3D Printing

Fabster – 3D Printing Designs in the Open

A Monday morning with a difference – as I was throwing breakfast down my throat in the UK, I was chatting to Peter Sayers on the other side of the world, in Australia, who was preparing to eat his dinner. I could wax lyrical about the benefits of fast and cheap communications between continents but I’ll save you from that and edit it out before I start.

I’ll get to the point – Peter, the man behind the very successful Facebook page ‘3D Printing and Physibles’ with over 37,000 fans, dropped me a line last week to let me know about a new project that he has been working on — Fabster.com. This is not to be confused with fabbster – the 3D printer manufactured in Germany by Sintermask.

Like Physibles, Fabster.com has been born of a passion for 3D printing and the deeply held belief that open source business models are the way to go. 3D Printing and Physibles originated as a hobby for Peter but has grown very quickly into something more and due to the activity and the daily requests for profiling from new and established designers, Peter has devised Fabster.com, which is going live today.

Essentially, Fabster.com is an open platform for designers, software developers and 3D printer manufacturers to come together and to showcase their designs/products/services to a much wider audience. Peter told me: “I’m all for open platforms — I truly think it’s a better business model and it encourages creativity instead of stifling it.”

The aim of Fabster.com is to bring designers and 3D printing companies to a platform, which allows them to freely and easily show their work. Peter stresses a major point about Fabster though: “I thought it important to create a platform for everyone that is not just another 3D file market. I think the 3D file markets will become big in time, but at the moment, most people just want to check out what can be done with 3D printing. As a result, me, and a few others, developed Fabster.com.”

When I asked Peter to define it in user-friendly terms, he summed it up thus: “I see Fabster.com as an information hub, a community — a kind of Facebook of 3D printing, with a mix of Thingiverse too. Basically, it is a place where anyone can join this revolution and be seen with some of the biggest designers in the market. We have some of the most prominent designers in this space on board already and we’re talking to many more.” The feedback from designers is extremely positive to date.

Butterfly Hat by Dario Scapitta
Butterfly Hat by Dario Scapitta
Crania Anatomica by Josh Harker
Crania Anatomica by Josh Harker

The Fabster site is fully interactive and the directory service allows people to register their business and details, while others can just peruse the designs and the products and services at their leisure. Furthermore, people are free to upload and download designs for free, under license if they choose. And in addition, 3D printer manufacturers can submit their own printers to the site instantly. Looking ahead, Peter has a vision to create a reserve of 3D files that can be accessed (with the designers consent) via API’s for all 3D printer manufacturers.

I know there are many designers out there that have been disillusioned with some of the ‘sell-outs’ recently, particularly those that are committed to the open source model, so this launch is well-timed, albeit unintentionally. It will be interesting to see where it goes!