3D printer compatible with solidworks

The Best 3D Printer for SolidWorks | Best Picks + Buyers Guide

3D printing is becoming more and more popular as time has gone on. With the price of 3D printers and the materials needed for their use becoming cheaper, it’s made it a lot easier for people to try their hand at making some models. Printing itself is really cool and it allows you to make all sorts of creations and tools. Whether it be the next miniature that you want to use in your next D&D campaign or a neat little plastic clip. 3D printing allows you to do practically anything. Let’s get started with our Best 3D Printer for SolidWorks Guide.


Best Pick

Budget Pick

Premium Choice


Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer

Dremel Digilab

QIDI TECH 3D Printer






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Best Pick


Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer



$989. 99

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Budget Pick


Dremel Digilab




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Premium Choice


QIDI TECH 3D Printer




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Table of Contents

Best 3D Printer for SolidWorks Guide

Though with the amount of choice out there it can be pretty daunting. Not to mention how to actually get the printing process started with what materials you need and the software you have to use. This is why we’ve put this list together of some of the best 3D printers you can get, which all work with a very popular piece of CAD software. SolidWorks is one of the most popular and most used 3D modelers used by both professionals and aspiring printers, so either way, we’ve got you covered! Let’s jump into our list for ‘The Best 3D printer for SolidWorks’.

SUNLU 3D Printer

  • Resolution – 50 – 300 Microns
  • Volume – 12. 2” x 12.2” x 15.7”
  • Weight – 8lbs (Shipping Weight)
  • Connections – USB, SD Card

Our first printer on this list is an excellent starting point for anyone who has not yet entered the world of 3D printing. This SUNLU printer offers a lot of high-quality performance for an entry-level printer and is great for the inexperienced. This Sunlu printer offers a very sleek looking piece of equipment. With an all-black frame which is complemented by the white building plate. The plate in question has a build size of 12.2” x 12.2” x 15.7”, so you’ll be able to build some pretty decent-sized models here. The setup process is fortunately not that complicated, though it may seem daunting to those who are new to the 3D printing world.

Though beginners should be careful as this type of printer doesn’t have any doors or housing to protect the prints while they’re being printed. It’s completely open-faced which allows you to see the entirety of the process but obviously can be pretty dangerous in some circumstances. When it comes to the prints themselves, this printer creates very highly detailed models which are great for almost anything you build.

Some other cool features that this printer has are its connections for both USB and SD cards. Allowing you to use whatever storage device is more convenient to you. The small screen located on the front of the machine is informative but don’t expect anything too fancy like a touchscreen. The biggest benefit that this machine has, especially for beginners in printing, is its ability to continue printing even if there’s been a power cut. Allowing the process to continue right where it left off. This printer is a fantastic choice for beginners and even those who are experienced in the world of 3D printing.


  • Great Build Quality
  • Large Build Volume
  • USB & SD Card Slots


  • Not Enclosed
  • Requires Some Assembly

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Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer

  • Resolution – 100-400 Microns
  • Volume – 5. 9” x 5.9” x 5.9”
  • Weight – 5lbs
  • Connections – USB, Wi-Fi

Our next entry on this list offers a pretty different printing experience. This is the printer for those who don’t need massive building spaces and prefer a lighter printer. This Monoprice printer does exactly those things, by combining the functionality of an FDM printer in a small and enclosed unit. The printer in question is small and reasonably lightweight, with a grey and black body. It has a door panel on the front that opens to let you place things inside the printer and view the printing process. As well as transparent panels on the top and left-hand side. The build area on this printer spans 5.9” x 5.9” x 5.9”, so it’s a fairly small square area.

The volume isn’t the biggest and it might limit you based on what exactly you want to build. If you plan on making miniatures or smaller tool bits and toys then this will do fine. But if you’re thinking any bigger than that, you’d best look elsewhere on this list. But in terms of build quality, you’re getting a fantastic printer here. It produces highly detailed and sharp models that will consistently look great and perform well.

The 2.8” screen on the front of the printer is where you’ll be controlling all of its functions and it does exactly what it needs to do. It’s a touchscreen with a crisp display, though it is a little small. So if you have particularly big hands you might get a little annoyed at it. Another great part of the printer is the built-in camera on the inside that allows you to view the printing process as it’s happening.


