[2023] What is Thingiverse Used For? A Comprehensive Guide

Are you curious about what Thingiverse is used for in the world of 3D printing? Look no further! Our team of expert 3D printer enthusiasts at 3D Printed™ have compiled a comprehensive guide to help you understand the ins and outs of Thingiverse. From downloading 3D prints to legal considerations, we've got you covered. So, let's dive in and explore the exciting world of Thingiverse!

Table of Contents

Quick Answer

Thingiverse is a popular online platform where users can discover, share, and download 3D printable files. It serves as a community hub for 3D printing enthusiasts, allowing them to access a vast library of designs for various purposes. Whether you're looking for functional objects, artistic creations, or even replacement parts, Thingiverse has it all.

Quick Tips and Facts

  • Thingiverse was launched in 2008 by MakerBot Industries, a leading manufacturer of 3D printers.
  • The platform hosts over 2 million designs created by a global community of makers.
  • Thingiverse offers both free and paid designs, allowing designers to choose how they want to share their creations.
  • Users can customize and remix existing designs on Thingiverse to create their own unique creations.
  • The platform supports file formats such as .STL, .OBJ, .THING, and more.
  • Thingiverse has an active and supportive community, where users can share their prints, ask questions, and provide feedback on designs.

What is Thingiverse?

Thingiverse is a web-based platform that facilitates the sharing of 3D printable files. It acts as a central hub for designers and makers to showcase their creations and make them accessible to others. The platform allows users to upload, download, and even remix designs, fostering a collaborative atmosphere within the 3D printing community.

With a user-friendly interface, Thingiverse enables users to easily search for designs based on categories, tags, or keywords. Whether you're looking for practical objects like phone stands or artistic sculptures, you'll find a plethora of options on Thingiverse. Plus, the option to customize and remix designs gives users the freedom to modify existing models to suit their specific needs.

How to Download 3D Prints from Thingiverse

Downloading 3D prints from Thingiverse is a seamless process. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Find the Design: Use the search bar on Thingiverse to look for the specific design you want to download. You can browse through different categories or use keywords to narrow down your search.

  2. Evaluate the Design: Before downloading, take a moment to review the design. Check the description, images, and comments to ensure it meets your requirements.

  3. Download the Files: Once you're satisfied, navigate to the design's page and click on the "Download All Files" button. This will download a .ZIP file containing all the necessary files for the print.

  4. Extract the Files: After downloading, extract the files from the .ZIP folder. You'll typically find the design files in formats like .STL, .OBJ, or .THING.

  5. Prepare for Printing: Depending on your 3D printer and slicing software, you may need to convert the design file into a format compatible with your printer. Refer to your printer's manual or software documentation for instructions on file compatibility.

  6. Slice and Print: Use your preferred slicing software to prepare the design for printing. Adjust settings like layer height, infill density, and print speed according to your preferences. Once ready, send the sliced file to your 3D printer and watch your creation come to life!

Remember, it's always a good practice to credit the original designer when sharing or showcasing prints from Thingiverse.

How to Print a File from Thingiverse

Now that you have downloaded a design from Thingiverse, it's time to bring it to life through 3D printing. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you print a file from Thingiverse:

  1. Prepare Your 3D Printer: Ensure that your 3D printer is properly set up and calibrated. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for leveling the build plate and loading the filament.

  2. Choose the Right File: Locate the design file you downloaded from Thingiverse and ensure it's in a format compatible with your 3D printer. Common file formats include .STL, .OBJ, and .THING.

  3. Open Slicing Software: Use slicing software such as Ultimaker Cura, PrusaSlicer, or Simplify3D to open the design file. Slicing software allows you to adjust print settings and convert the design into instructions that your 3D printer can understand.

  4. Configure Print Settings: In the slicing software, configure print settings based on your preferences and the requirements of the design. This includes parameters like layer height, infill density, print speed, and support structures.

  5. Slice the Model: Once you've configured the settings, click on the "Slice" button in the software. This process converts the design into a series of layers and generates the G-code instructions for your 3D printer.

  6. Transfer to 3D Printer: Save the sliced file to an SD card or transfer it directly to your 3D printer if it supports network connectivity.

  7. Start the Print: Insert the SD card or initiate the print from the printer's interface. Sit back, relax, and watch your 3D printer bring your design to life!

