MakerBot Changes the Name of Thingiverse to MakerBot Thingiverse

3D Printing & Imaging Workshop
MakerBot Changes the Name of Thingiverse to MakerBot Thingiverse


There seems to be a lot of uproar in the 3D printing community about MakerBot changing the name of Thingiverse to MakerBot Thingiverse. MakerBot also made some cosmetic changes to the site.

The community always seems to get upset anytime changes occur on Thingiverse, which probably stems from the fact that the community thinks it owns the site. Yes, Thingiverse was started by Zach Smith in 2008, but it was created as a companion website to MakerBot and its employee have operated, maintained, and paid for the website ever since.

What do you as the user community think? And if you have issues with MakerBot’s control over the site, do you think it’s time to create a new site that’s not owned by a specific 3D printer company? Post your thoughts in the comments.

62 thoughts on “MakerBot Changes the Name of Thingiverse to MakerBot Thingiverse

  1. Distancing themselves from their original supporters says:

    So, bringing the branding to the fore-front is a bit heavy handed, and Makerbot may be doing damage to their relationships with existing 3d printing enthusiasts, but if all our conjecturing about there being a 3d printer in a lot more homes in the near future, I can hardly fault Makerbot for wanting to reap some rewards with newcomers by flashing their name on a site that provides access to so many printables. If that was their goal, they could have accomplished the same thing by putting a ‘brought to you by’ or ‘powered by’ slogan featured prominently on the site instead of changing the whole name.

    Perhaps a disinterested party should start up a site to avoid having Makerbot pull some sort of proprietary Makerbot only file format, or what have you, but for now, for me, a rose with a branded name still smells as sweet (as extruded ABS).

  2. Phillip Torrone says:

    :( i think there are better ways to get conversations going about this on MAKE – this post makes it hard for makerbot to participate, when you say “there seems to be a lot of uproar” but not linking to any examples… it’s unfair to the community that may be talking about this somewhere and also to makerbot, please consider updating the post with links supporting the new design & features and of course also discussions of people not liking it too. linking to both is fair :)

    this is an odd statement… “Thingiverse, which probably stems from the fact that it thinks it owns the site”. makerbot owns thingiverse, you can look it up :)

    Goods and Services IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: website for facilitating the downloading, modification and sharing of three dimensional designs on the Internet for use in connection with three dimensional printers and plotter printers. FIRST USE: 20081018. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20081018
    Owner (REGISTRANT) MakerBot Industries, LLC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY NEW YORK 87 3rd Avenue Brooklyn NEW YORK 11217

    this is a little leading… – “do you think it’s time to create a new site that’s not owned by a specific 3D printer company” – is someone going to actually say “no way!” ?

    out of all the 3d printing companies, i pick makerbot. do we want 3d systems who is suing formlabs *and* kickstarter to run one instead?

    are there enough people in the 3d printing community that like each other that could run a site like thingiverse as well as makerbot has?

    the branding update is smart, makerbot should be celebrated for providing this cool resource and home for tons of projects, for free. don’t we want companies doing cool stuff with makers?

    home page is better, customizer is a great way for people to get started, thing pages are better, the adafruit one we have looks awesome ( thingiverse has an API now ( – that’s probably worth mentioning.

    1. davidcdean says:

      Hey Phil.

      I don’t think he was actually contesting ownership, it’s just tacky behavior when people are already a little testy about MakerBot. We had the Thingiverse boycott, them banning items from the site, and MakerBot slamming the doors on the open source communities fingers. There’s nothing overtly evil in rebranding the site, but it comes at a bad time.

      Yes, it’s their prerogative. And I know you understand (perhaps too well) the need for shameless self-promotion. But they’re developing what looks like a habit of biting the hands that feed them.

      I’m hoping that some of the alternative sites coming online start to take off. Just like anything else, it’s best not to have all your eggs in one basket.

    2. Christian Restifo (@restifo) says:

      “The community always seems to get upset anytime changes occur on Thingiverse, which probably stems from the fact that it thinks it owns the site.”

      I think “it” refers to “the community”, not Thingiverse, in that sentence. At least, that’s the way I parsed the sentence.

    3. Gareth Branwyn says:

      Thanks for your comments, Phil. This is Michael’s first post and some of this confusion might be coming from the fact that I edited it to try and interject a more editorial tone and balance the two sides. He was not suggesting that MakerBot doesn’t own Thingiverse, but that the users think they (the users themselves) do. The rough piece was originally slanted, I felt, too far towards the MakerBot side and I wanted to open it up: IF users don’t like what MakerBot is doing to the site they (MakerBot) own, do you think the answer is creating a site that’s not owned by a 3D printing company? Seemed like a fair question.

