If you intend to 3D print a model, that doesn’t mean you always have to start designing from scratch. There are tons of websites out there that offer (both free and premium) 3D models to download.
We took a look at 10 (+1) of the best and most popular 3D model databases and compared them for price, quality, selection, and printability. Cults offers its users the perfect range of 3D models – from maker-inspired 3D files all the way to professional high-quality designs.
11. Free 3D
Cults checks each 3D design for printability and organizes them into different groups such as fashion, art, jewelry, home, architecture, or gadgets. The mix of a modern visual interface, a well-arranged database, and a focus on smart, useful & beautiful designs makes browsing through their website a lot of fun.
While many models come for free, others come at very affordable prices. Cults is a great place to find & download 3D models for 3D printing. Cults facts:Focus on 3D printing: Yes Price: Free and Payable Target: Hobbyists & Designers Size: 5,000 Models.
Pinshape offers its visitors the opportunity to browse through a great selection of more than 13,000 (free and payable) STL files. Finding great 3D printable models on the website is child’s play: both the visual representation and logical organization of the website are top-notch.
Pinshape is a popular database for 3D printables files. Pinshape facts: Focus on 3D printing: Yes Price: Free and Payable Target: Hobbyists & Designers Size: 13,000 Models. The 3DShook website is somewhat similar to Pinshape and Cults but the designs tend to be more focused on ‘fun’ 3D prints for hobbyists.
|Name||Category||Price||# of Models||Website|
|3D Warehouse||Repository||Free||4,000,000||3D Warehouse|
|NIH 3D Print Exchange||Repository||Free||10,993||NIH Library|
|3D Export||Marketplace||Free/Paid||346,756||3D Export|
|STL Finder||Search engine||Free/Paid||STL Finder|
|NASA 3D Library||Repository||Free||347||NASA 3D Library|
|XYZprinting 3D Gallery||Repository||Free||XYZprinting 3D Gallery|
|3D Shook||Subscription Service||Free/Paid||6,000||3D Shook|
6. 3D Warehouse
Some models are free but most require a fee. However, 3DShook does offer designs at a very competitive price. 3DShook facts: Focus on 3D printing: Yes Price: Free and Payable Target: Hobbyists – fun designs Size: 1,500 Models.
Thingiverse is probably one of the biggest and most popular databases. It has a very active maker community behind it and offers free-to-use STL files only. You don’t even need to open an account in order to download a 3D model from their site.
Sometimes the database can seem slightly less organized than the cleaner and simpler design of sites like Pinshape and Cults. One of the most popular places to get 3D models: Thingiverse. Thingiverse facts: Focus on 3D printing: Yes Price: Free Target: Makers Size: 9,000 Models.
GrabCAD is different than the databases we have looked at so far. Firstly, GrabCad provides you with technical, engineering, and scale models only. Secondly, it lets you filter its database based on the 3D modeling software that the designs were created in.
It’s the place to be for anyone looking for more than 27,000 technical 3D files. However, take into account that this website is not intended for 3D printing. GrabCAD is all about downloading technical 3D models.
GrabCAD facts: Focus on 3D printing: No Price: Free Target: Professionals interested in technical/engineering parts Size: 27,000 Models. The 3D Warehouse simply screams ‘geometrical’.
Whether you are looking for architecture, product design or scale models, 3D Warehouse offers anything that was created with the popular 3D modeling software SketchUp.
Luckily they also let you filter their database for 3D printable models by selecting ‘Only Show Printable Models’ in their advanced search function. All other models can be made printable thanks to a connection with the 3DPrintCloud.
Geometric 3D models can be downloaded at SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse. 3D Warehouse facts: Focus on 3D printing: No, but 3D printing filter available Price: Free Target: Professionals interested in geometrical/architectural models Size: 38,000 3D printable models. CGTrader offers a dedicated database for 3D printable objects.
So far there are more than 13,000 models to choose from. We noticed that there are many printable jewelry designs in particular on this website. While many models are downloadable for free, others come at affordable prices.
CGTrader offers a website section that focuses on 3D printable models only. CGTrader facts: Focus on 3D printing: No, but 3D printing database available Price: Free and Payable Target: Hobbyists & Designers Size: 13,000 3D printable models. TurboSquid is the place to be for downloading the most stunning 3D designs.
It doesn’t get any more high-end and professional than this. The problems: the designs are great visually but are not optimized for 3D printing. There is also no filtering option for finding 3D printable models.
Furthermore, all models on TurboSquid are premium (payable) files. Quality comes at a price. Premium, high-end 3D designs can be downloaded on TurboSquid. TurboSquid facts: Focus on 3D printing: No Price: Premium Target: Professional Designers & 3D Artists Size: no models optimized for 3D printing.
