The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health (NIH) has opened its own public repository of printable 3D models.
It’s not a general purpose repository, but one that focuses on “community-contributed database of bioscientific 3D-printable files”. What does that mean? We found examples such as these in the repo:
- Visible Human Male – First lumbar vertebra
- Impacted Wisdom Teeth, 3D Model
- Dog Skull
- Brain Ventricles
- SA11 Rotavirus trypsinized Triple Layered Particle (shown above)
You get the idea. Not necessarily something you’d want to print out as a gift for Grandma, but useful if you happen to teach biology.
Files are available in zipped STL or X3D format (X3D is the successor to VRML, and can provide color models).
The content is provided by the public, who may share models freely on the site. One issue that haunts most printable 3D model repositories is the issue of printability. Depending on the software used to create the model, it may or may not be printable. The good news is that the NIH 3D Print Exchange provides a “Create” feature that will inspect and certify your 3D model as “printable”. Or not. They also provide video tutorials for a few common activities.
The NIH Print Exchange may not have all the models you need, but it certainly should be added as yet another option for finding models.