MakePrintable's Strategic Moves
MakePrintable has leaked two interesting strategic changes to their 3D model repair business.
The California-based startup company has been making waves in the industry with their incredibly powerful “Mammoth” 3D model repair technology. If you’ve ever tried using a 3D model repair tool, you would appreciate their capabilities.
Due to the general horribleness of .STL format, the de facto standard for storing 3D models these days, 3D model files can be screwed up in countless ways. Even worse, some 3D models now contain thousands or even millions of faces, making repairs not only complex, but also time consuming.
Those who have attempted repairs on pathologically bad 3D models often find that Tool A doesn’t do the job. They move on to using Tool B, C and D until one of them finally works for the particular geometry of the junk 3D model. That’s not fun.
That’s one reason I truly like MakePrintable; it almost always works, even on the most ridiculously bad 3D models. Their “Mammoth” method seems to envelope the model and somehow finds the right geometry amongst even the worst pile of disconnected triangles.
But how do they deploy this amazing technology? Through their online portal, where you upload 3D models and pay for fixes through various plans. This on-demand or subscription service is quite useful to many, but I always wondered what they would do next, as that business model isn’t going to hit all those needing such services.
Now we find out their plans. It turns out MakePrintable is intending to deliver a standalone version of their product at some unstated future point. It’s going to be called “MakePrintable Studio”.
This software apparently will include all the same features from the online version, and more. They explain:
“Introducing MakePrintable studio. packed with all the advanced features you need to take your 3D model preparation to the next level.
Our upcoming release will be able to handle even the biggest and the most complex meshes with a breeze utilizing both CPUs and GPUs to accelerate your file preparation and save you time from the convenience of your desktop.”
The new Studio version will open up use of the technology by those unwilling or unable to upload their intellectual property to a cloud service. This could include not only military operations, but also many security-conscious design and manufacturing firms, whose 3D models are of critical importance.
The company also announced several very attractive new features that are “upcoming”:
Batch Repair With Repair Queue: No need to wait until the current fix to be done, you can queue all your fixes at once.
Thickness Heatmap: See thin areas in detail and auto detect thin walls and adjust their thickness.
Repair Models With Privacy: No need to upload files to the cloud, repair your 3D models securely and privately.
Close Hole Tools: Advanced close hole tools to help making the process much easier.
If that wasn’t enough, they’ve ALSO announced a “print hub”. They explain:
Announcing MakePrintable Hubs Initiative: We’ve listened to the community and we will act upon it by introducing a new reliable and trusted home for printing services, makers and hobbyists alike.
It’s not entirely clear what this is, but it appears to be a central point for sharing of printable 3D models, designers, printer operators, buyers and more. This seems to be an interesting leveraging of their now large network of MakePrintable users. They say that the hub concept is only a proposal at this point and will move forward only if there is sufficient interest from the public.
For me, this appears to signal that the company has succeeded at their initial business model and is now developing two more. Things are looking good for MakePrintable!