If you are an additive manufacturing and 3D printing enthusiast, you’ve heard of Thingiverse. It is an online platform with millions of 3D files, designed by a growing community of users. These models are exportable in STL format, allowing you to print them very easily, and are generally protected by Creative Commons licenses.
Thingiverse is arguably one of the most important file-sharing sites in the 3D printing market, marked by a strong interaction between its users who can like, comment on and describe 3D models.
In addition, the platform also owes its popularity to being completely free. Available in free access on the Internet, Thingiverse is now used by many enthusiasts and amateurs of 3D printing.
What is a 3D printer model?
Thingiverse was created in November 2008 by Zach Smith, in partnership with the manufacturer of 3D printers FDM MakerBot, acquired in 2013 by the giant Stratasys. During all these years, the site has acquired millions of files, whether they are gadgets, tools, spare parts, or even toys and figurines.
You should know that Thingiverse is not exclusively reserved for the additive manufacturing market: other design techniques can be used to create the downloaded models.
This is also why the platform is used in particular by makers and DIY enthusiasts of all kinds. But reducing the Thingiverse community to DIY enthusiasts would be a mistake.
For example, the platform offers a section dedicated to education and youth on its site. In this category, several projects aimed at training novices in 3D printing are available, regardless of the age of the user, from elementary school to university.
The Thingiverse platform is completely free. In order to access the full functionality of the Thingiverse database, you must create an account — everything is free.
The Internet user can then save their 3D files, organize their designs, add favorites and simply download the models they want to make.
On each 3D file, you can find photos of the final part, printing advice (extrusion temperature used, plate, printing speed, etc.), the model of the 3D printer used: everything has been thought to make it easier for the community in the end.
And in order to simplify the process as much as possible, for the majority of projects, the creators of the 3D models specify the steps to be followed so that the printing goes without a hitch.
Thingiverse is divided into several categories that should make searching easier: 3D printing, art, fashion, gadgets, hobbies, housewares, learning, models, tools, toys, and games.
However, we tend to say that, even if the site is organized and has a search bar, it is not always easy to find what you are looking for.
The different models are sometimes poorly referenced or even defective and during a search, one may find oneself in front of files that are not relative to the request or which are quite simply deficient.
More or less complex models are offered. (Photo Credit: Thingiverse). From its inception, the open-source side of Thingiverse was a point put forward: anyone can upload their 3D files and anyone can download them as long as they respect the licenses when they are indicated.
THINGIVERSE IS A COMMUNITY AND A DESIGN SHARING PLATFORM
In principle, this is rather good news because it invites sharing, creativity, etc. but ultimately, there is no control over the uploaded file and its quality.
How do you know if it is really 3D printable? In addition, Thingiverse is home to nearly 1,700,000 3D models which makes it difficult to choose whether to download a file.
And logically, among this important database, there are many duplicates. Finally, note that the site is only in English which may represent a barrier for some users. Thingiverse remains the largest database and satisfies millions of users today; be aware that there are other alternatives to download 3D files such as Cults or YouMagine.
Not all of them will be completely free but it will allow you to compare what exists on the market! Go to the Thingiverse platform to find your favorite 3D models!
Do you use Thingiverse? Let us know in a comment below or on our Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox!
You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel. Browse from over 1.6 million 3D printable designs or share your own to see how others print, remix, or use them.
Connect with a thriving, growing community of more than 2 million 3D printing enthusiasts where you can share, discuss, and learn.
To find others with your common interests, you can join or even create a group. Improve and enhance your 3D printing experience with our expanding collection of Apps on Thingiverse.
You can use them right from Thingiverse. MakePrintable can repair imperfections in your designs before printing. And 3DSlash let's you add special details to your favorite designs. Customize thousands of designs and make them your own unique creations with Thingiverse's Customizer.
Thingiverse also supports OpenSCAD so you can build your own customizer and let the world customize your design.
Thingiverse Education provides over a hundred free lessons that make teaching with a 3D printer easier and more effective for a variety of grade levels and subjects.
USB stick, SD card and MicroSD holder
It also provides a community where educators can exchange best practices or remix projects. So you’ve bought yourself a 3D printer, but now what to print?
You’ll need some 3D printer models. The largest database for these 3D printer models is Thingiverse, with over a million different “things”, designed by creatives all over the world, can be downloaded and printed at home.
We therefore scanned the 3D printer models to find 10 of the most creative and useful models you can download for free right now!
A 3D printer model is a file – usually an STL file – of a 3D object printable on your personal 3D printer.
3D Printed Crossbow
Once downloaded, you can open these 3D printer models within a variety of 3D software options or slicers to then print at home. The model can be edited and customized if you have those design skills, or just printed in whichever colors you fancy based on the color of filament, or material, such as PLA or ABS.
