A new phase for YouMagine

The short version:
We’re looking for people to help out, taking YouMagine into the next phase. To support its continued development, we’ll experiment with various revenue models, including advertising and our just launched Patreon page.

Longer version:
Back in 2013, together with a small team at Ultimaker, we launched YouMagine. The dream was to create a place for people to share and find digital designs for making real objects. Thanks to the amazing Ultimaker and broader 3D printing community, today there are close to 20 000 designs shared on YouMagine, and many more produced objects used by people across the world! This would’ve been impossible without so many amazing contributors!

One of the goals was to create a platform and community that was technology neutral, e.g. not exclusive to customers of Ultimaker. Everyone should feel welcome to use it and contribute to it. In 2017 this was taken a step further. There was no need for Ultimaker to “own” YouMagine, because it considered it a free service to the general public anyway. Ultimaker as the single “sponsor”, didn’t make sense. That’s why Martijn Elserman and I (co-founders of Ultimaker) decided to give YouMagine true independence. As of 2017 it is no longer affiliated with any manufacturer.

For the next 5 years YouMagine was run by me and sponsored by Martijn and myself. During COVID, we invested heavily in making the website more robust to handle the heavy traffic and we improved features for collaboration. For instance, we added file version numbers and better ways to attribute original designers. We got the support of Luis Cordoba, an amazing designer who’s helping to moderate the site. Luis was full of interesting ideas and we realized YouMagine wasn’t given the attention and funding that it deserves. We always figured YouMagine should evolve and stand on its own feet, also financially.

This is why we’re opening up YouMagine for more people and organizations to sponsor it. It should do more than cover the hosting and maintenance cost. We’d love to see experimentation and evolutions of the platform. If you or your organization would like to play a role in this, please reach out!

While I still deeply care about the fate of the platform, my passion for creating new concepts and businesses has taken me to new adventures and a new eco-startup: Stekker.app. Because it takes dedication, focus, perseverance and passion to turn ideas into something of value, I can no longer give YouMagine what it deserves. I will continue to be a sponsor of the platform for as long as needed, but I’m looking for a new “steward” with the passion to take YouMagine to the next level! If you’re that person, please reach out! YouMagine has remained the same for too long, even though there’s so much potential value left untapped.

As of today, we’re starting to experiment with advertising on YouMagine. We also launched a Patreon page, that you can find here. If we end up getting enough income, there’s no need for advertising, which is personally my preference. But it’s up to the next steward(s) to figure out something more appropriate that works well. Whether from advertising or another source, the plan is to let revenues (after costs) go to those who contribute to the platform.

Note: for now, if you’re signed in to the website, you won’t see any ads. So it should be easy to not see them if you’re an active user of the website.

We believe in an exciting future for YouMagine and we welcome you to be part of it!

Erik de Bruijn

Founder and current steward of YouMagine

Survey summary: Makers who improve 3D printers

Joris van Tubergen - designer, inventor and 3D printing innovator
Joris van Tubergen – designer, inventor and 3D printing innovator.

Prof. dr. Jeroen de Jong and Max Mulhuijzen surveyed YouMagine community members to learn about the motivations of makers and their reasons to share what they made.

Below is a summary of their findings:

  • An interesting trend is that Makers increasingly develop designs that benefit producer products. At YouMagine, we observe that users upload designs that serve as inspiration for the next generation of Ultimaker printers.
  • We aim to find out: what are the characteristics of Makers improving 3D printers?
  • With a response rate of 33% (N = 122), we find an engaging Maker community in the YouMagine platform.
  • Although 40% of the respondents are also occupied with 3D printing in a business environment, only a few report being driven by commercial motives.
  • Respondents are driven because they want to help others, learn, satisfy a personal need, or out of enjoyment.
  • On average, we find that the respondents spend 10 hours on 3D printing per week and have 7 years of experience working with 5 different printers.
  • Designs that are created to overcome a personal problem show higher scores of online adoption on YouMagine.
  • This is well-reflected by the designs ‘Yet Another Ultimaker 2 Feeder’ and ‘Ultimaker 2 Cable Chain’. These are uploaded by Makers who essentially created these designs to solve their personal problems.

How to get your design featured

I personally look at every single design that is posted on YouMagine. Occasionally I will feature something that stands out, but this is a small portion of the designs posted on YouMagine. So, if your design does gets featured, it might be considered quite an honour to be on the front page for a while. But, how do you get your design featured?

