Table of Contents
You will need to ensure that you have gathered all of the essential software for 3D printing “ingredients” before you begin the process of 3D printing. These “ingredients” will help you through printing, from developing your 3D model to managing the printers themselves.
To help, we’ve compiled a list of the finest free software for 3D printing for each process stage. We’ve compiled a list of the best software for creating, preparing, fixing, viewing, and controlling your 3D prints and printers. It’s a one-stop store for not having to shop at all.
Although all of the 3d printing software on this page is free, a few applications may require additional, albeit affordable, hardware, such as a Raspberry Pi.
We’ve added a section on the 3D printing workflow for more reading to help newbies understand how each 3D printing software fits into the process. Let’s get this party started!
These are the following:
- CAD software for the creation of a three-dimensional model (you can also use an existing 3D model if you do not wish or need to design one)
- Software for slicing.
- Software that allows you to remotely control your printer (this is optional but can be convenient)
|Software||Function||Suitable Printer Type/s||System||Download/Visit:|
|Cura||Slicer, 3D Printer Host||Filament||Windows, macOS, Linux||Cura|
|PrusaSlicer||Slicer||Filament, resin (LCD-based)||Windows, macOS, Linux||Prusa Research|
|ideaMaker||Slicer, STL Repair||Filament||Windows, macOS, Linux||Raise3D|
|ChiTuBox Basic||Slicer||Resin (LCD-based)||Windows, macOS, Linux||ChiTuBox|
|Lychee Slicer||Slicer||Resin (LCD-based)||Windows, macOS, Linux||Mango3D|
|Kiri:Moto||Slicer||Filament, resin (LCD-based), CNC||Web browser||Kiri:Moto|
|IceSL||Slicer, design||Filament||Windows, Linux||IceSL|
|OctoPrint||Slicer, 3D Printer Host||Filament||Web browser, Windows, macOS, Linux, Raspberry Pi OS (as OctoPi image)||OctoPrint|
|MatterControl 2.0||Slicer, 3D Printer Host, Design||Filament||Windows, macOS, Linux||MatterControl|
|AstroPrint||Slicer, 3D Printer Host||Filament||Web browser||AstroPrint|
|Meshmixer||STL Editor, STL Repair, Design||All||Windows, macOS||Meshmixer|
|MeshLab||STL Editor, STL Repair||All||Windows, macOS, Linux||MeshLab|
|UVTools||File analysis, modification, MSLA toolbox||Resin (LCD/DLP-based)||Windows, macOS, Linux||GitHub|
|WebPrinter||G-code viewer||Filament||Web browser||WebPrinter|
|Gcode Analyzer||G-code viewer||Filament||Web browser||Gcode Analyzer|
|3D Builder||Design||All||Windows||3D Builder|
|SketchUp Free||Design||All||Web browser||SketchUp|
|Fusion 360||Design||All||Windows, macOS||Fusion 360|
|FreeCAD||Design||All||Windows, macOS, Linux||FreeCAD|
|Blender||Design||All||Windows, macOS, Linux||Blender|
What Is The Best Free Software For 3D Printing?
Software for Slicing
This article will walk you through each of these components. It will also touch on how the Ultimaker platform offers a smooth end-to-end flow between hardware, software, and materials. This will allow you to unleash the magic of 3D printing and make innovation a reality.
What Is The Best Free Software For 3D Printing?
What is Slicing software, and what does it do?
3D slicers specify the construction of a model and tell the 3D printer how to produce it.
A slicer is a program that turns digital 3D models into printing instructions for a specific 3D printer. The instructions and model include user-entered 3D printing parameters, such as layer height, speed, and support structure settings.
Every 3D printing method works by layering materials on top of each other to create 3D objects. Slicer software for 3d printing is named because it “slices” 3D models into several horizontal 2D layers printed.
Slicing converts digital 3D models into G-codes (a generic name for a control language) that a 3D printer can comprehend if you want a more technical explanation.
