With controversy brewing around the most popular 3D model repository, Thingiverse, some ask what alternative repos may exist. We found more than a few.
No two repositories are identical, however. They differ in:
- Pricing (some are free, some priced, some mixed)
- Size (some have tens of thousands of models, while others have only dozens)
- Content (some focus on specific topics, others are general)
- Printability (some exclusively hold printable objects and others don’t)
- Usage (some hold models only for use on their printers or service)
- Modifiability (some hold static models, some have dynamic adjustable models)
- Usability (some sites are far more usable than others)
Like Thingiverse there are some repos built by manufacturers to provide their users with things to print:
In no particular order, here are a few of the larger or more recently launched 3D model repositories, all with different characteristics. Note that some include non-printable models, so be careful what you select.
We’re quite certain we missed MANY other repos; our apologies.
There are also innumerable small boutique sites, like BHold, which offer a very small selection of their custom-designed products.
For an alternative approach, you could also consider using the code control service GitHub to store 3D models, as it now includes STL file support. Similarly, you could also roll your own server with something like Media Goblin, which also offers 3D model support.
The world of 3D printing does not end with Thingiverse; there are literally dozens of other places to find and distribute 3D models – and we expect many more in coming months.