6 Best Thingiverse Alternatives

If you’ve ever looked for a 3D model, chances are you looked on Thingiverse. Thingiverse is the largest repository for 3D printable models, with well over 2 million designs specifically meant for 3D printing.

But here’s the thing: no one likes Thingiverse. Now, I’m not trying to bully the platform, but it’s just not a great 3D model repository. Its search feature is hard to use, it tends to crash, and Thingiverse has even lost tons of users’ data to breaches and cyber attacks.

Luckily, Thingiverse isn’t the only option out there for finding 3D printable models. While there are actually many 3D model repositories out there, few are as specific to 3D printing as Thingiverse.

I’ve searched the internet for hours, determining which platforms are the best Thingiverse alternatives. Perhaps the best option is Printables, previously known as PrusaPrinters, due to its well-designed interface, fast load time, and terrific search bar. Thangs is also amazing, with a bleeding-edge 3D model search tool and many other features.

Want to hear about more of the best Thingiverse alternatives? Just keep reading!

Best Thingiverse Alternatives

In the sections below, I’ve gone over the best Thingiverse alternatives. Each of these 3D model repositories offers its own interface, search tools, filters, and other features. And I guarantee you that it won’t be hard to find your next 3D print on any of these platforms!

1. Printables

First up, Printables is a 3D model repository run by none other than Prusa Research, the makers of the Prusa i3 MK3S+, and other 3D printers. Previously called PrusaPrinters.com, Printables is one of the largest repositories, with hundreds of thousands of totally free 3D printable models.

The first thing you’ll notice about Printables is the site’s killer interface. Personally, I’m a big fan of the white-and-orange color schema, but also the overall layout and organization of Printables.com are both terrific.

What makes Printables so great as a Thingiverse alternative is that, unlike many other 3D model repositories, it’s specifically meant for 3D printing. Almost every model on Printables is meant to be 3D printed, and the site gives makers the option to list the print settings they used to help other people.

But what I love most about Printables is its load time. While it might not seem super important, the load time of a website is crucial to a smooth user experience. Plus, short load times for a repository mean quicker search results, meaning you can find your 3D model faster!

And there are no stupid ads in your search results like Thingiverse!

As for the search features, Printables is loaded. The search bar isn’t super sensitive, and there are tons of filters for factors like file type, compatible filament materials, print time, popularity, and more. This makes it super easy to find the right 3D model!

Overall, Printables is easily one of the best Thingiverse alternatives and my #1 pick! It’s free, specific to 3D printing, has tons of models, and is actually fun to use!

2. Thangs

Next, we have Thangs. Thangs is easily the most cutting-edge 3D model repository out there, with tech that you’ve probably never seen in your life. That’s just how innovative it is!

Specifically, I’m talking about Thangs’ 3D model search tool. Of course, Thangs has a traditional search tool where you can type in something like “phone case” and the algorithm will try to bring up models with a similar name or tag.

However, the real “wow” from Thangs’ search tool comes from their 3D model search tool, where you can upload a model, and Thangs will find similar designs. This is possible through the intuitive 3D analyzer tool built into Thangs.

Thangs will three-dimensionally analyze your uploaded 3D model (e.g. dimensions, shape, features) and find models in its repository with similar features. You can literally upload a 3DBenchy model to Thangs, and it will bring you the original 3DBenchy design solely using the design of the model. It’s incredible and can save you hours and hours while searching for the right model!

It’s also worth pointing out that Thangs, while it has its own repository of 3D models, largely relies on other repositories. Moreover, Thangs acts as an aggregate repository, meaning it grabs models from other repositories, such as Thingiverse, Cults, and Printables, to give you the best options based on your search.

At the time of writing this, Thangs has a total count of over 14.5 million 3D models across all platforms (and its own repository).

Now, that’s a lot of models!

Besides its amazing search features, Thangs also has a nice array of filters that you can use to refine your search results. You can turn on filters for the available file type (e.g. STL, G-Code), source platform, cost (most are free), and more.

I also can’t forget to mention that the interface and load time on Thangs is absolutely wonderful. Despite the seemingly-complex search engine under the hood of Thangs, the load time is next to nothing. And you can change the layout of the search results, choosing between grid, grid (2), and list, depending on your personal taste.

