3D printing basics

3D Printing Search Engines: An Overview

Search engines

Yes, I know that marketplaces and communities where I can download 3D printable models do have an internal search engine. But is there a search engine that allows me to search over all the relevant repositories? Something like Google, just for 3D models?

Yeggi – the Google of 3D search engines

In fact, there is a sort of Google for 3D printable models: Yeggi. And it is similar to Google: There is – almost – no real competition.

Yeggi is a meta search engine for 3D printable models. It collects data from 3D communities and marketplaces such as Thingiverse, GrabCAD, 3DLT, and many others. At the time of writing (November 2015), Yeggi claimed it had over 600,000 3D models in its index.

Yeggi, the meta search engine for 3D models
Yeggi, the meta search engine for 3D models

You can search by entering keywords and by clicking on popular keywords (below the search field). To narrow down the search results, you may filter by free or commercial models and sort by popularity, best match or latest.

Moreover, Yeggi also displays the most recently updated files.

Yeggi has been online since April 2013, and it is the uncontended champion in the field. In the last years, there have been several attempts to create a comparable meta search engine for 3D models, but all have failed. All but two …

Yobi3D, the search engine for 3D designers

The impression Yobi3D creates is ambivalent: During our tests, it often claimed to have found more 3D models than Yeggi. But when we scanned the search results, two thirds of the models presented were not relevant to the topic we searched for or were double entries. When we searched for Macbook accessories models, Yeggi found 364, Yobi3D presented over 900. But there were only a few stray bullets in the 364 models Yeggi came up with, while we had to dig through a heap of irrelevant models in Yobi3D’s list. The discrepancy was even worse when we searched for GoPro and Pebble Watch accessories. Yeggie found about 2,000 for either search item, Yobi3D came up with far more – we refrained from counting them because there was so much junk among them.

Of course, on Yobi3D there were most of the “pearls” Yeggi had found, too. But they were buried among a huge amount of models that had nothing to do with the search keywords we had entered.

Yobi3D's filter options are pretty useful.
Yobi3D’s filter options are pretty useful.

What we do like about Yobi3D is its Filter option. After entering a search item and starting the search, click the Filter button (see the arrow on the screenshot). Yobi3D then displays filter options: various file formats from most of the big 3D design software tools, as well as printability, license and models with fewer or more vertices or polygons. Very useful, indeed.


3dbility is a relatively new search engine. Right now, it has mainly models from Thingiverse. And the selection is very small compared to Yeggi and Yobi3D.

Clear interface: 3dbility
Clear interface: 3dbility

Interestingly, we found there had been no (perceptible) progress in 3dbility since July when we first researched 3D model search engines in July: When we searched for Macbook accessories in July, 3dbility found 4 pieces – the same amount as now, mid-November. The same results for GoPro and Pebble Watch accessories: 14 for GoPro and 0 for Pebble Watch, both in July and in November.

Credit: The featured image is from Pixabay user Hans Braxmeier.