Celebrating a Maker Milestone: 1 Million Uploads on MakerBot’s Thingiverse
Thingiverse, the world’s largest 3D design community, just reached a landmark one million uploads and 200 million downloads! What began in 2008 as a website exclusively for the burgeoning maker community has grown into a robust gateway to 3D printing and 3D design for hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Educators, professional engineers, designers, and 3D printing enthusiasts are all taking part.
“We believe that the impact Thingiverse has had on 3D printing and 3D design in its seven years is tremendous,” said Nadav Goshen, president of MakerBot. “Thingiverse has helped popularize 3D printing by creating a vibrant community and making it easy to discover, make and share 3D designs. It has become the go-to place on the Internet for anyone interested in 3D design and 3D printing. We are excited to see what people come up with next.”
MakerBot founded Thingiverse in a Brooklyn-based hacker space so there was a place on the Internet where people could share designs for physical objects. At the time, such a site didn’t exist. Most of Thingiverse’s first users were small-scale manufacturers, engineers, or people who owned a 3D printer. During its first six months, the site averaged between 30 and 40 uploads per week. Today, Thingiverse boasts more than 2 million active monthly users and 1.7 million downloads per month. It is also the home to a number of competitions like the Assistive Technology and Fall STEAM Challenges, which invite community members to collaborate and create across the globe.
MakerBot Thingiverse has evolved from a community geared around simply sharing 3D designs on the web into a broad community of collaborators. One of many milestones in the site’s history was the 2013 introduction of Thingiverse Customizer, which allows Thingiverse users to easily customize existing 3D designs. Customizer not only made 3D design more accessible for those who aren’t familiar with professional 3D design software but also opened the door for more collaboration among its users.
One example of the collaborations on Thingiverse is the creation of the Robohand. Through Thingiverse, a woodworker from Johannesburg, South Africa, and a theatrical prop designer from Seattle, Washington, were able to work together across 10,000 miles to create a prosthetic hand that has been used to better the lives of hundreds of people across the globe. Now, a larger community of doctors, hobbyists, educators and engineers on Thingiverse continue to improve upon the original Robohand design, with the goal of enabling low cost prosthetics for people who otherwise wouldn’t get them.
Thingiverse also offers a glimpse into the use of 3D printing today. Popular Thingiverse categories include Ikea hacks, fashion items, toys and games, and art. Some of the most popular uploads of all time are the Low Poly Mask, the Amazing Gyroscopic Cube Gears! and practical items like the fully assembled 3D printable wrench and an earbud holder. To celebrate one million uploads, MakerBot is giving away 10 large popular prints from Thingiverse. To enter the giveaway, simply fill out this form.
Educators across the country are using Thingiverse to teach their students problem solving and collaboration to encourage them to apply ideas and designs to real-world problems. According to MakerBot’s market research, 79 percent of teachers who use MakerBot 3D printers use Thingiverse in the classroom*. MakerBot also offers dedicated resources for educators on Thingiverse, such as design challenges and Jumpstart, which serves as an introduction to a number of free design programs that can help people bring their ideas to the physical world.
* Online surveys were conducted over a period of four months with 1300+ respondents using MakerBot 3D printers in an educational institution.
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