  • Great build quality
  • Good built-in camera
  • Accessible Design


  • Small touchscreen display

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Dremel Digilab

  • Resolution – 100 Microns
  • Volume – 0” x 5.9” x 5.5”
  • Weight – 15.43lbs
  • Connections – USB, SD Card, Wi-Fi

Our next option on this offers a lot of what made our last option great, with a few extra positives here too. This Dremel Digilab 3D FDM printer is another great option for both beginners and experienced printers alike. The unit itself consists of a white and grey metal box with a blue lid. The blue lid can be removed to allow access into the mechanisms of the printer and there’s a door on the front to access the build plate.

This printer is designed to be a lot lighter and more compact than a lot of other printers of its type which is why it only weighs 15.43lbs. It’s a great option for those who want a printer that’s a lot lighter than bigger and heftier models. Though with the size does come with a suitably smaller build volume of 9.0” x 5.9” x 5.5”. So you won’t be building anything that’s too big.

Visually this printer has a sort of retro aesthetic that is reminiscent of old printers, which helps it stand out. Though with this aesthetic comes a few issues. The rather simple design means that the viewing angles of the printer are severely limited, allowing you to only view the print from the front door panel. This is annoying if you’re someone who likes to watch and keep an eye on the process. This printer also has a touchscreen, though it is a bit on the small side so that may or may not be an issue for you. Overall this is another fantastic printer and it’s especially great for those who want something that is smaller and more manageable to transport.


  • Small Form Factor
  • High Print Quality
  • Easy Setup


  • Small Touchscreen
  • Lack of Viewing Angles

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FlashForge 3D Printer

  • Resolution – 100 – 500 Microns
  • Volume – 9” x 5.8” x 5.9”
  • Weight – 24.3lbs
  • Connections – USB, SD Card

The next entry on this list is going to appeal to those who have a little more experience with 3D printing and want something that’s going to perform well. This FlashForge 3D FDM printer offers a lot right out of the gate. The unit in question is an enclosed unit in a black metal frame. Which looks very stylish along with the general aesthetics of the printer.

On top of the printer is a transparent plastic lid that protects and encloses a lot of the vital parts of the machine and allows you to access its insides. With the main access being the plastic panel on the front of the printer. This printer is fairly light weighing in at 24.3lbs, meaning it shouldn’t be too much trouble to transport and move around.

The build volume on this printer is 8.9” x 5.8” x 5.9”, which is the perfect size for making miniatures, tools, and toys. If you want something that is going to make large-scale models for you this isn’t the one. But the main thing that this printer offers is very high-quality printing in a very easy and accessible way. It requires little to no assembly apart from placing your filament and as soon as that’s done, you’re ready to go. A few other nice touches are the inclusion of both USB and SD card ports.

As well as a control display which is clear and easy to read, though it isn’t a touchscreen which might disappoint some. It also suffers from poor viewing angles as the only way to actually view the printing process is through the front panel. Ultimately this is another fantastic printer that performs to a high standard and doesn’t mess around with any complicated assembly.


  • Small Form Factor
  • High Print Quality
  • Easy Setup


  • Lack of Touchscreen
  • Lack of Viewing Angles

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QIDI TECH 3D Printer

  • Resolution – 50 – 400 Microns
  • Volume – 8″ x 9.8″ x 11.8″
  • Weight – 61.7lbs
  • Connections – USB

Our final entry on this list is for those who are experienced with printing and want to take their prints to the next level. For these purposes, we’ve chosen this QIDI TECH 3D printer due to its performance and quality on the higher end of 3D printing. With this printer, you’re getting an enclosed unit with a black body that both looks stylish and offers a lot of protection for the parts inside. The access points on this printer are few but they get the job done. One lies on top of the printer for access to all the moving parts and the other is on the front which acts as the main access for your prints.

This printer unfortunately has pretty poor viewing angles which might be annoying for those who like to watch the process. Though the main downside here is the weight of the printer, which comes in at 61.7lbs, which might make it pretty difficult to transport and move around.

Though that weight means that this machine is able to build a whole lot more. With a build volume of 11.8″ x 9.8″ x 11.8″, meaning that you can make some pretty big builds. Making this the perfect machine for those who want to make prints that are both big and small. Fortunately, the build quality on offer here is also fantastic. With this printer, your builds are going to be highly detailed and more importantly, consistent. Other bonuses with this machine include the large and clear touchscreen on the front of the printer. As well as the overall fantastic build quality of the printer itself. This is an amazing option for those who are experienced with 3D printing or those who want to upgrade their printing arsenal.


