These websites are the main repositories to find and download free 3D models for use with your 3D printer. The files of the sites range from very simple 3D models to very complex 3D models.
3D ContentCentral hosts free 2D and 3D CAD files from engineers and firms. You can also request models.
Shapeways 3D Parts Database is a place where you can download free 3D models for 3D printing. The files currently in the database have been tested and printed by Shapeways and all “Print with Safety”. Here are some fun materials that you can print with:
- Gold plated brass.
- Released for a limited time: Elasto Plastic that’s flexible and impact resistant.
- Clothing such as the gown worn by the Queen of Burlesque.
- Sterling silver cutlery so you can eat like they will in the future and silver pendants.
CG Trader has both chargeable and free models, both those ready for 3D printing and those not. You’ll have to use the filters to select just the free models.
Operated by Defense Distributed, the site was a makeshift response to Makerbot Industries’ decision to censor firearm-related files uploaded at Thingiverse. They are started as a host of firearms-related files but have now expanded to the inclusion of ANY file, regardless of intellectual property rights.
NOTE: DEFCAD files have been removed from public access at the request of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls. Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information.
GrabCad is a site for engineers to show off and share their CAD works, with over 75,000 free models available. .stl filter available.
TurboSquid is a large repository of both pay-for and free 3D models. There’s no area dedicated specifically to 3D printing, but there are selectable filters such as .stl and .sldprt (Solidworks part).
Thingiverse is a huge community of people who create and share 3D designs freely so that all can benefit from them. Widely used by the RepRap Project, and by 3D Printer and MakerBot operators.
TraceParts is a huge 3D parts database founded in 1989 with some very complex CAD files available in numerous formats, including .stl.
The Trimble 3D Warehouse (formerly Google 3D Warehouse until purchased by Trimble) is a free, online repository where you can find, share, store, and collaborate on free 3D models created in SketchUp. This is a great place to look for models of famous buildings, as SketchUp interacts with Google Earth.