s1Earlier this morning we touched on an announcement from CGTrader, one of the leaders in the 3D modelling space. As we mentioned in that article, it will be the 3D printable models which drive the market for 3D printers, as content is king. It turns out that CGTrader is not the only rapidly growing model repository. A venture-backed company with offices in both Paris and New York City, Sketchfab is also rapidly expanding, and has just made a major move to enter the 3D printing space.

Sketchfab, who has just announced that the 200,000th 3D model has been uploaded to their site, is one of the largest model repositories on the net. In additional to announcing this milestone, there are also several other interesting pieces of news coming from the company.

Up until this point, Sketchfab was not really a web destination that individuals or businesses would use if they wanted to find a 3D printable model. That’s because the main point of the site was to embed and view 3D models, not download them. This has just changed, however, with their announcement today that they have launched a brand new download option.s3

Now any user may choose whether they want to upload a model for viewing and embedding only, or if they’d like to allow other users the right to download that model under Creative Commons licenses.

This is a major move by Sketchfab, which is sure to attract 3D printing enthusiasts, as well as video game developers in need of free 3D models. To kick things off, the company has already teamed with several entities, helping to build their collection of downloadable models. One such entity is the British Museum.

“The British Museum is fascinated by the potential of 3D to unlock new ways for people to interact with our collection – and love what Sketchfab are doing to power this market,” said Chris Michaels, Head of Digital Media & Publishing at the British Museum. “So today we’re making available a set of 3D models produced by one of our team for download from Sketchfab. We’re fascinated to see what people do with them, and can’t wait to experiment more in this exciting new area … so watch this space!”

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Additionally, CyArk, the nonprofit organization seeking to digitally preserve the world’s cultural heritage, as well as HTC, Microsoft, Formlabs and even fashion designer Francis Bitonti have teamed up with Sketchfab to offer a variety of interesting models for download on their dedicated gallery pages. I have checked out each of these galleries, and I have to say that in the early going the British Museum’s models are the coolest, although I’m sure many new models will be added to each gallery in the weeks and months ahead.

This move should play an integral part in Sketchfab’s continued growth as the 3D printing space will likely lead the charge. What are your thoughts on Sketchfabs’s new initiatives? Have you used their platform before? Discuss in the Sketchfab Download forum thread on 3DPB.com. Below is an example of one such downloadable model, this one from The British Museum.

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