MyMiniFactory’s 3D printing community reconnects digital creators with the physical world

Forget the Metaverse: Creatives Are Choosing a MetaReverse

The metaverse is inevitable, apparently.

In the future, we should all look forward to a “parallel virtual plane of existence that spans all digital technologies and will even come to control much of the physical world.” But how advanced the simulation becomes… do we really want to exist in a “parallel virtual plane”?

Humans crave physical interaction. There’s a reason that the world’s biggest tech moguls — from Steve Jobs to Bill Gates — have moved their own kids away from screens. And that the global board games market quietly grew to USD 13.75 billion in 2021 (and is forecast to reach a value of USD 30.93 billion by 2028).

At MyMiniFactory, we’re fiercely passionate about reconnecting millions of digital creatives with people and objects in the physical world. We’re leading a MetaReverse.

The human problem with the metaverse

We’re not designed to live separately from real objects and other humans. We at MyMiniFactory believe we’re still like hunter-gatherers at heart: Evolved to collaborate in communities for shared goals, using our senses to navigate a living, breathing world.

We feel that we can’t expect to lose the richness of sensory experiences in a fully digital metaverse and lose no aspect of human consciousness. And we can’t expect to separate ourselves physically from each other and lose no part of human connection.

As babies, we must be held and touched. As childhood development expert Dr. Bruce Perry has documented, a lack of human touch can lead to delayed development and serious trauma.

This need for interaction is ingrained and doesn’t stop in childhood. The catastrophic mental-health effects of isolation are well established. As we age, without enough interaction, we are more likely to develop serious illnesses that shorten our lives.

There is no replacement for human touch and human presence.

Big Tech founders might want us to slot into the metaverse and enslave ourselves to a fully digital life. But however impressive the tech becomes, living in a solely virtual reality can only reduce our capacity for human experience, and will stifle elements of human creativity.

This isn’t the first time big business has separated us from what we humans most need. A disconnection with Mother Nature has been at play since industrialists established factory farming almost a century ago — exposing us to pesticides, antibiotics, and GMO, and engulfing the world in a junk-food and physical-obesity crisis.

Now, the metaverse threatens to separate us from human connection and create a form of mental obesity, fueling a major global mental-health crisis.

There’s an alternative though.

We are building MetaReverses

We wouldn’t want to leave the digital world entirely. But we believe in the transformative power of real human interaction. So, we use a digital space to reconnect humans across digital and physical worlds.

There are infinite ways to create MetaReverses. It’s all about reconnection, reconstruction, and relation.

At MyMiniFactory, we connect 3D designers — of tabletop games, sculptures, miniatures, and mechanical wonders — with millions of makers, who can buy the creators’ digital designs and 3D-print them, turning them into objects they can put together, play with, paint, and modify.

These objects bring people together. The son and father that gather round the 3D printer. The makers that assemble miniature models and get together for dozens of hours to paint them to painstaking perfection, before proudly displaying them on Canvas. The friends that meet at board-games cafes, and together bring to life the characters of their beloved printed miniatures.

MyMiniFactory is also home to Scan the World, a large ecosystem of free-to-download, 3D-printable objects of cultural significance — viewed 112 million times.

We think of Scan the World as a MetaReverse with a conscience. It’s a space where the community freely shares tens of thousands of digital, 3D-scanned cultural artifacts for physical 3D printing. It enables people to take back control of the representation of their culture and reconnect in real life with these priceless snapshots of human history.

MetaReverses with values

These are just MyMiniFactory’s contributions to building MetaReverses (which you could also simply call physical communities).

But there’s not one solution. We don’t want to tell anyone what to do. We feel that if millions of communities resist total digital immersion, we can all protect ourselves and take back control. Our MetaReverse is not just about 3D printing. It’s about refusing digital slavery.

We’re enabling a decentralized ecosystem, to try to put as much freedom in our creators’ hands as possible, as we believe that decentralization facilitates greater empowerment.

MyMiniFactory creatives can share their work as a one-off purchase or as part of a giveaway, subscription, product launch, or display. And we want to help them do this, with as few restrictive rules and fees as possible.

We say “no” to discriminatory algorithms, “no” to ripping off designers’ IP, and “no” to taking far more than our share of designers’ profits. Instead, we have no algorithms for visibility on our site, we only allow creators to share original IP, and we ensure designers get 92% of their revenue, excluding payment processing fees.

We’re working toward a collaborative, not competitive, community, because we believe that the key to unlocking human creativity and potential is through mutual aid. We want to encourage each member to focus on believing in and building themselves.

Ultimately, MyMiniFactory must always, first and foremost, provide MetaReverses with constructive values that are nourishing for humans.