3DExport is somewhat similar to TurboSquid: This is also a database that focuses on the visual aspects and offers amazing premium 3D models. In addition to this, 3DExport offers its users a filter for finding 3D printable models only. 3D Export is a 3D model database for premium designs.
3DExport facts: Focus on 3D printing: No, but 3D printing category available Price: Premium Target: Professional Designers & 3D Artists Size: 1,000 3D printable models. Last but not least we want to mention Yeggi, a search engine for 3D printable models.
Yeggi scans all the databases mentioned above, and many more, for 3D printable files. So if you want to search the ‘Google’ of 3D models, this might be the right website for you. Remix 3D is more than a 3D model database, is the Microsoft community of modelers who want to share their creations.
The models on the libraries are organized by categories and they can be used and of course “remixed” on Microsoft Paint 3D and their VR/AR app, Mixed Reality. The cactus in this 3D printing tutorial for beginners on Paint 3D was modeled with the help of Remix 3D, a great example of all the possibilities of this database.
Remix 3D Database. Remix 3D Focus on 3D printing: Basic modeling with the possibility of 3D printing Price: Free Target: Beginners, Kids, Students. Of course, we cannot mention each and every 3D model database out there, but we think that these 10 sites are great places to get your first stunning 3D models.
And by the way: After downloading (and maybe editing) a file, feel free to upload the 3D model to our website and let us print it in 100+ materials and finishes on industrial 3D printers. It’s the easiest way to get a high-quality 3D print. Downloading amazing STL files has never been easier.
Not everyone has the time to develop their 3D design skills, and many just want to print fun models with their limited spare time. Many free 3D software modeling tools take tens of hours to master, and the 3D printer models themselves can take a long time to design, too.
Don’t worry, a number of sites offering free downloads of STL files to print at home exist, and we’ve narrowed down the 15 best sites for 3D printer files for you. We also have a ranking of all the best 3D printer software tools. If you’re looking for a printer, check out our buyer’s guide for the best 3D printers.
Depending on what you are looking for in particular, we split our ranking into four sections:. Part 1: Sites hosting only free STL files. Part 2: Sites hosting both free and paid-for 3D printer files. Part 3: STL file marketplaces. Part 4: STL file search engines.
One of the largest free STL file sites in the world, Thingiverse was first set up by 3D printer company Makerbot back in 2008 so users could upload their 3D printer model designs for the world to download and print. The repository how hosts an incredible range of STL files that you can download for free, with no registering necessary.
Not only can you download these free 3D printer models, but you are encouraged to post your prints and edits and remixes. You will undoubtedly find dozens of great 3D printer models for you to 3D print on Thingiverse, ranging from video game or TV/film characters, 3D printed miniatures, decorative models, and STL files for holding your pens and stationery.
Owned by Autodesk, Instructables is a free STL file and general project building site that encourages designers to post step-by-step instructions on how to assemble and build these intriguing projects.
With a full range of projects, not just for 3D printing but involving electronics and other projects also, Instructables focuses on the educational aspect. Simply pick a project you find interesting – such as their 3D printed CO2 canister rockets and launchpad – and print and assemble the project in steps as per the designers’ instructions.
This is great for gaining experience and confidence in 3D design and printing, and general engineering and DIY skills. Instructables is also great for families looking to build a fun project together while teaching their children about engineering, and assembling something from parts.
GrabCAD is a general 3D file hosting site, catering to not only 3D printing fans, but anyone with an interest in engineering or 3D modeling. The site includes files for parts of 3D printers for building and modifying open source 3D printers, as well as sophisticated engine designs for planes and other large feats of engineering, as well as cars, and appliances.
Many are not STL files, but instead are OBJ files or other types, which are usually still fine for 3D printing (OBJ files are fine), having been designed on 3D CAD software like Fusion 360, Solidworks or Autodesk AutoCAD.
NASA have an online portal where they host some of the most iconic moments in human spacefaring history as free STL files, so fans at home can print out and enjoy them.
You can download and print Apollo landing sites, the Cassini spacecraft, various well-known asteroids, the Curiosity Rover, Hubble space telescope, and many more. A great and free way to print all your favorite space models, NASA’s free 3D printer models will inspire your children, and make for a great 3D printing project to paint so you have a mini spacecraft on your desk.
The National Institutes of Health, like NASA, offer some very important free 3D printer models for download as STL files. These are often medical models, such as STL designs of molecules related to biomedical science, as well as 3D printable hearts, 3D printed prosthetics for amputees, and a variety of face shields – especially relevant during COVID-19.
Based in France, Cults has hosted STL files since 2014 and now hosts over 120,000 fantastic downloadable 3D printer files that receive over 17 million page views per month. Before printing your chosen design, Cults gives you the opportunity to see exactly how it will look, as many designers include pictures of the final print, sometimes even showing how the model will look once you’ve painted it, with gifs of how the model looks in the real world.
