Is 3D printing your newest hobby? Do you have the skills, or even the time, to model your own 3D models? No need to worry, regardless of your answer to these questions. There is a multitude of 3D marketplaces where experienced 3D modelers, designers, enthusiasts and hobbyist gather to share and sell their own designs of cool 3D printing items.
Whether it is about phone accessories, design stuff, office supplies, jewelry, toys, or anything that can be reproduced for 3D printing, the mission of these marketplaces is to bring 3D printing potential closer to its consumers.
Types of Marketplaces for 3D print Files
The Internet hosts two types of 3D printing service platforms: free sharing and those that sell and allow other users to sell their own designs.
The difference between these two types of marketplaces is that the first ones offer simple, amateur 3D printable objects while the others usually sell high-quality, error-free and complex 3D models.
If you are just starting to discover the wonders that 3D printing has to offer, using free 3D printing platforms to download inspirational stuff is your way to hit the road.
Advantages of FREE sharing 3D printing platforms
1. Probably one of the biggest advantages of these types of 3D printing platforms is the fact that all enthusiasts can download for free a limitless number of 3D print files. These platforms gather usually large communities of beginners and hobbyists who are eager to share their creation with their peers. It is also a way of communicating with people who enjoy one and the same hobby.
2. Beginner 3D modelers have the chance to improve their skills by designing simple models and to advertise their services across a large community of 3D technology followers.
3. Free sharing 3D printing platforms offer designers the largest exposure on the web. They can make their designs available for the large public, ask for feedback, or even work together with their peers to design a 3D model.
Advantages of 3D printing marketplaces that share content for a FEE
#1. These services offer high-quality, tested models for 3D printing. Either selling .stl files for 3D printing only or providing 3D printing services for the purchased items, these marketplaces have one major mission set in place: to offer 3D technology followers the best solutions for 3D printing.
#2. These marketplaces are ideal for sellers who want to gain additional money from their 3D designs. Benefiting from a platform that specializes in selling 3D printable files or 3D models, they can easily find their specific consumer audience and model for its purposes and needs.
#3. These types of marketplaces offer high-poly meshes which when printed turn into complex 3D models. A high-poly mesh is a way of modeling a 3D object. The more polygons a mesh has, the more detailed the object is. High-poly is important to achieve superb surface detail.
Overlook of top 5 free sharing 3D print platforms
This is a showdown of 5 most sought-after free sharing 3D print marketplaces. The classification is based on the marketplaces’ popularity, number of available files and models and the user-friendly interface that their website offers for all 3D consumers.
Thingiverse hosts a large community of expert and hobbyist 3D designers. The platform encourages everyone who has some or no 3D design experience at all to join in the fun of designing really cool things. It is owned by Makerbot and enables sharing of 3D content for free.
YouMagine is an open source 3D printing community website. It focuses on making the creation, sharing and change of 3D files & CAD as easy as possible. With more than 10,000 designs that are ready to print, every YouMagine user can find something for his own liking and join a group of highly enthusiastic people who wish to make 3D printing accessible to everyone.
Pinshape is a 3D printing community marketplace selling and sharing for free 3D prints. It supports both .stl files and OBJ files. Those interested in 3D printing can browse through the multitude of 3D printing files and download for free. Or, can opt for premium 3D prints, for a fee.
For sellers, this is a great chance to make money. With a large community, Pinshape offers favorable opportunities to 3D designers in terms of web exposure and branding.
TheFree3DModels is a free source 3D models website, popular among 3D printing hobbyists. Its community expands every month with the help of those who make their 3D model files available for the large public.
There is an impressive collection of models broken down by categories. The user can either browse through the category section or use the search box to find the model he/she wants.
The mission statement of GrabCAD is to “help mechanical engineers build great products faster”. The site has an impressive library of 3D printing models available as free .stl files.
You can also browse through the community of engineers and meet those who contribute to the expansion of the site’s 3D print files’ range. It also features the tutorial section, where beginner 3D designers and not only can ask questions and share their experience with GrabCad community.
Showdown of top 5 vendor 3D print marketplaces
On the following 5 3D marketplaces, one can sell and buy 3D print designs, by registering and creating their personal shop for one’s creative and artistic models.
We’ll be very modest and will place Gambody on the first place of this list. Why? Because Gambody is a niche-focused vendor. It specializes in selling high-profile .stl files of video/computer game content.
Every model is unique in its own way, which means that Gambody’s in-house designers model game-inspired figurines, but with their own approach and view to every particular model.
The marketplace offers effortless and intuitive website navigation and shopping experience. The 3D printable files of available models are grouped by categories. There is a description for each model, providing information about the size, filament consumption, and detailed 3D printing recommendation.
The latter will enable you to print every model bought from the marketplace without any errors, in the best quality, as long as you keep to the printing details.
As a seller, you can easily create an account and start uploading your own 3D printable models.
Your files, however, will pass a rigorous checking because the quality is Gambody’s No 1 priority. Gambody sets itself apart from other 3D printing marketplaces by a huge advantage: providing high-poly 3D model files less than 100Mb.
Royalty rate: Every exclusive seller (i.e. the seller sells his 3D models only via Gambody.com) receives from 50% to 80% royalties for every sold item. Non-exclusive authors get 35% royalties. There is a royalty scheme on the marketplace that every 3D modeler can get acquainted with.
Turbosquid positions itself as a marketplace of 3D models for professionals. With over 60,000 3D assets, the marketplace focuses on continually improving and expanding their library with professionally designed 3D models by designers across the world.
The marketplace provides free file conversion services for those who have found the perfect model, but not in the file format you need.
As a seller, you can create an account and upload your own 3D models. However, in order to make yourself seen, you will be responsible for marketing your models.
Royalty rate: For exclusive 3D designers, the marketplace offers up to 80% royalties on each sale. Non-exclusive sellers get up to 55%
CGTrader is a marketplace of a large 3D professional designers’ community. The site sells and offers free of charge 3D prints. Another interesting and useful service that CGTrade provides to businesses and customers is the possibility to hire a professional 3D modeler for individual, custom job.
Royalty rate: CGTrader offers from 70% to 90% royalties to sellers, depending on their reputation, performance, and engagement level.
3Docean is Envato’s 3D printing project. Envato is a marketplace that provides creative assets, such as WordPress themes, videos, photoshop actions, apps, plugins and more. As a separate section on their marketplace, 3Docean offers intuitive navigation across the website and user-friendly layout.
All visitors have the opportunity to browse popular items, top new items, latest items, or simply go to the navigation bar and choose a category.
Royalty rate: For non-exclusive authors, Envato’s 3Docean project charges a 55% fee of the item price. For exclusive authors, the charged fee is from 12.5% to 37.5% of the item price.
3D Squirrel is a marketplace where you can buy and sell digital 3D models. It hosts over 37,000 free 3D models and other 60,000+ 3D models and collections. The marketplace is home to a community of over 100+ 3D artists, who contribute to promoting 3D printing industry among enthusiasts and professionals.
As a seller, you can quickly upload your 3D models and start selling across the marketplace.
Royalty rate: The marketplace’s current royalty rate amounts to 65% from every sale.
These are our top 5 free sharing and paid marketplaces of 3D models, files, and 3D printing services. Explore thoroughly all of them and choose the one that suits you best. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced 3D designer, or you simply want to download free 3D content or make additional money with your impressive works, there is an online marketplace for everyone.