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3D Printing Guide

The Best 10 Alternatives To Thingiverse

Picture of Scott Gabdullin
Scott Gabdullin

Updated on June 17, 2024

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You may spend a lot of money to set up a 3D printout workflow. However, the setup will only be worth your money if you print 3D frequently and have useful models to print. In that case, many 3D print services are available for occasional and frequent users.

ThingiVerse is the largest repository for 3D printable models, with over 2.1 million designs. Yet, due to the site’s popularity, you will likely experience long wait times. Thus, you may want to consider other options besides Thingiverse. Here are ten different substitutes to explore.

MyMiniFactory

MyMiniFactory offers various cool 3D things to print. A community of 3D designers, engineers, and users contribute to the final models. You can use the platform for printouts if you are a hobbyist, a professional, or a small business. MyMiniFactory also allows you to customize and order your 3D print designs.

The rigorous method MyMiniFactory uses to vet designs ensures only the best get uploaded. So, print errors are almost non-existent. Further, MyMiniFactory provides tutorials and tips to help you navigate the platform. You can also access a forum to discuss 3D print topics.

Features

MyMiniFactory has the following elements:

  • Ideas section for users
  • Tabletop community
  • Fun competition feature that lets you use your designs to compete and win rewards

The features above enhance interactivity and the ability o share ideas among users.

Pros and Cons

MyMiniFactory boasts the following pros.

  • The requirement for a file to pass a software check before publication reduces printout errors
  • The user interface enhances speedy navigation
  • The website has a neat categorization based on various industries
  • Constant updates of new designs, so you are sure to find something unique

Unfortunately, beginners may find the website confusing due to the high content and variability.

Cults

Cult is an independent marketplace with a wide range of 3D print designs. Besides, all accessories of the platform are in one central hub. So if you want a one-stop for different accessories, Cults is the way to go. Also, you can download 3D printer models from the platform for free.

Designers can share for free or sell designs on the Cult repository. You may not notice the free files at first glance. However, Cults offers categorization and good filter tools. So, with a simple filter option, you can bring the free files to the forefront. Also, if you are a designer who wants to sell via the platform, Cults keeps a 20% commission from each sale.

Features of Cults

Here are some top elements of the Cult platform.

  • Numerous promotions, e.g., discounts on accessories and 3D printers
  • Simple user interface with high-resolution photos
  • Community print feature

The above features make Cults more interesting, simple, and interactive.

Pros and Cons of Cults

The pros of Cults include:

  • Seamless user interface with high-quality images
  • Unique collections like Lego parts, GoPro, and drone accessories
  • Straightforward user interface with high-quality images
  • Blogs with helpful information on different aspects of 3D prints

On the downside, you can’t sort out the free designs readily out of the broad overview.

Pinshape

Look no further than Pinshape if you want a platform that focuses on STL files meant for 3D prints. Unlike ThingiVerse, which has more than 100 000 models, Pinshape is a small database. Nonetheless, Pinshape’s structure is similar to bigger platforms, with an excellent search function. You can use the search element to filter only to view free files.

Unlike ThingiVerse, Pinshape has both free and paid files. The website has a filter that separates paid from free files. Some free STL files to download include gadgets, people, miniatures, jewelry, and fashion.

Pinshape Features

The top attributes of Pinshape include:

  • Rating tool that allows you to rank projects based on popularity
  • An instructional center with organized courses and software and hardware projects
  • A feed page that brings up relevant info and designs, and posts from people you follow

The features above allow you to learn more from relevant materials and individuals

Pinshape Pros and Cons

Pinshape boasts the following pros:

  • Ability to directly download and send files
  • Ability to use the platform even if you don’t own a 3D printer
  • Models are split into categories, e.g., ‘Fashion + Jewelry’ or ‘Toys,’ which simplifies your search
  • Social features that allow you to like models, comment on posts or add designs to a collection

A downside is that Pinshape’s small size accommodates fewer and less detailed comments.

