Places to download 3D printer files and files formats overview

Places to download 3D printer files and files formats overview

Places to download 3D printer files and files formats overview

In our previous articles we tried to provide information about more essential thing related to 3d printing such as 3d printer and 3d printer filament types as well as overall overview of 3d printing technologies.

We also mentioned about 3D printer files that also play not the last role in the 3d printing process. In few words 3d printer file contains information about an object you want to print using either your own 3d printer or 3rd party service.

In this article we will try to tell about different and most popular 3d print files formats as well as about 3d model repositories that available in the Internet and have huge library of 3d printing files.

.STL files

.STL file format probably is one of most popular 3d printer files formats. It is supported by big variety of 3d printers and most of files that you can find in 3D model repositories will be in that format.

STL stands for STereoLithography or Standard Tessellation Language. Initially it was one of main file formats in CAD software created by 3D systems. Currently this format can be found in many 3D printing software packages, it is simply and easy to output and probably that is one of reasons why it became so popular.

Places to download 3D printer files and files formats overview

Binary STL file format

Since this article is more about 3d printing technologies, however stl files also used in different areas such as computer-aided manufacturing and rapid prototyping in common. Standard STL files used to describe a surface geometry of 3D object and do not contain any information about texture, colour or other common properties of 3D objects that related to CAD models. However there are few variations of STL files that can contain colour information and it is available in STL files saved in binary format. Besides the binary format STL file also can be saved in ASCII. Binary format is used for large stl files.

Places to download 3D printer files and files formats overview

ASCII STL file format


.OBJ files

.OBJ (Object Files) is another format of 3d printer files which is also popular in 3D Printing. Initially it was used in Advanced Visualizer animation package developed by Wavefront Technologies. OBJ file represents 3D geometry alone and may contain several different attributes most common of them are: vertex normals, geometric vertices, polygonal faces and texture coordinates.

Objects files as STL files can be either in ASCII (.obj) or binary format (.mod). More technical information about OBJ format can be found here.


.3DS files

.3DS 3d print files format is one of formats developed by Autodesk and initially used in their Autodesk 3D Studio software package. 3DS files were very popular in mid 90s and became one of common industry standards along with OBJ for 3D models.

3DS file is a binary file format and it based on chunks or blocks that contain data, its length and a chunk identifier. Chunks in 3d printer files of 3DS format form a hierarchical structure which is similar to XML DOM tree.


.3MF files

3MF file format is a new one and was recently presented by Microsoft. It should allow to make 3d printing easier for all users and especially for those who will install new Windows 10 operating system that will have Autodesk’s 3D printing platform Spark integrated into it. 3MF is not a new format which has existed for years and Microsoft has just completely overhauled it.

Places to download 3D printer files and files formats overview

There are following benefits of using 3MF 3d printer files format:

  • all information about 3D model contained in one single archive
  • 3MF format is extensible, which means that additional information can be added to it
  • It is designed specifically to be an additive manufacturing format
  • Define Human-readable XML and well-know binary formats like JPEG and PNG
  • Open royalty-free specification from 3MF members who agreed to make necessary patent claims available

3D model repositories

There are many repositories in the Internet where you can find different 3d printer files whether it be stl file or obj. We have tried to create a list of most popular 3D model repositories and present it to you. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you want us to add additional information to the list.


Also please note that not all 3d printer files formats that you may find in repositories below are good for immediate 3D printing and may need additional converting.
3D Model Repository Description Price
Thingiverse 3D Model repository Thingiverse is a design community created by Makerbot for discovering and sharing 3D printer files. This is one of the world’s largest 3D model repositories where you can find free stl files or many others for your needs. Popular 3d print files formats: *.stl Free
3D Warehouse 3D Model repository 3D Warehouse is another popular 3D model repository where you can find many different 3d printer files. Popular 3d print files formats: *.dae, *.kmz, *.3ds, *.obj Free
TurboSquid 3D Model repository TurboSquid is a popular place among many 3D artists. Most of 3d models you can find there may require additional conversion to 3d printable format. Popular 3d printer files formats: *.stl, *.max, *.obj, *.blend, *.3ds Free and $
GrabCad 3D Model repository GrabCad is a repository where you can download more than 300,000 different CAD objects or share your own object. Popular 3d print files formats: *.3ds, *.mdx, *.stl and many others. Free
Archive3D 3D Model repository Another 3d model repository where you can download various 3D models as well as share you own models if you would like to contribute. Popular 3d print files formats: *.3ds, *.gsm Free
AutoDesk 123D 3D Model repository 3D model repository that contains various 3D models as well as links to Autodesk’s 123D apps that can be used for new models creation. Popular 3d printer files formats: *.3dp, *.stl, *.obj Free and $
CGtrader 3D Model repository CGTrader is a popular marketplace for computer graphics and 3D printing where you can download/buy/sell 3d models and also get valuable feedback from professional designers. Popular 3d printer files formats: *.stl, *.max, *.blend, *.3ds, *.obj, *.fbx, *.dxf Free and $
Yeggi 3D Model repository Yeggi is a search engine that allows you to search for 3D models all around various 3D model repositories. We marked it as “Free” however you may find models you need to pay for in your search results. Popular 3d print files formats: *.stl, *.obj Free
My Mini Factory 3D Model repository MyMiniFactory is another 3D model repository with a big variety of 3D printer files that can be downloaded for free or ordered for printing. Popular 3d printer files formats: *.stl Free
YouMagine 3D Model repository YouMagine is one of online communities for 3d printing enthusiasts where you can download various models, submit your ideas or use different tools for creating your own models. Popular 3d print files formats: *.stl Free
STL Finder 3D Model repository It is another search engine that can be used to find different 3D models all around various 3D model repositories. Popular 3d printer files formats: *.stl Free
PinShape 3D Model repository PinShare is another 3d printing community marketplace where you can share/sell you 3d models as well as find something interesting and download it for your 3D printer. Popular 3d print files formats: *.stl, *.obj Free and $
3DM3 3D Model repository 3DM3 is a 3D model repository which provides a big variety of 3D models for downloading. You may also find tutorials for different 3d modelling software packages. Popular 3d printer files formats: *.stl, *.max, *.blend, *.3ds, *.obj, *.fbx, *.dxf Free
Cults 3D Model repository Cults is another marketplace where you can upload your own or download available models for your 3d printer. Popular 3d print files formats: *.stl, *.obj Free and $
3DFileMarket 3D Model repository The 3dfilemarket is an independent marketplace to download 3dprint files. All designs are proven printable before being published and anyone can upload and sell copies of their work. There is also the option of secure streaming to allow designers to protect the intellectual property of their work. All 3d file formats are accepted. Popular 3d print files formats: *.stl, *.obj Free and $
flat-pyramid-logo Best3DModels, launched by FlatPyramid, provides a collection of 3D models with a non-exclusive license option for all available files, and a risk-free money-back guarantee. 3D artists that sell their models through the site receive a majority of the revenue raised, and the marketplace includes a community of active 3D model buyers. Popular Formats: stl, obj, 3ds, fbx, dae, fp3d, wt3 Cost varies,
none are free.


At the end we also would like to share with you a graphic that shows Most Popular Content Platforms based on 3D Hubs trends.

Places to download 3D printer files and files formats overview

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Recent Comments

  1. Alfred Hamori

    I am building my own homebrew 3d printer, not based on a kit. I wish I could find a discussion group of like minded designers, because there are often questions about software and hardware that the specifications may not answer. Right now I am doing the control G&Mcode interpreter and there are some formatting issues that I need to find out. I am also not using Arduino.


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