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braddock

Selling models

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Hi guys, I've been weighing up the best way to get some of my models out there. I'm reluctant to just post them for free on thingiverse, of youmagine for a number of reasons.

Firstly, most of the models on the free sites are pretty awful, there's zero quality control, I hate seeing poorly executed, faceted low res models. These are the kind of prints that turn you off 3d printing, they do nothing to promote the machine printing them either, so not sure I want to be among that lot.

Secondly... there's an expectation for some reason that all printable models should be free, on one hand, I'd happily make some of my work free, but can any of you actually name the original artist who made any of the files you've downloaded to print? there's no feedback, or recognition for the artist once it's been downloaded a few hundred times.

Another issue is, I wouldn't want any of my work printed at anything above 0.06mm layer height. I know this is impossible to control, but printing at even 100 microns is in my opinion, not good enough quality.

If I made something forum members on here wanted, I'd just send it to them with a request not to pass it on, but for the general public, I'd rather charge a nominal fee, in the $10 - $20 range.

What sites do you all frequent when looking for models to print?

 

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Yeah agree braddock, most of these free models are either rubbish quality or the good ones certainly get little recognition. Maybe we convince YouMagine to have a " Dogs B****cks " section for uploading high quality models that can either be free or charged for.

 

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This is a very interesting discussion and I have seen this topic coming for a few months now.

With the technology becoming better and faster, you can see a change in the users from people who

are partially interested in 'just the technology' towards a professional user.

I think one of the strengths of 3D printing is sharing files / data, because everybody can be its own maker

and there is no point for everybody to have to reinvent the wheel every single time.

Collaborating should be the keyword, connecting all the single individuals we intend to be sometimes.

But that doesn't mean sharing has to be free. With a new group of people moving towards 3D printing, who's profession is designing you can not expect them to share it for free because they are depending on it.

And there is no point in keeping them out of the community, in the contrary I think we can all benefit from this new level of professionalism.

Not all designs are unique or professional enough to be made available as commercial design I think.

So how would you avoid 'this guy' down the street makes his 7th Iphone 4s cover available for purchase and in that order 'pollutes' this library?

On the other side, who are 'we' to stop him from trying to make money?

What would be the best way to sell a model?

Would you sell the STL or a Gcode? In case of the latter you also need a cloud based slicer that generates these codes or the designer should custom make it for everyone.

I think the cloud would be the best place to store the models as it would be the most controllable environment.

Controllable sounds like the opposite of what the environment is now, but I don't think it necessary is a bad thing.

It just means that the designer has some kind of control about what happens with his designs.

It can still be made available for everyone, but on the terms of who designed it. Which in a way I think he should be entitled too.

I wonder what everyones opinion is on this..

 

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Im really loving your work braddock and everytime i see a picture of a final painted high end print it blows me away. Prints like yours is my benchmark and motivation to keep on improving.

But i would not wanted to see models on Youmagine or other sites that you have to pay for like Skint mentioned. I think this would completely ruin the "Print every thing you want" mentality. Its okay that there are other sites where you can buy models. Personally i would never buy a model just to print it out. If i could sell it easy and get the money back in its another thing. But i would welcome a Donation feature on the free sites so every one can pay what he think is right. Or just donate to an artist witch you like to say "keep up the good work"

 

Firstly, most of the models on the free sites are pretty awful, there's zero quality control, I hate seeing poorly executed, faceted low res models. These are the kind of prints that turn you off 3d printing, they do nothing to promote the machine printing them either, so not sure I want to be among that lot.

As far i understand this with my limited English, you said that you don't like to see poorly printed prints of your models on the sites? Correct me if i understand that wrong.

Not every one got an awesome ultimaker like us. There are alot of cheap self build machines who also print those models. And this are the people that gets 3D Printing growing!

And also the poor designed models that you can download are often also from people who just started learning and put alot of work in it. Just because they are not high end models designed by a pro doesn't mean they are not worth to print.

