3D Printing Design Software
3D Printing - Kitronik University We thought we'd bring you an overview of three 3D Design software suites that are ideal for designing 3D models and have 3D printing features built in. This includes exporting your 3D drawing as a .STL file so it can be made by any compatible 3D printer. This overview covers two free 3D Design programs that are available to everyone (TinkerCAD and Autodesk123D) and one paid program that is free to educators and schools (Solidworks). Below is an overview of three 3D Design software packages for creating 3D designs for your 3D printer: TinkerCAD

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TinkerCAD Screenshot

TinkerCAD is a free online app and is part of the Autodesk 123D software suite that can be used on any device with an internet connection and a compatible browser. It is the simplest way of having a cloud-based 3D Design software that doesn't need any special requirements. TinkerCAD is ideal for anyone to learn 3D Design software and can be used on tablet and mobile phone devices with relative ease. Autodesk123D

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Autodesk123D Screenshot

Autodesk123D is a free (with a valid e-mail address) complete 3D Design software suite (now including TinkerCAD as mentioned above). It has a number of applications dealing with different aspects of designing and editing your own 3D designs. The programs included in the Autodesk123D software suite are:
  • 123D Catch - Generate 3D models from your own photographs.
  • 123D Circuits - Design an electronic circuit CAD drawing.
  • 123D Design - Design your own model from scratch.
  • 123D Make - Create 3D models from 2D designs.
  • 123D Sculpt+ - Create 3D models using an Apple iPad
  • Meshmixer - Mash, mix, sculpt, stamp or paint your own 3D designs.
  • TinkerCAD - Design and customize your own creatures and characters on your mobile device and make them real using a 3D printer.


SolidWorks Screenshot

SolidWorks is a premium 3D Design software that is used professionally by over 2 million engineers worldwide. It is a 'parametric' software that changes the design automatically when any of the 'parameters' are changed. This is to prevent producing a design flaw whilst changing the design. SolidWorks is available as a free demo download for basic functions but payment is required for enhanced functionality. You can download and use a number of 3D Design software suites to design your 3D Print. You can then export the files in a .STL format.

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