Top 10 3D Printing and Modeling Software That Will Make You a Pro!

Best Software for 3D Printing and 3D Modeling

Each 3D print starts as a 3D model created in a modeling program. A long time back, we needed to invest bunches of cash and energy to obtain and learn to use modeling software. These days, there are some simple-to-use modeling software choices available, large numbers of which are free. This article is full of the best 3D printing software options and arranged with their popularity among users.

The list, likewise, shows whether the product utilizes solid modeling, a type of 3D modeling that consistently creates models that are "manifold" or "watertight." A manifold or complex model is one in which all dividers of the model have some thickness, which is essential for 3D printing.

On the other hand, programming that uses polygon modeling can produce dividers that have zero thickness; that is fine for making computer CGIs for games and films but not helpful when 3D printing the models. Manifold models can be made with polygon modeling software, it simply takes more steps and experience. All the software in this list can make 3D printable models, however, every model that comes out of solid modeling software is 3D printable.


These tools are all about creating models for 3D printing. Some of them are pretty easy to use while other programs are only suitable for professional users with years of experience.

1. Tinkercad

Autodesk Tinkercad 3d Printing
Image: Tinkercad

Tinkercad is the best option for starters & professionals in the field of 3D printing. It is a browser-based 3D printing software that features an automatic block-building concept that allows you to start developing models from basic shapes & structures. Tinkercad also has tutorials for novices to get started and get the designs they are looking for.

Price: Free

Solid Modeling: Yes

Specially Made For Beginners

Key Features:

  • User-friendly 3D design interface
  • Compatibility with multiple operating systems
  • Ability to import and export files in various formats
  • Large library of pre-designed shapes and objects
  • Option to create custom designs from scratch
  • Collaboration tools
  • Simulation and analysis tools
  • Integration with 3D printing services
  • Educational resources and lesson plans
  • Mobile app available

2. Blender

Blender 3D Modeling Software Download
Image: Blender

Blender has been a great & popular software for character designing & graphics designing for a very long time and now it's gaining more popularity in the field of 3D modeling. In reality, Blender covers many angles of 3D development including 3D modeling, animation, simulation, rendering, motion tracking as well as video editing. It is open-source software that is ideal for users who are starting or have started creating curves in designing complex 3D models. Blender is truly a 3D animation software that started rendering using polygon  3D modeling techniques to create 3D models.

Price: Free

Solid Modeling: No

Specially Made For: Amateurs and advanced users

Key Features:

  • Advanced modeling tools
  • Animation and rigging capabilities
  • Sculpting and texturing tools
  • VFX and compositing capabilities
  • Simulations and physics engines
  • Scripting and customization options
  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • Large community and support network
  • Open-source development and continuous updates
  • Integration with other software and pipelines.

3. AutoDesk Fusion 360

Autodesk Fusion 360 3D Printing
Image: Autodesk

AutoDesk Fusion 360 is one of the best 3D printing software. This is a cloud-based 3D CAD software that uses the power of the cloud making it easy for team members to collaboratively work on complex projects. AutoDesk Fusion 360 is a professional software with a monthly payment subscription basis. It offers a lot of design options including freeform, solid, and mesh modeling.

Price: Free for personal use and startups, $595/year for commercial license

Solid Modeling: Yes

Specially Made For Amateurs to professionals

Key Features:

  • Cloud-based design and collaboration
  • 3D modeling and animation tools
  • CAM and CNC machining capabilities
  • Simulation and analysis tools
  • Sheet metal and electronics design
  • 2D drawing and documentation tools
  • Parametric and direct modeling
  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • Integration with other software and hardware
  • Large library of tutorials and resources

4. AutoDesk AutoCAD

AutoDesk AutoCAD Software
Image: Autodesk

Autodesk AutoCAD is a high-end 3D modeling software with amazing 3D printing tools. This 3D modeling & printing software is best suitable for professional 3D designers who have experience in programming 3D designs algorithmically. It is a very powerful software that has lots of functionalities under its pocket. It allows the user to attach and import data from PDFs, add annotations to drawings and extract object data to tables. Autodesk AutoCAD is capable of easily converting 3D models into STL files for better 3D printing. It also offers web & smartphone applications.

