I started a little project about a week ago called gitprintable. There’s not really anything to it yet, but I wanted to post something about it so I don’t forget about it again.
The idea is simple: a way to browse and search for printable models people have uploaded to Github.
There’s a few reasons. One is that, while you can use the Github website to search for models there isn’t a great UI for doing this, and in order to “see” (visualize the models in) the results you have to root around a bit.
Another reason is that the specialized repositories for printable models (Thingiverse, YouMagine, etc.) are proprietary, centralized and privately-owned systems. There are numerous potential reasons this is a problem (several of which have come to pass) and as such, providing an alternative that isn’t owned and operated by a 3D printer company is a good idea for the community. If gitprintable can provide a more usable interface to Github for creators and consumers of printable models, that could help move things away from these proprietary repositories*.
I’m not sure how swiftly this project will move along, but if there’s any interest in it beyond myself I might try to dedicate some time to it over the next few weeks.
Of course, Github is also a proprietary, privately-owned centralized system as well but its financial interests are less entangled with the interests of those creating printable models than the alternatives. That said, I’m keeping this in mind and would like to minimize gitprintable’s dependence on Github and focus on integrating with the version control system Git (which is a distributed system and an open-source project).