10 Best 3D Printing Software for Beginners to Try in 2020

| September 14, 2020
3D printing software

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3D printing software simplifies the process of generating real life models from 2D drawings, improving the efficiency of designs and minimizing the cost associated with manufacturing.

Home 3D printer

What is 3D Printing Software?

A 3D printer design software is a tool which takes your design from paper and converts it into a model occupying space in three dimensions. A software used for 3D printing first transforms your drawings into meshes which are called G codes.

The best program for 3D printing then uses these G codes to replicate physically realisable models.

What's the Use of 3D Printing Software?

3D printer modeling software is becoming popular, even in industries where its use was unfathomable a few years ago. We list some popular ways in which CAD software for 3D printing is being used

  1. Education

Modern day education involves using 3D modeling software for 3D printing to help students grasp scientific and design-based concepts in a better manner.

  1. Manufacturing

3D printing software online solutions can render a prototype far quicker than traditional methods and at a reduced cost. 

  1. Healthcare

3D printing software finds a variety of uses in the healthcare industry. It is put into force for bioprinting- a procedure for developing artificial structures imitating human tissue. The software is also highly popular for the creation of prosthetic and implants.

  1. Jewellery Designing

3D design software can helps create intricate jewellery designs in 3D to get a holistic view.  

  1. Food Industry

3D printers are being used in the food industry to print the prototype of specific tools required for the processing and storage of packaged food.

10 Best 3D Printer Software for CAD & 3D Modelling

Below we mention some of the best 3D printer software which can render creative three-dimensional models in no time.

  1. TinkerCAD

Best 3D printer design software for beginners

3D printer design software

TinkerCAD from Autodesk is a 3D printing software that lets you design complex 3D models by combining different shapes. Once you have designed the model, you can export it as an SVG file and then laser cut it.

TinkerCAD Home 3D printer Features

  • Ordering 3D prints

You can order 3D prints and get them delivered right to your doorstep

  • 3D design lessons

Beginners can learn to design the perfect model through a number of tutorials and videos

  • Simulation of electronic circuits

You can create virtual electronic circuits and simulate their working in real life

  • Coding

TinkerCAD allows creation of interactive designs using code blocks and C++ language

  • Multiformat file saving

With this software you can obtain 3D models in different formats such as OBJ, SVJ and STL etc.

TinkerCAD3D printing software online pricing: TinkerCAD software is a free 3D printing software.

Pros

  • It supports brick model designing, similar to building legos
  • You can undertake transformation and shape modification in your designs.

Cons

  • TinkerCAD free 3D printer software does not work without internet connectivity.

  1. Cura

Best open source software used for 3D printing

With Cura 3D printer modeling software, you can monitor different designs from a common interface. You can render 3D models over various networks and save the output in X3D, 3MF, OBJ file formats.

Cura3D Printing Software Features

  • Grouping 3D printers

You can group 3D printers in your organisation and obtain maintenance alerts for individual printers.

  • 3D Printing Assistance

Beginners can access reading materials on how to best use Cura 3D printer design software.

  • Flexible material choice

You can choose the material in which you want your design to be rendered such as polymers, carbon fibres, etc.

  • Global support services

Cura3D printer software team offers support service in your desired language and as per your time zone.

  • Enhanced integrations

Cura offers integration with other CAD software for 3D printing like siemens NX, Autodesk and Solidworks.

Cura3D printer modeling software pricing: Cura is a free, open source 3D printing software.

Pros

  • Cura can be used by both professional designers and newbies
  • You can utilise plugins to customize 3D design development.

Cons

  • The software can be a burden on your system’s RAM if you are using a device with the modest CPU.

  1. Sculptris

Best Program for 3D Printing for Professional Designers

Best 3D printer design software

Sculptris lets you sculpt 3D models from virtual clay. You can easily share your renditions with others in iMage 3D GIF and iMage 3D PNG format. On a normal website this file will appear in 2D format. However other users of Sculptris can see your designs in 3D.

Sculptris Free 3D printing software Features

  • Automatic addition of polygons

Sculptris automatically adds polygons to create in-depth designs

  • Multiple brushes

The 3D printing software online offers multiple brushes for digitally sculpting designs in different ways

  • Symmetrical sculpting

Symmetry button lets you work on left and right side of your design with equal precision

  • Different colour options

Sculptris provides a variety of colours in virtual clay for you to work upon such as MatCap red, toy plastic, gold, silver foil, etc.