And of course 100 People download the Files and only 2-3 People write a comment to say thank you and may even remember the artists name, but hey that's life. If i pay 20$ for a model it doesn't help me to remember the artist name either.

 

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Donations don't work I think. Thingiverse used to have that a while ago. After a few thousand downloads I got a grand total of 2 donations I think, totalling maybe 5 bucks... Granted it wasn't easy to use Paypal donations, but still. Hell, people barely even use the like buttons :p

It would be interesting to hear how things have gone for Dizingof after he wiped his account over at thingiverse and started selling his models instead.

 

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He is not getting as much as exposure as he used to I think but maybe he just spends all his time going on holidays and driving around in one of his new cars ;)

 

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A paid marketplace for 3D printable goods is unquestionably the future of this industry. If anyone in the 3D model hosting business isn't planning for that endgame with their full effort, they are missing the biggest disruption opportunity consumerism (and the world economy at large) has ever seen.

 

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You can easily set up your own site and store, but it's exposure to the marketplace that is the challenge.

I only represent one small, niche area too as an artist, I imagine those making actually useful products that require a bit of engineering know how have an interest in this too.

 

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At this point I recommend shapeways.com for braddock. That way you can control what materials are printed and you know you will only get high quality and consistent prints.

There are a few shapeways designer people who actually make enough money to live on. Mostly jewelry people I think.

 

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Yep i love it too.

Just being curious (sorry for being off topic). But what was your involvement in the movies you have in your professional part?

For selling your models i don't see many alternatives other than the usual shapeways or sculpteo stuff. My guess is that you probably have to be active on the most used sites to make yourself a name and then sell your stuff directly.

Other than that i don't know if selling on ebay or amazon (i believe they have (or will have)) a 3d printed stuff category. Of course the objects you would sell printed should be your creations i guess.

I don't really know how selling STL files ready for printing works but you probably have the risk that someone pays for it and shares the files via torrent or other websites (why not thingiverse?)

 

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Thanks for the feedback guys.

Didier, these films span the last 10 years, all working for the same company, Animal Logic.

My role shifts between concept art, asset modeling, and team supervision / lead artist, depending on the project.

 

 

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I don't actually think thingiverse is the place to get exposure, except maybe if you get featured but besides that I think you easily drown in a sea of insignificant designs.

There are a lot of quality models, but I think the ratio kinda got unbalanced lately.

What I think is interesting is not how to sell models you actually printed, but the digital files.

That is also the strength of 3D printing. Making the stuff you want and need.

Selling a model you made can be done through the known channels, but how to go about the digital files is new and is more interesting I think. I don't think you can totally prevent it from ending up on a file sharing and hosting platform but if you work from a cloud that is the most controllable environment.

Some questions I find interesting:

- Are you selling the stl or gcode. Or maybe another file?

- Are you selling a number of prints, like for $? you can print it 1 time, but for $? you can print it 10 times.

How will you control this?

- What about quality control? What if the purchaser is unhappy?

- If you can limit the amount of times it is being printed, what when for example the filament gets tangled up?

A lot of discusion was around the music industry when SW like kazaa and other file sharing sites got online, and now with iTunes. We are facing a similar movement now. Can we learn from this industry?

 

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I can name quite a few people that I've printed models from. But any 'evidence' that I can provide is anecdotal at best.

There is a big problem with low res models, but making models cost money won't change this. Just take a look at paid sites for models (such as turbosquid or a different market such as appstores) and look at the crap people dare to ask money for. This problem (eg; the inability to actually rate models on collection sites) is quite different from the 'should models be free' discussion.

Personally, I see the sharing of models / knowledge on such basis as an investment. If there is more information / models on 3D printing, it's more likely that someone will find what they need. This increases the value of the 3D printer for that person and is thus more likely to continue use it. From that point, it's not that far of a leap to imagine that if someone got models for free, he / she is more likely to share their work for free as well.

There will obviously be quite a few 'freeloaders' in the system. Contrary to with such systems with a finite amount of resources to copy items, this is not a problem. The copy itself is 'free'. The freeloaders in itself have a function in the ecosystem; providing exposure for the people who create these items.

