3D printing might sound like a newly developing concept to many, but it has been around for a while. 3D printing is slowly becoming a mainstream technology.
The 3D community who enjoy sharing designs and models with other 3D enthusiasts will openly tell you that the technology saves them money and materials as very little raw material is wasted.
There is no limit to what this technology can do, and the good news is that 3D designs are available on various websites.
So, whether you are a beginner or wish to expand your knowledge and gain additional experience, you can visit websites such as Thingiverse to print different items, pieces, and parts ranging from personal collectibles to medical supplies.
Thingiverse provides a variety of 3D printing designs to its users. The platform was launched in 2008 as a companion app to the MakerBot website. Since then, the site has grown into one of the leading platforms for exchange among 3D printing enthusiasts.
This guide will break these alternatives down to help you know what to expect from each one of them. So, let’s get straight to it.
1. Astroprint – Best Thingiverse Alternatives
Astroprint is an excellent Thingiverse alternative that provides designs from different categories with practical applications to functional and aesthetic models and is perfect for beginners.
What puts Astroprint ahead of Thingiverse is that it allows you to ask for refunds within 14 days on printables that are incompatible with your printer. Astroprint collaborates with 3Dagogo to provide 3D printables that can be downloaded on any device with internet connectivity.
Astroprint has special protective measures for both consumers and designers. The infringement rights protect designers, while consumers have a 14-days return policy on designs that do not match their specific printer model.
The community help center answers any questions likely to arise. The chances are high that you’ll love using Astroprint as it allows you to organize designs in the cloud.
- Easy to use
- The platform is well organized and categorized, so you can quickly find what you’re looking for
- Plenty of 3D designs to help you discover something you like
- Unable to print on non-matching printers
Astroprint offers a free basic plan for home users or a premium plan at $9.90 per month.
Since its launch in 2013, MyMiniFactory has grown organically into what it is today. The platform started as a testing ground for selecting and sharing 3D designs with a small selection of designs available for visitors of this website.
Later, the platform began collaborating with and working with 3D designers, allowing them to share their designs with fellow 3D enthusiasts.
You will find over 60,000 prints on the site, both free and paid. However, its vetting process will make you choose MyMiniFactory over Thingiverse.
Unlike Thingiverse, the platform is specific about each file going through mandatory software tests before release, and the community must print each design for testing to reduce printing errors.
More excitingly, the platform opened an online store in 2018, growing significantly to offer users valuable opportunities to earn with their designs.
Another feature that will make you like the platform, even more, is the competition function that allows users to compete with their designs and win exciting prizes.
- Their user interface is intuitive
- The site offers easy navigation and appealing content
- The platform benefits more than 270,000 users
- It is safe, and the support is good
- We have not yet found any disadvantages of MyMiniFactory
MyMiniFactory allows you to make money with your designs when you open a store on the platform at $24.99 per month. From this plan, you can earn up to 92% from the sales, and the fees cover accounting, servers, emails, media output, and team support.
CGTrader is another excellent alternative to Thingiverse that is great for 3D printing hobbyists. The platform was established in 2011 as an online market for those who wanted to sell their 3D designs.
Users could sell or purchase plans on the platform, proactively evaluate 3D designer content, and get instant value.
One cool feature that makes it better than Thingiverse is its ability to convert 2D designs into 3D content. This feature also allows you to create designs about different areas making designs more appealing to buyers.
The platform is also made of large numbers of high-quality designs. Users can select from over 950,000 free and paid designs, meaning there is always something for everyone.
The Trader Loyalty Discount feature rewards users who purchase multiple designs over time. The purchases that qualify for this discount are marked with a piggy bank symbol. The project-oriented platform works best for both novice and experienced printers.
- It’s an easy-to-use platform
- It has a variety of designs to choose from
- Navigating the site is straightforward
- Plenty of community interactions
- Trade Loyalty Discount is only reserved for regular customers to motivate them to keep making transactions.
You can buy or download free 3D models on this site. Enjoy up to 50% off on their paid models.
Cults is another exciting Thingiverse alternative that is considered an independent marketplace for 3D files. The website was founded in 2014, and has undergone tremendous development to serve more than 800,000 members.
With the platform, you can enjoy 85,000 different 3D printing designs, which is remarkable since it’s operated by a small staff of three.
Some of this platform’s notable characteristics that attract customers are the various promotions across the board, including polymer sales and discounts, apparel (like blue tape), and 3D printing.
What makes the platform even more convenient than Thingiverse is that all its necessary accessories are located in one central hub; hence the site is loved by designers who want a one-stop shop.