So, if you’re looking for a 3D printable model repository that has bleeding-edge tech, millions of models, and a smooth interface, I can’t think of a better option than Thangs. Its features make it useful for newbies all the way to professional designers!

3. MyMiniFactory

MyMiniFactory is another large 3D model repository meant mostly for 3D printing, and it’s a great alternative to Thingiverse.

MyMiniFactory isn’t an aggregator like Thangs, and though many of the models on this platform are also on Thingiverse, many are unique. In fact, MyMiniFactory contains many miniature, tabletop game, and cosplay 3D models that you wouldn’t find on Thingiverse or other platforms. So, if you like 3D printing D&D or War Hammer characters or like testing the capabilities of your printer with high-detail models, you’ll definitely like what you see on MyMiniFactory.

Sadly, not all of the designs on MyMiniFactory are free like they are on Thingiverse. But, at the same time, this does bring you higher-quality models because designers tend to put more effort into designs that are premium (not free).

As for the interface, MyMiniFactory is decent and definitely better than Thingiverse. No crashing on this domain!

And the search tools on MyMiniFactory are also pretty great, with a normal, low-load-time search bar. I really love the drop-down menu that appears when you’re searching for models, as it’s super useful for speeding up my search for a model.

There are also a handful of filters, like the “support-free” filter, which refines your search to only models that can be printed without supports activated in your 3D slicer. Plus, MyMiniFactory has plenty of categories that each model is split into. Examples of categories include “Tabletop”, “Education”, and “Gadgets & Electronics”.

So, if you like printing small, heavily-detailed models, and want a better platform than Thingiverse, definitely check out MyMiniFactory!

4. Cults

Next, Cults, also known as Cults3D, is another 3D model repository. Cults is actually a lot more popular than MyMiniFactory in terms of the number of users, but it has very similar models.

So, if you’re looking for a miniature design, tabletop game character, or cosplay parts, Cults is a great place to go. This platform also has a lot of jewelry designs and even some more naughty (wink wink) 3D models.

Cults3D, like many other 3D model repositories these days, offers both free and paid designs. But don’t worry because there are still tons of free designs to choose from.

And basically, all of them are meant for 3D printing (typically for resin 3D printing).

When it comes to search features, Cults is pretty decent. Its search bar is obviously very useful and works much better than the one on Thingiverse, in my opinion.

Plus, there are a good amount of search filters that you can use, including filters for price, number of downloads, number of likes, and the date published. The models on Cults, like on most repositories, are also split into categories, and examples include “Art”, “Jewelry”, and “Gadget”.

Sadly, I should point out that while the user interface of Cults is pretty solid, the platform has been known to crash on occasion. While it hasn’t crashed in a good bit, there’s always that lingering feeling inside when I click on a Cults3d.com link.

But overall, Cults is an amazing 3D model repository platform and a terrific Thingiverse alternative.

5. Pinshape

Pinshape is another platform for finding 3D printable models. While it’s got a lot fewer models than some of the other platforms on this list, Pinshape is a very well-built site, which is why I included it.

First off, Pinshape has a fabulous interface. Its search bar is well-placed, which doesn’t really matter but is a big thing for me. And all of the category buttons, filters, and other features are all easy to find, making it a seamless experience to find your desired 3D model.

While there’s no official number for how many designs are on Pinshape, it should be close to or over 100K. While most listings on Pinshape are free designs, there are also many premium models, usually costing anywhere from $1-50.

The search buttons on Pinshape are also pretty great. There’s a search bar, which finds models decently fast, as well as a couple of filters for popularity, price, date, and trending. On top of this, the models are split into categories like “Toys + Games”, “Gadgets”, and “Art”.

What I really love about Pinshape, though, are its social features. Just like on Thingiverse (and other platforms), you can like models, add designs to a collection, and even comment on posts. But, what stands out about Pinshape, is its feed page, which brings up posts and designs from people that you follow, as well as other relevant information.

So, if you’re looking to switch it up from Thingiverse, Pinshape is a great option, with a smooth user interface, decent search tools, and nice social features!

6. Yeggi

Lastly, Yeggi a search aggregator for 3D models, kind of like Thangs, but Yeggi doesn’t have its own repository at all. Instead, Yeggi scans the many different existing 3D model repositories, like Thingiverse, Printables, and Cults, to bring you the best 3D models based on your search, no matter where they were posted.

