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  1. #1

    Best software to use for 3D modeling & design?

    Could anyone recommend the best software to use for 3D modeling? I am an artist but am just starting to get into 3D design for 3D printers. I don't want to spend a fortune on software, but at the same time I want something that is professional, and easy to use.

    Jake

  2. #2
    I use sketchup.com. It's easy to use and best of all it's free

  3. #3
    There are a ton of free programs as well as professional paid programs. Here is a quick list 3d modeling software. Just Google the name for their sites.:

    Free 3D softwares:


    Google SketchUp
    3DCrafter
    3Dtin
    Anim8or
    Art of Illusion
    Blender
    BRL-CAD
    Creo Elements/Direct
    DrawPlus Starter Edition
    FreeCAD
    GLC Player
    LeoCAD
    Netfabb Studio Basic
    K-3D
    OpenSCAD
    Tinkercad
    Wings 3D

    Paid 3D softwares:

    3DS Max
    Alibre
    AC3D
    AutoCAD
    AutoQ3D
    Cheetah3D
    Cloud9
    FormZ
    Maya
    Magics
    NetFabb
    Rhino3D
    Solidworks
    ZBrush

  4. #4
    Student
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    Indeed, difficult to answer :-) Great list!
    Use the one you allready know, else you will most likely have to decide if you use a software suite that's made for CAD or organic modeling, usualy there is no all-in-one solution,... this does not mean you can't create a figurine in Sketchup or a gear in Sculptris...

  5. #5
    I've been using a few. Once you master a couple softwares, you pretty much can master them all. Many are quite intuitive once you get to know the basic functions.

  6. #6
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    Zbrush....though...its not cheap.

  7. #7
    Technician joealarson's Avatar
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    I'm a big believer in Blender. It's the all in one solution. It does drafting-like things. It does sculpting. It makes really good renders for selling your models. It may not be the best at any of it's part, but nothing has the same number of parts.

  8. #8
    Engineer-in-Training MysteryAlabaster's Avatar
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    While this is a good list, you fail to explain what any of those do. So now, as the asker of this question, I would have to go through your list and see which one works best for the type of modeling I want to do.

    Here is a list of the programs we use in our lab:

    Sculptris: This program is good for someone who likes to model with clay or other similar mediums. While we have yet to get a successful print from this, it may be because we only used one very complicated model.

    Tinkercad
    : My boss swears by this program, and as it was recently bought by Autodesk good things are to come in the near future! This is a good program for instruction to a class, or for someone who likes to be able to just slap a few shapes together and call it a day. While a bit of the things that come out of Tinkercad are simple in design, there are people who I have come across who have mastered this art and can make you almost anything you want. It really is something you learn over time.

    123D-Design
    : This is another program by Autodesk, and sometimes it seems like they were trying to imitate Tinkercad before they bought it. It has most of the same features, but it is for a bit more experienced modelers. If you're going to use 123D-Design, use the installed version and not the browser one.

    Maya
    : While this program is extremely detailed, and can be used to make amazing things, I have never heard of it being used to make prints. One of my friends tried taking classes on it and he had to drop out because of how complicated it was. If all you want to do is make prints then Maya is not your choice!

    Google Sketch-Up
    : I used this a year or so ago, before Makerbot came out with all the crap it has out now. It was bad, the controls were annoying, it was really hard to make a detailed model, and I haven't heard of anyone using it to print things either. If you wanted to make maps for video games, Sketch-Up would be your choice. (Even though I don't think that is possible)


    Hopefully I helped you narrow it down a bit. If it helps more, all I really do is model for prints and I use Tinkercad. I've made parts for some FRC robots and I've made scale models of my house on it as well. If you're looking for something simple, easy to use, and reliable for printing then Tinkercad is what you want.

  9. #9
    Engineer
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    i am a beginner at 3d modeling and am using rhino3d. i tried the simple software like 123d, tinkercad and even a bit of sketchup, etc and found them to be easy IF you wanted to design something simple or easy but they all seem to be limited and to do anything you want to do they become difficult because of the lack of tools. i find rhino to be somewhat easy but also extremely powerful. lets say its easy on a professional level. i bought myself a video training course on it and that was enough to really get me rolling with it in no time.

  10. #10
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    My personal favourites are:

    1. Blender. (Free, www.blender.org)

    2. Maya. (~$1,700/Free, providing your a student. www.autodesk.com)

    3. 3DS Max. (~$1,700/Free, providing your a student. www.autodesk.com)

    There are some other good programs like 123D Design, AutoCAD, OpenSCAD etc.

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