3D printing open source files

The 4 Best Websites for Free 3D Printing Files

By Amir M. Bohlooli

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Explore these 3D printing websites to find the best 3D models to download for free.

Having access to a 3D printer is a rather exciting privilege. Whether you've only just got your hands on one or a 3D printing veteran, free 3D printing models are always welcome. Designing a 3D model from scratch requires time and skill that you might not have.

There are lots of websites and libraries where you can download free 3D models, but not every 3D model is 3D printable. Below, you will find the four best websites for downloading free 3D printer files.


Thingiverse is the ultimate 3D printing library. This website is entirely dedicated to 3D printers, and most 3D models are uploaded as STL files that can be easily 3D printed. Each model comes with a 3D preview, pictures of the printed product, and print settings.

Thingiverse allows users to post photos of their makes, and creators can remix other 3D files and create new designs. You can look through the different user-published makes to find the best print settings for a file, or to get some inspiration.

One major point which makes Thingiverse the most popular 3D printing library among makers is that it is entirely free. Every file that you see on Thingiverse, you can download and use for free. On the other hand, if you're a creator, you cannot monetize your models on Thingiverse.

Though you don't need to pay any money to use the free 3D models on these websites, it doesn't mean that they're not copyright protected. Do your research before using these files in commercial projects!

MyMiniFactory is a 3D printing community and library where you can find thousands of free and paid 3D models for download. MyMiniFactory has a strong emphasis on role-playing games, such as D&D. Most of the models you'll find here are structures and characters designed for tabletop games.

If you're into printing tabletop figures, then you must have noticed by now that they look drastically better when printed in more than one color. Learn to bring more life to your prints by creating duotone prints.

MyMiniFactory has many community elements. Makers can write their stories in Community Stories, and they can partake in designing and printing competitions to win prizes. The site also hosts an ambitious project called Scan The World, whose goal is to offer art and heritage sculptures in the form of 3D printable files for free. So far, this project has cataloged 17,000 objects which you can download for free.

Cults is another 3D repository and community where you can download 3D models and print them. The site contains both free and paid models, and if you're a maker you can monetize your 3D model on Cults.

If you take a quick look at Cults, you'll realize that it's more oriented towards aesthetic and decorative models, rather than functional ones. Cults has a wide array of jewelry, art, and fashion models. If you're looking to make your own 3D printed jewelry, it's a good place to browse and download models.

Cults also hosts 3D printing contests where you can design a model according to the given guidelines to win a prize.

TurboSquid is a massive marketplace for 3D models. While some of these models are designed to be 3D printed, most are not. However, that doesn't mean that you can't print them with a little tweak.

TurboSquid contains paid and free professional 3D models. You can find some extremely detailed and realistic models available on the site, such as vehicle models, people, and animals.

You can find 3D printable models by searching for STL models. There are roughly 80,000 STL models available on TurboSquid, which was acquired by Shutterstock in 2021.

From Bytes to the Real World

3D printing is an awesome technology that lets you bring 3D creations out of your computer and into the real world. With a 3D printer, you can print any STL model, and you can get these STL models from the websites mentioned in this article.

Though you have to pay to download some models on these websites, there's still a good variety and quantity of free 3D models available. Now all you need to do is to find the model you like most, and get to printing!

2022's Top 10 Sites For Free 3D Printing STL Files

by 3devo on Mar 17, 2022 11:34:00 AM

Have you decided to take the jump and buy a 3D printer? Or maybe you’ve been considering, and are looking for more details as to how it can benefit you?

Well, there comes a time where you have all the knowledge and resources for your 3D-printing activities, but no time when it comes to designing or redesigning your STL models. Luckily, you can download free STL files from a variety of great sites. Most are free while others offer their work for a price. Some even have the option to order the model to be printed and then get it sent straight to you!

The best part about these STL file downloads would be the sheer variety available as 3D-printing has gone mainstream. Below is a list featuring some great sites that we use to find free STL models. Enjoy!


Our Top 10 Free STL File Sites

10. Sketchfab

Set up in 2012 to build up a community-based 3D model online repository, this French-based site has grown to offer both free and paid downloads. It was among the first to offer models created with any of the major 3D creation tools, further supporting VR and AR on compatible hardware. This site is easy to navigate using the search feature and to better navigate through the sheer volume of STL files available, they have been grouped into convenient categories. Be warned that you may end up spending more time at this Sketchfab site than you may have planned to as there are just too many choices offered.


