500 days of Thingiverse: a longitudinal study of 30 popular things for 3D printing

Novak, James I 2020, 500 days of Thingiverse: a longitudinal study of 30 popular things for 3D printing, Rapid prototyping journal, vol. 26, no. 10, pp. 1723-1731, doi: 10.1108/RPJ-01-2020-0021.

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Title 500 days of Thingiverse: a longitudinal study of 30 popular things for 3D printing
Author(s) Novak, James IORCID iD for Novak, James I orcid.org/0000-0003-4082-4322
Journal name Rapid prototyping journal
Volume number 26
Issue number 10
Start page 1723
End page 1731
Total pages 9
Publisher Emerald Publishing Limited
Place of publication Bingley, Eng.
Publication date 2020
ISSN 1355-2546
1758-7670
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Technology
Engineering, Mechanical
Materials Science, Multidisciplinary
Engineering
Materials Science
Additive manufacturing
Social network analysis
3D printing
Maker movement
Digital downloads
File-sharing community
Summary Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide insight into the way object data on Thingiverse changes over time, analyzing the relationships among views, downloads, likes, makes, remixes and comments over 500 days. Design/methodology/approach – In total, 30 of the most popular things on Thingiverse were tracked between August 26, 2018 and January 7, 2020, with data collected about the different interactions at five intervals. Findings – Highlights include: “#3DBenchy” became the first thing to reach one million downloads during this study. The “Xbox One controller mini wheel” achieved the highest documented download rate of 698 downloads per day. The average conversion rate from downloads to makes for all 30 things was one make for every 474 downloads at the start of the study, declining to one make for every 784 downloads by the conclusion. Research limitations/implications – With over 1.6 million things on Thingiverse, this study focused on an exclusive group of things that have gained significant attention from makers and does not represent most things on the platform. Practical implications – Although often considered a novelty or niche maker community, this research shows that things on Thingiverse are achieving popularity comparable to digital music, video and imagery, and a large ecosystem of things has been growing that has implications for designers, manufacturers, supply chain managers and universal popular culture. Originality/value – This is the first study to track the digital behaviors of 3D printable things over time, revealing new knowledge about how people interact with content and the scale of these interactions.
Language eng
DOI 10.1108/RPJ-01-2020-0021
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 0913 Mechanical Engineering
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30144459

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