MakerBot's 3D model service, Thingiverse, has announced a very important new feature: Verified Prints. It's a certification program that attempts to indicate which 3D models on Thingiverse actually have a chance of being successfully 3D printed.
We've been waiting for something like this for a long time, as one of the major complaints with Thingiverse's open repository concept is that anything could be uploaded, including 3D models that were patently unprintable. We've even seen models appear where the poster would say something like this:
I don't have a 3D printer, but maybe someone could print this? It would be SOOO COOOOL!
There were far too many examples of such unprintable models, likely leading to frustration among Thingiverse users, who were forced to manually check the structure, slicability, overhangness and other characteristics of prospective prints before committing to a multi-hour 3D print.
The new service mostly solves this by performing such checking in advance and applying a certification stamp on models passing the tests. The certified models also provide an X3G file for download, which is pre-sliced GCODE, ready for printing on your MakerBot.
We're not so sure about the X3G option, as there are often reasons to perform the slicing yourself, such as selecting resolution, print bed position, etc. Nevertheless, Thingiverse still provides the STL files for the same model, so you can slice yourself - for any 3D printer, not just MakerBot's line - with confidence that the print will likely succeed.