Type of site
|Created by||Zach "Hoeken" Smith, Bre Pettis|
|Launched||October 18, 2008|
Thingiverse is a website dedicated to the sharing of user-created digital design files. Providing primarily free, open-source hardware designs licensed under the GNU General Public License or Creative Commons licenses, the site allows contributors to select a user license type for the designs that they share. 3D printers, laser cutters, milling machines and many other technologies can be used to physically create the files shared by the users on Thingiverse.
Thingiverse is widely used in the DIY technology and Maker communities, by the RepRap Project and by 3D printer and MakerBot operators. Numerous technical projects use Thingiverse as a repository for shared innovation and dissemination of source materials to the public. Many of the object files are intended for the purposes of repair, decoration or organization.
Thingiverse was started in November 2008 by Zach Smith as a companion site to MakerBot Industries, a DIY 3D printer kit making company. In 2013, Makerbot and Thingiverse were acquired by Stratasys.
Thingiverse received an Honorable Mention in the Digital Communities category of the 2010 ARS Electronica, Prix Ars Electronica international competition for cyber-arts.
Whereas many open-source hardware projects focus on project-specific materials, Thingiverse provides a common ground from which derivatives and mashups can form. These derivatives typically involve users modifying or improving existing designs and uploading them back to the site. Because all models on the site are open source, this behavior is actively encouraged by the site and community.
Many 3D printers can be upgraded with 3D-printed parts. Thingiverse users produce many improvements and modifications for a variety of platforms. Popular examples of community-based 3D printer projects include the RepRap project and the Contraptor project. Some 3D printers can be almost entirely 3D-printed themselves. 
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