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Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?

Posted by richrap 
Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 12, 2012 07:04AM
Ok, so many of us have been letting the dust settle over where to put models, designs and ‘things’ for the future.

Many people have suggested new websites and ideas, even some from scratch.

I’m personally only going to be truly happy with a RepRap.org repository for models, derivatives, source and ideas.

And before anyone says the RepRap Wiki, I know we could all have lots of pages on that, but it’s got some major limitations for this sort of thing, one is actually finding things on it, another - keeping a consistent structure.

This Git template and ‘thing’ framework by Gary Hodgson seems to resolve quite a few of the issues, but also prompts some ‘ease of use’ questions. –

The blockage is how to bring something like Gary’s template into a joined-up site that can be easily added too, searched, used and evolved over time by anyone that wants to use and contribute to it.


Image from Gary's blog - Hope you don''t mind Gary


Any ideas?

It could probably be self-funding (Data usage / storage etc.)

And do any of the RepRap Admins have any ideas if the website could sustain that level of usage and data (we could host the data somewhere else – like on Git)


[richrap.blogspot.com]
VDX
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 12, 2012 07:34AM
... I'll bring this to the admin list - maybe someone can give a suggestion or is willing to start a site ...


Viktor
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 12, 2012 08:25AM
I guess that many people keep on using Thingiverse not because they embrace whatever move MBI does but because it does the job. As soon as other alternatives are made available, specially if they are less evil, some people will move their content over.

But if user experience becomes any more complex than Thingiverse this may prevent it from succeeding.

Just my two cents,

misan
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 12, 2012 08:40AM
This website is actively being worked on, and looks decent

[physibleexchange.com]


repraplogphase.blogspot.com
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 12, 2012 09:08AM
Not bad. Easy to use, very good STL viewer. It just works.
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 12, 2012 11:33AM
Thanks Viktor - I'm keen to see RepRap take the lead on this, I would be glad to help out any way I can.

@Misan - exactly, could not agree more, it needs the same simplicity as Thingiverse to succeed, but hopefully also keep the RepRap culture of good things posted on it will succeed and poor things fail - at the moment on Thingiverse things become 'featured' at any time, not driven by community interest or popularity - Many good things sit at the top popularity spot without having a 'feature' - some (especially other machines) never get 'featured'

@spacexula - looks nice - do you know who is behind it? and developing it? is it privately funded? is it 'open source' There sure are a lot of these types of sites popping up, but as with most of them it's tricky to see who's developing it, and for what aim.


[richrap.blogspot.com]
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 12, 2012 12:17PM
I would love to see a RepRap.org organized model/thing distibtution site smiling smiley
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 12, 2012 03:34PM
Here's an idea that is Reprap-based, quick and painless, and all the pieces already exist:

Step I. Write up a new wiki article that has clear, noob-friendly instructions on how to create a wiki page. Call it: How To Create a Reprap Physible, or something like that.

Step II. Make a new "physible" template for the wiki that is easy to use.

Step III. Make a sticky post that stays at the top of the "Look what I made!" forum that has clear, step-by-step instructions on how to post a physible to Reprap. These instructions would go something like:

1. Read "How To Create a Reprap Physible"
2. Download the template text file you find on that page.
3. Edit the file and put in info on your physible.
4. Create your new wiki page "My physible".
5. Paste in your edited template text file.
6. Upload your stls and jpgs and pngs and whatever, and link them as instructed.
7. Add the correct categories so other people can find your physible on the wiki.
8. Make a post on the "Look what I made!" forum that tells us all about your physible.

People have already uploaded physibles using this process. Here is a nice example of a physible that Fdavies posted to Reprap. (almost two years ago!)

A new wiki article, an updated template file, and a sticky forum post would be all that is needed to make the process much more noob-friendlier (and consistent and organized).

The "Look what I made!" forum itself can function as a popularity meter, with good/interesting/controversial physibles seeing higher activity and rising to the top.

I think this approach addresses at least two of richrap's concerns, namely finding stuff and keeping consistent structure...
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 15, 2012 04:52AM
I am a noob and i approve this message !
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 15, 2012 07:59AM
How about asking the guys at Github if they could help? 3D printing is the future, they may be interested in adding a bunch of features specialy for us. Would have to come from someone reputable in the community though, not a newb like me.
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 15, 2012 12:33PM
A thought from a noob:

If one or more of the reputable RepRappers put together a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding for an alternative Thingiverse I would jump at the chance to throw in $20 (more if it looked like the campaign needed it) and I'm guessing there are a lot of others who would do the same. I'd think raising enough money to have a professional site developed would be pretty easy and any extra funding could go towards future improvements and maintenance etc. I don't want to discredit the ability of the open-source community to develop such a site on its own, but from my perspective it seems the efforts to do so are pretty fragmented right now and I think most people would be happy to throw in a few bucks to just get it done. Plus there's some momentum at the moment with Makerbot going CS.

