A 3D printed plant model doesn't need watering or sun, and it can be easily customized. Find the one for you today!
3D printing has come a long way and encouraged people to push the boundaries of what they thought was possible to create. Foods, toys, and even prosthetic limbs are just some of the things that can be created. Plus, people are exploring 3D printed objects that primarily have aesthetic value but are nonetheless fascinating.
Plants are examples of objects fitting that category. And they’re getting progressively more advanced, too. In one case, Nicole Hone, a graduate student in New Zealand, designed 3D printable aquatic plants called hydrophytes. She views her work as something outside the bounds of conventional 3D printing and refers to the process as 4D multi-material printing: The plants respond to external changes in the environment, such as touch.
If you’re interested in getting a plant 3D model to create lifelike plants at home, that’s an understandable aim for many reasons. 3D plants don’t need watering or other types of care, so if you don’t have a green thumb, that’s no problem. Also, plants have a positive effect on mental health, and you can tap into the associated benefits even if the plants aren’t real.
If, while perusing one of the following sites, you like something you see but don’t have the setup to print it yourself, consider contacting a 3D printing service. Through Craftcloud, the 3D printing and price comparison service from All3DP, you’ll find the best provider for your needs (and location). Let your plants benefit from quality manufacturing carried out by professionals.
Now, let’s get to that list!
The internet is filled with places to get 3D models, but they vary with respect to how valuable they are for users. As we dive into the 12 best places to find 3D plant models, we’ll consider the following:
Knowing about those aspects will make it easier for you to decide which of these sites to check out first and give you an idea of how likely it is to have the kinds of 3D plant model options you want. All the sites below are clearly targeting 3D printing enthusiasts, and they’re generally not for people who are unfamiliar with 3D printing model file types and the associated terminology.
Thingiverse is known to have a nice assortment of printable pots to keep your plants in, but there are plants here, too. The search specificity can be a bit tricky, so finding the plants you want may take a bit longer than on the sites mentioned previously.
Overall selection: It’s hard to tell the precise number of plant models this site has. However, a rough estimate is that there are at least 100 models.
Variety: Although the variety of plants is limited, there are numerous kinds of container models that could help you show off your creations. Most of the plants available are not flowers, but there are several succulents.
Value: All models on Thingiverse are free.
User-friendliness: This site shows search results as two per row. That means you have to scroll more than usual to get through everything, but the layout may also force you to study each result more carefully before moving past it. Each model description is exceptionally detailed, and it has all the information you’d expect from a site like this.
Comment and “Like” functionality for each model helps you interact with, or show your support for the designers. The Print Settings section of each description is especially helpful. It tells you which model of printer the person had when creating what you see. And what parameters they used for the results.
TurboSquid features a banner at the top of the search results that encourages visitors to check out plant models priced under $20, which is good if they’re shopping on a budget. Still, finding free 3D plant model options is straightforward.
Overall selection: There are 207 free plant models showcased on a single gallery-style page. The count increases to 14,745 if you remove the “Free” filter.
Variety: Whether you opt for free or premium models, the assortment is appealing. It includes several kinds of grasses, in addition to flowers. Buttons at the top of the main search results page allow for quickly looking up different kinds of plants, such as bamboo and moss.
Value: There’s a good chance you’ll find what you’re looking for without having to pay for anything. If you opt for something with an associated fee, most of the plant models are in the $1 to $100 range, although there is also a category for models that cost $300 or more.
User-friendliness: Menus at the top of the search results enable filtering by format, price, quality and more. People can also see how many models fall within a desired chosen characteristic, before applying the filter. TurboSquid offers a live 24/7 chat feature that could give peace of mind to anyone who wants to buy a premium 3D plant model, but may still have some questions.
People who use CGTrader to find a 3D plant model can use a filtering system to get more specific about their needs. However, you should be aware that, even with the “Free” checkbox selected, many premium options may still appear in the results.
Overall selection: The site currently offers 940,000 models, and 24,204 of those are associated with plants. However, not all the models with the plant search tag were accurate. Some of the search results generated during a test related to houses and furniture, for example.
