Many users need to find and download STL files but are unsure of how to use Thingiverse to do it, which is one of the biggest platforms for 3D printing online. That’s why I decided to write this article, teaching people how to download STL files from Thingiverse and open them.
To download STL files from Thingiverse and open them you’ll need to create a Thingiverse account and browse and search for STL files on there. After finding the STL file you want, you’ll need to download it and extract it. The last step is to open the STL file on your preferred slicer.
This is the basic answer, keep reading for more information about how to download STL files from Thingiverse and open them.
How to Download STL Files From Thingiverse & Open Them
These are the main steps to download STL files from Thingiverse and open them:
- Browse and search Thingiverse for STL files
- Download an STL file
- Extract the STL file
- Open the STL file on the preferred slicer
1. Browse and Search Thingiverse for STL Files
The first step is to visit Thingiverse to browse and search for STL files.
To do that, you’ll need to:
- Visit Thingiverse.
- Use the search bar at the top to look for the specific STL file or browse through categories.
- Once you find a design you like, click on it to open the design page.
Users suggest checking other online platforms that host STL files in case you are not finding the model you want to 3D print.
Another user stated that the search engine on Thingiverse vastly improved after the website was bought by Ultimaker, the company that created the Cura slicer.
Check out the video below for more information about browsing on Thingiverse.
2. Download an STL File
The next step is to download STL files from Thingiverse, which is pretty straightforward.
To do that, just:
- On the design page, scroll down to the “Download” section.
- You will see a button labeled “Download All Files”. Click on it.
- The file will be downloaded to your computer in a .zip format or as a single file, if you go down the page and choose “Download” on the file you want.
One user suggests disabling your AdBlock in case you are experiencing any issues with downloading your STL files from Thingiverse.
Other users stated that depending on your AdBlock configuration, you may experience problems downloading files from Thingiverse.
Check out the video below for more information about this step of the process.
3. Extract the STL file
The next step is to extract the STL file but be aware that this step is only needed if you downloaded a .zip or .rar file from the “Download All Files” option on Thingiverse.
If you downloaded a single STL file, you can jump to the last step of the article.
To extract the STL file from the .zip folder you’ll need to:
- Locate the downloaded .zip folder on your computer.
- Right-click on the folder and select “Extract All” (Windows) or double-click to extract (Mac).
- The extracted folder will contain the STL file you want.
One user stated that all files from Thingiverse always come in a .zip folder as they have smaller file sizes. To use the file you’ll need to extract it, said the user.
Another user stated that the only time a 3D printable file will not come in a .zip folder is when they are already in a G-code format.
In that case, you can take the G-code directly to the printer without the need to go through a slicer.
Check out the video below for more information on how to extract files using WinRAR on Windows 10.
4. Open the STL File on the Preferred Slicer
The last step is to open the STL file on your preferred slicer.
With the STL file extracted or just downloaded, you can now open it in your 3D modeling or slicing software:
- Launch your 3D modeling or slicing software (e.g., TinkerCAD, Fusion 360, or Cura).
- Use the software’s file menu to open the STL file.
- You can now modify, slice, or prepare the file for 3D printing as needed.
Some designs on Thingiverse may have multiple STL files. Make sure to download the correct one.
Always check the licensing information provided by the creator. Some designs may have specific usage restrictions.
If you encounter any issues with the downloaded STL file, it’s possible the original design is not compatible with your 3D software. Check for updates or alternatives.
One user suggests using either Cura or PrusaSlicer as your slicer software as he thinks these are the best options available to be downloaded for free.
Another user stated that you will need to pass your STL file through a slicer if you want it to be 3D printed correctly. He said you can’t just take the STL file to the 3D printer without slicing it first.
One tip recommended by many users is to create an account on Thingiverse, that way you can save your favorite models and even comment on them.
To create your account, click on the “Sign Up” button in the top-right corner of Thingiverse and fill in your information.
Check out the video below for more information on how to download and slice STL files using Cura.