Designing your own 3D printing blueprints is a lot of fun, as is sharing your creations with other people. If you’ve just gotten a 3D printer, but don’t know how to design your own object yet, or you just want to see what other people have managed to do with the technology, then you will probably want to download some blueprint files.
These files most commonly come in STL format. There are numerous websites that offer collections of STL files for download, generally for free. Among the websites on this list, you will be able to see just about everything that consumer 3D printers are currently capable of.
Cults is a website based in France and is one of the best-known 3D printing communities online. They have an extensive repository of STL files available for free, as well as higher quality files which are available for a small price.
As well as their extensive database of STL files for download, Cults is also home to a community of 3D printers. As one of the most active 3D printing communities on the internet, this is a great place to discuss 3D technologies as well as connect with other designers and makers and see what they are doing.
Every now and then, the website also runs competitions and releases selections of the best models for downloads as a pack. Whether you are just beginning as a 3D printer, or you already have some experience, the community here will be welcoming and have something to offer you.
Thingiverse is another website that is well known amongst the 3D printing community. It is owned by Makerbot, who manufacture 3D printers and are one of the most popular businesses in the industry. Thingiverse launched sometime after the first iteration of Makerbot. By 2008, there was a growing abundance of 3D printers, but few online communities for them to congregate in. Thingiverse launched in 2008, and since then it has grown into one of the largest and most popular communities in the world.
Users of thingiverse can share and download 3D printer STL files for free. In 2015, the site celebrated its 1 millionth upload and its 200 millionth download.
Ultimaker is another big name in the world of 3D printer manufacturers, and YouMagine is their online community where creators can share their blueprints and meet other 3D printing enthusiasts. There are over 13,000 open-source designs here. This is a smaller library than many of their competitors, but they make up for it by providing their files as open-source. YouMagine’s repository also has a reputation for being higher quality than most similar online libraries.
Sharing your 3D printed creations with other people, as well as seeing what they have been able to create, is one of the best things about owning a 3D printer. There are plenty of places you can download blueprints, but we rate the above sources the most highly. Once you start playing around with STL files, you won’t be able to stop.