Ultimate Guide to 17+ 3D Printing Software: Best 3D Design and Modeling Tools for 3D Printers

Ultimate Guide to 17+ 3D Printing Software: Best 3D Design and Modeling Tools for 3D Printers
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Discovering the top 3D printing software modeling tools is a crucial first step for creators of all skill levels in the exciting and rapidly evolving field of 3D printing. It’s possible for an idea to stay in your head or come to life on a print bed, but you need the right 3D modeling tool to make it happen.

Looking for the best 3D printing modeling software for your project? This guide will help you find the right one for your size, complexity, and price.

This guide will help you understand software that can be as easy or difficult to use as you need it to be, whether you are a beginner or an experienced creator. This is where you start your search for the perfect 3D modeling partner, from the ease of drag-and-drop tools to the fine-grained control of the parametric design.

Understanding 3D Printing Modeling Software

3D printer software like 3D printing modeling software is used to create digital models of objects that can be printed in three dimensions. CAD tools within these software solutions allow users to design and manipulate digital models before sending them to a 3D printer for physical production.

The applications of 3D printing modeling software are vast and can be used in various industries and fields. Some common applications include product design and prototyping, engineering and architecture, medical and dental modeling, and even the creation of artistic and decorative objects.

Basic 3D printing modeling software solutions are typically user-friendly and cater to beginners and hobbyists. They often have simplified user interfaces and tools for creating basic 3D models. Examples of basic 3D printing modeling software include Tinkercad and SketchUp.

Regarding 3D printing modeling software, advanced software is made for professionals like engineers, artists, and others who need more advanced tools and features. These solutions can do simulations, advanced rendering and visualization, and parametric models. tools like Autodesk Fusion 360 and SolidWorks are examples of advanced 3D modeling tools.

Top 17 Picks for Budget-Friendly 3D Modeling Tools 

Ultimate Guide to 17+ 3D Printing Software: Best 3D Design and Modeling Tools for 3D Printers Softlist.io

If you are looking for budget-friendly 3D modeling tools, here are the top 17 picks for you. From CAD software to the best 3D printing software and free 3D design software, there are options like Tinkercad, slicing software, and generative design tools. These tools are used the for 3D printing process, 3D modeling, 3D design, and product design with parametric modeling capabilities.  

#1 Blender

A screenshot of Blender's website

Source: Blender

Blender is a versatile open-source 3D creation suite that provides a full range of tools for artists and designers. From modeling and animation to video editing and game creation, Blender is well-suited for beginners and professionals. Its strong community and free access make it a popular choice for 3D projects.

Key Features:

  • Comprehensive 3D Modeling and Animation
  • Node-Based Material and Compositing System
  • Built-in Game Engine and VR Support

Discover Blender’s pricing for your creative projects.

#2 SketchUp

A screenshot of SketchUp's website

Source: SketchUp

SketchUp is a user-friendly 3D modeling software that excels in architectural and design visualization. It’s praised for its intuitive drawing tools and extensive library of models and textures. Ideal for professionals and hobbyists, SketchUp facilitates quick and easy 3D form creation.

Key Features:

  • Intuitive Design and Modeling Tools
  • Extensive 3D Warehouse of Models
  • Real-time Shadows and Detailed Textures

Explore SketchUp’s pricing for your design and architecture needs.

#3 Tinkercad

A screenshot of Tinkercad's website

Source: Tinkercad

Tinkercad is an easy-to-use, browser-based 3D design tool aimed at beginners and educational purposes. With its simple interface, anyone can start designing 3D models and circuits or even preparing them for 3D printing without prior experience.

Key Features:

  • Beginner-Friendly Interface
  • 3D Design and Printing Preparation
  • Integrated Circuit Design and Prototyping

Get started with Tinkercad for simple and fun 3D designs.

#4 Sculptris

A screenshot of Sculpteo's website

Source: Sculpteo

Sculptris is a digital sculpting application perfect for those new to 3D artwork. With its straightforward tools and interactive interface, it allows artists to create detailed sculptures and characters with ease, acting as a stepping stone to more complex software.

Key Features:

  • Intuitive Sculpting Tools
  • Dynamic Tessellation for Fine Detail
  • Seamless Transition to ZBrush for Advanced Work

Begin your 3D sculpting journey with Sculptris

#5 Autodesk 123D Design

A screenshot of Autodesk 123D's website

Source: Autodesk 123D

Autodesk 123D Design was an entry-level CAD tool for creating 3D models easily. Although discontinued, it helped hobbyists and educators in 3D design with its straightforward tools and user-friendly interface.

