Introduction: Where to Find Functional 3D Printing Models.
There are a number of site that provide models. But very often these models are provided by the community. So the quality might be questionable. But where can you download verified and curated 3D models. And importantly models that are actually functional. Very few of us need another yoda head.
Step 1: McMaster-Carr
McMaster-Carrhas been providing 3D models of their parts for years. Not all of their over-hundred year history but a for a good part of the time CAD has been used.Most Parts in the
The McMaster catalog can be downloaded in a number of different formats ranging from editable STEP to Solidworks files. This makes them ideal for finding and integrating parts into CAD and engineering projects. And when you are ready you can order the parts directly from McMaster and they will arrive in 1-2 days.
Step 2: Part Mason
Part Mason is similar to McMaster-Carr. They also provide 3D models for CAD and 3D printing and can deliver the physical parts as well.
The difference is that the hardware found on Part Mason is explicitly designed and optimized for additive manufacturing. This allows you to download the files and immediately create functional physical prototypes for your project. Then as you scale up into production Part Mason can provide the manufactured pieces as you need them. Part Mason is basically a digital inventory of functional plastic hardware.
(They also create really unique pieces of hardware that can't be manufactured with anything other than additive)
Step 3: GrabCad
GrabCad has no manufacturing or supply capability. But the site does provide many free models created by professional CAD designers and engineers. While the designs are not all entirely hardware when compared to Mcmaster of Part Mason, GrabCad is an excellent resource for more complex CAD files and potentially creating relationships with high quality engineering design talent.
GrabCad also has the advantage of designers sometimes providing raw CAD files and editable versions from most different CAD programs. So it is possible to find a design that can be directly edited rather than modified from a STEP file.
Another repository of free and paid 3D models. Cults3D is a fairly informal place to find 3d models for 3D printing. Most models are more hobby based. But there are some functional pieces that have been created that can be implemented into professional engineering projects.
Step 5: MyMiniFactory
Another website dedicated to 3D printable models. MyMiniFactory is one of the most professional. With free and paid models the site gives a wide selection of toy and design-based models and projects that can be created with additive manufacturing.
The advantage that MyMiniFactory has over other repositories is that their models are all guaranteed to be 3D Printable, since the entire collection is heavily curated.
Step 6: That's All
Hope these resources were useful to you. These sites are all great at providing good quality 3D Printing files to anyone who want them.
(We did not include Thingiverse or other such open repositories, because even though they are free they are not well curated and there is frankly a lot of junk that is not easily sorted through)