Plug it in and crank up the DIY make machine baby, we’re about to roll out a huge vat of speculation. Last week at the SolidSmack Posterous site, I put up a tidbit on the new Shapeways 3D Part Database. I commented that it would be interesting to see 3DContentCentral, a user-generated 3D part library, buy Shapeways.

An interesting thought (to me at least), but in the same field of interest sits Ponoko and 3DVia, both of which, run similar outfits. So, whose the most likely to cozy up to Shapeways?

From your part Library…
I’ve been mulling it over in my head, mixing it with brown sugar, pessimism, and a bit more speculation and ya know, 3DContentCentral could really, already do 3D part fab without Shapeways. The key component Shapeways has is the infrastructure for ordering parts in a variety of materials. Could 3DContentCentral take on 3D part fabrication? Maybe team up with ZCorp?

Then layer this on. 3DContentCentral is owned by Dassault, who is also the parent company of 3DVia, another 3D library of user-generated digital content. Now that makes the mix even more interesting – Ready-made 3D components from the 3DContentCentral/3DVia library straight to your doorstep?

But what about Ponoko?
Ponoko easily has the most popular, diverse way of creating and selling designs online. It’s right up Shapeway’s 3D printing path. They’re both actively building a DIY manufacturer’s dream… If only you could get laser-cut and 3D print (or a mixture of the two) through the same company. hmmmm.

So, it’s just one more thought I’ll throw out there. Whatever happens, there’s no excuse we have for not turning our ideas into actual goods. Have you used any of these? If you have, I bet you have a better perspective on where these online resources are going and how they could best be merged.


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.