Key Features:

  • Simple CAD Modeling Tools
  • User-Friendly for Beginners and Students
  • Integration with Other Autodesk Products

Note: Autodesk 123D Design has been discontinued, but past users can transition to other Autodesk solutions.

#6 OpenSCAD

OpenSCAD stands out for those who prefer coding to create 3D models. It’s a script-only-based modeler that uses its own description language. Ideal for engineers and programmers, OpenSCAD makes precision and reproducibility its top features.

Key Features:

  • Code-based modeling for Precision
  • Parametric Design with Script Control
  • Strong Community and Open-Source Nature

Dive into 3D modeling with OpenSCAD’s unique coding approach.

#7 3D Slash

3D Slash is a fun and easy-to-use 3D modeling software reminiscent of building blocks. It’s great for beginners and schools, offering a gamified experience that simplifies the creation of complex structures from simple shapes.

Key Features:

  • User-friendly building Interface
  • Tools for Engraving and Painting Models
  • Ideal for Education and Newcomers to 3D Modeling

Create with ease using 3D Slash

#8 Morphi

Morphi is a mobile and desktop app designed for 3D modeling without the need for WiFi. With its touch-optimized interface, it’s particularly appealing for educators, students, and designers who want to create on the go.

Key Features:

  • Touch-Friendly Interface for Tablets and Phones
  • Offline Functionality for On-the-Go Design
  • AR/VR Viewing and Simple 3D Printing Preparation

Model anywhere, anytime with Morphi.

#9 Vectary

Vectary offers an online 3D modeling tool with a focus on design and collaboration. It’s accessible from your browser and provides an intuitive interface for beginners and professionals alike, streamlining the design process from idea to prototype.

Key Features:

  • Browser-Based with Collaborative Features
  • Intuitive Drag-and-Drop Interface
  • Integrated Plugins for Enhanced Functionality

View Vectary’s price plans

#10 Clara.io

Clara.io is a full-featured cloud-based 3D modeling, animation, and rendering software that doesn’t require any downloads or installations. It suits 3D artists and designers looking to work collaboratively in the cloud.

Key Features:

  • No Installation Required, Cloud-Based Platform
  • Comprehensive 3D Modeling and Rendering
  • Real-Time Collaboration and Sharing

View Clara.io’s price plans

#11 Leopoly

Leopoly is a cloud-based 3D modeling software that focuses on providing a customizable platform for businesses and educators. With its easy-to-use tools, it’s great for creating and sharing virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) content.

Key Features:

  • Simplified VR/AR Content Creation
  • Customizable Platform for Businesses
  • User-Friendly Design for Education and Training

View Leopoly’s price plans

#12 3D Crafter

3D Crafter (formerly known as Art of Illusion) is a real-time 3D modeling and animation tool that offers an intuitive drag-and-drop approach to 3D modeling. It’s a practical tool for artists who want to see their adjustments in a real-time environment.

Key Features:

  • Real-Time Modeling and Animation
  • Drag-and-Drop Interface for Ease of Use
  • Support for Complex Animations and Scenes

Animate and model with real-time feedback using 3D Crafter.

View 3D Crafter for free!


BRL-CAD is one of the oldest open-source solid modeling systems, which combines interactive geometry editing with ray tracing for rendering and geometric analysis. It’s a powerful solution for engineering and scientific applications.

Key Features:

  • Open-Source Solid Modeling
  • Advanced Geometric Analysis
  • Robust Suite for Engineering Applications

Check out BRL-CAD capabilities

#14 Meshmixer

Meshmixer is a state-of-the-art software for working with triangle meshes. It’s a go-to tool for 3D printing enthusiasts and designers for editing and repairing STL files, as well as for creating complex models using its mesh manipulation functions.

Key Features:

  • Advanced Mesh Editing and Repair
  • 3D Printing Orientation and Support Structure Creation
  • Interactive Sculpting Tools

Download Meshmixer for free

#15 FreeCAD

FreeCAD is a parametric 3D modeler made primarily to design real-life objects of any size. Its open-source platform is highly customizable, allowing users to tweak designs through model history and easily change parameters. It’s particularly useful for engineering and product design.

Key Features:

  • Parametric Modeling Capabilities
  • Modular Architecture for Plugin Extensions
  • Simulation and Rendering Support

View FreeCAD for free

#16 Solidworks Apps for Kids

Solidworks Apps for Kids introduces children to the world of 3D design and engineering. With its kid-friendly interface, it’s designed to spark creativity and interest in STEM through fun and engaging design projects.