I've put a bit of thought into this and can elaborate if anyone is interested... just don't want to write an essay right off the bat because there may be some inherent flaw I'm missing or people may just not like the idea.

If there is any interest in doing this I'd be happy to help out in any way I can. I do know a decent amount about Kickstarter and could organize the whole campaign if needed. I want to be clear that I have no interest in being the face of the campaign or in having access to the funds raised. I think it's important that someone trustworthy and with a deep RepRap history take that position, ideally someone like Rich or Vik or whoever else seems appropriate and wants to do it.

As far as the actual site functionality goes there are tons of great ideas floating around on what the site should/should not be. IMO it would be nice to see them all spelled out in one place and then maybe run a community poll to decide which should be implemented and in what order etc.
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 15, 2012 07:39PM
I would be interested in helping get this off the ground. The problem with using kickstarter is that you need to have a product at the end and a business to provide it. Thingiverse exists to supliment makerbot, it does not generate revenue to support itself. I might be willing to host such a site if I can afford it but I have no way to build or maintain the site, we would need developers and admins.
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 16, 2012 01:08PM
I should say I'm willing to help out in any way I can as well, not just for a Kickstarter. Just not sure that my help would be useful for anything else.

@ jztopa
Looking at the Kickstarter catagories/guidelines I think you're probably right as I can't see what category a website would fit under. At the same time they might consider a website a product despite being intangible. I searched and could not find any past 'website projects' though, so that's a bad omen. Still their rules for project submissions seem somewhat open to interpretation and given their liking of open-source and DIY stuff they might be willing to let this type of project fly. If there's interest in it then I'd think just emailing and asking the folks at Kickstarter what they think would answer the question.
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 17, 2012 06:17AM
@Eric
You might want to try "online" instead of "website"
I remembered this project - Midnight Maker: An online repository for hardware projects
Very similar to what we are trying to do , but in a "business model" that didn't held up

I will probably also back a kickstarter project ( with my limited funds ) , this seems like a great idea if we can find someone to take control and manage the whole thing
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 17, 2012 02:09PM
Hi guys,

(this post has turned into a wall of text, the TLDR is that I think gaining adoption for an alternative would be hard and I try and describe a decentralised alternative further down which I would love to hear peoples thoughts on.)

I've been thinking about this for a while, in fact I posted on the forum in May of last year trying to find out opinions about the state of the RepRap Wiki in terms of tracking reprap developments. The conclusion I came to then was that the problem can be split into two: a place to store/manage things, and a place to track/browse things. Ideally these functions would be done by one web app of course.

Thingiverse does the browsing and tracking reasonably well (categories, tagging, search), but the storing and project management is pretty poor (version history? update notifications?). Github does the storing and management very well (version history of course, issue tracker, wiki, starring and following), but there's no tracking.

This is one reason I wrote DevelopmentTracker, because it has search/browse/tag capabilities for developments regardless of where they are hosted, and there is an RSS feed to track new developments. (And if it had caught on I would probably have gotten round to implementing rss feeds for the "Watch a development" feature smiling smiley) (I should point out that DevelopmentTracker is opensource and could easily be rebranded and retooled as a things.rerap.org site. It's hosted on Google App Engine so there is a free quota to start off with.)


I think there will be a flurry of apps come online hoping to take some of the "market share" from Thingiverse, and the problem I see is that simply having a website won't cut it - the feature set is pretty basic - instead the critical factor is adoption. Without the users and the content any attempt will be a ghost-town. That's not to say it isn't possible, just simply it'll be hard work and would need either to have a killer feature to attract people, really good word of mouth (and the reprap community is ripe for that), or have an entity (company/institution) drive and market it.


One idea I am trying to crystalise involves perhaps an alternative approach. Instead of a single website or app could we have a protocol or standard (shudder! but bear with me) that says "Hey, here's my 3D design at this address..." and this is picked up, or submitted to, a tracker. There could (should!) be many trackers available, and these should be able to also track other trackers as well as 3D designs and projects. In this way there would be a decentralised network of things.

