3D Marvels

By on November 21st, 2010 in models, Service


We ran across an unusual 3D model service: 3D Marvels. The site operates as a clearinghouse for 3D artist works. In other words, you can shop there for STL and COLLADA format 3D models that you can print on your 3D printer.
3DMarvels is a companion site to the very successful Wood Marvels site, which currently offers over 260 different designs specifically for production in wood. At Wood Marvels you’ll find a wide variety of model files in sixteen categories, all suitable for production on laser cutters or CNC machines – and there are even videos included to show how the cut parts fit together. 
Both sites offer designers the opportunity to participate by uploading their design files for a no-cost review. If accepted, the models will be offered for sale to the public and any revenue generated will be split 50-50 with the original designer.
However, at this time we see only a scant six items for sale at 3DMarvels, including jewelry, a miniature and a very cool-looking “Alien Goddess” for USD$29.95. 
We were wondering why there’s so few models present in this shop as compared to other services such as TurboSquid. Perhaps it has something to do with the highly unusual terms and conditions listed in their FAQ:
The item(s) within this 3DMarvels.com zip file are non-transferable meaning you cannot give these files to another person or company to cut these files on your behalf. The files cannot be resold nor distributed by any means using any methods. These files are strictly for personal use only. No commercial production in any quantity, no matter how small or intended purpose, is allowed without direct writen permission by 3DMarvels.com.
For each and every copy of the model that you cut using YOUR tool(s), you must buy a license from 3DMarvels.com, even if they are to be given as a present.
You are not allowed to remove the 3DMarvels.com logo or otherwise modify the file. You must purchase a license before printing, not after you have to print more than one copy of the model.
Owner Jon Cantin provides an explanation here on his blog, where he shows how revenue flows differ between licensing approaches and how he seeks a business model that enables him to exercise his skills and passion for making. Jon says:
I really want people to understand that designing is a passion and you either love doing it or you don’t. Straight profits, from both personal experiences and talking to other designers, doesn’t provide much fuel towards this pursuit.
I’m in competition with myself to make things better with each new release,using less parts, easier building methods, stronger designs and so on. I’m not looking to compete against sites selling trinket designs that fall apart and can’t be handled without white gloves.
We understand and agree on the need to protect intellectual property by preventing unauthorized transfer of the model file, and we also understand the need for revenue and passion. But we suspect Jon may have trouble growing, in spite of the logic of his argument, simply because there are so many other model repositories that don’t have such terms. 
What do you think? Would you pay a license fee for every single print – if you received a fabulous model, great instructions and customer service? Has anyone seen this licensing approach done elsewhere in the 3D model world?

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!


  1. Thanks for the review but just to clarify two points on your wonderful blog:

    1) The site JUST started (October 2010)… WoodMarvels.com is 3 years old so comparing the two isn't very fair BUT I do plan on releasing all of my WoodMarvels.com models to be 3D printed.

    2) RENDERING TIMES! I'm stuck in a rendering bottleneck… basically, it can take north of a week for things to render, going from WoodMarvels.com and 3DMarvels.com is a nice thought but each site has more and more projects "waiting" to be rendered and thus, launched.

    I'd say the terms of service have little to do with it, they are there to prevent commercial production of models as you have posted a link to (business dilemma).

    If you wish to interview me, I'm available at your convenience – I'd love to talk to you guys out in Fabbaloo world!

    Take care,
    Founder of WoodMarvels.com & 3DMarvels.com

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