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"Things" to Consider

7 Best Thingiverse Alternatives in 2019

Picture of Blu Siber
by Blu Siber
Jan 22, 2019

As a 3D printing enthusiast, or even as a 3D modeler, you've probably heard of Thingiverse. Launched in 2008, the platform has provided us with several trinkets and 3D printable models, but what are some cleaner and less crowded alternatives?

What is Thingiverse?

The default view of an object on Thingiverse.
The default view of an object on Thingiverse. Source: slavikk / Thingiverse

Thingiverse was brought to life by the same team that created Makerbot. Thus it was designed with 3D printing in mind.

Thingiverse is a website where users can share original 3D models, designs, and ideas. Models range from all sorts of gadgets, to organizational tools, to trinkets, toys, and even replacement parts! Running for over eight years, Thingiverse has acquired over 400,000 “things” on the site, all of which are free and printable.

The biggest draw Thingiverse has to most of its users is the fact that everything can be downloaded openly and freely. But another thing people like is that comments and detailed descriptions allow for easy troubleshooting if a print goes wrong.

Yet, despite all of the models that have been added over the years, some may wish to try some alternatives.

#1: GrabCAD

Image of: #1: GrabCAD
Source: GrabCAD.com

Designed with the community in mind, GrabCAD is great for sharing designs and models as well as finding 3D printable objects. Though the interface can seem a bit overwhelming at first glance, it’s very well organized, and it has an incredibly varied collection of models.

Pros:

  • Large selection and wide variety of models
  • Community-oriented, welcoming site
  • Well-designed interface with many features

Cons:

  • Some paid models
  • Some non-3D-printable models
  • Difficult to search through overwhelming amount of models

#2: CGTrader

Image of: #2: CGTrader
Source: CGTrader.com

With a very well-sorted and professional appearance, CGTrader is an excellent alternative, so long as you’re willing to pay for a good model. That said, the level of quality usually fits the price pretty well, so you’re not paying more than what a model is worth. Additionally, the amount of available models is enormous, and the search tools make it easy to find what you’re looking for.

Pros:

  • Excellent selection of high quality models
  • “3D Printing section” with 3D printable models
  • Easy to sort through models with organized and well-designed interface

Cons:

  • Many paid models
  • Some non-3D-printable models
  • Interface suited to purchasing, not exploring

#3: MyMiniFactory

Image of: #3: MyMiniFactory
Source: MyMiniFactory.com

Created exclusively for 3D printing, MyMiniFactory features a community-centric website and a great selection of models. Though some of the models must be purchased, the prices are usually very low, and both paid and free models have great quality. The site invites both creators and printers alike.

Pros:

  • Many free, high-quality models
  • Relatively cheap models when not free
  • Community-oriented and welcoming experience

Cons:

  • Not the easiest to use
  • Models are somewhat limited and unorganized

#4: Cults

Image of: #4: Cults
Source: Cults3D.com

Offering a wide variety of 3D models, Cults is the perfect place to find something to 3D print. Every model on the site is 3D printable, and though a few models cost money, the price is usually very reasonable for what you receive in return. Also, Cults has a wide selection of useful objects, not just collectibles or decorative pieces. Thus you don’t have to worry about littering your home with printables that just sit around.

Pros:

  • Many free models
  • Extremely cheap models when not free
  • Friendly, community-centric interface
  • Many prints that are useful in day-to-day life

Cons:

  • Some lower quality models
  • Occasionally irrelevant search results

#5: PinShape

Image of: #5: PinShape
Source: Pinshape.com

If quality is your number one priority, check out Pinshape. It has tons of models to choose from, with each being of exceptional quality. Bundled with the fact that each model is 3D printable, Pinshape makes a great alternative to Thingiverse if you’re looking for a more professional platform.

Pros:

  • Exceptionally high-quality models
  • Professional, clean-looking platform
  • Easy-to-navigate website

Cons:

  • Some paid models
  • Not very community-like compared to Thingiverse
  • Smaller selection of models

#6: YouMagine

Image of: #6: YouMagine
Source: YouMagine.com

YouMagine is probably the best alternative to Thingiverse in terms of similarity. Featuring a simplistic interface, as well as many of the same features found on Thingiverse, it makes for a quick and easy-to-learn alternative.

Pros:

  • Not as crowded
  • Higher quality models
  • More specific search features

Cons:

  • Slower website
  • Much smaller variety of models

#7: Repables

Image of: #7: Repables
Source: Repables.com

Repables advertises itself as a 3D printable file repository that isn’t owned by a 3D printer manufacturer. Everything on the site is free and open to use, and the selection is growing quickly. The site is simple and doesn’t require much knowledge to use it.

Pros:

  • The simplest website on this list
  • Straightforward interface allows for quick download

Cons:

  • Few advanced features
  • No standard of quality

License: The text of "7 Best Thingiverse Alternatives in 2019" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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