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Sourcing 3D files to use in JigSpace

Sourcing 3D files to use in JigSpace

Sourcing 3D files to use in JigSpace

There are many websites which provide millions of downloadable 3D assets that are compatible with JigSpace.

To help you get started, we’ve put together a guide to explain when to use 3rd party 3D models, popular websites to consider, and other important technical and legal considerations.

Why download 3D models to use in JigSpace?

JigSpace allows any non-technical user to make Jigs - 3D presentations for augmented reality - for a variety of use cases, using their own 3D content (i.e. CAD files) or using our free object library.

In the process of making a 3D presentation - we call it a ‘Jig’ - you may find that we don’t have a particular model you need to compliment your proprietary CAD files.

For example you may work in product education in the pharmaceutical industry and have specific laboratory equipment you would like to include in your 3D instructions alongside your CAD-based 3D models. Or you may work in training for a manufacturer of a popular car brand, but not have access to suitable CAD files in your particular department.

Popular websites to download 3D models

Here is a selection of popular 3D model websites that all provide compatible 3D models you can download and use inside JigSpace.

Site Content Type Free option? Textures
Turbosquid General
Image Image
GrabCAD Mechanical engineering Image
CGTrader General Image
Poly Haven Copyright free models Image Image
Free 3D General Image
3dsky Furniture and fittings Image Image
Cubebrush Game design assets Image
Smithsonian Science & education Image Image
Flying Architecture Architecture Image Image
SketchFab General Image Image

Technical considerations

When choosing which models to use, it is important to pay attention to the following properties of the models.

  • Compatible formats: JigSpace imports OBJ, STEP, SLT, SolidWorks & FBX files. So we recommend sourcing files which are available in these formats.
  • Polycount: We recommend a polycount of less than 200,000 per Jig, so we recommend sourcing files which are below this amount. If files are higher than 200,000 polygons, they may still be imported into JigSpace, however you won't achieve best performance in all viewers and devices.
  • Object count: We recommend less than 50 objects or sub-objects per Jig to allow faster rendering and more realistic display in augmented reality. For example, 50 sub-object (parts) per model if you import 4 models. We suggest sourcing files which are below this amount of objects or sub objects. Again, if files are higher than this limit, they will still be imported into JigSpace, however at around 200 objects/sub-objects you won’t achieve best performance. Look for the performance indicator which will display how many polygons and objects are in your Jig.
  • Textures and colors: 3D file sites have models with varying levels of complexity. Some of these may include UVMapped models and custom textures that can be applied to your models in the JigSpace workshop. Some CAD models may also include colors. These will be added to your models on import if your CAD file has color properties in its materials (excluding OBJ & STL).
CAD file 3D mesh Scale Color Labels
fbx Image Image Image Image
obj Image Image
step Image Image Image Image
stl Image Image
sldasm; sldprt Image Image Image Image

The difference between Colors and Textures

While plain colored models won't look as nice as those with custom textures, with Jigs photorealistic materials you can achieve the look you want for a range of materials such as metals, woods, glass, plastics etc.

The advantage of Jigs ‘Materials’ is that you don't need to UV-map a model to apply them. Adding materials is a great way to make plain or colored models look more realistic, you can apply a metal texture with the click of a button and then further customize the materials color.

Saving your models in JigSpace for re-use

Once you’ve imported the 3D file, and added materials, colors, and textures, we recommend uploading the models to the team object library.

This allows you, or your entire team to access, and quickly create Jigs without needing to re-import and edit CAD files, leading to quicker Jig creation and consistent models being used across all your content.

Learn more about the team object library.

How much should I pay for a 3D model?

If you are considering buying a 3D model, you will find that prices can vary from $10 to more than $500 for a single model. Here are some things to consider when evaluating the price of a 3D model.


Keep in mind that some models cost more because they have animation rigs. Here at JigSpace we don't support animations in our model files. Check for similar models without animation for a better deal.

Animated models are more expensive to those without animation


Can you use it for commercial purposes, or editorial only? It is common to pay more for a 3D model with a standard commercial license. Read more about different license types later in this guide.


Some models will have a much greater level of detail, or sub-objects, file format options, and other visually superior features that may equate to higher prices. Remember to inspect as many preview images of the model as you can before deciding to buy. You may be able to view other models created by the same author or artist to get a sense of their quality.


Not all models come with UV mapped textures, which make 3D models appear more photorealistic.

Polygon counts

More polygons does not always equal more value. You should try to find a balance between your desired level of detail, and lower polygon counts. We recommend using models under 200,000 polygons and 50 sub-objects. If you purchase a model with millions of polygons, you will need to optimize it before importing it into JigSpace.

Example: lower polygon count model vrs. higher polygon count model

Copyright and licensing

It is important to be aware of the copyright or usage permitted of the 3D models that you download from online marketplaces, and how they may apply to your business, school, or personal project. Licenses can vary from unrestricted commercial usage, to editorial-only or creative commons attribution CC-BY. Here is an overview of the most common types.

Commercial or Standard licenses

Most marketplaces will include a standard royalty-free license that allows you to use the model in a large variety of use cases. These may include anything from marketing collateral, corporate communications, product education, product visualization, architectural renderings, or education curriculum.


Several marketplaces, like Turbosquid, have models containing ‘Editorial usage’ licenses which typically restrict usage to education, or newsworthy or public interest use cases. Types of editorial uses that are not allowed include advertising, merchandising, branding or commercial (non-news) purposes.

Public domain

The websites like Poly Haven and the Smithsonian distributes 3D models under a Creative Commons CC0 license which means you may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law. Learn more about CC0.

Common sense approach

It is important not to violate anyone’s intellectual property and always check what you are permitted to use a model for if you are considering using it in a commercial setting. If you are unsure, contact the author or website.

Of course, don’t do anything defamatory, pornographic, or illegal. And be respectful of artists, brands, and copyright holders in your usage of the models they have made available for you to use.

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