MakerBot, the once popular brand of 3D printer, has now closed down their paid-for digital store and is in the process of making 3D designs free through Thingiverse.

The store once offered a large variety of printable creations made by in-house designers.

On offer were objects such as an intricate 96-piece stegosaurus skeleton for $14.99 (R222.93) and the characters from Sesame Street for $1.29 (R19.19) each.

But now, if you head on over the the store, you’ll be greeted by a short message reading:

MakerBot has decided to close the Digital Store. All Digital Store content designed by MakerBot will be made available for free on Thingiverse, released in weekly batches. Any models you purchased will continue to live in your library.

You will then be directed to the MakerBot profile page on Thingiverse where you can peruse the now free designs.

Currently there are 407 separate designs grouped into 25 collections. And while the stegosaurus is there for you to grab, Cookie Monster and friends are nowhere to be seen.

As Thingiverse is a creation of MakerBot, this move should be relatively painless. The real question is why the paid-for business model was abandoned. While we could speculate about factors such as positive PR and an effort to sell printers over software, we’re just happy there are now more high quality, free, designs available on the web.

[Source – /r/3DPrinting]