The 3D printer’s instructions are stored in G-codes. A 3D printer is useless without G-code! In another way, G-code teaches the 3D printer how to manufacture the model.
What is the process of creating g-codes?
Slicing software generates G-code automatically. You could do it yourself if you know G-code, but the code would be hundreds of pages large.
G-code, as you can see, is an extensive language. Hundreds, if not thousands, of instructions are contained in a 3D print. Even if you know how to do it, it’s not worth your time to do it manually.
There are tutorials available online if you wish to learn G-code. For the most part, slicing software is the best option.
Free Software For 3D Printing: Slicing Software
Like any slicing software, essential software will generate routes for a 3D printer to follow when printing. These pathways are geometric instructions that tell a 3D printer what speed to print at for specific spots and, if applicable, what layer thicknesses to use (sometimes, it is best to do this manually).
GD&T is also considered by more advanced slicing programs (Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing). This allows you to create slicer information about a part’s geometry and information about the part’s design intent, ensuring that the completed piece is acceptable for long-term end-use.
Hobbyists can use essential slicing software, but professional applications may require something more complex.
Now that you know what slicing software is, let’s look at some possibilities.
Here are the top free slicers on the web for breaking your fancy 3D models into those nice lines for your 3D printer to spew out.
Cura is an open-source slicing software developed by Ultimaker for their 3D printers. As one of the most popular and commonly used 3D printing slicers. Still, it’s also a general standard because it’s simple to use with most other 3D printers. It can be readily expanded using a plugin system with many useful plugins. There’s a strong possibility a high-quality profile for your 3D printer is already included in the software, making it simple to get started right away. You can easily download and import someone else’s profile if it isn’t.
This software for 3D printing is simple and allows you to control the most critical 3D print settings through a simple interface. Start in “Basic” mode for a quick onboarding experience, where you can only change the most basic printer quality parameters. Switch to “Advanced,” “Expert,” or “All” to acquire more settings when you require more exact control over print settings. Cura provides customers with up to 400 parameters in these modes, allowing them to fine-tune things as needed to achieve the most significant outcomes.
This slicer is regularly updated and improved, with new versions routinely issued, ensuring you’re getting the most recent version.
For Every Application, the Best Cura Infill Pattern
Cura can also be used as a 3D printer host software to provide direct control over your printer. Still, the 3D printer must be linked to a computer for the print duration. The software’s seamless CAD connection with SolidWorks and Siemens NX makes it useful in professional applications. On the other hand, Cura is an essential and accessible slicer for 3D printing for most home users.
Aside from the ease of use, the Ultimaker website also has a wealth of educational information on making the most of Cura’s latest features and a community forum.
Prusa Research, the firm behind the Original Prusa 3D printers, forked Slic3r — an open-source slicer — to build its own slicer, PrusaSlicer. PrusaSlicer has quickly garnered a following for various reasons: not only does it have Slic3r’s extensive list of adjustable settings. But it also includes some useful features not found in the original software.
Numerous upgrades over the original program include a revamped UI, native support for Prusa’s own printer range, and valuable presets for various popular materials. Customizable support structures, multi-material support, and smooth changeable layer height functions are just a few of the main characteristics.
PrusaSlicer can slice models for both FDM and resin printers. It offers different modes to adjust settings based on your ability level. Expert allows you to customize many things. But don’t worry, PrusaSlicer can handle even the most basic profiles. Although there is fewer printer presets than other popular slicers, customizing or importing custom settings is just as simple.
PrusaSlicer, which arose from Slic3r, keeps most of the original features and even accepts Slic3r configuration bundles when importing profiles.
ideaMaker, Raise3D’s slicing software, is tailored for its machines, similar to PrusaSlicer for Original Prusa printers and Ultimaker Cura for Ultimaker hardware. However, it also works with third-party printers.
The technique and UI are a touch more complicated than Cura and PrusaSlicer. Still, dive a little deeper. You’ll find deep per-layer options and print modifiers, including the ability to wrap textures onto prints for easy customization or branding.
