Free 3d Printing Cad Software – Modeling is one of the most important skills for 3D printing. Without it, you won’t be able to use your expensive equipment, which will soon gather dust in the closet and become a useless toy. In this article, we’ll look at basic and professional-level programs for mastering model making for 3D printing.
The most popular of such software is CAD (Computer Aided Design). This technique has largely replaced the free image. CAD software allows you to model anything from an earphone cord to a rocket launcher. The technology works on the principles of geometry. It is created on the basis of a two-dimensional technical drawing of the object. The software automatically performs all mathematical calculations, making it easier for engineers, designers and developers to manage their work. The advantage of such software is the design of technical components where the accuracy of calculations required in machine construction or exact dimensions are important.
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The purpose of the simplest computer-aided design systems is to create two-dimensional drawings and related documents. More complex programs allow you to develop a 3D object based on existing standard models.
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The most time-consuming programs go beyond CAD software and into creative 3D modeling. Here we are dealing primarily with a three-dimensional form rather than 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 automatic algorithms, but often without a clear reference to dimensions.
We even open our rating with a free software with a simple intuitive interface available for commercial use. Using it we can design small parts as well as whole building. FreeCAD is good for beginners in 3D printing. In this program, 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 the options that reflect its user-friendly workspace, such as: zoom, angle change, camera control. The top toolbar contains all the tools you need for modeling. On the left side you will find mods. At the bottom of the screen are the model properties. You can conveniently open several drawings in different tabs at the same time and switch between them as needed.
This software is not inferior to its given analogues in terms of feature sets. Also, this is open source software. Advanced users can add additional options provided by the basic settings using the Python programming language.
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An obvious advantage of the program is its compatibility not only with Windows and macOS, but also with Linux.
It should be noted that Freecad uses its own extension when saving Freecad files, so there may be errors and errors when loading projects from third-party programs.
If you’ve never modeled before, you can definitely adapt to this program. It is designed to teach children 3D options and is perfect for home design and 3D printing.
You don’t even need to download Tinkercad. This Autodesk service is available online. To get started, you need to log in as a student, teacher or individual user and use the service for free
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You can start modeling the service workspace using existing forms or create a new project from scratch. The application works with reference materials designed specifically for teaching. “Group”, “Adjust” and “Align” are the main tools here. Additionally, there are other copyrighted works stored in the software, many of which you can modify and then 3D print.
Users of this service work with 3D shapes, but you can convert 2D sketches into 3D models. The program saves finished projects as stl, obj and svg files. This is very convenient because you can open them in other software, perhaps more professionally. The stl format allows you to import the file into a third-party cutter for 3D printing.
In fact, Tinkercad is a free training service for beginners that guides you into the world of advanced CAD software.
This is Autodesk’s professional software, but if you use it for non-commercial purposes or as a start-up making less than $100,000 a year, it has a free license for students, personal users and small businesses. The license is issued for one year with the possibility of extension. Note that the personal and student versions do not have the full range of features available in the commercial version. However, their absence is not important for the average user.
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As for the interface of the software, it is user-friendly, but the software is full of various options, making it difficult for beginners to understand it immediately. The program has a large capacity for solid modeling. The tools here are no different from classic tools, but there is a timeline so you can go back and make changes at any stage of the modeling. Here you can get a spline model, manually control the parameters of the 3D curve, or set the dimensions automatically.
Fusion 360 is ideal for working with drawings, which justifies its ranking 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 elements corresponding to the given value will change. So you can, for example, create a gear by specifying the number of modules and gears.
The program includes a gallery of the most popular engineering part templates and the ability to import and edit 3D scanned objects.
Fusion 360 supports more than 50 file formats including sldprt, sat, iges, step, stl and obj, but saves the project as an f3d file.
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This software supports rendering, animation and engineering analysis, where you can exploit the weak points of the model.
For 3D printing, this CAD software has its own cutter, that is, the model is cut to prepare it for printing. Here, it adds support for printing stretched material.
What makes it unique: a clean interface, access to a library of models created by other users.
This simple software is popular among architects. People use it to design buildings and even cities. This software is owned by Google; Much of the construction of Google Earth was designed with this in mind.
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There is a free version of this software for non-commercial use. The manufacturer offers a stripped down version of SketchUp Make and a full but expensive SketchUp Pro.
All 3D objects in SketchUp are created based on drawings, which in turn are made of simple elements: lines, arcs, rectangles, etc.
Importantly, each step is accompanied by training material to master the software. A virtual assistant will tell you what to do next. A user-friendly interface makes this program easy to operate.
The resulting projects are saved as skp files. Users of the program can import and export files with extensions dwg, ddf, jpg, png, psd, obj.
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This software, like its analogues, has a library of popular models 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 it is closed source.
Please note that this software is not compatible with Linux and its modern version is 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 has textures, renderers for visualization, a basic video editor, and of course, great potential for 3D modeling, otherwise Blender wouldn’t be on our list. While we’re discussing CAD software for 3D modeling here, we won’t go into the details of the software’s capabilities regarding rendering and animation.
This program has a more complex interface. This is not surprising, because it combines many options. You can work faster if you set up shortcuts. The software runs seamlessly on Windows, GNU/Linux, and MacOS. The installation file weighs about 200 MB.
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Blender goes beyond CAD software. Here we can immediately work with 3D models. Among its options, you can find object design based on primitives. It is also possible to work with polygons or NURBS- and Bézier curves, as well as metaspherical bases, logical operations and dividing surfaces. Basic sculpting tools are also available. There are many converters in the software gallery. These options allow you to perform actions on an object or assign properties to it.
When working with polygon modeling, remember that your object has closed geometry.
This software is not suitable for professional engineers and architects, but it is good for home 3D printing.
This simple computer-aided design system is based on the existing Qcad software