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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.
You may be a hobbyist, a digital artist, or an engineer: there are many reasons why you could want to buy a 3D model.You may want to 3D print an object but you don’t have any 3D modeling software to create your part. Moreover, you might not have 3D designer skills. Everybody is not able to design a 3D model from scratch or use a 3D modeling software. You don’t have the skills to design? You just don’t have enough time to create your 3D model? Or maybe, you’re just looking for some inspiration? You don’t have to design a 3D model on your own to experiment 3D printing.
We are going to help you solve this issue. Indeed, there are a lot of marketplaces on the internet where you can buy 3D models.
There are a lot of databases offering 3D models, for CG projects, video games, 3D printing or whatever you want. But you need to know that all marketplaces don’t target the same users. For instance, some of them are especially targeting people who want to 3D print objects. But keep in mind that you can also print a 3D model from another marketplace if the 3D model is in the right format. The more common format for 3D printing is STL files.
Moreover, there can be a lot of criteria to choose a database to buy a 3D model. Some of them have a large library or want to improve the communication between the members of the community. Other ones are precisely targeting people who want to 3D print objects, and are ensuring the printability of the file. You have to pay attention to all of these details to make the most of your research for the perfect 3D model.
You can buy your model, and if you want to customize a little bit the design, you can work on the file if you have a 3D modeling software. This way, you still save time and the part will be optimized to perfectly fit your needs.
Some of the marketplaces are offering free models because they are based on the principle of collaborative content, but if you’re looking for professional models to print, it has a price. Most of the marketplaces are selling 3D designs modelized by talented designers, that have to receive royalties on their creations.
Some marketplaces are more oriented for professional users and other ones are really for curious makers. However, professionals can perfectly find the part they are looking for on a marketplace targeting hobbyist, we advise you to take a look at all of those marketplaces.
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!
All of those databases have one specific thing in common: their community. They are all working on the development of their communities composed of professional designers, engineers or makers. Without them, those marketplaces couldn’t be as popular and efficient.
We hope that you will find the perfect 3D model on one of those amazing marketplace. Do you want to learn more? Read this blogpost on 3D printing marketplaces. You finally chose a 3D model and you want to 3D print it? You can use our online 3D printing service !
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