The best sites to download STL files for 3D printing and 3D printables files in 2016

By the 01/26/2016 in 3D Models, Best of
This post is also available in: French

UPDATE: we have updated our list of the best 3D model repositories and sites to download 3D printable files.

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We often get the question from our users: what’s the best site to download 3D models for 3D printing?

So we’ve finally decided to create the authoritative list of the 2016 best online repositories for 3D printable files and platforms to share and download 3D models. As usual, we try to provide a comprehensive vision of this competitive space.
We also highlighted our picks for the best sites to download STL files and 3D models ready for 3D printing, taking into account the number of 3D designs available, the usability of the interface and the overall user experience.

Enjoy and let us know if we forgot anything 🙂

  1. The best sites to download STL files for 3D printing and 3D printable models

These online repositories for 3D designs ready to be 3D printed are among the best resources for makers and 3D printing enthusiasts. You can find thousands of 3D models sorted by categories and ready to be 3D printed on your desktop 3D printer.

Our 5 picks

Cults

Cults: the French startup offers more than 4,500 files ready to be 3D printed, with a nice interface and many categories to browse. They also offer discounts with various partners, from filament makers to 3D printers manufacturers.
Read our Cults review.

MyMiniFactory

MyMiniFactory: the self-proclaimed “world’s largest curated 3D object download platform” offers many free and paid 3D models, all tested and guaranteed 3D printable. The site is a bit difficult to navigate but the wide choice of 3D models makes up for it.
Read our MyMiniFactory review.

Thingiverse

Thingiverse: the mother of all 3D printable files repositories, boasting 1M+ 3D models uploads! Owned by Makerbot, the platform is one of the biggest on the market and is not restricted to owners of Makerbot 3D printers.
Read our Thingiverse review.

Pinshape

Pinshape: the Vancouver-based startup, backed by the famous VC fund 500 Startups, is a 3D printing community where 55k+ makers share and sell their 3D printable designs. Their search engine is pretty awesome, with the ability to shortlist 3D models using useful filters such as “Downloadable” or “Streamable”.
Read our Pinshape review.

3dagogo

3dagogo: although this platform (created by the AstroPrint team) only offers 330+ 3D models, we like their advanced search options, with filters such as “Print difficulty”, “Print time”, “Finishing time”… Great for users looking to do informed 3D printing!
Read our 3dagogo review.

Others cool sites to download 3D files ready for 3D printing

Gambody

Gambody: an amazing repositories with thousands of 3D models from the gaming world, easily searchable with their categories. You can even filter by video game (we found some incredible GTA V figurines!).

Threeding

Threeding: 3,758 files on this 3D printing marketplace

 

Another great resource:

  • Instructables: the very interesting “3D Printing” channel on the well-known makers community offers a lot of interesting articles, 3D printable models and tutorials.

 

  1. Aggregators of 3D printable files and search engines for 3D models for 3D printing

The search for 3D models ready for 3D printing is a volume game! The bigger the database, the more likely you are to find the perfect STL file for 3D printing. That’s why aggregators  and meta search engines for 3D models are great: they can save you time by allowing to search their massive databases, which include 3D printable designs from the major online repositories.

Our pick

Yeggi

Yeggi: the biggest search engine for 3D printable models. Easy to use, huge inventory compiling 3D models from all the major platforms, this one could be the big winner of the platform war for 3D printable designs.

3 others search engines to download STL files for 3D printing:

  • Yobi3D: great interface with many filters and search options, such as the minimum/maximum number of polygons or the printability level (from easy to hard).
  • STLFinder
  • Aipos3D: the first 3D models seatrch enfine from Italy, Aipos3D aggregates content from dozens of other sites and categorizes the 3D models to make them easily discoverable.

 

  1. Repositories of 3D models

There are dozens of online repositories for 3D models. Please note that in most cases, these 3D models are NOT ready for 3D printing! Here’s a list of the main 3D models platforms.

3D models repositories including a section to download files suitable for 3D printing

3D models repositories (NOT specifically for 3D printing)

 

  1. Not sure what to 3D Print next? How about playing 3D Printing Roulette?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with 3D Printing by all the possibilities and designs available for free on the internet. What if you are out of ideas on what to 3D print next? Well, the team behind AstroPrint developed a fun little, roulette style tool to help you discover curated designs RANDOMLY. This is especially useful for those that are brand new to 3D printing because it can save you hours of scouring the internet when finding useful designs to 3D print.

 

Note: you can find all these sites and more in our comparison engine for 3D printing sites.

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