In August 2023 we released an article about Printables Clubs, where we announced the launch of a new subscription model system to support your favorite creators and gain access to Club-exclusive models. We said we’re aware the subscription model isn’t the optimal choice for everyone and that we might implement an additional system for selling individual models in the future. Well, the future is now. Today we introduce the Printables Store!
The core idea – all 3D printable models in one place
Many creators have profiles on half a dozen of sites these days. On some, they share their free models, on others, they have a subscription based collection of models, and lastly, many sell their advanced creations through their own websites. As 3D printing enthusiasts and makers, we find this rather annoying. One may not even learn about the existence of these extra models at all. We want to fix this and so we’re making Printables the one place, where you’ll find it all, making life much easier for both creators and makers!
To begin with, we would like to reassure you that we are not transforming Printables from a library of free models to a paid platform by any means. Just like with the launch of clubs, we have carefully set up the system in a fairly unique way, keeping the main database of free 3D models in mind. At the same time, we want to give creators another way to monetize their advanced models directly on Printables, which will, in turn, enable them to spend more time doing what they love.
The RC plane models from 3DLabPrint are great examples of high-quallity and creative (vase-mode) 3D printable designs
Printables Store basic rules
All Printables users can start publishing models in the store, but to ensure the Printables won’t change to just an online market platform, filled with hundreds of models with a price of a few cents, we decided to implement some basic, but essential rules.
First things first. Each user initially has only one slot for uploading their paid model to the Store. Once this model reaches a few sales, additional upload slots will be unlocked. This prevents spamming the site with a hundred small variations of one model and, at the same time, it motivates the creators to care about their chosen creations.
Furthermore, the minimum price per model is set to $5. As we mentioned above, our goal is to allow creators to publish their more advanced models here and reward the time they’ve spent creating them. Or even to turn their hobby into a full time job of their dreams! At the same time, we want to avoid the situation, where every single small model will be moved to the Store with a price of a few cents, instead of being free. We believe that the minimum price of $5 will require the quality of the model to justify it being in the store. 😉
The Rescuer by 3D Sets has customizable parts to create your own graphic design or text on the bodywork, utilizing features of the PrusaSlicer
It is also worth noting that only free models can participate in competitions and generate Prusameters.
Printables Clubs vs Printables Store
For creators who publish new models regularly, the Printables Clubs are usually the preferred choice. Vice-versa, for creators who post irregularly, or publish models which took a very long time to finish, the Printables Store is the more suitable option. With that said, there is certainly an overlap, where some models work well both in a Club membership and in the Printables Store. And so we do allow models to be easily available in both systems. If you find such a model, you will have two options to access it. It’s up to you whether you’ll go with a club membership or a one-time purchase. Either way, you’ll be supporting the creator to continue what they’re doing!
How to set up the Store?
As we said, all Printables users can start publishing models in the store. In the top menu bar, click on the “Settings” item below your avatar, and then select “Store & Sales”. Here you can check all the terms and conditions of the Store.
You need to fill in information about yourself, you can add your own terms and conditions, and set up your Stripe payout details. Then you can activate your Store and upload your first Store model. If you already have a Printables Club, then setting up a store is really a matter of just a few clicks, as you have already entered all the needed information.
Uploading a store model
Uploading a store model is identical to uploading a free model, except that now you can set the price. Each model can be set both as a part of your Club and be in the Store at the same time, with different prices and with the option to set up different types of licenses. For the Store models, you can choose one of the three available model licenses:
- Standard Digital File license
- Allows personal use of the model and its physical prints
- Commercial use license
- Allow selling of physical prints of the model, including modified versions
- Commercial use – no derivative license
- Allow selling of physical prints of the model
Once you list a model for sale, you will see it in a special Club & Store tab in your profile.
We have expanded analytics to clearly show you how many downloads and earnings your models have achieved, for both Club and Store ones, so you can clearly see which option is more beneficial for you, who bought your models and how.
Not mixing free and store models
In our previous article, we talked about how we hate browsing mixed free and paid content. You find exactly what you were looking for, only to realize it’s hidden behind a paywall. Even with the option to filter for free results, it’s still cumbersome to toggle the filter every time you forget to enable it. Our opinion on this matter has not changed. 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. If you are in the Store tab, it’s vice versa and you will only see Store models, plus optionally the models included in a club membership. Likewise, the search function will list the Store models first. This makes your search much more efficient. You can always switch the search function filter using the left menu, whether you want to look up collections, users, events, free vs store models, etc.
You can also filter Club/Store models in the creator profile. This can help you decide which approach you would like to use to support the creator.
Payments and fees
Payments are processed by Stripe. Users can pay using their credit/debit card, with Apple Pay, and Google Pay. The money goes directly from the supporter to the creator.
Opening a Store on Printables is completely free and there is no monthly fee for running it. The Printables fee is 20%, which will be used to help cover the costs of servers, maintenance, and development. The payment from the supporter to the creator is also subject to fees outside of our control, such as currency conversions or the Stripe payment fee based on Stripe rates.
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! As always, we will be listening to your feedback and continually adding more features, from small quality-of-life improvements to big new additions.