3D modeling software

What 3D modeling software do you use, and what are your thoughts about it ? I currently use dreamspark mechanical, it’s pretty good but gosh it can work on your nerves sometimes. Especially cutting in objects is pretty hard.


I use tinkercad. It’s a bit limited, but great for quick prototyping

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I used SolidWorks at work and Autocad inventor at home. I personally prefer SolidWorks. I find it a much more user-friendly interface and modeling capabilities are greater than that of Autocad Inventor I find, in terms of available features and options while modeling. You can get the job done on any platform though, it’s just a matter of how easy it will be. Also, parametric modeling is much better if your program allows for it. Makes adjusting things easier and allows you to keep specific ratios or dimensions in check.


there’s already a similar topic

also is topic N.6666 ^^

Good question @ikjahaa. For a complete newb such as myself, what would you guys recommend for a low or no cost entry level software or even trial ware?

I’ve used google sketchup to draw a few bits and bobs. Here is a deck that I was working on when I was bored.


I tried solidworks first, it was way to complicated for me. probably one of the best programs at a professional level but for me, a newb it was way too difficult.

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Are you guys using this stuff primarily with 3D printers or with things like the XCarve? because i would love to know what works well with Xcarve and is as easy to “print” from as it is from Easel.

I use it for 3D Printers, I have a huge interest in getting an XCarve though but dont know what works with that.

There’s definitely a lot of functions and features on solidworks that may be overwhelming for a new comer. I’ve been using solidworks ever days for a year and a half now at work and I’m constantly learning how to use features I didnt even know existed. There’s just that many. But any program will get by with just basics. Best advice anyone can give for anyone trying to learn how to use any 3D modeling program is pick something you really want to make and have a passion for and just try and fail and try again. Look up youtube tutorials and try again and eventually you’ll get the hang of it. you’ll be creating things you thought you could only dream of before you even know it.


Way back when rocks were still soft i was using 3DSMax quite a lot to learn how to do CG animations. Here’s something i did in 1999:

I have forgotten almost everything i learned, but if i can find a free or inexpensive alternative to Max that feels similar and works with both XCarve as well as something like Maker Bots or other 3Dprinters I’d be able to pick it up again and relearn some things so i can make better use of my toys. I want to cut aluminum to make things like mounts and pulleys for odd wheels, as well as cut out entire decks in one go complete with bolt holes and wire channels. Using Easel is easy but its not exactly precision design software.

Anyone using Blender to do part design?

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Solidworks is best for 3D printing and such. I would recommend Adobe Illustrator for vector graphics and 2D CNC work.

i’ve got a cloud subscription :slight_smile:

Solidworks seems like it would be out of my price range, i mean they can’t even list a price anywhere, they make you request a quote. How much is it?

I’m looking at Fusion 360 now, i might try the trial.

Per year it costs somewhere in the few thousands. But you can probably get a student version thru your son. Costs $100 per year.

oh damn i might try that then.

Yeah, all you gotta do is send in proof of attendance.

I use 123D and I know @cmatson does as well. Easy to use with some nice capabilities.

I use onshape, free plan available and does everything. I use it mostly for 3d printing. Cool thing also it is cloud based, so can use it on any computer.


I use Tinkercad for a lot of quick, easy parts or modifying STL files from Thingiverse but recently I started learning 123D which is like a more advanced version of Tinkercad. There are many things that are different and I’m having to relearn a bunch of techniques and keyboard short cuts, but after a few hours of trying to design something I’m getting in the groove. Their tutorial videos are very helpful and they have gotten me through the learning curve. I also tried to get into OnShape.com but found their tutorials were not as good and 123D just seemed more intuitive. You just have to pick a simple part and jump in head first and stumble through it. I did this design for a battery housing and it was painful at first and by the end I was getting faster with shortcuts and learning the logic of how the tools work.

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