3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. It is also called additive manufacturing.

The word 3D printing has been used to describe a wide range of additive processes, in which material is added together to create an object.

3D printing (additive manufacturing) can make parts that are difficult or impossible to make with traditional machining. In this article, we will discuss about 3D printing software and its types.
 

Best 3D Printing Software

What Is 3D Printing Software?

3D printing software is a software that helps you in designing 3D models and then converting them into 3D printing files.
This software also allows you to edit, manipulate and optimize your model before sending it to the printer.
There are many types of software available on the market today. Each of them has its own unique features and may be suitable for different purposes.

3D printing software is basically used to convert a digital design into a physical object via a printer or other manufacturing machine.
You can use this software to create models that are complex in nature, such as tools and other equipment used in various industries.
It can also be used for entertainment purposes, such as creating toys for kids or even sculptures for decoration purposes.
 

 

Best 3D Printing Software: Introduction

What is the Best 3D Printing Software?

1. Autodesk Fusion 360

Autodesk Fusion 360 is a cloud-based 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE platform for product development. 

It combines industrial and mechanical design, simulation, collaboration, and machining in a single package.

The tools in Fusion 360 enable fast and easy exploration of design ideas with an integrated concept-to-production toolset. 

It is the first 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE tool that connects your entire product development process in a single cloud-based platform that works on both Mac and PC.

Features

3D modelling tools – Autodesk Fusion 360 provides 2D sketching tools to create 3D solids using either T-Splines or NURBS. 

The toolset allows users to build parametric models that can be later modified easily and quickly.

Assembly modelling – The module allows users to work with multiple models in a single project. 

It features an assembly navigator that helps users keep track of the project’s various components.

Users can create complex assemblies using the toolset and then simulate their behaviour in different environmental conditions. 

Design analysis – Autodesk Fusion 360 has powerful design analysis tools that allow users to test their designs under various conditions.

Users can check for thermal expansion and contraction, strength, stress drop, vibration, etc. 

The design may also be tested against specific material properties and be simulated in natural environmental conditions such as temperature or humidity.

CAM tools – Autodesk Fusion 360 includes CAM tools that allow designers to translate their models into machine code

Pros

Autodesk Fusion 360 allows you to design and create on a single platform. It’s not just a 3D modelling tool. 

It also allows you to do 2D drafting, simulation and animation.

Autodesk Fusion 360 is an excellent solution for startups because it allows you to be agile and dependent while scaling your business. 

You can use it on any device – Mac or PC. It can do 3D modelling and 2D drafting.

It is great for startups because of its friendly pricing model and Tight integration with Autodesk Eagle PCB. 

There’s an active community of users who can help you learn!

2. Autodesk AutoCAD

Autodesk® AutoCAD® 360 — the official AutoCAD® mobile app. Take the power of AutoCAD wherever you go! 

AutoCAD 360 is a freeDWG viewing application with easy-to-use drawing and drafting tools that allow you to view and measure AutoCAD drawings across web and mobile devices – anytime, anywhere.

Simplify your site visits with the most powerful drafting and editing tool available—Drawing Viewing Open and view.

DWG files directly from email or external storage. Review drawings at every stage of a project—at the office, in the field, or on the go.

Navigate large drawings easily using Multi-Touch zoom, pan and 3D orbit. 

You can also switch to 2D wireframe mode for faster performance on complex geometry or when working with large assemblies of blocks or refs.

Editing Drawing Create new drawings on your mobile device and continue working on your design seamlessly across platforms.

 Add text notes to your drawing mark-ups directly on your portable device, or attach voice notes to individual drawing elements.

Easily mark up drawings using drawing markup features such as Line, Circle, Polyline, Arrow and more to highlight areas of concern in a

Features

Autodesk AutoCAD features include an updated modern interface that improves the design process and productivity enhancements that help speed your work.

Intuitive user interface A modern, updated interface optimises the design process.

The new dark theme is more accessible to the eyes, and many time-saving enhancements speed up daily tasks.

Collaboration tools Share models and work with stakeholders more efficiently by publishing, viewing, and commenting on designs with the AutoCAD web and mobile apps.

Creation and annotation of 3D models 

Create industry-standard CAD drawings with a complete set of drawing, editing, annotation, and sharing tools.

Customisation and automation 

Use one of the many available add-on applications to expand your software’s capabilities. Create custom palettes for toolsets that are relevant to your workflow.

