For designers, finding parts for a project can be a cumbersome experience. While McMaster-Carr and other part suppliers have convenient downloadable CAD models of their inventory, it can still be a time-sucker to search those inventories if you’re still in a conceptual stage. The new 3D Part Source search engine developed by 3D aims to put an end to the task of wading through endless specs and catalogs to find approximations of the part you are seeking–and also put a few pennies back in your pocket.

3D Part Source

“Our search tools are highly disruptive to the conventional and pervasive sourcing process that remains opaque, inefficient, and costly. Our search tools represent the democratization of industrial sourcing.”
-Dr. Seena Rejal, Founder

The amount of 3D data online continues to grow at an exponential rate due to the widespread availability of 3D printing sources, downloadable CAD models, and cloud-based CAD software, but despite the movement of 3D online, certain aspects of the design process remain relatively unchanged since the previous decade (and earlier, depending on how you look at it). Sourcing a part (or in most cases, sourcing many parts) has been one of the more labor-intensive and momentum-killing practices involved with manufacturing a product.
Between actually creating a CAD model of a product, updating through multiple design iterations to work with constraints, and finally coming up with a final list of parts and available suppliers, it’s no wonder why most large design houses and corporations have specific job titles for these tasks. With the new 3D Part Source however, the process almost becomes laughably easy as the average Maker in his garage can easily come up with a parts list just by dragging and dropping his parts into his or her browser window, then letting 3D part source do the all the work:


Amazingly, this incredibly valuable service is free for buyers and the amount of suppliers is growing weekly…even big names such as Audi are climbing on board to make it that much easier for existing and new product designers to connect with their parts. Additionally, if a user is looking for a part without a 3D model, there are multiple ways of search to find that exact part you’re looking for:

Browse Products

  • Browse by Category
  • Browse by Process
  • Browse by Material

Browse Suppliers

  • Browse by Name
  • Browse by Industry
  • Browse by Category


Also be sure to keep an eye out the upcoming 3DI apps that will bring the 3D Part Source engine to iPad and Android devices including an augmented reality feature. Sourcing part suppliers over pancakes and coffee at the breakfast table never looked so appealing.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.