Finding good 3D models to print can be daunting especially when every printer manufacturer starts a user site. Thankfully, Tom and Tracy Hazzard are sorting through some of their best bets for you. Looking into Thingiverse, Yeggi, Cults3D, and NetFabb, they also share some tips for how to tell the good quality models from the bad.
Listen to the podcast here:
Where Do I Find Good 3D Models?
This is the Ask Us Anything segment.
I’m excited about this one.
This one’s a broad question but it’s a good one because it applies to many people. The question is, “Where can I get good 3D models to print?”
There are many websites out there. Thingiverse is probably one of the biggest ones but everybody’s trying to be their own Thingiverse. Every company that makes a 3D printer is trying to create their own collection of models and try to get you to come to their site.
There are dozens and it’s frustrating. Do I want to give my name and email address to every single one of those websites to search through them? Some of them require that to even search.
Plus, which are the good ones and which are the not so good ones.
It’s hard to tell what’s up and coming and things like that. We got turned on to a new search source, which I can’t believe we didn’t know about before. When you think about it, we don’t buy models that often or we don’t even search for models because we create our own 3D design.
That’s true. For the most part, we’re designing everything that we 3D print. Although on occasion, I’ve gone to Thingiverse where I needed a component for a model like a nut and a bolt to make threads to attach to something I was making.
We’ve been putting it into accessories that we toss into a rendering or something like that. We’ve done that many times over the years, but it’s not the frequent part of what we do. We hadn’t thought about doing it. We got turned on to a great new resource.
This website is called Yeggi.com. You enter your search criteria, what you’re looking for or the type of model. You can also have some sub search things of the type of model or file you’re looking for. It will search all of the different sites across the world that have 3D models. There are more coming out all the time. They’re staying on top of it. It will give you a list ranked by relevance to what you search for across all the different sites.
You can decide, “Do I want to log into Cults 3D or Thingiverse and buy this one?” That gives you the opportunity to screen through it and see who’s got the best stuff in what you’re looking for rather than going to twelve different sites trying to find a model and see which one is best at that point.
Also, having to get a different username and password to login to each different site because they all want to capture your information.
You may have to do that if you are buying at first.
At least once you find the model you’re looking for, you need to log in to that site, not the ten others that didn’t have what you’re looking for.
That’s a great resource for 3D models and hopefully, it keeps growing and helps all of us search and find exactly what we’re looking for. I also think we need to give you some tips on searching for these. Let’s say you get on Thingiverse and you find the model but how do you decide if it’s a good model or not? That brings up a good point as to should you choose this? Should you download it? Is it going to print?
Especially because there are few sites that curate the models that they post on there. They don’t take everything, but most of these sites will take any model somebody wants to upload to them and they’re not all great models.
Number one, just because someone uploads hundreds of models doesn’t mean that they’re great models. It doesn’t mean that they’re a great designer because they’re prolific. Every time you make a slight variation of that design, let’s say you made it a little bigger or smaller, that’s a new 3D model in the system. It might be 100 of the same exact thing. The number of how many models as users put up is misleading. The other thing is favoriting. Favoriting can be misleading because it’s like a bookmark. What I do when I’m on Etsy is, I go in and I favorite a bunch of things to look at them later. When somebody is favoriting, it means that maybe they want to print that cup holder or whatever it is that they’re looking for. They’re bookmarking it to come back to it later, but it doesn’t mean that they download it.
It doesn’t mean that they know anything whether it’s executed well or it’s a good model. The things that do give you an indication that maybe this model is good are number one, how many people have downloaded it and how many times has it been downloaded. If it hasn’t been downloaded at all or not much, it may mean that it’s not that great.
Some of the sites have ratings and reviews. Make sure you look at those if you’ve downloaded a model. Do somebody a favor. Rate and review them because it helps the next guy who is searching.
The better indicator is how many people have printed it successfully. Not all the sites allow you to indicate that but on some of the sites, they do. If people have downloaded it, printed it and it printed well, they’ll indicate that.
I also use it as a screener though if we are looking at the images that are posted up in the model. If there’s not an image of it printed, I wonder. Especially if you don’t see a bunch of downloaded and printed successfully notations. There are a lot of 3D models out there that are models made for something and they thought, “Somebody can 3D print this,” and they throw it up there and it’s not meant or designed specifically for 3D printing.
If you haven’t printed your 3D model and you’re loading it up there and telling other people to print it, you may be doing people a disservice. You want to put things up that you know work well at least on your machine, even if it doesn’t work well in somebody else’s machine.
Be careful. When you download the file and you’ve done it, you’re going to want to run it through something like Netfabb. You might need file repair. It’s probably more likely to have happened. That’s one step you don’t skip before you start printing it and having it fall apart on the machine.
You’ll have potential errors that you’re wondering where they’re coming from and you can save yourself some trouble by doing that.
Assume your STL files are going to need to be repaired and throw it up on Netfabb.com.
It’s a quick double-check.
That’s free software anyway so there’s no reason not to do it.
Yeggi is a great resource. We’re excited about it. We’ve already used it now a little bit ourselves since we found it. I highly recommend this resource, especially if you are looking for models created by other people.
That’s one thing we’d love to know. Send it to us on Instagram or anywhere on @HazzDesign. It’s @HazzDesign anywhere on social media and over our website. Send us a message and if you found some great models, let us know because we’d love to give them credit. It’s a lot of hours and work that goes into these models. We’d love to give somebody credit for having made a great model. If you’re pleased with something you’ve printed, let us know and send us a photo. If you are out there putting up models and you feel you’re doing a good job but you’re getting lost in the middle of a lot of junk that’s out there, let us know too. We’d love to look at your stuff and give you a shout-out as well.
There are also things you might experience that you want to help other people be aware of too. We want to hear about the good things. We also want to hear about the things that might help prevent other people from wasting some time.
We’d love to share your tips and any tools that you’ve used to help make it more successful so please share those with us as well. Until next time.
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