You can download hundreds of community and Raise3D-created printer and material profiles for faster and better printing or create your own library of preferred settings and profiles. If you’re connected to Raise3D’s cloud services.
Customizable supports, model splicing to optimize larger prints, and mesh repair tools offer ideaMaker the ability to be your 3D printing workhorse. Print queueing and native OctoPrint compatibility are two more fantastic quality-of-life enhancements.
You can also choose between dark and light modes, which is convenient.
If you’ve ever used a low-cost desktop resin 3D printer, it came with ChiTuBox (now known as ChiTuBox Basic). CTB Systems created the software and many of the mainboards and firmware used in the printers (thus, the company’s software is the default “plays well with everything” software).
The primary function of ChiTuBox Basic is to slice 3D models for printing on LCD-based resin 3D printers (also known as masked stereolithography or MSLA). With a wide variety of typical and popular printers, you get a lot of control over the printer’s curing settings and movement behavior. On the other hand, your resin printer most likely came with a copy on its memory card.
Model orientation and support configuration are essential aspects of resin print preparation, which ChiTuBox Basic addresses. Although orientation is a little rudimentary – it won’t do it for you – auto-support creation is reasonably reliable and, in many circumstances, produces excellent results. Although some fine-tuning may be required to adequately support your prints, the support modification options are simple and uncomplicated.
You must first register an account to download or utilize the software, which isn’t ideal. But, hey, isn’t that why disposable email accounts exist?
Lychee Slicer is an appealing third-party choice for your resin slicing needs, with many 3D printers and resin profiles. It has one of the slickest, easiest-to-use, and feature-rich desktop resin printing experiences.
Automatic model orientation can help you start model preparation. Still, you can bypass that and let Lychee Slicer do everything (orientation, supports, and so forth) for you. That is if you’re feeling lucky. The outcomes can be hit-or-miss, but we’ll gladly accept the time saved by not going through multiple model prep dialogues for simple things.
Model modifications, such as hollowing and slicing, and a sophisticated print preview function showing a banana for scale, are all available. A charming software for 3D printing.
Some features are unavailable to Lychee Slicer free users but aren’t necessary. The free version has all the features, is fully functional, and is excellent.
If your computing hardware is in flux, or you’re concerned that you lack the graphics horsepower to slice, the browser-based Kiri:Moto could be a good fit.
Kiri:Moto is a robust file preparation tool that runs entirely in the browser and may be used to prepare items for 3D printing, laser engraving, or CNC routing (the common factor here is that all are G-code exports). Although the settings are more basic than those found in locally installed slicers, they cover most of what you’ll need, including retraction and z-hop options.
The number of extruders, build volume, and G-code flavor is just a few of the easy characteristics that can be used to add printers. You also have the print parameters you need to set up and export printable G-code files for your printer.
IceSL is an excellent application for 3D printing. It’s not just a 3D slicer; it’s also a 3d modeling software for 3d printing. You can edit your model directly in the left window using a Lua-based programming language. This may be a daunting proposition, but it allows clever parametric modeling.
Finally, on the right, you’ll see various slicing options. Quick and easy slicing is possible with pre-configured beginner-friendly settings, but expanding out the advanced settings reveals a universe of fascinating tactics developed by the IceSL team over the years.
The most significant feature from the previous iteration is progressively variable settings. This entails, among other things, smooth transitions from dense to light infill and fine to coarse layer heights. You provide different values for a specific print parameter at different layer heights, with IceSL automatically graduating the changes.
What Is The Best Free Software For 3D Printing?
Free Software For 3D Printing: Host And Control
Eventually, we all get tired of shuttling files over to 3D printers with USB sticks and microSD cards littering our desks. But fret not, there’s a cure: host and control software.
The most popular wireless 3D printer host is OctoPrint. This is unsurprising given the breadth of its capabilities and ease of usage.
