What I find most exciting about 3D printing is that from your own desktop, you can make or download a design and have something new and wonderful appear like magic in your world, whether it be morning, noon, or midnight. There is no driving to a middleman to discuss your prototype or concept, no coordinating of schedules to deal with it, and best of all, no asking anyone’s permission (generally) or paying them to help you. And when you finish making a design, adding to an open-source file, or downloading something ultra-cool, you can’t wait to flip on the printer and go—ready to get the project started and anticipating having that 3D model in your hands shortly. This is accessibility and self-sustainability in action, not to mention nearly every other benefit of 3D printing should you so deign to make use of them.
But what about when things just aren’t going your way in the design or printing process? No one likes experiencing the frustration of errors, but they are of course there to prevent much worse issues later. Now, MakerBot is working to put further magical powers of perfecting in your hands at Thingiverse offering a new app from Mixed Dimensions, and another from 3D Hubs. This is just another notch in their journey to make 3D printing technology user-friendly, accessible—and ultimately, something we can all enjoy with as little frustration and as few glitches as possible. The launches follow the announcement earlier this month that such steps would soon be taken.
Mixed Dimensions, a company we report on quite often regarding new features, has just launched their MakePrintable 3D file repair tool within the new Thingiverse ‘Portal to Power.’ Within this new concept, Thingiverse users have the analysis and repair tools they need at their fingertips—and this means fixing files that otherwise never would have printed correctly. Within this app, you can choose a design already created in Thingiverse and then just select ‘MakePrintable’ for taking care of any mesh errors. All parties involved with integrating this see it as a ‘game changer’ of a service, offering a quick way to ensure structural integrity.
“The integration with Thingiverse will help us convert more files into printable ones while also being able to streamline the process between a 3D file and a printer, [thus] ensuring that more users find ease of use between file and print,” said Baha Abunojaim, CTO of Mixed Dimensions.
“Thingiverse is the largest 3D file repository with over one million models and community driven content, interaction. Their database of stl’s is what makes it the ‘makers’ choice and the ideal partner for our technology,” said Muhannad “Mo” Taslaq, CEO of Mixed Dimensions.
3D Hubs is now also partnering with Thingiverse to offer a convenient print fulfillment service that will allow even more users to get on board—as well as allowing those who need a more difficult job completed to hand it over to the real experts. 3D Hubs is such a great network and also offers an excellent way to support local business people and makers in your community.
With their service you can just send the model right over to a local printer where it is made expediently and then sent to your doorstep or office. This is also highly recommended for teachers who would like to share Thingiverse designs with students and expose them to the incredible world of 3D printing but don’t yet have the tools in their classroom to do so. This app also allows you to ‘tip’ the Thingiverse designer whose file you’ve downloaded, if they allow that option.
And if that’s not enough to send you running to the computer with a Thingiverse craving, MakerBot has even more on tap for you if you are a developer. They are just releasing and making the Thingiverse Developer Portal available. This anticipated release not only includes documentation, resources, and enrollment for developers but gives instructions on:
- Developing apps for Thingiverse
- Submitting apps to MakerBot
- Using the new ‘sandbox’ to test apps
- Managing apps and viewing analytics regarding usage, views, downloads, payments
“These new apps are the first examples of what’s possible with the new Thingiverse Developer Program,” said Tony Buser, Director of Web, Mobile and Desktop at MakerBot. “It’s added features like these that will propel Thingiverse and 3D printing as a whole. We’re happy that developers are answering our call to contribute to the future of 3D printing and we look forward to the next Thing Apps coming soon.”
Are you by chance getting inspired to start perusing designs and/or create a new app that everyone will want to use? No doubt, you will find fun on Thingiverse, and if you are a developer, be sure to check out all the new resources—who knows, you may be on to an amazing new career! What do you think of these new apps and the portal? Discuss in the Thingiverse 3D Apps forum over at 3DPB.com.