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STL file: 12 sites to download your models

Who says 3D printing says digital file. This, most often in STL format, is then transmitted to the 3D printer and is cut into several layers by a second software called a slicer. The machine can then proceed to the printing process. This STL file is therefore essential to start and many platforms have specialized in downloading these files. They bring together thousands of 3D models, free and paid, and allow you to share your projects easily. We have therefore selected the best marketplaces where you can download your STL files for free, from a complex jewelry model to small everyday objects. They are sorted alphabetically.

The French platform Cults

Since 2014, the French market platform Cults has been offering a large library of free, open-source or paid 3D models. It connects designers with users and 3D printing enthusiasts who do not always master the modeling stages. There are different categories of STL files: art, fashion, jewelry, house, architecture, etc. It is also a community space where its members can discuss and share their feedback. Cults organizes many competitions on various themes in order to highlight your artistic talents! Finally, every year, the founders of the platform, Hugo and Pierre, highlight the most downloaded files: discover those who marked the year 2019!

stl file

Free3D

Free3D is a platform where you can find, as its name suggests, free 3D files. It has recently welcomed a few paid models, at less than $ 25. These are not all STL files, the OBJ format is the most popular – that’s pretty good, it’s also compatible with 3D printing. You will also find many models for software such as Blender, Cinema 4D or 3ds Max. Free3D has different sections such as architecture, vehicles, airplanes or electronics for example. You can easily join its community to share your 3D models with the whole world and build your own portfolio to show off your skills or get freelance work. Finally, the platform is available in 14 languages!

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GrabCAD, the solution for professionals

GrabCAD is one of the largest online CAD model libraries. The community that uses GrabCAD is mostly made up of engineers, designers, manufacturers, and STEM students. The company says nearly 6 million members use its platform to share files but also to get advice on design challenges and to work together to improve models. Today, GrabCAD has around 4 million free files that you can download, making it the largest professional library of 3D models.

stl file

Moderatorfactory

GrâceFactory is a platform that aims to increase collaboration between 3D designers by allowing them to freely share their work. The website offers free files specially designed for 3D printing. Each of the files uploaded to the platform is carefully selected and tested by members of the community. In addition to having thousands of files, rarerFactory has a service that allows you to request specific files from a professional designer if you cannot find the file you are looking for.

Pinshape, a complete platform to download your STL file

Pinshape now brings together more than 70,000 makers and designers who publish their 3D models on the platform every day. This offers free and premium files that users can directly download for printing. Designers can be financially rewarded by selling their creations. Acquired in 2016 by the manufacturer Formlabs three years after its creation, Pinshape also offers various 3D printing guides and articles to learn more about 3D technologies and its applications. The platform is quite intuitive, directly suggesting the hottest 3D models and showcasing a few well-known designers.

You can find this model on Pinshape

STLFinder, a search engine to find your STL file

When you connect to the STLFinder site, you come across a very basic page: made up of a search bar, you just have to type in the 3D file you are looking for. The platform will then suggest all the models associated with your query found on other online sites. STLFinder is more of a search engine that will allow the user to compare all the designs available on the web. This will prevent him from searching on ten sites at the same time! STLFinder takes the description of each 3D file indicated on the source platform and refers to it so that the user can download the model and print it.

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Sketchfab allows you to view your STL file

Created in 2012, Sketchfab is a platform that has a 3D model viewer. In addition to this function, it also offers a section where community users can browse, rate and download existing 3D models on the web. The fact that it includes all types of 3D design makes Sketchfab a very broad platform for users. Therefore, if we want to focus on 3D printing, we will go to the “STL” section. There are files for additive manufacturing under the Creative Commons license, some free and some not.

Thingiverse, one of the most famous platforms on the market

The Thingiverse platform was launched in 2008 and is owned by 3D printer maker Makerbot. Currently, it is one of the websites that offers the most STL files for free download, thanks to its large community of creators. What characterizes Thingiverse most is the interactivity between users, who upload their files to the platform, give printing tips and leave their opinions and comments. With over 1,700,000 files for 3D printing, Thingiverse is one of the most trusted websites by users.

Yeggi makes it easy to find your STL file

Just like STLFinder, Yeggi is a search engine that will allow you to find your happiness among more than 2 million STL files available on different platforms. Note, however, that Yeggi offers more filters and options than its competitor. You will be able to choose between free or paid files, popular models, recently added, etc. It is probably the most popular search engine in the additive manufacturing market.

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stl file

YouMagine

Created by the founders of Ultimaker, the YouMagine platform today brings together 16,000 free STL files and brings together thousands of designers and makers who want to share their ideas and invent together. The templates are mostly open-source, leaving the ability for any user to modify designs as needed. YouMagine brings together all kinds of files, from small decorative figurines to functional prototypes like a wind turbine.

stl file

3dshook

3DShook is a service offered in 7 different languages ​​which, unlike other download sites, has a different business model, since it offers an on-demand subscription service to access the 6,000 models to be printed. It has 42 categories, some of which are free upon registration. If you want to download more complex or better models, you will need to purchase the annual subscription of $ 25 to download 40 models and access 3DShook’s CAD tools; the premium option at $ 50 will allow you to download up to 100 models from the catalog.

stl file

3DShook offers CAD tools

3DWarehouse for Sketchup users

This download site is a service provided by the Sketchup team, where users can create and share models created with the software. It is mainly dedicated to professionals, and is very appreciated in sectors such as architecture or design, because it serves as a platform for the exchange of 3D models and as a possible source of income for certain creators. Besides the possibility to download models at different prices, the platform also allows to add extensions to Sketchup to improve the quality of the models.

What platform do you use to download an STL file? Share your opinion in the comments of the article or with members of the 3Dnatives forum. Find all of our videos on our YouTube channel or follow us on Facebook or Twitter!

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