Find your next print

post

Some times it can be difficult to find something you want to print. You have probably already printed everything you dreamt about when first buying a 3D printer and are now stuck for inspiration. Luckily, we are here to help and below is a list of some resources that might help you.

Download

There are many websites that offer free 3D printable files that can be downloaded and printed in a very short amount of time. This is probably the easiest way to find something appealing to print.

Thingiverse is a huge resource of free .stl files that are designed and uploaded by 3D design enthusiasts. Nearly anything you can dream of can be found on Thingiverse. Click on "explore" at the top of the home page to start trawling through the many 3D prints available for download. Note that you don't need to be a member in order to download a print. If you're still stuck for inspiration then the home page regularly changes day-to-day to showcase the latest prints and designs. 3DEX has uploaded many of its designs to Thingiverse which can be viewed here and we are frequently uploading new ones.

Pinshape is a smaller community than Thingiverse but don't let this fool you as Pinshape is still crammed with high quality prints available for download. Like Thingiverse, Pinshape's home page is full of popular and new designs which will help with any lack of inspiration you may be having. Unlike Thingiverse, you are required to be a member of Pinshape before you can download any designs, however, membership is free. Some designs on Pinshape do cost money to download and some can only be streamed directly to your printer. However, these paid-for prints are usually of exceptional quality and there is still a vast array of free prints if you don't want to spend money. 3DEX has a profile on Pinshape which can be viewed here.

Cults 3D is another popular 3D file sharing site. It is very similar to Pinshape in that some prints can cost money to download but there is still a huge selection of free prints. Cults has a wonderfully minimalist design making it easy to navigate around. Its home page is full of downloadable prints therefore giving any visitor great inspiration for what to print next. 3DEX has a profile on Cults which is viewable here.

STL Finder is an excellent recourse if you can't find exactly what you want on the above websites. STL Finder is a search engine for 3D printable .stl files. Simply enter some keywords into the search bar and STL Finder will give you many pages of links to files that match your keyword. However, it should be noted that not all files returned by STL finder are optimised for 3D printing therefore the first result may not be the best result for you.

Please note that if you choose to print something that you've downloaded from the internet then you are printing someone else's intellectual property. Whilst they may allow you to print their models in private and commercial gain you make from their design, or even if you simply take credit for it, could be illegal. If you think you may infringe upon someone's intellectual property rights then it's always best to get in contact with them and check with them you plans.

Self Design

If you don't find anything you like when browsing the above websites then another option to you is to design your own 3D print. You might think that this sounds difficult as its going to involving learning CAD skills, however, this may not be as difficult as you think. First of all there are many very powerful CAD packages that can be downloaded for free. Some popular ones are Blender 3D, FreeCAD, OpenSCAD and Sculptris.

Leanring to use this programmes is easy thanks to the huge amount of resources available on the internet. We would recommend using Youtube in order to see visual tutorials on how to use these pieces of software. In just a few hours you'll be able to make basic objects using CAD. There are even tutorials on how to get your design from the CAD software to your printer.