Once you find that awesome object on Thingiverse, you won’t want to wait to print it. So what do you do?
If you’ve spent some time on Thingiverse, you may have noticed there’s no “branded” Thingiverse 3D printing service. As such, it may seem a bit overwhelming to figure out how to go from a file on a computer to a 3D printed part in your hand. But there’s no reason to get overwhelmed. It’s easy! In fact, you even have options so you can choose which easy option we present here is the easiest for you.
In the following, we present some 3D printing services that are very easy to use. We’ll walk you through the steps from the moment your eyes light up with excitement to holding the final model in your hands. Follow the steps below and soon you’ll be printing parts like a pro. The best part is, you don’t even need to own a 3D printer!
First thing’s first, you need to download the files for your chosen model. On Thingiverse, you have the option of creating an account to save the models you like. You can even make folders to sort them into. This’ll be useful if you want to print several models and not have to keep a tab open for each one, or if you want to come back at a later time to download the files and print them.
Once you’re ready, download the necessary files from the “Thing Files” tab. They usually come in a zipped folder, which you’ll need to unzip into a different folder. Often, complex objects will have several pieces that are printed separately and assembled after printing. Keep this in mind as each individual piece will be treated as a separate print. To start, you may want to keep it simple with a model that has just one piece, like the crocodile head above.
The unzipped folder will have several files in it. You’ll be searching for the STL files. There will be one for every object that needs to be printed. There will also be a JPG picture of each object, a readme file, and a license file. You can ignore everything that isn’t an STL.
Now you have your files, but what do you do with them? Sending your files off to a 3D printing service is a fantastic option. They take your files and specifications, 3D print them, and send the results to your door! The top ones are All3DP’s Craftcloud, Treatstock and makexyz. We’ll go more into each of these in the following sections.
But first, let’s talk about the process for any online 3D printing service. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3! You just need to follow these steps:
Now let’s pick out the right service for you, and you’ll be leaving your Thingiverse 3D printing service woes behind.
All3DP’s Craftcloud is one of the most wide-reaching 3D printing service platforms available. That’s because it connects you to major 3D printing services all around the world.
The material choices range from plastics like PLA, ABS, and nylon to metals like silver, gold, platinum, copper, and titanium. Want that crocodile head printed in 18-karat gold? Craftcloud can make it happen. Of the three listed here, Craftcloud has the widest choices of materials to select for printing.
Some of the top features of using Craftcloud:
Treatstock is one of the 3D printing services integrated into Craftcloud, but you can go directly to the source, as well. Treatstock lists all the printing companies that are available to print your object, meaning you can choose one that is local. Since it lists all the companies that can process your order, you can go to any one of their websites to look more deeply into the companies to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
The affiliated companies are limited mostly to plastics and resin prints. They do not offer metal 3D printing at this time. There are, however, 90 different colors to choose from. Treatstock goes way beyond 3D printing in the services it provides. In addition, it offers services such as CNC manufacturing, injection molding, signage, 3D scanning, and electronics manufacturing. This means Treatstock might be the right option if your project involves multiple different technologies.
Get a quote: Treatstock
makexyz an online 3D printing service platform that connects you to local 3D printer enthusiasts who will 3D print your model for you. This often means it’ll be a neighbor with a 3D printer on their workbench or a local print shop, rather than an automated machined process. You can get a quote before requesting a print. However, it does require your information up front before you can complete the process and get the quote.
Once you do so, you are able to select all different sorts of options, including who you want to have 3D print your model. This can bring back a bit of that old school feeling. It also likely means whoever is 3D printing your model for you has a real passion for it and will make sure your model is in perfect shape.
Get a quote: makexyz
Sending your file off to an online 3D printing service will be the easiest way to get your Thingiverse Thing in your hand. However, there are offline options too. These can be nice because you can get help perfecting your model or even get some hands-on experience with a 3D printer.
Some of the local places you will find are:
Regardless of how you choose to print, one thing is for sure, it’s getting easier to find places to print in 3D. Pick your preferred replacement Thingiverse 3D printing service and you’ll be Thing-ing it up in no time.
Feature image source: Ultimaker
License: The text of "Best 3D Printing Services for Your Thingiverse Things" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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