We Are Learning 3D Printing Through Our Personal Experience…
The FirstBuild Thingiverse Icebox Challenge is aimed at designing solutions that can be placed inside of the refrigerator. Ideas could range from purely 3D printed pieces to battery-operated electromechanical devices. FirstBuild’s engineers have already gotten inspired about this Ice Box Challenge and have designed test prints that include a 3D printed pizza box holder, customizable to the size of the box and the shelves in the refrigerator, and a motorized 3D printed wine chiller.
To qualify, designs must be uploaded to firstbuild.com between November 3 and November 23, 2014, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Entrants are also encouraged to upload their entries to thingiverse.com using the tag #IceBoxChallenge for a chance to be featured on the Thingiverse site. 3D print testing, online community voting and judging will occur from November 27 to December 2, with the winner announced December 15.
First place winner will choose between a MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer or a MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer. Second place winner will receive a MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer and third place will receive three spools of MakerBot Filament, a Thingiverse T-shirt, a FirstBuild T-shirt. The participants that get the first to third place will also get their creation featured on Thingiverse and displayed in MakerBot Retail Stores.
So far there are 19 entries into the contest already sent with a little over 15 days left for everyone to join in by submitting his or hers entry.
To celebrate the release of Modio, the iPad app that lets you design and customize your own characters for 3D printing, for the iPhone MakerBot has partnered with Modio to present the MakerBot Modio Challenge. For the challenge, they want you to remix and reimagine Modio designs. Build, modify, invent, paint – anything goes!
Download source files from the Modio app and upload modified versions to Thingiverse with the tag #ModioChallenge before Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 11:59PM EST. Entries must be tagged with hashtag ModioChallenge to be considered and will be judged by a panel of MakerBot and Modio employees on creativity and printability. Android users can also participate by signing up for the Android beta.
First prize is an iPhone 6 Plus, yes the one that bends a lot, unless you print a nice and study case for it. Three winners will receive spools of MakerBot Filament (Three spools for first place, two for second, and one for third) and have their designs featured on Thingiverse.
There are multiple specialized websites that serve as communities for users making 3D models for printing on 3D printers to share their work, some are freely available, and others offer their work for a price and you can even order the model to be printer and sent to you as well. If you are interested in downloading some free STL models for trying out your new 3D printer then you might want to check the following popular websites as a good starting point…
Thingiverse – a large community operated by MakerBot, a manufacturer of 3D printers, where you can find a lot of 3D models shared by users and available for free download in STL format. There are a lot of new 3D models added every day and many of the published models come with instructions and photos of successful prints, though be careful that even if some models may be available for download in STL format they may not be optimized for 3D printing and may need some extra work fixing them, but these are usually not many.
Youmagine is an alternative to Thingiverse, also operated by a 3D Printer maker – Ultimaker. Not as big as the first one, but also a good place to check often as it has some interesting designs and also apparently some of the Thingiverse users have decided to move here. Not as many new models added and users interacting and sharing photos and comments when printing an object, but the place has the potential to grow.
Cubehero is another smaller platform made to help 3D printer users to interact and collaborate on projects they are making. This project is not operated by 3D printer maker and while there are still not that many projects available, you can still find some interesting 3D models, so do check it out.
GrabCAD is not your typical place to just download free STL 3D models for printing, it has many CAD models a lot of which are also available in STL format, but not all are. You can download 3D models in other formats and also try to convert them in STL for 3D printing, but you may experience trouble with more complex ones. Nevertheless many interesting things available so do check the website out.
SketchUp 3D Warehouse is the place for 3D models for the SketchUp software previously owned by Google, but then sold to Trimble. There are a lot of SketchUp models available, though you will need to export them in STL format from the software with the help of an STL Import/Export plugin and then to print them.
TurboSquid is one of the largest 3D model resources, both free and commercial ones. Even though the 3D models available there are not specially designed for 3D printers you should be able to convert many of them into STL format and then print them.
There are other smaller resources available providing some free STL models for 3D printers as well as other 3D models not designed especially to be 3D printed. The good news is that if it is a 3D mode of something you may be able to convert it to an STL file and print it on your 3D printer. This process however could not be as easy as just opening a 3DS, DXF, OBJ or another file format and exporting it as STL model and may require some more extra work, so if you are still new to 3D printing you might want to stick for now to places that have free 3D models available in STL format to make your life easier.