This can be really handy for visualizing the final print, especially if it involves multiple parts. Talented 3D designers can also offer their premium 3D designs for a few dollars each, which can add up if you build a legion of fans on Cults’ platform.
Pinshape is a great STL file hosting site with mainly free 3D models, but also features paid-for premium 3D printer files by professional designers. Entire families will find fun projects for creative family time, as well as a huge variety of well-known franchise characters, tabletop game characters, and complex 3D printable puzzles for collaborative fun.
Pinshape also showcase innovative 3D designers on their featured designer page. It’s always worth checking this page out, as a particular designer may create perfect 3D printer files that you love, and that you may not have known about beforehand.
Free3D hosts 3D designs encompassing not only 3D printer files, but general 3D models for animation, as well as those designed in advanced 3D software modeling tools such as Cinema 4D and Maya for specific applications.
A selection of the downloadable tools available on Free3D include intricately designed gunships, animal character designs, 3D printable cars, and more. Free3D also offers paid downloads, usually for under $10, for premium STL files. Offering both free and paid STL files, 3DExport separates models into distinct and easy-to-navigate categories, so you can instantly search through files for characters for animation, or any other category you’re interested in.
You can buy and sell your models and STL files, and having been around since 2004, 3DExport is one of the first 3D file marketplaces around, with a large fanbase of visitors and sellers offering great 3D models for 3D printing and other uses.
With both free and paid 3D models to load in your 3D slicer and print, MyMiniFactory is an online STL file marketplace attracting some of the best 3D designers around. With an easily navigable site, for example if you’re particularly looking for board games models and characters, you’ll easily find what you’re looking for, whether that be a Pokemon chess set or D&D miniature.
For any budding 3D designers, MyMiniFactory offers an avenue to some extra income. You can own your personal store and offer your STL files for download for a fee.
Overall, MyMiniFactory hosts a great variety of 3D printer models for hobbyist makers.
CGTrader is a more professionally focused 3D printer file marketplace with professional architecture software models, interiors, and textures available for purchase. Professional designers have their own stores and sell their models, and there is also an option for businesses and makers to publish their problems, for example if they need a model recolored, fixed or redesigned, and designers can bid for the contract.
For professional models, CGTrader may have the most extensive selection. However, those looking for free models will prefer a site like Thingiverse. Another 3D model site geared toward professionals, and at professional prices, those with deep pockets for the creation of film, animation, and video game projects, as well as any very expensive 3D printing, will find TurboSquid beneficial.
For example, TurboSquid hosts extraordinarily detailed files, including a fully designed International Space Station for $1,299, or completely designed human anatomical models – with bones, circulatory systems and all – for $1,799.
TurboSquid does also host some free 3D models, though some are less suited to 3D printing. Sketchfab has a vast library of high quality, full-color designed 3D models for animation and film, as well as many 3D printable files.
These detailed, meticulously designed files are downloadable for free if you create an account, with other files paid-for only. Sketchfab also offers 3D visualization and design services for businesses looking to have their designs, for example for a product or building project, designed in 3D.
This has benefits for showcasing your product, especially in areas such as e-commerce photos, where instead of having multiple product photos at different angles, you can just have a 3D model that visitors can rotate.
An STL file search engine, STLFinder doesan’t host any of its own files, but allows you to search a term, for example “DnD” or “boat” and see all the 3D models from existing repositories such as Thingiverse. STLFinder also contains some recently searched keywords for any 3D printing inspiration, and is a useful way of accessing 3D printer models quickly instead of searching each model on each site individually.
Another search engine similar to STLFinder, Yeggi has slightly more features available to help you find the perfect 3D printer file you’re looking for. Featuring around 2.5 million STL files to search through, Yeggi can connect you with all your favorite models in just one search, with buttons to bring up a random model, to view the most popular models, and popular categories such as toys, RC-related designs, and more.
Yeggi cuts out the middleman and helps you access the coolest 3D printer models on every site at once. 3DfindIT.com functions as a free 3D model search engine which connects you to 3D CAD and similar file models from different companies’ catalogues.
Not only can you custom search for your own desired part or model, but you can also search by shape, color, functionality, or check their keyword list for items like hinges, actuators, and more. Their site will even compare the model you are currently browsing, scanning across its catalogue for other similar models and giving you a percentage similarity score.
This is great for finding the ideal part for your needs. It skews more towards industrial parts and designs rather than hobbyist homemade projects, and functions very well as a search engine for freely available professional 3D models.
If you enjoyed this article:. Sign up to our email list and get the latest 3D printing news, buyer’s guides and giveaways direct to your inbox:. Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you buy something we get a small commission at no extra cost to you(learn more).
Pre-made 3D assets are all the rage these days. The 3D model market is thriving with many websites serving thousands of models and custom character designs. Game engines now have their own asset stores where developers can purchase and import 3D models right into their projects.