When it comes to 3D CAD modeling, anything is possible nowadays. With the evolution of CAD and the growing lack of design constraints, CAD designers can move from imagination to reality—be it in architecture, engineering or industrial design. That being said, the creation of 3D models in CAD software can often be time-consuming, which is why many CAD users opt for ready-made models. There are many websites and companies that sell these models to CAD hobbyists and professionals. But what if you don’t want to fork out money for 3D CAD models?
Scan2CAD is here to save the day! We’ve compiled a list of the top 13 websites that offer free 3D CAD models—saving you a pretty penny or two!
Top 13 Sites with Free 3D CAD Blocks
Supported file types: .3ds, .c4d, .blend, .dae, .dds, .dwg, .dxf, .fbx, .lwo, .ma, .max, .mb, .mtl, .obj, .sldasm, .sldprt, .stl, .tg, .unity
We’re going to start off our list with Free3D. The site itself comes with a pretty sleek interface—with easy navigation and well categorized subsections. So, what exactly is on offer? Free3D offers CAD enthusiasts and professionals the chance to get their hands on a whopping 16,786 models. One of the biggest advantages of the site is that it enables users to filter out models by their product of choice, including Blender, Cinema 4D, 3ds Max, Maya and so on.
With countless categories—from Architecture to Characters to Furniture—the site makes it incredibly easy to find what you’re looking for. It even allows you to filter out models by labels that include: Animated, Lowpoly, 3D Printable and Rigged. Underneath the preview image for each model, you can see which file format it’s available in, e.g. .obj or .max. Once you select a model, you can look at specifications (like geometry and textures), product descriptions and tags. If a model is available in more than one file format, you’ll have the option to pick from a list of file types. This is pretty handy if you find yourself modeling in more than one CAD software package.
With Free3D, you can start downloading 3D models straight away—you don’t even need to register an account! The site also comes with premium 3D models, if you’re open to parting with a few dollars here and there.
Supports file types from: Autodesk, BricsCAD, CATIA, DraftSight, KeyShot, Powermill, Rhino and much more
The next site on our list is GrabCAD. You might already be familiar with GrabCAD, one of the largest communities for designers, engineers and manufacturers. What you might not know, is that GrabCAD has its own library of 3D models. In fact, it boasts of having a community of 5,350,000 engineers and over 3,180,000 CAD files. Needless to say, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into!
With a straightforward interface, it’s easy enough to find your way around GrabCAD’s extensive library of 3D models. You can choose to search by category (Printing, Aerospace, Agricultural, Components) or even filter models by software (Alibre Design, Autodesk, CATIA, Lightwave). Once you click on a model that’s caught your eye, you’ll be able to look at different renderings of it and look at details ranging from the software used in its creation to its category and tags.
There’s certainly enough on offer for even the pickiest of CAD users. If you are interested in the models here, however, you will need to create a GrabCAD account to start downloading.
Supported file types: .3ds, .dwg, .max, .rfa, .skp
CADblocksfree has already featured on our blog before for its selection of free CAD blocks. This handy site also offers CAD hobbyists and professionals a library filled with 2D and 3D models. Disregarding its wide range of 2D drawings, CADblocksfree has over 3,500 3D models to sift through. The site is pretty basic, with simple navigation making it easy enough to find what you’re looking for.
As with most of the sites on our list, CADblocksfree splits its models into categories. These categories range from Animals to Electrical to Sports and Leisure. When you look at the grid of models, you’ll be able to see a small logo in the bottom-right corner of each preview image—telling you which software the model is compatible with, e.g. SketchUp or AutoCAD. For those not too familiar with CAD software logos, there’s a line of text that also mentions the software name.
The best part about this site is that it doesn’t require you to register an account. It’s as simple as clicking free download. If you enjoy creating models, you might be interested in uploading your models to the site—you could turn a tidy profit!