  • Large Touchscreen
  • High Print Quality
  • Easy Setup


  • Heavy
  • Lack of Viewing Angles

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See Also: The Best 3D Printer for ZBrush

Buying Guide

If you’ve gotten this far in the list and you still have no clue about what printer you want to get if you don’t know where to begin with 3D printing, we’ve got you covered. In this section you’ll find some advice and information about 3D printing.

How to use SolidWorks

SolidWorks is one of the most popular pieces of software when it comes to 3D printing. It acts as a CAD modelling system that lets you draw out and model the prints you want to make. You then save these files as STL files and can place them into your printer to begin the printing process. It’s a fairly simple and easy system that is universal across most CAD software. So even if you decide to not use SolidWorks for whatever reason, they all work fundamentally the same. Though the main benefit that you get with SolidWorks is a professional grade modelling suite

SolidWorks is software that is supported on Windows, but not officially on Mac. Which isn’t saying you can’t use it on Mac, it just means that it isn’t officially supported and you might need to look for other ways to get it to work. But for a Windows PC, you’re going to need at least a decent PC with the following hardware:

  • Windows 10
  • 16GB RAM (minimum)


  • 32GB RAM (recommended)
  • At least 20GB of free space on a hard drive or SSD
  • 4GB VRAM

These requirements aren’t exactly the most taxing in the world, but it does mean that you’ll need a semi-competent PC. So you won’t really be able to use this software on machines that are older than Windows 10 (though you can get builds for Windows 7 and 8). Lastly, this software has a free trial version that allows you to see what the suite has to offer, but after that you’ll need to pay. So bear these things in mind when you decide to either upgrade your pc to meet these requirements, or when using this software in general.

Buy the printer that’s right for you

Now this probably sounds pretty obvious, but it’s a statement that still stands. You shouldn’t feel like you need to overspend on hardware that you don’t need and don’t plan to use to its full capabilities. Aim to get a printer that does exactly what you need it to. For instance, if you want to print miniatures and small toys, you won’t be needing a professional grade printer.

Ultimately the advice here is to be smart with your purchase. If you are someone who likes to spend a lot on their tech and wants to prepare for making more complex prints, you should still pay attention to what you’re getting. Bear in mind what you want to actually make and remember that you can always upgrade when you feel like you want to make bigger and better things.

Buying Tips

  • Pay attention to the type of printer you’re getting. Make sure you know the difference between filament (FDM) and resin (SLA) printers. As the experiences you’ll have with both of these will be wildly different.
  • Some printers use their own proprietary types of filament and others are able to use almost any kind of filament. Make sure to check which your chosen printer supports so that you can always find the cheapest deals on printing materials.
  • If you already own a printer and are looking to upgrade, make sure that the experience with the new printer is going to be a better one. Often you can find a printer that seems to be better, but due to the resolution or the quality of the printer itself, you might find it offers a worse experience.


We’ve come to the end of our list for ‘The Best 3D printer for SolidWorks in 2020’. If it helped you at all and kickstarted your journey into 3D printing, let us know down in the comments!

The Best 3D Printer for SOLIDWORKS is a Stratasys F120 Machine

3D printing is becoming very popular with designers, engineers, educators, and especially SOLIDWORKS users who want to create prototypes of their CAD models. We are often asked the question “What is the best 3D printer for SOLIDWORKS?”

That is a great question as there are many good 3D printers on the market right now and they vary in size, technology, and of course price. It also depends on your 3D printing requirements and the budget you have available.

Best 3D Printer is a Professional Machine

But the one thing you want to ensure when shopping around for a 3D printer is to choose a ‘commercial/professional’ machine and not a ‘consumer’ machine. In a previous article we outlined the advantages of a commercial machine over a consumer printer; but the main reason is if you use SOLIDWORKS for professional design work then you need a proven professional-grade commercial 3D printer that is going to last and consistently print good results for you every time. So for an affordable professional-grade machine we recommend the Stratasys F120.

