3d Print GCode Store: Grain3d
Grain3d has a unique solution to the issue of how to sell 3d files without giving away the originals. When buying an item to 3d print on your own printer, Grain doesn’t send you the original stl or obj file. Instead, they send the computed gcode with the raw instructions your 3d printer uses to print. Similar to buying a recipe or a sewing pattern. Your printer uses the file, and you can print large items for much less than it would cost to buy at a 3d print provider like Shapeways.
They support the Cube, and Makerbot Replicator 1 and Replicator 2. If you have a different model 3d printer, the gcode files likely will not work because of different offsets.
Their system is an interesting way to distribute 3d files without DRM. Items that cost hundreds of dollars through shapeways or other 3d print services could be much less expensive once you are 3d printing them yourself. Even if there was an easy method to translate gcode into a 3d model, the resolution of the model would be limited to the size of the layers. Will it be a successful distribution model? It depends on how much individuals tinker with their slicing software. For advanced users of 3d printing, they may have tweaked configuration settings that give them better prints than the defaults.
At the moment, the site has less than 100 products for sale, so they’re just starting out. For the business to be successful, grain needs more interesting products. Their current lineup of products look like a random assortment of low quality items that would not take long to model. But if they had professional quality items, grain could be a competitor with a unique business model.