UltiMaker announced some significant improvements to Thingiverse.
Thingiverse, originally developed by MakerBot 15 years ago, has long been the biggest dedicated source of printable 3D models on the web. It currently holds over 6.2M 3D models.
For a time it was the go-to place for printable 3D models, but in the intervening years a number of competing services have gradually emerged. While many have failed, there are now several serious competitors to Thingiverse.
That means is that Thingiverse has to keep improving its services in order to maintain their client base. That is precisely what they are doing with their latest announcement.
The details of the announcement include both visible and under-the-covers changes. Visible improvements include:
- Rebranded visual design to match the UltiMaker style
- Redesigned detail page layouts with cleaner style
- “Carousel” style STL download scrolling
- Improved in-page linking for quick access
- Comments moved to sidebar
- Streamlined collection management
- Modularized components now enables consistent usage across platforms
Behind the scenes they’ve continued to modernize the codebase for Thingiverse, which I’m told was quite old. This isn’t visible, but reengineering online software of this type can be extremely challenging. Nevertheless, it has to be done eventually, and UltiMaker is doing so.
UltiMaker has been quietly working on Thingiverse for over a year now, making a number of improvements. That’s critical because the service now faces stiff competition from several parties that some feel could offer a superior experience.