OctoPrint is used with a Raspberry Pi to give a simple solution for remote access to your 3D printer. You have several options for sending files, slicing files, and monitoring your prints.
While many enthusiasts are happy with OctoPrint’s features, others may want greater control, access to other printers, or a different approach. We’ll look at a few OctoPrint rivals and explain why they might be worth your printer pursuing some variety.
But before we do that, there are a few things to consider. What we were essentially looking for with the following list was software that possessed the same core traits as OctoPrint:
Remote access: A wireless monitoring and control system is required for any OctoPrint alternative.
Ease of installation and usage: The program should be simple to install and use. This includes any additional hardware setup.
Control: The must-have software capabilities allow users to utilize wireless control while improving workflow.
Unlike the others on this list, our solution isn’t designed for large-scale operations, instead offering a suite for the typical hobbyist. MatterControl is developed by MatterHackers and is free and open-source 3D printing software. It’s supposed to include everything you’ll need to create your own 3D printing.
Everything from designing and slicing your 3D print to printing and monitoring it is included in the software bundle. The design suite isn’t a full-fledged CAD program; it’s excellent for making rapid changes to existing print models. In addition, the slicer has enough configuration options to work with various printers and filament types.
Regarding connectivity, their Cloud Sync allows you to save files online and track prints. However, this is more of a defining feature than a distinguishing one. It also supports remote printing, but it isn’t well-suited for it.
You shouldn’t need anything else because MatterControl is meant to run on your standard computer. There is no Raspberry Pi image, but there is a Linux install if you insist on running it. Overall, the MatterHackers team has created excellent software for lone hobbyists. Their own hardware with a user-friendly configuration is available for purchase.
- Individuals and small-scale projects are the best candidates.
- Special features include monitoring and saving prints via Cloud
- Sync, which is excellent for rapid changes.
- Downsides: Remote printing isn’t optimal.
- Free of charge
Repetier is a 3D printing software bundle that contains firmware, a host, and a monitoring app. Many of the same capabilities as OctoPrint are available in the server part, which is our focus.
The Repetier-Server, which may be installed on a Raspberry Pi or another PC, only provides a local network connection, not a cloud service. Control is performed in two ways: the first using a browser, similar to OctoPrint, and the second is simply through their Repetier-Host slicing software.
Repetier offers a lot of capabilities and may be used to set up anything from a single printer to a fleet of printers managed by multiple users. However, the numerous configuration possibilities are more difficult to set up than the others. Repetier offers software for a variety of operating systems as well as a Raspberry Pi image. This allows you to use the same PC for control while having wireless capabilities.
If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, Repetier has both a Free and a Pro tier. A few extra functions, such as firmware uploading and webcam use, are included in the Pro edition.
Small or large-scale tasks are best suited for this product.
Characteristics: Allows several users to print to different printers simultaneously.
Cons: Difficult to set up, no cloud service
The basic 3D printing software is free. However, the Pro software has a one-time cost of $70.
The Creality Box is a low-cost, plug-and-play alternative to OctoPrint, combining hardware and software into a single, easy-to-use platform. Built-in Wi-Fi and webcam capabilities make this an excellent offering for owners of any Creality printer for roughly $20. Keep in mind that the only camera currently supported is a Creality model.
To use the Creality Box, you’ll need a Creality Cloud account and a smartphone with the Creality Cloud software installed. This is useful if you wish to print outside of your home network. Still, it comes at a cost: each model you print will be sliced on Creality’s servers, compromising your privacy.
Furthermore, several users have noted that configuring the Creality Box is not as simple as it appears, mainly when using bespoke mainboards or original Creality control boards with aftermarket firmware. On the other hand, some criticism could be related to early users’ first difficulties.
Best for: Users on a budget that use stock Creality mainboards.
Special features include the ability to start a print from outside your home’s Wi-Fi network.
Cons: It only works with Creality FDM printers, and there may be privacy concerns.
