Stanford Bunny - Voronoi style, model design and image by Roman Hegglin.Along with whatever images the designer uploads, 3Dshare lets you preview .STL files and other common formats. They are also working hard to preview and show many more advanced format files in the future. I was pleased to see that all free downloads use a creative commons attribution license. What's rather disappointing is that when you click on the 3DShare license link you just get page of dummy typesetting text, indicating that's maybe not yet seen as a priority. There are also lots of different CC License types, so that really needs to be sorted out soon. I did talk to 3DShare about the license issue, they stated that they are taking it seriously and are looking into various options, despite this the same holding page is still being shown a few weeks later. I hope they do take some more time to look at licensing correctly. After downloading the free model, you have a zipped file. Inside it contains .STL model files with cryptic names like 'o_19ecd48gp1jum1cvvqsu16fq81g15' and unfortunately no other license information, details about the designer or usage terms. I downloaded a few to make sure it was similar for all.
Useful clip assortment - Model and image by Richard SwikaWhen considering a paid for model, I opted to try a useful model set by Richard Swika. This is a design I could easily make myself, but as the cost is under $1 it's an ideal candidate to prove the low cost vs design effort and time theory. A warning indicates that $0.99 will be drawn from your account, and the download starts. You get a similar zip file with cryptic names and no license or terms etc. To my disappointment only five .STL model files were inside. Not the collection of 25 that is described in the overview. After checking a few more like Roman's free chess set, (again only 5 pieces downloaded) I think this could be a bug. I asked 3DShare about this issue and they got straight onto it with a very quick reply and appreciation for the feedback. It’s clear that the service has been running for a while, but it’s just booming with interest at the moment. One big issue is that I do not know under what terms I can use this useful clip assortment set. Is it just for my private use? In theory I could print out thousands and start selling them. I don't know if the designer would be happy or not about that. It's quite common for a non-commercial license restriction to be placed on models, even ones that are bought. This is why license terms are so important for designers and users. Not to be all doom and gloom, but I selected this useful clip set to highlight the other looming issue mentioned at the top of this post. If I print out the clip, mount and hang something expensive from it, then the clip fails or breaks who is at fault? The designer, the printer, the user? Maybe the 3D file sharing site or even the 3D printing material supplier? Richard gives an overview of what the clips can be used for, but he has no real control over anything after that. It's these sort of boring but legal or safety issues that do need further consideration. 3Dshare terms and conditions are lengthy and aim to cover plenty of scenarios, but certainly not all. For my next paid for model I selected something that looks great, but I could see it would not print well on a desktop 3D printer. I like dragons, so the Lagiacrus Dragon Model by Follygon was selected. It's in the 3D printing category.
Lagiacrus Dragon Model - Model and image by FollygonNo details about the model, file format or license information here and it's not possible to preview this model in 3D. On download it's an OBJ file without the image map for the skin. You don't get the colourful dragon shown in the photo, but the model itself is fantastic with plenty of detail. It is going to be very hard to desktop 3D print, you would need to add supports and maybe even change parts of the model to get adequate results. You could upload it to a professional 3D printing service, but without any license information it's not possible to know if you can print and sell these dragons or maybe remix parts of the mesh into another model design. After using the 3Dshare website as a user, I then switched to being a designer and uploading some of my own 3D models to share and sell. I have had a desk tidy set up on Youmagine for about 12 months, where it's had just under 1000 free downloads so I can't tick the 'exclusive to 3Dshare' box. Out of interest I selected the $0.99 price to see if anyone would now pay for it. (Or at least feel sorry for me and donate a few $.) You get a simple window to drag and drop files and images, enter details about the model and select a category. You don't get anywhere to add or select a license so I added the CC-BY-SA details to the description. This set contains seven separate model files, so I can test to see if all the files get downloaded. 3DShare lets you download your own models but still costs $0.99. Sure enough the download contained only four STL files and the picture of the puzzle desk set. It is a bug in the download system. This should be fixed by the time you read this - hopefully. I have not managed to find a way to edit the entry, so it's stuck like that for a while. Overall, 3Dshare is easy to use and find items of interest. Personally, I would want to use this site for both free and paid for models, but until the license terms for the designer and user are more clear I'm reluctant to add more model designs just yet. If we end up with 3D models as popular as Grumpy Cat or the recent Katy Perry left shark then this site could make millions, and any lucky or opportunistic designers will also do very well in the deal getting 70% of the sales profit. One thing's for sure, we are going to see many more copyright issues, take down notices and IP infringement battles in the 3D model sharing space, it's not if, but when that all kicks off big-time. Meanwhile a few weeks later as I finish this post, my puzzle tidy set has had 13 downloads and 262 views. I’m sure if you uploaded some 3D Porn, you could make a small fortune, why should 3D printing be any different? Anything goes! Right?