What If I Don't Have a 3D File?
Unfortunately, we can't make a 3D print, out of 2D data like photos, PDFs or image files (JPGs, PNGs, etc.). Before you can 3D print anything, you always need a 3D file.
A 3D file is a virtual representation of a three-dimensional object that is generated on a computer. It is a model that can be rotated and observed from all angles. A 3D file like this is needed as input for a 3D printer. You can get your very own 3D file by downloading it, 3D scanning an object, hiring a 3D designer, or designing it with 3D modeling software.
Download: The easiest and fastest way to get your first 3D file is to download it. There are many sites out there that offer tens of thousands of 3D files. The best place to start is to take a look at our list of top 10 3D model databases.
3D Scanning: Rather than downloading an existing 3D model, you can also create your own. One way of doing this is by 3D scanning it. Today, there are already tons of high-end scanning devices and scanning services out there, but you might want to start with one of those free smartphone apps first.
Hire a 3D Designer: Another simple solution for getting a printable 3D file is to hire a professional 3D designer. You can find a list of 3D designers, their hourly fees, and their work on our 3D modeling platform. There, you can get in touch with a professional 3D modeler, show them your sketches or ideas, and ask them to create a 3D model just for you.
3D Modeling: Last but not least you can start learning how to use 3D modeling software yourself. This option gives you the most design freedom. It means that you will learn how to draw and design on your computer in a virtual, three-dimensional space. We compiled a handy overview of popular 3D modeling programs – from free online 3D designing apps to high-end professional software.