  • Exporting image

The export button lets you to obtain an image of your model designed on the canvas

Sculptris CAD software for 3D printing pricing: You don’t need to spend anything to download Sculptris.

Pros

  • You can preview any .ZPR project files in 3D
  • It works on both windows and mac OS

Cons

  • Sculptris offers limited functionalities for designing highly complex 3D structures.

  1. Autodesk AutoCAD

Best 3D print software for designing sophisticated mechanical parts

Autodesk AutoCAD software used for 3D printing lets you extract data from PDF files and annotate your designs. By using Autodesk software, you can also access tools such as AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD Map 3D, AutoCAD Electrical, etc. which can complement your drawings.

AutoCAD 3D Printing Software Features

  • Preloaded plugins

The 3D printer modelling software is loaded with entities such as doors and windows, aiding in easy development of designs.

  • Conversion to STL files

After completion of 3D drawing, the software converts them into STL type for printing.

  • Automated tasks

AutoCAD 3D printer software automates tasks such as comparing drawings, adding blocks, etc.

  • Easy customisation

You can customise the interface as per your need with add on apps and APIs.

  • Enforce industry standards in your drawings

AutoCAD uses a rule-based workflow to ensure that each drawing satisfies certain industry standards.

AutoCAD Home 3D printer software pricing: AutoCAD offers a free trial for 30 days. After that it can be purchased on a subscription basis by paying ₹11,023 per month.

Pros:

  • Autodesk offers web as well as mobile apps
  • Exceptional customer support before and after purchase.

Cons

  • Autodesk has a steep learning curve for beginners.

  1. MeshLab

Best 3D modeling software for 3D printing meshes

Free 3D printing software

MeshLab open source software is suitable for designing, texturing and transforming 3D meshes. Meshlab3D printing software boasts of a measurement tool which can calculate the linear distance between any two points within the mesh framework.

MeshLab 3D printer design software Features

  • 3D Alignment

MeshLab allows alignment of multiple meshes in a single reference system

  • Reconstruction

The software supports different reconstruction from raw blocks such as volumetric, implicit surface etc.

  • Coloring and texturing

MeshLab projects high quality color encoding and texture mapping onto 3D objects

  • Better 3D printing

You can convert your designs to STL format and create inner shells to obtain watertight meshes

  • Efficient cleaning

MeshLab swiftly removes any design errors, poorly oriented faces, vertices and edges

MeshLab 3D printer modeling software pricing: MeshLab is a free open source software

Pros

  • MeshLab makes it easy to manipulate orientation of a 3D model
  • It can import and export 3D designs to third party services such as Blender and Photoscan.

Cons

  • Navigation around 3D meshes can be an arduous task.

  1. SketchUp

Best CAD software for 3D printing for architects

Best 3D printing software

SketchUp is used for designing sustainable designs for building and edifices. The software backs up your designs to the cloud and lets you collaborate with your team on cloud. It also offers a dedicated mobile app for you to access your work anywhere you go.

SketchUp 3D Printing Software Online Features

  • Supports different file formats

You can work on SKP, PNG, JPG files and then export your drawings in PNG and STP file format.

  • Reference material

The software provides access to models generated by other users as well as the software itself for your reference.

  • Compatibility with VR software

The 3D printing software is compatible with HTC vive, Oculus and Microsoft HoloLens for better presentation of your designs

  • LayOut for 2D drawings

You can obtain 2D blueprints with the LayOut feature of SketchUp

  • Build better with Sefaira Plugin

With Sefaira for SketchUp plugin, you can obtain critical information such as a building’s energy requirement before you start building

SketchUp 3D printing software pricing: SketchUp offers a free trial for 30 days. After that you can shift to a paid plan at the rate of ₹8752.91 per year.

Pros

  • You can quickly share designs with clients through trimble connect
  • SketchUp web version allows you to design without the need for downloading the software

Cons

  • SketchUp does not have an autosave feature. In case it closes out of the blue, you might lose important work.

  1. FreeCAD

Best 3D printer design software for beginners interested in learning 3D modeling

FreeCAD is an open source 3D design, modelling and printing software. The software showcases users the history of their designs and all the edits made by them. It converts basic 2D images into 3D and 3D designs into 2D blueprints.