The beauty here is that there could be a whole load of specialised trackers, for example just tracking things for robotics, or artwork, or repraps, or even guns I guess, and then über-trackers could track these and provide a search and browse service across the whole network. Individuals could have their own tracker where they follow the things that interest them, and other people could subscribe to follow them. I know I would be interested in following the tracker of, say, Nophead, or Rich, or Adrian smiling smiley

Another advantage is that it could encompass Thingiverse. I could post my thing to Thingiverse and then submit the url to a tracker. In that way this would work with Thingiverse instead of trying to compete with it. It would also work with the RepRapWiki and github. Additionally, any repository website could publish a list of their things and it is then also a tracker.

The whole thing hinges on having an accepted protocol, but this would in fact be rather simple. A "thing" would have some basic metadata (name, author, url, license, description, tags) and a tracker would simply be a list of things and other trackers. Additional, non-mandatory, metadata could add nice to haves (thumbnails, statistics, voting, etc)

The more I write the more this sounds like a good idea! - perhaps I'll have to knock together a proof of concept smiling smiley There's probably a raft of issues and problems to overcome, but the core idea is pretty solid I think. Has anyone any opinions?


------------------------------------------
garyhodgson.com/reprap | reprap.development-tracker.info | thingtracker.net
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 17, 2012 02:48PM
Hi Gary,

Delighted to see your thoughts on this, I would love to see the tracker and/or Git-iverse expand.

garyhodgson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> I think there will be a flurry of apps come online
> hoping to take some of the "market share" from
> Thingiverse, and the problem I see is that simply
> having a website won't cut it - the feature set is
> pretty basic - instead the critical factor is
> adoption. Without the users and the content any
> attempt will be a ghost-town. That's not to say
> it isn't possible, just simply it'll be hard work
> and would need either to have a killer feature to
> attract people, really good word of mouth (and the
> reprap community is ripe for that), or have an
> entity (company/institution) drive and market it.
>

For at least the last 12 months I have had multiple requests every month to join lots of new 'thingiverse-like' sites and 3D sharing repositories, they are popping up all the time, and usually have one or two good features, but are normally hosted on a .COM with little or no information about who or why they exist, and what the back support will be, or some community members do something, but ran out of time and don't get much interest.
I have not used a single one of them. - It's not that I don't want to share, I have just come to the conclusion I don't want to share on many different sites all trying to be a thingiverse-like, because that's the future of the physical internet of things.

That's why I'm only going to be happy to put my effort and time into a site hosted on RepRap.org, even if that is just a main hub-list of 'things' - out-there- somewhere else.

>
> Another advantage is that it could encompass
> Thingiverse. I could post my thing to Thingiverse
> and then submit the url to a tracker. In that way
> this would work with Thingiverse instead of trying
> to compete with it. It would also work with the
> RepRapWiki and github. Additionally, any
> repository website could publish a list of their
> things and it is then also a tracker.

I have though about still using Thingiverse, and just point links to Git or my own website for the models, files etc. many people already do that on Thingiverse, but that's again short-term and still uses Thingiverse as the hub. Thingiverse will crack down on this and I would not be at all surprised to find it being a paid for service in the future, where all Makerbot customers can use it for free. Or something else, the point is we don't control it, or even have a say on how it evolves.

>
> The whole thing hinges on having an accepted
> protocol, but this would in fact be rather simple.
> A "thing" would have some basic metadata (name,
> author, url, license, description, tags) and a
> tracker would simply be a list of things and other
> trackers. Additional, non-mandatory, metadata
> could add nice to haves (thumbnails, statistics,
> voting, etc)
>

This is exactly the sort of detail we need to get into and try a few things out. It would be great to hear if we can use reprap.org to make it happen? Any other site or service is going to make me feel uneasy about it. But then again I can't do all the sort of website development needed to make this happen, so it needs dedicated people who know how to bring it into a reality and want to make it work.

> The more I write the more this sounds like a good
> idea! - perhaps I'll have to knock together a
> proof of concept smiling smiley There's probably a raft of
> issues and problems to overcome, but the core idea
> is pretty solid I think. Has anyone any opinions?

My Opinion is GREAT! Lets make it happen, how can I help? what's the next step?


[richrap.blogspot.com]
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 17, 2012 05:04PM
Richrap's first entry about the Github mod is the only alternative I have seen yet that ticks all the boxes for me. It has to be visual and not just another endless list and it has to have pictures and plenty of them. The layout of Thingiverse is just brilliant so to be as successful the alternative needs to closely mimic this site. And the original Github layout is crap for us visual types.

Personally I am still using TV for want of a decent alternative, all these little startup sites are too under-developed or followed to be any use, however I am not happy with the ownership deal and will move all my stuff as soon as I see a viable alternative.


