The Future of Dongiverse

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From our last blog post:

We believe that there is a way for artists to be compensated for their work, while still providing free and open access to models, and are working to build a platform to make that a reality.

I’d like to go deeper in to this, and talk about what we’re actually doing with Dongiverse.

First and foremost, Dongiverse is a place where people can upload models without regard to whether they are offensive or not; we are a Thingiverse for dongs. We’ve never been affiliated with Thingiverse, and we won’t be, and this gives us a certain amount of liberty to explore more interesting opportunities.

Figuring out how to make Dongiverse an enterprise worth investing our time in has been tough; we don’t have a printer to tie in to like MakerBot has, we can’t monetize the site through Google AdSense(1), and “adult site” ads are needlessly skeezy for the kind of service we’re trying to offer.

This leaves us with few options to allow the platform to pay for itself.

We realized a few months ago that we’re a bunch of makers and we can get away with … making things. That’s why when the new Dongiverse launches, you will be able to order real, physical versions of featured objects uploaded to the site.

Now, we get in to the touchy area of “FDM printed plastic isn’t exactly something nice to be putting in people” “also do you really have any idea what you’re doing?”

First, technical details. For those who don’t know, consumer 3D printing technology is basically the result of a CNC machine fucking a hot glue gun. You have a nozzle that spits out liquid or near-liquid plastic and some motors that move that nozzle in three axes, X Y and Z. It does a slice in the X Y with a certain infill pattern, then moves the bed down a fraction of a millimeter and does it again. and again. and again.

This leaves you with some obvious print artifacts, the most obvious being that the print is striated due to the layer-by-layer printing. Current top of the line consumer 3D printers (Think Ultimaker, MakerBot Replicator 2, etc) have become far more accurate and have been able to handle far smaller layer heights (meaning less striation) but the artifacts are still there, and they still suck.

Further, FDM techniques are notoriously bad at overhanging prints. Often times, blogs will showcase the FUTURE OF 3D PRINTING IS NOW and have a bunch of intricate prints, but the fact of the matter is that those are still being done on 25000$ machines. That is going to change soon, but for now, our only sane options for printers are printers where prints like this are considered amazing quality. You can see where the bottom layers droop because there’s nothing to bond them to.

Also, don’t ever try to read the MSDS for PLA or ABS plastic, you’ll be even more convinced that this is a horrible idea and that you shouldn’t be doing it.

Further, the prints aren’t actually water tight. And even if they are, it’s damn near impossible to clean them because the striation leaves areas for things to get stuck in.

Ew.

I’ll say this again: Don’t 3D print these models and put them in you.

The good news is that 3D prints make perfect sources for molded objects and there are plenty of safe and nontoxic, water tight mold agents; indeed, costume makers and toy makers have been using these methods for years to make their stuff.

And that’s what we’ll be doing.

When we leave Beta, the new Dongiverse will allow people to up-vote the sexiest models to the top, where we at Dongiverse will, if the model is printable and actually seems usable, generate a mold and offer the models for sale at a price the artist chooses. Artists will get a large cut of any sales (we’re thinking 30-70’s for starters, but will adjust that as necessary), and people order will get a custom-made silicone art piece in a color of their choosing.

What this means is that artists will be able to get paid for their art while keeping them freely available; indeed, all models on Dongiverse will be licensed under creative commons terms (we’re thinking of standardizing on the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 license, right now) so that any one who wants to make these items for themselves can freely do so. We’ll also be documenting the work that goes in to creating our models as this is as much a learning process for us right now as it is for those watching us grow.

Interested? Excited? Feel free to chime in on Twitter. We’d love to hear from you.

  1. How we figured this out is a story for another day.

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