Also; Copying an item x times will not work. It will be cracked, and I will be grumpy because people force me to use DRM software.

 

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makershop.co seems to do some kind of "pay-per-print". If I understood correctly, the site will directly connect to your printer and stream the gcode to it, without you getting the STL at all.

Prices are reasonable (around 1$ per print), but I fear there will be lots and lots of trouble for the site admins when people start complaining about failed prints...

And personally, I wouldn't pay-per-print, because I usually need to print stuff twice or even three times until I'm happy with the result. I'm more of a donation type - if I really like a model that I downloaded, and I see that there is a lot of work behind it, then I'll consider a donation. That's the best way in my opinion.

 

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Great discussion. I don't actually have a 3D printer but I believe that models for the general public will always have very fierce competition because there aren't really any barriers to entry and your value added will always be limited.

If you can however cater to a specific field / audience that requires other technical experties than you will have that value (Catchim $$$$) added to your work. Hopefully your previous experience / education can relate to 3D printer applications.

What I mean is differentiate...and search for areas where 3D printing isn't fully exploited.

PS- awaiting my UM2 and really fkyng excited!

:mrgreen:

 

 

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Wow,I was thinking how this would shape itself in the near future. As I believe that the person who manages to build and market a system where there is indeed some kind of 1 print per payment(but acceptable print), will be able to make quite some money, if the big companies get onboard. N.B. This system would be for companies to customers, not individuals to costumers, there would also be some money there, but not the big bucks...

As for selling your model/stl/gcode. Until we can make sure the actual information is not copied(you could still read it from a printer that is printing), it doesn't make sense to try to sell your models and be upset when they end up somewhere else.

One thing that also crosses my mind when I think of monetization of 3D printing is the following, and I think it closely relates to selling your models.

When something is open source, and you print a copy, can you sell that copy? And when it is NC? 3D Hubs is basically doing that. The next question is how the price is made up: material+electricity costs, working time, or even some kind of fee?

Because, who is checking how you got that model?

Can you make selfdestructable files, or embed the building information in the print so that if it breaks you can try again? Like DNA, building things with the information needed to build it.

Could all printers be cloud connected in the future, and models checked from a database?

Or is the way to monetize to spread cool free files, and let people pay you for making something custom?

Interesting stuff! This is a good example of something that could be the topic off Ulti-evenings, or some kind of conference (call) or other get together :p

 

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You cannot make a pay per use system. DRM is bad, real bad. We've had some parties contact us that had a 'secured solution' to provide this, but it took us less than an hour to crack their system (and none of the software engineers here are really adept with security). Let alone the problem of converting g-code back into the original files.

 

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Shapeways takes care of this issue by hosting the designs on their servers and printing the objects themselves. I have met some of the artists and designers for shapeways and my impression is they don't need any other job. So any good designer can make money through shapeways.

 

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Shapeways is a different market.

Shapeways sells models, but what's interesting is to sell the design to the people who want to print at home.

They have a printer, and want to uses it and tell their acquaintances that they printed that at home. They do not want to order a finished model at Shapeways.

Basically there are producers and consumers. The biggest number in any big market are always consumers. This will be the same for the 3D printer market whenever it gets big - probably it is already so.

The consumer wants to print, but has not the ability or does not want to invest the time in creating high quality models.

The producer is able to and does design such models. After some initial enthusiastic start, where he offers his designs for free, he realizes that there is really nothing in it for him - neither fame, nor money and sometimes getting told how nice the designs are, gets old fast.

And at one point probably somebody else sells printed models of the design or claims that he designed it.

And some of the producers might even want to make some money of the models just for the moneys sake.

I expect it will end in some DRM scheme as used with music and ebooks. Probably with a time limit or count limit. This will allow you to print multiple times, but not infinite numbers and will reduce illegal publishing - it will not prevent it.

Anyway it will take some time until the market matures so that it will be worth to invest time to crack any DRM system.

 

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