_________________________________________________________________________________________

Redwood Valley, Nelson, New Zealand
Open beam Prism blog ~ Thingiverse ~ YouTube
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 18, 2012 11:51AM
On the wishlist I'd add a couple of things:

1- do not forget the social part: I find value in the comments about the object happening in the same object page.

2- Make a button "import this object from thingiverse as a I swear I am the author", so people can easily move an existing object from thingiverse without going through all the pain of putting all the files. Even better, "please migrate all my thingiverse things" (provided you type your thingiverse identifier). This makes people's life easy for moving away from thingiverse.
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
October 22, 2012 12:11PM
The main problem I see with hosting such a repository on reprap.org is that the site is painfully slow. If performance could be improved it would be much more viable as a place to go for design data, which is inherently bandwidth hoggy.
I believe we should all build our own githubiverse page

[plastbot.wordpress.com]
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
June 01, 2013 06:02AM
WHAT about just a RepRap machine part repository, and not all those other design things?

Sometimes it's really hard to find the parts that belong to certain machines and it's unclear for me what part is compatible with what machine.

I now learned that my Reprap Air 2 has a lot of compatible parts with the Mendelmax, but when I look on thingiverse for a sanguino fan mount, I don't get what I want/need.

I have already made this comment in the other 'official' thread, but I got treated a bit rude and people simply replied that I should learn to use tags on thingiverse, while tags are almost never put in correctly.

Tags suck, they don't work because everybody has their own way of tagging. It's universal, but universally personal. So -good- categorization is very important! I would like to see a strictly reprap machine and upgrade repository with good categorization and ancestors and family-trees for upgrades and other kind of clear connected things.

If the part-tracking and categorization works good, you should always be able to see how a part evolved, what it was based on, and in which direction it is developing. Same goes for art, art '-isms' are always connected to other -isms, and you should always be able to back-track where things come from.
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
June 01, 2013 06:23AM
This current thread is relevant; fabfabbers.com is pretty good. Though it should have a clearer place to download everything about a project, and a better way to edit: (earlier ended mid-sentence, sorry) another way to upload.

(edit: about githubiverse)I think this issue is rather problematic. Not acceptable to have stuff disappear when it gets popular any. I have a (wip, well i think it is usuable but expect some changing) set of scripts to generate pages, so people could use their own websites. (It has a good default and is really flexible.)

Thingtracker can help make stuff searchable even if they're all on different places, managed by different people. I think centralizing is hardly needed for the discoverability/convenience we want.(Though it might be useful for economic reasons)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/01/2013 10:32AM by Jasper1984.
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
June 01, 2013 07:00AM
Eric Young Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> If one or more of the reputable RepRappers put
> together a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding
> for an alternative Thingiverse I would jump at the
> chance to throw in $20 (more if it looked like the
> campaign needed it) and I'm guessing there are a
> lot of others who would do the same.

If that's the case, I would be happy to start a Kickstarter project for http://www.fabfabbers.com

The aims would be:

1) To opensource the whole thing
2) Host it (for a given period, or up to a given amount I guess)
3) Handover the whole thing to charitable entity


Would people be up for that?

Marcos

EDIT - This is assuming, of course, I'm considered "reputable"! smiling smiley

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/01/2013 07:01AM by marcosscriven.
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
June 01, 2013 07:09AM
Wel Marcos, I've seen the work you have already put into this, I would say you're reputable winking smiley

Anyway, like Jasper also points out, discoverability is good, and I think keeping things in good categories is also very important, you don't want your Mendelmax files end up with rostock tags, unless they share the same compatability winking smiley
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
June 01, 2013 10:44AM
I would support fabfabbers being made into an open-source product that people could host themselves, and I think it would make a good start for a reprap repository of some kind.

Perhaps it's already possible, can fabfabbers read git repositories other than those hosted on github? I would suggest having that as one of the development goals so that it could be bundled into a repo+hosting service in some way. Github is great, but having the option to host the actual projects yourself (via a gitorious, or gitlab perhaps) would widen the prospective audience I think.

Regarding Githubiverse, @Jasper1984 - you're quite correct in that the api restrictions really limit what can be done with it as it stands. Your thingscript sounds a little like an alternative I was considering - build the static site locally and commit the result to gh-pages - but I didn't get around to developing anything useful as I kept getting hung up on trying to make it dynamically update when the model files were updated.

Also, regarding ThingTracker - it's a bit quiet at the moment but it still lives, and I think the core idea is sound and still relevant. I am currently building an example service and toolset for the api so as to get some real world examples out there.

