8 Best Sites to Download STL Files (For 3D Carving)




Easel Pro now has 3D! So now what?

Let’s walk through: 

  • What STL is

  • Where to find 3D STL files

  • How to know which STL files are the best for carving 3D in Easel Pro

What is an STL File?

Easel Pro allows you to import 2D images like JPG, DXF, or SVG file formats for carving 2.5D projects like flat signs with V-Bit engravings. Now, you can also import 3D STL files for carving 3D reliefs with a file size upto 100 MB.

STL is a 3D file format native to CAD software created by 3D Systems. It can be used for cutting that changes height to achieve details at different depths or with CNC machines that can move in all three axes at the same time (like X-Carve and X-Carve Pro).

The format is commonly available, which is why we chose it for 3D in Easel Pro. There are many STL files which are used for 3D Printing, and these have a full 3D shape. These kinds of files will work, but with limited success in CNC router applications. You can also use other software tools to convert other 3D model file formats into STL files. 



What STL files will work best for 3D in Easel Pro?

STL files with a flat face or flat bottom will work best for 3D carving in Easel Pro. 

Where do I find STL Files for 3D carving with my CNC Machine?

There are a lot of websites that sell 3D STL files, but not all of them are well suited for 3D CNC routing with Easel Pro. To narrow down the list and find the best files, consider these factors:

  • Selection of models

  • Quality of models

  • Easy to use interface

  • Good reputation

  • Free models available in addition to paid

  • Focus on CNC Routing

 

Another factor to consider is the type of source. 

 

  • There are file repositories with user generated STL files

  • File specific search engines

  • Commercial websites with professionally made files

  • ETSY sellers

  • Facebook groups

 

As with any file you use for either personal or business use, make sure you fully understand the copyright and usage limitations of the STL files you import into Easel Pro. We also urge you to make sure that you are downloading files from reputable sources. You don’t want to inadvertently download bad files or a virus!

Where You Can Find STL Files to Carve with 3D in Easel Pro

STLFinder 

Price: Paid and Free

 

This site is a search engine specifically for STL files. Enter the type of model you’re looking for in the search bar, and STLFinder will browse the internet to find a match for your search. Searches for wall art, decor, signs, and flags returned lots of paid and free models.

Free3D 

Price: Paid and Free

 

This site is a marketplace that features many user generated 3D STL models. Models here are offered in a variety of file formats so you want to make sure the file type is STL. The available file formats for a model are listed in the search results right under the link to the model. This site has a large selection of free models. In order to find STL files suitable for CNC routing, your best bet is to search for the type of project you want to carve. For example, you can search for “flag relief” or “eagle relief." 

CGTrader

Price: Paid and Free

 

This site offers a lot of high-quality files which are paid as well as some for free with a lot of options for narrowing down your search for a specific model. There’s a filter to specify STL file format that becomes accessible after you’ve done a search using the search bar. We searched for “flag relief” and filtered by STL to find 973 options.

Thangs

Price: Paid and Free

 

Thangs is a repository with over 3 Million user generated models, which are all free! You can use the search bar on the website to find STL models for 3D carving in Easel Pro. Counterintuitively, entering “2D” in the search box yields the best results, because a lot of these models are aimed at 3D printing. The results from this search will provide flat bottomed relief 3D STL Files. This site is unique in that it includes models on Thangs as well as 3D STL models on other repositories.

 

TurboSquid 

Price: Paid and Free

 

Turbosquid offers lots of models and other types of files. You want to start by limiting your search to only STL files. We found that by searching for “cnc bear” in the STL category it showed dozens of results. Your mileage may vary with results here. 

 

Thingiverse 

Price: Paid and Free

 

With 3 million users, there are thousands of 3D STL models related to CNC routers and which you can use for 3D in Easel Pro. The site has more STL files than any other site on our list. Thingiverse has a large number of search filters to help you find the right model. If you search for “CNC models”, you’ll find models of parts designed to be cut on all kinds of CNC machines  - not just routers - models made for Lathes, Mills, and Laser Cutters. As such, it’s best to search specifically for the type of thing you want to make and include “CNC” in the search. For example, “CNC flag” will show models which will work well with Easel Pro. 

 

Etsy

Price: Paid only

 

With over 12,000 results for the search “STL files for CNC” Etsy is a great place to start when searching for a model to create a 3D carving in Easel Pro. There are many sellers with great reputations, and who have completed hundreds of sales. You can find sellers who specialize in areas like patriotic designs, animals, and topographic maps. One of the biggest sellers is CNC3DMODELS who has over 17,000 sales and a 5 star rating. Patriot Nation Design also has 300+ STL files focused on flags and military plaques. 

 

Facebook Groups

Price: Free

 

There are several Facebook groups that focus on sharing free STL files and other file formats for CNC carving. Using these groups raises some issues as you can never be sure about the quality of the model, and it is possible to download files which contain viruses from non-reputable sources. If you do decide to join a Facebook group that shares STL files, use caution. It is also difficult to search for specific models, so finding what you want is a challenge. 

 

After You Download Your Files

You’re ready to start carving! Next step: Log into Easel Pro and import your STL file. 

 




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