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Top 9 Design Programs For Making Your 3D Models


Have you been wondering what some of the most popular design or CAD programs that are available that you can use to create your 3d models that in turn are used to create your 3d printable STL file?


In the captivating world of 3D printing, finding the perfect 3D design and modeling program is essential for bringing your imagination to life. Whether you're an artist, engineer, or enthusiast, the right software can unlock boundless potential for creating stunning 3D models.


3D printing services have revolutionized the way we manufacture and create objects. Whether it's custom 3D printing or professional-grade production, this technology has opened up a world of possibilities.





Custom 3D printing allows individuals and businesses to bring their ideas to life, transforming digital designs into tangible objects with astonishing precision and detail. From personalized gifts and prototypes to architectural models and intricate jewelry, the versatility of 3D printing knows no bounds.



In this comprehensive guide, we will explore nine recommended 3D design programs, incorporating the power of 3D modeling, 3D scanning, reverse engineering, and, of course, 3D printing. Get ready to dive into a world of limitless creativity!


Like most people just like us when you get to the point that 3d printing is awesome, but you want to move on to creating your own 3D models and having the tools to do so it is hard to figure out where to start!


We started with Tinkercad to 3D design our own 3D Printed Models but when we first got started we had no experience in design and found that Tinkercad was the easy program to start with and there were several YouTube videos to help along the way.


Here are our top 9 recommendations from JT3D of some different 3D design programs that will let you create your 3D model or create a 3D character that can be 3D printed.


1. Autodesk Fusion 360:

Fusion 360 is a powerful and widely used 3D modeling software that provides parametric modeling, mesh modeling, and sculpting capabilities. It is popular among professionals and hobbyists alike.


2. Blender:

Blender is a free and open-source 3D modeling and animation software that offers a comprehensive set of tools for 3D design. It has a dedicated 3D printing toolbox and supports a wide range of file formats.


3. SketchUp:

SketchUp is known for its user-friendly interface and intuitive tools. It offers a robust set of 3D modeling features and a large library of pre-made models. SketchUp also has a 3D Warehouse where users can find and share 3D models.


4. Tinkercad:

Tinkercad is a web-based 3D modeling tool developed by Autodesk. It is particularly popular among beginners and educators due to its simplicity and ease of use. Tinkercad offers basic modeling features and is a great starting point for learning 3D design.


5. SolidWorks:

SolidWorks is a professional-grade 3D modeling software widely used in industries such as engineering and manufacturing. It provides advanced modeling capabilities and extensive tools for creating precise designs.


6. ZBrush:

ZBrush is a digital sculpting software that allows artists to create highly detailed and intricate 3D models. It is widely used in the entertainment industry for character and creature design.


7. Rhino 3D:

Rhino 3D, also known as Rhinoceros, is a versatile 3D modeling software used in various industries, including industrial design, architecture, and jewelry design. It offers NURBS-based modeling tools and supports plugins for advanced functionalities.



8. FreeCAD:

FreeCAD is an open-source parametric 3D modeling software suitable for both hobbyists and professionals. It supports a wide range of modeling techniques and has features specifically geared towards 3D printing.


9. Autodesk AutoCAD:

AutoCAD is a well-known software for 2D drafting and 3D modeling. While primarily used in architecture, engineering, and construction industries, it can also be used for creating 3D models for 3D printing.


What programs are free and what are paid 3D modeling programs, note some programs have upgrades that you can pay for on top of the base program.



Free 3D Modeling Programs:

1. Blender

2. Tinkercad

3. FreeCAD


Paid 3D Modeling Programs:


1. Autodesk Fusion 360 (Offers free version for personal use with limitations)

2. SketchUp (Offers free version, but with limited functionality)

3. SolidWorks

4. ZBrush

5. Rhino 3D

6. Autodesk AutoCAD


With this diverse lineup of top-notch 3D design programs at your fingertips, the possibilities for creating stunning 3D models and bringing them to life through 3D printing are limitless. Whether you're an engineer seeking precision, an artist pushing the boundaries of creativity, or an educator inspiring the next generation of designers, these software options have got you covered.


Unleash your imagination, explore the realms of 3D modeling, and embark on an exciting journey into the world of 3D printing. The future of design is now in your hands.


Our go to 3D design program is Fusion 360 because it allows us to do almost anything we need to from reverse engineering a legacy part that we have 3d scanned or bringing a customer’s idea into reality.


We hope that this article will help you in finding some of the available 3D design software that is out there.

If you are looking to have a project or even an idea made into a real-world 3D Model contact us to see.


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