3D designing is always the most complex piece in digital manufacturing process. 3D Printing process starts with 3d designs, which can be either available from different online repositaries or can be created using 3d CAD softwares.
We are trying to a list of best 3D printing websites, content repositories, and search engines for free 3D printer files to be downloaded and printed in your 3d printers or through think3D prototyping service. Of course, for any complex designs or specific requirements, our in-house team can always help you.
Thingiverse is the most widely used 3D model repository in the 3D printing community, with fast growing file repositary. The website is operated by MakerBot Industries, the creators of the popular Replicator series of 3D printers. and is dedicated to the sharing of user-created digital design files usually under the GNU General Public License or Creative Commons licenses. The site is well established and mature, with a huge community of dedicated makers offering free STL files to download in varying categories and complexity. If you’re looking for cool things to 3D print, this is the best place to start.
GrabCAD is a community where engineers can collaborate, upload and download models from a free CAD library. The repository stands true to its mission statement – “help engineers develop products faster” by offering tools that help users collaborate in the development of their 3D printer models. For the average 3D printing enthusiast, the site is a great resource with a large library of 3D printable files — available in STL files and other formats — created by a community of over a million engineers.
3D Warehouse is one of the world’s largest and popular website for downloading 3D Models. It is maintained as an accompanying website for the SketchUp 3D modeling software, where users can upload, download and share three-dimensional models in SketchUp’s native *.skp format and more recently also in *.stl format. The database has a great feature for filtering ‘Only Show Printable Models’ in their advanced search function. It predominalty features 3d models in architecture, product design, or scale models,created with the popular 3D modeling software SketchUp.
MY MINI FACTORY
My Mini Factory is the 3D model repository managed by iMakr, an online store that sells 3D printers and accessories. It boasts of “the world’s largest curated 3D object download platform”, where all models are carefully selected and tested for 3D printability. It offers free access to thousands of unique test printed 3D printable models, along with a how-to section, explaining the best way to print it. The site also offers multiple language support and an option for requesting custom designs from designers.
YouMagine is a 3D model community repository created and run by Ultimaker, a large open source 3D printer company. Started in 2013, the site has relatively smaller number of designs compared to thingiverse, but has an active userbase and contains some unique and interesting 3D models. The website has thousands of free 3D printable designs in 3D printable STL formats along with photos of some of the user prints, which makes it very engaging. With the backing of a major manufacturer, and an active user base, this website will surely be one to look out for.
Pinshape is a great 3D design market place offering free and premium content contributed by thousands of makers and 3D designers. It is one of the rapidly growing content platform with good user generated content in the form of print settings & photos for the uploaded STL files. The platform is hardware agnostic, and has an interesting ‘streaming’ option, powered by 3DPrinterOS, that allows users to edit, slice and print a design from the Pinshape platform without actually downloading the design file. They have good user engagement activity with great content blogs and design catalogues.
Sketchfab is a great repository of user-generated 3D designs, with an emphasis on character design and sculpture. It has a thriving community of over half a million creators contributing over a million models, making it easily one of the world’s largest platform to publish, share & discover 3D online. Sketchfab has 3D printable files as a sub categoty of the larger collection, freely downloadable in the form of STL or obj formats. Unlike other repositories, some of these files will also be having colour/ texture information making it 3D printable in full color. Sketchfab also stands out for its large collection of quirky, creative and unique designs.
Free3D (formerly TF3DM) is the place to share your 3d models with the world. It is also the place where you get free access to thousands of 3D assets, with instant download. The website has a large collection of everyday objects and characters, designed by various freelance artists and professionals. Most of the files are not available in STL format, and might require additional conversion through one of the animation softwares.
Yeggi is a dedicated search engine that will crawl through many 3D printing websites and communities for 3D printable files. You can also look up some of the popular searches to get an idea of trends the community is currently interested in. The aggregation website an effective tool for finding free STL files for 3D printing fast from a variety of repositories and market places. While Yeggi is free to use, the models it locates are subject to each marketplace’s terms and conditions.
STLFinder, staying true to its name, is basically an intuitive search engine with more than 2 millions 3d models indexed from more than 25 prominent repositories like grabcad, shapeways, thingiverse, etc. With neat features like free -paid segregation, keyword filtering, history tracking, book marking, community sharing etc, it enables the users to get access to huge number of designs, along with their source details. It is also equipped with a handy mobile app for nimble users looking for 3d models for 3d printing, 3d games, virtual reality, augmented reality and 3d design..