Using high-quality free 3D models can save you time as you don't have to sculpt and texture every object individually. There are many sites that offer every type of 3D asset you can imagine, and you can download pre-made models that allow you to dress a detailed, realistic scene.
Not all of the free 3D models out there are necessarily up to scratch for your next project, so we've taken the time to hunting through the offerings to find the best free 3D models around. We've covered models for interior design, exterior design, people and animals, objects, vehicles, characters you'll know (think Daleks) and, finally, where you can find the best collections. You can use the jump links (above) to skip to the section you need or scroll down to browse the whole list.
If free 3D models aren't enough and you also need textures, just take a look at our pick of the best free textures. And if you want advice on what tools to use them with, see our guide to the best 3D modelling software.
The best free 3D models that we've found online
01. Free 3D wooden chair model
This free 3D model of a wooden chair is simple yet elegant. It includes high textures with maps, and textures are UV mapped for easy editing. It's available over at Turbosquid, where there are a range of other free and paid-for 3D models available across a range of subjects.
02. Lamps free 3D model
Not the most exciting of models, we know, but one of those items that will always come in handy. This wall lamp is provided by online store 3D Export, where you can buy and sell models, as well as find a library of other useful free items. This lamp, offered as a .obj file, was created using 3ds Max 2010 and rendered in V-Ray 1.5.
03. House free 3D model
This cool house is offered by ShareCG, the site that hosts the web's largest collection of free computer graphics resources including thousands of free 3D CG Models. The house is offered as an untextured .obj file but the download includes separate material files for easy texturing. Note: registration to the site is required to download models.
04. Plants free 3D models
Help yourself to 130 free plant and tree models from Xfrog, the vegetation-generation application. Choose from a list of 30 species, then click the 'Try before you buy' button for a free model. You'll need to register to get the models, and download formats include .obj as well as files for use in Maya, 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Vue, Terragen 2, modo and Lighwave.
05. Earth Planet Ultra HD model
This realistic Planet Earth render includes an Earth Layer, a Cloud Layer and an Atmosphere Layer. You also get bump textures, an ultra-fine photorealistic image texture, a +-2k a map of the earth, clouds and a glare map. Plus, an atmospheric texture colour that should be set manually.
People and animals
06. Male anatomy
If you're working with human figures, then a good anatomy reference is an essential thing to have nearby, and this free model could be just the thing you need. Stripped of pesky skin and hair to reveal the muscles beneath, this real-world scale model human comes as a full scene with cameras, lights and render settings, and it's ready to play with in Cinema 4D R19 and ZBrush 4R7.
07. Wolf free 3D model
Get a load of this good boy. This fully rigged wolf model comes with all the textures and materials you're going to need, and it's already animated, making it perfect to drop into any gaming project. Best of all, it's good to go with loads of 3D packages and game engines, so whether you're working in Blender or Unity, you'll find a download to suit you.
08. One-of-a-kind spider
One for the arachnophiles, here. This detailed spider model isn't based on any actual species of spider, but it looks good enough to give anyone a fright. The Cinema 4D version comes with two light and environment setups that you can switch between in the Layer menu, while the converted OBJ file has two versions – with or without hairs.
Bring your underwater scenes to life with this free goldfish model from Turbosquid user Heidycurbelo. Available in .max and .3ds formats, this asset includes all textures and materials and should be used in accordance with Turbosquid's royalty free license.
This awesome model is another from digital media supply company Turbosquid. Registration is required to download and it should be noted that this asset is only available for versions of Lightwave 7.5 and above (formats .lwo, .lw and .lws).
11. Wine glasses free 3D models
Creating realistic looking glass in 3D is both tricky and time-consuming. Here, the hard work been done for you with this set of red and white wine glasses. The glasses are adjustable in a few ways, including the shape.
12. Ramirez classic guitar
It's easy enough to find any number of ropey electric guitar models online, but if your tastes don't run to Flying Vs and knock-off Strats, this glorious acoustic model, based on a Ramirez classical guitar, ought to do nicely. It comes in OBJ, 3ds and blend format, and even has its own stand.
13. NASA space shuttle free 3D model
For everything space-related, head over to the NASA website where you'll find an extensive library of free 3D models like this shuttle. There's astronauts, lunar modules, satellites and more. Most models are in the common .3ds format but there are also .lwo, .fbx, or .obj formats available in some cases. Usage guidelines apply.
14. Mini Cooper free 3D model
Oyonale is a site about computer graphics and digital art and has a section dedicated to free 3D models. Included in this section is this brilliant Mini model, which is available either in .obj format or .c4d, the latter of which includes textures and UV templates.
This gorgeous little retro tricycle was created by 3D artist Ivan Málek, who then shared it on Flying Architecture – a CG site that provides 3D models, materials and textures. This particular model is available for use with Rhino and Modo and there is also a .obj file for download.
16. Truck free 3D model
Digital media supply company Turbosquid has literally thousands of 3D models available to purchase. But they also offer a percentage of them absolutely free of charge, although you do have to register with the site to take advantage of this service. This brilliant truck model comes in available in .c4d, .xml, .fbx, .ma, .mb and .obj formats. Photoshop textures are also available for this model. Available on a standard royalty free license.
17. Bugatti Chiron
The chances of you ever actually owning a Bugatti Chiron – or even a second-hand Veyron – may be pretty slim, but if you feel the need to validate your existence by being seen near one, here's your best bet.
Download this excellent recreation, built in Blender by Kimz Auto, render it up and paste yourself in next to it, and Bob's your midlife crisis-afflicted uncle.
This painstaking reproduction of everyone's favourite junkyard robot is the work of Corey Drake,and he's done an impressive job. It's fully rigged and ready for animation, it comes in Maya and mental ray formats, and it's UV mapped with all textures and materials included, so it's basically good to go as soon as you've downloaded it. Like all these models, make sure you check the usage licence.
19. Dalek 3D model
Sharp-eyed Doctor Who fans will have instantly noted that this high-poly model for 3ds Max and V-Ray is a 2005 Dalek rather than one of the classic models. It's a good vintage, we reckon; much better than 2010's brightly-coloured New Paradigm models, and plenty threatening.
20. BB-8 3D model
Everyone's favourite droid from Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been recreated and made available for free from Free3D. This BB-8 model by Steve Lalonde is rigged two different ways for animation purposes and comes complete with high quality textures, and it's available on .obj, .max and .fbx formats.
21. The Other Nefertiti
The famous ancient Egyptian bust of Queen Nefertiti is the subject of an ongoing ownership dispute between Germany and Egypt, and is on display in Berlin's Neues Museum where photography of it is prohibited.
But now it's available as 'The Other Nefertiti', a 3D-printed reproduction of the bust for display in Cairo, under a Creative Commons licence. It's free for download as 100MB torrent containing a super-detailed .stl file, or as a 20MB .obj file that you can download directly.
Collections of free 3D models
22. PixelLab freebies
3D artist Joren Kandel runs PixelLab, a blog focused on motion graphics. Having worked in the industry for nine years now, he's built up a large collection of 3D assets, many of which he generously offers as a free download.
All you need to do is sign up to his newsletter and wait for an invitation to access his 3D model freebies, in which you'll find everything from Christmas decorations and digital camera lenses to robots and architecture.
23. Turbosquid 3D models collection
Turbosquid has a range of collections of 3D models, including those for archviz, cars, plants and Apple electronics. Like always, make sure you check the licence terms before using these free 3D models in your projects.
For more tools for 3D work, see our pick of the best laptops for 3D modelling. you might also want to see our guide to how to sell your 3D assets online. And for a different type of 3D work, see our pick of the best 3D printers.