In this article we will outline the three main reasons why we recommend the Stratasys F120 as the best 3D printer for SOLIDWORKS:

Professional 3D printing applications

Review the table below to compare the applications of a Stratasys F120 to leading consumer 3D printers. Note that the F120 is able to be used for ALL phases of your design process. Whereas a consumer 3D printer is not able to be used in applications beyond the concept phase:

Stratasys F120
Concept Phase Earliest Concept Good Good
Initial Product Iteration Good Good
Communication Model Good Fair
Focus Group Model Good Fair
Basic Fit Testing Good Fair
Ergonomic Testing Good Fair
Architectural Model Good  –
Complex Design Good  –
Prototyping Phase
Fit and Assembly Prototype Good  –
Solid Colour Models Good  –
Functional Test Parts Good  –
Manufacturing Phase Jigs, Fixtures, and Gauges Good  –
Surrogate Parts Good  –
Production/End-use Parts Good  –



3D print with genuine ABS-M30 and ASA Plastic

The majority of today’s consumer products — and many commercial ones — are composed of thermoplastics. When designing a new product, you can best predict its end performance by prototyping with a material as similar to it as possible. The F120 creates parts with the same types of raw material found in injection molding facilities around the globe, this allows you to 3D print plastic parts for many different applications from concept modeling through product development and manufacturing.

Here are just a few benefits of the materials used by the F120 machine:

  • Mechanically strong and stable over time.
  • Layer bonding is significantly stronger for a more durable part than materials from competitors.
  • Greater tensile, impact, and flexural strength than materials from competitors.
  • Versatile Material: Good for form, fit and functional applications.
  • ABS-M30 and ASA work with soluble support material to create complex models, and support removal is hands-free.
  • Available in a variety of colours
    • ABS-M30 includes six colours: Ivory, white, blueblack, red, and dark grey
    • ASA includes ten colours: Ivory, white, blueblack, red, grey, dark blue, green, yellow, and orange

2. Higher quality models and better performance

The F120 is powered by Stratasys’ patented FDM® (Fused Deposition Modeling™) technology. It’s the technology on which thousands of design engineers test their designs and creates stronger more robust models than leading consumer 3D printers. Here are just a few reasons why the F120 is the best 3D printer to prototype:

2 (a) Easy collaboration

What’s more powerful: showing a 3D model, or a physical part that everyone can hold? Through every design iteration, the F120 turns your ideas into strong, functional models ready for collaboration and testing. The Best 3D Printer builds accurate, stable 3D parts in ABS plastic. They’re ideal for determining form, fit and function in everything from ergonomics to manufacturing processes.

Model House
Shock Absorber Model
Faucet Model

Valve Model
Air duct model
Clip Model

2 (b) Product Functional Testing

When it’s time to test your concepts, F120 models stand up to functional testing whereas consumer 3D printer models can easily break. You’ll get more quality feedback, resulting in a better product. With a footprint of just 889 x 870 x 721 mm (35 x 35 x 29 in.), the F120’s ability to produce quick, inexpensive models will help you efficiently review multiple concepts right from your desk.

2 (c) Better quality model and machine performance

Typically consumer 3D printers have issues when producing models on a regular basis. You will find models that have stringing and oozing or are warped. Also printer performance is not consistent with material nozzles that get clogged, difficulties with printing small details and misaligned prints. The F120 has none of these issues and creates reliable consistent models every time.

3. Stratasys F120 can be used for manufacturing

Let’s have a look at the manufacturing phase applications in more detail as this is where the F120 is best 3D printer to aid your manufacturing:

3 (a) 3D print Jigs, Fixtures, and Gauges

Manufacturing relies on tools, including jigs, fixtures, templates and gauges, to maintain quality and production efficiency – now you can quickly manufacture them with an F120. Instead of spending time and money to machine, fabricate, mold, or cast your tools you can easily design them in SOLIDWORKS then print them with the F120 3D printer using production-grade material. The F120 will:

  • Reduce lead times by 40 to 80 percent.
  • Reduce costs by 70 to 95 percent.
  • Improve assembly accuracy.

Jig & Fixtures Example

3 (b) Create Surrogate Parts

Mock-ups, or surrogate parts, may be substituted for production components during the assembly and interface evaluation phase of a project. Surrogate parts preserve all of the critical details for an installation while minimizing expense and lead time when they are manufactured with an F120. Produced as needed, with up-to-date configuration changes, the F120 surrogates will:

  • Confirm clearances and interfaces for installation assessment;
  • Highlight serviceability issues and;
  • Validate routing interfaces for wiring harnesses and fluid conduits.

