The 3D printing space is developing so fast, that even the writers at 3DPrint.com can be caught off guard. The future of where this technology is heading can often be difficult to predict, as the rate of the expansion within the industry is expanding itself. One thing that we can predict, with relatively high confidence, is that within a few years there will be millions and millions of 3D design files online, a majority of them being free. In fact, I would venture to guess that almost any smaller object will have a 3D CAD file available for it, which could be downloaded either for free, or for a small fee. With the millions upon millions of 3D CAD files online, there will have to be some way in which we can sort through them all. Need a file for a replacement part for your new GE Monogram oven? Where would you look?
Perhaps Google themselves will venture into this area. After all, they already have their sophisticated search algorithms and basic framework in place to extend their search to other areas. Oftentimes, however, the giants within a field do not have the foresight to expand their scope to cover new market segments in an intuitive fashion. This is where the smaller players could come in. Two weeks ago, we profiled a startup called 3DShapes which is working on a technology to allow users to search for 3D models based on particular shapes of objects. It’s certainly a unique approach to search, which could catch the giants like Google off guard.
With that said, it may just be a refined, simple search experience, capable of connecting with the largest file repositories on the net, which becomes the de facto 3D model search engine. Recently a new search engine called Yobi3D emerged on the scene. It’s simplistic approach makes searching for a 3D model fun, and surprisingly it’s quite accurate and comprehensive for its age.
A simple search for ‘paper clip’, something you wouldn’t really guess would turn up much, brought up a variety of results taken from model repositories such as Turbosquid, Active3D.net, and Gradcad.
Once a 3D model is found, the user can click on it and immediately be presented a web platform which allows for the full rotation of that object, as well as the ability to zoom in or out. Users can then easily click on the source link of the model to be taken to a page where that model can quickly be downloaded.
“I was really amazed with how mature web browsers have become in rendering 3D graphics,” says Jessy Lee, the search engine’s founder and CEO. “We are still developing our technology and finding more potential users,” Lee says.
As the market develops, it will be those companies which continue to develop their user interfaces, as well as their access to an extended number of file repositories, who will ultimately succeed… or at least get bought out by a Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft.
Either way, Yobi3D certainly is a useful website for those looking to find their next 3D printable model. Will it have what it takes to become a giant within the field, over the next few years? We will have to wait and find out. Let’s hear your thoughts on this new search engine in the Yobi3D forum thread on 3DPB.com.