In 2013, Stratasys acquired MakerBot and all its assets. Besides the printer company, the deal also included Thingiverse.
At the time, most of the spotlights were on the printer aspects of the deal. Would Stratasys rebrand the MakerBot equipment? What intriguing technologies from Stratasys would make their way into MakerBot printers? And similar questions.
But also at the time, Stratasys CEO David Reis prominently mentioned their acquisition of Thingiverse, which he correctly pointed out contains a significant amount of 3D content. In fact, one of the largest public repositories of printable 3D models in existence, as it still is today.
To power a 3D printing company such as MakerBot, it’s wise to have an accompanying 3D content solution to form a kind of ecosystem: things need to be printed, and printers need things to print. It’s important for MakerBot to maintain – and enhance – Thingiverse.
And so they’ve been doing so for the past couple of years by tweaks of various kinds to improve the experience of their users.
This week they took a rather large step by including 3D Slash functionality into the environment by means of one of their “customizers”.
It’s tremendously easy to use; just select a 3D model and “customize” it. You’ll be presented with the 3D Slash app option, and from there you’re literally using 3D Slash to modify the 3D model.
The intent of this move is clear: they’re looking to attract more people to the Thingiverse universe who may have had challenges when creating and modifying 3D models. Most 3D tools are, face it, pretty scary for most of the public, but this is not the case with 3D Slash. It’s an easy-to-use tool designed for newbies. Basically, it reduces a given 3D model into a collection of “bricks” that can be easily manipulated.
But this move is itself a kind of “brick”. It’s another brick in the MakerBot ecosystem, making the environment just a bit more sticky for users.