11 Best 3D Modeling Software for 3D Printers of 2021

Last Updated on January 4, 2021 by The Soft Best

Here is a selection of free best 3d modeling software for 3d printers for three-dimensional printing: Are you looking for a software for 3D printers? Check our guide on the best 3D printing software for beginners and professionals.

Best 3d Modeling Software for 3d Printers

Best 3d Modeling Software for 3d Printers

1. TinkerCAD

For absolute beginners who want to start in 3D modeling, TinkerCAD, from Autodesk, is an excellent tool to start. This browser-based best 3d modeling software for 3d printers allows you to create 3D geometric shapes, save and share online, and export them to STL files when they are ready for 3D printing. Although, obviously, a bit limited in terms of features, TinkerCAD is excellent for making small adjustments.

And since the shapes are the building blocks, users can gradually build from simple figures to more complicated or detailed shapes. In search of inspiration, TinkerCAD offers some existing 3D forms to start modeling, as well as a gallery of 3D models to print once finished.

2. 3DSlash

Another good free option for beginners is 3DSlash. Launched last year, 3DSlash was designed specifically for designers of all ages, including children, as it introduces 3D modeling concepts in a fun and fun way, similar to the Minecraft platform.

In 3DSlash, users use common tools, such as hammers or chisels, to shape three-dimensional blocks. The three-step process is intuitive and fun, and in the end, the 3D model can be shared online or exported to STL for 3D printing. 3DSlash V2.0 has been published recently, and the website has video tutorials that are worth watching.

3. 123D Design

Another option of free 3d modeling software for 3d printers created by Autodesk. Although a little was more advanced than TinkerCAD, 123D Design is still a very simple and intuitive 3D modeling and editing tool. There is a very extensive library of pre-made 3D models that can be edited, as well as tools to create geometric 3D components from scratch.

As with TinkerCAD, 3D models terminated in this software can be exported to STL for 3D printing or uploaded directly to the Shapeways 3D printing service.

4. Sketchup

One of the slightly more advanced 3d modeling software for 3d printers in Sketchup, initially owned by Google. It starts with a simple interface but integrates a wide range of add-ons and functional tools. Users start with the lines and drawing shapes, which can then be attracted and pushed in a variety of complex 3D geometric shapes. Because of this, The best 3D modeling software based on Sketchup lines (and particularly its Pro version) is viral among architects and engineers.

The fact that Sketchup is used by professionals and even by educators does not mean that it should not be used by beginners too. After all, it is totally free to experiment, and the website offers 3D modeling video tutorials so you can get started. One thing to keep in mind is that with Sketchup, you can only export.STL files to print in 3D using the paid version, so the free one only serves strictly to learn how to model in 3D.

5. Blender

It is currently one of the most powerful best 3d modeling software for 3d printers, although it is not the most popular because it is not specially designed for beginners. Unlike geometric 3D modelers, Blender is a digital sculpture tool, making it ideal for creating organic 3D shapes. The software also offers an incredible variety of tools, giving its users total design freedom: beyond the creation of models for 3D printing, Blender can be used to create photorealistic graphics of video games, animated films, visual effects.

If the user is willing to devote the necessary time to learn (task facilitated by a large number of discussion forums and tutorials created by the open-source community),

6. 3DTin

Getting back to basics, 3DTin is a free, browser-based 3d modeling software for 3d printers that, like TinkerCAD and 3DSlash, was created for beginners and for those who have no previous 3D modeling experience. Users choose between a selection of geometric shapes and add or remove options, as necessary to create their Design. Once finished, you can add your 3D model to the extensive library of 3DTin Creative Commons 3D models, a valuable resource for students and beginners.

3DTin also allows direct export of.STL files to i.materialise, Thingiverse, or Sculpteo for 3D printing. Note that 3DTin requires the WebGL JavaScript API for its best performance.

7. Sculptris

Like Blender, Sculptris is a digital sculpture tool, which makes it ideal for organic shapes and textures of 3D modeling, as it would with a physical piece of clay. In the ‘sculpt’ mode, users edit the geometry of the mesh in its 3D form, and in the “paint” mode, they can use different brushes to create realistic textures on the surface. Sculptris was designed to offer beginners the opportunity to experiment, orient themselves, and grow in their newly discovered 3D modeling skills.

