Finding 3D Objects Online

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Merge Object Viewer has an extensive library of hands-on digital teaching aids, and our STEM Projects show students how to make their own 3D objects. 

In addition to these resources, you and your students can also find free 3D models online to upload and hold on the Merge Cube, place in the real world, and inspect in 3D. 

This article will show you some online resources that make finding digital objects to share and explore with Merge EDU easy!

  • NASA 3D
  • Smithsonian 3D
  • SketchFab
  • Thingiverse
  • TurboSquid

Follow these instructions to find out how you can find 3D objects online:

Finding objects on NASA 3D Resources

  1. Visit NASA 3D Resources at https://nasa3d.arc.nasa.gov/models to view the 3D models available.

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  2. Once you’ve found a 3D model, tap the thumbnail to get to the object page.

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  3. Tap “Download [Object] ZIP file” to begin downloading. 

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    Note: All of the NASA models come as ZIP files, but you will want to open the ZIP file to make sure it comes as one of our compatible file types (FBX, OBJ, STL, or GLTF). Once you’ve confirmed the file type, you can drag and drop it into the Object Uploader (if the zip has images, drag the entire ZIP file).

  4. Use the Merge Uploader to upload the 3D model. For step-by-step instructions on how to use the Merge Uploader, check out this article. Remember to tap “Open 3D Settings” to go into the Object Editor and tap “Save”, then “Finish” to confirm any texture information.

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  5. Open Object Viewer to view your object under “My Objects” or tap “Share Options” to share the object code.

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Finding objects on Smithsonian 3D Digitization

  1. Visit https://3d.si.edu/ and tap “Collections” to explore the Smithsonian’s 3D library. Tap on the thumbnail of a Collection to see the objects inside.

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  2. Once you’ve found the model you would like to view, tap on its thumbnail to get to the object page.

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  3. Tap the download icon below the image, then select “Low resolution 3D mesh, obj, scale in mm” to start the download.

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  4. Use the Merge Uploader to upload the 3D model (upload the entire ZIP file). For step-by-step instructions on how to use the Merge Uploader, check out this article. Remember to tap “Open 3D Settings” to go into the Object Editor and tap “Save”, then “Finish” to confirm any texture information.

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  5. Open Object Viewer to view your object under “My Objects” or tap “Share Options” to share the object code with your class.

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Finding objects on SketchFab

  1. To download objects from SketchFab, you will need to create a free SketchFab account by tapping “Join for Free” at https://sketchfab.com/.

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  2. Next, search for the objects you would like. You can find the downloadable content on SketchFab here. This link is already sorted for Creative Commons! You can use the filters at the top-right to search different categories.

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  3. Once you’ve found the object you would like to use, tap the download button to get to the download options. Then, select one of our compatible file types (FBX, OBJ, STL, GLTF) and tap “Download”.

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  4. Use the Merge Uploader to upload the 3D model. For step-by-step instructions on how to use the Merge Uploader, check out this article. Remember to tap “Open 3D Settings” to go into the Object Editor and tap “Save”, then “Finish” to confirm any texture information.

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  5. Open Object Viewer to view your object under “My Objects” or tap “Share Options” to share the object code.

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Finding objects on Thingiverse

  1. Go to https://www.thingiverse.com/ to begin to explore the objects available. We recommend using the filters at the top to switch to “Popular All Time”.

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  2. Next, search for an object you would like to download. Once you’ve found the object, tap on its thumbnail to get to the object page.

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  3. Tap “Download All Files” to download a ZIP archive of all the files that come with that image.

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  4.  Because Thingiverse contains objects meant for a 3D printer, sometimes the object comes in pieces. You will want to open the ZIP archive and look under “Files” to find the full object you want to upload. Remember that the file should be in FBX, OBJ, STL, or GLTF format.

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  5. Use the Merge Uploader to upload the 3D model. For step-by-step instructions on how to use the Merge Uploader, check out this article. Remember to tap “Open 3D Settings” to go into the Object Editor and tap “Save”, then “Finish” to confirm any texture information.

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  6. Open Object Viewer to view your object under “My Objects” or tap “Share Options” to share the object code.

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Finding objects on TurboSquid

  1. To download objects from TurboSquid, you will need to create a free TurboSquid account here.

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  2. From there we recommend searching through the Free 3D Models for Download. Once you’ve found the object you would like to use, tap on its thumbnail to get to the object page.

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  3. Tap “Download” in the bottom-right corner to get to the download page.

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  4. On the download page, tap the link to the file you want to download. You’ll want to make sure to download one of our compatible file types (FBX, OBJ, STL, or GLTF). Make sure to tap “Show All” to look at all of the file options.

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  5. Use the Merge Uploader to upload the 3D model. For step-by-step instructions on how to use the Merge Uploader, check out this article. Remember to tap “Open 3D Settings” to go into the Object Editor and tap “Save”, then “Finish” to confirm any texture information.

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  6. Open Object Viewer to view your object under “My Objects” or tap “Share Options” to share the object code.


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Now that you know a little more about the 3D resources out there, you can start to create your own collection of objects and teaching aids to use in class.

Check out this article to learn how you can Create a Custom Collection of 3D Objects.

Check out this article for more information on how to Share your own 3D Objects.

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