Supported file types: .3ds, .c4d, .blend, .dae, .fbx, .lwo, .lws, .lxo, .ma, .max, .mb, .obj, .stl, .uasset, .unity, .upk
If you’re looking for a site that will spoil you for choice, you can’t go wrong with TurboSquid. With an ultra modern site—complete with handy categorizations and filter options—TurboSquid has 19,238 free 3D models on offer. If you’re not bothered about paying for 3D models once in a while, TurboSquid also offers premium 3D models—coming together at over 700,000!
To start your journey, it’s as simple as heading to the Free 3D Models page. Using the list at the top, you can make your way through the many categories—from Anatomy to Interior Design to Technology. As with other sites, TurboSquid gives you the option of searching for models by product, e.g. 3ds Max, Maya and Cinema4D. Additionally, you can use filters like: Poly-count, Rigged and Real-time. By simply hovering over a model, you can look at a larger preview—you’ll also be able to see which file formats the model’s available in. Once you click on a model, you can scroll through different views, read a full product description and see related products on the carousel at the bottom.
If you want to start your downloading journey at TurboSquid, you’ll have to register an account. Once you’ve done so, the world’s your oyster!
5. 3D CAD Browser
Supported file types: .3ds, .asc, .asm, .c4d, .blend, .dae, .dds, .dwg, .dxf, .fbx, .iam, .iges, .ipt, .lwo, .ma, .max, .mb, .mtl, .obj, .prt, .sldasm, .sldprt, .step, .stl, and much more
Our next choice is 3D CAD Browser—a site offering purely free 3D CAD models. The site itself is very basic in design—nowhere near as sleek as other sites on our list—yet it does boast of supporting a wide range of file types. This is handy if you like to flit between different CAD products. 3D CAD Browser has 500 models on offer—it might not seem like much in comparison to other sites, but it’s still pretty decent.
As you’d expect, you can browse through the models on offer by selecting one of the categories listed in the bar at the top of the page—from Vehicles to Industrial to Nature. Each category comes with its own sub-category, enabling you to refine your search further, e.g. Architecture > Buildings > Apartments/Hotels. When you select a model, you can view it from varying perspectives and look at information like number of polygons and materials. You’ll also be able to look at a list that details which file formats the model is available in. If you’re not won over by the model, you can scroll further down to look at similar 3D models.
3D CAD Browser comes with a slightly different subscription service. If you want to download models for free, you need to register an account and upload your own models—for every download (from other users) of your uploaded model, you can download a free model. If you’re not interested in uploading your own models, you’ll have to opt for one of the paid subscriptions.
Supported file types: .3dm, .3ds, .c4d, .blend, .dae, .dds, .dwg, .dxf, .fbx, .lwo, .lws, .ma, .mb, .ms3d, .mtl, .obj, .skp, .sldasm, .sldprt, .stl and much more
Next on our list is CADnav. While relatively basic in design, the site makes up for it with its easy navigation. And that’s not all! The site doesn’t just offer 3D models to CAD enthusiasts, it also offers textures, vray materials and additional tools. With over 4,000 3D models to choose from, there’s enough here to keep most CAD users busy.
You can wade your way through the many models on offer by using the categories listed under 3D Models at the top of the page or to the right—including Road Elements, Game Development and Light Fixture. As with some of the other sites on this list, CADnav also gives users the option to filter by product/format, e.g. Cinema 4D (.c4d). When you select a category, you can look at its most popular models, e.g. Furniture > Two Seat Leather Chesterfield Sofa. Once you pick out a model, you can scroll through different views, read a description and check out other related 3D models.
CADnav keeps things very simple—you don’t have to register an account to start downloading. All you’ve got to do is click download and agree to the T&Cs.
7. Autodesk Online Gallery
Supported file types: .3ds, .dwg, .dxf, .f3d, .f3z, .fbx, .max, .obj, .step, .stl, .stp and much more
Unsurprisingly, CAD giant Autodesk has something to offer CAD enthusiasts and professionals in the way of free 3D models. The Autodesk Online Gallery is a place for the Autodesk user community to come together and share their 3D models. Users have the option to share their models as simple renderings—for others to look at and comment on—or actual downloads for users to do with as they wish. With over 18,323 models to look at and download, there’s plenty of inspiration to be found!
