7 Best Software For 3D Printing For Beginners And Pros

by Tracy Jackson

Last Updated on August 3, 2022 by Tracy Jackson

software for 3d printing

Many software programs on the market allow you to create 3D prints. Some software is geared towards beginners, while others are more advanced.

Autodesk Fusion 360 is the best software for beginners and pros alike. It’s the most user-friendly CAD software on the market and has powerful features that allow you to create complex designs.

However, if you’re hunting for a more affordable option, TinkerCAD is a great choice. It’s a cloud-based CAD program that’s easy to use and perfect for beginners.

How do you choose the best software for your needs? Let’s find out!

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Software For 3D Printing

1. Autodesk Fusion 360: Best Overall 3D Printing Software

AutoDesk Fusion 360 - best software for 3d printing

Autodesk Fusion 360 is powerful, professional CAD software that you can use for many purposes, including product design, mechanical engineering, and even architecture. It’s also among the most popular programs for hobbyists and professional makers.

Fusion 360 has an intuitive interface that makes it easy to learn for beginners, but it also has the advanced features that pros need. For example, it’s capable of creating complex models and supports a wide range of file formats for compatibility with other software.

There’s a reason why Autodesk Fusion 360 is so popular among makers and mechanical engineers: it’s simply one of the best comprehensive CAD programs available. So if you’re looking for a single piece of software that can do it all, Fusion 360 is the way to go.

Key Features:

Fusion 360 main page

-Autodesk Fusion 360 software is a powerful and easy-to-use tool for anyone looking to get into the world of professional or hobbyist level Printing.

-The intuitive block-building concept makes designing and customizing your models easy, while the advanced tools allow you to achieve intricate details and complex designs.

-Whether a beginner or a pro, Autodesk Fusion 360 has the features you need to create unique prints.

-It has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to design and customize your models

-Advanced tools that allow you to achieve intricate details and complex designs

-The ability to create both STL and VRML files for Printing

-Support for multiple printers and materials

-A wide range of tutorials and resources to help you get the most out of the software.

If you’re looking for a great all-around software package for designing and printing your models, Autodesk Fusion 360 is a great option. Its user-friendly interface and advanced features make it an excellent choice for both beginners and pros.

Pros:

-Autodesk Fusion 360 is one of the most popular software programs for designing and printing three-dimensional objects.

-It has a wide range of features that makes it suitable for both beginners and professionals.

-The software is easy to use and has a simple interface.

-It supports a wide range of file formats, making it easy to transfer designs from one software program to another.

-Autodesk Fusion 360 is available for both Windows and Mac computers.

Cons:

-The software can be expensive for some users.

-It requires a powerful computer to run smoothly.

-Some users have found the interface to be confusing.

-The software is not compatible with all printers.

Overall, Autodesk Fusion 360 is an excellent choice for those looking for a powerful and easy-to-use software program for designing and printing three-dimensional objects.

Pricing:

Autodesk Fusion 360 offers a free trial version for users.

Paid plans are as follows:

  • $39 per month paid every 3 years ($1,410 for 3 years)
  • $41.25 per month paid annually ($495 per year)
  • $60 per month paid monthly ($60 per month)
Fusion 360 pricing

Click here to check out Autodesk Fusion 360!

2. TinkerCAD

TinkerCAD

TinkerCAD is a great starting point for beginners who want to design and print their three-dimensional objects using computer-aided manufacturing software. The software is simple to use and has a wide variety of features that allow users to create almost anything they can imagine.

TinkerCAD also has a large online community where users can share their designs and offer advice and support to other members. For those looking for more advanced features, TinkerCAD also offers a paid subscription that gives users access to additional tools and materials.

Overall, TinkerCAD is an excellent choice for anyone interested in creating three-dimensional objects.

Key Features:

TinkerCAD main page

-TinkerCAD is an excellent software for beginners and pros alike. It’s easy to use yet still has powerful features that more experienced users will appreciate.

-One of the best things about TinkerCAD is its free use. You can access all of the software’s features without paying a dime.

