Hello everyone, the launch is now behind us and it is an enormous success: almost 5000 users signed up in just two days! Thank you everyone! As with every launch, a couple of topics came up which need to be addressed and this is why we are posting this update.
The map and privacy
Privacy is always important. And based on the initial feedback, it seems we failed to properly describe what is going on with the map.
The point of the grey circles on the map is to provide a very general outline (imagine something like a heatmap of the userbase density) of where users from our community are. There was never an intention to pinpoint exact addresses of every single printer. We want people to see that some other printers are in the area, so it makes sense to sign-up and get in touch with locals. Grey points (yes, points, not users) were geocoded loosely according to ZIP codes, but they were always sanitized (especially for countries where the points are extremely local like in the United Kingdom). Also, these ZIP-codes are not connected to any e-mail addresses or user accounts in our database, these are completely separate, anonymized data. However, I understand that wording like “Claim this printer” might make it seem like it is an exact location – it’s not the case, though.
Before we launched the web, everything was verified by two law firms to make sure that it is in line with GDPR. But that is not the point, we want everyone to be happy and comfortable with this feature.
We made the following change: the data are abstracted and scrambled even more now. We adjusted the database so that not even every printer is represented. Each point is moved by a random distance between 200 and 1000 meters – and in a random direction, too. Nearby points are then clustered together. A free spool of Prusament goes to the first one who will find a point in the ocean 🙂
We will continue to update the wording on the website and provide more information in case another topic causes confusion.
Visible emails in the comments on the post
Several users under this article had their emails visible. That was just a WordPress glitch, which has been fixed.
Emailing frequency from the website
We disabled email notifications for now, because for some users with popular models the frequency wasn’t very pleasant. We are working on creating summarized digests and, of course, you will be able to set the frequency of the notifications, or disable them completely.
Some people asked why we prefer sharing the models in 3MF format over AMF. The 3MF specification is newer and unambiguous, its specification is available for free. Also, 3MF files are supported by Cura and Microsoft 3D builder.
On the other hand, AMF is ambiguous and the specification is to be paid for. AMF files were never properly supported by any software that we know of. At best, AMF files were used to the same extent as STLs, meaning that the AMF only carried a single mesh without any additional attributes. That said, Slic3r PE can still load AMF if you want to use it for whatever reason.
G-code sharing safety
Some people raised concerns that G-code sharing might cause damage to the printers because of potentially malicious code. We are checking the G-codes, but of course, this is uncharted territory and some things can slip through. If you want to play it safe, print only G-codes with a good ranking from other users.
We are looking at what people upload and making sure to update the validation. I am looking at you, Tom! 😀
Eventually, once the ranking system has enough data, we will enable G-code upload only for verified users with history.
I hope, this sums things up nicely. Happy printing everyone!
THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE:
It’s now over four years since the launch of PrusaPrinters.org. I wanted to have a place where I could share our own news, but also to have a nice home for the community to hang out. There was a forum on the old web, but we eventually shut it down, since we already had one for printer owners. Anyways, time flies and our community grew to over 100k printer owners and I knew we needed to get back to this. New PrusaPrinters were in the works for almost 2 years and turned into a surprisingly complex project. It consists of several main parts.
First, there’s the Blog where you are right now. The Blog is where we post our announcements, articles and even some guest posts. The second section is the forum, which is replacing the old one (all data have been migrated).
Next, of course, is the model marketplace with a pretty unique twist: our users are able to share their G-codes, too! You can take advantage of the fact that there’s a massive number of users with the same hardware, which means that validated G-codes (pre-sliced models) can make life much easier for newcomers.
Another thing, and that’s arguably the most important part, is what we call the “World”. As I travel around the globe, I notice how vibrant and active our community is, but it is incredibly hard to connect locally. So we evolved the idea of the map we had on our website. Now, you can place your own marker in the map – either as a general (approximate) location, or exact one – e.g. if you are a business. You can choose from three options: if you want to help out other folks, print on demand or just hang out. 🙂 I just love the idea that we can provide this service to everyone with Original Prusa 3D printer and just like that create the largest print on demand network ever made.
Table of contents
- Find the nearest users around you!
- Community engagement
- Explore the print database
- Featured designers
- The importance of user ratings
- What’s next?
Find the nearest users around you!
Yep, you got that right: this isn’t yet another online library with 3D models! Also, PrusaPrinters is dedicated to Original Prusa users (but not limited to them, of course). Our community members have various ways how to engage in all sorts of activities – you can easily find other members around you, organize meetups, events, or just go for a beer and discuss 3D printing ;).
So, let’s say, you don’t have our 3D printer yet, and you would like to see it running before you buy it. Our community members can offer an optional “Show and Tell” service, so they can share their experience with potential 3D printing enthusiasts or hobbyists in general – just find them on the map and ask them everything you want to know! Or perhaps you have an issue with your printer and would like to ask for help. Printing on demand is also an option. Our platform allows you to specify your area of expertise and publish your location (exact or approximate) on the World Map. There’s plenty of community activities you can engage in – forming local 3D printing communities has never been easier!
The World Map is a great source of useful information – grey circles also show you all Prusa i3 printer owners in the world (based on ZIP codes – not exact locations).
If you decide to drop your location on the map, you have two main options regarding your location: Exact location – this means that the pin on the map shows your exact location. This is useful if you have e.g. a community workshop and want to show an exact address. The other option is Approximate location – you can then place the pin on e.g. the nearest landmark and it will be marked as your approximate location – this is useful when you don’t want to give away your home address etc. And of course, you can choose not to reveal your location at all.
