"Print my purchase!" (Sharing control)

If you visit free sites like GrabCad or Thingiverse you can find lots stuff free for download. It is nice to have free stuff to print. But when the amateur goes pro and puts lots of time and effort into his models, how is he rewarded? He isn’t. If you try to sell an STL file, the first problem is anyone can post it online for the whole world to download without paying. The second problem is they can pay for 1 and print themselves 10,000.
It’s a market not invented. Let’s invent it!
So since .form files are proprietary, FormLabs is half way there. Now they just need an “GrabCad meets Amazon” like store where people can shop for a model, specify how many they need, and download the .form file. Buyers would be able to re-orient and move the parts, but not duplicate them. The designer would set a “committed” layer, so if the print fails (and gets cancelled) before that point the buyer gets a chance to re-print. But if they cancel 1 layer from 100% for example, that doesn’t qualify for free reprints. Of course they can contact the seller with photos and ask for kindness, but if the model is cheap who would even care in these rare cases.

Lots of hard-to-create models could appear online if there was a good reason (like money) for them to be created.

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Thingiverse, no. Grabcad.com, probably.

GrabCad is probably a better example, I added it to the post. But no, there is not a flare nut on GrabCad. And GrabCad doesn’t have selling control / sharing control either.

I found a couple under flanged nut, and flange nut, as that’s what your picture looks like.

I guess my point is, what’s the point, if you look hard enough, you’re bound to find it for free.

You’re missing the point… models could be better if their was rewards involved. I’m talking money as rewards. For example, the flange nut you are discussing has no locking-ribs because the guy got lazy.

Turbosquid.com is pretty much what you are talking about then. In the purchasing policy, you are agreeing to printing no more than 5. (Not sure how on earth they could ever find out though…)

Yep, you are exactly right, how would they ever know? And my God are turboSquid models expensive. I was thinking consumer level, like pay me 3 cents per nut. Of course you have the option of free or modelling it yourself. But if your bike horn needs just one, why not spend 3 cents and do it right, and right now.

Gotcha. Cool concept.

And from the viewpoint of the @Formlabs1 sales staff, wouldn’t you like to have the only printer that comes with quality digital inventory for the consumer? Not only can you print that free STL junk, you have an exclusive store of quality items for pennies.
It would be a huge sales advantage. But don’t you dare try to take a percent of each model sale too. That’s not going to fly to double-dip in our hard work.

There has been some work on this concept in the desktop printing industry. MakerBot opened the [MakerBot Digital Store][1] last year with much fanfare and limited response.

For a pay system to work in a free economy, It need to be easier then the alternative. How do you make it easier that a free and unlimited? One concept is to offer premium content, artworks, and components that are not available though any other channel. This is what MakerBot experimented with. The issue they ran into is right now the install base of 3d printers from all manufactures is small and the majority of today’s users are high skilled hobbyist or prosumers who are comfortable with CAD.

A Prosumer is not in the market for a premium art toy download, not at a price that makes money for the artist. Obscure parts and components are a possibility, but then your limiting the market to people who own a printer but don’t have a [McMaster-Carr][2] account. The hobbyist are by and large products of the open information generation. They believe in the free flow of information and knowledge, and will take pride in figuring out how to crack whatever rights management you implement. Just ask the film industry how long the copy protection on DVD’s held up…

The idea of the sale of printable objects is not a bad one, its just ahead of its time. The concept, called Distributed Manufacturing, has to go hand-in-hand with the wide adoption of 3D printing technology by the broader population and the acceptance of digital distribution of goods. [Diamond Age][3], by Neil Stevenson, does and excellent job explore the future of distributed manufacturing and what it could look like on and individual and social level.

(This represent only my personal views on this matter and has nothing to do with Formlabs position, whatever that may be.)

[1]: http://www.makerbot.com/digital-store
[2]: http://www.mcmaster.com/
[3]: http://www.amazon.com/The-Diamond-Age-Illustrated-Spectra/dp/0553380966

Thanks for the good info. I have never heard of the Makerbot Digital Store. After seeing what is on that my hopes are a bit less. Although FormLabs has a couple advantages over Makerbot for this concept… With the Form1+ all the fussing and preparation ends when the .form files is setup. There are no feed speeds, ooze control, infill, heated bed, ext. temps, etc. And I wouldn’t say what the world has now is an easy alternative.
I use McMaster-Carr too, but they have a real inventory so there are things they don’t bother with and variety that doesn’t get explored. And there is still the problem of overnight shipping times and costs for each item. But yea, good point.
DVD protection might be cracked, but it didn’t discourage them from doing it again on BluRay. In many areas it succeeds, It adds a mental barrier, a skill barrier, software barrier, reliability problems when “backing up”, and is just a huge hassle to screw with. I’m not sure if BluRay is cracked yet?
Distributed Manufacturing does require setup consistency and ease that FormLabs currently leads in (if your laser is good). I don’t have all the answers, but maybe the engineers over there can work out the wrinkles. Thanks again for the info.

It looks like Makerbot streams the code to the printer over HTTPS (secure internet) as the print happens. That is probably the most tamper-resistant option. Of course the Form2 will be needing that network connection we are all dreaming of.

So I learned that the MakerBot Digital Store is exclusively for models made by the MakerBot design team. No wonder that didn’t achieve any of my goals.
I have a need for buying professional models at hobby prices. I think it would be unfair not to give this idea a chance. I don’t know which vendor will do it first. But I bet the first will be the HOUSEHOLD NAME. Who wants that title? And who wants to look back and wish they were?

Oh, and the McMaster-Carr website offers free 3-d models of most of their parts(screws, bolts, nuts etc.)

Available in 6 different 3d file types.

Alright, I removed my picture from the post. This post had nothing to do with hardware. And the flare nut was not available from McMaster Carr as anything but a PDF. I chose the nut to spice up the post because true threads are very complex because they are defined by an abstract concept called “Basic Pitch Diameter”. A simple quarter-inch nut with 20 threads-per-inch can be toleranced in countless ways, making it impossible to reverse-engineer without understanding a LOT of geometry and specs. This takes the time and skill few people have or want to learn. For that reason it was a good example.

This post was meant to apply equally to jewelry, toys, everything.

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