The Best Repositories of Free 3D Printing Models and Design Files

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Before we start, let's get the legal stuff out of the way: Nanowerk will not be held liable for data breaches, infected/hacked devices, or ISP logging caused by downloading 3rd party applications or accessing websites. We at Nanowerk do not endorse or encourage piracy at any level or in any form. While looking through 3D print websites for free 3D STL files, all the responsibility falls on you to check the copyright and legal status of the content(s) you access! Just because files can be downloaded for free doesn't mean that they're not copyright protected. Do your research before using these files in commercial projects.
Not everyone with a 3D printer has the skills for creating digital 3D printing files and they depend on downloads from online 3D print files repositories. There are many options when it comes to downloading free STL files, OBJ, WRL or other formats of files, just make sure they stick to the desired quality. We reviewed many of them and picked the best ones for you here.
Also check out our overview of the best 3D printers for beginners and professionals.
Here is an overview (detailed descriptions are below the table; sorted alphabetically):

Best Repositories to Download Free 3D Printing Models and Design Files

NameDescriptionNo. of FilesFree/Premium
General
3DExportOne of the world's oldest and largest providers of high quality 3D content>42,000Free/Paid
CGTraderLarge selection of professional 3D models>1.4 millionFree/Paid
CultsThe second most popular 3D files marketplace and community>350,000Free/Paid
MyMiniFactoryA large open ecosystem for 3D Creators and makers to share free and paid 3D printable filesn.a.Free/Paid
PinshapeFormlab's companion 3D printer file marketplace and communityn.a.Free/Paid
Prusa PrintablesThe companion marketplace for Prusa Research with all free designs40,000Free
ThingiverseThe world's largest 3D printing community for discovering, making, and sharing 3D printable things>2 millionFree
TurboSquidA massive marketplace for professional 3D models>650,000Free/Paid
YouMagineAn open source community of 3D printing enthusiasts>19,000Free
Specialty
African FossilsA spectacular collection of 3D models of fossils and artifacts180Free
NASA3D models of NASA's technology and landmarks>120Free
NIH 3D Print ExchangeThe National Institute for Health's free biomedical CAD repository>11,800Free
The SmithsonianThe museum's digital portal of printable 3D models>2,600Free
 

Reviews of the best websites to download reliable and free 3D printer files and 3D model designs (in alphabetical order)

African Fossils
African Fossils id dedicated to increasing public knowledge about prehistory by harnessing modern technology. Through digitizing otherwise inaccessible discoveries, they are creating a growing, freely accessible repository of 3D models of significant fossils and artifacts.
The site provides downloadable models for 3D printing fossils and artifacts found mostly at Lake Turkana in East Africa. The digital collection of animals, human ancestors, as well as ancient stone tools offers a unique tool for scholars and enthusiasts to explore and interact with the collection online.
3D print models are grouped into hominids, animals, and tools, and selections can be filtered by fossil age.
A Tutorials & Online Courses section features almost 100 3D print tutorials and video courses.
If you are buying 3D Models on 3DExport and need the 3D model in a different format, you can simply open a support ticket and they will try to convert the model for you.

3DExport
Started in 2004, this is one of the oldest 3D marketplaces. Their designs aren't exclusive to 3D printing and span 3D models, CG textures, and other 3D assets such as blueprints, 3D renders and animations.
3D print models are grouped into 11 categories, each with numerous sub-categories. The site hosts more than 41,000 3D print models with about 1,000 free ones.
A Tutorials & Online Courses section features almost 100 3D print tutorials and video courses.
If you are buying 3D Models on 3DExport and need the 3D model in a different format, you can simply open a support ticket and they will try to convert the model for you.

CGTrader
CGTrader is a designer-centric platform for free and paid 3D models. It was founded in 2011 as an online marketplace where 3D content, not limited to 3D printing files, could be bought and sold with the best experience for designers.
1.2 million designs, but not all for 3D printing – some are highly detailed computer graphic models and some are game, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) models. Easy filter to separate free and paid models, and plenty of subcategories to narrow down browsing. Good community tutorials and forum.
3D printing models on CGTrader, specifically prepared for various 3D printing processes, range from jewelry and miniatures to engineering parts. Depending on the designer's wishes, the model might be sold, streamed to a 3D printer or printed and shipped by Sculpteo.

Cults
The platform was created in 2014. Cults3D does not belong to any specific group or company and it is the first independent 3D files marketplace for those seeking high-grade 3D files.
Cults' marketplace offers both free and paid files with prices set by the creator. Files are organized with a simple category system that doesn’t go into detailed subcategories. There are no filters to help narrow down your search while just browsing but a few, like “free,” will appear for search terms.
The site features a dedicated section for recent community prints, sponsored contests, and a 'random' button.