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3DExport

One top ThingiVerse alternative with handpicked designs in different fields is the 3DExport. The site uses maths, physics, engineering, automotive, and astronomy models. If you can’t find the specific model you need, you can adjust whatever is available.

The tutorial and guide feature provides an easy way to navigate the 3DExport website. Also, 3DExport has exclusive features for specific learners. So, the tutorials are detailed and offer elaborate steps to accommodate every print. Fortunately, the tutorials are accessible without prior restrictions or requirements.

3DExport features

Here are some top properties of 3D export.

  • File conversions on request
  • Simplicity and ease of use
  • Filters to narrow down searches

With the above features, you can get different formats of your desirable models quickly. 

Pros and Cons of 3DExport

The pros of 3D export include:

  • Ability to convert the 3D file into any format you demand
  • A detailed organization that reduces the time you need to search for your perfect model
  • Free printable files and professional designs
  • Tutorials and online courses that build your skill from beginner to expert level

On the downside, you must sign in to download even the free 3D print models

YouMagine

YouMagine is a ThingiVerse alternative that allows you to mix existing designs in a new way. To do so, you create both CAD and 3D files and then develop a new model. You can download over 10 000 designs that offer excellent performance. Users can also provide individual recommendations to help others to pick the ideal model.

Even with the mix of existing designs, YouMagine ensures the protection of original compositions. For example, the platform’s shutdown policy investigates potential violations of copyrights.

YouMagine Features

Some key facets of YouMagine include:

  • API support
  • Blog sorted into categories to ensure you don’t scroll through many articles to find what you want
  • Community collaboration and communication

The top YouMagine features allow simplicity of use and an interactive user interface.

YouMagine Pros and Cons

The pros of YouMagine are:

  • Ability to choose from various open designs in different segments
  • Access to a unique collection from YouMagine designers
  • No need to sign up if you want to download the free design
  • Ability to collaborate with other 3D designers

On the downside, Youmagine doesn’t offer a general industrial-wise categorization.

GrabCAD

The user-friendly interfaces that GrabCAD provides make 3D prints lively and viable. GrabCAD lets professionals and companies work side-by-side on different 3D print projects. As a result, you get access to high-quality output from reputable industry players. The platform also recreates unrepeatable models with simple PC 3D printers.

GrabCAD boasts an unmatchable community of engineers, designers, students, and manufacturers. The pool of talents creates an advanced and excellent value for the community table.

GrabCAD Features

Some key attributes of GrabCAD include the following:

  • An online workbench that allows individual teams to work together on a project
  • Slicing software that enables you to define details like a part priority and Pantone color matching
  • Controlled advanced FDM geometry to create parts that minimize weight and material

You can use the features above to sharpen your skills or get refined models.

Pros and Cons of GrabCAD

Some GrabCAD pros include:

  • Easy and intuitive to use by shop operators, designers, and engineers
  • Experienced community of professionals who offer help whenever needed
  • Real-time email notifications to let you know when your print is finished or when errors occur
  • Ability to print immediately or schedule based on the availability of a supported 3D printer

On the downside, the professional nature of GrabCAD makes the platform unsuitable for hobbyists.

CGTrader

If you are a 3D print hobbyist, you may want to try CGtrader as an alternative to ThingiVerse. Initially, the platform lets users buy or sell plans and evaluate 3D designer content. Today, you can create and upload or get high-quality designs made by other people. Over one million 3D models are available for you to choose from.

Unlike ThingiVerse, CGtrader can transform 2D designs into 3D content. Further, the platform is suitable whether you are a novice or an experienced printer.

CGTrader Features

Properties of CGTrader include:

  • Trader loyalty discount features to reward you if you buy multiple designs with time
  • Dedicated private 3D-friendly workspace for designers and customers
  • Targeted community with many qualified 3D professionals

The features above make the platform flexible for newbies, artists, and users.