-TinkerCAD is also browser-based so you can use it on any computer with an internet connection. There’s no necessity to download or install anything.

-The software is constantly updated with new features and improvements, so you’ll always have the latest and greatest version.

-TinkerCAD is also compatible with a wide range of printers and materials. So no matter what type of printer you have or what filament you want, TinkerCAD will likely support it.

-Finally, TinkerCAD has an extensive online community where you can find help and inspiration for your next project. Whether you’re just beginning or have been using the software for years, you’ll always find someone to help you.

Pros:

-TinkerCAD is an excellent software for beginners because it is very user-friendly and has a lot of helpful tutorials.

-It is also great for pros because it is very versatile, and you can use it for complex designs.

-TinkerCAD has many features that make it perfect for both beginners and pros.

-Some of these features include the ability to export files in STL format, the ability to design in multiple layers, and the ability to add colors and textures to your models.

Cons:

-TinkerCAD can be a bit slow at times, and it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that some other software programs have.

-It also doesn’t have many advanced features that pros might need.

-However, TinkerCAD is still a great software program for both beginners and pros alike.

Pricing:

TinkerCAD is free to use.

TinkerCAD is free to use

Click here to check out TinkerCAD!

3. SketchUp Free: Best Free Software For Beginners

SketchUp Free

If you’re just getting started with CAD software and don’t want to spend any money, SketchUp Free is a great option. It’s a free program with a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to learn the basics of CAD.

SketchUp is also a great choice if you need to create simple models quickly. It’s not as powerful as some of the other options on this list, but it’s more than enough for most beginner projects.

Key Features:

SketchUp Free main page

-SketchUp Free software is an excellent option for those looking for an easy-to-use yet powerful program for their design needs.

-The user interface is straightforward to navigate, making it perfect for beginners.

-However, don’t let the simplicity fool you – SketchUp Free is a powerful tool that you can use for complex designs.

-It offers many features, including creating custom materials and textures, importing and exporting files, and more.

-SketchUp Free is also compatible with various printers and other devices, making it an excellent choice for those who want to use it for their printing needs.

Overall, SketchUp Free is an excellent choice for those looking for an easy-to-use yet powerful program for their design needs.

In addition, it offers a wide selection of features and is compatible with various printers and other devices, making it a good choice for those who can use it for their printing needs.

Pros:

-SketchUp Free is an excellent software for beginners and pros alike.

-The software is easy to use and has a lot of features.

-It is compatible with many different types of printers.

-The quality of the prints is outstanding.

Cons:

-The free version has some limitations.

-The software can be slow at times.

-It can be challenging to find the proper settings for your printer.

Nevertheless, SketchUp Free is a tremendous free CAD software for beginners and pros alike. The quality of the prints is extraordinary, and it is compatible with many different types of printers.

Pricing:

SketchUp Free is the free version of the tool.

Paid plans are as follows:

  • SketchUp Go at $119 per year
  • SketchUp Pro at $299 per year
  • SketchUp Studio at $699 per year
SketchUp pricing

Click here to check out SketchUp Free!

4. FreeCAD

FreeCAD

FreeCAD is a powerful, free and open-source parametric CAD software. It has been designed for the creation of accurate drawings and models. Architects, engineers, designers, and students worldwide use the software. FreeCAD is available in over 20 languages and runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

FreeCAD has a wide range of features that make it an excellent choice for both beginners and professionals. The software is constantly being improved and updated with new features. FreeCAD is easy to use and has a wide range of online tutorials.

If you are looking for powerful, free, open-source CAD software, then FreeCAD is the perfect choice for you.

Key Features:

FreeCAD main page

-FreeCAD is a parametric modeling program which means you can change the dimensions of your model, and the software will update all other parts of the model accordingly.

-FreeCAD has an extensive library of parts you can use to build your models.

-FreeCAD is compatible with many different types of printers and can generate STL files for Printing.

-FreeCAD has a built-in slicing program that allows you to prepare your model for Printing.

-FreeCAD is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

These are just some of the critical features of FreeCAD software for those looking to get into or improve their skills in the field of three-dimensional Printing. As you can see, FreeCAD is an excellent option for both beginners and experienced users.

