Here’s an easy to scan list I’ve compiled of the most popular and highly-regarded 3d printing resources. From ready to print CAD models to online communities it’s all here!
Downloadable 3D Models Ready for 3D Printing
One of the original and largest 3D printed communities. You should make it your go to place for free 3D models of all genres. If you create a user profile you can save collections of files, and with so many users uploading designs every day you’ll never be short of something interesting to print. When you print a Thingiverse design you can upload your results so other users can see how it turned out.
A great community of over 70,000 designers offering free and paid STL files to download. The well thought out categories and trending items make it easy to find your next print.
There are lots of unique designs on Cults that make it well worth a visit in addition to the more popular model repositories. They have a mixture of free and premium files to download in categories such as jewelry, architecture, and gadgets.
Currently offering 55,000 3D objects to download and print, MyMiniFactory offer unique models from their partnerships with people such as the Cartoon Network.
3DKitbash specialize in free and premium 3D model toys and 3D printer test kits. Their collections are small but highly curated, ensuring all their models are easy to print and impressive.
Aimed at professional engineers, GrabCAD has been a go to repository for engineers for years.
While it doesn’t look as polished as some other 3D model repositories, Yeggi has been around a while and offers some fantastic models to download from a total collection of more than 1.6 million!
This is the best starting point for beginners to the world of CAD (computer aided design.) It’s entirely free and is used by teachers, hobbyists, and kids all over the world to create their own designs.
The go to 3D printing slicer has revolutionized how we prep CAD models ready for printing. It seamlessly integrates with most CAD packages and has built in setup profiles for all of the most common 3D printers and it’s completely free!
The original and all open source Slicer software that converts 3d models into 3D printing G-code.
With over 28,000 members and 100,000 posts, 3D Printboard is the go to place for any 3D printing questions you might have. With sub-sections on slicers, robotics, and prosthetics, as well as specific printer models, you can be sure to find expertise in every aspect of 3D printing.
Reddit offers a community space for almost every interest and 3D printing is no exception. The general r/3Dprinting community has over 200,000 subscribers and is a great place for newbies to get advice as well as showing off your prints.
If you’re into 3D printed tabletop minis, then head straight to r/PrintedMinis where you can get helpful advice on how to push the boundaries of 3D printing to print detailed minis.
3D Printing Services
If you don’t want to invest in a 3D printer yourself, Shapeways can print whatever design you need and ship it straight to your door in a matter of days. They currently operate in over 100 countries, and ship over 6,000 3D printed objects every day!
Using the power of its user base, 3D Hubs offer a 3D printing service with an average turnaround of just two days. They currently operate in over 160 countries with most people able to find a hub within 10 miles of their home.
Recommended 3D Printing Sites
One of the largest industry networks, their trade shows are well worth a visit to see the latest in 3D printing technology in person.
All the latest news from the 3D printing and additive manufacturing industry.
Constantly updated with the latest news, interviews, and stories, as well as industry events and jobs.
3D Printing Education
With over 100 free lessons there’s something for everyone on Thingiverse’s education section. You can sort lessons by grade and subject to find exactly what you’re after. There are also communities built around the lessons, so you can interact with other educators to get the best from each project.
Paid lessons aimed at school use with plans targeted towards beginners aged 11-12 years up to more advanced lessons for 16-year-olds. The plans include teaching resources such as powerpoint presentations and lesson worksheets.
Currently in beta testing, Makerversity is offering lesson packs to download as well as access to a maker space at Somerset House in Central London, UK.
You can take part in free online 3D printing courses and also download lesson plans aimed at primary and high school age children.