While it is an excellent option as a stand-alone product, advanced users can also upgrade to ZBrush, professional 3d modeling software for 3d printers, from Pixologic, which sells for payment.

8. Meshmixer

While all the best 3d modeling software for 3d printers on this list have 3D printing applications, Meshmixer is perhaps the most powerful in this regard, as it has features explicitly created to facilitate the digital-physical experience. In particular, Meshmixer is extremely useful for correcting files created in other 3D modeling software or imported from the Autodesk 123D Gallery, allowing users to print three-dimensional confidently. Together with the preview, refining, and correction of existing 3D models, Meshmixer is a powerful tool for creating organic 3D models from scratch using triangle meshes.

To further facilitate the 3D printing process, Meshmixer is compatible with many desktop 3D printer models, or users can choose to import their designs directly into Shapeways, Sculpteo, or i.materialise so that they are printed professionally. Its latest iteration has even optimized tools for 3D printing of multiple materials.

In summary, Meshmixer is a powerful and free 3D modeling tool for intermediate beginners and designers who want to realize their creations through 3D printing successfully.

9. FreeCAD

FreeCAD parametric modeling interface is ideal for engineers or designers of more advanced products. Unlike standard mesh modeling, parametric modeling (or procedure) is a more algorithmic method that allows you to edit the desired object quickly and efficiently by accessing the history and changing the model of its parameters.

The wide range of FreeCAD professional-level features also offers users almost unlimited freedom of design, although at the cost of a much steeper learning curve than that of most free 3d modeling software for 3d printers.

That said, the large FreeCAD community is quite welcoming to new or inexperienced designers looking for an entry point for powerful 3D functional Design.

10. OpenSCAD

OpenSCAD is a reliable, free software for creating stable and printable 3D models. Unlike most other software, however, it is a non-visual best 3d modeling software, which is ideal for encoders rather than purely artistic people. Instead of visually shaping, sculpting, pushing, and pulling 3D shapes on the screen, OpenSCAD works like a 3D compiler that reads a script file written in programing language and then performs the representation of a 3D model from that script.

OpenSCAD parametric modeling allows easy editing and precise control of the 3D model properties. The software also allows 3D models to be exported to STL format for easy 3D printing.

OpenSCAD may not be suitable for everyone, but as one of the only non-visual 3D modeling tools, it plays an important role in the market.

11. Onshape

Onshape is still a relatively new best 3d modeling software for 3d printers, and the free account comes with some limitations. However, Onshape offers some very unique and professional-quality 3D modeling features, including real-time, 3D equipment-based Design, making it a unique option for professional engineers and students in the classroom.

Onshape is a mechanical 3D CAD modeling software based on Parasolid for the creation of complex parts and assemblies. The fully cloud-based platform can be accessed from a variety of devices, including iOS and Android smartphones, and allows multiple team members to collaborate simultaneously in 3D Design. Additional features include full CAD functionality, version control, and unlimited import and export for 3D printing. In addition, both Materialize, and Pinshape has joined Onshape as 3D printing partners through their respective applications.

The only limitations of the free account are that users are limited to 10 private documents and 5 GB of storage. If that is not enough, professionals can choose to expand capacity for only $100/month.

How does a 3D printer work?

Possible to print sneakers, car parts and, basically, what we can think of as today they print sheets of paper with two-dimensional drawings, that is not the place where technology is found in the Nowadays, and it is mainly used for the prefabrication of parts, and that is why it is used a lot in environments such as architecture or industrial design.

How does this technology work?

The three-dimensional printing process is, fundamentally, in creating a prototype layer by layer and from bottom to top. For this, the machine deposits a layer of plastic powder. The area indicated by the computer is compacted, and the process is repeated by placing one layer on another until the part is completed.

The most famous three-dimensional printers that they do is take a file .CADin .STL, which is a monochrome version, or a .VRML, which is a color version. Both are carried out with the previously explained process, in which they are compacted layer by layer.

There are two types of 3D printers: ink and laser. The former uses ink that works as a binder, compacts the powder and allows printing in different colors. While the latter what they do is transfer energy to the powder that becomes polymerized (hard) and then submerged in a liquid so that the hardest areas solidify.


Still, three-dimensional technology is a very precarious thing, and it doesn’t work very fast. For this reason, inclusion in homes is a bit far. However, it is clear that little by little, the different companies will begin to worry more in order to be the first to distribute this new technology, which is receiving increasing attention.