I’ve had to search for some models lately and I was going to do a helpful little post on the best places to find and download models, but after searching for hours and messing around on a bunch of sites, there is just one that stands out. I bet some of you could have told me this too.


After looking through 4 sites, this had the closest to or exactly what I was looking for. It turns out it is owned by SolidWorks, which really isn’t a disappointment, but I figured there would be an independent site with a large database. There is actually, Traceparts. But, again, it turns out, they are a SolidWorks Solution Partner and their models are also included in 3D Content Central.

So why is 3D Content Central better than the others?

Don’t make me think.
It’s a pain not to find something you’re looking for and even more of a pain if the website is slow and hard to use. Below is what I found to be the best about 3D Content Central.

  • Easy Navigation and Search
  • Large Parts Database
  • Many parts created by supplier
  • All major CAD formats available
  • Free Registration
  • Login required for download
  • Traceparts is a Content Partner
  • Accessible through SolidWorks
  • Users can submit, rate and comment on models
  • Batch Upload (IE Only)

The other places…
I included this here, because, even though the interface is the same in Content Central, the site was slower and not organized as well.
Slow and hard to navigate. Firefox not well supported.
Clean site, but slow and unsearchable with only a small database of models.

Anywhere else?
There is one interesting place that provides extremely detailed solid models of the human anatomy. The site is 3dScience.com by Zygote. You’ll pay an arm and a leg for and arm and a leg though. A human heart runs a blood curdling $2200 – small change for a big company perhaps. Most of the models are not available for SolidWorks, but could be converted.


3d Content Central has a lot of models, but you still may find it easier to model something how you like it. Hope this helps if you need a starting point. Know of any others?


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.