Best Free Cad For 3d Printing – Modeling is one of the most important skills for 3D printing. Without it, you won’t be able to use your expensive device, which will soon turn into a useless toy gathering dust in a closet. In this article, we’ll go over basic and professional level programs to help you master building models for 3D printing.
The most popular software is CAD (Computer Aided Design). This technique has essentially replaced freehand drawing. CAD software allows you to model an object from a helmet wire clip to a rocket launcher. The technology works on the principle of geometry. It is based on a two-dimensional technical drawing of an object. The software performs all mathematical calculations automatically, making it easy for engineers, designers, and developers. The advantage of such software lies in the precision of the calculations required in mechanical engineering or in the design of technical elements where precise dimensions are important.
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The purpose of the simplest computer-aided design system is to create two-dimensional drawings and associated documents. More sophisticated programs allow you to develop a 3D object based on an existing standard model.
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The most time-consuming programs go beyond CAD and into creative 3D modeling. Here we are primarily dealing with a three-dimensional shape, not a flat pattern. The use of such programs requires professionalism and at the same time provides more opportunities for solving complex problems that are not provided by automated algorithms, but often without clear reference to dimensions.
We open our evaluation with a free program with a simple intuitive interface, also available for commercial use. Thanks to this, we can design small rooms as well as an entire building. Freecad would be good for beginners in 3D printing. In this software, you create a 2D sketch and then export it to a 3D model. The program interface is divided into modules, such as “Drawing”, “Rendering”, “Architecture”.
We have already mentioned its user-friendly workspace, such as: zoom, change angles, camera controls. The top toolbar contains all the tools needed for modeling. On the left you find the switchable modules. At the bottom of the screen are the model properties. It is convenient that you can open multiple drawings at the same time in different tabs and switch between them as needed.
This software is not inferior to its paid counterparts in terms of a set of functions. At most, it’s an open-source program. Advanced users can add additional options not provided by the basic settings using the Python programming language.
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A clear advantage of the program is its compatibility not only with Windows and MacOS, but also with Linux.
It should be noted that when saving Freecad files, Freecad uses its own extensions. So, when loading projects from third-party programs, errors and inaccuracies may occur.
If you have never made models, you will definitely come across this software. It’s designed to teach kids about 3D options and is perfect for home 3D designing and printing.
You don’t even need to download Tinkercad. This Autodesk service is available online. To get started, all you have to do is log in as a student, teacher or individual user and use the service for free.
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You can start modeling on Service Workplace using pre-existing forms or create a new project from scratch. Work in the application is accompanied by reference materials developed specifically for training. “Group”, “Adjust” and “Align” are the main tools here. Additionally, the software has recorded works by other authors, most of which can be edited and then 3D printed.
Users of this service deal with 3D shapes, but you can also convert 2D sketches into 3D models. The program saves finished projects as stl, obj and svg files. It is very practical because you can open them in other software, possibly more professional. The STL format allows the file to be imported into third-party slicers for 3D printing.
Indeed, Tinkercad is a free training service for beginners, which will become a guide to the world of more advanced CAD software.
It’s professional software from Autodesk, but it has a free license for students, home users, and small business owners, as long as you use it for non-commercial purposes or earn less than $100,000 a year. year as a start-up. The license is issued for one year with the possibility of extension. In particular, the Personal and Student versions do not have all the features available in the version for commercial use. However, their lack is not critical for the average user.
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As for the interface of the program, it is user-friendly, but since the software is full of various options, it will be difficult for a beginner to understand it right away. The software offers wide possibilities for solid modeling. The tools here are no different from regular tools, but there is a timeline, through which you can go back and make changes at any stage of modeling. Here you can also perform modeling, manually control the parameters of 3D curves or define the dimensions automatically.
Fusion 360 is great for working with drawings, which justifies its rating in our review of the best CAD software. You can set the necessary parameters for the drawing. It is also possible to create specific models using mathematical functions. In this case, all the elements associated with the given value will be modified. Thus, you can create, for example, a gear by specifying the module and the number of teeth.
The software has a gallery of the most popular engineering part models and an option to import and edit a 3D scanned object.
Fusion 360 supports over 50 file formats, such as sldprt, sat, iges, step, stl, and obj, but saves projects as f3d files.
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This software renders and animates and supports the technical analysis feature where you can see the weak points of the model used.
This CAD software for 3D printing has its own slicer, i.e. it slices the model to prepare it for printing. Here it also adds support for printing relief elements.
What’s unique: A clear interface, access to a library of templates created by other users.
It is a simple software, which is popular among architects. People use it to design buildings and even cities. This software belonged to the Google company; Most constructions of Google Earth were designed with its help.
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There is a free version of this software for non-commercial use. Maker offers the non-optional SketchUp Make version and the full but expensive SketchUp Pro version.
All 3D objects in SketchUp are created based on sketches, which are themselves composed of simple elements: lines, arcs, rectangles, etc.
It is important that each step is accompanied by didactic material, which facilitates the mastery of the software. The virtual assistant tells you what to do next. The user-friendly interface makes it easy to work in this software.
The resulting projects are saved as skp files. Software users can import and export files with dwg, ddf, jpg, png, psd, obj extensions.
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This software, like its counterparts, has a library of popular templates that you can download for free. It supports additional plugins for exporting, rendering, and creating physical effects. There are free Ruby extensions for SketchUp, but this is closed-source software.
In particular, this software is not compatible with Linux, and its modern versions are not suitable for 32-bit systems.
This free 3D editor is used not only for 3D modeling and rendering, but also for creating animations, sculptures and computer games. Yes, it has a game engine, as well as brushes for painting and tools for animation, including skeletons; It also has textures, rendering for visualization, a basic video editor, and of course great potential for 3D modeling, otherwise Blender wouldn’t be on our list. Although we are discussing CAD software for 3D modeling here, we will not go into detail about the software possibilities related to rendering and animation.
This software has a complex interface. No wonder, because it combines a huge amount of options. But if you set hotkeys, you can work faster. The software runs smoothly on Windows, GNU/Linux and MacOS. The installation file weighs around 200 MB.
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Blender goes beyond CAD software. Here we can work immediately with 3D models. Among its options you will find the design of objects based on primitives. It is possible to work with polygons or NURBS and Bézier curves as well as with metaspheres, Boolean operations and subdivision surfaces. Basic carving tools are also available. There are lots of modifiers in the software gallery. These options allow you to perform actions on an object or assign properties to it.
It’s important to point out that when dealing with polygon modeling, remember to make sure your object has closed geometry.
This software is not suitable for professional engineers and architects, but it is suitable for home 3D printing.
This simple computer-aided design system built on the basis of the pre-existing Qcad software for
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