Price: Free with trial / $1449 per year

Solid Modeling: Yes

Specially Made For Experienced Professionals

Key Features:

  • Industry-standard 2D and 3D drafting tools
  • A big library of blocks and symbols
  • Customizable workspace and UI
  • Collaboration tools for sharing and reviewing designs
  • Compatibility with multiple file formats
  • Automation and customization options through APIs
  • Dynamic blocks and parametric constraints
  • Cloud-based rendering and visualization
  • Multilingual support
  • Access to a large community and support network

5. Ultimaker Cura

Ultimaker Cura 3D Printing Software
Image: Ultimaker

Don't go for its name, Ultimaker Cura is capable of supporting any 3D printer. It is an open-source 3D modeling slicer ideal for beginners because it is natural & fast. While it has a few menu options which make it easy to start with for 3D modeling students. Ultimaker Cura has backup & syncing plugins. Users can save projects with a digital library. Their official website provides access to 3D printing online courses. Ultimate Cura can be used to print on multiple networks and is compatible with STL, X3D, OBJ, and 3MF file formats. This 3D printing software takes a lot of time to print 3D models. The great thing about this software is that it has a worldwide community of 40,000 active users from which you can ask anything regarding 3D modeling.

Price: Free

Solid Modeling: Yes

Specially Made For Best for Beginners who don't want to spend a lot of money

Key Features:

  • Support for multiple 3D printers and file formats
  • Customizable printing profiles
  • Advanced slicing and support generation algorithms
  • Integration with CAD software
  • Preview and simulation tools
  • Optimization for dual-extrusion and multi-material printing
  • Plugin support for additional features
  • Material management and profile customization
  • Monitor and control printer settings remotely
  • A large community of users and resources

6. PTC Creo

PTC Creo 3D Modeling Software
Image: PTC Creo

Creo is developed by Parametric Technology Corporation. It is one of the leading product designing software in the market. Creo is one of the best 3D printing & manufacturing software. Users can take advantage of its AR capabilities for easy simulation of 3D designs.

It allows the users to take advantage of data from the real world to generate accurate designs. Creo is quite difficult to configure for beginners because it has way more features that a new user could understand. Creo is available for a 30-day free trial to know how the 3D modeling software works or you can purchase a lifetime license of this software by paying a $2310 one-time payment.

Key Features:

  • Advanced 3D CAD modeling tools
  • Compatibility with multiple file formats
  • Integrated simulation and analysis capabilities
  • Flexible design management and collaboration
  • Sheet metal and industrial design features
  • CAM and additive manufacturing capabilities
  • Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) design visualization
  • Parametric and direct modeling options
  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • Access to a large community and support network

7. SolidWorks

Now, let's talk about SolidWorks. SolidWorks is a CAD-based software often used by professional 3D designers. It features a large number of features including design validation tools, and reverse engineering. SolidWorks generally focuses on industrial designs while most other software is focused on flat designs. It uses a system of NURBS that produces wonderfully detailed curvatures. SolidWorks comes with three different packages including $1295/year or $3995 for a lifetime license.

Key Features:

  • Advanced 3D CAD modeling tools
  • Comprehensive simulation and analysis capabilities
  • Sheet metal and welding design features
  • Electrical and PCB design integration
  • CAM and CNC machining capabilities
  • PDM and PLM collaboration and data management
  • Dynamic and parametric modeling options
  • Assembly modeling and motion simulation
  • Photo-realistic rendering and animation
  • Integration with other software and hardware

8. Catia

At first, Catia was developed to serve the internal requirements of Dassault Aviation. However, it deliberately accumulated massive popularity for being a multi-purpose suite. Catia is one of the best multi-suite platforms which cater to multiple features including CAD, CAM, and CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) in the aerospace & automotive industries.

Using Catia, users can easily monitor the changes in the 3D model for adequate improvement of the product. Users can collaborate online for product designing, and share designs of 3D models. Catia is being used by some of the biggest automotive companies in the world including BMW, Porsche, Daimler Chrysler, Audi, Volkswagen, Bentley Motors Limited, Volvo, and many more. Although, it is a plethora of features yet it is quite expensive than most other 3D modeling software.

Key Features:

  • Advanced 3D CAD modeling tools
  • Integrated simulation and analysis capabilities
  • Comprehensive surface modeling and design tools
  • Generative design and optimization tools
  • Sheet metal and composite design features
  • Assembly modeling and kinematic analysis
  • Additive and subtractive manufacturing capabilities
  • PDM and PLM collaboration and data management
  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • A large community of users and resources

9. Rhinoceros 3D

Rhinoceros 3D or Rhino 3D software is proclaimed as one of the most skillful 3D modelers. This 3D modeling software uses NURB, which is clean and lets users manipulate curves, points, surfaces, meshes, and solids in any manner. Using Rhinoceros 3D, users can easily alter the display control points on the 3D model which efficiently alters the required design. It allows the users to import files from several sources like DXF, SolidWorks, IGES, AutoCAD, OBJ, SketchUp, MicroStation, STEP, and STL, among others. This 3D printing software also supports 3D digitizers and it is capable of importing 3D scanned point data from the cloud. It allows the users to add dimensions to any viewpoint. While this 3D modeling comes with several packages but the paid package starts from $295 - $495.

