2016 is announced as the year of 3D printing. More and more people are looking for new projects to realize and print with their new 3D printer. Here is a selection of websites to download free STL files for 3D printing. No particular ranking has been made to present the download sites presented in this article.
At the end of 2015, Thingiverse exceeded one million STL files and 200 million downloads. Thingiverse is also known for these 3D design challenges. Its community is very diverse and includes students as well as professors, artists and 3D printing enthusiasts.
Although much more modest than Thingiverse, YouMagine is supported by Ultimaker. Ultimaker is generally considered in the Maker community as the benchmark of 3D printer manufacturers. YouMagine has distinguished itself for its commitment to the protection of published works and in particular by proposing a specific open source license (called 3DPL) for the 3D printing of objects. Visit the site.
Pinshape is another giant of STL file sharing. Pinshape brings together a community of more than 55,000 Makers and 3D designers who can offer free or paid STL files. Pinshape accepts ZIP and OBJ files. Pinshape also offers to import your STL files directly from your Thingiverse account. Visit the site.
MyMiniFactory is a community of enthusiasts who offer free access to STL files that have been validated and stamped “Printable 3D”. MyMiniFactory is managed by iMakr, an online store of 3D printers and consumables located in London.
Cults is probably the biggest download site for French STL files. Creators can offer their STL files for free or for free. In this case, Cults levies a commission of 20% of the price fixed by the creator.
GrabCAD is a general CAD file exchange (CAD) site that brings together a community of more than 1 million mechanical engineers and offers more than one million CAD models. You will find free STL files, for example jewelry, figures, accessories to print to improve your 3D printer…
Autodesk complements its free offer of applications for designing 3D objects with the Autodesk 123D site where you will find 10000 free templates to use in the software offered by 123D Sculpt+, TinkerCAD, 123D Catch and many others.
3Dagogo is run by a team of 3D printing enthusiasts located in California. Like MyMiniFactory, 3Dagogo validates that designs can be printed in 3D before being offered for download. Makers can offer their creations for free or not.
Here is another community of 3D printing and electronics enthusiasts who share their creations free on libre3D.
Instructables is not strictly speaking a site for downloading STL files but a site for exchanging projects to realize yourself step by step (DIY movement, Do It Yourself). The creators willingly share their creations as well as all creation media (programs, STL files, CAD files …). I take this opportunity to point out the link to the DIY Projects page if you want to support them.