MakerBot has formalized their “customizer” capability in Thingiverse in a collection of “ready to go” applications that can quickly generate specific 3D models.
The Customizer first appeared a few years ago and was an early attempt and providing an ability for designers to create simple generative 3D models. By having a user specify a couple of parameters, variations of an original base model could be generated and subsequently downloaded for 3D printing.
Now they’ve made the act of customization a bit more friendly by partnering with several external parties to create usage-specific generative applications. We tried some of them and found they were actually quite useful.
The apps operate standalone on various common platforms, but each connects to your Thingiverse account where your generated models are eventually uploaded. From there they can be shared, remixed and downloaded for 3D printing.
One is the “Cookie Caster”, which provides a graphical way to generate a cookie cutter 3D model. It’s as simple as dropping a few points and tweaking their position and curve. You can even trace an image that you’ve uploaded for something more personal. See image above for a crude sample.
Another ready-app is from 3DPonics, who are on a mission to provide 3D printed hydroponics gear. In their app you can generate variations of a common connector used in their DIY hydroponics system.
Other applications current include:
- Modio: Unleash your creativity! Mix and match parts on and off screen with this creature-creator. (iOS)
- Fraemes: Connect to your MakerBot Library to print unique and personalized iPhone cases. (Web)
- Leopoly: Make original designs with easy-to-use 3D design and sculpting tools – all within your browser. (Web)
- Zotebook: Turn 2D prototypes into 3D printable files with a simple touch interface. (iOS)
- Makers Empire: The world’s easiest to use 3D printing software. Conquer 3D! (iOS, Android)
- Robot Factory: Build unique Retro Robots for 3D printing using a simple touch interface appropriate for any age. (Android)
- World Of Rabbit - The Crossing! Rescue an underground rabbit world while earning 3D printable achievements. (Windows Phone)
We believe this type of service is essential for raising the capable of consumers to more easily use 3D printing. In this case, each service focuses only on a very specific topic. This approach is far more likely to achieve traction with general consumers, who often need a friendly way to obtain 3D models for printing.