Layer By Layer launches an easier marketplace for 3D-printable objects


Layer By Layer, a company we originally met at the Inside 3D Printing conference in New York a couple of months ago, today launched their marketplace for 3D-printable designs.

They differ from other 3D printing marketplaces such as Shapeways or Thingiverse in a few important ways. First, Layer By Layer is focused on ordinary (or mass-market) 3D printer owners (a small but fast-growing group) who both want to print designs on their own printers but whom are less willing or able to spend hours tinkering with the multitude of file formats, necessity of slicing software or tweaking of printer settings that is the norm in industry currently.  Secondly, they’re making an effort to recruit professional designers and to curate their marketplace so that everything will maintain a high quality of design.  This importance of this can not be understated; nobody wants to discover that a particular design isn’t workable after spending many hours printing it out.

Their L2L Print Utility, is a software available for OSX 10.6+, Windows 7 and Windows 8 that intalls on the user’s computer and is activated when using the Layer By Layer’s site. The software manages communications between the user’s account, the website and the user’s printer, effectively streaming purchased designs directly to the printer.

For designers, this means that the IP of designs is protected — a factor that could lead to better quality designs that are typically found on Thingiverse or Shapeways today (where designers may be reluctant to upload their designs for fear of their designs being replicated freely.)  As an example, the site currently features a 3D-printable puzzle design from Guinness Book of World Records Puzzle Designer Oskar van Deventer.

The software currently supports MakerBot’s Replicator 1, 2, and 2x, but they say support for more printers is on the way.

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