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3D models are essential to print a 3D part. Without it, no printing process can be started. However, creating a 3D model can be very difficult and time-consuming. There is the option to buy 3D models, but many websites also provide free 3D models. We have created a list of 13 websites to search for 3D models. But first, let’s take a closer look at what a 3D model is.
In a nutshell, a 3D model is an object in a file that the 3D printer can read and then print. 3D models are designed by either using a 3D CAD software program or by 3D scanning an object. The words 3D file and 3D model are sometimes used as synonyms. However, there is a slight difference between the two. While a 3D model describes the object, a 3D file refers to the corresponding file type and the object. There are many different 3D file formats available – the most common one is the STL file, but there are also formats like OBJ, SCAD, ZIP, IOB, MESH, 3DS, and AES.
3D rendering software and CAD software programs are critical within the process. While rendering software programs create a presentable image of a 3D model with light and an optional background, CAD software programs help create 3D models. But they often are not as easy to use if the user has no experience and take up a lot of time. The solution is often a free 3D model!
3D models are used for a variety of industries and mediums. They are very popular in the movie and videogame industry, as well as architecture, engineering, illustration, and advertising. In architecture, it is frequently used to plan out a design project. While creative game designers use 3D models to create their ideas in real life. 3D models are also a fixed component in almost every Hollywood movie and TV series.
There are various websites where you can get free 3D models. We created a selection from 2022 of the best websites that offer free 3D models. Let’s take a closer look!
Thingiverse is maybe the most popular site to look for free 3D models and a good starting point to find the perfect 3D model for you. MakerBot created this repository to offer a growing community a place to discover and share 3D models. On Thingiverse, there are over 2 million different 3D models available, and more are shared every day.
Like Thingiverse, Instructable provides only free 3D models. However, Instructable is more than just a site where people can share their models. It also acts as a significant community space. Here, creators can work together to create large projects, often involving programming or electronics.
With this community space, you can find a project that suits your level of expertise and find instructions and tutorials of other projects to steepen your learning curve.
Cults, founded in 2014, acts as a marketplace for curious 3D printing enthusiasts, designers, and developers. They provide people who maybe aren’t as advanced in the 3D world or as creating a place where they can find objects for the 3D printing process and laser cutting models and objects for CNC machining. You can find over 530 thousand high-quality 3D models on this site.
On Cults, you can find many free 3D models. However, some also come with a paywall.
Like the marketplace Cults, MyMiniFatory offers free and paid 3D printing models. The London-based company supports a broad community of illustrators, writers, creators, and makers to share their unique designs and content. MyMiniFactory offers over 190 thousand different 3D models and guarantees printability by publication, as every STL file is tested beforehand.
Free3D offers free 3D models and premium designs that need to be paid for. You can browse through over 17,000 free models in various categories like plants, architecture, sport, animals, electronics, automotive, furniture, and many more. On Free3D, you can also build your portfolio.
The website Prusa Printers is especially interesting for 3D enthusiasts who own a Prusa 3D printer. The website acts as a community forum and offers many different subjects such as articles about 3D printing, a community forum, and 3D models. All uploaded models are free, and you can search through over 100 thousand of them.
Thangs offer over 8 million unique and free 3D models on their website and are one of the fastest-growing communities within the 3D world. However, this page distinguishes itself with an imposing feature from other free 3D models site. Their search engine is capable of doing a geometric search. With the help of this engine, it is easier to find 3D models that are similar to the searched geometric. Another great feature of Thangs is the possibility of collaborating with friends and working on the same project while checking the changes they made.
Clara.io provides over 100 thousand different and free 3D models that can be downloaded as various format files, like OBJ, STL, and many more. Additionally to the free 3D designs, Clara.io also offers a learning space where the user can watch tutorials about different 3D printing aspects such as rendering, modeling, and animation.
Pinshape is another marketplace where you can search for free and paywall-protected 3D models. There are more than 100 thousand different and unique designs on the site. It impresses with its easy-to-use platform and wants “to make 3D printing simple and fun”. On Pinshape, you have the opportunity to share, explore or download 3D models with high quality. Within the Pinshape marketplace, creators and makers can meet and exchange ideas.
On YouMagine, there are over 19,000 free 3D models. The site’s goal is to make the creation and adaptions of 3D files easier and the sharing process. Within that goal, they create their online community, which is YouMagine. The website distinguishes itself by supporting primarily open-source designs.
CGTrader provides both free and paid 3D models. The 2011 founded company offers more than 1,4 million 3D models, and their community consists of over 5 million users. Before downloading, a proper file format can be chosen. CGTrader provides formats like OBJ, STL, MAX C4D, and many more. You can download many different models from various automotive, aircraft, architectural, industrial, plants, and space.
CGTrader TurboSquid offers free 3D models from various categories; designs are made for automotive, plants, offices, nature, robots, architecture, airplanes, and many more. The goal of TurboSquid is to save valid customer time by offering existing 3d models. The time can then be used in another part of the production cycle. According to TurboSquid, customers save up to 27 hours. The free 3D models can be downloaded in the file formats: MAX, OBJ, C4D, and MAYA.
On 3dmdb, more than 5,6 million 3D models can be found as it is a website that can search through various sites such as Carla, CGTrader, Cults, Thingiverse, TurboSquid, and many more. It allows you to search across the different areas without visiting each one.
If you want a 3D model for free but already have some experience with CAD software, it is also an alternative to use a free CAD software program and create a free 3D model yourself. There are quite a few goods and free software programs available. However, to give you an overview, here are the four popular ones.
Blender is one of the most known free CAD software programs. Their goal is to allow everyone to create 3D content for free. Within the Blender software, there are multiple possibilities – you can create a 3D model with the modeling feature, create a reality-looking like an image by using the rendering feature, or test your 3D model within a simulation. However, Blender does require some former knowledge and is not suitable for beginners.
FreeCAD is a free and open-source CAD software. With the support of FreeCAD, you can design your 3D model and export the file for 3D printing or CNC machining. It also offers many tutorials and videos to extend your 3D knowledge. Like Blender, FreeCAD is more suitable for experienced users.
This free CAD software program is a great starting point for 3D software. TinkerCAD is a program for beginners and is accessible through a browser. So there is no need for a download. It has not had as many features as Blender or FreeCAD but gives a great introduction and has a user-friendly interface.
Meshmixer is also a free CAD software program, perfect for beginners. It does need some training, but the learning curve is steep. It offers many different features like 3D patterns & lattices, hollowing, 3D sculpting, and mesh smoothing.
If you want to know more about those and other CAD software programs, make sure to check out our tutorials!
Now it is your turn! You can search on these sites for the perfect free 3D model for you.
If you can’t find the perfect 3D model for you and you have trouble using CAD software, you can always speak to our experts at the Sculpteo Studio. They are very experienced and can support you within the design process or create a 3D model for you. If you want to contact them, just click here.
If you found one that you want to modify or print, you can head over to Sculpteo. We are your online 3D printing service. If you’re going to print your 3D model but do not have the right 3D printer, you simply need to upload the 3D file onto our page. After choosing the desired material, you will do the rest and print your part in our factory.
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