Surrogate Part Example

3 (c) Create Production/End-use Parts

Using a Stratasys F120 3D printer is a unique alternative for the production of end-use items. Having little in common with traditional manufacturing methods, the uniqueness of 3D printing can change the decision-making process, overturns old principles and creates new criteria. The primary advantage of 3D printing parts is that it removes constraints imposed by traditional manufacturing processes, such as injection molding or die casting and allows you to:

  • Replace expensive molding, machining or tooling.
  • 3D print a short or limited run production.
  • Create complex or small intricate parts which would be hard to manufacture with traditional processes.

3D Printed End-use Parts

Conclusion: Stratasys F120 is the best 3D Printer for SOLIDWORKS

So there you have it, three good reasons why the F120 is the best ‘starter’ SOLIDWORKS 3D printer:

  1. Able to print with true ABS and ASA Materials
  2. Creates better prototypes than consumer 3D printers
  3. Can create end-use parts and manufacturing tools.

Learn about Stratasys F120 »

TOP 10 3D Printing CAD

TOP 10 3D Printing CAD

The software you should use when designing 3D printing depends entirely on its nature. The complexity of your object will influence your final choice. In general, modeling software can be divided into two categories: CAD software and 3D modeling software . In most cases, CAD software will be used to create industrial objects that integrate more or less complex mechanisms. 3D modeling software is preferred when you want more artistic and conceptual freedom - it has historically been used in the video game and animation sector. We will also cover 3D software for beginners.

But what is CAD software ( CAD )? The acronym stands for Computer Aided Design and suggests that it facilitates the generation, modification and optimization of a design for a room or a series of more or less complex pieces. CAD software can be very specific, whether it's industrial design, mechanics, architecture, or aeronautical engineering. Today we will focus on the CAD software that is used to model future 3D printed parts. Considering the many features that the software can have, we have divided them by level of knowledge - beginner, intermediate and professional.

Free CAD software for beginners

TOP 1 - TinkerCAD

TinkCAD is Autodesk's application for beginners in 3D design. The software is based on building blocks, which allows you to develop models from a set of basic figures. It includes a library of millions of files that users can use to find the shapes that best suit them and manipulate them however they want. This is a fairly simplistic software that will have limitations for some projects. However, it is ideal for those who do not have experience in 3D modeling .

Entry level

TOP 2 - FreeCAD

FreeCAD is a completely free and open source parametric 3D modeling tool that allows you to design real objects of any size. The parametric side makes editing easier. You can view the history of your model and change its settings to get a different one. This software is not intended for professional use, but is a good learning tool. The suggested options are quite simple and will be a good starting point for any beginner.

Entry level

TOP 3 - BlocksCAD

This 3D software was specially designed for education. It has been designed so that everyone can use OpenSCAD, the more professional CAD software. The controls for creating and transforming objects are represented by blocks of colors, which reminds us of the well-known LEGO building block. Blockscad code is compatible with OpenSCAD code so you can complete your templates. Export formats can be OpenSCAD or STL. For everyone who wants to learn how to use the software in Blockscad, there is a YouTube channel with various tutorials for 3D modeling .

Entry Level

CAD Software for Intermediate Users

TOP 4 - Creo

is one of the leading design software in the market 30 years ago. It integrates many features, whether thermal analysis, structure, motion, parametric surface shaping, and freestyle or direct modeling. It is a complete tool ideal for additive manufacturing that will allow you to do all your design calculations while modeling your final idea. The latest version of Creo 5.0 was released in 2018 and includes an improved user interface that has been redesigned for a better grip. A 30 day trial is available for free.

$2,310 for standard license

TOP 5 - 360° Fusion

Fusion 360° is a cloud-based CAD software. It uses the power of the cloud to bring teams of developers together to work together on complex projects. The software can store the entire history of the model, including all of its iterations. It also has a variety of design options, including free-form modeling, solids, and lattice structures. Works on a monthly paid subscription. The developers regularly update their features with more news.

