Imagine the digital equivalent of a bustling factory running non-stop, showcasing an endless parade of products. Visitors can scroll through three virtual conveyor belts and peruse items ranging from playful toys to practical household goods. As a bazaar of 3D-printable things, there is something for everyone. Jewelry, drone accessories, flower pots and figurines represent a small sampling of the many interesting objects to be found in this factory's growing catalog of digitally-crafted items. This is Pinshape and they are the latest contenders in the expanding 3D content marketplace.
Pinshape is meant to be an economic enabler for 3D printing where designers can showcase and sell their digital products to the growing demographic of 3D printer owners who are searching for content.
Conceived by a trio of Canadian entrepreneurs from Edmonton, the Pinshape platform has the backing of Silicon Valley angel investor group 500 Startups. The starting partners are made up of financial analyst Lucas Matheson, design engineer Nick Schwinghamer, and computer programmer Andre Yanes. Their goal is to create an ecommerce platform that organizes, curates and categorizes the growing flow of 3D-printable content that is being pushed online.
As its name implies, Pinshape is a digital pin board for multi-dimensional shapes. Similar to Pinterest, Pinshape allows those who sign up to organize their favorite 'shapes' into boards. Pinshapers can follow one another, leave comments, and like preferred designs. Printable 3D content can be purchased (some items are free) and downloaded as an STL file.
Pinshape also provides 3D printing for those without access to a 3D printer. There are over 35 materials to choose from including hard white plastic, resin, sterling silver, ceramics and wax.
Artists, engineers and designers of all skill levels are encouraged to submit their 3D design portfolios and join the site in order to grow the Pinshape community. To become a Pinshape designer, interested parties must first submit a portfolio of 3D-printable designs and then be granted designer status. There is a 'become a designer' button on the top navigation bar for this purpose. Members with designer status can upload, share, or sell their shapes within the Pinshape community. All shapes uploaded to Pinshape are available except those designated private. Private shapes are only available to the uploader.
To foster community spirit, and to proliferate desirable designs, Pinshape has monthly contests. Past prizes include 3D printers, Wacom Cintiqs and one-on-one training with leading 3D print artists, such as Adam Ross. Winners can also have the opportunity to be featured on Pinshape's Amazon page.