Hi modelers, 3d printing users and people of Formlabs.
I’m looking to get a sense of the percentage of the model sold vs free downloads from the various users. I’m trying to understand if it makes sense to keep trying to rely on the potential of selling one 3D model to hundreds, if not thousands of people, if actually we only end up selling to the 0.1% of users looking to our models. The target audience is not that big, after all (just a few thousand).
I’m suspecting that 3d printer users are so used to get models for free and don’t value anymore a 3d modeler work, while they may still spend their money into 3d printers, filaments, gears and related tools.
What I see, is that free 3d models are actually used as an advertisement for selling 3d printers and related tools, to allow the desktop 3d printer industry to exist, as just a minority knows how to model. See what Makerbot did with Thingiverse. Pure genius: How do you sell a 3d printer to the general public (as previously 3D printers were only for industrial/ professional use), if they can understand how to operate it, but they have nothing to print because they’re not modelers? Giving them free models.
I also have the feeling that, since Formlabs bought Pinshape, this website become mainly a concurrent to Thingiverse and Youmagine for other big printers manufacturer. I think this, because I haven’t seen much marketing happening as in the past, including no Black Friday/Cyber Monday discounts (as opposed to other 3d models selling platforms). I see no post since a year on their Instagram and no post on their Twitter since June. Even before that, the posts were really sporadic. No more contests since April…
My question to Formlabs is:
I may have missed some notice, but is Pinshape going to close soon, or has switched its purpose from a model sale platform to a sharing model platform?
My questions to the designers are:
-Do you have any similar experience/ impression to mine?
-what is the percentage of your models sold vs free download?
-did any of your model actually got bought enough times to make up for the value of it, if it was done for a private gig?
-can you make a living out of it?
-Do you sell 3D prints (no printers or tools), if so, is it a profitable business?
-do you consider this mainly as a hobby?
-which kind of model do you sell the most?
My question to the costumers are:
-What makes you want to buy a model? (category, price, quality, functionality…)
-Do you favor free models to priced ones?
-Do you favor convenience (low price/free) over quality?
-Do you see 3D modeling as a hobby?
-Do you sell 3D prints (no printers or tools), if so, is it a profitable business? Can you make a living out of it?
-Would you have a 3D printer if there was no model to download for free? if so, what is your modeling proficiency skills?
-if models were all just for sale, would you have bought all the models you printed so far?
-What would be a fair price for all the models online? You can purpose categories if you like.
-Do you ever tip designers on Thingiverse or other websites, for printing their free designs?
Thank you all.
If you don’t want to answer publicly, email me at morenap3d (at) gmail.com . I value your privacy and will not disclose your name, email or business. I may just make a final general sum of all the answers, to get a better insight about this business from the 3D modeler point of view.