10/Becoming Part of
Wherein the MakerBot Operator earns citizen-
ship in a ribald community. To be accepted as
a true MakerBot Operator, one must share de-
signs on Thingiverse, but all are welcome to
reap the bounty of shared digital designs for
physical objects. Allowing others to modify
your design sets your design free to fly like a
bird from the nest.
What is Thingiverse?
Thingiverse ( http://www.thingiverse.com/ ) is a website where users from all
over the world come together to share digital designs for making physical
objects. For this reason, it's sometimes called the “Universe of Things”. User-
contributed things have files of all kinds, from 3D files that you can build on
your MakerBot to 2D files for laser cutting or CNC milling, to circuit board
designs that you can order online or build yourself at home. In addition to the
files themselves, each thing has computer-generated renderings of those
files, pictures of physical copies of the finished thing, instructions for how to
assemble the thing, and a discussion section where users can collaborate,
suggest improvements, or even just show their enthusiasm for the work of
the thing's creator.
Even better, Thingiverse is built around a culture of sharing, learning, and
remixing. Most of the designs you'll see are licensed by their creators under
Creative Commons licenses ( http://creativecommons.org/ ) which, depend-
ing on the license chosen, allow you to make physical copies from their de-
sign, create and post your own new derivative from the design, and some-
times even sell your physical copies. Each thing's page highlights pictures of
the finished thing made by other users and derivative things that are based
on the creator's original design.