AstroPrint is a more extensive service based on OctoPrint’s capability. It takes wireless control and applies it to an entirely cloud-based connection. AstroPrint, for example, allows you to save prints online and even import designs directly from 3D print suppliers like MyMiniFactory. They also offer online Cura slicing, allowing you to print via their app from any location, including your phone.
AstroPrint excels in usability, with a user-friendly interface and mobile-friendly settings. They’ve concentrated on making things as clear and straightforward as possible. AstroPrint, on the other hand, favors basic settings over granular ones due to their user-friendly design.
In terms of setup, there’s a Raspberry Pi image that you can flash to get started, comparable to OctoPrint. If you wish to skip that step, they also provide pre-flashed SD cards and pre-configured Raspberry Pi setups (named AstroBox). AstroPrint is free for home users; however, there is a monthly cost to upgrade. They also have plans for businesses and universities. Overall, AstroPrint is an attractive option for those new to wireless printing.
Beginners, as well as small and large businesses, will benefit from this.
Print from anywhere (including your home) and control numerous printers with this cloud-based solution.
Cons: Requires an AstroBox (which may be purchased) or a Raspberry Pi and provides less control than other options.
Price: Free for residential users, with a monthly fee of $10 for additional printers and file storage.
NanoDLP is explicitly designed for printing on the lighter side. SLS, SLA, and DLP printers, to be precise. It combines several essential features into a convenient 3D printing hosting solution.
This software for 3D printing is continuously improving and provides the capability that your light-based printer requires. It includes setup configurations for hardware and calibration tools to fine-tune it. An application log and plate preview are included in the printing process. The support generator, in particular, allows you to construct bespoke supports before printing.
The Raspberry Pi is at the heart of NanoDLP’s software. It also supports Windows and Linux for individuals who don’t wish to use the Pi. They’ve even gone so far as to offer stepper drivers for direct drive from the Pi. Of course, this isn’t required, but it can be an interesting DIY project.
This program includes all necessary functionality and may be set up wirelessly. Not to mention the fact that NanoDLP is entirely free.
Beginners to experienced users will benefit the most from this product.
Notable characteristics include compatibility with a wide range of hardware, cloud control, and excellent all-around software.
Drawbacks: Not compatible with FDM printers.
Free of charge
Photonic3D is an SLA-focused print server that may be used with an external SLA slicer or an STL file directly downloaded from Thingiverse. Photonic3D provides the ability to handle numerous printers from a single installation, which sets it apart from some of the other solutions on our list.
Photonic3D should be pretty easy to set up for Raspberry Pi users. The developer maintains a unique Raspberry Pi OS image that can be flashed directly to your Pi’s microSD card. Photonic3D also allows you to plan your prints for a later date, which is helpful if you need to print something overnight or if electricity is more expensive at particular times of the day.
The main criticism of Photonic3D is that its documentation is a little challenging to follow. Because some of the links on their main website are broken. On the other hand, their GitHub page appears well-maintained and more straightforward to explore.
The best candidates are users using only SLA printers who don’t mind working with more technically complex 3D printing software.
Characteristics: Support multiple platforms and a REST API for users who want to script their printing processes.
Negative aspects: Only works with DLP-SLA.
Free of charge
Printrun is a Python-based printing host program created by Kliment Yanev. It’s a printer controller and G-code sender with the ability to build on more features.
Printrun is the most adjustable of all the options on the list. The user interface is customizable, and new buttons are also possible. Once you’ve mastered the software, you can build custom scripts and develop your own macros.
What about the internet connection? Its “hackability,” particularly its command-line interface, is notable. If this appeals to you, connecting to Printrun on a Raspberry Pi over SSH should be simple. However, it doesn’t provide cloud services or run a server by default.
This program is an underdog with many promises, but it’s not for the inexperienced DIYer. Printrun may not have as many features as the others on our list, but it, like OctoPrint, offers the promise of open-source. On GitHub, for example, there’s a web-monitoring project that uses Printrun to stream from a camera.