Cults also host various competitions across the year for users to challenge one another in different types of skill sets. If you are looking to further your 3D knowledge, this is your kind of platform.
- Blogs offer helpful information on 3D printing
- It has a straightforward user interface equipped with high-quality images
- Cannot filter free designs out of the extensive overview
Cults allow you to download 3D printer models for free. Use their promo codes to buy cheap 3D printers.
Pinshape makes 3D printing fun and easy. The site calls itself a marketplace that brings users and designers together, and since its inception, it has maintained its straightforwardness and fun nature.
Unlike Thingiverse, whose waiting times impair user experience, the platform gives you a better experience by allowing you to choose from various themes and help you enhance your skills regardless of your level in an interactive and evolving way.
In addition to the various designs available, the site lets you use the rating function to sample projects according to their popularity. A tab on the left side of the user interface enables you to weed through designs by various factors.
The education center is made of impressive hardware, software projects, and expertly planned tutorials to provide extensive knowledge to help you choose the perfect models for your needs.
- Open-source sharing
- It does not require a designer to own a 3D printer
- Saturated market
Pinshape offers free and paid designs at a download price of $5.
If you love creating 3D designs, then YouMagine is the best Thingiverse alternative. YouMagine is designed to mix existing designs in a new way, and it does so by allowing you to create both 3D and CAD files easily.
YouMagine has around 17,000 free designs to choose from. Although the number is slightly lower than what you can find on Thingiverse, its overall performance and range are robust, making it a decent alternative.
YouMagine places a lot of effort into protecting the original designs in the best way possible. Its shutdown policy ensures that they investigate in detail any potential violations of the prohibition to copy originals.
You can filter designs by category, most popular, or latest designs. Additionally, the designs are tagged with individual recommendations from other users to make it easy for you to pick the best model to suit your needs.
- It allows you to create anything you can imagine
- Allows you to collaborate with other 3D enthusiasts
- We have not yet found any drawbacks of YouMagine
YouMagine is free.
3DExport has always been an excellent competitor to Thingiverse. The platform was launched in 2004. 3DExport is considered a market leader, with an impressive selection of over 200,000 designs, and serves over 500,000 members worldwide.
The many educational projects on the site and other tools offer quality information on subjects such as physics, astronomy, engineering, the automotive industry, and biology.
As an additional perk, the pre-recorded configuration and different tutorials guide you step by step, enabling you to recreate processes precisely, hence increasing the opportunities of a specific project with the pausing and rewinding option.
What will excite you about this platform is the excellent incentives they offer designers for using the site. This offer lets you retain about 85% of all your sales.
Like Thingiverse, 3DExport allows you to sell designs on other platforms should you want to. The site also has a full refund policy on all purchases if you request it within 24 hours of the initial investment.
If you have a problem finding the correct format for your file, 3DExport can convert the available format according to your needs.
- The site is simple and easy to use
- Great for anyone who wants to learn more about 3D printing
- It’s quite an old 3D content provider
3DExport offers both free and paid 3D designs.
The friendly user interface is an indication that GrabCAD is an excellent alternative to Thingiverse. GrabCAD began as a simple community for sharing 3D designs. Now GrabCAD is a platform that brings together professionals and companies to work on 3D projects.
GrabCAD would be a perfect platform if you already understand 3D designs, development, and modeling.
GrabCAD is not the best site if your next 3D project is more of a hobby like Thingiverse would.
The site primarily offers models that cannot be recreated using a simple 3D printer on a desktop, like bicycle frames and high-end sports car models. The platform still features a great selection of 3D designs available for free download.
Unlike the Thingiverse community, the quality of the GrabCAD community is unsurpassed. The community has enabled the site to grow into a professional platform and is made of professional designers with manufacturers, engineers, and students.
What also puts GrabCAD ahead of Thingiverse is its unique function in the form of an online workbench. The workbench allows teams to work together on the same project by giving each member equal access rights to a library of files where they can also share and edit them.
The online workbench is also a means of communication between individual members and the team. The discussions occur within a project, making it the best collaborative 3D design tool.
- It has a user-friendly interface
- Easy and intuitive to use by designers, shop operators, and engineers
- Community members are experienced and helpful
- Not suitable for beginners.
GrabCAD offers four pricing plans depending on how many licenses you need. All plans have all their features, with the lowest being an educational plan at $1,999 per year.
Repables is driven by its community and is not guided by any 3D printer brand. It might not be one of the best sites like Thingiverse, but you can be sure to enjoy all available designs on this platform for free.
The platform was founded in 2013, and compared to Thingiverse; it is straightforward. To get started, the site requires you to create an account, upon which you will automatically be given a chance to upload a 3D model to the site.