Variety: After searching for several types of plants and flowers at random, we found this site had all of them. The range is impressive, and users benefit from being able to download in a variety of file types.
Value: The 3D plant models here range from free options to files that cost hundreds of dollars. Premium content is well marked in the search results. You can also hire some of the 3D model creators to work for you on specialty projects.
User-friendliness: The search functionality has lots of filters, and it’s easy to use, although the results are not always accurate. The site layout is pleasing, and it allows people to scroll through results without being overwhelmed.
The information-rich but uncluttered layout of Free3D makes it easy and fun to browse for 3D plant models, whether you’re looking for something specific or just want to see what’s available. You can also see the number of views or downloads a model received without clicking on the full description, which should save time if you want to get an idea of what’s most popular.
Overall selection: There are 14,616 premium plant models here, 87 of which are free for 3D printing.
Variety: The assortment is a little heavy on grass and logs, but there are pretty flowers here that are worth checking out.
Value: People should not view this site as the best choice for getting something specific for free since the collection is quite small.
User-friendliness: People can select either free or premium models at the top of the page, which is helpful. However, it’s necessary to enter a search keyword in the accompanying box again after switching between types.
The feature for filtering 3D plant models offered for a price seemed broken, and it returned no results under the “3D printable” filter at the top. However, tweaking other filters made 3D printer-compatible files appear. Subcategories at the top of the search results aid in getting more precise results.
When reading the specifications, be sure that the model shows as 3D printable ready. The site has other 3D models that are not for printers, which can be a bit confusing.
MyMiniFactory is another option that features plant models alongside pots to print. Some are tabletop plants that sit on a flat surface, but they don’t require containers because their bases are wide and firm enough to stand on their own. Give it a try if you want to print a plant you can display without even potting it.
Overall selection: A search for the term “plant” generated more than 750 options. However, bear in mind that not all were plants, and many were accessories.
Variety: You’ll find 3D printed things for plants here that other sites don’t offer, such as supports. There are also hooks, which are presumably able to hold things like hanging baskets. You may also find it difficult to source specific plant varieties on this site, as it’s assortment isn’t as broad as you’ll find elsewhere.
Value: Concerning the results pulled up during the “plant” search, 749 were free items, while there were 33 premium models. Most of the fee-based models were under $5.
User-friendliness: Each search result shown in the gallery view includes the designer’s name as well as the total number of views received with a price. Getting this information while scrolling instead of having to click could speed up the time required to locate the model a user wants or needs.
There doesn’t seem to be a way to sort the premium models by price, though that may not be a major concern due to their low number.
The image-centric layout of Cults caters to people who want to look for models without being distracted by text-based descriptions. However, if you prefer more content, placing your mouse over an image makes the model’s name and a price appear if there’s a price.
Like some of the other sites on this list, this is another destination that offers a lot of plant-related accessories to print.
Overall selection: If you search for the term “plant” here, expect over 800 results. However, due to the image-based display mentioned above, it is often hard to tell what type of model you’re looking at, before clicking to get more details.
Some of the offerings did not seem explicitly related to plants, so the search accuracy may need some improvement.
Variety: The variety here is far from extensive, but the kind of collection offered is such that you could stumble across a hidden gem.
Value: It’s hard to tell how many plant models here are free since you cannot reveal the price without placing your cursor over an image first. However, the most expensive model here appears to be under $40.
User-friendliness: You can apply several filters to the search results, such as relevance and price. Doing so makes for a better overall browsing experience. Tags also allow one to narrow down a search, but you’ll only see the respective group after clicking on a model’s description.
The content within each description is widely varied, with some users choosing to insert content from Amazon or Wikipedia to explain their processes or the products used to create their results.
CadNav provides links to the most popular 3D plant models in the collection via a section on the right side of the page. It could help people who are new to 3D printing plants and want some guidance regarding which models users select most often.
Overall selection: There are seven pages of 3D plant models on this site with approximately 30 options per page.
Variety: The variety at this site is slightly less than what some others offer. Even so, the types of plants and flowers available are attractive possibilities, and the assortment is sufficient, considering the overall number of items available to download.