Free CADFree 3D Printing Software Features

  • Multiplatform

FreeCAD works equally well on Windows, macOS and Linux

  • Accepts different file formats

FreeCAD software accepts input files in IGES, OBJ, STL, DXF formats etc.

  • Designed for all categories of users

Be it a beginner or professional designer, an experience architect or a student, FreeCAD has something for everyone

  • Advance robot simulation module

With this module, you can track the movements of a robot and plan its trajectory

  • CASCADE technology

You can create complex 3D shapes and carry out complex orientation and scaling operations on them

FreeCAD3D printer design software pricing: FreeCAD open source software can be used without paying any cost.

Pros

  • It offers add on plugins to boost its core building functions
  • It has a sketcher through which you can draft 2D images and then use them as a base to build 3D structures.

Cons

  • The interface of FreeCAD scores low in terms of intuitiveness.

  1. OctoPrint

Best Remote Control 3D Model Rendering Software

OctoPrint is a robust open source 3D drawing printing software. It provides you with extended plugins for creating time lapses and update of printer’s firmware. It is compatible with almost every 3D printer, even with Dremel and PowerSpec.

OctoPrint3D Printer Modeling Software Features

  • Remote monitoring of designs

Use the embedded webcam feed to remotely monitor your printer’s functioning

  • Customizable UI

You can change the themes of OctoPrint’s UI by using the Themeify feature

  • Better management of STL files

With OctoPrint, you can directly slice STL files quickly

  • System command shortcut

Shortcut commands can be created on the main menu for shutting down or rebooting printer and servers

  • Dedicated community

OctoPrint has a community forum where beginners can obtain support and utilities regarding their 3D drawings

OctoPrint CAD software for 3D printing pricing: OctoPrint open source software is free to use.

Pros

  • You can set up event hooks to send custom GCODE to your printer
  • It helps define custom controls for moving the print head.

Cons

  • If you cancel a print and then try reprint the same document, it will crash automatically.

  1. 3D Slash

Best 3D print software for students

Best 3D print software

An easy to use 3D model drafting tool, 3D Slash has been specifically designed for use by school students. 3D Slash works equally well on online and offline mode and provides engaging cutting and smashing tools for beginners to reshape their models.

3D Slash Home 3D Printer Software Features

  • VR View

You can easily present your designs as the software is compatible with VR headsets

  • Projecting pictures and texts on designs

            You can engrave pictures and texts on your 3D designs

  • Color palette

With 3D Slash, give a creative touch to your models and paint them using its encompassing palette

  • Support for files with different formats

You can import .stl and .obj file and start building them

  • Creating student accounts

Teachers can create multiple student accounts and then monitor their designs in real time

3D Slash 3D modeling software pricing: 3D Slash offers a free version. The cost of the premium version starts from ₹147.02. It provides features such as high resolution designing and a dedicated mobile app.

Pros

  • 3D Slash works even on Raspberry pi
  • It offers file synchronization on multiple formats.

Cons

  • 3D Slash software is not designed for complex modelling.

  1. Creo

Best Program for 3D Printing of Modern Product Design

Best program for 3D printing

Creo printing tool is widely used for manufacturing casts and product designing. You can realise your designs on paper in real life by making use of Creo’s real time simulation and multibody designing.

Features of Creo Software used for 3D printing

  • Generative Design

Develop clean designs by removing all topological flaws from your designs

  • Optimization extension

You can choose the design most optimized as per your needs and the one which involves

  • Fluid dynamics for real time simulation

Creo allows you to simulate the working of your design to get hold of any flaws

  • Better functionality

Creo lets you gauge your designs on real world parametric, such as thermal readings

  • Delaunay Algorithm

Creo makes use of Delaunay algorithm to design cleaner lattices in quick fashion

Creo 3D printing software online pricing: Creo offers a trial version for 30 days and after that you can purchase a lifetime license at ₹169767.68

Pros

  • It is suitable for complex operations on complex 3D models
  • The software can be used for IoT operations, augmented reality etc.

Cons

  • Beginners looking to fiddle with 3D designing may find this software too complex.

Our Take

So here is our list of 10 best 3D printing software. While choosing such a software for your organisation, you must ensure that it provides an in-depth 3D view of your 2D drawings. Moreover, it should allow you to export final output in different formats and should be compatible with leading printers.

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