The following recommendations you definitely increase the likelihood of getting your design featured:

  • Valuable: At least interesting or useful to some other users. The design doesn’t have to be for everyone. That’s the beauty of the internet: there can be MANY, MANY obscure items, each one having value to someone who comes across it. The beauty is that thing are 3D printed on demand, so every thing that gets made has value to someone.
  • Originality / innovation: The design should be your own or be a derivative or improvement over something someone has shared before. So: not a direct clone or files taken from another designer, it has to be developed at least a bit further.
  • Reproducible: It should be possible to reproduce what you have made (if you include rare items that you can’t find nor print, it is hard to reproduce for others)
  • Open source: As much as possible, allows for modification or improvements to be made. Set wiki-mode to enabled to allow registered members to contribute or update files and descriptions. Make sure you choose a license that allows derivatives. Also, include the native design files so people can build on top of your work. Parametric files are easily adjusted, so that’s also a plus, but definitely not required since it mostly applies to functional objects that have varying parameters.
  • Attribution: If the design builds on the work of someone else, give credit to that person (e.g. username, to the design that inspired you).
  • Ready to print files: even though source files are useful if someone wants to adjust something.
  • Images: A great photo makes your design stand out! Showcase it nicely with images of the printed thing and also the context in which it can or should be used. A video is often the best format to show the latter.
  • Documentation: Graphical assembly instructions (when assembly is required) are a big plus, so are instructions for use (unless that’s obvious)

Items that don’t become featured because they don’t meet these criteria still might be valued by other members. So don’t hesitate to share what you have! It’s also appreciated if you interact with people who provide feedback on your design, for instance by responding to “Issues” that people have opened and closing them when they’re resolved. You can also simply respond in the Comments section.

If you design many things and become followed by other YouMagine members, that will also increase the number of times your design is collected or voted “Favorite”. These stats also are factored in when deciding to feature a design.

Good luck and thank you for sharing!

Erik de Bruijn
Entrepreneur and software and hardware developer
(Co-)founder of Ultimaker, YouMagine and Stekker.app

Shared On YouMagine – PIX-E Gif Camera by nickrbrewer

PIX E Gif Camera by nickrbrewer

Here’s a great Raspberry Pi GIF camera project created by Shayna and Nick Brewer. I’m a huge fan of this project and brought a couple of Nick’s units with me for World Maker Faire New York this year — check back for more animated gifs and experiments printing and assembling more rigs….

Shared On YouMaginePIX-E Gif Camera by by PIX-E Gif Camera by nickrbrewer:

A fully customizable 3D printed camera that takes short gifs using a Raspberry Pi Zero and Raspberry Pi Camera.

This is the PIX-E Gif Camera! My thought process was that I wanted to create a camera that recalled those days when disposable cameras were a thing. Anyone with intermediate making/printing/coding skills should be able to put this together pretty easily.

Print out the three pieces and follow the instructions on Make Community Projects! I’ve included the 123D Design file so feel free to modify the design to fit your needs.




PIX E Gif Camera by nickrbrewer 01

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Visit this design on YouMagine.com!

3D Printing News – Doodle 3D Transform

In a world where we can buy affordable 3d printers it can seem intimidating when it comes to creating your own 3D model for the first time. This is what the founders envisioned when they created their first successful Kickstarter for the Doodle 3d WiFi box with embeded sketch app (still available). For the first time you could not only use your fingers to paint a 2d sketch and extrude it into 3D you could send the design directly to your printer over USB. The WiFi box hosts an app that allows any touch interface like phones or tablets to be the modeling tool wirelessly. It’s much easier than it sounds.

The founders have improved upon the concept by releasing the Doodle3D Transform App, which runs a web technology-based app and forthcoming tablet app, pending a successful campaign. You can draw by hand, scan photos/drawings or import existing images. In addition to sending your design to your 3D-printer you can upload it to an online service like 3D Hubs for output, if you’re still saving up for a printer. But instead of being limited to single-walled prints you can create complex objects with the same simplicity of the original. Watch the video above and see all the capabilities on their campaign page.

I can’t think of a quicker or more fun way to get started in modeling! You can find out more about the features on the Kickstarter Page and more about their company on their website.

Shared on YouMagine – 3D printed RC truck V3 by MrCrankyface

3D printed RC truck V3 by MrCrankyface

MrCrankyface shared a 3D-printed RC truck that has been 12 months in the making!

Shared On YouMagine3D printed RC truck V3 by MrCrankyface:

After roughly 12 months development, this is what has come of it!

It’s an almost fully printable RC truck with gearbox and AWD drivetrain.

