The Thing Tracker Proposal

By on September 12th, 2013 in Ideas, Service, Software

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How many things are there? It seems like a silly question, but hear us out. There are many possible things. An infinite number of them, in fact. With the availability of 3D printers and 3D modeling software, it is now possible to create, literally, an infinite number of things. 
This is the problem facing 3D model repositories today. The larger repositories, notably Thingiverse, are becoming so large that two things happen: 
  • Your model must be present on Thingiverse to be noticed
  • It likely won’t be noticed on Thingiverse because there are so many 3D models besides yours
This is not a good situation. Now there’s a proposal to assist overcoming the issue from the Thing Tracker Network. 
The proposal involves having each 3D model repository (or individuals, for that matter) prepare a list of its items in a specific format. Then a “Tracker” presents this list and connects with other Trackers to form a network containing a larger list of 3D models – and where to find them. 
The benefit is that 3D models wouldn’t have to post their items in undesirable places simply for exposure. It would also eliminate duplication, which is rampant among repositories today, and reduce the effort required to keep them up to date. 
Will this proposal succeed? We think it could only work if Thingiverse participated, because they hold the majority of 3D models. But we suspect they won’t, because it will jeopardize their leadership position. Instead, it’s likely that other repositories will band together around this type of network to try to catch up to Thingiverse. 

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!