It’s best for: experienced users.
Open-source project with a lot of customization options
Free of charge
Cons: There are no cloud services available.
3DPrinterOS is a cloud-based service that provides a large variety of capabilities and superior control while remaining simple to use.
3DPrinterOS’ cloud services provide all you need, including file searching, repair, and slicing. They’ve managed to keep it easy and intuitive for newcomers while also including complex slicer options for those more detail-oriented.
Most of the interface, including slicing and analytics, is available on their website. This allows you to control and monitor your system from any device.
3DPrinterOS includes software for all major operating systems and a Raspberry Pi image. The setup on a Raspberry Pi isn’t relatively as straightforward, but they do provide instructions for several possibilities.
Many, but not all, of the features of 3DPrinterOS are free. It’s crucial to remember that it’s designed for large-scale operations, but it does come with a free trial version.
This tool can benefit the most from beginner to expert users, especially those with larger-scale operations.
Features include remote monitoring and control from any device and a simple and intuitive user interface.
Cons: The setup of the Raspberry Pi is not simple.
Pricing for organizations and education is available upon request.
Duet Web Control
Duet Web Control is a software front-end developed by Duet3D for use with their own 3D printer mainboards. While this may be a deal-breaker for users of other brands of printers, it is a realistic choice for those who want to build their own 3D printer.
Duet Web Control has a unique functionality that lets you design and executes “G-code macros” to handle repeated activities such as printer tuning, bed leveling, filament changing, and more. This is especially useful for those in professional settings who want to make the most of their time.
Duet Web Control allows users to organize and queue G-code files to build batch jobs. However, there is one caveat: you must slice your models (whether in a batch or individually) before uploading them to the online interface for printing.
Best for: People that want to build their own printer.
Characteristics: Online simulators, batch jobs, and macro scripts are all free to try before buying.
Downsides: You must need a Duet3D mainboard to complete this task.
The price of a Duet3D mainboard
What Is The Best Free Software For 3D Printing?
Free Software For 3D Printing: STL File Editing And Repair
There are occasions when models aren’t optimized for 3D printing, or they’re just not quite ready due to the CAD software’s peculiarity. In a scenario like this, editing and repair software will come to your aid.
Meshmixer is a cutting-edge (and free) Autodesk 3D printing program that allows you to browse, check edit, design, and repair STL files. It’s handy for detecting and automatically correcting possible faults. Meshmixer, for example, flags paper-thin walls in STL files that could pose issues during 3D printing.
Meshmixer, dubbed the “Swiss Army Knife” of 3D meshes, has many capabilities, including drag-and-drop mesh mixing, 3D sculpting, surface stamping, 3D patterns and lattices, hollowing, support structure branching, mesh smoothing, and much more.
Meshmixer is a top editing and repair tool for various tasks, whether you’re trying to modify a 3D scan, prepare a model for printing, or design several items with particular proportions.
MeshLab is a powerful, open-source STL editor capable of processing and modifying 3D triangular models. Users can use this free tool to edit, clean, fix, inspect, render, convert meshes, merge models into solids, and patch holes in their 3D models.
The software is perfect for producing 3D models for printing and raw data generated by CAD software. 3D model reconstruction, color mapping and texturing, model visualization, and other features are included. MeshLab is still a free STL file editor and repair application, even though the most recent version was released in 2016. MeshLab is a good choice if you require 3D printing software to fix and clean up an unsightly 3D print model.
Free Software For 3D Printing: 3D Printing File Viewers
It’s always good to look over files before throwing them into your printer, especially if you’ve downloaded G-code (not recommended). So, here are a few tools that will just open such files and examine them.
UVTools, an independent proj<ect that can, in addition to being a capable file viewer and layer modification and repair tool for masked stereolithography, plug into PrusaSlicer, adding a long list of popular third-party MSLA printer profiles that are most definitely not Prusa machines, is proof that open source can be a thing of mind-bending wonder. (For background, PrusaSlicer only allows you to print resin on the two Original Prusa SL1 machines.)
