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Best of the Web: 3D Printing Web Sites

Jan. 7, 2014

RepRap wikipages
 

The wiki-style site supports anyone working on the open-source 3D printer design or using RepRaps for production. For the uninitiated, RepRaps can make plastic parts, including its own, so self-replicates by printing a kit of itself that’s easy to assemble. The best page for users who want to get started is the Buyers’ Guide that lists vendors selling everything from single RepRap components to completed machines.

Pirate Bay’s Physibles Facebook page

Last year, notorious torrent site The Pirate Bay (TPB) added a “physibles” category (at thepiratebay.sx/browse/605), defining physibles as designs or plans for 3D printers. That’s where the plans for 3D-printed guns (and other naughty designs banned from Thingaverse) are now. For a PG-rated view of TPB 3D-printing news, try their popular Facebook page instead.

Defcad

This year, 3D-printed-gun inventor and anarchy advocate Cody Wilson founded an uncensored torrent site to house designs for 3D-printed objects. The site has a good search interface and houses more than 75,000 designs free for download, geared mostly towards printing with MakerBots.

Shapeways

The site consists of a Shop section and a Make+Sell section. Under Make+Sell, upload designs, and the company prints the objects out of sterling silver, ceramics, alumide, and acrylic-based polymer. The site’s library of tutorials is also bigger than ever. Categories include Material Design Rules, Fixing Models for 3D Print, and Finishing Techniques.

Fabbaloo

The site regularly reviews 3D-printing materials, printers, and designs. It also contains useful links related to 3D printing, crowdsourcing, hobby printers, and 3D-print services.

Thingiverse

This ever-growing site lets users upload and download plans for 3D Things to print on Stratasys MakerBot Replicators, a consumer desktop 3D printer. Downloadable designs include mustache combs, carabineers, vacuum-cleaner parts, weedwacker blades, novelty figurines, decorative vases, and all kinds of clamps, mounts, trays, and blocks. Just getting started? Head over to makerbot.com first for some tutorials on how STL, for OBJ and Collada design files work, how to build basic shapes and designs, and what design features are possible in 3D printing.

3D Systems

The company sells 3D printers in three grades, personal, professional, and production, and in myriad build sizes. Most interesting is their site’s Case Studies section under Resources, which houses dozens of stories about real applications. Scroll to the bottom of the site and click on Blog to read amount industry developments and new printing services.

Autodesk’s 123D

The site offers free software specifically designed to get newbies into 3D printing, as well as simple-to-follow instructions for sending designs to rapid-prototyping shops.

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