work with the world”. All the money from tips will go to the developers and designers directly.

In app purchases and tips for Thingiverse allow app developers to charge for services they offer within their app and designers to receive a cut of these payments through tips. Both in app purchases and tips will only be available for things that are licensed under a Creative Commons license that allows for commercial use and designers can opt out of apps at any time.

MakerBot has also launched their new Thingiverse program with a second partnership with Mixed Dimensions to create a cloud based mesh repair app that ensures 3D models are ready to print. The app, called MakePrintable, is capable of analyzing, repairing, and validating many types of mesh errors that can occur in a 3D model. According to MakerBot, both the 3D Hubs and MakePrintable apps will launch within the next few weeks.

Finally, the new Thingiverse Developer Portal will provide the necessary resources for developers, including the instructions about developing apps for Thingiverse, how to submit the apps, and a space to test the apps, as well as the analytics and payment details to do with the app once it is uploaded.

"Thingiverse is the place on the Internet where most people go to get started with 3D printing," said Walter Hsiao, a popular Thingiverse maker. "Allowing developers to add new functionalities to Thingiverse is a great idea. Specifically, I would love to see apps that help people transition from downloading to designing.”

As mentioned, the new Thingiverse Developer Program, as well as its first apps are expected to launch within the next few weeks.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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