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Better STL files come from Pro Designers

“I’m not paying $10 bucks to use my own 3D printer!”

You, after sinking way too much money in your new hobby.

You’ve spent hundreds of dollars on a 3D printer, a stack of filament and few worthy upgrades… so you probably don’t want to hear about spending MORE money on STL files. After all…aren’t they free at Thingiverse?

Yes. Yes they are.

There are literally M I L L I O N S of legit free STL files on the internet if you know where to look. In fact, we covered really good free sites like Thingiverse & Thangs on a previous post. Go have a look, I’ll wait.

There’s nothing wrong with free files–most of the time. But when you download a free file you’re taking a chance that the model wasn’t tested or the designer is just a newbie themselves who hasn’t learned about overhangs and print tolerances.

If you find a model on Thingiverse with NO photo of the print — only the blue computer render– there’s a very good chance it’s going to cause heartache. Why? Designers want to show how good their prints work out and they’ll upload real photos of their finished work.

It’s doubtful a model with just a blue computer image was ever printed in real life.

Take this frog I found for free on Thingiverse. I’ve printed the original frog (without the hat) and it’s a gorgeous model. This low res hat is going to need supports…all over the poor frog’s face.

Printing models created by professional artists — people who know how 3D printers really work — is so much easier.

Professional Files don’t have to Cost an Arm & a Leg

Its not hard to find designer made models for free. Thingiverse and Thangs are full of fantastic hobby level artists who want to share their work the community. You can also find pro level 3D designers who use free samples to advertise their shops & Patreon sites.

So How Much do STL files cost?

Every designer is different, so the price of STL files varies. I’ve seen files anywhere from a 99 cents to $150. Ok, the high priced model was actually for a suit of cosplay armor. But there’s no ceiling on STL prices. I would say that $5 for a well made STL file is pretty reasonable.

A lot of designers have Patreon sites, where you can pay a monthly subscription fee and access their whole catalog of models. When you find an artist you really like, you can save a lot of money by becoming a supporter and downloading several of their files at a discount.

Where do you find Pro 3D Designers?

The Best 3D Print Designers

The best 3D prints come from excellent 3D files. Here's my favorite 3D designers who always provide flawless digital models.