Value: All available models are free.
User-friendliness: The download page for each file is well laid out, and a box on the right side of each description gives the most pertinent details, including the file size. People can use a tag-based system to find models or type in desired keywords in addition to scrolling through the main gallery.
Open3dModel has handy categories at the top of the page to help people specify what they want to find. Although the layout of this site is not as advanced as some of the others already mentioned, it’s worth spending some time to see what’s available.
Overall selection: There are nearly 4,000 models described as relating to plants and trees, and almost 800 designated as flowers.
Variety: This site offers a substantial amount of variety, but the filtering features let people browse without coming across too many irrelevant results.
Value: Open3dModel is specifically for free models.
User-friendliness: Searching through the models and learning about them is not difficult. However, there are numerous ads sprinkled among the content that can cause initial confusion. The site does seem to function with an ad blocker activated, but leaving it enabled will cause many pop-ups to appear. It may be better to turn it off and expect that some content is ad-based.
The selection on 3DZip is less extensive, but the layout is pretty, making for a more enjoyable user experience.
Overall selection: There are 25 pages of models here. Each page has about 15 models.
Variety: The variety here is consistent with other sites, providing approximately the same amount of content. There are also some plant-related objects to print, such as pots.
Value: This site only has free models.
User-friendliness: You have to sign in via Facebook or Google to access the download links. Also, the number of ads is distracting, and it takes away from the user experience. However, the advertising is understandable since you can get all models free of charge. The site has a Messenger-based chatbot that can be useful if you have particular questions or problems.
CGAxis is arguably the most visually-pleasing site in our list. It has a dedicated landing page for the 3D plant model files to get people excited about creating plants. You can also select from three broad categories of 3D plant files, rather than looking at the whole collection.
Overall selection: It’s difficult to gauge the total number of options due to the site layout. However, in the “Plants 3D Models” category, there appears to be about 25 models per page, and 40 pages in total.
Variety: The variety is extensive. People can even just search for trees, and you can source dozens of possibilities with a single search.
Value: There are only a few complimentary options published here, and they are not intuitively displayed. A free model has an “Add to Cart” button with no price, and the premium models have the same button, but they show an amount to pay. The most expensive options are about $25.
User-friendliness: The processes of sorting through 3D plant models, getting the details about an option, and proceeding to buy or download it are very straightforward.
123Free3DModels offers numerous categories to browse on the left side of the page. Consider using it if you want file formats that are commonly used for 3D printers, such as STL and OBJ.
Overall selection: It’s hard to tell the total number of 3D models that are on offer here because you can go to the last page shown in a search results string, scroll down, and see at least five more pages to browse.
Variety: The variety is better than other sites that offer free models, but some of the content seems incorrectly tagged, which may skew the results.
Value: There are no fees associated with any of the models.
User-friendliness: You can see how many people have downloaded each file, which helps gauge which ones might give you the most desirable results. Also, searching is simple, provided you keep in mind the tagging issue mentioned above. You start the download process merely by clicking on the file format you want.
DownloadFree3D.com has a relatively small number of model categories, but one of them is specifically for plants. The site’s design is simple, but there’s a substantial amount of content relevant to 3D printing models.
Overall selection: There are 31 pages of plant models at the time of writing, and each page appears to have approximately 20 models.
Variety: The variety is wide, and it includes options ranging from roses to pine trees. People can also narrow down their searches by clicking on one of the plant categories on the right of the screen, such as indoor plants, grass, and trees.
Value: All 3D plant model content available here is free.
User-friendliness: Searching for the desired plant model is easy, thanks to the search box. However, scrolling through the whole gallery of plant models is also a simple way to see what’s available. People can access download links by clicking on the image of a plant.
Whether you’ve been making plants with your printer for a while or you want to find your first model, these sites will help you get the necessary files. After working with them, you may find it’s easier than expected to create a garden and not have to worry about giving the plants food, water, and light.
(Lead source image: Alex Block via Unsplash)
License: The text of "Plant 3D Model: 12 Great Sources in 2020" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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