Thingiverse may be the largest and best-known provider of 3D printer templates, but the top dog has faced increasingly strong competition in recent years. In this post, I'll introduce you to the best 3 Thingiverse alternatives and also go into why I think everyone should try them.
Why do you need Thingiverse alternatives at all?
This is of course only my subjective opinion, but I downloaded my first models on Thingiverse and YouMagine, which means that I can now say something about it after almost 9 years, or even have to, so that you also see that there is just not only Thingiverse.
Thingiverse carries legacy issues with it
When the hype about Thingiverse started, everyone uploaded their models, of course. The fact that you could edit certain models directly via Thingiverse using the Customizer and also publish them directly led to the fact that really every change, no matter how small, got its own entry in the database. So we have many “copies” of a model and we don't even know if the original model had a change in the meantime or not. All of them are simply displayed. If a “copy” is then more popular but is no longer updated, it can be frustrating if errors from the original have been carried over.
The website is out of date and slow
When Thingiverse first saw the light of day, mobile browsers were not as well known or as widely used as they are today. Over time, the design of Thingiverse has changed a bit, but still it is not always so easy to download models, among other things, mobile. Here I can also understand the creators: It's not easy to completely rebuild a website. Especially with the size! But still, I see wasted potential, since the loading time of 11 seconds is undercut by about 8 seconds by Cults3D, for example.
No longer so attractive for designers
This point is also related to the first two points: Historically, Thingiverse was never intended to allow designers to sell files. While there is an option today to “tip” a designer, I don't even want to know how many people even see that button, click it, and send the money.
The alternatives to Thingiverse
My 3 alternatives to Thingiverse are:
- Cults 3D
In the following, I will go into why these providers are so recommendable.
A very smart move from PRUSA. Meanwhile, the company offers its own solution or service for almost every point of the 3D printing process. So today, you can go about your 3D printing day using only PRUSA products. It also all works in concert, but in the end, aren't we completely dependent on a single company?
Be that as it may, the philosophy lesson on PRUSA is over.
PrusaPrinters is tidy, offers very many models and as a killer feature especially for PRUSA printer beginners is the possibility of downloading the .3mf files. These contain the model and the settings of the profile in PRUSA Slicer. So with your printer, you can almost be sure that your 3D printed model will end up looking a lot like the designer's photo.
Mit der wachsenden Nutzerzahl, bedingt auch durch die verkauften 3D-Drucker, ist die Community hier sehr aktiv, hilfsbereit und nur die wenigsten Modelle bleiben ohne Bewertung. Ebenfalls smarter Move: Wenn du nämlich ein Modell herunterlädst, bekommst du nach einiger Zeit eine Mail mit “Wie hat dir das Modell gefallen?”. So bewegt PRUSA seine Nutzer dazu, die Modelle zu bewerten, was wiederum der Masse hilft.
Also strong are the many competitions for designers, which in turn means that new designers are always joining the portal and contributing their ideas.
I like to download models here. Definitely take a look at the whole thing:
Cults 3D – supplier from France
Cults3D is a Thingiverse alternative from France and offers a modern website where you can find your way around relatively quickly. There is also an opportunity here for designers to sell their own models. What I like rather less is the fact that generally reviews for the models are not so easy to find. However, these are also only present in the fewest cases.
It is also not so obvious to see where I can leave a rating. Here, PrusaPrinters is simply very well positioned through active “recruiting”.
I'm primarily downloading the “print-in-place” models here, as designers are more and more reducing the number of portals they can be found in. So I like to pay 2-6€ for a model, because I can actually assume that they were at least tested by someone once. 80% of the proceeds go to the designer himself, according to Cults, which I think is good. The days of entirely free downloads are over anyway.
An old companion of Thingiverse.
MyMiniFactory started very early to give designers the possibility of monetization. Also very special is the fact that the models are not simply uploaded and published. I've never seen this quality check before.
The uploaded model is first checked by software for 3D printability. Then the model is actually printed and tested by people in the community. If these tests are positive, the model enters the website.
In my eyes, the point is very interesting especially for beginners. To minimize frustration, you can now download and print models here and be almost certain that no mess will come out, unless you and your printer aren't such best friends….
Another point is the subscription “MMF+”. Here you pay about 8-10 US dollars per month (monthly/annual payment) and benefit from various extras like
- Special offers
- 10% discount on all premium file.
- No advertising on the website.
Conclusion: Thingiverse alternatives become stronger and stronger
While Thingiverse has felt like it has hardly received any new features in the last few years, its competitors are building up their features on the websites a lot. You have surely noticed that you cannot defeat the giant with “more models”, but with a faster, clearer website. Interesting features such as designer support, either with the purchase of individual models or via subscription model as with MyMiniFactory.
Maybe Thingiverse will be shaken awake by these “opponents” and take a swing? This would be desirable, because over time Thingiverse will remain the largest portal, but not the most innovative.