MyMiniFactory
MyMiniFactory is a 3D printing marketplace that started in 2013 by handpicking tested designs and selling the models from their office space. They gradually started collaborating with designers and eventually formed the online marketplace it is today in 2018.
MyMiniFactory has become a large open ecosystem for 3D Creators and makers to share free and paid guaranteed 3D printable files. We are a welcoming place with clear and strong value. By creating an account, you will be able to follow your favorite creators, like and comment on designs, publish your designs, create blog posts, buy files, and get special discounts.
For creators to sell and monetize their designs they need to become a Store Manager. A Store Manager has access to an abundance of exclusive tools provided by MyMiniFactory and by joining the program, you will receive support and benefits to grow your business from a dedicated Designer Relations Manager.
A community feature called Tribes is an all-in one subscription service for you to support your favorite Creators and the community. By subscribing to Creator's Tribes, you will support Creators to build a sustainable recurring revenue stream and Creators will have more resources to create designs/projects for you!
MyMiniFactory says that 100% of the content has been test printed to save you time and consumables.

NASA
On NASA's 3D resources site you'll find a growing collection of 3D models, textures, and images from inside NASA. All of these resources are free to download and use. Of the more than 350 models, 123 are 3D printing files.
3D printable models include the Moon and Mars landing sites, asteroids (such as Bennu and Vesta), craters, space probes like Cassini and Chandra, rockets, and various other models.

National Institute for Health
The NIH 3D Print Exchange provides models in formats that are readily compatible with 3D printers, and offers a unique set of tools to create and share 3D-printable models related to biomedical science.
3D printable models are grouped into categories: Medical/Anatomical; Labware & Devices; Small Molecules; Proteins, Macromolecules and Viruses; and Bacteria, Cell, Tissue, Organism.
The NIH 3D Print Exchange also hosts a selection of web-based tools that automatically generate 3D model files from 3D molecular and medical imaging data. Each workflow creates a set of downloadable model files that are scientifically relevant and optimized for 3D printing.
On the site you can also find detailed guidance on how to design and 3D print accurate molecular models using open source software and fused-filament fabrication printers.

Pinshape
Pinshape was independent when launched in 2013 but acquired by Formlabs in 2016.
A curated selection of premium and free STL files for 3D printing from a community of 70,000+ makers and designers grouped into 7 categories: Toys & Games, Miniatures, Home Living, Jewelery & Fashion, Gadgets, Art, People & Creatures.
The site features a '3D Printing For Educators' section with resources to help teachers of all experiences learn more about 3D printing and how to effectively use it in a classroom setting. Here, you will find 3D printing tutorials, lesson plans, and guides on how to use different 3D technologies. Plus, educational 3D models for inspiration on lessons.
A community section features contests, forums, guides and a blog.

Prusa Printables
Started by 3D printer manufacturer Prusa in 2019, this is a very popular, ever-growing library of high-quality 3D models. The site curates uploaded objects, supports individual designers, organizes community contests with valuable prizes that motivate creators to come up with something new, fun, and useful.
Over 40,000 designs are available on Prusa Printers with specific subcategories and detailed filters that include printer model, nozzle diameter, printing time, and filament quantity.
You can easily create private and public collections of models, upload 'Makes' (photos of finished prints) and you can also use the built-in 3D model viewer not just for STL and 3MF files but for G-Codes as well. The viewer is quite powerful and features several different view modes, so you can inspect the model even before you download it. Comments and ratings will also help you decide whether the model is exactly what you’re looking for.
A community feed lets you see the activity of users you follow. Whether it’s designers uploading new models, users publishing a make, or, for example, adding a model into a collection.

Smithsonian
From its huge collection of 155 million artifacts and specimens, the museum's dedicated Digitization Program Office has created 3D models as diverse as T. rex, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, the Cosmic Buddha sculpture, President Abraham Lincoln’s life masks, and the 1903 Wright Flyer.
3D models are grouped into collections such as for example Apollo 11, Inka Road, Presidential Portraits, Blue and White Ceramics, Bodhisattva, Prehistoric Artifacts, Chandra X-ray Observatory, and Hominin Fossils.

Thingiverse
Started by 3D printer manufacturer MakerBot back in 2008 as a companion website to the early consumer-targeted 3D printers, Thingiverse is the world's largest 3D printing community for discovering, making, and sharing 3D printable things.
In the spirit of maintaining an open platform, all designs are encouraged to be licensed under a Creative Commons license, meaning that anyone can use or alter any design.
Users and developers upload their 3D models as STL files. Each model comes with a 3D preview, pictures of the printed product, and a description of the required print settings.
A downside for creators is that, since every file on Thingiverse can be downloaded for free, you cannot monetize your models on Thingiverse.

TurboSquid
TurboSquid models are used by game developers, news agencies, architects, visual effects studios, advertisers, and creative professionals around the world.
Many models are professionally designed and you can find some extremely detailed and realistic designs available on the site, such as vehicle models, people, and animals.
Artists can sell their own artwork on the website, which serves as a clearinghouse. You get about 50 percent of royalties on sales when you sell your work through TurboSquid. TurboSquid takes care of all of the transactions, marketing, and everything else. Plus, you can list and upload your work for free. If you do not make money, they get nothing.

YouMagine
YouMagine facilitates an online community of 3D printing enthusiasts who wish to work together to share, remix and make better 3D printed things.
YouMagine is primarily a vehicle for supporting open source creation and wants to be a force multiplier for the entire 3D printing community. YouMagine wants CAD and 3D files to be as easy to create, adapt, share and change as text is nowadays.
All content is completely free and grouped into 15 categories and can also be sorted by Recent, Trending, Featured and Popular. There are also numerous Collections that are curated by community members.