The trend of 3D print is growing; more and more people are looking for new and fun projects that they can print at home. You can also start once you get a 3D printer. All you need is a material and 3D blueprint to create your product.
The 3D blueprint comes in .STL format (stands for STereoLithography), which contains data describing the layout of a three-dimensional object.
We’ve gathered some useful websites that offer free ready-to-print 3D models. The list contains some of the best 3D printing sites, marketplaces, content repositories, and search engines, which provide both free and paid STL files.
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Thangs is a growing 3D community with more than 3 million models available to search. The platform allows you to upload your own model or do a geometric search to find similar models. You can upload as many models as you want and keep them private with free unlimited storage.
Free3D is a place where you can find a lot of high-quality models, especially if you are searching for anything related to automobiles, aircraft, furniture, characters, animals, plants, electronics, and anatomy. You can even build your own portfolio to show your skills and get freelance work.
PARTcloud contains more than 12,000 printable items uploaded by hundreds of users. It also has an iOS and Android app, which you can use to easily find 3D designs and other parts from the field of construction and engineering.
41. NIH 3D Print Exchange
The NIH NIH 3D Print Exchange contains hundreds of scientific 3D-printable models and educational material. It also offers useful tools to create and share 3D models related to biomedical science.
We know the site looks gray and boring, but don’t let the interface fool you. This is a cool collection of free STL files for 3D printing, created by none other than NASA.
You can consider it as a one-stop shop for 3D models, images, textures, and visualizations. Here you will find landmark objects of space exploration like the Apollo landing site, Deep Space satellite, Europa Orbiter, and more. The printable files are available for educational purposes only.
3dSystems provides the most advanced and comprehensive 3D digital design and fabrication solutions, including 3D printer, print materials, and cloud-sourced custom parts. The platform encourages you to buy 3D printed items and files. It also supplies on-demand parts, including prototype and casting patterns.
Instructables is a site where you can explore, document, and share your creations. People share their DIY projects and 3D printed models. They also show how they have designed these models. You will also find many generous designers answering questions asked by viewers.
37. Libre 3D
Libre 3D is a new online community of 3d printing fans, showcasing interesting 3D models. There is a lot of cool models of vehicle, art, animal, food, electronics, fashion, robotics, toys, and tools, along with some add-ons.
Fabbly contains some of the latest 3D models and STL print files. Most of the models featured here are free of cost, which you can download after registration. If you are interested, you can upload and sell your own creation.
Pileprint is a Spanish website where you can get the best content for 3D printing in the most convenient and accessible manner. Here you can discover thousands of printable objects and share your work with the rest of the world.
You will find plenty of free STL files for various objects, including toys, gadgets, handbags, sculptures, elements of robotics, and more.
3DShook has a catalog of over one thousand ready-to-print STL models, sorted into more than ten categories – from art and icons to work and office. They also offer a subscription print-on-demand service and package deals ranging from $10 to $50, as well as a monthly, yearly and commercial subscription.
33. 3D Warehouse
3D Warehouse features millions of models created in popular 3D modeling software, SketchUp. If you are looking for architecture, product design, or scale models, this is the place to visit. The advanced search option lets you filter the database by dynamic and printable model, creation date, author, tag, and model complexity.
3Dagogo is a California-based startup that allows you to buy and sell 3D models, while also offering a wide collection of completely free STL files. Every single design uploaded to the site is “proven-to-print,” and each item includes an image of the final 3D printed model.
Redpah offers a mixture of paid and free 3D models so that both makers and designers could get the benefit. It’s kind of an open-source platform where you can either search for free STL files or upload your own work to reach a wide audience.
TurboSquid is a great source of professional 3D models. It focuses on the creativity of artists and helps them build a career as professional 3D modelers. You can find thousands of premium and free models in different formats.
FreeDees is a large collection of simple and free 3D print files. There are more than a dozen categories to select from, including gadgets, jewelry, miniatures, fashion, tools, toys, and games. You can also upload your own model after signing up.
