How to Use Thingiverse

Thingiverse is a community of makers that share and download Things for 3D printing, and post Makes to show off those Things they have 3D printed. Over two million Things have been uploaded to Thingiverse.

Logging in: You don’t need an account to view or download Things, but if you want to like, follow, collect, customize, upload, or use Groups and Messaging, then you’ll need to be signed in with a free MakerBot Thingiverse account. From, click on “Sign In / Join” to get started.

Finding designs: From the top of the main Thingiverse page you can see Featured Designs and Collections. To find more designs, check out the Explore tab to view ThingsCustomizable ThingsCategories, and Collections, or just use the Search field to find exactly what you’re looking for. Or browse through some excellent curated content with glitchpudding’s Collection of Collections.

Identifying printable Things: Some 3D models can look pretty on a computer screen but difficult to print in real life. Look at the gallery photographs of a Thing to see if the designer has actually 3D printed the Thing. Makes of a Thing also provide evidence that other people have had success 3D printing the design.

Downloading designs: Once you locate a Thing you want, press “Download This Thing!” to see a list of the files that are available. Filetypes STL and OBJ are intended for 3D printing.

Remixes and Mashups: You can use Thingiverse as a design toolbox by downloading interesting models and remixing them into new designs, or incorporating them into models of your own. STL files downloaded from Thingiverse can be imported into most 3D design programs including TinkercadSculptris, and OpenSCAD.

Posting Makes: After you print a model from Thingiverse, take a photo of your printed model and upload it as a Make with information about your 3D printer and its settings. Posting a Make is a nice way to thank the designer, and the information you provide can help other people print the model in the future.

Uploading designs: When you’re ready to upload your own design to Thingiverse, select Upload a Thing! from the Create menu at the top of the site. Drag in your STL and image files, and then fill out title, description, tags, and other information to complete your Thing. Be sure to move your best image to the front of the list so that it will be used as the “cover” image for your Thing. When you’re ready, click Publish to make your Thing visible to the entire community.

Licensing: When a Thingiverse user posts a Thing, they retain full ownership and control of the design. They can choose from a variety of Creative Commons licenses. Most designers choose to license their designs under Attribution-ShareAlike, which means that others may copy, redistribute, and remix a design for any purpose, provided that they give proper attribution and use similar licensing on any derivative designs.

Following: You can follow a user on Thingiverse by going to their profile page and clicking the “Follow” button. Future activity from users you follow will appear in your Dashboard feed. If you want to follow your instructor on Thingiverse (not required!) you can find her as “mathgrrl“.


Some content on this page was taken directly from Thingiverse Jumpstart, but that’s okay because I wrote that page too 🙂