Price: $60/month or $495/year; free for startups and individuals for one year

Professional CAD software

TOP 6 - Solidworks

This software developed by Dassault Systèmes is one of the best known on the market. It uses parametric design to generate three types of files: parts, assemblies, and drawings. Solidworks includes a wide range of features such as design checkers or reverse engineering. Often used for industrial parts, it is practical and highly detailed. Unlike many other programs that simulate curves with slightly slanted planar structures, Solidworks uses the NURBS system to offer very detailed curves.

Price: $3995 license

TOP 7 – 4D_Additive

The 4D_Additive software developed by CoreTechnologie is a complete additive manufacturing solution. It can check the fit of the part and suggest possible modifications to adapt it to the 3D printing processes of and improve its final quality. It can fix overlays, deformed edges, or any geometric error. 4D_Additive also includes various analysis tools for 3D printing such as surface quality analysis, part orientation and more. The CAD software also offers to create printed media when needed.

Professional level
Price: from 5K to 30K depending on the selected parameters (import interfaces, 3D slicing, textures ...) Dassault Aviation. Therefore, we are facing established software in the aerospace sector as well as in product development, whether for engineers, system architects, designers, etc. Built on top of the DEXault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE platform, the software offers 3D modeling and simulation capabilities, allowing users to streamline their tasks and organize their tasks more efficiently. CATIA is mainly used in the field of mechanical and electrical engineering, engineering and systems engineering.

Professional level
Over 10K €

TOP 9 – OpenSCAD

It is suitable for advanced users who are looking for a platform for a complex project. In addition, due to its solid construction geometry and 2D contour extrusion, this software is intuitive for programmers. It is suitable for simple shapes already defined parametrically. Since it is completely based on the description language, the program will not be intuitive for everyone.

Professional Level

TOP 10 - Rhino3D

The company behind this software bills it as the most versatile 3D modeler in the world. It is a commercial 3D computer graphics and CAD software. The program uses a precise mathematical model called NURB to manipulate points, curves, meshes, surfaces, solids, and more. The strength of Rhino3D lies in its wide range of design features. It offers great flexibility in creating complex 3D Models . However, many users have indicated that the software requires a lot of learning and that it will take a lot of practice to master it. The software is available for download as various packages on its website.


Rhino 6.0 starts at €995 for Windows and Rhino 5.0 for Mac goes up to €695.

The 14 Best 3D Printing Software of 2020

3D printing technology has improved a lot over the past decade. And now it is taking by storm more and more sectors of the economy. So far, it has been successfully used in various fields, ranging from medicine and manufacturing to socio-cultural sectors. However, 3D modeling is not easy to master. It can sometimes become frustrating to work with 3D modeling tools, and if you're new, designing and printing a simple structure can take days or even weeks.

Below you will find easy-to-use 3D printing tools that feature innovative designs, extraordinary features, and seamless integration with computer hardware. We have provided all the information about the skill level and where they can be downloaded.

14. Sculptris

Price: Free Platform: Windows / macOS

Sculptris is a virtual sculpting tool that mainly focuses on the concept of clay sculpting. This would be a great choice if your project revolves around creating statues or characters from comics and video games. Even though the tool is aimed at beginners, it still contains a lot of incredible features that make 3D sculpting very easy. For example, in Sculpt mode, you can edit mesh geometry with simple brush strokes. In paint mode, you can easily draw textures (with brushes) wrapped around the mesh surface. Sculptris regularly analyzes the surface of the model to make sure details are projected correctly and automatically adds polygons as needed. Overall, it provides an impressive gateway to the 3D world. You can create basic models and then refine them in other advanced programs such as ZBrush. In fact, Sculptris is made compatible with ZBrush, so users can import their work into advanced 3D tools when they're ready to take their designs to the next level.

13. Wings 3D

Price: Free Platform: Windows / macOS / Linux

Wings 3D is an open source program that uses an internal data structure to store coordinates and adjacency data. There are four different selection modes for modifying model geometry: Edge, Vertex, Face, and Body. Each has its own set of mesh tools that offer both basic and advanced features.

Standard tools (such as move, scale, rotate, bevel, bridge, cut and weld), virtual mirror (for symmetrical modeling) and smooth preview make it easy to create a 3D model. Although it does not support animation, you can use it to create mid-range polygon models and add textures and materials using AutoUV renderers and OpenGL rendering. After that, you can export the file to external rendering programs such as YafRay and POV-Ray.