This step has probably contributed more to the large numbers of 3D models, though most of its uploads are not of the best quality. So, don’t get surprised when you notice an error on the design you select after it’s sent to your 3D printer.
- It’s straightforward
- There is no virtual quality control on uploaded designs
- The site does not give recommendations on the best printer settings to use on each design
Repables is free.
Treatstock is a multi-faceted site that offers 3D printing and CNC machining tools. Treatstock allows you to publish your document and manufacture it professionally; if you don’t own a 3D printing machine or mill, you need to post the model.
In addition, the website also provides a collection of 3D files, and the aim of creating this platform in 2016 was to introduce the advantages of online innovations and 3D printing services.
The platform is pretty exciting, unlike Thingiverse. With the site, you can compare and peruse several manufacturers, technologies, and materials when hiring a designer. Once you find your ideal designer or product, you can fill out and send quotes through the platform.
- Offers diverse services and extensive guides for better decision-making
- Allows you to customize products
- Allows you to receive a positive review on your print service to help you attract more customers
- Slow support response time
Treatstock is free.
Are you passionate about interior designing and decorating? Then you might be keen to learn about 3DVIA. 3DVIA is another alternative to Thingiverse that provides virtual worlds to extend and improve the real world.
The platform allows you to make and share 3D residential models with the universe. The beautiful layouts on the platform work best as inspirations and suggestions for fixing your company’s appearance.
Like Thingiverse, 3DVIA provides users with intelligent 3D solutions that offer new ways of engaging, considering, and making the best choice. 3DVIA can be an excellent solution for users in architecture or 3D animation.
- 3DVIA is fun and easy to use
- Designs can be published online
- You can create all you want, be it 3D games, drawings, free modeling, or virtual environments
- Allows you to sketch in 2D and get a product in 3D
- It can be confusing before you understand its tools and settings
Formerly PrusaPrinters, Printables is beyond a 3D printing platform. Unlike Thingiverse, Printables is not limited to 3D models; their advanced level of filtering makes them more unique.
The platform categorizes designs in their printing time, filament quality, printer model, and the type of nozzle a printer uses. These categories make it easy to filter the format you are looking for, saving you time.
Moreover, the platform gives you options to guide, share knowledge, comment, and help the community through a forum. Printables contains over 40,000 designs with specific and detailed filters. Pre-sliced models and G-code files can help you get quick prints.
- Easy to use thanks to the great categorization
- Has an active forum
- Organizes contests with substantial prizes
- Users are yet to adjust to the site domain change to printables.com
Printables allows you to discover thousands of 3D models and download them for free.
Yeggi is another Thingiverse alternative that you are likely to find interesting. Unlike Thingiverse, the Yeggi website is a 3D search engine that works like Google that collects data from 3D printing communities and marketplaces to give you millions of 3D models to choose from.
Search the model of your preference by entering a keyword or clicking on popular keywords. Moreover, the search engine displays recently updated files to make your search easier.
- Rules supreme in terms of the number of 3D models
- Only a fraction of the 3D files are curated.
Yeggi is free.
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Redpah is another great Thingiverse alternative with a large community of contributors. The site allows you to download 3D print models and STL files, and it is possible to use the site as your open-source library and a repository for free print files.
You can also use it to reach out to 3D printing enthusiasts interested in your work. Like Thingiverse, Redpah allows you to access a vast library of 3D models and buy or sell these models.
The community at Redpah is committed to creating a free and fair marketplace where good quality succeeds. As a seller, you must take an oath of file originality to defend your files in case legal accusations are made against your work.
- The site is committed to taking action against piracy
- No guarantee that the files on the site are free from viruses, malware, or any other harmful code.
Redpah is free.
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Fab365 is one of the most popular online marketplaces for all types of 3D printable files. Like Thingiverse, only duly registered users are allowed to sell, buy, or download different 3D models to their 3D printers.
The site has grouped paid designs per specific themes such as art, home, gardens, and architecture. The makers of this site try as much as they can to infuse humor in most designs.
- The site is easy to navigate
- The site is fun and appealing
- The designs are pretty sophisticated
Fab365 maintains a small database of free printable files. You can download paid printables depending on your budget.
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3D has recently gained much traction thanks to the companies and industries embracing 3D models. More designers are stepping into the online market to have a piece of the pie.
The best Thingiverse alternatives have more or less similar features to Thingiverse. But we do agree that some have better features. Therefore, you need time to filter through them and settle on your best alternative.
If you are just getting started and wish to explore a fun and suitable option for beginners, then Astroprint is the website to go for.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.