3D models, real driver of growth for the 3D printing market? – The point of view of Hugo Fromont and Pierre Ayroles, co-founders of Cults
“In the end, thanks to them, to their 3D models, 3D printing will be a success tomorrow, everyone will want a printer because without their models, which are creative and beautiful, the public would not want to have a specific product and makers would not want to buy a 3D printer in order to print it.”
Hugo Fromont & Pierre Ayroles, left the world of advertising for another one where innovation is flourishing: 3D printing. Design being their core business, they created, with Sunny Ripert, developer, Cults, a marketplace that connects 3D models’ creators with makers.
Through the meaningful name of their platform, the co-founders aim to highlight the quality of the models uploaded by designers. The name also refers to StLuc (Cults read “right to left”), the patron saint of artists, painters and sculptors. Furthermore, it evokes the extension. STL which is a popular format of 3D printable files. It finally refers to a group of people who share the same hobby that can be very costly. More than a passion and a source of inspiration, Cults is increasingly becoming a way to make profit for some designers.
Today, the co-founders talk about the highlights of their activities, from the beginning until today, and put forward the importance of 3D designers for the 3D printing market.
How does Cults function?
Launched in 2014, Cults is a platform that connects 3D model creators with those who want to 3D print objects. Creators, amateurs and professionals upload their STL files on our platform, making them accessible to anyone who has a 3D printer and wants to print any type of object.
What makes us different from others is the possibility for designers to freely share their 3D files thanks to Creative Commons license or commercialise them. For the latter option, designers choose the price of their creation and can adjust it based on the rules of supply and demand. Therefore, every time, their 3D file is downloaded, they receive a 80% commission.
The truth is that the creation of 3D model requires a lot of time. Designers have to test their 3D model by printing them and this hobby can finally become very costly. Our platform therefore aims at encouraging them. If, for now, all of them cannot earn a living from their passion, the payment option enables some of the designers to finance what their hobby requires: new filaments, parts for their 3D printer or even new 3D printers.
Anyway, Cults gives value to their work or enables them to monetize it.
Has intellectual property of designers ever been a source of conflict?
Not at all. It should be noted that those who want to use a model should first register, therefore must read and accept the terms and conditions of use and sale of the platform.
There is no way to ignore the right of intellectual property. A set of rules is implemented to protect both the creator and the user. Each stakeholder is therefore aware of his/her responsibility when using the services of the platform.
How has the platform evolved until today?
Cults is a fast-growing platform. Every week, our statistics are better than the previous week. Today, we have over 150,000 registered members on our platform and 500 new members sign up every day! The trend shows that owners of 3D printers are those who download the most 3D models.
What about your core business?
The platform remains our core business. Over time, we have been able to improve this offer. For example, users can now upload their 3D files on the platform and send pictures of the prints they have made. This leads to an ecosystem within which once the designer’s 3D model is uploaded, the maker downloads it, prints it and publishes a picture to show results of the print. This ensures 3D printing, the printability of the model and adds a touch of originality.
Moreover, what makes the concept really original is that the model can be created in one place, and can be 3D printed in another country, on another continent…
What are the other services?
We also receive specific 3D modeling requests. Specific requests are managed in collaboration with our 2000+ specialized designers.
We would like designers to see Cults as a platform which gives value to their creation, inspires them, thus boosts modeling, and can also be a source of income. In the end, thanks to them, to their 3D models, 3D printing will be a success tomorrow, everyone will want a printer because without their models, which are creative and beautiful, the public would not want to have a specific product and makers would not want to buy a 3D printer in order to print it.
What were the main highlights for the platform in 2017?
In addition to the sharing principle, we also launched challenges with partners such as Dagoma, BCN3D, F3DF, MakerFaire, Stratomaker or Leroy Merlin.
What can we expect for 2018?
We are currently working on new projects with our main partners, we are committed to developing innovation and technology. Our goal is to help leading French or international brands to gain markets with 3D printing.
Your last word?
May 2018 be a good year, even better than 2017. May users always be satisfied when using Cults, and may they find cult 3D models! Vive l’impression 3D !
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