   

Pros

What is the Autodesk AutoCAD? 

The Autodesk AutoCAD is a computer-aided design (CAD) program that allows users to create complex 2D and 3D drawings. 

It is used in several industries, including architecture, engineering, construction (AEC), manufacturing, media, and entertainment.

Autodesk has been around since 1982. They’re known for their 3D modelling software such as  Maya, 3ds Max, and Revit. 

What are the benefits of using Autodesk AutoCAD?

Autodesk AutoCAD has many different features that are useful to its users. Here are a few of those features: 

It is compatible with 2D CAD files and also includes advanced tools for 3D modelling. You can use it to create photorealistic visualisations for your project.

It can be used with other programs like Adobe Photoshop to create stunning visuals for presentations or marketing materials

3. Ultimaker Cura

Ultimaker Cura is a free, easy-to-use 3D printing software that integrates with your Ultimaker printer and comes with valuable features. 

Ultimaker Cura is a free, easy-to-use 3D printing software trusted by millions of users.

Fine-tune your 3D model with 400+ settings for the best slicing and printing results. Ultimaker Cura provides the easiest way to prepare your model for 3D printing. 

Once imported, you can adjust the size and orientation of the model, add supports if needed, and slice it for printing.

Import STL files created with CAD and drafting software

Use the preview function to see a scaled view of the print layer by layer and estimate how long it will take to print. 

Then transfer files via USB or Wi-Fi to your Ultimaker or save them on a MicroSD card.

Ultimaker Cura is a free, easy-to-use 3D printing software trusted by millions of users. Ultimaker Cura prepares your model for 3D printing. 

It translates 3D models into instructions your printer understands.

Better instructions mean better prints, so a simple software upgrade makes all the difference. 

Features Cura, the 3D printing software you can download for free from Ultimaker’s website, has been a significant force in the DIY 3D printing economy, especially among educators and makers.

Although it’s primarily meant as a production tool, its ease of use has made it attractive to those who want to experiment with 3D printing without investing thousands of dollars in kits and printers.

Here are some key features of Cura: Automatic support structure detection. 

Using Cura’s automatic support structure detection, you can choose your support material or leave the designs intact. You sliced object build platform.

Suppose you have another computer (or a Mac or Linux machine). 

You can export your Slicer creations with another slicer — like Meshmixer – which lets you slice complex models into separate object files, which Cura then imports into the slicing interface.

Smart materials. 

Cura comes with four default materials, including PLA filament and PVA glue stick, but there’s also a library of over 100 different types of filament that you can find and use.

Pros

I am really a big fan of Ultimaker Cura. 

I would also like to thank Ultimaker for providing it for free. For me, it’s the best free slicer available at this moment.

It has a beautiful user interface and works very fast on my computer.

I am using it mainly for PLA, but it also does well on ABS. Cura offers different settings with different speeds, print quality and print time.

I have used the default setting for PLA, and the quality of the prints is excellent. 

You can also add your own settings for different filaments or adjust the existing ones.

The support structure can be easily enabled or disabled and you can choose between standard or emotional build plate support. 

There are many other settings available, and all of them are easy to use & understand.

 The 3D preview is also perfect, and you can easily view your object from any side while adjusting different parameters and checking how they affect your model before printing it.

4. TinkerCAD

Tinkercad is a free, easy-to-use app for 3D design, electronics, and coding. It’s used by teachers, kids, hobbyists, and designers to imagine, design, and make anything! 

An excellent tool for both beginners and experienced makers.

Use Tinkercad to easily create 3D objects that can be laser cut or 3D printed. 

Tinkercad is a quick and easy way to design files for a laser cutter. Start planning your own models in minutes – no experience required!

3D design for 3D printing Beginners and pros use Tinkercad to make toys, prototypes, home decor, Minecraft models, and jewellery – the list is truly endless. 

Easy to learn Tinkercad is used by designers, hobbyists, teachers, and kids, to make toys, prototypes, home decor, Minecraft models, and jewellery – the list is truly endless!

Designed for all ages, Tinkercad is an easy-to-use tool for creating digital designs that are ready to be 3D printed into physical objects. 

Since it runs in a web browser, you don’t have to download anything to your computer. All you need is an active internet connection.