So if you’re looking for a program to help you get started in the world of three-dimensional Printing, or if you’re looking for a way to improve your skills and take your prints to the next level, FreeCAD is worth checking out.

Pros:

-FreeCAD is one of the most popular software for beginners and pros.

-The software is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

-The software is easy to use with a user-friendly interface.

-FreeCAD has many features that allow you to create complex models.

-The software is constantly being updated with new features and improvements.

Cons:

-The software can be challenging to use for beginners.

-There is a learning curve associated with using FreeCAD.

-The software can be buggy at times.

-FreeCAD can be slow to render complex models.

-The software lacks some advanced features that are available in other software.

Overall, FreeCAD is an excellent piece of software for beginners and pros. The software is simple and has a wide range of features. However, there is a learning curve associated with using FreeCAD.

In addition, the software can sometimes be buggy and slow to render complex models. Nevertheless, FreeCAD is an excellent choice for those looking for a powerful and user-friendly piece of software.

Pricing:

FreeCAD is free to use.

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Click here to check out FreeCAD!

5. Ultimaker Cura

Ultimaker Cura

Ultimaker Cura is a free and open-source slicing software compatible with any printer. In addition, it offers a wide range of software features and plugins to make it the most versatile slicer software on the market. Ultimaker Cura has a simple user interface that makes it easy for beginners but has advanced features for more experienced users.

Ultimaker Cura is constantly updated with new features and improvements, making it the best slicing software for both beginners and professionals. If you want slicing software that is easy to use and has all the features you need, then Ultimaker Cura is the best choice.

Key Features:

Ultimaker Cura

-Open source modeling software gets constantly updated by a large community of passionate developers

-Offers an easy-to-use interface for beginners while still providing advanced features for more experienced users

-A wide range of supported printers and materials ensures that you’ll be able to find the perfect settings for your printer and filament

-The built-in slicing engine produces high-quality prints with minimal effort

-The large selection of plugins expands the functionality of the software to suit your specific needs

-Regular updates and a strong support community make Ultimaker Cura the best choice for any level of user.

If you’re searching for good software for your next printing project, Ultimaker Cura is a clear choice. With its constantly updated open source software, easy-to-use interface, and wide range of supported printers and materials, Ultimaker Cura has everything you need to get the perfect print every time.

Additionally, the large selection of plugins means that you can customize the software to suit your specific needs, and regular updates keep the software running smoothly. No matter your experience level, Ultimaker Cura is the best software for your next printing project.

Pros:

-Ultimaker Cura is one of the most popular software tools for those who own and operate a personal three-dimensional (or “additive”) printer.

-The application is constantly being improved and updated by Ultimaker, with the latest version being more user-friendly than ever before.

-Ultimaker Cura offers a wide variety of features and options, making it possible to create prints with a high degree of customization.

-The software is also compatible with many different file types, meaning that you can use STL, OBJ, and AMF files without any problems.

-Ultimaker Cura is free, making it an excellent choice for those just starting with additive printing.

Cons:

-Ultimaker Cura can be a bit overwhelming for those new to additive printing, as there is a lot of information and options in the application.

-The software can also be slow to load, mainly when working with larger files.

– Ultimaker Cura is not the best choice for those looking to create prints with intricate details, as the application tends to smooth out these features.

-The free version of Ultimaker Cura does not include all of the same features and options as the paid version, so those looking for the most comprehensive experience may need to upgrade.

-Finally, Ultimaker Cura is only available for Windows and macOS devices, so those who use other operating systems will need to look elsewhere.

Overall, Ultimaker Cura is an excellent choice of software for those who are just starting with additive printing. While the application can be a bit overwhelming initially, it has features and options that make it possible to create high-quality prints.

Pricing:

Ultimaker Essentials is free and is included with Ultimaker printers.

Paid plans are as follows:

  • Ultimaker Professional starts at $42 per month, billed annually
  • Ultimaker Excellence starts at $833 per month, billed annually
Ultimaker Cura pricing

Click here to check out Ultimaker Cura!

