Good news! CGTrader announced they’ve now accumulated over 500,000 users and 500,000 3D models.
The company also says they are now “the biggest 3D model marketplace”. I’m not so sure they are, although 500,000 is certainly a massive number.
Specifically, I’m comparing them to Thingiverse, perhaps the oldest printable 3D model repository. Seven months ago MakerBot announced that Thingiverse had achieved its one millionth upload.
Where I come from, a million is almost always larger than 500,000. But then it depends on what counts as a 3D model. In the case of Thingiverse, some of the uploads are actually remakes on existing 3D submissions. Does a variation on an existing 3D model count as a new 3D model? It might – or might not. Also, Thingiverse’s uploads do occasionally include items that aren’t 3D models – but are 2D equipment designs, for example. On Thingiverse’s “About” page, they explain the site has “557,340 3D models, but I suspect this number hasn’t been updated for a while. Regardless, it’s higher than CGTrader’s 500,000. Certainly there are more 3D models on Thingiverse than CGTrader, even if they are not curated.
Perhaps CGTrader refers to the number of participants, which they now boast 502,719. That is a spectacularly huge number compared to almost all other printable 3D model sites, but again, Stratasys said last October that Thingiverse has “more than 2 million active monthly users and 1.7 million downloads per month”.
And that’s “active” users, not “registered” users, of which there will no doubt be many more than 2 million. Again, far larger than CGTrader.
As you can tell, I am a little suspicious of CGTrader’s claim. Perhaps they’re counting things differently than I am, but it’s likely that Thingiverse remains the statistical leader, at least for desktop 3D printing users.
It’s not surprising, however, because Thingiverse was first to launch, and when the product is free, it’s going to be a huge challenge for anyone to catch up.
Meanwhile, if you look beyond the desktop 3D printing community, you will find many other gigantic sites offering printable 3D models. One example is GrabCAD, which currently boasts of over 1,350,000 downloadable models. Coincidentally, GrabCAD, like Thingiverse, is also owned by Stratasys.
Regardless of the statistical battle, both CGTrader and Thingiverse remain excellent choices for obtaining great 3D models. Their growth is evidence of the popularity and creativity found today in the world of 3D printing.