The world of 3D printing is a big and confusing place. Handily there are legions of 3D printing sites out there that help make sense of it all. In this article, we describe some of the best sites for model downloads, news and printing services to help you to wrap your head around the always growing 3D printing industry.
People who use or are interested in 3D printing want information, industry news, to download 3D designs or get something printed from a 3D printing service.
With such needs in mind, below you’ll find links for a multitude of sites, separated out into 3D Models, News and Print Service categories so that you can navigate easily through this article.
There are many sites offering a big selection of 3D printable designs for you to download and print. The models you find on such sites are either free or you’ll need to pay a small fee before you can download.
If you don’t know how to create a 3D model from scratch or you just want to start using your 3D printer as soon as possible, here are some of the most popular 3D printing sites for downloading printable models:
Thingiverse is a great, easy to use site where you can download free 3D models. There’s a big community behind Thingiverse, so that is why there are thousands of models available to download there — just search the model you want and hit download. If you are a talented 3D designer, you can upload your models to Thingiverse so that other people can see and download your designs.
MyMiniFactory is another great site for model downloads that also has a big community behind the scenes. One of the great things about MyMiniFactory is that their team checks every single file that gets uploaded so that you can be sure there won’t be any issues with the file during printing. All the models available on MyMiniFactory are categorized so that you can easily find what you want. Just as with Thingiverse, you can also upload your 3D models to MyMiniFactory so that other people can use them.
Pinshape is, as its creators say, a site where you can find, share and sell 3D models. The site itself works like MyMiniFactory and Thingiverse; there’s a group of designers who frequently upload 3D models for which they are either asking a small fee or the models are free. Besides downloading models, Pinshape has it’s own blog where you can read about 3D printing and other 3D print related topics.
3D Export is a site that offers you not only to download 3D printable models but also to download non-3D printable 3D models (those models are mostly used in renders, open source game software, etc.) There are lots of 3D printable designs available on 3DExport, some are free, and some are paid. 3D models for 3D printing are divided into categories such as miniatures, gadgets and toys so that you can easily find the model you are searching for.
Need more? Check out the other sites for printable models here: Best Sites for Free STL Files & 3D Printer Files / Models
It’s always a good idea to “stay in the flow” with a field that interests you. In this case, that would be 3D printing.
Here are some of the best sites that offer the latest and greatest news from the growing 3D printing industry.
All3DP.com is a 3D printing website that covers “all things 3D printing” — hence the name. It’s also the very website you find yourself on right now — how meta! Did you know that in addition to helpful explainers such as this article, we cover 3D printing news daily? Head on over to our “News” section for the low-down on what’s happening in 3D printing today.
3Dprint.com is a popular 3D printing site that has a lot of fresh news regarding the applications of 3D printing in multiple fields. Besides news content, 3dprint.com offers other features such as online courses (for prototyping, 3D printing metal etc.) and a search engine for finding 3D printers currently available on the market with their prices. Visitors of 3dprint.com are also able to get a 3D model printed thanks to 3dprint.com’s partnership with Treatstock (more on Treatstock in the next section).
3Dprinting.com is a popular site for news within the 3D printing industry. 3DPrinting.com covers many aspects of the industry from science applications of 3D printing, education, and the business itself. 3Dprinting.com is a good source for 3D printing news and additionally offers the ability to compare and view 3D printers and prices and find how-to guides.
3dprintingindustry.com is yet another reliable source of information regarding news within the 3D printing industry. Besides news, you can browse through many guides and reviews and there’s also a very useful section of the website called “jobs”, where you can search and apply for open positions within the additive manufacturing sector.
3Ders.org is a site with a lot of news including scientific 3D printing content, mostly about where and why 3D printing is implemented and how 3D printing helped someone and improved something. Overall, it is a site that provides quality content where you can also price compare 3D printers and filaments and find videos about 3D printing.
Sites that provide 3D printing services are an important go-to for those without a 3D printer or in need or sure-fire professional prints. That, or to get a part designed for 3D printing.
Here are six popular 3D printing sites that offer 3D printing (and, where specified, design) services.
Shapeways lets you upload a model and choose a material before they print it and deliver it to you. Shapeways also has a design service which means that you don’t need to have a ready to print file, Shapeways’s team is able to design the part for you. If you have an idea to commercialize, Shapeways can be your manufacturing partner, just like Sculpteo and 3DHubs.
All3DP. That’s right — in addition to useful guides like the one you’re reading right now and 3D printing news, All3DP also offers a 3D printing service. Actually, it’s more of a 3D printing price comparison service that bundles the planet’s leading print services under one roof, giving instant quotes from all for your 3D model. Use it to find the lowest price, quickly.
3DHubs is a well known 3D printing site that is the biggest printing service provider in terms of scope. 3DHubs offer a large selection of manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing, CNC, and Injection molding. 3DHubs is the world largest network of 3D printing/manufacturing hubs offering its services in over 140 countries. If you need something to be 3D printed in high quality and delivered in a few days to your doorstep, 3DHubs is the way to go.
i.materialise.com is also a rather popular 3D printing service which offers a very wide variety of materials, finishes and 3D printing technologies. In fact, i.materialise.com has virtually every current 3D printing method at its disposal, a sure sign of a well-developed service covering many bases. i.materialise.com even offers a manufacturing partnership which enables small businesses to produce prototypes or even final products in an effortless way. In addition to the printing service, you can also hire a designer to create a 3D model, making the whole process of getting something printed even easier.
Sculpteo as a service is similar to 3DHubs – you upload a file and they print and deliver the finished product to your doorstep. Sculpteo is also widely known for its wide range of 3D printing technologies. Besides 3D printing services, Sculpteo also offers laser cutting and engraving as a service.
Treatstock. Last but not least we want to describe Treatstock, a great site that lets you find 3D printing shops and services near you, it’s like a search engine that uses your location to provide 3D printing shops and services that are close to you. Besides finding nearest 3D printing services, on Treatstock you can also purchase models to print and hire a designer that will bring your idea to life in the form of a ready to print 3D model.
All 3D printing sites we mention above have their pros and cons, but they are without a doubt some of the best so it’s totally up to you which site you’ll choose. It’s like comparing an iPhone to a Samsung flagship, they both do the job but each in a bit different way. We hope that makes sense.
Have fun printing!
License: The text of "The Most Popular 3D Printing Sites" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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