The Gallery has a wide selection of filters to use to further refine your search. You can filter by industry (AEC, Media & Entertainment, Civil Infrastructure), Categories (Mechanical Engineering, Product Design, Electronics) and Used Products (Fusion 360, AutoCAD, Inventor). And you’re not just limited to 3D models—you can look through 3D Multimedia, Stereo Panorama and even YouTube. After selecting a model, you can flick through different views and videos, look at details like what product was used and even see comments left by other users. When you click download, you’ll be able to choose from a list of file type options.
To start your journey, you have to register an account with Autodesk. Given how many models are on offer, and how extensive Autodesk’s community is, it’s not exactly a big ask. If you like creating your own models, it’s also a handy way of receiving proper critique from your peers.
Supported file types: .blend, .dae, .fbx, . gltf, .obj, .stl and much more
Sketchfab is the next top resource for 3D models on our list. With an ultra modern and interactive site design, it’s easy to see how the site’s managed to build up such a large community of creators. Sketchfab offers a wide assortment of both free and premium 3D models. The benefit to having such a large user base is that the list of 3D models on offer is constantly growing—you can even add to it by uploading your own models!
To start, you’ll have to head to Explore and select Downloadable in order to look through the free models on offer. With a long list of categories—ranging from Art & Abstract to Cultural Heritage & History to People—you can quickly find what you’re looking for. You can further refine your search by using filters like Features (Downloadable, Animated, Staff Picks), Date and Safety. If you hover over a model, you can rotate it by using your mouse. Once you click on it, you can get a better look with interactive models that enable you to see from all angles. If you like what you see, you can even share or embed models with your friends or colleagues.
To get started with downloading models from Sketchfab, you’ll have to create an account. Once you’ve done so, you can take advantage of the countless models on offer and even sell your own 3D models!
Supported file types: .3ds, .c4d, .blend, .dae, .fbx, .flt, .lwo, .ma, ,.max, .mb, .mxs, .obj, .stl, .wrl and much more
Next on the list is CGTrader—a sleek site offering a huge range of professional 3D models for a variety of design projects like VR, AR, architecture and animation. As with others on our list, the site offers both free and paid models. Altogether, you’re looking at a staggering 730,000 3D models! You can take advantage of general 3D models, or refine your search by 3D Printing, PBR, VR, Scanned 3D Models and so on.
CGTrader has a slightly odd quirk—even after selecting ‘Free’ models, you’ll still see Premium models on the list. Fortunately, prices are very clearly signposted, so there’s no chance of you accidentally clicking on a model that comes with a price tag. With a variety of categories—including Aircraft, Exterior, Character and so on—you can quickly refine your search. It’s also possible to specify file formats you’d prefer, poly-count and license. If you hover over a model, you can get a quick preview of what’s on offer. Once you select one, you can scroll through different images and videos, read product descriptions and look at other similar 3D models at the bottom.
To get started on CGTrader, you’ll have to register an account. If you enjoy interacting with other CAD users and designers, it’s not a bad deal.
10. Free 3D Base
Supported file types: .3ds, .dwg, .dxf, .obj
Free 3D Base is next on our list, a site offering professional 3D models to architects, graphic artists and designers. Basic in design, the site’s offering of 1,825 models might seem insubstantial compared to other sites on our list, but there’s still plenty to trawl through. And with it being free, you’ve not exactly got anything to lose in trying it out.
Things are kept pretty simple with Free 3D Base. You can search directly for a product name or choose a specific manufacturer. Alternatively, you can make use of the category list on the right—clicking on one will lead you to further sub-categories, e.g Furniture > Living Room Furniture > Chairs and Stools. If you’re just browsing, you can check out the latest featured models on the carousel at the top of the page. Hovering your mouse over a model will give you a better preview. When you click, you’ll get to see information ranging from dimensions to format to manufacturer. A fun feature is the inclusion of manufacturer websites, so you can get a look at the model in real life.
