I can’t think of another industry that is so built on networking and sharing as 3D printing. It really is the technology of the 21st century, lending itself perfectly to a world in which people are addicted to being online and sharing everything they do. While much of the Internet can be a time-sucking wasteland of oversharing and general unpleasantness, the 3D printing community is actually productive, exchanging ideas, creating art, and sharing designs and advice.
Plenty of 3D printing-oriented communities have formed within social networks such as Twitter and Reddit, but Peter Mooney realized that the Internet was lacking a social hub specifically for 3D printing fans. Sure, there are plenty of 3D design platforms and online marketplaces, but he envisioned a central, 3D printing-specific social networking site where people could not only share and sell their work but form groups and connections. His idea led to the founding of PatternSpace, a sort of Facebook for 3D printing enthusiasts where the social aspects of 3D printing are emphasized.
“At PatternSpace, we are making 3D Printing accessible to the world, one space at a time. Touted as the first social hub for 3D Printing, we are more than just another design repository. We are building a next-generation social website and eCommerce platform where people can geek out together around printing what they love,” Mooney told 3DPrint.com.
“As 3D printing technology becomes more mainstream, people instinctively gravitate toward connecting with one another around it. Currently, the majority of 3D printing sites are focused solely on the individual, with limited to no support for letting them connect, as they resort to separate solutions like Reddit or Google Groups. Additionally, they desire access to all facets of 3D printing from sharing or selling designs to editing to ordering prints. PatternSpace provides all this and more, with a focus on connecting like-minded enthusiasts.”
The cloud-based PatternSpace launched just a little over a month ago, and is in the process of expanding. Users can avail themselves of an e-commerce platform that, as Mooney describes it, brings together “content, community and commerce” all in one place. The platform will be integrated with i.materialise and Authentise for 3D printing and DRM needs, and integrations with 3D Slash and MakePrintable are also planned.
On the social side, users can form groups based around shared interests within the 3D printing space. Several groups have already sprung up, focusing on everything from drones to prosthetics to Pokémon. There’s also a custom 3D model photo booth, and users will have the ability to create private spaces with exclusive access.
“As 3D printing matures, people are instinctively wanting to interact with each other around it,” Mooney told us. “But the reality is that there’s nothing out there that truly lets groups of people connect in any meaningful context…As a cloud-based digital marketplace and social platform built to enable groups of enthusiasts to easily share, shop, sell, socialize, and collaborate around 3D Printing, PatternSpace aims to fill this gap.
“…We are a one-stop shop built to make it easy to connect to the 3D printing ecosystem. Our competitive advantage lies in focusing on community functionality and our full-spectrum integration of tools and features, from printing to streaming. This gives users a single place to collaborate and monetize their patterns without having to resort to a hodge-podge of sites and forums.”
It’s free to sign up for an account, and once you do, you can go about joining and/or starting groups, uploading designs, meeting people and learning. If you’d like to be more deeply involved, PatternSpace is also currently looking for a marketing co-founder to help build the site’s marketing and social media presence. Discuss in the PatternSpace forum at 3DPB.com.