Features

TinkerCAD Features: Simple, easy to use interface Easy to learn for beginners and powerful for advanced users Library of basic shapes, including text and numbers Unlimited extrusion in all directions Grouping, nesting and duplicating objects. 

Downloading 3D designs in a variety of formats, including.STL and.OBJ

Pros

Tinkercad is a simple and easy-to-use online 3D design and 3D printing app for everyone. Tinkercad is used by designers, hobbyists, teachers, and kids. It’s used to make toys, prototypes, home decor, Minecraft models, and jewellery – the list is truly endless!

Tinkercad is free of charge and requires no download. You only need a web browser and an internet connection to get started.

Tinkercad is easy enough for anyone to learn quickly and powerful enough to grow with any skill level.

Designing in 3D has never been easier! With Tinkercad, you can quickly turn your idea into a CAD model for a 3D printer. Try it out today!

5. MeshLab

MeshLab is an open-source, portable, and extensible system for the processing and editing unstructured 3D triangular meshes. 

The system is aimed to help the processing of the typical not-so-small unstructured models arising in 3D scanning, providing a set of tools for editing, cleaning, healing, inspecting, rendering and converting these kinds of meshes.

The system is heavily based on the ideas of mesh visibility and mesh layers. In MeshLab, all the parameters needed for the various filters are available in a unique user interface called Floating Panel.

The project’s primary purpose is to offer tools that allow you to process substantial unstructured 3D models without crashing your computer.

We have also tried to make as many as possible general-purpose filters available so that they can be helpful to also to other people. 

The project has been developed by the Visual Computing Lab of ISTI – CNR (www.vcg.is.cnr.it) with partial support from the European Community through its Sixth Framework Program (FP6) contract N° 026007 – Visual Media project.

Features

MeshLab is an open-source, portable, and extensible system for the processing and editing unstructured 3D triangular meshes. 

The system is aimed to help the processing of the typical not-so-small unstructured models arising in 3D scanning, providing a set of tools for editing, cleaning, healing, inspecting, rendering and converting these kinds of meshes.

The main features offered by MeshLab are:

  • Processing of unstructured 3D triangular meshes with the automatic repair; 
  • A set of filters to edit, clean and convert meshes; 
  • A visual programming interface to combine filters; 
  • A comprehensive collection of mesh analysis tools; 
  • Import/export various file formats; Rendering with OpenGL shaders.

Pros

Hello and welcome to MeshLab Pros! This is the first of many MeshLab Pro episodes on YouTube. 

We’re going to try and put out a new episode every other week, so if you enjoy what we’re doing, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the “Like” button on this episode.

This will help us out tremendously in getting more exposure to these videos. We’ll do our best to keep things short and sweet, but sometimes we can’t help ourselves when discussing 3D scanning technology! 

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. 

MeshLab Pros: 

  • Open Source 
  • Free 
  • Compatibility 
  • Customisation *Features
MeshLab

MeshLabthe open source system for processing and editing 3D triangular meshes.

It provides a set of tools for editing, cleaning, healing, inspecting, rendering, texturing and converting meshes. It offers features for processing raw data produced by 3D digitization tools/devices and for preparing models for 3D printing.

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6. FreeCAD

Summary

FreeCAD is a general-purpose parametric 3D CAD modeller. 

Parametric modelling allows you to easily modify your design by going back into your model history and changing its parameters. 

FreeCAD is open-source and highly customisable, scriptable and extensible.

Initially designed for mechanical design, it also provides electrical, fluid, civil and architectural design tools. 

FreeCAD is aimed directly at mechanical engineering and product design and fits in a broader range of uses around engineering, such as architecture or other engineering specialities.

It is a feature-based parametric modeller with modular software architecture, making it easy to provide additional functionality without modifying the core system. FreeCAD is based on OpenCasCade.

A powerful geometry kernel features an Open Inventor-compliant 3D scene representation model provided by the Coin 3D library and a broad Python API.

The interface is built with Qt. FreeCAD runs exactly the same way on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux platforms FreeCAD is a mature open-source project developed by a large community of experts. 

It can be used right away by anyone interested in 3D modelling.

Features

FreeCAD is a general-purpose feature-based, parametric 3D modeller for CAD, MCAD, CAx, CAE and PLM, aimed directly at mechanical engineering and product design and fits a broader range of uses in engineering such as architecture or other engineering specialities.