Pros and Cons of CGTrader

CGTrader pros include:

  • Wide variety of designs to choose from
  • Easy to use and straightforward platform
  • Smooth and polished interface with a lot of qualifiers on the search and filter system
  • Most of the files are free to download

Unfortunately, CGTrader is a design marketing platform. So, most models are more expensive than many other platforms. Also, although you can use some models for free, the number of designs is limited.

Printables

The site’s magnificent interface and organization are some remarkable things about Printables. Unlike many other 3D model repositories, Printables is designed explicitly for 3D prints. Besides, the site allows designers to list the print settings used. So, you access detailed information about different models.

The above platform has a social community for users to share experiences and designs. Designers also share models and files that are free to download. The models are diverse and range from toys to household items and tools. Besides, the short load times mean quicker search results, so you can find your model faster.

Features of Printables

Some elements of printables include:

  • A reward scheme that allows you to earn points to get free filament and other giveaways
  • A built-in 3D model viewer for STL and 3MF files and G-codes
  • Comments and rating sessions to help you decide whether your chosen model suits you

The features mentioned offer a mix of royalties and guidance, ideal for designers and users.

Printable Pros and Cons

The benefits of Printables include the following:

  • Community activity to boost your knowledge and enhance the design of better models
  • Member support
  • All the files are free to download
  • Digital and physical rewards for active community members

In the low light, Printables don’t have a massive file collection.

Astroprint

If you are a beginner, you may want to try out Astroprint’s simple interface. Also, unlike ThingiVerse, Astroprint allows you to ask for refunds if the printables aren’t compatible with your printer. You can also download the output on your device, provided you have internet connectivity.

Another factor that makes Astroprint a great alternative to ThingiVerse is designer protection. Astroprint infringement rights protect designers against the theft of model designs. Also, you can organize your creations in the cloud.

Astroprint Features

Key Properties of Astroprint include:

  • Cloud library to keep your 3D models secure and accessible from any device, anywhere, anytime
  • CAD integration makes the workflow easier
  • Multi-user support and permissions to ensure many people access the model

Astroprint Pros and Cons

The benefits of Astroprint include the following:

  • Excellent organization and categorization to help you find searches quickly
  • The interface is solid, well-designed, and easy to use
  • Lots of designs to explore and choose from
  • Access to cloud and wireless print options

The negative side of Astroprint is that you can’t print on a non-matching printer.

TurboSquid

The front page of TurboSquid has a search panel and icons that allow you to check for various 3D files. However, TurboSquid models aren’t primarily meant for 3D prints. Instead, you can use the models in video creation, graphics, game design, and animation. So, use the search icons to look for models typically used for prints.

If you are a designer, you can share your work for sale on the platform. All you have to do is set up your account and upload the work with the upload feature. You can add descriptive keywords and other details, then click the publish product button. Also, you don’t have to pay any fee for the uploads. The platform only collects a small percentage of every sale.

TurboSquid Features

TurboSquid’s key facets include the following:

  • A unique 3D digital asset management feature to help organize your 3D models
  • Shutterstock studios for custom 3D models if you need tailored assets but lack the resources to build one
  • Stem cell specification to ensure a frictionless experience if you are a user and access to new markets if you are an artist

TurboSquid Pros and Cons

The advantages of TurboSquid include the following:

  • You get 24/7 support from professionals via support ticket or chat
  • Many categories, from items for use by hobbyists and amateurs to high-budget projects
  • You can return a model that doesn’t work for you and get credit to buy another one that works
  • A fascinating interface and excellent organization and arrangement of models
  • Turbosquid offers free training to help artists stay up to date with industry evolutions

Unfortunately, most designs on TurboSquid are of premium quality, which costs money.

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Conclusion

Sites like ThingiVerse offer incredible benefits to the sector of 3D files. Although Thingiverse stands out in some aspects, you can choose from many other sites. Each of the Thingiverse alternatives has unique features, pros, and cons. So, weigh your requirements and choose one that meets your needs.

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