With the rise of 3D printed objects, more and more online plaforms focused on enabling file sharing for physical objects. Quick overview of the main services available.
So far the most popular. Owned by Makerbot but no need to have 3D printed your objects with a Makerbot to use the platform. At the moment there are about 33200 things and derivatives available on Thingiverse (at least that’s what shows the URL of the most recent uploads). Big featured area on the homepage. The focus is given to the product and the all website is a great source of inspiration. There are been some controversies since Makerbot change its terms of services but Thingiverse is still widely used.
The Pirate Bay launched its new “physibles” category in January 2012. It got lots of buzz but doesn’t seem to be very busy since then. 63 physibles are available now, and most of them are also shared on Thingiverse. My feeling is that it’s missing a way to see how the object will look like. Design is key with 3D things, it’s not like music that is by nature invisible or movies where you can check the trailer online.
PhysibleExchange is a newcomer in the world of peer-to-peer files sharing for 3D things. It is a minimalist platform that emphasize on community reviews. In contrast to Pirate Bay, PhysibleExchange shows a 3D visualisation and pics of the physible and also allows members to comment and vote up or down the designs. You can navigate by “Trending”, “Popular” or “Newest” things. Lots of hope around PhysibleExchange which could become quickly a new important player. Clean and efficient.
If PhysibleExchange seems to be conceived essentially for the engineering community, CubeHero may be the one for designers. This is maybe the most good-looking of all. Objects are really well presented and it’s specifically designed for 3D printed items. 3 tabs per object: overview (friendly description and extra information), print (quick access to the files), source. You also have access to a versioning tool. Less community-focused than Thingiverse but perfect for a portfolio or quick share of an object.
There are many other platforms that lets you upload your 3D designs, some of them are not specialized in physibles (Sketchfab), some of them are marketplaces and don’t necessary allow other users to download and print themselves your creations (Sculpteo does, Shapeways, i.Materialise, Cubify, 123D, 3DVIA, …)
Do you any other platforms for sharing physibles? Which one do you use the most?