The best sites to download 3D printable Models

Short in time?: Go directly to the overview
Last update: Augst/2018

3D modeling is fun, but also requires a lot of experience and is very time consuming. Therefore, it often makes sense to first search whether there is already a 3D printable model available for download, which meets one’s own requirements.

Similar to photographs (‘stock photos’), marketplaces have been created on the Internet in recent years, where designers publish their 3D design files and offer them for download. With the increasing popularity of 3D printing, both the number of published 3D models and the number of marketplaces has increased rapidly. While this increases the number of available models, it is often a bit confusing to find the right platform and model. Furthermore, it is difficult to decide which model is really worth its price. Basically, the following factors should be taken into account when selecting the 3D model:

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Price

Many 3D models are available for free download – many, but not all. In most cases, sophisticated and detailed models have to be paid for. However, this is not necessarily the case, there are also free, high-quality models available. Especially with simpler or standard models, the search is worthwhile. In such cases you will probably find inexpensive or free alternatives (e.g. if you look for an iPhone case). The prices for sophisticated 3D designs typically range between 20 and 150 EUR. However, significantly more expensive models are also available (e.g. technical models).

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3D printability

Many of the models are generally not 3D printable and often require extensive adjustments to create a printable version. In many 3D model portals, there are search functions to filter for 3D printable templates. At Thingiverse there are (almost) only printable models, but most of them lack the texture (i.e. color) that would have to be created by the user for a desired printing color. MyMiniFactory claims that all their models are 3D printable.

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Licenses

Always a tricky subject, it’s best to check closely at each download what are the allowed usages of the Model. Commercial use is often not allowed for free models, or only under certain conditions. Even if there are no restrictions on the use of one model, it must be checked whether it is subject to other restrictions. Examples are 3D models of celebrities, movie characters or gears (e.g. model of Iron-Man or spaceships from the Star Wars series).


Overview: the best databases for 3D printable models

Focus: Models for 3D printing
Number of models: ~1,100,000
Last updated: Jun / 2018
3D printability: Most models
Pricing: Free
Targeted users: Hobbyists
Our rating:

Thingiverse is probably the most popular database for 3D models at the moment. A special feature of Thingiverse is that many models are really useful, because they were (mostly) created directly for 3D printing.
The only point of criticism is also the great advantage of Thingiverse: From more than 1,100,000 models you will also find very specific things, but if you just want to browse, it won’t always be easy to decide from the flood of models.


Focus: Models for 3D printing
Number of models: ∼ 45,000
Last updated: Jun / 2018
3D printability: all models 3D printable
Pricing: Most models are free
Targeted users: Hobbyists
Our rating:

MyMiniFactory describes itself as the YouTube of 3D printing. The special feature of this platform is that each 3D design is checked for 3D printability by the users and is therefore suitable for 3D printing.

Besides the downloadable models, MyMiniFactory also offers a large number of exciting design challenges, which are often organized in cooperation with large companies such as Ikea or Autodesk.


Focus: General
Number of models: ~660,000
Last updated: Jun / 2018
3D printability: Partly
Pricing: Models for sale
Targeted users: Hobbyists and Professionals
Our rating:

CGTrader is an enormously comprehensive database for 3D models. The site offers not only models for 3D printing, but also realistic models for VR applications. Most models are paid, but in very high quality.


Focus: DIY Instructions
Number of models: N/A
Last updated: Jun / 2018
3D printability: Many 3D printable
Pricing: Free
Targeted users: Hobbyists
Our rating:

Unlike Thingiverse or MyMiniFactory, Instructables does not specialize in 3D printing. The platform, which now belongs to the Autodesk Group, is aimed at makers of all kinds and combines every form of instruction from cooking recipes to advances electronics.

Why is this still relevant for 3D printing? Because the 3D models are more than just printing. Thus, not only the printable 3D models can be found on the platform, but also instructions on how complex products including electronics, LEDs, mechanics, etc. can be created for the amateur user from the individual parts. You need an example? Try the Wi-Fi controlled, 3D printed paddle boat.

It’s worth a look – but caution – highly addictive!


Focus: 3D Printing
Number of models: ~12,000
Last updated: Apr / 2017
3D printability: Most models
Pricing: Free
Targeted users: Hobbyists
Our rating:

While Thingiverse is operated by Makerbot, YouMagine is the marketplace of the Dutch 3D printer specialist Ultimaker. Many of the models can therefore be found on both platforms. Since the latest version of Ultimaker (Ultimaker 3) works with water-soluble support material, YouMagine also features more complex models that are difficult to print with many conventional FDM printers.


Focus: 3D Printing

Number of models: N/A

Last updated: Apr / 2017

3D printability: Most models

Pricing: Partly free

Targeted users: Hobbyists

Our rating:

If Ultimaker and Makerbot run their own platforms, it is almost logical that Formlabs also follows this trend. The US desktop 3D printer manufacturer specializes in stereolithography 3D printers. As a result, many models optimized for this technology can be found on the platform. Unlike YouMagine & Thingiverse, Pinshape also offers paid models.


Focus: Space related 3D models
Number of models: ~10,000
Last updated: Jun / 2018
3D printability: Partly
Pricing: Free
Targeted users: Nerds 🙂
Our rating:

PartCommunity is for engineers and developers. In addition to shared models of users, the unique feature of the site is that CAD data records of industrial components are provided free of charge by ABB and other well-known manufacturers. These data records are used during design to perfectly match components.