Its main features are General Completely Open Source (LGPL License), Highly customisable and extensible through its own Python API. Works on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux.

Modular architecture with more than 100 workbenches to choose from. Open Source community supported by a dedicated Foundation.

Parametric modelling allows you to easily modify your design by going back into your model history and changing its parameters.

 FreeCAD allows you to sketch geometry constrained 2D shapes and use them as a base to build other objects.

It contains many components to adjust dimensions or extract design details from 3D models to create high-quality production-ready drawings.

Pros

Creo makes it easy to create beautiful posts. It’s simple, powerful, and fun! Creo lets you share with friends and family and make your mark on the web. 

Creo is built by a small team spread around the globe. Creo was founded by John Doe in 2010.

Creo is the first and only product that combines proven behaviour change methods with cutting-edge technology. 

Creo helps you overcome addictive behaviours by providing a supportive community and personalised recovery programs.

7. Creo

Creo is a desktop application developed by PTC, Inc. It was acquired by Parametric Technology Corporation in 2010 and later renamed Creo. 

Creo is a family or suite of Computer-aided design (CAD) apps supporting product design for discrete manufacturers and is developed by PTC.

The suite consists of apps, each delivering a distinct set of capabilities for a user role within product development. Initially developed as Pro/ENGINEER in 1998, Creo Elements/Pro has been the name of the core mechanical design software in the suite since late 2010.

Other applications included in the suite are Creo Parametric, Creo Simulate and Creo View. 

A free version of Creo is available for students worldwide to download called Creo Elements/Direct Modeling Express 6.0.

It is available both as Windows and Linux versions. The latest release is Creo 5.0, announced on April 4, 2018, and was released on May 31, 2018.

Creo is a set of software applications used to design products. It uses a parametric feature-based technique to create models and assemblies.

 It uses the open JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) standard for its 3D manufacturing format, allowing greater interoperability between applications.

The latest version of Creo (Creo Parametric 5.0) was released in April 2017.

Features

In this course, you are introduced to the Creo Parametric modelling environment. You will learn to create and modify sketched and placed features, including datum features.

You will use patterned, mirrored, and copied features. You will also create reference geometry by using construction geometry and reference sets.

Pros

Hi there, I’m a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It’s easy. Just click “Edit Text” or double click me to add your own content and change the font.

Feel free to drag and drop me anywhere you like on your page. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.

This is a great space to write long texts about your company and services. You can use this space to go into a little more detail about your company.

Talk about your team and what services you provide. Tell your visitors the story of how you came up with the idea for your business and what makes you different from your competitors. Make your company stand out and show your visitors who you are.

A picture is worth a thousand sales. An image speaks volumes about your brand. We love hearing about your projects, big or small! 

High definition images can make your products stand out from the crowd. Our goal is to help you show off your products in their best light.

8. Solidworks

SolidWorks is a solid modelling computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) computer program on Microsoft Windows. SolidWorks is published by Dassault Systèmes.

According to the publisher, over 2 million engineers and designers at more than 165,000 companies were using SolidWorks as of 2013.[2] Also, according to the company, the fiscal year 2011–12 revenue for SolidWorks totalled $483 million. 

The company was founded in December 1993 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate Jon Hirschtick.

Hirschtick used the $1 million he had made while a member of the MIT Blackjack Team to set up the company. 

Operating later from Concord, Massachusetts, SolidWorks released its first product SolidWorks 95, in November 1995. In 1997 Dassault, best known for its CATIA CAD software, acquired SolidWorks for $310m.

The company had been able to raise $45m before the acquisition.

Jon Hirschtick stayed on board for the next 14 years in various roles. Under his leadership, SolidWorks grew to a $100m revenue company. 

Under Dassault Systèmes, SolidWorks became mainstream software with an estimated 300,000+ users [4

Features

Solidworks is the leading 3D software used by engineers and architects, but it’s also an excellent program for designers and artists. It’s available on Macs, Windows PCs and Linux computers.

SolidWorks features include: 

  • Many design tools helps you create everything from complex engineering drawings to photo-realistic artwork. 
  • A powerful CAM system allows you to create highly intricate models that can be accurately duplicated.
  • A powerful yet easy-to-use 3D solver allows you to find the optimal solution in your designs without trial and error.

