Thingiverse has some serious competition. There’s a new library of 3D printable files in town, except it’s not new at all. It’s Printables.com, formerly known as PrusaPrinters.org.
Joseph Prusa and his Prusa Research team wanted to create a place to house high-quality 3D models and make it open for people using any brand of 3D printer. Although .stl files can be reproduced by any 3D printer, some makers weren’t sure if they would be welcome on a site that also sells the popular Prusa MK3S+, which is one of the best 3D printers.
By renaming their file library, Prusa Research is making it clear that Printables.com is a community hub for everyone who enjoys 3D printing.
The fast-loading site remains ad free. Despite being run by a leading manufacturer of 3D printers, there are no ads for their printers, filament and resin. Only a small item on the menu labeled “Prusa Eshop” reminds users that, they too, could own a Prusa.
Prusa Research gradually rolled out changes to its website, starting in December 2021 when it announced a point system to reward frequent visitors. People could rack up points by uploading designs, posting photos of their makes and creating collections of models. Designers are further rewarded when other makers download their designs.
These points are called Prusameters and once you “fill a roll” with 350 points, you get a voucher for a free roll of Prusament filament. Points can also be exchanged for Prusa-branded mugs, hats, shirts and hoodies.
Printables.com users are also rewarded with virtual Badges that they can display on their profile pages. The badges are awarded like game levels, with levels for Designers and Makers. There are also badges for frequent visitors, contest winners and more.
The new website also features themed contests, with Prusa printers and Prusameters given out as rewards. The contests not only create excitement for the community, but they also encourage designers of all levels to fill the Printables.com library with quality new files.
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Denise Bertacchi is a Contributing Writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering 3D printing.