Focus: 3D-Models
Number of models: ~12,500
Last updated: Aug / 2018
3D printability: Partly
Pricing: Free
Targeted users: Engineers
Our rating:

What a unique website! NASA has posted 3D models of space-related models on the Internet free of charge. The 3D models range from spacecrafts to the landing sites of individual space missions. Some models are labelled for 3D printing and only need to be printed.


Focus: Life sciences 3D Models
Number of models: N/A
Last updated: Apr / 2017
3D printability: Most models
Pricing: Free
Targeted users: Scientists
Our rating:

The website is operated by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) and is a platform for exchanging 3D models among scientists and science enthusiasts. There you will find anatomical models, molecular models, laboratory equipment and much more. A must for every active person in the life sciences!


Focus: 3D Visualization
Number of models: >500,000
Last updated: Aug / 2018
3D printability: Partly
Pricing: Models for sale
Targeted users: Mostly (3D) professionals
Our rating:

TurboSquid is basically a marketplace for 3D models and one of the largest databases for 3D models worldwide. Most of the models are for 3D visualization (Gaming, VR, etc.) purposes, hence, the 3D printability is often not guaranteed. Many of the models are paid, but due to their high quality, they are also worth their money. Typically the models range from 20 to 150 USD, but there are also some free and much more expensive models.


Focus: 3D Printing
Number of models: ~4,500
Last updated: Jun / 2018
3D printability: Partly
Pricing: Models for sale
Targeted users: Hobby
Our rating:

Similar to TurboSquid, Threeding is a marketplace for 3D models. As usual with such platforms, the quality of the models varies from excellent to unusable.

The platform is still under construction, so the number of models is still relatively small. However, the user interface is very pleasant and it is easy to search for the desired model.


Focus: 3D Printing
Number of models: ~22,000
Last updated: Jun / 2018
3D printability: Most models
Pricing: Mostly free
Targeted users: Hobbyists
Our rating:

Cults is also a marketplace for 3D models. Unlike Threeding , however, the free 3D print templates seem to be predominant here. For many models, however, a (usually smaller) amount is due.


Focus: SketchUp Models
Number of models: N/A
Last updated: Apr / 2016
3D printability: Partly
Pricing: Free
Targeted users: Hobbyists & Architects
Our rating:

Sketchup 3D Warehouse is a specialized 3D model database integrated into SketchUp. The number of models is also huge. While most models have a simple to medium level of detail, there are also numerous models with excellent quality. Overall, it is worth taking a look at the database if you are looking for a specific 3D model. If you work with SketchUp, you should use this database as your first address.


Focus: 3D Models of vehcles, military technology and machines
Number of models:
~6,000
Last updated: Okt / 2016
3D printability: Partly
Pricing: Models for sale
Targeted users: 3D Design professionals
Our rating:

Unlike most other sites, Hum3D creates most of the models on its own. Costs are usually around 75 – 100 Euro. The site specializes in vehicles of all kinds, cars, military technology (including weapons & vehicles and aircrafts), as well as electronic devices (mobile phones, computers, etc.). The models are professionally designed and extremely detailed.


Focus: Engnineering 3D models
Number of models: ~230,000
Last updated: Apr / 2016
3D printability: Partly
Pricing: Free
Targeted users: Engineers
Our rating:

GrabCad is part of the 3D printing giant Stratasys and is a platform that allows engineering and design teams to share CAD files and organize projects. In addition, there are a very impressive number of models, ranging from amateur models (e.g. many car 3D models) to professional technical models. Textures are usually available and the models checked by us have an appealing quality.


Focus: General
Number of models: ~14,000
Last updated: Apr / 2016
3D printability: Partly
Pricing: Free
Targeted users: Hobby
Our rating:

The number of 3D models in TF3DM is significantly lower than in TurboSquid, for example, but they are free of charge and of quite good quality. Most of the user interface is advertised – it’s a bit difficult to click through without getting to numerous advertising offers.


Focus: Interior Architecture
Number of models: ~1,000
Last updated: Apr / 2016
3D printability: No
Pricing: Free
Targeted users: Hobbyists / Designers
Our rating:

SweetHome is a great idea – just enter the space dimensions and you can design your own room. A certain number of designs for furniture and other equipment are available for this. The 3D models available for download are good, but very limited in number. The, in our view, outdated user interface gives the impression that it dates from the 1990s. Anyone who wants to design their space is in good hands with SweetHome. Anyone looking for models that are relevant for 3D printing interior design can give it a look. Other than that, SweetHome is not the right choice.


Focus: SciFi 3D Models
Number of models: ~100
Last updated: Apr / 2016
3D printability: No
Pricing: Free
Targeted users: Nerds 🙂
Our rating:

The site specializes in sci-fi 3D models. You can find 3D models from Star Trek, Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica. The models are quite good from the detail level, but very limited in number. Furthermore, it seems that the site has not been updated for years. Nevertheless, for science fiction fans, it’s certainly worth a visit!


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About 3Faktur: 3Faktur is a 3D printing service bureau. We are specialized in the production of plastic parts in low (rapid prototyping) or larger (rapid manufacturing) quantities. Get in touch.


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