Key Features:

  • Advanced 3D modeling and editing tools
  • Compatibility with multiple file formats
  • Comprehensive surface modeling and design tools
  • Generative design and optimization tools
  • Rendering and animation capabilities
  • CAM and CNC machining capabilities
  • 3D printing preparation and optimization
  • Scripting and customization options
  • Plug-in support for additional features
  • A large community of users and resources

10. SketchUp

SketchUp 3D Designing Software
Image: SketchUp

SketchUp Make is another great software for 3D printing & designing. It is a very powerful modeling software as it maintains the balance between usability and functionality which makes it ideal for most skill levels. It offers an easy learning option with more advanced features for professionals at an extra cost. SketchUp also allows users to document 3D designs in 2D. Looking at its features, SketchUp is a great option for interior & exterior design projects. On SketchUp, complex designs often take quite a time but for simpler designs, it doesn't take much time. It comes with a free version, SketchUp Make, and paid version with additional features, SketchUp Pro.

Key Features:

  • Intuitive and easy-to-use 3D modeling tools
  • Compatibility with multiple file formats
  • Comprehensive 2D drafting tools
  • Rendering and animation capabilities
  • Integration with Google Earth and Google Maps
  • Scripting and customization options
  • Access to a large library of 3D models and textures
  • Plug-in support for additional features
  • Collaboration and sharing tools
  • A large community of users and resources

11. Maya

Maya 3D modeling software
Image: Maya

Maya is an advanced, and professional 3D modeling, animation, and rendering software. It was developed by Autodesk which is mainly used in game development. It offers various tools for creating 3D assets, visual effects, 3D modeling, texturing, animations, rigging, and rendering. It is capable enough to simulate natural phenomena like water and fire. Maya also supports several plugins and scripting languages for making the software highly customizable and powerful for 3D artists and designers.

Key Features:

  • Advanced modeling tools
  • Texturing and UV mapping
  • Rigging and animation tools
  • Dynamic simulations and effects
  • Render management and workflows
  • Scripting and customization options
  • Collaboration and integration tools


In conclusion, the field of 3D modeling and printing has made tremendous progress in recent years, and the easy availability of excellent software has significantly influenced this market. For designers, engineers, artists, and enthusiasts alike, the top 10 3D printing and modeling software solutions mentioned in this list have proven to be excellent resources.

These software applications include a wide range of functions, from simple user, interfaces to potent creative capabilities, enabling users to unleash their creativity and realize their ideas. There are softwares on this list that will meet your demands, whether you're an expert seeking accurate engineering tools or a beginner learning about 3D modeling.


What is the best design software for 3D printing?

  • Tinkercad
  • Blender
  • Maya
  • AutoDesk Fusion 360
  • AutoDesk AutoCAD
  • Ultimaker Cura
  • PTC Creo
  • SolidWorks
  • Catia
  • Rhinoceros 3D
  • SketchUp

What 3D software is most used?

  • Autodesk Maya.
  • ZBrush.
  • Lightwave 3D.
  • Houdini.
  • Cinema 4D.
  • Modo.
  • Blender

Can you make money from 3D printing?

Yes, you can generate income from a 3D printer. And there are numerous ways to do so, such as selling 3D printed items, and digital goods, or even offering a 3D printing service in your area.

Best 3D Modeling Software for Mac?

  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Blender
  • 3DS Max
  • Maya 3D Animation
  • FreeCAD - Open Source 3D Modeler
  • AutoCAD Civil 3D
  • Pixologic
  • OpenSCAD
  • MeshMixer
  • Rhinoceros

Is Fusion still free?

For eligible non-commercial users, Fusion 360 for personal use is free for three years. Fusion 360 home-based, non-commercial design, manufacturing, and fabrication projects must be performed by a hobbyist user who makes less than $1,000 USD in annual revenue.

Is Blender 3D free?

The open-source, free 3D modeling program is called Blender. The whole 3D pipeline is supported, including modeling, sculpting, rigging, simulation, 2D and 3D animation, compositing, motion tracking, and video editing.

Is Maya hard to learn?

A cyclopean program is Maya. It is capable of virtually anything you could want of a 3D package. This is what gives it its strength, but it also makes learning it challenging. Because of its extreme intricacy, elements are hidden inside menus.

How does 3D printing 2022 make money?

Design and sell 3D prints, Start a local 3D printing business, Design and build prototypes, Rent out your 3D printer, Sell digital 3D models, Repair things in your household, Repair 3D printers for others, etc.

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