      I do agree that we should have added links to any heated discussions on the subject that Michael is referring to. I’ll see if Michael can do that.

      The post was in no way meant to dog MakerBot (in fact, Michael –and I, for that matter — completely support MakerBot doing what they want with a site they own), but to be a point of discussion about that ownership, what it means to the personal fabbing community, and to raise the question that if people are that unhappy with what’s happening there, then maybe they want to create their own file sharing community.

      1. Michael Overstreet says:

        I ditto what Gareth said.

        I side with Makerbot on this. It is their website and they can do what ever they want with it.

        Maybe I am over reacting to all of the negative posts I have seen on the 3d printing forums that I follow?

        I still think I have two very valid questions. One, why do some many people get upset ever time there is a change to Thingiverse? Two, maybe it is time for a 3rd party who does not sell printers to create a website similar to Thingiverse?

        I am still very interested in what the DIY community thinks about these two questions.

        1. Phillip Torrone says:

          it’s all good, i see bre/makerbot posted up here and there are a lot of good conversations going on. nicely done folks, i think makerbot is “one of us” so there’s a lot of opportunity to give them great feedback for the changes we all want to see, and also great for all of us to think about building more resources, sites and printers as well :)

  3. chuck says:

    The 3d community is mostly geeks. Geeks are passionate and tend to be social around their passions. When a community forms we tend to take a more hands-on approach than other online demographics. That hands-on approach is seen by us as ‘sweat equity’, i.e. ‘Our participation made your site what it is so we should have more of a say in its evolution’. This is valid to an extent, but we have to remember that while we were busy stretching the bounds of the technical and application end of things, there was still someone coming up with the filthy lucre to keep the lights on. While we see Thingiverse as a hot bed for the biggest manufacturing revolution since Henry Ford, there are others who see it as a marketing tool to sell 3d printers. There’s plenty of overlap in the Venn diagram, but our idealism is a shade over the lamp of economics- money is still an important concern in any project and the one who provides it gets to call the shots.
    While Makerbot has the right to do what they will with their product and their marketing avenues, they don’t seem to have been as sensitive to the reaction of their customer base as they could have been. The benefits of an open source model to the upstart company (community-sourced R&D, word of mouth marketing, customer loyalty) comes at a price- change has to be slower and hands have to be held to keep the customers happy.
    The take away here is that our community, as a market, will react to things that Sony’s and Apple’s customers won’t even bat an eyelid at. Anyone wishing to to tap the geek market in the future should take note of this. Personally I’m going to make some popcorn and enjoy the show.

    1. grfrog says:

      Does anyone remember DIGG? If you own the meeting space, that gives you and your product a little leverage, but you don’t own the community, and you will never have a license to print money from owning that space. If people don’t feel welcome they will stop coming.
      They are not in the open source business any more, they don’t need the open source community, major changes they know the community won’t like is their polite of saying parties over, get out.

  4. David Randolph says:

    The most controversial thing I’ve seen about it so far is this post. I’m very active on the makerbot user group on google and the complaints have been about bugs or usability. Lets face it, change is always judged the hardest. Now with the rebranding of the site. If people didn’t know it was owned and operated by MBI then they were living in a cave. If you think a company shouldn’t brand their properties then please at the next makerfare do not advertise, sell or promote make magazine or any O’Riley product. It’s for makers and not for selling magazine subscriptions.

    Now it is apparent that MBI is moving away from Open Source and separating itself from the ideas of a maker community. Their business is at that point and it’s the transition they are making. Look at what they are doing and you will see they are becoming a professional product provider. No longer are they focusing on the guy in the garage, they are moving up to the guy with a business. I’m not saying it’s a good or bad thing but they are transitioning into a new business model. It’s the same thing people said when apple starting making phones and dropping all their professional products like xserve. Everyone yelled and screamed but look where they are.

    Change happens. If you don’t like where they are going then go someplace else, plenty of other 3d printers out there now. I’ve modded my Replicator to the point it doesn’t look like the original anymore and I’ve built 3 other printers from scratch that in some cases print better the the Replicator. Let’s just be happy they don’t ban .stl files and force everthing to be .thing formatted. You could also go the Prusa route and just github your 3d projects.

