Bre Pettis with his cupcake transformersEveryone has different ideas of how to make our universe better. I think if people would take off their backpacks on the tube we could feel a significant increase of global goodness. But Zach ‘Hoeken’ Smith and Bre Pettis had an even better idea: create a place where people can share their digital designs that can be made into physical objects. This is Thingiverse.

So these guys believe that digital fabrication is on its way into households, just as it has happened with those monstrous mainframe computers. As the price of these machines (3D printers, laser cutters, cnc machines, eek) drops, more people can set up their playground at home. Just think about it: You have a bunch (spool) of plastic, and you can create anything you want from it, right in your living room. (Umm, I’m not sure if the living room is the best place for this, though.) To operate these machines you need “plans” for what to create. On Thingiverse you can find, but more importantly share, digital designs to reproduce them in real life.

Thingiverse encourages sharing, so the uploaded files are mainly open source licenced under Creative Commons or Public Licence – according to the user’s decision. The idea behind Thingiverse is similar to ours – support an open Internet with free content. Sharing the same ethos they’ve joined Flattr, and now their users are also signing up to be able to support their fellow designers.

The other side of the project, the actual printing comes from MakerBot Industries, the base of Thingiverse. MakerBot is an open source, affordable 3D printer, “your own little factory”. It arrives in pieces, so as the first step you need to build your own printer. Flattr has its own MakerBot, making the guys in Sweden really happy. At this point I ping Linus to tell us more about it. (I think you can expect a post about the experience.)

glasses printed with 3d printer

Browsing among the designs on Thingiverse is pleasant even without a printer. The limits are sky-high as you can print anything from little components through useful personal articles to funny toys for your desktop. Look at those glasses; somebody is wearing specs that they’ve printed at home! We’re amazed, and this machine will be on my wish list that I send to Santa.
Start to think about how this can change our way of living. And now I leave you with your flying imagination.

Have a look at Thingiverse

Order your own MakerBot (or just check out how it works)

Flattr this magic

6 thoughts on “Partner Profile: Thingiverse

  1. very cool stuff on his site. ps how mutch does it cost to make a makerbot or buy one ?

  2. The reprap project ( ) is the ultimate beginning of this movement, and a prusa mendel is only about $400 to build. Not only that, it has a bigger print area than the makerbot (almost double). It does require a little more technical skill, as well as sourcing your own parts, though.

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