9. GrabCAD

GrabCAD is not your typical place to just download free STL files for 3D printing. It has many CAD models, many of which are also available in STL format. You can download 3D models in other formats and also try to convert them into STL files for 3D printing, but you may experience trouble with more complex ones. The Resource area is great, giving you access to tutorials, case studies, and even helpful e-books. It also features the useful GrabCAD Workbench tool. It’s a very popular site with many interesting models and resources available so do check the website out soon.


8. SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse

Once owned by Google, SketchUP 3D Warehouse is the go-to place for all your 3D model needs. Laying claim to being one of the largest 3D model online depositories, with over 4 million free downloads available, this site is easy to navigate using the search feature. To better navigate through the sheer volume of STL files available, they have been grouped into convenient categories. The site has also just released a handy feature that gives users the option to have the SketchUp models they upload automatically converted to STL. Be warned that you may end up spending more time at SketchUp’s site than you may have planned to as there are just too many choices offered.




7. Thingiverse

Operated by the popular Makerbot, one of the leaders in 3D printers, Thingiverse provides access to a huge variety of 3D models as well as a knowledgeable community. You can find many 3D models that you can download for free in STL format, and new models are added daily. The only drawback, though, is not all the models are available as STL files format, therefore not fully optimized for 3D printing (some editing may be needed). This doesn’t happen often, though, and the site is definitely worth a visit.


6. My Mini Factory

Don’t be put off by this pages clean UI and high prices on the homepage. The site is managed by iMakr, so you don’t have to worry about the lack of quality models that the site has to offer. All the objects are curated, meaning that “every object uploaded on MyMiniFactory has been test-printed on desktop 3D printers.” Simply type “free” in the search box and you’ll get instant access to some rather impressive designs. Still going strong since its 2013 launch, MyMiniFactory aims to be the YouTube of 3D files.


5. 3DFindIT.com

3DfindIT.com is the next dimension visual search engine that crawls billions of 3D CAD & BIM models from hundreds of manufacturer catalogs for architecture, mechanical and electrical engineering. The platform allows users to search for digital engineering data provided by manufacturers worldwide. 3DfindIT.com reduces search times and increases efficiency in engineering and construction with intuitive search functions:

  • Parametric Text Search
  • 3D Shape Search
  • 2D Sketch Search
  • 2D Photo Search
  • Color Search
  • Feature/Topology Search
  • Search by Category

The download and use of this CAD data is free of charge.  Many catalogs offer 150+ different neutraland native formats such as Autodesk Revit, Autodesk Inventor, SOLIDWORKS, and more!


4. Free3D

Being one of the smaller repositories, Free3D by TurboSquid has both free and paid models. It offers models created by various 3D software but the downloads aren’t in STL format and need to be converted before usage. Multiple language options make for easier navigation and searches. As one of the newer community-focused sites, while also aiming to grow into a marketplace, Free3D has some great potential.

3. Pinshape

While this is technically a marketplace, Pinshape is a thriving community which make available quirkier models that range from Star Wars-inspired miniatures to jewelry. The free models are displayed along with clearly-marked paid pieces, so you can easily distinguish them or you can simply spend hours browsing and admiring the creativity which went into all these pieces.

2. NIH 3D Print Exchange

This United States government agency for biomedical and public health research offers scientifically accurate or medically applicable models for download. The STL file collections include face shields and low-cost prosthetics, plus models of various human organs for education and research purposes. Especially interesting are the DNA molecules and virus models, so you can get a closer look at these microscopic objects.


While this site may have the least number of 3D models available, it more than makes up in quality as STL files made available for free lets you fabricate landmark objects in the history of space exploration – like the Apollo 11 landing site, the Curiosity Rover or the Hubble Space Telescope. What makes this site really cool is that you also get to download models of spacesuits and rockets which had been deployed by America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


Endless Possibilities with STL Files

We really appreciate that there are sites like these where you don’t have to spend large amounts of money to try out your much-loved hobby. Even though not all of these STL files are designed for 3D printers, some editing can make them suitable for your printer.

If you are unsure on the correct method of doing this conversion, we recommend you first do some research on some 3D-printing blogs before you start. It will save you a lot of time as well as money in the end.

