Did everyone see the announcement from makerbot at CES to create their own store,

Did everyone see the announcement from makerbot at CES to create their own store, and targeting .99cent digital object sales? I was wondering what everyone’s feelings were on this announcement.

I think it’s a great idea and will be easy to verify designs made for their machines. It will also build a high quality library of objects that will build value for their printers. I have been working on a side project to build a website with files for sale, but to return sales to the designers of the files for the reprap community. The goal would be to encourage those with 3d drawing knowledge to create solutions for their fellow reprap makers. It seems I may have stalled this side project for too long.

What are your thoughts?

More DRM to make more money.
And less creativity as they will only allow files they want printing on their site.

I don’t want to be the one to add value to someone else’s products.
I want to solve problems and advance the state of the art.

Ummm, it’s pretty much the exact opposite of reprap. Not many if any reprappers would buy files. Design a way to add value to something, more than just hosting the files. Then you might get them to pay for something

The app-stores have destroyed the free software culture for cellphones.

I believe It’s better when the community verifies the files that are free. But as we step in to the consumer mass market, files ready to print with a click is good. But there must be a majority of free models.

My personal feelings on the matter are that while it’s good for simplicity, it’s bad for accessibility and user control. I don’t think selling models is incompatible with the nature of open source provided the ownership of the model is never brought into question and that designers are free to link to editable versions of their files in the description.

Is that the case with the new makerbot store?
And what does this mean for thingiverse down the line?

Addendum: ownership in the sense of attribution, not “it’s mine, all mine!”

MakerBot can suck my ass

Personally, I will stop using thingiverse the day they start charging for any designs. It’s not like their web software is hard to duplicate.

Makerbot grew up standing with the reprap community then immediately forgot about all the people that helped them once there was profit to be made. This is just the next step after they started patenting their ‘innovations.’

Since Makerbot technically owns the files on thingiverse, can they sell the existing files without giving royalties to the author?


Wow that’s awful if true.

@Eric_Moy exactly why I’ve been so torn over whether or not to use the site.

It’s a great design, with a huge community, but the puppet masters are still there in the background

Repables.com is what we’ve been using

From Repables:


By posting any User Content via the Service, you expressly grant, and you represent and warrant that you have a right to grant, to the Company a royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, worldwide license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, list information regarding, edit, translate, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, and make derivative works of all such User Content and your name, voice, and/or likeness as contained in your User Content, if applicable, in whole or in part, and in any form, media or technology, whether now known or hereafter developed, for use in connection with the Service.

I’m not a lawyer, but I fail to see how that’s different, except that it isn’t MB that owns the site.

@Evan_Ridenour thoughts?

This definitely runs counter to the reprap philosophy. 3D printing has the potential to help usher all of humanity into a new era - one of post-scarcity, and it’s disappointing to see the community manipulated in this way this early to eke out more profit for a megacorporation. This will only slow down real progress.

@Nathan_Ryan , I’m not a lawyer either. I’m a programmer. I used a generic license agreement and terms of service I found on the web, one that gave us a lot of leeway when we launched. I do believe some of those terms are necessary for us to host, render, and promote the files, and to let our users view, download, and modify those files. I assure you my Repables.com cofounder, @Gerrit_Coetzee , and I do mean well. But, we are all now watching what happens when an initially well intentioned company succumbs to greed. And I’m not going to act like we’re immune to greed, or that we’ll forever have these same goals and philosophy. Perhaps we should have the Reprap community write certain sections of the terms of service and license agreement as a constitution of sorts. And we would be forever bound to these terms just as our users are.

Just as an example (for full disclosure, I work for Sculpteo, a 3D Printing service), here’s an excerpt from our Terms of Use (Article 10: http://www.sculpteo.com/en/terms/ emphasis mine)
The CUSTOMER will retain ownership of the IMAGE sent to SCULPTEO. The CUSTOMER grants SCULPTEO a licence for the single use of their IMAGE to carry out their order.
_The CUSTOMER may revoke this licence at any time by modifying the sharing mode for their IMAGE, or by directly erasing it from the catalogue appearing on the “http:// http://www.sculpteo.com” website. _

I think you’ll agree it’s a little more forgiving to creators…

I talked to one of the lead designers for a while at ces- great guy and wildly talented. The models are beautiful! I was so impressed, I was ready to start downloading and printing models for me and my son. But alas, the models only work on a Makerbot. I own Printrbot, so my printers are reprap’s and Printrbots. I was bummed. Then I thought, wait, I still have my beloved cupcake (gathering dust, but it still works), so I suggested I could use that… But, no. They don’t work with that either. The artist was a little sad to break the news but we both understood the business thinking behind it. Proprietary systems are a walled garden. Those inside the garden are happy, they forget they are trapped. iTunes is similar, but not as bad anymore, you get to keep your songs and even listen to them on other devices. I expected Makerbot to roll out proprietary filament, closing the loop completely, they say they won’t. Time will tell. The models sort of achieve the same thing, but is slightly more palatable since there are still free models. I asked the designer if he was worried that a Makerbot scanner owner would scan a drm-ed model and post it. He didn’t think it would be a problem since it is illegal. I predict it will happen very soon. I guess selling stls instead would make reposting quite common. They will have to police the uploads to avoid this, and I am sure takedown notices will follow. Someone is bound to “crack” the format somehow, rebuilding the stl, but sounds hard. I think its likely that others may design original close copies that are technically legal, but I guess imitation is the highest form of flattery. Shapeways is sort of similar, but charges for prints to be made and shipped out. They share revenue with the author. I asked Makerbot if I could design something and have it be sold to share in the revenue. They said no, it’s entirely for in house designers.

So calling it the iTunes of 3d printing isn’t quite right. It’s an iTunes that doesn’t allow artists to post music, they hire artists to post work owned by the company alone. This limits adoption and growth. Yes, it’s an ecosystem, but a very limited one. I dont think its an incentive to buy a Makerbot. Would you buy an iPod if they had no music from other labels, but only offered a few songs they wrote themselves? The free music made by independent artists may entice some, but it may give you pause that no independent artists will get paid.

So no incentive for artists to give away files, other than exposure or good will, and little incentive to pay the MakerBot tax to gain access to a very limited catalogue of exclusive files.

In the end, I don’t think it’s too compelling, but it’s only the beginning. Having the infrastructure in place leaves them lots of runway to change and adapt to market demand. There is a very real cost involved with providing the thingiverse service, so it makes good business sense to try to monetize somehow. Maybe they will have an all you can eat subscription service. Maybe they will invite in any artist to play and share revenue. Maybe paid storage for your models. Or some sort of b2b strategy. Or ads?

Judging from recent comments, some are offended and others don’t mind. It could end up causing a chilling effect for those on the fence of what bot to buy. Some will be drawn to it for simple ease of use. The verdict is still out, but this is certainly a watershed moment. Lines have been drawn both for opensource hardware lovers and proponents of open files. Choose your path.