Last month saw the release of a free online app aiming to be the Instagram of 3D printing with a set of easy-to-use tools to modify a given 3D model. Matter Remix has since developed some important updates to their app and begun initiating the money-making side of their business by announcing a Matter Remix API.
Using Matter Remix’s simple software, users can upload an .stl or .svg file and start playing around, changing the colour and material of which it’s made, cutting and scaling it to prepare it for a 3D print, and even adding a lego bottom to turn their 3D model into a lego brick. The program also has a range of add-ons that can be attached to your object, so that you can give your T-Rex a top-hat and monocle, for instance. With Matter Remix’s latest update, we see the most significant improvements to the app. The add-ons are now organised into categories: “Party Favours”, “Bricks” and “My Add-Ons”, extending the functionality of the app. The Party Favours are an endearing group of silly hats and the like, while the bricks are structural modules for more practical building purposes. Most importantly, the app now allows users to upload their own files as add-ons so that you can join together two models of your own creation. Say you’ve designed a fedora not found in the Party-Favours folder of Matter Remix; well, you can upload that as an add-on and use it on any of your models. You can then download any of your modded models or send them to Shapeways for printing.
Because the Remix app is free, the company behind it has alternative plans for fundraising. Last month, MatterRemix CEO, Dylan Reid, told us that, “Our real interest is letting other people — designers, brands, services — use our technology to power the next generation of content applications. We’re working on an elegant way to run our mesh modeller in the background of different sites and services.” The company is now accepting offers to integrate their app into your site so that your customers can modify products with the same ease that the Matter Remix app offers. With white labeling, the software can be incorporated into your own company brand. I’m not sure what the pricing is like, yet, but if you’re interested in featuring MatterRemix into your online store, you can contact the company here.
In addition to the API and the DIY add-ons, Matter Remix has made two other significant developments. The site has also started building a gallery of .stl files, made up of decked out animal heads, to modify and print, in case you’re unhappy with what’s available on Thingiverse. Of greater consequence is the site’s ability to convert two dimensional vector (.svg) files into 3D models. With access to a program like Illustrator, you can draw a 2D shape and turn it into an extruded object.
There are still some kinks that I feel need to be worked out with the MatterRemix software. For instance, it’s not possible to really modify your own add-ons directly on the site. Instead, you have to modify them in your own 3D modeling software and upload them to MatterRemix, making for a clunky and unintuitive experience. Still, I can tell that this is just the beginning. So, as they iron out all of the wrinkles, it wouldn’t surprise me if we started to see the MatterRemix API featured on other sites in the near future.
Update November 20, 2013: Reid tells me that while the company is interested in making their technology available to designers and brands in a more flexible way, an API may not be the ultimate implementation. Designers interested in building applications using Matter.io can now upload their own add-ons and will soon be able to create galleries of base models or templates to use them on.