There are four main ways how to engage with the community: the first option is to share and rate print files, of course. The other three are in your profile:
Print on Demand – you will be marked on the map as a user, who offers printing on demand. Right now, this option is mainly informative and will help people in your area to contact you and arrange details. But later we will offer a lot of features that will allow you to arrange everything via PrusaPrinters.
Tech support – if you are an experienced Original Prusa i3 user, you can help the other 3D printing enthusiasts in your neighborhood with their printers. Not everyone is capable of changing the nozzle or make basic maintenance, so why not help each other?
Show & Tell – there are a lot of people in the wild who are interested in 3D printing but they are afraid of the first step. And you can help them! Ask their questions, show them the capabilities of 3D printing and enlarge your local communities.
To connect with other users, there’s the Messenger. You can contact other users either by finding them on the map or by clicking their username in their projects.
Explore the print database
PrusaPrinters is the only G-code database on the entire internet – but it’s actually much more than that. Since we want to build a community around our 3D printers, we decided to give our users an option to upload pre-sliced and ready-made G-code files for Original Prusa printers. If you’re still not too familiar with Slic3r PE, and you want to start printing immediately, ready-to-print G-codes are the way to go. Advanced users don’t have to worry, .stl and .3mf files are still an option.
Creating a G-code-centric database has many advantages. Thanks to our G-code importer, we can easily analyze uploaded G-Codes and extract useful information from them. This way, you can sort the objects in the library not only by printer type or by nozzle diameter, but also by weight or by printing time. And this is just the beginning – we’re planning to include more filters in the future. You can also filter out projects that don’t have a G-code uploaded so you can get to ready-to-print files even faster.
To kickstart our database, we have asked some of the best designers in this field to share their models on PrusaPrinters.org. Huge thanks to all of them! Even though we’re launching this platform now, its library is already populated with many awesome models. All models are free, even though some of them are offered for money on other websites. So jump right in and find something cool to print!
And even if you don’t know how to create 3D objects, you can still contribute to various projects. We’re introducing User Print Files. These are essentially G-codes (or SL1 files in the future), which YOU have created based on downloaded .stl files. Let’s say you find a project you like, but it has only .stl or .3mf files, or the available G-codes are only for the MK2S. You can slice these objects for MK3S, generate G-codes and share them with other users easily!
3mf files include printing setting? It is the best way to share models. You will provide other users with the 3D geometry (the model) and your Slic3r setting, which they can still edit.
You can upload .gcodes, .stl, .3mf, and .obj to your print post. We would like to point out the advantages of the .3mf format, because it allows you to save 3D models with 3D printing setting included. That is a big difference compared to .stl. How to save your project as .3mf? Drop a regular .stl to the Slic3r, adjust your printer settings and then save it (File – Save Project) as .3mf – that’s all! Whenever you will drop these files to the Slic3r window, the model will be loaded with the printing settings, so you will be able to generate identical gcodes anywhere, anytime. Custom supports, modifying meshes, infill… everything is preserved. Or you will be able to adjust one or two fields and export it with the rest of the settings unchanged.
- .gcode = instructions for the printer, can’t be modified, ready to be printed
- .stl, .obj = 3D models
- .3mf = 3D model + printing setting, which can be adjusted further. You have to generate a G-code from it before printing (one click).
When exploring the Prints, use filters to find the right files for you. You can limit the search by the printer type and material option.
We have contacted many talented designers and asked them to share their files on PrusaPrinters. Many of them did, and thanks to them, we can offer you a large library of downloadable models right from the start. Among them are:
It’s easy to use!
We have a long time experience with 3D printing and various 3D printing hubs, so we naturally wanted to bring you a streamlined, easy-to-use portal with plenty of useful features.
One of them is the project uploader: whenever you want to upload a project, you can use our universal uploader. Just drag-and-drop a .zip file with the project files (these can be G-codes, .stl, .3mf, .obj, .jpg, .png, .gif or .tiff files) and our system will take care of everything. There’s even a G-code analyzer, which will extract useful information from the imported G-code and puts it in the right categories automatically.
The importance of user ratings
We encourage PrusaPrinters users to rate downloaded files. Please keep in mind that you cannot leave a rating immediately – you should print the model first and then you can rate it. Thanks to the print times embedded in G-codes, we can send you a notification when we think you probably have the model already printed. Rating a model is a huge help for other users, so be kind and rate! You can either rate a project as a whole, or you can give thumbs up or thumbs down to user-uploaded print files. Separate ratings make more sense: the original project can be great, but user-generated G-codes can have various issues, so they deserve a separate (different) rating.
What is the Prusa Account?
Along with PrusaPrinters, we would also like to introduce the brand new Prusa Account, a single account for all Prusa services. We can transform your current accounts from e-shop or forum automatically to the new Prusa Account – your username, password, and other information will remain the same. Just make a new registration at prusaprinters.org with the same e-mail you are using on our e-shop and everything will be paired.
The current version of PrusaPrinters.org is still a beta. Even though there’s plenty of features already present, we still want to add more stuff. The goal is to have something more than just an online library of 3D models – we want to bring you a fully featured community hub with the newsfeed, personal blogs, options to organize events or follow other users, and many other things.
We will expand the messenger, add group chats and other functions. To further enhance the community engagement options, we plan to bring special programs for creators, or a little something called (for now) PrusaFactor that will enable you to turn your ratings (given and received) into useful points – we will share more info later.
With the release of the Original Prusa SL1 3D printer, we will, of course, add support for SLA prints (.SL1 files). And many many more things. We simply want PrusaPrinters.org to be a living, functioning ecosystem, a central hub for all Prusa fans and printer owners. And we want to listen to your feedback, so don’t forget to share your comments, ideas, and suggestions, and help us make this place even better. 🙂