It started with an idea: Create Thingiverse for Laser Cutting Files
When I’m not designing logos, websites, or apps, you can usually find me in my garage tinkering with my 3D printers or my laser cutter. (I have a table saw as well, but I’m not as comfortable using it considering I value all ten of my fingers). Making stuff is a cool hobby that can easily turn into an obsession.
Working with 3D printers is great. The barrier to entry is pretty low, there’s files available for almost anything you can imagine and active communities for each popular printer manufacturer. There are websites like Thingiverse, Printables, Thangs, & Cults3D where users can share and discuss 3D printing files and techniques.
I’ve been 3D printing for a couple years now and I decided to branch out about a year ago and buy a laser cutter. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that the community side of laser cutting is lacking to say the least. There are a few sites where you can pick up laser-cutting files, but there was nothing that I found that resembled Thingiverse for laser cutting or the amazing communities I experienced in the 3D printing space.
So I decided to make my own site for laser cutting to try and capture that magic. My idea from the start was to create Thingiverse for laser cutting files. Enter CuttingPaths.com; a passion project of mine that I figured would take a couple weeks. Long story short, weeks morphed into months and it’s finally at a place now where I’m comfortable sharing it.
This is the first time I’ve built a site with the intention of hosting a community of users so there were a few challenges in that regard. There were things that took me way longer than they should have and I made some mistakes but overall it was a great experience because this was a side project for me. No clients to answer to, no deadlines, and a project I was passionate about finishing.
The site is pretty much what I would have wanted to see when I first got my laser cutter. It’s main purpose is to act as a laser cutting file sharing website, but the important part of it is the community. You can comment on designs, leave reviews, remix other people’s work, and post images of what you’ve made from other people’s laser cutting files.
So now all it needs is that community. Let’s hope it gains some creative users who are willing to share and collaborate with others by spreading the joy of laser cutting. I’ll be trying to get the word out about the site and I’ll be updating it regularly. I’ve already got a bunch of great suggestions from some helpful redditors and I’m excited to get started on some new features. Lots of cool stuff should be coming in the future!
I hope it’s successful in its mission of bringing laser cutting enthusiasts together by giving them a place to share and discuss their laser cutting files. Check out Cutting Paths if you’re into laser cutting, and would like to download or share laser cutting files. I hope it’s a place that helps you make some cool stuff! And let me know what you think. Did I succeed in creating Thingiverse for laser cutting files? Is there anything I’m missing?
Creating this site was a fun journey for me. Whether I’m out in my garage, or designing in the office, it’s just a great feeling to create something out of nothing.
Thanks for checking out my post about creating CuttingPaths.com – my attempt at making Thingiverse for laser cutting files. See more Nate Wren Design posts here.