Cheers,
Gary


------------------------------------------
garyhodgson.com/reprap | reprap.development-tracker.info | thingtracker.net
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
June 02, 2013 07:58AM
garyhodgson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Perhaps it's already possible, can fabfabbers read
> git repositories other than those hosted on
> github? I would suggest having that as one of the
> development goals so that it could be bundled into
> a repo+hosting service in some way. Github is
> great, but having the option to host the actual
> projects yourself (via a gitorious, or gitlab
> perhaps) would widen the prospective audience I
> think.
>

The way I've modelled it is that FabFabbers has its own model/schema, and that GitHub is just one way of getting a model into the system (even though at the moment it's the only way).

The current GitHub integration relies on the GitHub API itself, and so wouldn't work reading a native/local Git repo - shouldn't be too much to add it though.

The biggest question in my mind though is how to pitch any such Kickstarter project - in terms of the pledges. The closest thing I could find is the Ghost blogging platform one: [www.kickstarter.com]

This seems to distinguish pledges by 'early access', being named as a backer, and having hosting provided.


Marcos
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
June 02, 2013 09:43AM
I want to use GitHub for the printer I am designing to ease sharing updates. However I'm not at the moment as my GitHub for Windows install wont load sad smiley and also while I have figured how to download a git (done it for Slic3r) it is confusing how to upload to a repository, update a remote one from local, update a local from remote. I am totally open to the fact I'm not reading the help files right though!

I have tried to find some form of Idiots Guide to GitHub to help me but all I have found has made me even more confused!!
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
June 02, 2013 03:03PM
Yeah me too, I was trying to upload my modified Marlin for Viki on the Azteeg when it first came out and couldn't figure it out either. In the end I gave up and emailed it to anyone who asked for it. Whatever you build make it easy to understand and upload to or people won't use it smiling smiley


_________________________________________________________________________________________

Redwood Valley, Nelson, New Zealand
Open beam Prism blog ~ Thingiverse ~ YouTube
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
June 03, 2013 05:54PM
Guys,

Github is a Git repository. As it is the people behind the Github hosting service have done a good job to make it as user-friendly as possible, but it's still based on Git, a distributed version control system - for programmers, not for end users (it was initially designed by Linus Torvalds for the Linux kernel development). It's probably the most complicated VCS too, but possibly the most powerful - although there have been heated arguments on this.

FYI even software developers struggle with Git at first. So it's perfectly "normal" for us ordinary human beings to find it hard to grasp! winking smiley
Re: Can we put an organized model repository up on reprap.org?
June 27, 2013 01:38AM
Guys,

There are only two or three things you need to compete with thingiverse ( the incumbent) as a startup:
1 - give the same or better "experience".
2 - give people a reason to change.
3 - make the change so easy they don't even have to try.
4 - be dynamic/vibrant/agile or at least appear that way. :-)

Here's the steps I'd take, if it were me ( and who's to say its not ... ) :
1 - develop a site with feature parity to thingiverse ( including usability) people don't use it because it's crap.
2 - make it a one-click ( or less) process to signup. (ie single sign-on with google and/or facebook is a must. )
3 - have a "would you like to import your existing stuff from thingiverse. we'd like to do that now. click [.] to skip the import, or [CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR THINGS] ".
4 - get some rockin content, and import it. Eg: look closely at all the licenses of the file/s that are on thingiverse, and see which licenses permit you to copy the product/s and under what conditions ( eg a creative-commons-attribution license may allow you to copy the user/s files to your site, so long as you include the author/s details, and whatnot in your site. (ie you are not entering any agreement with thingiverse, just with the author ) . Alternatively, you might find that github is full of STL files that thingiverse has no control over , which you could equally mine, so long as you abide by attribution and licensing responsibilites ) .
5 - give your user/s a trivial way to share content/links from your site , so they can twe#t, G+,FB, reddit, /b/ , instagram, etc etc to their hearts content, nd their friends. Make it easier to use than you thought possible. Make it obvious. Make it in-your-face. Popup things saying "you haven't shared this [much] yet", help them. etc
Only then do you tell people about it.
6 - spruik, publicise, advertise, PR about your awesome new site at every opportunity, everywhere you can that isn't outright spamming. GO mental on the forums, rock peoples world, have youtube videos of walkthroughs, find the freshed looking face you can be your "front PR person", and get them in the news, on TV, in e-books, etc. Be like Bre and Makerbot, whore your-self to the PR gods.
7 - Win.

Buzz.
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