So here are 10 of our favorite 3D models you can download for free right now, with links! We’re starting off with a pretty crazy 3D printer model, made by Spanish 3D printer manufacturer BQ – who also make their own DIY 3D scanner.
Made of 42 different 3D printed PLA pieces, this dragon is big, mean, and shows the level of detail that even cheap 3D printers can reach on a model.
Thingiverse, too open?
All of the parts can be 3D printed, though the assembly requires other materials to tie the pieces together into one cohesive model.
This isn’t too difficult however, with all the instructions in both English and Spanish on the download page. Download the 3D printer model here. Simply an extraordinary design, this 3D printer model is a complete jet engine model, and one that the designer – CATIA5FTW – designed himself.
That’s right, the user created an entire jet engine model himself, and though it has some similarities to other, existing engines, we have to commend the designer for the creativity in designing a whole engine from scratch.
HIVE Modular Hex Drawers
It’s not simple to print and assemble; consider it a high level 3D printer kit. However, building this incredible 3D printed jet engine will undoubtedly prove rewarding as you can then look at this beautiful piece of machinery in your house.
Download the 3D printer model here.
Another of the crazy 3D printer models available on Thingiverse, this 3D printed crossbow is an upgrade on a previous version that can fire real 3D printed arrows with surprising accuracy!
You will need some extra parts to fully assemble the crossbow – a screwdriver, some screws, some nylon fishing line among others.
However, it’s well worth it; not only will you save the money buying a real crossbow, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of creating your own 3D printed crossbow at home!
We’ve included a video of the crossbow 3D printer model firing below. Download the 3D printer model here.
“BraQ” Dragon by BQ
This is definitely one of those 3D printer models that triggers serious childhood nostalgia. Printable in just four parts, this marble machine will provide hours of fun for any child lucky enough to have it.
It’s cleverly designed so that when twisting the top, you keep bringing marbles back to the top of the machine to roll down the slides again.
3D Printed Jet Engine
This saves having to repeatedly pick up and put marbles at the top of the slides again, and generally makes it more fun to play with.
Download the 3D printer model here. Not only can you 3D print models that look nice, but also 3D printer models that serve important and useful functions!
This model features parts you can assemble to form a stable 3D scanner platform which, with the aid of some 3D software (more details on the download page) and a smartphone, becomes a fully fledged 3D scanner.
So if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a 3D scanner, you can make your own DIY 3D scanner with this fantastic 3D printer model.
Admittedly it’s not so simple to get working, but hopefully the video we’ve attached below helps you assemble your own $30 3D scanner.
- Download the 3D printer model here.
- Designed to be used as a week-long class project, you can make this fantastic remote-controlled car featuring a bunch of 3D printed parts from the comfort of your own home.
- Parts such as the axles, wheels and other parts are 3D printed, though to get this car fully functional does require a number of screws, electronics and more.
- When finished however, it is fast, nimble and very fun to play with.
- The video below shows just how fast this rocket league-reminiscent car goes!
- Download the 3D printer model here.
An innovative and practical 3D printer model, these honeycomb-inspired containers are perfect for keeping things organized at home. Not only are they perfectly sized for items such as jewelry – including 3D printed jewelry we have written about previously – as well as earphones, pins, and more.
Not only are they great as individual containers however, but they’re also designed to seamlessly slot into each other. This means you can create a small wall-sized hive of containers to store each individual item, which also looks aesthetically pleasing in any room.
Overall, it’s a fantastic solution for low cost storage. Download the 3D printer model here.
- Another practical 3D printer model, this device keeps all your USB sticks, SD cards and MicroSD cards in one place so you never lose them.
- It’s super simple and can be fully printed as just one large part, so there’s no assembly required. Simply press print, and when it’s finished it’ll be ready to go!
- Download the 3D printer model here. Simple to 3D print and very useful in business, these elegant and sleek business card holders keep all your business cards – and any other cards you may pick up from other people – in one place.
- Based on your 3D printer filament color you can customize how your business card holder appears, and no assembly is required – simply print and they’re ready to go.
- Download the 3D printer model here. It’s estimated that millions worldwide suffer from RSI, back pain and more due to not concentrating on the ergonomics of their work and home setup. This MacBook laptop stand helps with that, standing your laptop closer to eye level to prevent neck pain, helping make your setup more ergonomic.
- It’s super easy to assemble as it’s just two parts, so even 3D printing novices will have no problem getting this 3D printer model to work.
- Download the 3D printer model here. If you enjoyed this article:.
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- Click the file and your 3D printer will start to heat up to the correct temperatures and begin the printing process.