28. STL Finder
It’s a search engine that crawls millions of websites to search for free STL files. The user interface is very simple and clear – it displays the most popular model at the top. You need to make an account to bookmark your favorite models for future reference.
YouMagine is run by an open-source 3D printer company, Ultimaker. It’s an online community of 3D printing enthusiasts who wish to work together to remix, share, and provide various kinds of tools. Here you will find over 12,000 designs that are ready to download and print.
Cults is a marketplace that brings all 3D printing fans together. The name of the site is inspired by St. Luc, the patron saint of artists and sculptors. It has a collection of both paid and free models. You can follow your favorite designers to get instant updates when a new creation is posted.
Sketchfab is the fastest-growing 3D and VR repository. It makes it easier to publish and find 3D content online. There are hundreds of printable modes to explore.
Sketchfab’s technology is integrated with almost all popular 3D creation tools and publishing platforms. It works across every browser, operating system, and various VR/AR compatible devices.
Yeggi is a search engine for 3D printable models. It collects data from all 3D communities and marketplaces, and searchers from over a million printable files. The interface is very simple – most search and clicked models are displayed on the front page.
Repables is a simple 3D printable file repository. It allows you to explore different models, download free STL files, or upload your own creation to share with others. The site usually contains small and basic 3D models to print. All in all, it’s a great place for beginners.
Threeding is a 3D printing marketplace and file-sharing website where you can buy, sell, or exchange any model suitable for 3D printing. The website contains thousands of premium as well as free models of unique 3D pieces.
Cuberbrush is much more than a 3D asset store. It’s more of an art hub than a marketplace. The platform provides forums, tutorials, and other related artistic assets in addition to 3D models.
Since it has a broad range of models, you will likely find what you are looking for. It includes models for animals, vehicles, superheroes, you name it. There is an option to search for models compatible with specific game engines, so you will know what fits with your project.
20. Blender Market
Blender Market has everything to take your Blender renders to the next level. There are a variety of items, ranging from textures and scripts to shaders, available at reasonable prices.
Hum3D helps artists save their time and develop beautiful works in the field of video games, cinema, and visualization. Here you will find 3D models of any epoch. It mainly focuses on cars, electronics, and military equipment. The only downside of this platform is it hardly features any free model.
18. Free 3D
The platform provides free models to artists working on personal projects for non-commercial purposes. It features tons of free models, ranging from trees and plants to cars and phones. There are also plenty of resources to practice with.
17. 3D Warehouse
The service is offered by the Sketchup team, where users are free to design and share models created with the software. It serves as a platform for the exchange of 3D models and as a potential source of income for some artists.
Clara.io hosts more than 100,000 free 3D models in different formats. You will a broad range of architecture, ranging from houses, trees, cars, ships, and planes to robots, and spaceship.
3Dsky contains over 80,000 models arranged in various categories such as furniture, plants, decoration, appliances, technology, material, lighting, and architecture.
14. Autodesk Online Gallery
More than free 44,000 models are available on Autodesk online gallery, the platform from Autodesk. They all are organized in different categories, or you can search them directly via the search bar.
13. Archive 3D
Yet another useful online repository that hosts thousands of 3D designs under several categories like furnishing, structure, equipment, and appliances.
CADnav is the online 3D model library for CAD/CAM/CAE engineers and CGI graphic designers. It hosts over 50,000 high-quality polygonal mesh 3D models, Vray materials, CAD drawings, 3D CAD solid objects, textures, and much more.
11. Unity Asset Store
Unity Asset Store contains dozens of stunning 3D models, including sci-fi gadgets, zombies, toys, monsters, stones, and many other assets.
10. Design Connected
Design Connected hosts hundreds of free, high-quality 3D models and samples. Since many of these models were created years ago, make sure you download more recent ones to become acquainted with the current production standards.
