What modelling software do you use?

Hi guys, I thought it would be a good idea to gather some info about which modelling software you use, or if you download from thingiverse and other sources. so which one do you use? I use autoCAD and 123D!

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So far I download a lot of stuff from thingiverse, and have used tinkercad to design a few things. Stil need to look into a proper offline solution, but tinkercad was easy enough to learn to use and worked quite well for my needs.

ok, tinkerCAD is pretty basic, I mean if you’re a pro at it then you can make decent stuff but you will really notice the difference when you switch to more professional software, even I download from thingiverse, but you can’t get everything up there :frowning: anyway 123D is a great start! since its free you can get decent tutorials for it.

Why make a new topic if its already here? :stuck_out_tongue:


tutorials for fusion 360 or other modelling software which supports STL in and out?
123D is good but if you’ve had solid experience and you compare older results with 123D there would be a huge difference in the ability to make unique shapes, so i recommend you don’t go for 123D is its very very basic! fusion 360 is good. ill look for more 3D modelling software with tutorials targeted towards 3D printing.

Because searching is hard :slight_smile:
I’m always conflicted on which post to reply to, the newer one that’s floated to the top, or the older one that has historical context… Replying to the old post also brings it to the top of the list, so then you’ve got two similar posts that are right next to each other, and half of the replies will go in each bucket…

I digress.

I’ve been using DesignSpark Mechanical, and am well pleased with it. Here’s a tutorial that I recorded for getting started with it.

I think that Fusion 360 is more powerful, and is where you’d ultimately like to end up, but DesignSpark probably has a shallower learning curve if you’re starting from scratch.

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I agree on Fusion 360 for mechanical designs, very nice software for being free.

For organic sculpting I would say either blender (but I never liked it) or something like 3d coat (99 usd) or zbrush core (150 usd).

I am thinking of getting Zbrush and learning that just need some cash to buy the license;)

Ooh nearly forgot Sculptris which is free but missing some features compared to Zbrush core.

I think Fusion 360 has some organic design also under the Sculpt mode. I also like very much Fusion 360 and mainly use the Model mode. Also if you input .stl files, you can convert and modify them, which is very powerful in my opinion. By the way, I am no expert in CAD tools, just a hobby user.

Sounds like I need to finally give it a try! :wink: I have to say one thing that confused and put me off as they don’t highlight it very well is the fact that there actually is a free hobbyist version… you see the three year free educational license, the free trial stuff readily easily, but then buried in the description in a tooltip is says there is a 1 year renewable free license for hobbyists… They obviously don’t want us to use it as hobbyists and then migrate to using it in our professional lives! :open_mouth:

@aw1 Ah, but did I answer your question or not? :stuck_out_tongue: Anyway, TinkerCad may be ‘basic’ in your view but is is quite powerful to others… cue the guns and dragons :laughing:

kYes they hide it quite well… it is actually free for comercial use if you make less than 100k a year.

Interesting channel for some fusion and 3d printing stuff is chaos core tech on youtube

@mc_ott yes I know it has a sculpt option for organic stuff which is fine for some stuff but a pain for something like warhammer figures. The again printing things like that on a fdm is not a great idea.

Actually nearly bought an wanhao duplicator 7 till I saw how unreliable ( bad quality control) that machine has. Here is hoping the Moai will turn out better;)

I’ve started to learn OnShape now that Autodesk isn’t supporting 123Design. Being cloud based, I can work on my stuff at lunch on my work PC w/o having to install software.

Has their pricing plan changed in the last year or so? I’ve got way too many models to use what they offer for free.

Probably not. I’ve just started learning it & using the free option.

@Jimustanguitar Did they (Onshape) have a limit to the number of models before? Their current pricing says unlimited documents (public only) for the free tier.

Oh, and I downloaded Fusion3D… and had a quick play… and am not ashamed to say I will be running back to TinkerCAD in the near future… Fusion3D is nowhere as easy to use! :open_mouth: I’ll have to watch some videos/guides before I pluck up the nerve to pursue it for new models.

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The unlimited documents are public only, and you can’t use it commercially… I think their old verbiage said something about only having 10 “active” documents or something like that. That’s what scared me off.

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Onshape has not changed, it IS free but all your models are public if you are not paying, and non-commercial only.

123D Design is (was) pretty great at filling the niche in between TinkerCAD and Fusion 360.

It is also discontinued, so I am confused as to why it is being recommended. If you are lucky enough to have it already, hang on to it, but it won’t be getting any updates, and anything in the cloud is gone.

If you follow along over at Autodesk Community, the changes coming are very transparent. Tinkercad is going to inherit some of the more “intermediate” features of 123D Design and not feel quite so amateurish (and why anyone would feel any sense of shame is beyond me, use whatever gets the model made!).

Fusion 360 is pretty awesome, very powerful, and a bit complicated, but there is a massive amount of free tutorials and learning resources for it. It is free for students, hobbyists/enthusiasts, and any business earning less than $100k per year. That is renewable annually. That covers pretty much everyone in here.

Personally, I use both 123D still (offline mode) if I need something easy to model and to get it done quickly, and Fusion 360 if I have more time and it is more complicated. I can certainly say I still have a lot to learn there too.

For more organic style modeling, there is Meshmixer, which a lot of people love (not me), and Blender is another excellent free app with a huge following, lots of support and training available. ZBrush is amazing and expensive. Both are great tools. I am by no means a Blender expert, but that is the app I am currently studying. It has features that lead into 3D animation as well, but I stop at the modeling part, so I don’t worry about the rigging and timelining and all those features.

At the end of the day really, the best modeling app is the one that you can make things with and feel comfortable. Once you can do that with one app, keep doing it AND pick another one that makes you uncomfortable and start learning again. This is 3D Printing, if you stop learning you get left behind fast.


@pfeerick Maker’s Muse has a very good series on Fusion 360, and he speaks your language :slight_smile:

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Don’t forget that they made zbrush core which is fairly new and the features missing are not that important when you use it for 3d printing and a pretty good deal as it is like 1/4 of the price of zbrush “complete”.

Considering it is “only” about as expensive as simplify 3d it should not really shock that many people.


Good call, I had actually forgotten that. They don’t really market that one all that much, especially for that purpose.

yup unfortunately but if I look at the features it should be fine… will be my next purchase before I get a resin printer :wink:

The deal with the tablet actually seems quite interesting too.

An I like that Zbrush has a massive community, so many tutorials out there.

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