6. MeshLab

MeshLab

MeshLab is software for processing and editing three-dimensional triangular meshes. The Visual Computing Laboratory of the Italian National Research Council (CNR) has developed the software.

The primary purpose of MeshLab is to help create high-quality three-dimensional models. Still, you can also use it for other purposes, such as working with point clouds, mesh repair, or even converting between different file formats.

MeshLab is very user-friendly and has a wide range of features that make it an excellent tool for both beginners and experts. One of the most exciting features is its ability to import and export a wide selection of file formats, which is simple to work with other software programs.

MeshLab also has a wide range of filters that can modify meshes in various ways, such as smoothing, deforming, or even creating new shapes.

You can download MeshLab for free from the CNR website. There is also a wide range of tutorials and documentation available online, which makes it easy to get started.

Like any other technology, there is a learning curve associated with using MeshLab. However, the wide range of features and the user-friendly interface makes MeshLab an excellent choice for anyone looking for powerful software for processing and editing three-dimensional triangular meshes.

Key Features:

MeshLab main page

-Able to load multiple file types

-Can perform various operations on the mesh, such as cleaning, repairing, and processing

-Has a wide range of customization options

-Offers a plugin system for extending functionality

-Available for Windows, Linux, and macOS platforms.

If you’re searching for powerful yet simple software for processing and editing your STL files for Printing, then MeshLab is an excellent option. It can handle multiple file types, perform various mesh operations, and offer a wide range of customization options.

It has a plugin system for extending functionality and is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS platforms.

Pros:

-Can handle large files

-Has a wide range of features and options

-Regular updates and support

-Can be used for a variety of purposes

-Free to download and use

Cons:

-Not as user-friendly as some other software programs

-May be overwhelming for beginners

-Some advanced features can be confusing

MeshLab is an excellent software for those looking for many features and options. However, it may not be the best option for those just getting started with the software for their projects.

If you are a beginner, it might be worth checking out other software options before making your final decision.

Pricing:

MeshLab is free to use.

MeshLab is free to use

Click here to check out MeshLab!

7. SolidWorks

SOLIDWORKS

SolidWorks is a computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) software package developed by Dassault Systèmes. It is used primarily for the design and analysis of mechanical components, but you can also use it to create photorealistic renderings and animations of models.

SolidWorks has been on the market for over 20 years and is one of the most popular CAD packages. Engineers and designers use it in various industries, including aerospace, automotive, consumer goods, and healthcare.

SolidWorks is parametric design software that allows users to create their models by defining parameters such as dimensions, basic shapes, material properties, and manufacturing processes. This feature makes it possible to quickly create different design variants and optimize the design for manufacturability.

No matter which edition you choose, SolidWorks is an excellent CAD package that you can use for a wide range of design and analysis tasks. So if you are looking for a powerful and versatile CAD package, SolidWorks should be on your list.

Key Features:

SolidWorks main page

– Solidworks is an industry-leading CAD software with powerful modeling capabilities.

– It is easy to use interface and tools for both beginners and pros.

– It has a wide range of tutorials and online resources to help you get started.

– It supports various file formats for importing and exporting your designs.

-It outputs your designs to a wide range of printers and materials.

– It offers flexible licensing options to suit your needs and budget.

If you’re looking for the best software for designing and printing three-dimensional objects, SolidWorks is a great option. It’s packed with features to meet the needs of both beginners and experienced users, and its wide range of tutorials and online resources make it easy to get started.

Pros:

-SolidWorks is very user-friendly, even for beginners. The software is easy to navigate, and plenty of tutorials are available to help you get started.

– SolidWorks offers a wide range of features and tools that you can use for simple and complex designs. You’ll be able to create just about anything you can imagine with this software.

– The software is constantly updated with new features and improvements, so you’ll always have access to the latest and greatest technology.

Cons:

– SolidWorks can be pretty expensive, especially if you need the premium version with all the bells and whistles.

– The learning curve can be a bit steep for beginners. Getting used to all the features and tools might take some time.

