3D printing has come a long way over the past decade. It used to be considered a tech of the future – expensive machines, hard to master and only reserved for the truly dedicated 3D printing gurus. However, now you can get yourself a quality machine for just a couple hundred dollars and you can be printing your first print within minutes of setting it up. With affordable pricing and simplified controls, anybody can get into 3D printing.
Ok, so the machine itself is affordable and easy to setup, but what about the designs? Not everyone is a graphic design expert and creating 3D models seems like an impossible task for most people. While it’s true, designing 3D models is for more advanced users, sites like Thingiverse solve this issue. Thingiverse is a platform that allows you to find 3D print files for free. You can browse through hundreds, even thousands of 3D designs created by the massive community. Download the STL file to your computer, open it up in your favorite slicer and start your print. It really is as easy as that!
Whether you’re looking to 3D print the Avengers figures, a custom cat bowl or even organization bins for your desk area, websites like Thingiverse make it easier than ever.
Thingiverse also let’s creators choose a license type. So some of the designs can even be printed for resale (just make sure to look at the license type before you start selling them on Etsy or you could get into some trouble). But all prints are available for personal use, so you can start printing literally anything imaginable without knowing how to do any 3D graphic design. Below, you’ll find a list of the best 3D printing sites like Thingiverse so you can find even more amazing designs. If you can’t find what you’re looking for at Thingiverse, you’ll be sure to find it at one of these alternatives.
*Consider loans like LendUp if you’re looking for short-term funding to purchase a more expensive 3D printer.
If you’re looking for high quality 3D print files, Thangs is the place to be. With their massive database of over 2 million STL files, you’ll be sure to find something to print at home. Similar to Thingiverse, this site shows attribution, so you’ll know whether or not you’re allowed to print a file for resale or for personal use. Thangs also allows you to upload as many STL files as you like, so you can share your own creations with the community.
Thangs is at the top of our list for a few reasons, but one of the most noticeable differences with the other websites like Thingiverse in this list is how they display their 3D models. You can actually preview the 3D model right there in your browser, moving it around to see all sides of the model. It’s a unique way to preview prints that no other similar platform is currently doing. Another reason we added Thangs to the top of this list is how they use geometry to find similar prints. They will automatically source similar items based on the shape of the item. It’s pretty cool!
- Over 2.4 million files to browse.
- Find similar print models by geometry (similar shapes).
- Preview the models in 3D right in your browser.
- Upload unlimited amount of designs in their cloud storage.
YouMagine is another option worth considering when you’re searching for free 3D print files online. While they don’t have nearly as many files available as the others, you’ll still be able to find a ton of nice creations. They currently have over 18,000 models to browse, making it more than enough to pass some time. YouMagine isn’t usually the go-to platform, but it’s a nice addition in case you can’t find what you’re looking for elsewhere.
With a simple to browse website, you’ll easily be able to search for specific print types – use filters to narrow that even further. Prints usually have quite a lot of detail, so you can know what nozzle size to use, what settings to setup in your slicer and more. You’ll also be able to see the attribution licenses so you can know whether or not you can print them for resale.
- Over 18,000 print models available.
- Loads of details are provided with each print.
- Quickly see the attribution license.
- You can “follow” users, when you like their models.
One of our personal favorites is Prusa Printers. You don’t need to own a Prusa 3D printer to browse their collection of STL files. This platform is one of our favorites, not because of the amount of designs they have to offer, but because of the actual listing pages. The listings are filled with detail on every product and some even add useful tutorial videos. With over 44,000 3D models to browse, you’ll be certain to find something worth printing – if you can’t find something to print here, you’re doing something wrong.
Prusa Printers brings you a beautifully built website with tons of filters and options like being able to browse currently trending 3D models or the popular prints over a specific period of time. Exploring their collections is enjoyable, but it’s even more enjoyable knowing that their STL files are free to download.
- Over 44,000 available 3D models.
- Loads of filters and sorting options.
- 3D printer files are free to download.
- Lots of information is provided with each model.
Among the best sites like Thingiverse online is Cults. A database of 3D files in the millions with hundreds of thousands of users. This is one of the most jam packed STL databases online, so you’ll be sure to find the prints you’re looking for. Better yet, everything is well categorized so you can easily find the specific genre of print models that you need.
One thing to note about Cults is that not everything is free. Some prints come with a cost (usually quite cheap between $1 to $5). It’s important that you check the price before downloading it, to avoid getting a hefty bill. However, Cults also has a huge selection of free prints available, so if you’re not looking to pay anything for 3D print models, you’ll want to select “free” from the search filters. Each print comes with tons of details on how to set it up and you can also browse community comments for each print to get even more insight on what others are doing.
- Millions of 3D printer files available.
- Some prints are paid, so make sure to look for pricing.
- Loads of details per print and comment sections are usually filled with useful information.
Looking for something a little different? Yeggi isn’t quite the same as the other websites like Thingiverse in our list – instead, it’s a sort of search engine that searches dozens of different platforms. For instance, when searching for a keyword in Yeggi, you will see results from Thingiverse, Cults and many other platforms. This makes it a go-to search engine for many people who enjoy printing 3D models at home. Yeggi is simple to use and has a very basic design, but it gets the job done.
With over 3 million STL files in their database, you will quickly find literally anything imaginable. Whether you want to print action figures, tools, kitchen gadget or anything else, Yeggi will have it. Thousands of new print files are added every single day, making Yeggi one of the largest collections of 3D models on the internet. This one is definitely worth bookmarking.
- Over 3 million print files available.
- Yeggi is a search engine – they do not host the files.
- Sources STL files from dozens of different platforms.
Last but not least, we wanted to share Cgtrader. Of all the sites like Thingiverse that we’ve mentioned, this is the one with the most visually stunning designs. These creations are made by professional graphic design artists and you can tell just by looking at the images that they take 3D printing to a whole new level. However, it’s important to note that most of these designs come with a cost. This could range from $1 all the way up to $500 for a single STL file.
You can however use the search filters and only look for free files – there are some available, but not as many as the paid ones. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for the highest quality STL files online, Cgtrader is a true winner. Their platform hosts over 200,000 files, making it a pretty large collection of artwork.
- Choose from over 200,000 STL files.
- Be careful, some files come with a high cost.
- Beautiful website with excellent sorting functions.
- New files added daily.