3D Platforms

Prusa Research launches paid 3D printable model marketplace

In mid December 2023, Czechia-based 3D printer manufacturer Prusa Research launched the Printables Store, a 3D printable model marketplace. 

This online repository lets creators monetize their 3D models directly on the Printables website

Users can set up a creator profile for free, with creators receiving the majority of the money they charge for their 3D models. There is a 20% Printables fee to cover website upkeep costs, as well as other external fees such as currency conversions and payment fees from the third-party Stripe payment processing system.

Prusa Research hopes that the Printables Store will reward designers for their skill and hard work, and even enable creators to turn their hobby into a full time job.   

“We believe the new Printables Store will be a huge benefit for both creators and makers alike, and we can’t wait to see your models and makes!” stated Prusa Research in a blog post. “As always, we will be listening to your feedback and continually adding more features, from small quality-of-life improvements to big new additions.”

Printables Store promotional banner. Image via Prusa Research

Printables Store: a new paid 3D model marketplace 

To ensure that the Printables Store features high-quality models, Prusa Research has implemented a set of rules that creators must follow. For instance, creators can initially only upload one paid model to the online store, with more slots becoming available after completing sales. Creators unlock unlimited slots for their model files after making 50 total sales. 

Additionally, there is a minimum price per model of $5 to encourage more high-quality, advanced designs. It is hoped that this will prevent a large number of basic models from being uploaded with low price tags, instead of being published for free elsewhere on Printables.    

Printables Store user interface. Image via Prusa Research.
Printables Store product page. Image via Prusa Research.

Prusa has emphasized that the Printables Store is separate from the Printables database of free 3D models, ensuring users do not have to browse through a mixture of paid and free content.   

“We are not transforming Printables from a library of free models to a paid platform by any means,” stated Prusa Research

“Everything you see when browsing the main database or when using the search function is downloadable without any paywalls, you don’t even have to be logged in. You’ll find the Store in a completely separate tab in the top menu.”

The launch of the Printables Store follows the introduction of Prusa Research’s subscription-based platform Printables Clubs. According to Prusa, Clubs is well suited to creators who regularly publish new models, whereas the Printables Store is ideal for those who want to publish models less frequently. 

However, all models can be made available on both platforms, with customers able to choose between a one time purchase or a Club membership.     

What’s more, the Printables Store offers different licensing options for creators. For instance, the ‘standard digital file’ license allows personal use of the models and the 3D printed parts. The ‘commercial use’ license allows customers to sell the physical 3D printed models, including modified versions. Finally, the ‘commercial use – no derivative license’ allows for the sale of just the unmodified 3D printed model. 

Printables Store search page. Image via Prusa Research
Printables Store user interface. Image via Prusa Research.

Expanding the 3D printing file marketplace 

Last year, 3D Printing Industry sat down with former UltiMaker CEO Nadav Goshen, who outlined that the company is working to develop its 3D file-sharing platform Thingiverse. This platform was acquired by UltiMaker as part of its 2022 merger with Makerbot

According to Goshen, who was replaced as CEO in September 2023, UltiMaker is set to increase investment into the platform. “I want to apologize to the Thingiverse community for not investing much; we are correcting now,” stated Goshen. The former CEO hinted at the creation of a new team dedicated to improving the site.  Incoming CEO Michiel Alting von Geusau reiterated UltiMaker’s vision for Thingiverse describing the file-sharing platform as “one of the pearls the company has.” In October 2023, a revamped design of Thingiverse together with streamlined downloading and several other updates was announced.

In 2022 MyMiniFactory, a 3D printing file marketplace based in London, acquired 3DC, the company behind on-demand manufacturing service provider Only-Games. Founded back in 2017, OnlyGames employs a robust order management system to 3D print and rapidly deliver tabletop gaming models. 

Through this acquisition, MyMiniFactory expanded its online 3D printing file-sharing marketplace to include the delivery of physical 3D printed models. Key to this decision was the expansion of what the company calls the ‘MetaReverse,’ which allows creators to sell their models as both physical and digital products.       

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Featured image shows the Printables Store promotional banner. Image via Prusa Research.