– Some users have reported stability issues with the software, although this seems to improve with each new update.

SolidWorks is an excellent option for both beginners and experienced users. So if you’re looking for powerful and user-friendly software for your next project, SolidWorks should be at the top of your list.

Pricing:

SolidWorks pricing

SolidWorks is available in three different editions: Standard, Professional, and Premium.

The Standard edition is the most basic and is suitable for simple designs. The Professional edition includes additional features such as advanced assembly modeling and motion simulation.

Finally, the Premium edition consists of all the Professional features and advanced capabilities such as finite element analysis and mold design.

You can contact the sales team to find out pricing according to your needs.

If you are starting SolidWorks, the Standard edition should be sufficient for your needs. However, the Professional or Premium editions may be better if you use SolidWorks for more complex designs.

Click here to check out SolidWorks!

What is 3D Printing Software? How Does It Work?

True to its name, this type of software helps you create three-dimensional objects from a digital file. It is also sometimes referred to as CAD (computer-aided design) software.

To use a three-dimensional (or “additive”) printer, you need special software that can take a digital model and slice it into thin layers that the printer can build up one upon the other.

The best programs for this purpose have many features in common, but there are also some significant differences to consider when choosing which one is right for you.

How Do You Select the Best 3D Printing Software?

Here are some things to keep in mind while choosing the best 3D printing software:

1. Customization:

One of the advantages of additive manufacturing is that it allows you to customize your products. This ability means you can use software to design a product specifically tailored to your needs. Therefore, when choosing software, make sure that it offers the ability to customize both the design and the printing process.

2. Simplicity: 

Unless you are an experienced engineer or designer, you will want software that is easy to use. Look for software with a user-friendly interface that does not require a lot of technical knowledge to use.

3. Compatibility: 

Another important consideration is compatibility. Ensure that the software you choose is compatible with your printer type. Otherwise, you may not be able to use all of the software’s features.

4. Cost: 

You will also want to consider cost when choosing software. Some software is costly, while other options are more affordable. Select the option that best fits your budget.

5. Free Trials: 

Many software companies offer free trials of their products. This trial is a great way to try out the software before you commit to purchasing it. Don’t miss out on taking advantage of free problems when available.

6. Learning Curve: 

When choosing software, remember how long it will take you to learn how to use it. If you want to be able to use the software quickly, look for something with a shorter learning curve. However, if you are ready to invest the time to learn a more complex piece of software with a steep learning curve, you will have access to more features.

These are just a few factors to remember when choosing software for your additive manufacturing needs. By taking the time to find the right software, you can ensure that you get the most out of your printer and that you can produce the best possible products.

FAQs

Q1. What Is 3D Printing Software?

The term “additive manufacturing” (AM) covers a wide range of technologies and processes, all of which share the common goal of creating objects by adding material layer by layer.

One of the most popular additive manufacturing methods is 3-dimensional printing (or “3-D Printing“), which can create objects of nearly any shape or size from various materials.

To produce an object with a 3-D printer, you first need a digital model of the thing, which you must create using computer-aided design (CAD) software. Once you have your CAD file, you must prepare it for Printing using slicing software.

Slicing software “slices” the digital model into thin layers and generates instructions that tell the printer how to create the object one layer at a time.

Q2: Do I need special software or modeling tools to use a three-D printer?

Yes, you will need CAD and slicing software to prepare files for Printing. However, many free and open-source options are available, so you shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money on software.

Q3: What kind of objects can I print with a three-D printer?

Almost anything! The sky is the limit regarding three-D Printing, and people constantly find new and innovative ways to use the technology.

Q4: What kind of materials can I use to print?

In addition to traditional plastics, you can now find printers that can print with metals, glass, ceramics, and even food!

Conclusion

So, there you have it – the seven best software for Printing. All of them are great for different reasons, so it depends on your needs as to which one is the best for you.

If you’re just a beginner, we recommend trying out TinkerCAD or Fusion 360. And if you’re looking for something more advanced, Cura will be perfect for you.

I hope this guide has helped you find the right software for you. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me in the comments below.

Happy printing! 🙂

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