Whilst there’s not as much on offer here at Free 3D Base, the site makes up for it by allowing users to download without having to register an account. In fact, as soon as you click download, you’ll get a zip folder containing your model in varying file formats.
Supported file types: .3ds, .dwg, .fbx, .jpeg, .jpg, .mat, .max, .obj, .rfa, .rvt
The next site on our list is on a completely different scale to the other featured websites. Syncronia is a resource that specifically caters to professionals in AEC and design. The site offers a range of 3D models, BIM objects, catalogs and libraries—listing them by supplier, manufacturer and specifications. While it can take a few minutes to get to grips with the site, it’s incredibly handy for those who work in architecture or interior design.
To start, you can select 3D Models from File Type—other options on this list include BIM Objects, 3D Textures and Catalogues. You can then refine your search by specifying a product category (Appliances, Bar Furniture, Ceiling Lamps), manufacturer (Alessi, B&B Italia, ITLAS) and file format. The category list is incredibly detailed and precise, including further sub-categories to make your search easier, e.g. Furniture > Sofa and Armchairs > Pouf. The models listed will each come with a preview image and a logo in the bottom-right telling you which manufacturer it belongs to. Once you select one, you’ll be able to read a product description, get specifications and even see who the designers are.
If you’re looking to take your designs to the next level, Syncronia could be your next port of call. To get started, however, you’ll have to register an account. With all that’s on offer—models, catalogs, specifications—it’s definitely worth it!
12. AEC Data
Supported file types: .3ds, .aco, .dwg, .dxf, .gsm, .ifc, .max .o2c, .obj, .skp, .rfa, .wrl and much more
The penultimate site on our list is rather specialist, resting in the same vein as Syncronia. AEC-DATA targets architects, planners and interior designers with a range of 3D models—connecting them to suppliers, manufacturers and design contractors. AEC-DATA has 35,232 3D models on offer—in a wide range of file type formats—all absolutely free!
You can refine your search by using AEC-DATA’s many category or filter options. If you’re working with a specific CAD product, you can look for models by file type, e.g. DWG 3D, SKP and MAX. You can also search by specific brand (Eden CZ, Novatronic, Ravak) or by application (Bathroom Facilities, Office Equipment, Home Furniture). When you see something you like, it’s as simple as clicking. You’ll then be able to look at information that includes 3D model type, dimensions, IFC parameters and much more. There will be a table listing the many file type options on offer, not to mention texture downloads underneath.
One of the biggest selling points of AEC-DATA is that you don’t have to even register an account to start downloading models—you just need to click download and off you go!
Supported file types: .dwg, .dxf, .iges,.jt, .sat, .step, .stl, .vrml and much more
Our last choice on our free 3D CAD models list shares similarities with both Syncronia and AEC-DATA. TraceParts, as the name suggests, is a design library that enables designers, CAD professionals and engineers to essentially trace parts. The site offers hundreds of supplier catalogs, over 100 million CAD models—3D and 2D—and product datasheets to aid in design, manufacturing and maintenance processes. As with Syncronia, it can take a bit of trial and error to get used to finding your way around, but it’s definitely worth it!
How you start your search is entirely up to you. You can opt for searching through the 690 manufacturer catalogs on offer. Alternatively, you can search for the parts you need by sector, e.g. Mechanical Components, Manufacturing Engineering or Civil Engineering. Once you select a sector, you can look at sub-classifications and refine by supplier, standards organization or standards. If a part catches your eye, click on it and you’ll get to see 3D renders, manufacturer names and part numbers. If you scroll down, you’ll even be able to specify aspects like load capacity and weight. And with a list of chosen software packages to choose from—including SolidWorks, Creo, AutoCAD—you can be sure your model will be compatible with what you’re working with.
To get started with TraceParts, you’ll need to create an account. With the sheer number of models and parts on offer, it’s worth checking out.
Want to get your hands on even more CAD freebies? Look no further! Scan2CAD releases its own packs of free cut-ready DXF downloads every week. And to make sure you’re first in line for the latest CAD freebies and tips, keep an eye on our blog!
Featured image source: Ford GT 3D model