With more and more 3D model repositories coming online all the time, it seems that the basic categories included in each service are always more or less the same, built using inspiration/ctrl+c gathered from Thingiverse, Shapeways and other established platforms. One thing that remains inconsistent, however, is the quality of the offered models — free or not. Even though there have been several public discussions regarding IP/copyright and other areas of 3D printing that are relevant per se, this side of the story is less covered: beyond the inevitably upcoming file-type wars, what else could be done to guarantee that the 3D models showcased in each serious service (excluding the bogus “3D print a new sofa with your Replicator” repositories) can actually be 3D printed with an on-par quality outcome that is rightfully expected by the user – and without hours of pre-processing work with 3D modeling software?
Guido Salimbeni thinks one answer could be a service he has created, and called Watertight Mesh Certification. The basic idea is simple, yet quite novel. Users – 3D modellers and 3D designers looking to have their 3D models certified – can upload their designs to the service (for a $5 fee), which will then be tested both automatically and manually for basic flaws. They´re run through tests such as the maximum polygon count, size suitability checks, breaking tendency, overlapping and so on. As the core idea of the service is the actual certificate, Salimbeni has created specific and exact parameters for each tested attribute and quality that will need to be passed in order to receive the certificate, which can then be proven to the potential buyers with a certification number accompanied by the WMC logo. If the 3D model doesn’t pass the tests, the service gives the user feedback addressing the flaws in the design and also suggestions on how to fix them.
Wacth the RSA-animate styled introduction to the service below.
I believe that each new service regarding 3D printing that is intended to improve the user experience is a welcome one and I count the Watertight Mesh Certificate to belong to this group. Whether or not this route will become an industry standard is another issue, as in the future the HW and SW sides hopefully can communicate better with both each other and also with the user; and automate flaw-testing such as this to a basic back process. But until that day, solutions similar to this are bound to become more popular. Whether thinking about global policies, national strategies, file formats or even smaller issues such as this, one thing is for sure – 3D printing standards are slowly arriving in all sectors.
Source: Watertight Mesh