Key Features:

  • Child-Friendly User Interface
  • Introduction to Basic 3D Design Principles
  • Creative Tools for Drawing, Modeling, and Printing

View Solidworks’ price plans

#17 Rhino3D

Rhino3D, or simply Rhino, is a powerful 3D computer graphics and CAD application, known for its versatility in handling complex modeling tasks with incredible precision and flexibility. It’s a favorite among architects, designers, and engineers who require exacting detail in their 3D models.

Key Features:

  • Accurate Freeform 3D Modeling
  • Capable of Handling Extremely Large Models
  • Wide Range of Plugins for Extended Capabilities

View Rhino3D’s price plans

Professional 3D Design Software for Experts

Ultimate Guide to 17+ 3D Printing Software: Best 3D Design and Modeling Tools for 3D Printers Softlist.io

Professional 3D design software is essential for designers, architects, engineers, and animators who require advanced features and capabilities for their projects. 

Below are some high-end, professional-grade software options with their key functionalities and price plans:

1. AutoCAD: AutoCAD is a popular professional 3D design software by Autodesk, known for its comprehensive set of tools for 3D modeling, drafting, and documentation. It offers advanced features such as parametric constraints, 3D printing support, and extensive libraries of 3D models and materials. Price plans include monthly subscriptions starting at $210.

2. SolidWorks: SolidWorks is a powerful 3D design software for mechanical engineers and product designers, and it’s also one of the best 3D printer software. It offers advanced features such as integrated simulation tools, sheet metal design, and advanced surface modeling. Price plans include annual subscriptions starting at $3,995.

3. Rhinoceros 3D: Rhinoceros 3D, also known as Rhino, is a versatile 3D modeling software with advanced features for industrial design, architecture, and multimedia design. It offers advanced modeling tools, support for a wide range of file formats, and a strong plugin ecosystem for extended functionality. Price plans include a one-time purchase starting at $995.

4. Maya: Maya is a professional 3D animation and modeling software by Autodesk, which is also a popular 3D CAD tool. The software is widely used in the film, television, and game development industries. It offers advanced features such as advanced character rigging, dynamics and effects, and an extensive rendering toolkit. Price plans include annual subscriptions starting at $1,690.

These professional-grade 3D design software options provide advanced tools and capabilities for demanding projects, with prices that reflect their comprehensive feature sets and specialized functionalities. Keyword: “Professional 3D Design Software”.

Best 3D Printing Software for Beginners

For beginners looking to start 3D printing, Tinkercad is a great option. It is a free 3D design software that allows users to easily create 3D models for their 3D printer. Tinkercad, a user-friendly management software, is perfect for those new to 3D modeling, making it an ideal choice for those just starting in the popular 3D printing process. 

1. TinkerCAD
TinkerCAD, which is a free and popular 3D printing software tool, is user-friendly and suitable for beginners. It offers a web-based platform that allows users to create 3D models with ease. Its simple drag-and-drop interface and pre-made shapes make it perfect for those new to 3D design. TinkerCAD also provides tutorials and online courses to help beginners get started.

Price: Free

Key Features: Intuitive interface, pre-made shapes, online tutorials

2. SketchUp

SketchUp is another beginner-friendly 3D printing software that offers a free version with basic features suitable for beginners. It provides a user-friendly interface and a wide range of tools for creating 3D models. SketchUp also offers a paid version with advanced features for those who want to expand their skills.

Price: Free for basic version, Paid plans starting at $299/year

Key Features: Easy-to-use interface, basic and advanced versions, a wide range of tools

3. 3D Slash

3D Slash is a user-friendly 3D printing software that is specifically designed for beginners. It offers a simple and intuitive interface that allows users to create 3D models using a virtual hammer and chisel. This unique approach makes 3D modeling easy and enjoyable for beginners. 3D Slash also provides tutorials and templates to help users get started.

Price: Free for basic version, Paid plans starting at $2.99/month
Key Features: Virtual hammer and chisel interface, tutorials, templates 

Comparison of High-End 3D CAD Software

When comparing high-end 3D CAD software, there are several factors to consider. Some options, like Tinkercad, offer free 3D design software with parametric modeling and generative design capabilities. 

Other software, such as slicing software for 3D printing, is essential for 3D printing. Ultimately, the best 3D modeling software will depend on the specific needs of the product design and 3D printing software used. 