  5. bonnie squier says:

    How can makerbot users move past toy printers? When your done playing with your makerbotand looking for engineered materials, checkout Kraftwurx, CES debut Las Vegas at the Venetian Eureka Park. amazing! 70 Materials and 111 production facilities worldwide! Who knew?

  6. kongorilla says:

    I don’t think there’s an “uproar” over Makerbot making their logo more prominent. Most people “in the 3D printing community” always new it was a Makerbot site. Yes, I’ve seen forum posts by people who never noticed the subtle grey logo that was there before, but hardly an uproar.

    I agree with Phillip Torrone that the questions could have been presented better in this blog post, but I disagree with some of his opinions about the new Thingiverse. The home page is 90% things I don’t care about. Thing pages don’t look better to me (on a desktop, everything’s too big), they’ve removed the date the thing was published, broken viewing photos that don’t fit their layout, kept the license info in a place that communicates it’s a low priority, and relegated the comments section to the bottom of the page, after two rows of huge and useless thumbnails. While customizer will lead to great things, the launch was a botch, dumping hundreds uninteresting objects into the stream of “newest things”.

    I’m not in an uproar about any of this. Any such change needs a period of time to work out the bugs. I’ll try to help by voicing my opinions.

    I also agree with Phillip that Makerbot has a good job running Thingiverse, but I don’t think they are above criticism or monitoring by the community, because no matter how much good work Makerbot puts into Thingiverse, the community has put in hundreds of times more. It’s important for Makerbot to hear and respond to the concerns of the 3D community, because without them there’ll only be a few Makerbot sponsored items on the site.

    Phillip said the post should’ve had links to the discussion. I’ll offer the link to Thingiverse’s Google Group as a start:!forum/thingiverse

  7. Bill Bumgarner says:

    The uproar from many of us is not because of “MakerBot Thingiverse” — annoying as that is — but because the “cosmetic changes” make the site nearly unusable.

    The new user interface sucks. It is awful. Not awful as in “looks bad” but awful as in “the design is crap and the changes make the site a pain in the ass to use”.

    Much of the site now uses JavaScript tricks to automatically load more information by effectively creating an “infinitely scrolling” canvas.

    This is broken. First, you can’t actually click any of the links at the bottom of the page. Just try and click “about Thingiverse” on the page. You can’t because the autoloader keeps sliding it off the page!

    Secondly, it breaks the back button. Want to browse any long collection of stuff? Found something you liked and clicked through? OK, done, now let’s go back! Nope– doesn’t work because of the stupid infinite scrolling nonsense.

    And this isn’t the only busted user experience. The new “thing” pages are ineffeciently laid out and you have to click through to see an inventory of potential files to download. In a pop-up, making it difficult to correlate between files and instructions.

    So, again, that MakerBot is branding Thingiverse is annoying but, frankly, we get what we pay for and MakerBot is doing the community a tremendous service by making such a thing available.

    The real problem is that MakerBot’s update to Thingiverse is awful. It is a step backwards in usability and greatly undermines the sites usefulness.

    If I were a MakerBot owner, I’d be pissed that the site got so much less useful and my confidence in the company serving its customer’s best interests would definitely be shaken.

    1. bre says:

      Hey Folks,

      I’m proud of Thingiverse. We started it in 2008 to make it so people could download things and it’s come a long way. This is the 3rd time we’ve changed the style of Thingiverse and it’s way overdue. Up until a few months ago, Thingiverse didn’t get a lot of attention at MakerBot. Now I’ve got an awesome and dedicated team on it.

      It is impossible to make everyone happy, but we got some great constructive emails from folks after this refresh letting us know that some of the new changes didn’t work for them and we really appreciate constructive criticism sent personally. We’ve made a lot of new improvements and there will be a lot more. We’re going to make mistakes. That’s what happens when you make things.

      For those that criticize us for adding MakerBot to the heading, we did that because we are proud of the work we do with Thingiverse and even though I think most Make: readers know it’s a MakerBot website, we kept getting surprised reactions from folks who have been using it and didn’t know it was us working on it.

      The participation on Thingiverse is picking up and there are more and more awesome things to download and make. Some stats: There are more than 36K things on Thingiverse today. More than 6K have been uploaded in the last 90 days.

      Amazing designers are finding the site and publishing things that blow my mind everyday. Going to Thingiverse and seeing all the things you can make today that you couldn’t make yesterday is my favorite thing to do everyday.

