CNC related file sharing site - request for feedback

So as you know we’re always wanting to work on more here at Sienci HQ. It’s such an interesting and exciting problem to solve, trying to tackle easier CNCing from every angle: machines, accessories, software, resources, etc.

The Vision

The idea is this: make a file sharing site for CNC routing which is available for anyone to use no matter your machine. This would help to bring the CNC hobby community closer together and especially benefit newcomers to the CNC space by giving them a variety of starter projects and inspiration.

I’m sure that many of you are familiar with the list of websites that Chris has assembled together in the LongMill resources (More Projects ). The process of discovering all these various sources was much harder than it really should be, and even though the list is quite thorough the reality is that file sharing in the CNC community is fragmented.

The (admittedly ambitious) goal of what we’re looking to bring to life will be a central hub for any and all CNC projects. It will not only be a platform for hosting the project files, but will also allow you to specify:

  • materials used
  • feeds and speeds
  • cutting tools used
  • cutting time
  • what you might’ve done to finish your project (painting, staining, sealing)

Any one of you who have made something impressive on the group or forum I’m sure are familiar with this list as being many of the common questions you get asked about the project you’ve posted. If the answers to these questions, alongside the project file, can be found in a single location this would really help to benefit ease of sharing and project inspiration throughout our own CNC community as well as the CNC community at large :slight_smile:

The questions

Imagine a scenario where you were told “There’s this new site where you can save and explore CNC projects, check it out” and you were given a link to click.

What would you expect to see? What would draw you in? What is it that would be the most important elements for you as a user of such a site? What information would be there if you looked at a project?

The goal

We’re at a very early state in the design and implementation of just such a site. Any feedback at this stage about the elements the community most would want goes a long way towards shaping the direction of the project and making it something useful to the largest amount of the hobby CNC community.

Even just a short explanation of how you currently find or choose projects to make can help us narrow down what sorts of elements we should incorporate into the design and feature set of this website.

5 Likes

As a relative newcomer to the CNC space, I think this is a great idea. If I was contemplating a new project, I would definitely go to this site to see what others may have done before me. In some cases, I might want to create an exact duplicate of a project; but in many cases the site would be a place to get ideas on how I might approach my project, or to take an existing file that is close to what I want and modify from there.

I believe the area where many websites fall short is with the capabilities of their search engine. I will often go to a site searching for a particular item or topic, then give up and leave because what seems to be even the simplest of searches returns either incorrect results or no results. So for me, an efficient search engine would be one of the most important components of the site. I believe the best way to accomplish this is through the use of Meta Tags (Tags). If the search engine only looks for words that appear in the project name, it’s ability to find relevant projects will be limited. But if a user can add other Tags to their project when entering it on the site, and the search engine can “see” those tags, results of the search will be much better.

For example, a user could type “hold down clamps” in the search engine box and end up getting 0 search results even though there was a project named “my clamping system”, “hold-down clamps” or “holddown” clamps on the site. With tags, Similarly if a user searched for “CNC joinery” and there was a project with the title "mortise and tenon joints, that project would not be found in the search.

Tags give you much more powerful search capabilities by letting the user add additional relevant terms that someone could be searching under, as well as different ways to spell something… one word vs. two words; hyphenated vs. non-hyphenated, etc.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment!

Greg

5 Likes

Great idea! Something like Thingiverse but focused on CNC!

What would you expect to see?

  • A large collection of projects that are focused on (but not exclusively) components that can be created on a CNC
  • some kind of curation - e.g. project of the month, “community pick”, great starter project, …
  • a way to explore the large list of projects. Categories or labels assigned to the projects
  • a way to interact with the posted projects, e.g. via comments, votes, “remixes” (similar to how Thingiverse does it)

What would draw you in?
Personally the most relevant thing for me is the variety of projects to explore. Of course this is difficult to achieve for a community driven site, but maybe it helps if there are some incentives to motivate people to contribute (contests, gameification, …)

What information would be there if you looked at a project?

  • required material, e.g. what size of wood board is required
  • pitfalls to consider during CAM, machining
  • approx. run duration
  • feeds & speeds that can be used as a starting point
  • links to similar projects
  • how it was constructed (CAD)
  • a way to say “thank you” to the one publishing the project. Maybe something like “donate a coffee”
1 Like

I for one would love to Sienci start a site for file sharing. You are probably aware of Prusa’s printables site already, I like it better than thingiverse personally. I had been away from the site for awhile and I really like what they have done with the site since my last visit. They have badges like we have here on the forums and it’s fun to upload some stuff and get a new badge. Some of the badges are even printable. They also have a Prusameters reward system where for different things you do or downloads and likes your project gets you get so many Prusameters and when you get enough you can use them to get filament or a T-shirt etc. Also the process of uploading a project is easy, drag and drop some files, write a description, choose some tags and a license and your done.

You can probably tell I really like Prusa as a company. I like Sienci too and would love to see this project come to fruition. I believe it would help Sienci and the CNC community at large.

Edit: I realize that my feedback is kinda late but rediscovering Printables.com reminded me of this post and I think it deserved a bump.