12. Vectary

Price: free/premium starts at $9 per month

Platform: web browser

Vectary provides an easy and intuitive way to get started with creating 3D and AR (augmented reality) content . It comes with a large, fast-growing library of free scenes and models, so you don't have to spend a lot of time speeding up your 3D work. There are plenty of high-quality pre-selected and lit scenes for product shots, abstract graphic backgrounds, and a wide range of fully textured materials, from wood and fabric to frosted glass and pavement. Vectary also has viewport navigation, subdivision modeling, composition abstractions, lightning, and rendering. All of them are tuned to optimize your creative expression. You can create your first short with simple drag and drop and get realistic results in minutes.

11. Slic3R

Price: Free

Platform: Windows / macOS / Linux

AMF and 3MF). It is capable of processing complex models, generating infill patterns, and estimating G-code printing times. The software is equipped with many configuration options that allow users to customize and have complete control over their projects. You can integrate Slic3r with server applications or use it from the shell (via a powerful command line interface). Users can choose to print thicker infill to benefit from the low layer height around the perimeter while still keeping print time within the required amount. Slic3r will control the print speed so that each layer gets enough time to cool before applying the next layer.

10. PrusaSlicer

Price: Free

Platform: Windows | macOS | Linux

PrusaSlicer comes from a forked version of Slic3r. It has everything you need to create a 3D object: an intuitive interface, convenient keyboard shortcuts, and various controls that make it easy to scale, rotate, cut, and move objects. When installing the software, you will find several modes to customize the settings depending on your skill level. With the built-in Support Enforcer, you can selectively apply supports to individual objects. You can even choose the layer height for each part of the object individually. PrusaSlicer will automatically take care of the anti-aliasing so the output looks its best and print times remain acceptable. It can be used for model slicing for both FDM (deposition deposition modeling) and resin printers.

9. OnShape

Price: From $1,500 per user per year | Free for teachers and students

Platform: Web browser | iOS | Android

OnShape is a one-stop product development platform that brings all your stakeholders together in a single, secure cloud workspace. It makes extensive use of cloud computing, with CPU-intensive processing and rendering performed on internet servers. It is specially designed for professional level users who want version control and the best collaboration experience. Team members can manage projects without keeping copies or tracks of different file versions. Perhaps the most impressive feature of this tool is its ability to help executives make better business decisions with real-time analytics. This tool has proven to be effective in many industries including 3D printing, mechanical equipment, machine parts, medical devices, consumer electronics, industrial equipment. While the standard version costs $1,500 per year, it's free for educators and students. If you're a hobbyist, you can also use it for free for non-commercial projects in the open source public workspace.

8. PTC Creo

Price: 30-day trial | $2,390 for a one-year license

Platform: Windows

Creo is a suite of CAD applications specifically designed to address the challenges organizations face when creating, analyzing, and sharing information with downstream partners. It is developed by Parametric Technology Corporation, an American software company headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. Creo introduces a new Generative Topology Optimization extension that lets you create high-quality designs that perform better in the real world. It also contains tools for direct 3D modeling, 2D orthographic imaging, technical illustration, schematic design, and finite element analysis and modeling. The premium version includes manufacturing processing, Modeler options, topology optimization, metal printing, tolerance analysis, and more. All in all, this is a great tool for power users and small businesses.

7. Rhinoceros 3D

Price: Free trial for 90 days / $995 one-time fee

Platform: Windows / macOS allow users to manipulate points, curves, surfaces, meshes and solids the way they want. There are literally no limits on complexity, degree, or size outside of your equipment. It has an extremely detailed interface that can display countless viewports, perspective working views, floating views, clip planes, two-point perspective, and 3D stereo viewing modes. Built-in enhancement tools ensure that the 3D models used throughout the process are of the highest possible quality. In terms of drafting and rendering, the software facilitates the development of 2D and 3D drawings for every discipline in every notation and visual style. You will be able to control rendering, change shadows and lights pretty quickly. 64-bit support and extended support for graphics coprocessors allowed Rhinoceros to work with large point clouds. The latest version is compatible with hundreds of different CAD, rendering and animation products.

