I did a small research on Thingiverse.com Things a few years back as part of my PhD research. Ever since I have received questions about more recent metadata set about Things in Thingiverse.com and about the Ruby app I wrote to collect metadata about around 117 000 things. The app was total spaghetti code and even I have hard time following nowadays how it actually works. It’s time to rebuild the engine and make it better.
Globally usable metadata repository – extend 3D printing commons
Idea is to build service which collects metadata about 3D printable objects in different platforms, not just Thingiverse.com even though it would make sense to start with it. Getting uptodate metadata about 3D printing commons (3D objects are part of it if licensed under open licenses) would be golden for research purposes. Companies could also utilize it to gain insight about 3D printing community. Creating such repository would save time and effort in doing research and would be beneficial in global level.
Simple thing to do
App should automatically collect daily predefined set up metadata from platforms such as Thingiverse.com. Data is stored to database from where predefined charts are created. In addition app creates every night a dataset as CSV which contains metadata from all 3D models. The amount of things in Thingiverse.com is over a million. Collecting metadata from Thingiverse.com would be first step since it has pretty decent API. After that meta data collection could be extended to other platforms (what ever they might be).
Call for help
I have created some apps but my time is limited. In addition getting app done the right way from the start is beyond my skills. This is a chance to extend 3D printing commons by creating metadata repository for everyone to use. Not a huge task, but still something I can’t do over night. This calls for collaboration. If the framework is created wisely, data from additional platforms could be added via plugins. In other words, some architecture design is needed before coding the app. We could run the code for example in Heroku or Amazon. If you became interested, contact me via Twitter: https://twitter.com/kyyberi