Remember to monitor the print progress and make any necessary adjustments if needed. Happy printing!

The legality of selling prints from Thingiverse depends on several factors. While Thingiverse is a platform for sharing and downloading designs, the licenses associated with each design determine whether you can sell the printed objects.

When uploading a design to Thingiverse, designers can choose from different licenses, including Creative Commons licenses. These licenses define the terms of use for the design, including whether it can be used for commercial purposes. It's essential to review the license associated with a design before considering selling the printed object.

Some designs on Thingiverse are released under licenses that allow for commercial use, meaning you can sell prints of those designs without any legal issues. However, other designs may have non-commercial licenses, restricting their use for personal purposes only.

To ensure you're compliant with the licenses, review the design's license information provided by the designer on the Thingiverse page. If the license permits commercial use, you can proceed with selling prints. If not, it's crucial to respect the designer's wishes and refrain from selling prints without explicit permission.

Always double-check the license and reach out to the designer if you have any doubts or questions regarding the commercial use of a specific design. Respecting the rights of designers helps promote a healthy and supportive 3D printing community.

Other Uses of Thingiverse

Thingiverse offers a multitude of uses beyond downloading and printing 3D designs. Here are some additional ways you can leverage the platform:

  1. Inspiration and Learning: Browse Thingiverse to get inspired by the incredible creations shared by the community. Explore different designs, remixes, and modifications to learn new techniques and gain insights into the world of 3D printing.

  2. Collaboration and Remixing: Thingiverse encourages collaboration and remixing of designs. If you're a designer, you can upload your designs and allow others to remix and build upon them. Similarly, you can explore existing designs and remix them to create something unique.

  3. Community Engagement: Engage with the vibrant Thingiverse community by leaving comments, providing feedback, and sharing your own prints. Connect with like-minded individuals, ask questions, and learn from others' experiences.

  4. Education and Research: Thingiverse is a valuable resource for educators and researchers. Teachers can find educational models and lesson plans to incorporate 3D printing into their curriculum. Researchers can access a wide range of designs for prototyping, experiments, or scientific purposes.

  5. Prototyping and Testing: Thingiverse provides a vast library of functional designs that can be used for prototyping and testing. Whether you're developing a new product or need a custom part, Thingiverse offers a convenient platform to find and print prototypes.

Remember to attribute the original designers when using their designs for inspiration, remixing, or educational purposes.


An artist’s illustration of artificial intelligence (AI). This image represents the concept of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) and the potential of generative AI. It was created by Domhnall Malone as part of the Visualising AI project launched by Google DeepMind.

What is a Thingiverse in 3D printing?

Thingiverse is an online platform that allows users to share, download, and remix 3D printable designs. It serves as a community hub for 3D printing enthusiasts, providing a vast library of designs for various purposes.

How do I download 3D prints from Thingiverse?

To download 3D prints from Thingiverse, simply find the design you want, click on the "Download All Files" button, extract the files from the downloaded .ZIP folder, and prepare the files for printing using slicing software.

How do you take a file from Thingiverse and print it?

To print a file from Thingiverse, you need to prepare your 3D printer, choose the right file format, open slicing software, configure print settings, slice the model, transfer the sliced file to your 3D printer, and start the print.

The legality of selling things from Thingiverse depends on the license associated with the design. Some designs have licenses that allow for commercial use, while others restrict use to personal purposes only. Always review the license information provided by the designer before selling prints.

Can I modify designs from Thingiverse?

Yes, you can modify designs from Thingiverse. The platform allows for remixing and customization, giving you the freedom to modify existing designs to suit your specific needs.

Can I sell my own designs on Thingiverse?

Yes, you can sell your own designs on Thingiverse. However, it's essential to review the platform's guidelines and terms of service to ensure compliance with their policies.


Thingiverse is a valuable resource for 3D printing enthusiasts, providing a vast library of 3D printable designs for various purposes. From functional objects to artistic creations, the platform offers endless possibilities for makers. By following the steps we've outlined, you can easily download, print, and even remix designs from Thingiverse. Just remember to respect the licenses associated with each design and credit the original designers when sharing your prints. Happy printing!

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An artist's illustration of artificial intelligence (AI). This image is a visualisation of pattern recognition. It was created by Vincent Schwenk as part of the Visualising AI project launched by Google DeepMind.

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