3d printed wrench from TraceParts. Source: WhiteClouds
3d printed wrench from TraceParts. Source: WhiteClouds

TraceParts is a huge database of 3D content and contains 3D models of tools and parts of all kinds—many of which are 3D printable. Their website states, “The TracePartsOnline.net CAD portal is freely available to millions of CAD users worldwide, with hundreds of supplier catalogs and 100 million CAD models and product datasheets suitable for the Design, Purchasing, Manufacturing and Maintenance processes.”

With more than 100 million part numbers it may be kind of hard to find what you are looking for. However, the search tool does help. The 3D files are available in many formats compatible with CAD software including: SOLIDWORKS, CATIA, Pro/ENGINEER & Creo, Inventor, AutoCAD, Solid Edge, TopSolid, Geomagic Design, Kompas 3D, SpaceClaim, SketchUp, Autodesk REVIT, ZW3D, Draftsight, HiCAD, TurboCAD, T-FLEX and supports the majority of neutral CAD formats including: DWG, DXF, IGES, STEP, SAT, JT, STL and VRML. The most common format for 3D printing is STL and this is the format you will want to download if you are printing the object at home or sending it to a 3D printing service.

As you search 3D files on TraceParts, you can view and rotate the part in an imbedded 3D viewer. Many of the parts have different sizes available so you can download the file for the correct size. Once you have found the part you need, choose the file type you want and click download.

You will need to create an account to download parts from TraceParts. This is a free account and only requires an email address and some basic information about you. With an account, you can also save parts and catalogs to your favorites list so you can quickly access them later on.

While TraceParts might not be the most fun site out there with 3D printable parts, it may prove to be the most practical. This is a valuable resource for makers and 3D printing enthusiast. Also, it is a step closer to having all parts available online where we can search, download and 3D print the parts we need. 

We downloaded a small wrench and 3D printed it on a Makerbot. While it probably isn’t durable enough to loosen rusted nuts—it is surprisingly strong. It would function well in most situations. This is a good resource for tinkerers and hobbyist who need the right tool for the job quick and have a 3D printer at home.