So you've got a 3D printer under the Christmas tree... Now what?

Where to find, customize and create free 3D models online

Getting a 3D printer is super-exciting. There’s a sea of possibilities in front of you. You have so many projects on your mind — from your next million dollar startup idea or toys for kids, to even fixing something in your household. You feel excited with anything tangible coming out of your 3D printer.

There are three basic phases every 3D printer owner goes through, so we put together a guide to help you get closer to your 3D printing goals and show you where to find or create 3D models for free.

Stage 1: Fresh owner: Where can I find free 3D models online?

You want to try that powerful machine you just got. One of the first 3D models everyone tries is the 3D benchy. 3D benchy is a model of a small boat that helps you to test and calibrate your printer.

3D benchy model created with VECTARY 1.0 by CreativeTools

3D models for 3D printing are usually in .stl format. This is uploaded to your 3D printer slicer software and sent to your 3D printer for printing.

There are many repositories where you can download thousands of free 3D models like Thingiverse and MyMiniFactory.

Stage 2: Customizer: How can I customize free 3D models?

So you’ve downloaded your 3D model from the free repository, or scanned something with your mobile. Now comes the biggest problem: how can you modify it?Maybe you want to resize it, add a text with your name or even entirely reshape some parts of it.Low poly vase 3D model customized in VECTARY 1.0

In this case you may find the free, online 3D modeling tool VECTARY very handy. Create an account for free, open the 3D modeling editor and just import your 3D model with drag and drop.

VECTARY has tools and tutorials that can help you get the hang of it really fast. Here are just a few:

  • Resizing a 3D model
  • Adding text to your 3D model
  • Cutting out some parts of the 3D model

Stage 3: The Creator: How can I turn my idea into a 3D model for free?

Printing free 3D models made by someone else can be fun for a while, but for true creators it’s never enough. This is the real reason why you’ve got a 3D printer after all. Santa knew you are full of ideas and like to create your OWN stuff like jewelry, robots, toys, game table top, RC car parts and more!

You need a free, simple 3D modeling tool and VECTARY may very well be the best answer to that. It’s free and there are plenty of “how-to 3D model” videos that you can start with:

Create a 3D printable heart bowl in 15 minutes in VECTARY 1.0 Step by step tutorial

For more ideas, have a look at VECTARY’s tutorials and the “Learn 3D” section.

Make sure you also check VECTARY’s 3D modeling tips and tricks for 3D printing.

Feeling inspired? Get ready for your own first 3D printing project: