Finding a 3D file on the Internet
from: Make: Design for 3D Printing
Thingiverse is a community created in 2008 by the founders of Makerbot.
For a long time it was the most popular in the world of 3D printing but in 2012, the MakerBot's shift from open source to proprietary design divided users.
Although shared files on Thingiverse are usually made available under an open license, MakerBot shares some rights to the files published on its platform.
The name Thingiverse comes from the contraction of the English word "Thing" and "Universe."
Therefore, Thingiverse is a universe of "things" to produce by 3D printing.
There are more than 3 million projects on Thingiverse, you can create collections, comment on a file's quality, or make a variation or a "remix" of it, or even make a parametric model using the Customizer application.
Thingiverse also holds contests, with fantastic prizes and allows people from around the world to work together on a general interest project, like the Robohand project.
This community of engineers has been gaining in popularity for a few years.
Its vast high-level file bank is due to a network of users, often professionals, and their free downloads, as well as a very liberal usage policy.
GrabCad's competitive advantage is the ability to download projects in original (native) format, rather than simply in STL format.
In fact, the website encourages its users to publish their files in different versions to allow anyone to reuse and edit them as they wish.
An even more important detail is that GrabCad files are not optimized for additive manufacturing, so often these need to be optimized.
Sketchup 3D Warehouse
|Sketchup 3D Warehouse
This gigantic virtual object library was created at the time when SketchUp software still belonged to Google.
Widely used by graphic designers during the creation of the 3D version of Google Earth, the Warehouse has an impressive number of files for architecture.
If you want to make a model of your IKEA furniture, look no further, because it's surely already there.
All files in the 3D Warehouse are free and can be downloaded directly in SketchUp.
It's the perfect tool for architects and interior designers looking to speed up the creation of their 3D designs.
However, you have to be careful because models created for graphic purposes cannot be printed directly, unless they meet the criteria for 3D printing.
Fortunately, you'll have no problem editing them in SketchUp.
This website is well-known among video game companies, architects, and others for its photorealistic 3D animation and design.
Everything can be found there: people, cars, scenes, furniture, fruits and vegetables...
The quality of the visuals is often breathtaking, but don't get too excited.
A large number of these files cost money, and not many of them follow the 3D printing rules we described earlier (such as watertightness), because they are optimized for digital (not physical) production.
If you plan to purchase a model from TurboSquid, expect to spend some time with your own modeling software to prepare it for production.
Don't be surprised if some of them remain unusable despite your efforts.
SketchFab is a website for viewing 3D models with textures and environments.
It acts as a support portfolio for several designers from different backgrounds and offers works that are sometimes breathtaking.
Some models can be downloaded directly, however, you may have to make a request to the creator via his or her project page.
This platform specializes in files dedicated to 3D printing and was created by Ultimaker as an alternative to Thingiverse.
The community is smaller so there are fewer files, but all of them are trustworthy and original.
There are a lot of talented Dutch designers featured there, like Michiel Cornelissen.
Pinshape is a platform inspired by social media and has an online store.
You'll find both free files and some you have to pay for.
The name "Cults" is a reverse anagram of St. Luc (St. Luke), the patron saint of artists and sculptors (and the letters S-T-L are also found in the name).
This market-place created in France allows designers to publish, and also sell their 3D files online.
The community is young, promising, and focused on the quality of the projects offered, more than their quantity.
Definitely one of the best curated website to find cool 3D printable files.
MyMiniFactory is filled with projects inspired by the Sci-Fi and Internet culture.
Fans of Cosplay and action figures, this is the place for you.
You can even sell your designs or be hired for a project.