New UK startup company 3D Industri.es has launched its first product: 3D Partsource. It's a repository specifically designed for 3D models of industrial components.
Anyone who searches for 3D models knows the problem these guys are trying to solve immediately: it's pretty much impossible to find appropriate 3D models using conventional text-based searches. You might eventually find a 3D model of that propellor, but alas, it won't be printable. Start Again.
So what makes 3D Partsource different? According to CEOS Rejal:
Alongside simpler and more accurate sourcing of 3D data, we aim to make 3D databases ‘smart’, enabling improved authentication of 3D content. This will enhance confidence in online 3D content sharing and collaboration, driving more professional engagement and, underpinning the expansion and growth of the 3D industry, and the transition to mainstream mass adoption.
You can search using keywords, which of course is awkward, but you can also search by 3D shape! Simply drag and drop a 3D model onto their search box and 3D Partsource will attempt to match your uploaded model with one in their library.
How well does it work? We're not exactly certain. After attempting to upload a scanned .PLY 3D model to see if something similar existed in their catalog, 3D Partsource stopped working for us and the URL wouldn't respond at all for a while. Oops, sorry! We'll try again later with a simpler model.
[UPDATE] A second drag-n-drop-search test with a much simpler STL model worked much better. Our tube shape yielded 92 results. While many of the 92 really didn't initially seem to match our tube, there were indeed several hits that did. Upon closer inspection, the non-hits included tube-like elements that perhaps warranted their inclusion in the search results.