  • Each differential works as a real one but you can replace the internals with
    “truckv3_axle_difflock” to have a locked diff with more grip.
  • It has two axles in the files, select the one you want.
    Axle1 has dual rear tyres, Axle2 has single rear tyres.
    Axle2 also has 2 choices in rims.
  • The frame can be printed in 2 or 4 pieces, depending on how big your print surface is.
  • Use the “split” files if you have a small printbed.

All you need to build this, besides a lot of filament, is screws/nuts, bearings and electronics.

This was a huge project to develop and upload so please let me know if anything is missing or unclear!

Assembly videos of most parts to aid you in building can be found on my youtube channel….

3D printed RC truck V3 02

Visit this design on YouMagine.com!

Shared on YouMagine – Penrose P2 tiles by Juan Gonzalez-Gomez

Penrose P2 tiles by Juan Gonzalez Gomez

Modular robotics researcher Juan Gonzalez-Gomez shared a parametric set of Penrose P2 tilings he created in FreeCAD. Check out the video of his research assistant, six year old daughter Alicia, testing the accuracy of his project below. 😉

Shared On YouMaginePenrose P2 tiles by Juan Gonzalez-Gomez:

Only two Penrose tiles are needed for creating a non-periodic tiling. The tiles have been designed in Freecad, and they are parametric. Just open the Parameters spreadsheet (in freecad), change the parameters, generate the STL and print them. Examples of tiles with 30mm and 40mm side have been already generated and ready for printing and testing

The source code (Freecad) is available at this github repo.
Find more documentation (in Spanish) in this github wiki.
Have fun tiling the plane!

Tessellate the plane

Building tile in freecad

Tesselation example

Visit this design on YouMagine.com!

Shared on YouMagine – MEI BLUSTER and SYMMETRA (overwatch) by Oleg Osipov

MEI BLUSTER by Oleg Osipov

These two Overwatch projects recently shared by Oleg Osipov are not just satisfying cosplay prop builds — bonus points for excellent use of incorporated electronics! — but this approach to stacking and part insertion is a master class for how to make impressive colorful pieces, one color at a time. Benefits from contrasting colors up against each other, and also a wider pool of community members can run these files on their equipment.

Shared On YouMagineMEI BLUSTER and SYMMETRA by Oleg Osipov.

SYMMETRA by Oleg Osipov

Visit these designs on YouMagine.com!

3D Printing News – 3D Prints for Teachers of the Visually Impaired

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The above image shows solids that all have the same volume, you can check this by filling one with water and then pouring that water into the next, fixed-volume objects. You can use the OpenSCAD script that Rich Cameron (aka Whosawhatsis) shared or download the sample objects. But why? Rich Cameron and Joan Horvarth, well-known authors, are on a mission to get all the 3d printers in the world, in all those new classrooms to help visually impaired students make use of 3D prints to learn just about any subject, but they need help making good models. This is where you come in.

Start off by downloading the sample objects above or generating your own via the openSCAD script we mentioned. Then visit the project page on Hackaday.io to get instructions on how you can volunteer to help this community and join their Google Group to continue the conversation. This is a great tactile to learn and a great way to share your talents with the world.

“Often students with visual impairments have difficulty with concepts based on visual/spatial relationships, particularly in math and science. 3D prints offer an unprecedented asset for their teachers, and 3D printers are becoming affordable. But these teachers need help designing models. [Whosawhastis] and I have been volunteer mentors to various groups working on figuring out the best ways to use 3D printing for the visually impaired. Our goal with this project is to document some simple, practical conventions for designing models, and lay the groundwork so that interested parties can create the needed designs. We know that schools have 3D printers and want to teach design thinking to their students. This project creates a minimalist open-source way to link teachers who need design files and (sighted) students who want projects to do. We want students to create the designs for the needed models, learning science, math and other subjects while helping their visually-impaired peers.”

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Shared on YouMagine – Vertical Axis Ugrinsky Wind Turbine VAWT by Robotobi

Vertical Axis Ugrinsky Wind Turbine VAWT by Robotobi

Here’s an excellent vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT) project that caught our eye. The assembly video below helps to see how the piece is structured and how it functions. Created by Robotobi to interface with a work-in-progress low RPM Generator (at bottom).

Shared On YouMagineVertical Axis Ugrinsky Wind Turbine VAWT by Robotobi:

A beautiful, modified Ugrinsky wind turbine. Intended for balcony and low windspeed use. Designed for Ultimaker 2 with Olsson block or UM2+ (max build volume, big nozzle, high printspeed).

Low RPM Generator

Visit this design on YouMagine.com!