Pros

It’s an excellent time to be a CAD user. (That even rhymes!) The past year has seen an explosion of innovation in the CAD software space, with updates and new releases that have improved performance, increased usability, and added significant new capabilities.

Here are my top 5 favourite things about working in CAD today.

  1. Beginner’s Mode
  2. Parameter Manager
  3. Cloud-based Documentation
  4. Subscription Licensing
  5. Inventor Fusion
Solidworks

SOLIDWORKS is used to develop mechatronics systems from beginning to end. At the initial stage, the software is used for planning, visual ideation, modeling, feasibility assessment, prototyping, and project management. 

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9. CATIA

CATIA (an acronym for computer-aided three-dimensional interactive application) is a multi-platform CAD/CAM/CAE commercial software suite developed by the French company Dassault Systèmes. 

CATIA is the world’s leading solution for product design and experience.

It is used to design, simulate, analyse, and manufacture products in various industries, including aerospace, automotive, consumer goods, and industrial machinery, just to name a few. 

CATIA is available on Microsoft Windows 64 and 64-bit environments and can be acquired as part of the Dassault Systèmes’ Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Digital Product Experience (DPE), featuring the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

CATIA (Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application) is a multi-platform CAD/CAM/CAE commercial software suite developed by the French company Dassault Systèmes. 

CATIA supports multiple stages of product development (CAx), including conceptualisation, design (CAD), engineering (CAE) and manufacturing (CAM).

The CATIA software was initially developed in 1977 by French aircraft manufacturer Avions Marcel Dassault and marketed as the Dassault Systemes product.

Features

CATIA Features The CATIA V5 Help Center provides you with a complete list of the available commands. 

These command groups are organised into feature types, as shown below: 3D Sketcher 3D Wireframe and Surface Design Assembly Design Drafting Generative Shape Design.

Pros

The world’s first and most widely used 3D design software, CATIA has been at the centre of innovation for designers and engineers for over thirty years. 

Dassault Systemes, CATIA’s parent company, makes 3D design models that create 2D drawings which can be used to build or manufacture anything from an aeroplane to a personal computer.

Companies and industries using CATIA include Airbus, Boeing, Coca Cola Ford Motor Company, Honda Motor Company, Mercedes-Benz Nasa Nissan Motor Company Proctor & Gamble.

10. OpenSCAD

OpenSCAD is a 2D/3D and solid modelling program based on a Functional programming language used to create models that are previewed on the screen and rendered into the 3D mesh, which allows the model to be exported in a variety of 2D/3D file formats. 

A script in the OpenSCAD language is used to create 2D or 3D shapes.

This script is an accessible format list of action statements. The model is previewed on screen and rendered into the 3D mesh, which allows the model to be exported in various 2D/3D file formats. 

The script is simply a list of action statements; you can easily modify it with any text editor to change your design.

OpenSCAD provides two main modelling techniques: First, there is constructive solid geometry (aka CSG), and second, there is extrusion of 2D outlines. 

As data exchange, direct import of DXF files and DGN files (using Teigha File Converter) for 2D designs and 3MF files for both CSG trees and triangle meshes are supported.

Features

Features OpenSCAD is a 2D/3D and solid modelling program based on a Functional programming language used to create models that are previewed on the screen and rendered into the 3D mesh, which allows the model to be exported in a variety of 2D/3D file formats.

 A script in the OpenSCAD language is used to create 2D or 3D models.

11. Rhinoceros 3D

Rhino can create, edit, analyse and translate NURBS curves, surfaces, and solids in Windows. 

There are no limits on complexity, degree, or size beyond your hardware.

Rhino also supports polygon meshes and point clouds. 

Rhino is used in the design, engineering, manufacturing, jewellery design, animation, motion graphics, 3D printing, etc.

Use Rhino for: CREATING ANY FORM YOU CAN IMAGINE Rhinoceros 3D is a commercial software used in computer-aided design (CAD), 3D modelling and computer graphics. 

It is developed by Robert McNeel & Associates.

The software allows users to create precise freeform NURBS models of any size or shape. 

Models created in Rhinoceros can be exported into various file formats, including IGES and STEP, for transfer into other CAD applications.

Rhinoceros is also used as a basis for Grasshopper, a parametric tool that works within Rhinoceros as a plug-in. Rhinoceros was initially developed by David Rutten at Robert McNeel & Associates in Seattle, Washington.

The initial version 1 release was developed by Rutten.