Here at Scan2CAD, we’ve sung the praises of Vectorworks in many an article. It’s a great BIM and CAD program despite not being as prominent as some of the other BIM giants out there and is undeniably one of the best modeling solutions out there.
One thing that makes life much more efficient when using the software is the utilization of ready-made objects. It’s akin to groups in Sketchup or families in Revit – Vectorworks objects cut the time out of detailing generic objects like wall types or placeholder furniture.
Now, the different Vectorworks packages already come with a large library of objects you can use. However, what happens if you just want that specific 3-panel accordion door and you just can’t seem to find it anywhere. Do you model it yourself? No need for that because we here at Scan2CAD have you covered.
Here are 13 websites that have free Vectorworks objects you can download. You’ll see some options in the list that are specifically for Vectorworks, but also some websites that offer 3D CAD blocks or downloadable SketchUp models that can readily be imported into Vectorworks.
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Sketchfab is a community-driven repository for 3D models. It’s geared towards 3D model creators and those looking to download 3D models. Membership is required for you to upload and download 3D models. Now, the site has free and paid membership options, with lots of extra goodies available for those with the premium membership, but there are plenty of downloads that you can get for free if you’re on a budget.
Sketchfab was the brainchild of Alban Denoyel, Cédric Pinson, and Pierre-Antoine Passet from France. Their inception of this site back in 2012 was the result of their collective frustration on the lack of online venues for 3D modelers to submit and display their work.
Modlar is marketed as a site geared towards connecting architects and product suppliers. As a way for that to happen, the site hosts tons of manufacturer-supplied 3D models and objects that architects can choose to download and import into their BIM software. As such, it’s a great place to get 3D models and Vectorworks objects when you have a specific brand or supplier in mind.
It was founded by architecture and construction professionals who understand the difficulty of specifying and finding building product suppliers firsthand. Their aim was to create an online platform that modernizes product discovery. So not only do they have information and available models for thousands of building products, but the site also features up-to-date industry news and interviews to help keep designer visitors of the site informed and in the know.
NBS National BIM Library
The NBS National BIM Library is one of the top BIM model libraries in the UK, with thousands of available BIM objects. The online library has all a Vectorworks modeler would need – from generic BIM objects to manufacturer-specific products. An added bonus would be that all of the objects found on the site meet NBS BIM Object standards.
The NBS – National Building Specification – is a UK-based design and engineering specification system used in architecture and other building professions to describe and specify building materials, standards, and quality of work. It was launched back in 1973 and used by thousands of offices in the UK. From its inception until mid-2018, NBS was owned by the Royal Institute of British Architects but has since been sold to the private equity arm of Lloyds Bank.
BIMobject is one of the world’s biggest digital clouds of BIM objects. The site attempts to link architects and building product manufacturers through CAD and BIM objects. It’s used globally from small-scale interior retrofits to large-scale civil construction projects. The site’s stakeholders include designers, architects, engineers, construction professionals, manufacturers and suppliers, and governments.
BIMobject’s main draw is its business model as a technology company that makes building materials readily digitally available through BIMobject Cloud, its cloud-based platform. It has tons of features that really help users find exactly what they need for their projects. And all of this is available for free.
Total Real is a website that focuses mainly on photorealistic visualizations and models, with galleries of different works they’ve done for various designers. In essence, they’re an architectural visualization service that specializes in architectural and interior renderings. In the past seven years, Total Real has taken in clients such as Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, and Mario Botta.
Although they do mainly specialize in architectural visualization, they do have an entire section of free 3D models that site visitors can download. So if you’re feeling like you want a Vectorworks object made by some world-class 3D modelers, take a look at Total Real.
Vector Depot is a unique entry in this list in that it’s the only entry that is dedicated to specifically Vectorworks items. They market themselves as a site for sharing things online that would be helpful in Vectorworks. So that includes drawings, hatches, symbols, and even plug-ins. It’s mainly community and user-driven so any and all new content will come from visitors of the site who are willing to share their resources and files to other Vectorworks users who visit the site.
A neat little bonus that the site markets is a CE (Continuing Education) compliance app for Architects and Engineers available on the iPhone.
Syncronia is a place to download 3D models, BIM objects, and various libraries of materials, surfaces, catalogs, and specifications. It’s mainly an Autodesk-affiliated website though, so you won’t be finding Vectorworks-specific files for download here. It is, however, a breeze to import Autodesk CAD, BIM, and 3D model files into Vectorworks, so it’s still worth a look. Users will find the filter-rich search functions particularly useful when trying to pinpoint specific products. You can choose to search in terms of product categories, manufacturers, file types, and specific keywords.
ARCAT is a website that offers some of the most extensive up-to-date collections and libraries of CAD and BIM files and specifications available online. All of the specifications found on the site are available in multiple formats to suit anyone’s needs. Its CAD and BIM libraries contain thousands of unique details in various formats as well. The site values user-friendliness, file and specification completeness and diversity, and design efficiency.
The site started as a desktop reference with manufacturer listings and catalogs. It was set up in 1991 by Rick and Leslie Jannott and was known as the Big Red Book. It’s come a long way in the past quarter of a century and is now a reputable and popular website.
ArchiUp is a free online database of BIM objects, models, textures, and projects made available digitally for effective and efficient design work. The site has almost 60,000 free BIM/CAD files for download. It launched in 2014 and was geared towards providing free international service for design and construction professionals. ArchiUp has 10,000 market-available products showcased on their site with their corresponding BIM/CAD files, textures, and specifications. All the BIM and CAD files of products are fully downloadable and the contact information of the manufacturers is also provided in case users would want to contact them directly.
Here’s an entry in the list that does not have Vectorworks objects per se, but has an extensive collection of 3D models that can readily be imported into Vectorworks should the need arise.
SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse houses one of the most active 3D modeling communities found on the internet and as such, has some of the wildest and most random uploads you can find anywhere online. Sure you’ll find models of some of the most well-known architectural works of the past century here, but you’ll also find random models of Stormtrooper helmets or 3D models of bell peppers. If you’re looking for some hard, niche 3D models, 3D Warehouse might just have what other sites just don’t.
GrabCAD has a large online community of construction, engineering, and design professionals as well as product manufacturers and STEM students that collaborate and share information and files with each other. Other than file sharing and an open online forum, GrabCAD also has venues for design challenges and guided education.
Although not specifically for Vectorworks objects, CADdetails is a great online resource for Vectorworks-importable 3D CAD files. The site was founded in 1997 and has since then grown into a leading online provider for manufacturer-specific information and specifications on products, CAD files, and BIM models. Like the other libraries on this list, the website aims to provide innovative products and construction materials to architects and designers seeking them. All the files and models on the website are certified to be accurate, up-to-date, and in many different usable formats.
BiblioCAD is marketed as the future of BIM and CAD digital sharing. The site focuses on a target audience built around these four disciplines: architecture, design, engineering, and construction. The site advocates innovation and the use of new products and materials through the use of an extensive and diverse library of available files and information.
The website is accessible through membership only, although it does give users the option to go for either a premium paid account or a free one. There are certain files only available to premium members as well as there being download limits to both premium and free members, with free members have a lower maximum number of downloads per day.