When MakerBot Thingiverse launched in 2008, it was aimed at being a simple creation community for owners of 3D printers.
Well, one million uploads and 200 million downloads later and there's no doubting the platform as an undisputed Internet force. The Brooklyn-based company announced its milestones via a press release statement Thursday.
"We believe that the impact Thingiverse has had on 3D printing and 3D design in its seven years is tremendous," Nadav Goshen, president of MakerBot, said. "Thingiverse has helped popularize 3D printing by creating a vibrant community and making it easy to discover, make and share 3D designs. It has become the go-to place on the Internet for anyone interested in 3D design and 3D printing. We are excited to see what people come up with next."
As of now, Thingiverse is home to everyone from educators to engineers, designers and amateurs, helping to account for upwards of two million active monthly users and 1.7 million downloads per month. That's a dramatic rise from Thingiverse's original 30 to 40 uploads per week during its first six months seven years ago.
Tony Buser, MakerBot's director of web, mobile and desktop and longtime user of Thingiverse, says fellow users have witnessed the platform's growth as 3D printing technology has advanced over the years.
"When Thingiverse launched, 3D printing was very primitive, but you can see how the technology has advanced by comparing old uploads to new uploads," Buser said. "Now people are prototyping engines, prosthetics, and many other things that will eventually be created and used in the physical world. We're also seeing students and teachers take advantage of Thingiverse as 3D printing and design become integral to curricula across the country."
In addition to being a breeding ground and open highway of creativity, MakerBot Thingiverse also hosts competitions such as the Assistive Technology and Fall Steam Challenges — open to community members around the world.
One of the platform's greatest success stories was connecting a woodworker from Johannesburg, South Africa with a prop designer from Seattle to spawn Robohand, which creates 3D-printed prosthetic hands for people around the world.
In late September, Tech Times featured the E-Nable organization, which uses 3D printers to make prosthetic hands for hundreds of children, having used Thingiverse as an inspiration.
Besides all the aforementioned, you just never know what you're going to see logging onto Thingiverse.