3D model repository Thangs added some useful new features.
Thangs is a service by Physna, a startup that has developed a “geometric deep learning” system that can “bridge” the gap between physical things and the digital world. Their algorithms can perform a variety of advanced functions on 3D models, and these can be leveraged into many different business functions, like inventory management, model inspection, etc.
One system they’ve developed to demonstrate their algorithm’s worthiness is a fascinating 3D model repository called “Thangs”, a play on “Things”, which might possibly be used by another popular 3D model repository.
Thangs launched last summer, and unlike virtually all other recent 3D model repository launches had over 1M 3D models ready to go. Currently they seem to have well over 1.5M and growing strongly.
The site works in a kind of hybrid mode: with a free account you are allowed to upload an unlimited number of public 3D models. These are indexed using Physna magic and then available for search by other users. However, Thangs also links to other popular 3D model repositories, like MyMiniFactory, YouMagine, NIH, and others.
In other words, Thangs is both a 3D model repository AND a 3D model meta-search service, all on one web page.
Recently they’ve added some very interesting new features to Thangs.
One is the ability to handle “assemblies”. These are files representing an assembly of separate parts. This means entries on Thangs can now be complex machinery as opposed to simple objects. Note that Thangs seems to use the .ASM file format, which is used by some 3D CAD tools to represent assemblies.
With this ability comes a very powerful 3D object browser. While you can spin the model around in 3D as most other browser allow, the assembly models show a “parts list”. If you click on an item in the parts list you’ll see it highlighted in the browser, and this persists even when you continue to spin the model around.
My favorite assembly tool in Thangs is the “explode” feature. This is a slider that literally disassembles the assembly before your eyes as you slide the control to the right. This allows you to easily view the geometry of parts that are embedded within the 3D model.
There’s also a way to immediately force specific fixed views, so that you can very quickly see the model from the top, left side, etc.
Could Thangs catch up with the other 3D model repositories? It’s possible, as their meta-search feature effectively means they are absorbing other repositories as they also grow. That said, Thangs offers some great tools for managing your own 3D models.
If you haven’t tried Thangs, you might want to check it out.