In order to 3D print something, you first have to have a model to print! There are a couple ways of obtaining a 3D model:
- Create it: Creating one yourself with 3D modeling software can be the best way to be sure that the project will meet your needs and fit your specifications. We recommend starting with Tinkercad. Tinkercad is free with an Autodesk account registration. Tinkercad is a great introduction to 3D modeling and is relatively easy to start with. There are a number of 3D modeling software to consider when you’re ready to try something more complex and powerful including, but not limited to:
- Find It: You can also download 3D models created by other people form online model library sites. One of the most popular sites for finding and sharing 3D models is Thingiverse. Some other include:
Whether you’ve created your 3D model yourself, or found it online and downloaded it, you need it as an STL file. Most, if not all, 3D modeling software packages will allow you to export as an .stl file. Online 3D model repositories will also allow you to download a .stl model of the file.