9. Artec 3D Model Scanner
Artec 3D Model Scanner hosts hundreds of high-resolution scans in various formats, including PLY, STL, WRL, and OBJ. The platform mostly focuses on industrial, medical, anatomical, and science and educational models.
MyMiniFactory is a curated social platform for 3D printable objects managed by iMakr. It connects 3D designers, users, makers, and brands. Designers can upload their creations, share them, and earn money. Makers can print for others while users can download thousands of STL files for free, buy printed objects, or follow their favorite designers and makers.
7. Zortrax Library
Zortrax is an open library, which means anyone can browse and download the free STL files, and fabricate them on any FDM machine. Most of these models are optimized for ABS filament. Along with sharing your model, you are free to share your experience, knowledge, and creative ideas.
Gambody is a premium marketplace where you can download computer games models in STL format. They are amazingly detailed and error-free 3d model files optimized for all types of 3d printers.
You can upload your model, and get a private shop for your 3D printings with a unique URL that you can forward to customers/friends, and earn some hard cash from your creation. Overall, this a site for video game fans and 3D printing enthusiasts.
CGTrader is a 3D model marketplace for computer graphics and virtual reality, backed by Intel Capital and Practica Capital. There are more than half a million models available (some of them are free of cost).
You can browse through plenty of different categories – from trendy gadget accessories to eye-catching jewelry designs. You can also showcase your work, get valuable feedback from the community, interact in a designer-friendly environment, and grow your brand value.
3DExport is a large store where you can buy and sell 3D models, print model textures, and plugins. They all can be used in CG projects. Here you will find tons of free 3D models in various formats, including max, 3ds, fbx, c4d, and obj. Subscribe to receive fresh tutorials and tips, and free product news.
Thingiverse is operated by MakerBot Industries, the creators of the Replicator series of 3D printers. All designs are licensed under Creative Common License, which means anyone can use or alter any design. The community has uploaded more than a million 3D models. You can check out or download all the incredible objects people have created, and get inspired to create your own.
GrabCAD helps engineers develop products faster by offering tools and a unique platform. They have the largest community of designers, engineers, and manufacturers. More than one million CAD models and tutorials are available for free download. You can also participate in design challenges and stay up to date with eBooks, industry blogs, etc.
Pinshape is a place where you can find, share, and sell 3D print files. It’s a community of 70,000+ makers, designers, manufacturers, and they are growing quickly.
Along with free high-quality 3D printable designs, the platform gives you the opportunity to make money by selling 3D models and build your brand. If you are a beginner, they will help you with the 3D printing basics to get you started.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is an STL file?
STL is a file format developed by a company named 3D Systems. It stands for Standard Tessellation Language or Standard Triangle Language.
This format describes only the surface geometry of a 3D object without any representation of texture, color, or other usual CAD model attributes. More specifically, it describes the surface of an object as a triangular mesh. The file may require thousands of triangles to represent a model with sufficient accuracy.
Due to its ease of use and lightweight properties, it is has become a defacto standard data transmission format for the Rapid Prototyping industry.
What are the limitations of the STL format?
Although STL is the most widely used 3D model format, it has several limitations. First of all, it cannot carry color, texture, or material information. This format would be useless if you have a 3D printer with multi-material or multicolor capability.
STL doesn’t contain scaling information either, which often leads to issues that prevent the model from being precisely sliced or printed. Furthermore, STL will not always remain the standard for 3D printing. It will be gradually replaced by newer, more efficient formats.
What are the other common file formats for 3D models?
There are numerous 3D file formats out there. The five most common ones are (other than STL):
- OBJ uses polygons to encode smoother surfaces with fewer tiles
- AMF is an XML-based format designed to be faster and capable of storing attributes like texture and material information
- 3MF is developed by Microsoft. It is less prone to errors than AMF and can incorporate security and encryption for models that are IP sensitive.
- FBX supports detailed geometry and appearance attributes. It works best with skeletal animations and morphs.
- X3G is a proprietary file format used by Makerbot. In addition to common 3D model attributes, this binary file also contains printer settings.