      There was a time when you were able to see every video on youtube. That changed pretty quickly and they put some tools in place to make it so that people could find videos they wanted to watch when the firehose got too big to drink out of. We’re trying to put some tools in place because it’s just getting to the point where there is so much stuff being uploaded that it’s not easy to see all the awesome things. The firehose of things will get too big for even the most dedicated thing lovers soon.

      We know that there are too many Customized things in the stream and we’re working on it. We really want people to be able to find awesome things and not get overwhelmed by the massive stream of things that people are sharing.

      In the past few months, we’ve launched a dashboard, a following function, and the ability to do collections. We just upped our game with the API and the Customizer and did a sitewide refresh. We’re going to keep pushing the site forward, making it more usable, and doing our best to make it better.

      For those of you who change websites or apps, I suggest you read this post from Anil Dash BEFORE you make changes:

      1. bbum says:

        If you have a bug reporting system, I will file detailed bugs for each issue. Including bugs that are aesthetic issues that may likely get shot down (of which I fully support). I’m not one to whinge here or on Twitter (as I did) without backing that whinging with useful signal. Tell me where to direct it.

        To be clear, I like Thingiverse and I still like it, bugs be damned. The problems I described, though, are not one of taste or “gee, I don’t like the look of that”. The are flat out bugs in the implementation; not being able to use the back button, not being able to click on links at the bottom of the page because of the auto-loader, etc… those are bugs.

        And my criticism was given without the much deserved credit for the overall asset that Thingiverse is; the dashboard was an excellent addition, being able to track conversations is wonderful for following up with interested parties to refine designs, and the collections are quite useful as a sort of organized “print this” queue.


  8. viva la sailing says:

    Our species makes huge changes like a big dumb awkward leviathan on Quaaludes, and the DIY and open source movement two-hit combo is the biggest one we’ve had in a good while if not ever. Expect continued growing pains from our species on these matters with a lot of back and forth going on, it’s still uphill and there’s a way to go yet. Part of this is almost necessary as our species converts from what it was to the spirit of open source. Good thing is, we’ll all reap the benefits of technological acceleration if MakerBot focuses on selling to people that need to go to a store to buy a user-friendly ready-to-go machine, RaspPi wouldn’t be around for so cheap if not for the huge general progress made by PCs from Magic-retail-marts(tm). We don’t die, we fabricate; we Bebe’s kids. If Thingiverse closes its doors to open innovation, it will become a new thing entirely. Best of luck to those cats if that happens, they really are some smart kids over there. Hopefully they stay friendly and don’t do much more than hang their brand sign on the front door. But don’t become attached, nothing will be an end-all-be-all service and shouldn’t be. If Thingiverse becomes something different than the lot of us expected and wanted, ok. How much skin off our backs? It got a lot of great much-needed press for DIY fab, and there were good times and great oldies had by many there. It will morph into something that serves different purposes if it changes course to port at Proprietary Beach. Let it be and help shape what needs to come next if it goes that route. I hope every maker has a feasible and fertile chance to decide whether or not to go proprietary and make big bucks. I hope that because we actually need some of that to keep the cycle advancing the open source world until we actually evolve away from greed, but also because I know most of us are here in open source to stay and choosing open source with such a choice surely is an epitome of meaningful definition of character and steadfastness. Every proprietary iteration will have a sea of open source at its bay. Stay locked or sail with us, whatever floats or docks your boat. A locked boat at port displaces the same amount of water as a boat navigating the wild, at least the big heavy boats that you can’t just lift out of the water easily. We need ports. But at the core are those elusive waters, lands and skies yet to be charted. Without this ocean of open, there’d be no need for boats or ports and I find it doubtful MakerBot will ever forget that. I think we’ll get where we’re traveling quicker if we take a step back and focus on what is needed next instead of raising pitchforks at the docks. Let the ports pop up, let the boats hurdle around the coasts. What I want to know is, do we have what we need for cartography? Because we still have waves and waves to explore. Hard to chart at port, yes?

  9. JamesRPatrick says:

    Meh. I stopped contributing to Thingiverse when Makerbot stopped contributing to the open source community responsible for its success.

  10. How to Redesign Your App… (User Generated Discontent) « adafruit industries blog says:

    […] How to Redesign Your App Without P*ssing Everybody Off by Anil Dash via Bre. […]

  11. brazen artifice says:

    The customizer fiasco has caused me to unsubscribe from the RSS feed of the newest things. That has been my main entry point into thingiverse for over a year, but customizer has made it useless. I’ll come back in a couple of months to see if Makerbot has got some useful sort of filtering enabled, so I can see cool new stuff I’d never think to search for.

