3D printing holds the lofty promise that if you can imagine it, you can print it. Unfortunately, modeling software still requires a fairly high level of knowledge and skill, which leaves many consumers unable to bring their ideas to life. However, a new company called Sandboxr aims to reduce that knowledge gap by giving users simple, web-based tools to manipulate 3D models so they can create unique, custom-made objects without touching complicated modeling software.
"I just want people to feel like they can be Tony Stark from Iron Man."
Unlike services like Shapeways — which only let users print directly from a pattern — Sandboxr lets users pose, scale, accessorize, and print character models uploaded by artists, animators, and game developers. Founder Berk Frei told Wired that his goal was to make users "feel like they can be Tony Stark from Iron Man. They can design something in their computer and build it." While pricing may change before the service is launched, Frei expects 2.5-inch models will cost about $12, and 3.5-inch objects will cost $20 to $25.
Speaking to Wired, Frei said that his company had received an "overwhelming" response from video game companies. Because Sandboxr uses the same modeling files as game developers, Frei says it will be easy for companies to make already-made character models available. This could prove to be a huge boon for the service, which will likely be dependent on a wide library of content for its success. Sandboxr is currently in private beta and will be launching a Kickstarter campaign according to Wired, but there's no word yet on when the site will be open for business. However, you can see a few details of how the web-based software will work in the video below.