P2P Foundation Conducts First Survey of 3D Printing Community

Peerproduction.net, a P2P Foundation website, has spiked the interest of Advanced Design Concepts by conducting the first survey of the 3D Printing community. The survey itself, which can be found here, took a sample of 358 participants in total.  They surveyors asked each of the volunteers multiple questions to find out exactly where they fit in the community, to  understand what they used 3D Printers for, and to learn what types of hardware and programs they had used.

One interesting question from the survey that spiked our interest asked participants which year they first used a 3D Printer:

Bar graph showing when participants first used a 3D Printer.
Credit: Journal of Peer Production

The data shows that the spike in 3D Printing started in 2005, and hit its peak in 2011. Using this data, we at ADC can call ourselves early adopters of rapid prototyping, as we first started 3D Printing in 2007.

Another interesting section of the study asks the volunteers which brand of printers they had used:

Pie Chart showing what brand of 3d printer each volunteer had used
Credit: Journal of Peer Production

The data shows that the top three manufacturers of 3D Printing – for this survey sample – was RapRap project, MakerBot, and Objet respectively. At ADC, we use 3D Systems, which has acquired ZCorp. If you take this into account, it can be said that 3D Systems is the third most popular maker of printers in this survey.

But enough about our take. If you’d like to get a more rounded idea of the data that doesn’t take up too much of your time, check out this video that Stephen Murphey made of the survey results:

If you’d like to learn more about the 3D Printing services that we provide, or about the 3D Systems printers that we sell, please feel free to visit the 3D Printing page of our website here. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment on this post, or contact us at ADC.

Top 3 Free and Fee-Based CAD Model Websites

3D Printing is a huge focus for business at Advanced Design Concepts. In order to begin the rapid prototyping process, designers must first begin with a model of the object to be replicated. Typically, these models are scanned in three dimensions in order to provide the 3D Printing software with the information needed to make an exact replica. However, when time constraints (or the lack of a good 3D model) get in the way, designers may not be able to follow the traditional method of 3D Printing.

Thankfully, there are multiple solutions to this problem. These solutions, or websites, provide three dimensional CAD models for direct download that can be used with 3D Printing technology to produce the object that you may be missing. Simply put, these websites are, in a sense, like the iTunes store. The only difference is that instead of downloading music, videos or applications, users can download digital designs. At ADC, we have taken the time to list our favorite free and fee-based sources for CAD models.


Free CAD Model Sites

  1. Thingiverse

    Thingiverse, a website hosted by MakerBot Industries, is a place where individuals can not only download, but also share digital designs without having to pay a penny out of pocket. Thingiverse is one of the largest CAD model websites with thousands of different designs, including mechanical parts, useful tools, toys, and other knick-knacks.

     

  1. GrabCAD

    GrabCAD is an independent website founded by mechanical engineers. Much like Thingiverse, designers can both download and share designs. What makes it different from Thingiverse is that GrabCAD’s designs focus specifically on mechanical parts or models.

     

  1. Google 3D Warehouse

    This website, which is a part of Google SketchUp, hosts many free 3D CAD models for share and download as well. Designs hosted in the warehouse range from models of buildings, cars, furniture, statues, and even weapons.

     

Fee-Based CAD Model Sites

  1. The 3D Studio

    This website, hosted by our friends at 3D Systems, is a place where individuals can post their design files. The difference between this website and the three mentioned previously is that these files are meant to be purchased by others. This website gives designers a great channel to provide their services to others.

     

  2. TurboSquid

    Known as the largest library of 3D products for sale in the world, TurboSquid is another outlet for 3D professionals and digital artists to make money through sharing their ideas and content. TurboSquid also offers a few free designs as well, but its main strength is its for-profit forum.

     

  3. 3D Export

    Finally, 3D Export (a very similar website to TurboSquid) is an online store to buy and sell 3D models, textures, plugins, and digital prints. It is one of the largest hosts of 3D content, including models of cars and furniture, architectural designs, and many other miscellaneous categories.

     

So, whether you are looking to get a simple 3D design for free or looking to sell your designs online, we hope that this list of websites points you in the right direction.

On the other hand, if your project calls for a more complex or original design, ADC also provides 3D scanning and designing services to fit your personal needs. For more information on our services, you can check out ADC’s website here.

Also, if you have any questions or thoughts about these websites or the services that ADC provides, please feel free to post a comment on this blog or contact any of us at ADC. We will be more than happy to help!