  12. Michael Overstreet says:

    Links to see more opinions on this subject.

    These are the google groups that I monitor the most and my best examples. If you have others you like feel free to post. As I am still very interested in this topic and any input that I can get on it. I also think that the comments so far I been very interesting and very informative. Which was the whole point of my post in the first place, which was to get a discussion going on this subject.

  13. weldmaster80 says:

    as long as they continue to host things, for free, and they don’t get too Nazi over everything, I don’t care. When I buy, and pay for my own sight, you best believe I’m going to run it my way. I get why some ppl are upset, but lets just remember that one tiny detail, you didn’t pay a cent, and they are STILL serving up the files. nuff said.

    just my 23.50 (2 cents, plus fees and inflation)

  14. MakerBot Re-branded Thingiverse…Yawn | openalia says:

    […] reported on by Make Magazine, MakerBot has decided to change the logo on the Thingiverse page from “Thingiverse” to […]

  15. JustMyShadow says:

    With Replicator 2 not being open source is anyone surprised? Just another sign of the changes over at makerbot.

    VC don’t like to give things away for free.

  16. Jeppe Heini Mikkelsen says:

    I’m not that upset about it, but wouldn’t it kinda be the same if youtube began calling youtube, google youtube and the URL would me, like google documents and mail? I think we do need a bigger better and easier sharing site, so normal people can buy 3D printers and use them with ease.

  17. John Borden says:

    I wouldn’t call it an evil move, but it is a kind of stupid move.

    Makes me think of Honest Tea. In case you don’t know who these guys are, they basically produce bottled organic tea in a menagerie of different flavors at a reasonable cost.

    I’m pretty sure they started out independent, but what most people don’t know is that they were eventually bought out by Coca-Cola. That’s the thing though, most people don’t know it, Coca-Cola’s logo is nowhere to be found, and even among those that do know, you still have people who shrug it off and assume that as long as the brand makes money the purity of the product will remain true.

    Coca-Cola knows better. They know most of the people buying this tea probably think they’re the bad guys, and that if they try and flaunt their logo on this thing, millions of customers will suddenly question the purity of the product and probably buy something else.

    Makerbot isn’t anywhere near as vilified as Coca-Cola, but I see a parallel. I’m still okay with Makerbot, but seeing this is a little uncomfortable with regards to the purity and indepdence of Thingiverse.

  18. Byron Winchell says:

    Well, Thingiverse could take up the slack left by Thingverse regarding parts for firearms.

  19. Jeff says:

    I don’t mind the “Makerbot Thingiverse” so much. Kind of rubs the wrong way, but it’s their site and the net-net is that they’re doing the 3D printing community a service. But that makes the times ripe for a new site, free of any closed-source entanglements.

    I just got up and running with my own 3D printer (a Reprap Prusa, thank you very much…) and had become acquainted with Thingiverse enough to know that I don’t like the redesign.

  20. MAKE | says:

    […] the piece Makerbot Changes the Name of Thingiverse to Makerbot Thingiverse, chuck […]

  21. Kevin says:

    “The community always seems to get upset anytime changes occur on Thingiverse, which probably stems from the fact that the community thinks it owns the site. ”

    Jeez, someone woke-up pissy this morning…

    I guess the concern that the community is having is the idea that Thingiverse will be only for use with Makerbot. As opposed to the current open standard for 3d printers, or other technology. Whatever, as you pointed out, its your company, you all are welcome to run it into the ground with branding if you want.

  22. The New MakerBot Replicator | Tim says:

    […] MakerBot Changes the Name of Thingiverse to MakerBot Thingiverse ( […]

  23. MakerBot下的那盘大棋 | 脑震荡 says:

    […] Thingiverse改名MakerBot Thingiverse 这是1月中旬的事,很多人觉得这是鸡毛蒜皮的小事,但个人觉得不可小觑。Thingiverse是Zach Smith在2008年创立,目的是为了方便社区储存和分享3D打印的数字文件,网站主要由MakerBot团队维护运营。可以说到目前为止,Thingiverse社区成员很多是MakerBot,RepRap等其他3D打印开源社区的中坚力量,Thingiverse通过几年时间积累了大量由用户创造设计的各类模型文件。私下认为Thingiverse的价值甚于MakerBot旗下的3D打印机。Bre Pettis深知Thingiverse的重要程度,这次的改名似乎强调了MakerBot对于Thingiverse的ownership, 但同时这举动也引起了社区内骚动。 […]

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