My Mini Factory is a sharing platform for 3D designs which can be made with 3D printers. The idea is that 3D designers share their printable designs on the company's platform and there they will be exposed to the large community of enthusiasts. Ultimately the plan is that designers can earn money based on the downloads of their objects.
Unlike other websites My Mini Factory pride themselves on print testing each user-submitted design at their studio in Whitechapel, and only having high quality objects available online. Eva Sbaraini of My Mini Factory told me: "The emphasis is to have useful objects, beautiful objects and fun objects, we don’t want to be cluttered with useless tat."
One way My Mini Factory maintains the quality of objects on their website is by having a credit system which allows users to initially download five 3D printable files per month; and while some may regard this as limiting the users freedom it makes each download feel more special.
Sbaraini adds: "We don’t want files to be valueless. It’s not related to monetary systems, it’s more about an incentive for people to design quality objects and give feedback."
That isn't to say that five is the maximum as there are two ways of gaining extra credits, the first is to upload your designs to the site to be shared with others, and the second is by people giving direct feedback, this could range from how well the object 3D printed to recommendations for improving the site.
It doesn't matter what program you use to make it, whether you're new to CAD or a professional putting extreme amounts of detail in to your model as long as it’s in an STL file format it can be submitted.
I was approached by My Mini Factory to make a 3D printable model so I decided to make a miniature coffin to sit on your desk during the Halloween season. The signing up process is the easiest I have ever experienced and submitting a model is as simple as uploading a .stl file and writing a brief description of it.
Later that week I went to the My Mini Factory studio and had my coffin go through the same process that every model goes through. After it was successfully test printed I then went through the task of removing support material, painting it and finally photographing it for the site.
Just knowing that My Mini Factory goes through this same process and care towards each object on their website makes people understand and appreciate that a lot of time and effort goes in to each 3D print - and that maybe 3D printable files shouldn’t become something that is common enough that they eventually lose their value.
Words: Christian Harries
Christian Harries is a freelance product designer and recent graduate from Ravensbourne. His portfolio can be seen here.
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