As I’ve mentioned, I love aggregator search tools because they aren’t platform-biased and make it way easier to find the perfect 3D model for printing.

Yeggi has grown a ton in the past year, and currently, its number of searchable models is about 4 million. So finding the right model shouldn’t be a problem at all!

Sadly, one downside of the platform is that there are a lot of duplicates when you search for models. This is mainly because most designers publish models across multiple platforms, and Yeggi doesn’t understand that they’re the same.

On another note, the interface on Yeggi is very sub-par, with everything in a pretty weird layout. But, hey, I gotta give them credit for being pretty new and one of the few aggregators out there.

As Yeggi is solely an aggregator tool, its search features are a bit limited. Of course, there’s a search text bar and even a few filters for the price, relevance, popularity, and date of search results. But that’s pretty much it; hopefully, more search features will be added later, but who knows!

At the end of the day, Yeggi is easily one of my favorite Thingiverse alternatives. It’s an easy-to-use and very bare-bones tool for finding the perfect model without having to spend the time to look across many different platforms!

Considerations for 3D Model Repositories

When looking for a 3D model repository, there are a few factors to keep in mind. I’ve gone over the main ones in the sections below.

Available Files

First and most importantly, you should consider how many 3D models are in the repository. A 3D model repository has positive network effects, meaning the more 3D models on the platform, the more useful it is to its users. So look for repositories that have a lot of 3D models!

You can usually determine the number of files available on a 3D model repository by looking through the search results or checking the “About” page for the site.

But don’t stop there! Also, check how many of the available 3D models are free, as some repositories have premium 3D models that you have to purchase.

Additionally, make sure the 3D models on the repository are meant for 3D printing. This isn’t a “must”, but it’s definitely preferred if you plan on downloading files for 3D printing.

Supported File Types

You should also consider the supported file types for a repository, as not all 3D model repositories accept all 3D model formats.

Basically, all 3D model repositories allow for STL files, which are the most common file format for 3D printing. But, the lesser-known 3D model file formats, like FBX, 3MF, or AMF, might not be compatible with certain repositories.

Make sure the repository you choose allows for files in the format you plan on using!

User Interface

While it might not sound crucial, the user interface is extremely important for a 3D model repository. Remember you’ll be using this website every time you’re looking for a 3D print job, so make sure you choose a repository with a layout that you can navigate and an interface that’s at least somewhat enjoyable, or at the very least, functional.

Search Features

Finally, the search features on any repository, such as Thingiverse alternatives, are the key to finding the item you want. If there isn’t a good way to sort the many different 3D models on your 3D model repository, then you’ll never find the part you want.

Every 3D model repository should have a search bar where you can type in the name of your desired model. However, some other search features to keep an eye out for include filters and categories, which further simplify the model-finding process.

Can I Download Files and Sell 3D Prints From These Sites?

Yes, but only if you have the designer’s permission.

According to copyright law, you can only sell a work that’s of your own creation or if you have the original author’s approval. This applies to 3D-printed versions of people’s designs too!

If you want to sell a certain 3D model that’s listed on a repository, I recommend contacting the designer first and seeing if they’ll allow you to. You might be able to convince them by offering a royalty or commission.

If that doesn’t work, though, you might be able to legally bypass the copyright restriction by designing a part similar to the one you found on the repository but with enough changes to make it reasonably “of your own work”.

Make sure you check out our article on the best things to 3D print and sell here.

Conclusion

Thingiverse may have been one of the founding fathers of websites for the 3D printing space, but its lack of innovation and poor user experience has led many to look for different platforms.

While there are many different 3D model repositories, few are specific to 3D printing, making them a lot less convenient. Luckily, I’ve done the work for you and have found the best Thingiverse alternatives that are meant for 3D printing and offer tons of great models and search features.

The best option I’ve found so far has got to be Printables. The Prusa-developed 3D model repository has a fast search bar, a smooth interface, a handful of filters, plus some social features like collections, comments, and more!

However, if you want the platform that will find you the most models, your best chance is to go with Thangs. This platform is equipped with a cutting-edge 3D model analyzer search tool that can find models similar to one you have downloaded. Plus, it also aggregates its search results, providing many more design options than just its own repository.

Lastly, Yeggi is another great platform to use. While its interface is a lot less developed than other options, its aggregation abilities make it easy to find a 3D model, no matter what platform it was posted on.

Enjoy!

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