STLFLIX: Exploring the Subscription-Based 3D Model Repository

By on June 7th, 2024 in news, Service

Tags: , , , , ,

3D models at STLFLIX [Source: STLFLIX]

Today we’re looking at STLFLIX, a 3D model repository.

There are plenty of places to find printable 3D models online these days, including several ultra-massive sites like Thingiverse, Printables and others. We recently looked at the popularity of these repositories.

One new site I ran across this week is called “STLFLIX”, with the name an obvious play on “NETFLIX”. Like NETFLIX provides access to a library of shows, STLFLIX provides access to a library of 3D models.

Most 3D model repositories use one of several business models:

  • Advertising
  • Subsidization from a 3D printer manufacturer
  • Commission on any sales of paid 3D models

STLFLIX does something entirely different: it’s a subscription-based service. You pay a monthly fee and gain access to their entire catalog of 3D models — just like NETFLIX.

However, if you stop paying the STLFLIX subscription fee, you lose all access to all the 3D models — just like NETFLIX.

How much does this cost? There are a couple of options. You can pay monthly, which is priced at US$15 (or US$7.5/mon if paid annually, quite a discount). That subscription level allows read-only access to the repository.

There’s another type of subscription: Commercial. This subscription allows you to upload 3D models to the STLFLIX library. This is not at all like NETFLIX, you can’t upload your own shows. But in STLFLIX you can upload your own 3D models.

The intent is to place new 3D models on sale and grow the STLFLIX catalog.

However, the commercial subscription is more than the basic read-only license, at US$30 per month ($15/mo if paid annually). That suggests you’d have to make at least US$15 per month in sales to make it worthwhile, if you used the basic subscription.

What do you get for this subscription? Several things, it turns out. You get access to the full library, which as of this writing seems to be “600+” 3D models. That’s an underwhelming total by any measure, and certainly when compared to other sites that offer hundreds of thousands or even millions of 3D models.

On the other hand, this collection is highly curated and new items are added. The company employs a design team of 20 3D modelers. STLFLIX explains:

“Every Friday, a new themed collection is released! Our team works hard to create high quality, top-notch designs just for you. Subscribers will be granted early access.”

There are apparently over 60 collections currently released.

There’s also a private Discord server where participants can collaborate and discuss 3D models.

Is STLFLIX worth the subscription? I’m not so sure. If you subscribed to the basic level for a year you’d pay US$90 in total. Even if you downloaded all of the entire 600 model collection, you’d basically be paying US$0.15 each. Certainly you would not be interested in all of these 3D models, and you won’t know what’s really there until you subscribe.

It seems to me that STLFLIX’s business model could have a bit of friction and they may have trouble attracting larger numbers of subscribers.


By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!