UVTools’ latest version now supports twin-stage motor control (TSMC), which enables tiered print speeds for distinct parts of each layer’s movement, boosting the chances of print success and reducing overall print time (ChiTuBox Basic just incorporated it in its current release, too).
A resin printing toolset for the generalist. In addition to the features listed above, UVTools lets you make your own resin layer cure time calibration print to test new resins and determine the best settings for different layer heights. Useful.
WebPrinter is a quick method to see what that odd G-code file you found on a long-forgotten SD card is. It’s a simple browser-based application for previewing G-code from the folks behind IceSL. It’s faster than firing up your full-fledged slicer and scrolling through the barrage of “update available” alerts.
Simply click the link, upload your G-code file, and WebPrinter will display the tool pathing that the file will instruct your printer to follow. It would be nice to get a live view of the temperatures. This is absent from the diagnostics ticking away during the simulation – but it’s good enough for a quick and dirty glance at a potential print.
Gcode Analyzer, a surprisingly simple and effective web-based program for, you guessed it, analyzing G-code, is almost as old as desktop 3D printing itself.
The 3D simulation is a little broken, but we’re just interested in the 2D and G-code views left on the table, so we’ll brush that aside with a simple wipe of the hand. In 2D, you can see the individual layers that make up your print in incredible detail. Scrub from layer to layer and tool path motion consecutively with two sliders. The G-code view displays the entire text of your file, allowing you to explore the specific instructions that your printer has received.
While you can see your G-code instructions in your slicer’s preview before exporting, a lightweight and fluid tool like Gcode Analyzer lets you look at earlier prints to see how your nozzle flew around a part.
What Is The Best Free Software For 3D Printing?
Best Free Software For 3D Printing: 3D Modeling
You’ll want to design a portion yourself if you’re doing everything from the ground up. Although CAD and 3D modeling software can be costly, numerous free and fully adequate alternatives are available.
Tinkercad is an Autodesk browser-based computer-aided design (CAD) tool that makes a terrific starting point for beginners — it is also a good quick solution for simple designs at any level of expertise.
You can use this software for 3d printing to produce 3D models from simple shapes by adjusting settings and achieving precision in your work. You can also use Tinkercad to design geometrically (vector) shapes in 2D and then convert them to 3D models.
However, compared to more sophisticated CAD tools like Blender, FreeCAD, and SketchUp, Tinkercad’s feature set is relatively limited. Thus users may be better served to move to a more powerful tool for detailed creations.
This 3D design program, on the other hand, is an excellent choice for introducing yourself or a class of students to the realm of 3D creation. You may find a variety of tutorials and 3D design lessons on the Tinkercad website. Aside from simple 3D drawings, this software gives users an easy way to design electronic circuitry and the capacity to create 3D objects using code.
ZBrushCoreMini is a virtual sculpting 3D modeling program with a basic capability similar to molding clay. It’s the successor to Sculptris, and it’s a great piece of 3D printing software if you’re looking to construct statues or figurines, such as a bust of a favorite character from video games or comic books.
While this 3D software is aimed at beginning and intermediate users, it has many useful features that make 3D sculpting a breeze. ZBrushCoreMini, for example, uses dynamic tesselation to constantly analyze the surface of your model to ensure that the features are appropriately displayed, adding polygons as needed.
The software is absolutely free, and it serves as a stepping stone to the more advanced (and more expensive) ZBrush tool. It’s built to work with its bigger brothers, ZBrush and ZBrushCore, so users can export their models into more powerful 3D sculpting software when they’re ready.
3D Builder gets some credit for providing users with a straightforward 3D model visualization and editing approach. It was once preinstalled on all PCs running Windows 10 (but now you have to download it separately from the Windows Store). This CAD tool allows users to create and import STL, OBJ, and 3MF files, which may be used with 3D printing technology. With several easy-to-use tools and capabilities, it manages to simplify the 3D design process, placing the power of 3D creation in the hands of even novice users.
