Printables to Launch Patreon-Like Subscription Service

Prusa Research is poised to launch a Patreon-like subscription service for its popular Printables 3D model database – but first, it wants your feedback.

The announcement comes by way of a recent blog post, which takes extra care to reassure readers that Prusa wants “to keep the main 3D printable model database free” and, as such, will not mix paid and free models. That said, the post continues, “we now have a system that we believe strikes the right balance and we’re ready to show it to you.”

That system is an as-yet-unnamed subscription service that gives users the option to subscribe to creators for a monthly fee. Prices will be set by creators themselves, who can also define up to five tiers that offer customized benefits such as “subscriber-only posts, voting in polls, access to commercial licensing options, and more.”

Designers will still be able to release their models for free if they so choose, and can also create subscriber-only content. Although, creators will only earn Prusameters – the existing Printables reward system, which will remain in place – for free models.

An “upgrade” to the Community Feed, meanwhile, will show feeds of creators to which users are subscribed. Subscription payments can be made via PayPal or credit card, with creators withdrawing their earnings – of which Prusa will take an “about 10%” cut – via PayPal (the only method of doing so “for now”).

So far, the community reaction seems fairly positive, although there is a bit of a debate between those who desire a per-model pricing scheme and those in support of the subscription-based model. To leave feedback of your own, check out the aforementioned Prusa blog post. It’s worth a read, as it delves into the reasoning behind the subscription service, highlights a few additional features, offers information regarding a closed beta for creators, and outlines a service-naming contest.