6. MeshLab

Price: Free

Platform: Windows | macOS | Linux

MeshLab is an open source program for editing and processing 3D triangular meshes. It contains many functions for checking, editing, texturing, rendering and transforming meshes. With the visualization function, you can graphically represent the smallest details of a 3D model, control the camera's perspective, and use the built-in canonical views. Move different grids to a common frame of reference, restore the shape of any object and easily control its scale, position and orientation. There are many Photoshop-style filters for adjusting vertex and edge colors, such as brightness, contrast levels, gamma, saturation, sharpening, and anti-aliasing. There are also additional filters for calculating volumetric obscuration and external occlusion and matching them with the color of vertices and faces. MeshLab work can be traded with other popular third party tools including SketchFab, Autodesk and Blender. This makes it easy to expand your project and work with multiple 3D programs. MeshLab has been used for rapid prototyping in orthopedic surgery, desktop manufacturing, and in many academic and research contexts such as surface reconstruction, cultural heritage, and microbiology.

5. MatterControl

Price: Free

Platform: Windows | macOS | Linux

MatterControl is a comprehensive software package that allows you to design, cut and manage 3D prints. You can browse existing designs (by visiting Design Apps) or create objects from scratch using the Design Tools. MatterControl has advanced 3D design capabilities that make it easy to create quality models with greater complexity than traditional CAD tools. For example, it has real-time Z-shift modification and built-in controls for dual extrusion using powerful 64-bit processing. If you have a dual extrusion 3D printer, the software makes it easy to choose which extruder will print certain parts. Once a model is imported or created, you have the ability to remove or replace parts, align them to their origin, and tell the printer which extruder to use for certain areas of the design.

4. SolidWorks

Price: Available upon request.

Platform: Windows

SolidWorks is computer-aided design (CAE) and computer-aided design (CAD) software for Microsoft Windows. It is used by millions of designers and engineers in over 100,000 companies. Written on the Parasolid core, the software uses a parametric functional method to develop models and assemblies. It's fairly easy to get to know and comes with a lot of functionality. Although 3D sketches are available for professional users, most people start with a 2D sketch. A sketch contains geometry in the form of points, arcs, lines, conics, and splines. You can add dimensions (to define the location and size of the geometry) and relationships (to define attributes such as perpendicularity, parallelism, tangency, and concentricity). The software automatically generates views from a solid model. You can easily add notes, dimensions, and tolerances to your drawing at any time. Your work is saved in the Microsoft Structured Storage file format, so you can open and modify it on other platforms from other vendors.

3. Fusion 360

Price: 30-day free trial | $495 per year

Platform: Windows / macOS

Fusion 360 is a cloud-based 3D CAD software developed by Autodesk. It handles the entire process of designing, testing and executing a 3D structure. The software offers complete control over form design and provides robust features for creating clean and highly detailed modes. This allows prototyping and validation of designs before rapid production. You can even digitally simulate your products to ensure they can withstand real-world conditions. Static Stress and Shape Optimization options allow you to identify stresses caused by static loads on parts and identify unwanted areas in your design for easier weighting. This can greatly reduce the cost of prototyping. Overall, Fusion's complete set of modeling tools makes it one of the preferred products for designers, mechanical engineers, and machinists.


Price: available upon request

Platform: Windows / Unix

CATIA is probably the best 3D printing software for professional users. This means an automated 3D interactive application. Developed in 1977 by the French company Dassault Systemes, CATIA provides a unique opportunity for modeling complex products. Over the years, it has evolved into something more than a CAD software package: it is now a software package that includes the capabilities of computer-aided design and manufacturing tools. The software has a fully loaded library with all the materials you need to develop projects at different scales. Unlike other 3D modeling tools of its kind that require a powerful PC, CATIA can run on inexpensive desktops and laptops. It is used in many industries, including automotive, aerospace, defense, life sciences, consumer products, and industrial equipment.

1. Cura

Price: Free

Platform: Windows | macOS | Linux

Cura is an open source slicing application for 3D printers. It is available under the LGPLv3 license so you can integrate it with third party CAD applications. Like other 3D printing software, it splits the model file into multiple layers and generates a printer-specific g-code. Its super clean interface and minimalist layout let you add any extra features or options you might need. After that, you can send this G-code to the printer to print the physical object. Cura is compatible with almost all desktop 3D printers and supports common 3D formats including OBJ, STL, 3MF, X3D.

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