Top 20 Free 3D Printing & 3D Printing Software

Looking for 3D printing software? We've rounded up the top 20 software tools for beginners and professionals alike. Most slicers are free.

What is a slicer? This is a program for preparing a digital model for printing. Models for 3D printing are usually distributed in STL files. To turn an STL file into G-code (a language that a 3D printer understands), a slicer program is required. It is called a slicer because it cuts (to slice - English) a 3D model into many flat two-dimensional layers, from which a 3D printer will add a physical object.

Which slicer should I choose? In this article, we will tell you which slicer is best for 3D printing for each stage of your work. Which one is better for preparing a 3D model for printing? But what if you need to create a 3D model from scratch? And if you are only taking the first steps in 3D?

Don't be afraid: we've answered all of these questions, including the required skill level for each program and where you can download it. The great thing is that most of these programs are completely free and open source.

  1. Cura
  2. CraftWare
  3. 123D Catch
  4. 3D Slash
  5. TinkerCAD
  6. 3DTin
  7. Sculptris
  8. ViewSTL
  9. Netfabb Basic
  10. Repetier
  11. FreeCAD
  12. SketchUp
  13. 3D Tool
  14. Meshfix
  15. Simplify3D
  16. Slic3r
  17. Blender
  18. MeshLab
  19. Meshmixer
  20. OctoPrint

#1: Cura

For beginners who need a slicer to prepare STL files for 3D printing

Cura is the default slicer software for all Ultimaker 3D printers, but can be used with most others , including RepRap, Makerbot, Printrbot, Lulzbot and Witbox. The program is completely open source, its capabilities can be extended using plugins.

This program is very easy to use and allows you to manage the most important 3D printing settings through a clear interface. Start in Basic mode to quickly get up to speed and change print quality settings. If finer control is required, switch to Expert mode.

Cura can also be used to directly control the printer, but then the printer and computer must be connected to each other.

Download: Cura

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux

#2: CraftWare

3D printers by the Hungarian startup CraftUnique to support their CraftBot crowdfunding machine. However, the program works with other printers.

Like Cura, CraftWare allows you to switch from "Easy" to "Expert" mode, depending on how confident you feel. It's a colorful app that features a visual G-code visualization with each function represented by a different color. But the most outstanding feature is the individual support service. As far as we know, only the paid program Simplify3D has this.

Please note, however, that this program is still in beta, so bugs may occur.

Download: CraftWare

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac

#3: 123D Catch

-systems, smartphones and tablets, which allows you to convert images of objects into a 3D model. Pictures can be taken with a smartphone/tablet or digital camera.

You need many photos of an object from different angles - the more the better - after which they will be compiled into a 3D model.

123D Catch is more of a fun app than a professional 3D printing tool, but after some tambourine dancing, you can get good results, especially when paired with an STL editor like MeshLab or Meshmixer.

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Android, iOS, Windows Phone

#4: 3D Slash

and surprisingly simple, and refreshingly new. With 3D Slash, you can design 3D models using your dice skills.

You can start with a large block and, like a virtual sculptor, remove small cups from it with tools such as a hammer or drill, or start from empty space and build a model from cubes and other shapes. You can paint with flowers or use template pictures.

Other features worth mentioning are tools for creating logos and 3D text. The Logo Wizard imports an image and creates a 3D model, while the Text Wizard allows you to enter and format text, and then turn it into 3D.


Download: 3dslash.net

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux, Browser

#5: TinkerCAD

- A computer-aided design (CAD) system for 3D printing, which is a good starting point for beginners. Since its capabilities are limited compared to Blender, FreeCAD and SketchUp, many users switch to more powerful tools after some time.

As in 3D Slash, here you can build models from basic shapes. At the same time, unlike 3D Slash, TinkerCAD allows you to create vector shapes in 2D and convert them into three-dimensional models.

Come in: Autodesk TinkerCAD

Price: Free

Systems: Browser

#6: 3DTin

For beginners who want to create 3D printable models

another easy and intuitive online tool choice for beginners in 3D modeling. All you need is a Chrome or Firefox browser with WebGL enabled.

Choose from a huge library of 3D shapes and add them to your sketch. All sketches are stored in the cloud, access to them is free if you honor the Creative Commons license. Everything can be exported to STL or OBJ formats.