The ability of 3D Builder to reduce meshes, lowering the number of faces in overly complicated designs and making them less labor-intensive on your system, is a feature that goes unnoticed.
Users can select a model from the large 3D Builder Library, load one from an external file, or use the Kinect V2 Sensor to scan and import a fresh 3D design. Those with more software knowledge can download the 3D Printing SDK and join the 3D Builder community to improve the program’s capabilities.
Vectary is a 3D design software that stands out from the crowd. It’s an odd blend of CAD and 3D modeling software that runs in your browser. Its distinctive UI may make it more appealing for someone transitioning from 2D design tools to 3D design.
Vectary has several tiers, but practically everything is free, except for export file formats, a premium service. Unlike many other tools, even the free tier is available for business usage, which is unusual among browser-based modelers.
Though it has the appearance of a 3D modeler, it contains powerful parametric features that allow you to get many of the benefits of parametric design with a modeler that is more geared toward organic designs. Vectary is a powerful 3D design program, especially its live rendering feature.
SketchUp is a web-based CAD program that offers a wonderful balance of ease of use and capabilities. Design rookies will appreciate the user-friendly UI and reasonably flat learning curve. In contrast, more experienced producers will appreciate the complex drawing tools. SketchUp is one of the most popular 3D printing software programs for creating 3D models because of this.
The free edition of SketchUp Free includes all you need for modeling for 3D printing, as long as you download and install the free STL export module.
While the commercial editions of SketchUp offer more functionality than the free version, you’ll still get 10 GB of cloud storage, mobile model viewing, and access to SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse, which is a model repository full of user-generated content and projects.
Best Free Software For 3D Printing the design software pioneers. It covers the creation, testing, and implementation of a 3D design. Unlike other professional solid-body 3D design tools, this program is highly user-friendly.
This 3D printing program includes sophisticated parametric and analytic mesh capabilities that are well-suited to most industrial design difficulties. Furthermore, it can replicate both the design of the designed components and the stresses they would undergo after making and using them.
FreeCAD is a feature-rich, open-source CAD program that can help you improve your design skills. FreeCAD is parametric design software. Instead of the conventional drag-and-drop geometric modeling that beginning designers might conceive of, it creates models based on parameters.
FreeCAD is, as its name implies, free 3d cad software for 3d printing, but that doesn’t mean it lacks the same sophisticated capabilities as premium CAD software provides. Finite Element Analysis (FEA) tools, experimental workbenches, and a robot simulation module allow users to mimic robotic movements in this 3D design program. You can manipulate every part of your design by going back into your model history and modifying its parameters.
FreeCAD is designed for a wide range of design sectors, including product design, mechanical engineering, architecture, and more, and allows users to sketch 2D shapes as a base for building other products.
Blender is a viral and free 3d modeling software for beginners and experts, but it has a steep learning curve. It’s not the best choice for a novice learning 3D modeling. Still, it’s ideal if you’ve mastered the fundamentals and want to advance your skills and create more advanced 3D models. However, because of its widespread appeal, many tutorials are available to help even complete beginners get started with 3D modeling. (Would anyone like a doughnut?)
On the other hand, Blender’s most recent versions have included specific improvements that make the application user-friendly, such as a revamped user interface and 3D viewport. Eevee, a physically-based real-time renderer, and Grease Pencil, a full-featured 2D sketching and animation system, are sophisticated features.
Navigating the vast world of 3D printing software can initially feel overwhelming, given the plethora of options available. From robust design tools like Blender and Fusion 360 to the intuitive interface of Tinkercad, there truly is something for everyone, no matter your level of expertise. Remember, the key is to choose a tool that aligns with your specific needs and invest time in mastering its nuances. As the 3D printing landscape continues to evolve, staying updated with the latest software will undoubtedly be a game-changer in enhancing your 3D modeling and printing experience.
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