MakerBot is a name synonymous with desktop 3D printing. Their FDM/FFF based 3D printers are ranked among the highest available on the market, and they have a community of users unlike any other 3D printer manufacturer does. When it comes to 3D designs, MakerBot’s Thingiverse stands alone atop the 3D printable file respositories on the net.

Thingiverse is not without competition, but up until this point, they are the clear leaders when it comes to finding 3D design files available for free download and 3D printing. Literally hundreds of new designs are uploaded to Thingiverse on a daily basis, and dozens of others are iterated upon and uploaded as well, thanks to the open sourcing of designs. In all, over 500,000 free 3D printable models are currently available on the site.

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Today, MakerBot has announced the launching of a new community platform on the Thingiverse website. Thingiverse Groups officially opens today, bringing with it a community for 3D designers and 3D printing enthusiasts to communicate in a more efficient manner.

“[I’m] Super excited to announce the launch of Groups on Thingiverse today,” said Jason Krieger, UI/UX Designers for MakerBot. “The team killed it! If you’re into 3D printing or just 3D design in general, sign up and start posting.”

Thingiverse Groups allows users to join and/or create groups around particular topics or design types. At the same time, it provides a platform for discussion of various designs and topics, and the ability to share designs directly to other members of a particular group.

“We’ve made it super easy to create groups, search for the newest or most popular groups, and upload your designs,” explained the MakerBot team. “There are already a few groups to choose from, but a good place to start is the My First Make group, where you can share your first 3D printing experience.”

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Need a group to start with, MakerBot recommends joining and participating in the “My First Make” group where users can share their first design that they have ever created/printed.

Currently the main Thingiverse Group page allows for the sorting of groups by newest or most popular. There is also a tab that shows the groups which you are currently a member of, as well as a search function to find particular groups to join. When you join a group, you will be able to view and post discussion threads as well as things that you believe fall into the group’s category. Also thingiversegrupsavailable is a list of other members who are part of that group, as well as an “About” section providing a brief overview of that particular group.

Any member of Thingiverse is able to create a new group, but we suggest that you do a search prior to creating any new group, as the group you intended to create may already exist.

It should be interesting to see how quickly these groups take off, and how much they are utilized in the sharing of ideas and design files. What do you think about Thingiverse Groups? Discuss in the Thingiverse Groups forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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