Software I want: Self-hosted 3D-printing static site

I've been 3D printing for years, and when I started a site called Thingiverse was pretty good—it emphasized Free licenses such as Creative Commons, and on/near the front page you could discover some novel designs.

However, that site has suffered from a severe lack of love from Makerbot, in part due to not directly generating revenue; recently, it got a redesign that added ads (okay, fine; I'd love a paid model which took the ads off my uploaded designs, though) but also turned the front page into "here are a dozen or so "popular" designs, which seldom/never change". The search and tag experience got much worse, etc.

At the same time, the cost of hosting a static site is really low now—even free, if you don't mind depending on a Github or Gitlab to do the real work for you.

This makes me see an opportunity to write a neat piece of code: A general framework for a static site generator that is designed to host 3D printing files. Here's the basic view of what I would like to see:

Stuff that is out of initial scope:

Things that are probably outside of ultimate scope are:

A couple of hours this weekend let me get a good solid 60% of the basics going (most everything but the 3d model viewer), but also showed that I need to understand Jekyll better before trying to create something substantial in it. The Liquid template language is (deliberately, I imagine) quite limited, and consequently my initial ideas about how to represent the various resources (scad, stl, png, jpeg; generated or not generated) didn't really fit with how templates worked. I don't know whether this means I'm better off switching to another generator such as Sphinx, or whether I should fight it out because (Python projects aside) Jekyll is a lot better known in general.

As much as I like this idea, where I think it falls down is: My main quibble with Thingiverse is around how poor discovery has become. But a one page static site for a 3D-printable model is bound to be even worse for discovery. What search terms would you use on a general purpose search engine to find them? Where do you go to discover some designs you didn't even know you were interested in? (I don't want to do a heap of keyword-bait on each page, I have no knowledge of SEO and anyway the very idea leaves a bitter taste in my mouth) However, if you build a community elsewhere (e.g., on Mastodon) then maybe discovery moves there; A link, a common hashtag, and boost/favorite what looks neat. Would it work? Probably not. And don't even ask about RSS.

Entry first conceived on 29 June 2020, 1:19 UTC, last modified on 29 June 2020, 11:41 UTC
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