Award winning open source 3D printer manufacturer Prusa Research has revamped its sister site, PrusaPrinters. Dedicated to Original Prusa Printer owners, but open to all, this beta site offers several new and improved features aimed at making more of the community that surrounds Prusa Research.
There’s an updated forum, and blog, but the other entirely new addition is the World page – mapping the location of Prusa Printers and local users who are open to hangouts, show and tell, providing tech support and 3D printing on demand.
In the official blog post announcing the changes Josef Průša, founder of Prusa Research, writes, “It’s now over four years since the launch of PrusaPrinters.org. I wanted to have a place where I could share our own news, but also to have a nice home for the community to hang out. There was a forum on the old web, but we eventually shut it down, since we already had one for printer owners.”
“Anyways, time flies and our community grew to over 100k printer owners and I knew we needed to get back to this.”
Search for models by printer, object weight and print time
Though there is already a wide range of repositories for 3D printable files, Prusa Research’s marketplace aims to differentiate itself in terms of the community it serves, and also by providing downloadable G-code in addition to, though often in place of, a 3D model. Currently this section of the site, named “Prints” hosts over 700 files, including models and G-code from well known designers such as Kirby Downey and 2017 3D Designer of the Year Agustin Flowalistik, including a profile for 3D Printing Nerd, Joel Telling.
By offering primarily G-code files, Prusa Printers offers users the ability to sort files by the 3D printer they want to use (within the Original Prusa series), material, nozzle diameter, weight of the object and, interestingly, the time it take to print. As a beta version of course, some of the marketplace data still needs a little tweaking, but as the purpose is to help make 3D printing easier for new users, these new search functions are a welcome feature. As Průša explains, “You can take advantage of the fact that there’s a massive number of users with the same hardware, which means that validated G-codes (pre-sliced models) can make life much easier for newcomers.”
Find friends in the 3D printing community
In World, Prusa offers makers the opportunity to put their name of the map as a potential point of contact for other 3D printer enthusiasts in the area. With this feature, the company hopes to make it easier for 3D printer owners to build a local community, and help out with queries or troubleshooting. At present you can filter this map by your requirement, the language spoken or 3D printer model, and choose whether to show the “Unclaimed” list of Prusa Printers.
It is unclear exactly how this map is populated, and it seems to be an estimation. For users who want to add themselves to the map it also gives the option of setting a specific or more general location, so you don’t have to worry about people randomly turning up at your house asking about 3D printing, unless you’re a business of course, and would welcome some more footfall. Through the map, signed up users can message each other and view their “Prints” profile.
Initial reactions by some in the 3D printing community include unease regarding if the sharing of ZIP code data is an infringement of privacy.
As with the model library, more options are expected to be added to World in the future. “Even though there’s plenty of features already present, we still want to add more stuff,” Průša concludes.
“The goal is to have something more than just an online library of 3D models – we want to bring you a fully featured community hub with the newsfeed, personal blogs, options to organize events or follow other users, and many other things.”
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Featured image shows Josef Průša in Chainmail – Dual Extrusion 3D Printable Fabric. Design and print by Agustin Flowalistik