Enter: 3DTin

Price: Free

Systems: Browser

#7: Sculptris

For beginners who want to create 3D printable models

clay. This is a fantastic 3D modeling program if figurines are your main task. For example, you can make a bust of your favorite video game or comic book character. Sculptris is completely free and bills itself as a stepping stone to the more complex (and expensive) ZBrush tool.

Download: Pixologic Sculptris

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac

#8: ViewSTL

For beginners who want to view STL files

ViewSTL is the easiest way to view STL files . Simply open a web page and drag the STL onto the dotted box.

The STL online viewer allows you to display the model in one of three views: flat shading (for a quick view), smooth shading (for a high-quality image), and wireframe.

Enter: ViewSTL

Price: Free

Systems: Browser

#9: Netfabb Basic

some nice features that allow you to analyze, "repair" and edit STL files before moving on to the model cutting stage.

A good choice if you need more than just a slicer and want to be able to quickly fix STL files without having to learn programs like MeshLab or Meshmixer.

Don't let the 'Basic' in the title fool you, Netfabb Basic is actually a very powerful 3D printing tool. It's "basic" only in the sense that it doesn't cost €1,500 like Netfabb Professional!

Download: netfabb. de

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux

No. 10: Repetier

For advanced to prepare STL files for 3D printing

9002 the next level of 3D printer slicer software, but if you want to stay open source, you should look into Repetier. It is the great grandfather of 3D printing software and a favorite of the RepRap community.

To date, the program is moving by leaps and bounds from the level for beginners to advanced users. Packaged in an all-in-one configuration, it supports up to 16 extruders, multi-slicing via plug-ins, and virtually every fusing 3D printer on the market. Get ready to tinker!

What's more, Repetier Host works remotely via Repetier Server, so that the 3D printer can be controlled via a browser, tablet or smartphone.

Download: Repetier

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux

#11: FreeCAD

The program is a great option for developing your design skills. More technically, this parametric 3D modeling program allows you to easily change the project by rolling back through the history of the model and editing the parameters.

Download: freecadweb.org

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux

#12: SketchUp

For beginners who want to create 3D printable models

SketchUp is the perfect combination of simplicity and the perfect combination functionality, with a user-friendly interface and a relatively flat learning curve (i.e., as experience grows with the time spent), the ideal program for developing three-dimensional models.

The Make SketchUp version is free and will include everything you need for 3D modeling if you also download and install the free STL exporter. There is also a professional edition for architects, interior designers and engineers.

Download: sketchup.com

Price: Free (SketchUp Make), $695 (SketchUp Pro)

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux

#13: 3D-Tool Free Viewer

view and validate STL files

3D-Tool Free Viewer is a sophisticated tool that, among other things, allows you to check the structural integrity and printability of your file. With the Cross-Section function, for example, you can look at the model from the inside and check the wall thickness. Very useful if you want to check your STL file for killer errors before printing.

Download: 3D-Tool

Price: Free

Systems: PC

#14: Meshfix

your model for errors.

Price: Free

Systems: Browser

#15: Simplify3D

For professionals to prepare STL files for 3D printing print. A flexible algorithm checks the model for problems, fixes them, shows a preview of the printing process (ideal for identifying potential problems), and then slices it.

This slicer offers the best infill pattern options in the competition. For models that require supports, Simplify3D will create the appropriate structures on its own and give you full control over their placement. For printers with a dual extruder, when printing with different materials, the Dual Extrusion wizard will help, as a result of which, for example, it will be easier to remove the dissolving filament.

Simplify3D supports 90% of today's commercially available desktop 3D printers and is compatible with Marlin, Sprinter, Repetier, XYZprinting, FlashForge, Sailfish and MakerBot firmware. Simplify3D can also be used to directly control the printer, but then the printer and computer must be connected to each other.

Download: simplify3d.com

Price: $149

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux

#16: Slic3r

source code, which has a reputation as a carrier of super new functionality, which you will not find anywhere else. The current version of the program is able to show the model from multiple angles, so that the user gets a better preview experience.

There's also an incredible 3D honeycomb infill, the first of its kind that can extend over multiple layers rather than repeating itself like a stamp. This significantly increases the strength of the internal filling of the model and the final printout.

Another option is direct integration with Octoprint. Once the files on the user's desktop are sliced, they can be directly uploaded to Octoprint with one click.

