Your personal 3D printer sits idle while you ponder what to print. Should you go back to Thingiverse and print out another coat hook? Perhaps some spare MakerBot parts? Maybe you should fire up SketchUp or Blender and create a new 3D model of your own design.
Nope, not tonight. You're feeling lazy and want to just get a wonderful pre-made 3D model and print it out. Something unique that probably hasn't been printed before. Where do you look?
There are the usual suspects, including:
- 3D print service Shapeways touts their 3D Parts database, which is a fine repository of 3D models stored in .STL format. The models are all offered with a Creative Commons Attribution license and are thus mostly free for you to use
- Google's 3D Warehouse contains vast quantities of models of varying quality. Some models are unbelievably detailed, while others are so simplistic they have no hope of being 3D printed. This is a great place to look for models of famous buildings, as they leak into the warehouse from Google Earth
- Thingiverse was created by the 3D print hobbyist crowd, and it contains again a wide variety of items. It's a strange mix of technical pieces and artistic items - and quite a few mods for MakerBots and RepRaps
But after those popular repositories have been exhausted, where else might you find some cool models?
It turns out there are literally scores of 3D model repositories sprayed across the Internet. A scant few examples from the many sources might be:
And there are many, many more. Here's a list of 60 repositories you can sift through. There are even more that offer pay-for 3D models, such as TurboSquid.
But how do you go about using these repositories to find suitable 3D print models? That's tomorrow's story.