think3D top10: Free CAD softwares for 3D Printing

3D Printing process starts with 3d designs, which can be either available from different online repositaries or can be created using 3d CAD softwares. For creation of basic shapes and designs, you do not need to be an expert in CAd design. In fact, a lot of free softwares and corresponding online tutorials can get you started with CAD design till certain level. You need not be an expert for creating basic designs for initial prototyping.

We are trying to a list of good softwares which are intuitive, free and can let you create decent output for 3D printing. Of course, for any complex designs or specific requirements, our in-house team can always help you.

TINKERCAD

TinkerCad is a browser-based 3D design and modeling software that you can access through your browser. The best thing about Tinkercad is that it does not require any kind of previous experience, but you can just go and start designing by selecting pre-designed objects. They can then be modified by changing the positions, dimensions and can be finally combined together in to a single shape to be downloaded as a 3D Printable STL file.

  • Formats: STL, obj
  • Price: Free
  • OS: All (web application)
  • Website: www(dot)openscad(dot)org

 

OPENSCAD

OPENSCAD is a free 3D CAD software for creating solid CAD objects for programming enthusiasts. It is not an interactive modeler, but rather a 3D compiler based on a textual description language.It relies more on what you defined in the parameters through the script files, than on the interacrtive modeling, and hence is more appealing for engineers and die hard modeling enthusiasts, who relish in seeing in their code come to life in the 3D printer.

  • Formats: dxf, off, STL
  • Price: Free
  • OS: Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Website: www(dot)openscad(dot)org
think3D top 10 cad softwares openscad

FREECAD

think3D top 10 cad softwares freecad

FREECAD is an open source software primarily aimed used by engineers and architects, due to its parametric modeling capabilities.  because it’s features are adapted to mechanical engineering. In terms of capability, it is on par with other popular CAD programs due to its capability in creating real 3D solids, support for meshes, 2D drafting, right hand coordinate system plus many more features. It allows plugins and is extremely modular.

  • Formats: STEP, IGES, STL, SVG, DXF, OBJ, IFC, DAE, OFF and Fcstd
  • Price: Free
  • OS: Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Website: www(dot)freecadweb(dot)org

 

MESHMIXER

Meshmixer is one of the best softwares, designed to prepare meshes for 3D printing though modeling, sculpting and other functions. Meshmixer’s features include great tools for 3D printing like inspecting, cleaning and healing for 3D file for 3D printing. It’s repair capabilities like hollowing, scaling, and mesh simplification making it invaluable for 3D printing. Coming from the autodesk stable, it can seamlessly integrate with other autodesk tools.

  • Formats: amf, mix, obj, off, STL
  • Price: Free
  • OS: Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Website: www(dot)meshmixer(dot)com
think3D top 10 CAD softwares Meshmixer

3D SLASH

3D Slash, a unique software, is centered around the cuboid, a solid block that can be subdivided into smaller blocks of identical size exactly similar to the concept of Minecraft. This feature makes it very easy and intuitive to almost every one including kids who are already familiar to using blocks. Amazing designs can be created  even by beginners with simple practice, that too in a playful fashion.

Formats: STL, obj

  • Price: Free
  • OS: Windows, Mac, Linux, Raspberry Pi or Browser
  • Website: www(dot)3dslash(dot)net

 

BLENDER

Blender is a full blown professional open-source and free CAD software for creating animated films, visual effects, art, interactive applications, video games – and 3D printed models. Although Blender is free, it is by no means easy to master. Blender’s capabilities are comparable to to commercial options like Mudbox or ZBrush, withmany tools and modifiers that ease the creation of meshes intended for 3D printing – including a solution to repair meshes.

  • Formats: 3ds, dae, fbx, dxf, obj, x, lwo, svg, ply, stl, vrml, vrml97, x3d
  • Price: Free
  • OS: Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Website: www(dot)blender(dot)org

 

Blender think3D top 10 CAD softwares

SKETCHUP MAKE

Sketchup Make think3D top 10 CAD softwares

Sketchup Make is one of the most popular CAD softwares used mostly for architectural purposes and sometimes for other niches in the 3D design market. It has a very neat and tidy interface, enabling even first time users to create designs within the first couple of hours. Apart from its ability to handle professional requirements, it also has a massive design repositary called 3D warehouse, which will help the users to use preexisting objects to build upon.

  • Formats: OBJ, 3DS, DWG, DXF, DAE, FBX, KMZ, WRL, XSI
  • Price: Free
  • OS: Windows, Mac
  • Website: www(dot)sketchup(dot)com

SCULPTRIS

Sculptris is a free 3D sculpting program by the same developers as ZBrush. It has similar, though fewer features than ZBrush. Even beginners can grasp the basic techniques of Sculptris quickly, and produce printable models.

Eventhough it is a free downloadable software, sculptris offers great set of intuitive tools and options. Sculptris can be summarized as a great entry level tool fro getting into 3d sculpting. After this, the users can migrate to commercial softwares like zbrush or mudbox for advanced projects.

  • Formats: obj, goz
  • Price: Free
  • OS: Windows, Mac
  • Website: www(dot)pixologic(dot)com(slash)sculptris
Sculptris make think3D top 10 CAD softwares

WINGS 3D

wings 3d think3D top 10 CAD softwares

Wings 3D is an easy to use, intuitive CAD software aimed at beginners. With a blend of simple functions like scaling, extrusion etc and advanced features like shearing, planar operations etc, wings3d is exactly right for beginners who don’t want to get overwhelmed, and yet get a thorough foundation in 3D modeling. It’s strength lies in its advanced sub division. The software has a unique feature called AutoUV facility, that allows you to export an unfolded image of your model’s surface for painting and texturing.

  • Formats: dxf, off, STL
  • Price: Free
  • OS: Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Website: www(dot)wings3d(dot)com

K-3D

K-3D is a CAD program with an artistic approach, both adapted to 3D modeling and animation. the software is very modular and allow upgrading to include complex features in the design, by simply adding new set of plugins like vizsualization, pipleline architecture etc. It has a good set of interactive tutorials, enough to make one get started fully in to design

  • Formats: Wavefront OBJ, GTS
  • Price: Free
  • OS: Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Website: www(dot)k-3d(dot)org

About the Author:

Co-founder at think3D, from product management background. Interest in tech stuff ad belief in 3D printing potential

2 Comments

  1. leslie May 14, 2018 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    hi,
    What formats does think3 produce thank you- leslie

    • think3D Customer Care
      think3D Customer Care May 15, 2018 at 5:56 am - Reply

      Greetings from think3D.

      Could you please let us know your requirement so that our team shall assist you as per your requirement.

      You can reach us at info@think3d.in or at 8142896564.

      Thank you.

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