Top 5 Software Packages for 3D Printing


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3D printing is a tough job. Although once learned, it does not seem too tricky. However, for beginners, it might not seem as friendly as various other new technologies. The learning curve is steep and takes a lot of experience to master the same. The toughest part is creating the STL files. These digital files are further used for 3D printing and without these files, printing is not even possible. Most of all, the quality of prints depends a lot on the digital files. You can consider these files as the blueprint of the model you seek to create. Any mistake in the file could lead to failed prints.

Hence, finding the 3D software that could help you create the best optimized digital file is very important. There are various options available for users. Some are designed for beginners and some cater to the needs of experts. Providing varying functionalities to offer the best results, these applications let you define your imagination for real. You can also use these applications to edit the already existing files.

Letting you do a lot of things that may not be possible without it, 3D CAD software forms the backbone of every 3D printing project.

List of 5 Software Packages for 3D Printing

Among all the applications available, let us focus on some of the best options that could help you create amazing designs. These 3D modeling software packages must offer users a unique experience with easy interface and flexibility to make changes. These must be easy to integrate into the printing process and let you enjoy every aspect of 3D printing

1. Blender

To start the list, here is a free software for beginners as well as advanced users. It is easy to use, however, contains enough functionality for creating complex designs. The best part is that the software is fun to work with. Blender, being an open source 3D rendering software offers huge benefits to its users. It is not only free but has a lot of functionalities that many paid applications fail to provide. One can create games, edit videos, engage in rigging, compositing, animation etc.

Blender has a lot of followers and active users consisting of hobbyists and enthusiasts that support the software. One can even find enormous tutorials for beginners which are focused on helping those wanting to connect with the Blender community. With advanced features, one can easily scale from a naïve user to an expert in short period of time.

The application also supports tools such as VFX professionals. Being one of the best applications for animation artists, Blender has almost everything that one needs to complete the related project. Users of Mac OS, Linux, Steam and Windows can very much take advantage of this all in one solution.

2. OnShape

OnShape is the first of its kind. It is the first software to provide cloud based access for all tools and design features. If you have a device with an internet connection, either laptop or mobile, you can start designing your digital file anywhere. This has also helped companies where every design is worked by a team. Everyone can access the file at the same time.

The application is best known for spare parts and technical designs. You can create assembled parts as well using this software. It is precise and offers huge benefit to its users.

3. Sculptris

This definitely deserves a listing here. This is created by keeping beginners as well as advanced users in mind. If you are targeting to learn ZBrush, 3D modeling tool used extensively by experts, Sculptris can be your first step. Sculptris has many similarities with ZBrush and is even considered as a beginner’s level ZBrush suite. Hence, once you have learned Sculptris, you can easily be able to translate the skills into ZBrush.

4. SketchUp

Did you know that SketchUp was initially developed by Google? Yes, it is true. The tool is now, however, owned by Trimble. That does not make any difference to the plethora of functionalities it offers to its users. It can be used for multiple applications such as such as building design, engineering etc. By employing line drawing, push & pull surfaces along with shape rotation, the software can create any kind of 3D model without any hassle. You can also choose to work with the existing models available with its library and further edit it as per your desire. Or, you can print them directly.

5. Wings 3D

Wings 3D is also one of the open source 3D modeling tools and is user centric. It is designed for subdivision modeling. What is a subdivision modeling? For those who aren’t aware of the term, it is a method that is utilized to represent an even surface over linear polygon mesh. Its comprehensive toolset helps user take the best from it. One thing must be noted though. The tool is not a complete modeling suite. Rather, it uses traditional polygonal techniques of 3D modeling. But is one great option for those starting to learn 3D modeling.

Using this tool, users can make quick alterations or modification to the mesh. It is easy to use and processes such as editing of textures, lighting, materials etc can be done with ease. Being able to support multiple file format, the 3D rendering software has impressed a lot of users around the world. You also get to enjoy configurable hotkeys as well as interface for unique experience.

The Conclusion

3D modeling is not an easy job. But to find the software that is compatible with your need and level of expertise is even tougher. You may find it very frustrating ending up with tools that are difficult to process. Or, finding the ones that do not have every other functionality that you are looking for as a professional designer.

Hence, a sorted list is always a good idea to start your search from. These open source softwares for 3D printing are amazing choices and can help users create best designs without spending hours on one project.

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