Best 3D Modelling Software For 3D Printing [Beginners]

3D modeling software is used to create virtual models that can be converted into images or animations, providing an accurate representation of what you are trying to design. But, unfortunately, we are taught from a very young age that free means destructive.

However, free 3D modelling software can provide a fantastic value compared to some of the most expensive commercial options. While free software tools are not perfect and have their caveats, they can still be handy for those looking to create 3D models. 

For example, they don’t usually have as many features as the paid versions.

Therefore, they are better suited for quick tasks like creating concept sketches or low polygon models.

List Of The Best Free Best 3D Modelling Software

  1. Tinkercad
  2. SketchUp
  3. Blender

Now that we have recommended the above tools:

Let’s examine their features closely.

Tinkercad:

Tinkercad can be used to create scientific designs or to teach 3D design and printing. In a challenge-based lesson, for example, students could be given a couple of weeks to design and test solutions to authentic problems from their community. Teachers can show sample videos to inspire kids to think of the possibilities and see other kids in action.

Students who engage with Minecraft in schools can extend their experience by importing Tinkercad objects. This allows them to bring science, literature, math, and foreign language concepts to life by designing and printing things related to class content. Even with no 3D printer in the classroom, students can order prints of their creations from Tinkercad partners who make and ship them.

The ability to share and improve upon others’ designs fosters a high level of collaboration among creators and the wider community, as well as opportunities to teach students about creators’ rights and derivative works. The rich resources available on the site offer students a chance to experience the design process in a more meaningful and relevant way. Tinkercad is a user-friendly software that allows you to create complex 3D models and circuits digitally.

There are many ways to share your designs with others easily.

All the plans I create are saved and can be accessed from any device I need them on. Tinkercad makes it easy for me to create drawings and code. This project is about designing a mangonel, a medieval siege engine. It’s a great way to learn how many different parts work together.

Plus, it’s enjoyable to build and use! This is very easy to use, and the example circuits can be easily modified to meet your needs. In addition, the LCD screen can be modified to include other components. This will make it easy for people with no prior experience to design things they never thought they could.

TinkerCAD is not only a free CAD software but also makes it easy for users to create and design 3D models with its simple user interface that includes options like electronics and designing with code using code blocks. This software is designed to help beginner designers get started with Autodesk. Providing access to TinkerCAD’s free lesson plan, developed by CAD professionals and teachers, ensures that users can learn following ISTE, common core, and NGSS standards. 

Additionally, users can create optimized designs by controlling the work plane and adjusting scale sizes. By reviewing and enhancing prototypes, users can perfect their techniques.TinkerCAD is the perfect tool for anyone who wants to create 3D designs, regardless of device or internet specifications. The app saves your work on the cloud, making it easy to share and collaborate with team members.

Tinkercad Key Features

  • Boolean Design
  • Clean interface
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Import/Export
  • Camera Controls
  • Transformation

What I Like/Dislike about Tinkercad:

Like: 

  • Tinkercad is easy to learn and use, being web based, this makes it perfect cause you can work on your project from anywhere, just log in on any system, and you are good to go. The primitives eliminate the need for 2D sketching and quickly makes it easy to model for educational purposes.
  • I really like that this is a free platform for adults and students alike to use. I like that there are built-in tutorials and many options to allow people to design 3D shapes and prototypes. It is a great software for schools and is probably the most popular one I know of schools using.
  • TinkerCAD is web-based, so it takes up no space on your computer. This also means that if you share your file with someone else, they need only access the website; no additional software is required.

Dislike

  • A bad internet connection can frustrate you since it’s web-based software. Also, it’s difficult to use in modelling complex designs as it only offers primitives. It lacks tools needed for modelling complex designs, for example, creating 2D and extruding or revolving tools.
  • I don’t like that the tutorials are very small font and hard to read for younger students. Videos or more clear/concise and easy-to-follow ones would be nicer. Students often skip through the steps without reading. I also wish there was a draw a 2D shape and then extrude or revolve option like there is in more professional CAD software.
  • TinkerCAD was developed as an educational tool, so it lacks many of the features you might find in a traditional CAD program.

SketchUp:

SketchUp is a versatile tool that can be used by people of all proficiency levels. Different plans and subscriptions are available to match your exact needs, whether you’re an individual, company, or educator. The most specific features are free, but the more powerful ones come at a cost. However, if your needs are simple, SketchUp offers a web-only service that can help you get started with this 3D modeller.

 It includes 10GB of cloud storage for free. An empty canvas awaits you, with only a person’s representation to give you an idea of scale. All the tools you need are in the window’s sidebars on the left and right sides. 

The ones on the left are the ones you will use most of the time. You can create lines, shapes, and figures of all kinds. There are also a lot of instrumental methods for building something too precise. 

For example, if you select the line tool and click once to anchor it to your design, you can move the cursor away from the anchor point to see the line drawn. You’ll notice the length displayed in the page’s lower right corner as you progress. Before clicking to set the position of the second point, you can type in a number to get the exact length you need from that line. This app is based on a simple concept.

Although it can be daunting not to have a safety net of ready-made objects, this also offers you great freedom you wouldn’t usually have.SketchUp comes with a handful of great tools that help speed up your design. As you envision your new home, you begin to trace its outline with the rectangle tool. You see the walls going up and the roof taking shape, and you can already imagine yourself living there. 

