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Free 3D modeling software

Do you have a 3D printer or are you thinking about getting one and you are thinking about how are you going to make models to print? If you want to create your own models, you can try one of the 3D modeling software, that we’ll talk about here.

All of these software are FREE.

There are two types of software. The first group would be a web application. The second would be programs you install on your PC.

More often we see the software working in your internet browser. In case you don’t want to install anything to your PC, you just open the website on your browser (preferably Chrome) and make your models in there. The models are saved on a cloud, so you can access them from any computer connected to the internet.

  • Tinkercad – Online 3D modeling software that has even tutorial right on the website to show you modeling step by step. It is great for kids or complete beginners.
  • 123D Design – Web App from Autodesk with basic 3D modeling options
  • 123D Catch – If you have a smartphone or tablet with a camera, you can use pictures of an object to create 3D modeling
  • Leopoly – Group of apps for modeling or sculpting in browser
  • Onshape – Quite interesting app that set its goal to be rival to software such as Solidworks or Inventor
  • Shapeshifter – Makes it quick and easy to model objects with complex geometry that is great for 3D printing
  • Fusion 360 – Cloud app from Autodesk that is free for startup, hobbies, and teaching

The second type are programs that you download and install to your PC

  • Autodesk 123D – Autodesk has a whole pack of apps for 3D modeling: 123D Catch, 123D Creature, 123D Design, 123 Make, 123D Sculpt
  • Art of Illusion – Open source app for modeling and rendering. You can use it on many different platforms
  • Blender – Probably the most used open-source software for 3D modeling with a strong online community
  • FreeCAD – Open source CAD had the option of 2D and 3D modeling. It can be also used for scripting
  • K-3D – Open source software that can work on many platforms
  • MeshLab – Very strong open-source software. You can control and modify (simplify) meshes. You can also use it for correcting broken meshes. Useful for viewing OBJ files with textures (for example 3D scans)
  • MeshMixer – 3D software for modifying and working with Meshes and STL files
  • MiniMagics – Viewing and correcting STL files
  • NetFabb – Preparations of models for 3D printing. The basic version is free to use
  • OpenSCAD – Popular open source CAD software among IT workers because the models are being “programmed”. Its parametric software in which you use code to create the model. It is used for designing mechanical parts, gear, and so on. It is popular among the Reprap community – constructors of 3D printers
  • Sculptris – Software from Windows for 3D sculpting (free-form 3D modeling). The professional version is called Zbrush
  • SketchUp – Simple and quite popular software for Windows and Mac. If you want to export into STL file, that is for 3D printing, you have to install a plugin
  • DesignSpark Mechanical – Modeling with the option of using a big library of 3D model’s parts.
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