Download: Slic3r

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux

#17: Blender

For professionals who want to create 3D printable models

Blender is a popular computer-aided design (CAD) system with a steep learning curve. Not at all the best choice for beginners, but what you need if you are quite experienced and need something more complex for modeling and printing.

In short, Blender is one of the most powerful tools out there. Its community is always ready to help, there are a lot of educational materials. It's also open source, so enthusiasts often write extensions to make it even better and more powerful.

Download: blender.org

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux

#18: MeshLab

For professionals to prepare STL files for 3D printing

MeshLab - advanced editor. It allows you to remove parts of a 3D model, merge two models into one, patch holes. If you need a program to modify models for 3D printing or some kind of "repair" work, MeshLab is the right choice.

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux

#19: Meshmixer

For professionals to prepare STL files for 3D printing files. It's especially good for identifying potential problems and fixing them automatically. For example, it will show paper-thin walls that can lead to problems with 3D printing. Meshmixer is part of the Autodesk family of 3D printer software, so it should work well with tools like TinkerCAD.

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac

#20: OctoPrint

start, pause or interrupt 3D print jobs. Combined with Wi-Fi capable devices, it makes for a great monitor for remotely monitoring the 3D printing process.

Octoprint understands the G-codes of almost all 3D printers and slicers and includes a gCodeVisualizer to visualize this code before or during printing.

If you want to work away from your 3D printer and control it remotely, Octoprint is the best you can find.

Download: octoprint.org

Price: Free

Systems: PC, Mac, Linux


2 Best Open Source PDF Printers

An open source PDF printer is software that allows you to print PDF files or save printable PDF files. This means that you can convert virtually any file into the Universal Portable Document Format (PDF), which is available anywhere, anytime. These open source PDF printer programs masquerade as portable printers that you can choose to print a file from your computer system. These little programs look like a standard printer available for printing files, but internally they are used to create PDF files from almost any other format. This article lists some of the best open source PDF printers available on the market today.

Best Open Source PDF Printers

1. doPDF: More Control

PDF files have always had a trade-off between the size and quality of the images in the file. If you want to print a file, you need higher quality images, but if you are low on memory, a smaller file size is preferable. What doPDF does is allow you to control the size of the PDF file, essentially giving you complete control over this trade-off. It also allows you to choose between file settings with or without embedded fonts.

The lack of embedded fonts can make your PDF a little chaotic, but if you prefer to create your own variations, then doPDF was made for you. The only problem with this open source PDF printer was that "don't embed fonts" is the default option, which can result in skewed files, but that's just something that can be fixed with a simple checkbox.

2. PDFCreator: With Metadata Control

If you want to take control of your file's metadata, PDFCreator is the program you need. This little program is an open source PDF printer that allows you to add information (such as author and genre) as metadata for a file.

There is also an option to attach the converted file directly to an email (if you are using the Outlook email software). Files are converted with fairly high accuracy. However, this software comes with ads.

Best open source PDF printer solution

We recommend the best PDF printer for you: Wondershare PDFelement - PDF Editor. This is an amazing all-in-one PDF tool that allows you to read, edit, convert and print PDF files. The print function in PDFelement can be configured as a standard printer that can be used to print PDF files with annotations, print multiple PDF files, booklets or PDF books.

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You can annotate your files, convert them from one format to another, convert any file to PDF and even protect it with a password. PDFelement has a simple and intuitive user interface that is very easy to use and understand.

With PDFelement you get reliable, well-tested and efficient PDF software. If you want to edit PDF files or convert a file to PDF, PDFelement is what you need.

Comparison of open source software and PC systems

Open source software

PC software

Benefits: Most open source programs, such as Mozilla Firefox, have a large community that constantly discusses questions and issues related to the software. When you purchase PDF desktop software, you get an installation disc with powerful professional features. But not only that - you also get technical support and regular software updates.
Open source programs are widely used around the world, so there are many online support opportunities. PDF software for PC is well documented and licensed. This ensures that your legal rights are protected and that you know exactly what the program can and cannot do.
One of the most important advantages of open source software is that it is completely free. There are many options for customizing the software without touching complex code.
The program code is available to all users, which means that they can study the program as well as edit it to add or remove features for better customization. Unlike open source PDF software, desktop software is very easy to use. You can easily find the buttons or icons you need.

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