The walls have a specific thickness, so you use the Offset tool to give the external walls the exact thickness they need in seconds. The Push/Pull tool is then used to shape the walls further. When you click on the offset you just created, you can move the cursor up to build walls around your home. This tool is versatile and can be used to cut out doors and windows or even create curved edges on a rectangular block. 

This app is universal and complex, offering limitless potential. Working in three dimensions can be challenging, as it is easy to mistakenly think you are working in one plane while creating in another. SketchUp has some great features to help you out, like making the lines you’re drawing match the colour of the aircraft they’re on (red, blue, or green). The arrow keys can also be used to lock yourself onto a particular plane while you’re drawing.

SketchUp  Key Features

  • Multiple Export Options
  • Intuitive Interface
  • 10GB of free cloud storage
  • Google Made Product
  • Easy to use
  • Supports STL Files

What I Like/Dislike about SketchUp:

Like: 

  • What I like most about this programme is the simplicity with which one starts modelling. In a short time, you can reach an intermediate level of modelling, and there are many online tutorials. It is the perfect program if you add to this the large library of 3d objects available and all the plugins at your disposal.
  • I like how easy it is to implement and how quickly models with a lot of information can be built.
  • It is an easy-to-use software, very practical to use

Dislike

  • The only flaw it might have is that the pro version is paid, but it’s worth it.
  • Sometimes in complex projects with a lot of information, the app slows down or closes unexpectedly, but it is enough to have a little patience.
  • Its interface is far from the prettiest on the market. The software seems frozen in time compared to other great software for 2d and 3d modelling. There haven’t been any really significant updates lately, mainly in its design and interface.

Blender:

Many people may first consider the Blender software’s ability to create 3D animations. This software can create powerful 3D animations, models, and sculptures. Even though its built-in video editor is not as popular as other video editors, it never falls behind in performance. Its versatility is what makes it the best free video editor. 

This tool was not born as it is now. It was initially an internal 2D animation tool of a Dutch animation studio, NeoGeo. However, it quickly grew and became the leading animation house in Europe in the late 1990s. After its founder Ton Roosendaal decided to create a new company to develop a spin-off of NeoGeo, the company later thrived. And so Blender was born in this new company called Not a Number. 

Though it was once shut down because of the company’s capabilities and the market realities at that time, it survived with the help of public fundraising.In 2002, the founder of Blender decided to build a team of dedicated volunteers from all over the world and make the software free and open-source. What can I create with Blender?

This might be the first question when people come across this software: What are the main editing modes in Blender 2.82? The latest version of Blender mainly has four editing modes, including video editing, VFX, sculpting, and 2D animation.

This software can help you create beautiful 3D visuals and basic video edits. We will now walk you through the primary function step by step. Although Blender is a 3D software, its built-in video editor has all the functions of any other editor. You can delete, paste, snap, and slip strips by simply clicking on them. Other video editors may come with color grading, filtering, and texting capabilities.

Still, this one takes it to the next level. The newest version of Blender has made significant strides in video editing capabilities. When two colors overlap, the top color will blend with the bottom using the Alpha Over mode.

Any text or images you add will be overlaid on the video. Previously, it was either replaced or crossed, and it took a lot of time to adjust the overlay. This new update also provides additional font options to choose from. 

There are more font options than just changing the color and size. By default, audio and video tracks are separate. This program allows you to change the speed or mute the audio strip by right-clicking it.

You can also add other audio files and mix them with the video to make up for the absence of voice-over recording. To make audio editing more intuitive, it presents the audio waveform to help you quickly locate and edit the desired section.

Key Features

  • Character Rigging
  • Keyframe Interpolation 3 Render Engines with Different Strengths
  • 3D Modeling & Sculpting
  • 2D Animation

What I Like/Dislike about Blender:

Like: 

  • This app is open source, and free everybody can use and get benefits from it
  • Cycles is quite good and you can get same quality as in commercial packages.
  • Blender is free software which is always a pro! It is also one of the best 3D modeling software out there. I love how easy it is to import objects into blender as well how simple conversions are. Blender has an amazing lighting system which I use to create cool animations for game scenes. The rigging system is a very useful tool for creating in-game animations. There are many different tool to help you sculpt and create models. It has a pretty powerful text system which is very different from the text system of drawing software. This text system can create 3D objects of the text, which can then be edited and animated.

Dislike

  • As it’s free, its support is not good, but it depends on people, not the manufacturer.
  • The few cons I have with blender mainly include that the software is not the most user-friendly. It can be very confusing to use at times. There’s a lot of features which is create but it lacks tutorials to learn how to make use of those features. Likely other tutorials can be found online. The software can become very system heavy, but that is only for complicated models.
 

Conclusion:

This list of free 3D software programs is for those who want more than what common image editors offer but don’t want to pay for professional design solutions.

When considering a CAD solution, take the time to consider all your options before making a decision. In many cases, free modelling tools are just as good as paid ones.

Open-source software is often better because it gets more community support and updates. You should use a commercial tool to create models for movies, games, or real-time 3D visualization.

However, if you want to create simple models and export them to static images (3DS/DXF/OBJ), you can try using some free tools.

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