3D printing is something that most technology and art enthusiasts are interested in, but everyday people don’t need it. This is the widespread notion everyone has about 3D printing these days, but that’s not true. Designers, architects, and engineers have been using 3D printing for more than 3 decades now. However, the spike in demand and accessibility of free 3D printing software has made it popular among the designer community.
Here is a thing, your prints are only as good as the software you are using. 3D printing software lets the user explore their various abilities ranging from modeling to rendering, sculpting, customizing and presenting to clients.
In this article, we have curated the list of best free third-party 3D printing software that is best suited for beginner 3D modelers as well as the experienced professional designers. While the built-in 3D Builder suits most, if you are looking for alternatives, then this post will interest you.
Best Free 3D Printing Software
1. TinkerCAD – Easy to Use 3D Printing Software
TinkerCAD is an online computer-aided design (CAD) 3D printing software that is geared towards beginners. The software is full of tutorials and guides to aid the beginners to get the somewhat exact designs they are looking for.
You just create an account on its website, and it lets you simply access the browser-based app. TinkerCAD offers you a vast variety of pre-defined shapes and structures. This helps you to create your design by simply dragging and dropping the box and adjusting the height, width, and, length.
TinkerCAD offers you the direct integration with the third-party printing services and even allows you to share and export files with ease. Get it here.
2. 3D Slash
What makes different from other 3D printing software, it can also work as a logo and 3D text maker. This functionality enables you to turn your logo into a 3D model or export your text to 3D text. It is free to use and an ideal 3D printing software for beginners.
It’s an intuitive building blocks concept to create shapes make it simple enough to use. You can download the multitude of files available from the huge library. If you can’t fire up the creativity, simply import from the available files and cut it apart into something new.
There is very few software that can work from concept to finish as quickly as 3D slash. Its ability to be compatible with VR headsets make it even more future-ready. Check it out here.
3. FreeCAD 3D Printing application
FreeCAD is a free open-source parametric 3D modeling tool that works pretty well for both the home user and experienced designers. As it is a parametric 3D modeler, this technically describes that you can easily modify your design by just going back into your model history and editing its parameters.
To make it simpler, if a parametric component makes a car’s design, just simply go back to your model’s history, change the component, and you’ll have a different model. It might not be the best for professional purposes. However, it is a great training tool for a novice as it enables you to design real-life objects of any size. Download it here.
It is another great printing and modeling software that is a perfect mix of usability and functionality. SketchUp is a drawing based popular 3D printing tool for designing 3D models that offer a great user experience with a relatively flat learning curve.
This software has a huge warehouse of 3D templates uploaded by users. If not willing to start from scratch, you can choose a design and modify it to your heart. That’s how simple it is to print a 3D object with SketchUp.
This software is considered good for designing architectural projects, interiors, and exterior. SketchUp provides you free tutorials that can help you excel your beginner skills into an advanced engineer.
It is a free introductory virtual sculpting 3D printing software and a great stepping stone for digital sculptors. It focuses on the concept of modeling clay to create statues or figurines.
Beginners can learn the ins and outs of digital sculpting or painting before moving to more refined and sophisticated techniques like ZBrush etc. Moreover, it enables artists with the tools such as various brushes and paint palette they need to bring their digital sculpture to life. Get it here.
This is open-source software that comes along with full-fledged professional tools. This might not be an ideal choice for beginners as it serves well to the users who feel ready to design complex 3D models.
Blender is a free computer-aided design (CAD) software that covers many facets of 3D creation including animation and modeling. Its photorealistic rendering option is the most exciting feature that distinguishes it from others. This gives sophisticated 3D models and air of realism that a very few software can do. Check it out here.
These were a few popular and best 3D printing software for every stage of your workflow. And the best part is that all of them are free to use or at least free for educators, students, and for open source projects.