How To Get CAD Models For 3D Printing

CAD models are critical to the 3D printing workflow, as without a CAD model it is impossible to 3D print products. The CAD model is the outcome of designers working within a CAD modelling software program to create products. Dimensions, features and component relationships are specified all within the CAD program. The user interfaces can be intimidating at times, but different software programs provide different capabilities and can be a very powerful tool in bringing an idea to life.

It is also important for designers to be aware of both the unique capabilities of 3D printing, such as the ability to create products with complex geometries and customized features as well as the constraints. Constraints of 3D printing are mostly due to gravity and warping. Parts can not be printed in mid-air without supports and long-thin unsupported features have a high tendency to carry residual stress that subsequently causes warpage and disfigurement. All of these can be addressed to an extent within the CAD design and often these constraints can be mitigated or eliminated by using proper design for 3D printing principles.

The question then becomes, where can people get CAD models to 3D print? There are a variety of sources for CAD designs depending on the purpose and application. Start-ups, inventors and businesses often require custom made designs that adhere to strict specifications, whereas when a generic or less customized product is needed, there is likely already a model available either for free or for a low fee from an online design library. Additionally, some even prefer learning a CAD modelling software program and creating models themselves. With that, let’s look at some of the options for obtaining CAD models for 3D printing!

Utilizing ZABFAB’s 3D Design Service

When you are looking for a highly customized and one-of-a kind product, ZABFAB’s designers can help turn your vision into digital CAD models for 3D printing. Businesses require tight specifications with exact dimensions for their product designs. ZABFAB can produce high-quality designs that are optimized for low-cost manufacturing.

ZABFAB offers parametric, freeform, and direct modelling services for entrepreneurs, startups, inventors and businesses looking to utilize all the advantages of 3D printing in their next new product development cycle. Get in touch with a ZABFAB designer today to start creating your new product!

Online CAD Model Libraries

There are countless online repositories of 3D CAD models of popular characters from movies and video games, along with common household items such as vases, measuring cups, wrenches and many others. If you are looking for a CAD model to 3D print for common items or popular movie characters, then chances are that someone has already created a CAD model and it is available for download either for free or at a low fee. This is a great option for those who do not require a customized design for a unique product, but simply want to bring their favorite movie character or an essential household item to physical form. The CAD model can be downloaded from several platforms and then uploaded to ZABFAB’s site to get a quote in seconds.

Learning A CAD Modelling Program

Of course, for those that enjoy a challenge, there is always the option of learning a CAD modelling program to create CAD models for 3D printing themselves. Although some of the top CAD programs come with a hefty price tag, there are also several great free CAD programs for beginners to get started with. It does take a lot of time and effort to learn a CAD program, but it provides a lot of satisfaction to create your own ideas with a digital model. And once you have created your own CAD models for 3D printing it is quick and easy to upload your designs to ZABFAB for an instant quote!

Get Started Making!

Want to get your idea created by one of our expert designers at ZABFAB? Or are you ready to get your CAD model 3D printed? Contact us to get started with all your design and 3D printing needs!

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