One way to measure a printable 3D model repository is by the number of models.
Prompted by the recent announcement from Thangs that they’ve now exceeded 2.9M 3D models online, I wondered how they rank against the other popular 3D model repositories.
Three million is certainly a very large number, but what about the other repositories? How do they all rank in terms of the number of printable 3D models? Let’s take a look.
I looked through several key online repositories dedicated to printable 3D models and created the following chart. Each site may or may not publicly disclose the number of models present, but there are some tricky ways to find out the current state or an estimated size, at least for most. Here is what I can find out through various means as of this writing:
|3D Model Repository||Current Model Count|
A few words about each.
Thingiverse is the grandfather of all these sites, having been the first to open way back in 2009 when MakerBot launched. At the time the company correctly realized they needed content to fuel the 3D printers they sold. Because it’s the first and most well-known, it’s accumulated the most 3D objects and now approaches 5M 3D models. However, there are no checks and many of the models are literally unprintable.
Thangs is one of the larger repositories, but is far less known than Thingiverse. As of this writing, they are approaching 3M 3D models, and they could be the fastest growing of the bunch.
Previously independent, but now owned by Formlabs, Pinshape has a good selection of 3D models and is one of the largest online.
The London-based MyMiniFactory operation made its reputation on their ability to check literally every single upload for printability. Their somewhat smaller inventory is entirely certified for printing.
One of the newer entrants, PrusaPrinters is associated with Prusa Research, again as a content source for the company’s vast online community. It’s smaller now than other repositories, but I think that’s only because they just launched it recently.
YouMagine is Ultimaker’s online repository of 3D models. It appeared long ago when Ultimaker served the DIY community. However, with their recent shift towards professional 3D printing by business, it’s not clear what will happen with this site.
You may not have heard of redpah, but it is a small repository that was initially launched in 2014. Unfortunately, it hasn’t grown much since then.
Libre 3D is also an older repository, having been launched in 2013. It also has not grown significantly since that time.
Cults 3D a very popular 3D model repository, but I cannot determine the size of their catalog. I would estimate it at the very least 100,000 items, and possibly much higher. They’re probably closer to the top of the list than the bottom.
In the course of preparing this inventory of repositories, I noticed several sites I’ve previously used have now disappeared. This is the unfortunate fate of less-popular services, which must attract requestors and providers. If you don’t have enough of one, you don’t get the other.
It’s a tough business, but some have it figured out.