3D model repository Formsfield has taken an unusual step to recruit designers for their product shelves: they’re guaranteeing payments!
Competition between printable 3D model repositories is quite fierce these days, with new competitors arriving almost weekly. While the major challenge they have is to compete with huge free repositories such as Thingiverse or YouMagine, there is one other barrier to success: recruiting designers.
Many repositories use the commissioned sales approach: Designers place their works in the repository and are paid when - and if - someone happens to buy one. Typically this is a percentage of the sale or a flat fee of some kind. However, no payment to the designer occurs unless a sale actually takes place. This way ensures the repository, designer and buyer all get value from the transaction.
But the problem has been that traffic to most repositories is low and sales track with traffic. There are cases of designs provided to repositories that NEVER receive a sale. Thus, in these cases, the designer receives literally nothing for their troubles.
Some designers overcome this by distributing their works among a number of 3D model repositories, in a kind of shotgun approach: the more places selling their works, the better. But that doesn’t work if the repository wants an exclusive on the design.
Formsfield, a new entrant to the space as of September, has a new approach: “From November 10 - 24, Formsfield is guaranteeing a profit to all designers who upload new designs.”
Here’s how it works: any new design uploaded during the specified period will be placed for sale. Should no sales take place during the same period, Formsfield will reimburse the designer the set price of the product, up to a maximum of €10 (USD$11).
Could this work? We’re not sure, but it is certainly an interesting approach that must be attempted by someone, and in this case it’s Formsfield.
Otherwise, Formsfield is a clean platform for both buyers and sellers of 3D printable models. All 3D models are curated, which we suspect means visually inspected by experts to ensure they are both printable and useful.
The models are sold for one-time use only: you can request a print from a 3D print service through Formsfield or you can stream a print instance directly to your own 3D printer, if it’s capable of receiving a USB stream.
Pricing per model seems to be slightly higher than what we’ve seen for fully downloadable printable models, but perhaps that’s just our imagination - the prices vary considerably depending on the nature of the model, ranging from nothing up to €20 (USD$21).
Model quality appears to be good. There are quite a few unusual 3D models available from Formsfield that we haven’t seen elsewhere. One that caught our eye was this attractive and functional Shark Notes Holder.
For designers, Formsfield might be a place you should investigate, particularly from November 10-24. For buyers, Formsfield appears to be another repository containing unique printable models.