 – AutoCAD: Designed for 2D and 3D CAD modeling, it offers a wide range of tools for professionals, supports collaboration and data management, integrated documentation and ls, and has a customizable interface.

– SolidWorks: Specialized in mechanical design, robust tools for creating complex 3D models, simulation capabilities, integrated data management, custom templates, and libraries.

– CATIA: Used in aerospace and automotive industries, advanced surface modeling tools, complex assembly design, Simulation, and analysis features, integrated design, and manufacturing solutions.

– Creo: Offers parametric and direct modeling capabilities, advanced surfacing tools, integrated simulation and analysis, flexible design and customization options ns, and supports large assemblies and complex designs.

– Fusion 360: Cloud-based platform for 3D modeling, simulation, and collaboration, integrated CAM and 3D printing tools, supports both organic and mechanical designs, customizable and user-friendly interface.  Keyword: “High-End 3D CAD Software”.

Choosing the Right 3D Modeling Platform

When choosing the right 3D modeling platform, it is important to consider the type of 3D design and 3D printing process you will be working with. 

Factors such as free 3D design software like Tinkercad or advanced parametric modeling software used for product design like CAD software must be considered. The best 3D printing software for slicing the 3D model and generating code for the 3D printer should also be considered. 

  1. Consider the specific needs and goals of the user, whether it’s for personal or professional use
  2. Take into account the user’s level of experience and skill in 3D modeling, as some platforms may be easier to learn and use for beginners
  3. Research and compare different 3D design tools to find the most user-friendly options, using keywords like “User-Friendly 3D Modeling Platforms” and “3D Design Tools Comparison”
  4. Look for software that offers tutorials, customer support, and a community of users for help and guidance.
  5. Consider the compatibility of the software with the user’s operating system and hardware.
  6. Most open-source 3D printer software offers free trials or demos to test the software before committing. 

Factors to Consider

When considering software for 3D printing, factors such as price, features, user interface, and support are crucial. Whether it’s a 3D modeling tool, computer-aided design program, or slicer software, users need reliable options for creating and editing models for 3D printing. 

The ability to build 3D models, design and 3D modeling, and control and monitor 3D printers are important features to consider when selecting software for the 3D printing industry. 

Open-source 3D printing software and open-source parametric models are also widely used options in the market, alongside STL repair software and 3D slicing software for users needing software options for 3D printing.  

1. Compatibility with existing software and hardware systems
2. Ability to handle complex and detailed designs
3. The best 3D printer software offers updates and upgrades to meet users’ growing needs.
4. Learning curve and ease of use
5. The software integrates with 3D printing technology and other manufacturing processes, making it a widely used 3D printing software. 

Key Takeaways

You can unlock a new level of design and creativity when you start 3D printing, and the right program will be your handyman. When you first start out, Tinkercad and SketchUp are the best tools for you. They are friendly, and they will show you the basics of making cool things that you can print out and show off.

And now, if you want to take your ideas to the next level without spending a lot of money, Blender and FreeCAD are the tools you need. These things are fancy enough to let your mind run wild but don’t cost much money. For people who know how to code, OpenSCAD is like a playground where accuracy meets programming.

It’s important to know how you play before picking your software team. It’s not enough to have the coolest tools; you need to find the ones that work best for you. There are a lot of 3D printing software friends ready to go on your crafting experiences with you, whether you’re just having fun or trying to make it your career.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does 3D Sculpting Software Differ from Regular Modeling Software? 

3D sculpting software allows for more organic and detailed model creation, while regular modeling software is better for creating geometric shapes and structures.

Are there open-source software options like free 3D printing software available? 

Yes, there are free 3D printing software options available, such as Tinkercad, 3D Slash, and FreeCAD.

Are There Any 3D Printing Software Options for Mac Users? 

Yes, there are 3D printing software options available for Mac users, such as Blender, Meshmixer, and Cura.

What are the essential features of 3D CAD software? 

Essential features of 3D CAD software include precision modeling, parametric design, assembly design, and simulation and analysis tools.

Can High-End 3D CAD Software Be Self-Taught? 

Yes, high-end 3D CAD software can be self-taught through online tutorials, forums, and practice.

Softlist.io: Your Guide in the Software World

Are you tired of sifting through endless software options? Let Softlist.io be your guide in the software world, offering expert reviews, comparisons, and recommendations to help you find the perfect solution for your needs. Stop wasting time and make the smart choice with Softlist.io today! 

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