Top 10 Free 3D Printing Software For Beginners and Experts


Every human has a creative mind. 3D printing is one way to make your imagination a reality.

This technology makes it easy to turn our ideas into tangible reality. You don’t have to pay anything for it, even though it has become a strong backbone for many companies.

How do you ask?

To get you started, just rely on a 3D printing software program. We will be discussing ten free 3D printing software programs currently available on the market.

3D Printing Free Software List for 2020

1. Ultimaker Cura

A. What is it?

Ultimaker Cura 3D printer software is the most used in the world. It is currently used by more than a million people worldwide and is available in 15 languages to support its global customers. This software is used to print approximately 20,000 copies each week. 1.4 million 3D objects.

B. History

David Braam (the talented software engineer at Ultimaker) developed Cura, an open source slicer software. It was originally released under the open-source general license. However, it is now available under the LGPLv3 license which allows for more third-party integrations.

C. What is it?

Cura can be used with Windows, Linux, and macOS. It cuts the original 3D model file provided by the user into many layers. This sliced version is known as g-code, which the 3D printer can easily understand. It can be used with file formats such as STL, OBJ and XMF, X3D and JPG.

2. TinkerCAD

A. What is it?

Tinkercad is an application for 3D printing beginners that allows them to explore different features and functionalities. Tinkercad is a platform that targets both amateurs and young users, including children. It has proven to be a reliable and responsible platform for inspiring and motivating the next generation of 3D printer enthusiasts.

B. History

It was launched online in 2011 and can be used on any web browser. Kal Backman, a visionary engineer, and Mikko Monten, his partner, founded the company to make 3D modeling accessible to everyone. Tinkercad enabled users to publish more than 150,000 times within one year of its launch. 100,000 3D designs!

C. What is it?

The main attraction of Tinkercad is that it doesn’t require the user to have any prior experience in 3D printing. You can use it online via web browsers that have WebGL. You can place materials, adjust the shape and combine different shapes to create a new design.

3. SketchUp

A. What is it?

This online program allows you to create 3D models. It can be used for many purposes, including interior design, engineering, and 3D printing.  You can use the free version for personal or educational purposes.

B. History

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SketchUp is the oldest 3D modeling program online. It was launched in 2000. It has been around for over two decades and has seen three ownership changes: @Last Software (Google), Trimble Inc. Joe Esch, and Brad Schell. developed this software 1999 was the year they started their business.

C. What is it?

SketchUp is a web-based program that you can access online. This is not a standalone application that you can install on your specific device. The 3D models can be saved locally or exported as STL files.

4. Slic3r

A. What is it?

Slic3r, as you can see from the name of the program, is a free tool that allows you to cut up 3D CAD files into G-code. It is also free and open-source software. You can check out their repository at GitHub to make your own contributions, such as the thousand forks.

B. History

RepRap began the Slice3r project in 2011. RepRap was founded in 2011 to create a community of 3D printer enthusiasts. Their main goal was to inspire amateurs and remove the burden of limited budgets. Alessandro Ranellucci, the main developer, was among them.

C. What is it?

Slice3r’s main job is to translate the 3D model file into G-code which your 3D printer can understand. This software also provides authentic and useful functionalities such as micro-layering and variable layer heights, command-line slicing and AMF support, sequential print, distinct extrusion widths, honeycomb fill, and command line slicing.

5. OpenSCAD

A. What is it?

This software is free and can be used to create solid 3D models. It does not allow for modifications to basic geometric shapes. This software is designed to assist individuals involved in the automotive industry. The solid shapes simplify the design of mechanical parts.

B. History

OpenSCAD has been around for a decade. This piece of software was developed by Clifford Wolf, Marius Kintel and Marius Kintel. It was coded using several programming languages, including C++, Qt and OpenGL. OpenSCAD now comes in seven languages, including German, Russian, Spanish, and French for its global user base.

C. What is it?

To create solid 3D models, the software uses constructive solid geometry principles. You can create many combinations of the required part using primitive geometric shapes such as boxes, spheres, and cylinders. It can be used with multiple operating systems such as Windows, OS X (Windows), Linux, FreeBSD/OpenBSD, NetBSD, and Mac OS X.

6. Sculptris

A. What is it?

Sculptris claims to be the ideal place for budding artists. This software can help you improve your digital sculpting skills, true to its name. If you are looking for a 3D printer software that reflects your artistic spirit, this is the right place!

B. History

This software was first released in late 2009. It has seen many iterations over the years and currently offers Alpha 6, a stable version. Pixologic, the original developer of the program, managed its features and functions until 2014.

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C. What is it?

Sculptris functions as a virtual platform to sculpt, instead of other 3D modeling programs. You can manipulate the structure as you wish, just like a ball of clay. These manipulations include twisting, pulling, and other similar movements that you see in sculpting.

7. Blender

A. What is it?

Blender is an open-source software tool that caters to many industries. It has a wide range of functions and features. It also meets the needs for 3D printing and animations, motion graphics and visual effects, as well interactive applications, and similar projects.

B. History

Blender’s journey began in January 1994, over 20 years ago. It was created by Ton Roosendaal. It is currently operated under the supervision of Blender Foundation. It was built using C++, Python, and C++ programming languages.

C. What is it?

This software will meet most of your 3D printer needs. It includes a variety of tools that allow you to create and modify the model. It has a sculpting section that allows you to create dynamic topologies, 20 brush types for different textures, and other exciting features.

8. 3D Slash

A. What is it?

This software is designed to create unique 3D structures. It works with most major operating systems such as Windows, macOS, Linux and MacOS. It can be used with Raspberry Pi, or accessed via a modern web browser that supports Web GL.

B. History

3D Slash was created by Sylvian Huet – French engineer, entrepreneur and one of the pioneers of 90s virtual technology. Their 3D modeling software was launched in 2014 to make this technology more accessible to the general public. It is now being used by professionals and individuals for various projects.

C. What is it?

3D Slash is a superior 3D modeling program to other programs due to its intuitive interface that was inspired by the Minecraft game. It will feel just like playing a similar game where you build 3D structures. Its free version lets you create models in eight different colors and store them online.

9. MatterControl 2.0

A. What is it?

MatterControl’s original software was created to make it easier and more affordable for individuals and small businesses to manage 3D printing jobs. The 2.0 stable release brings the ability to design models for 3D printing.

B. History

MatterControl is a company property of MatterHackers whose founders Kevin Pope (MatterHackers), Michael Hulse (Lars Brubaker) are all equally passionate about technological advancements. They first released the original version in 2013 and later upgraded it to meet increasing demand for 3D printing capabilities.

C. What is it?

This is basically the essence of an open-source software Package that creates, modifies, and slices 3D models. It has advanced features such as software bed leveling, custom support generation, and dual extrusion using integrated controls. You can also organize and manage 3D printer tasks in existing projects.

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10. FreeCAD

A. What is it?

FreeCAD can be a great program for beginners who aren’t familiar with 3D printing. It is an open source parametric 3D modeler that relies on geometric shapes. This tool allows you to export and import a wide range of 3D files including STL (SVG), DXF, DAE, IFC. VRML, STEP, etc.

B. History

This software was first released in 2002, just 20 years after its creation. Three talented programmers named Jurgen Riegel, Yorik Van Havre and Werner Mayer developed it. To write the code, they used Python and C++, two of the most popular programming languages. FreeCAD is now licensed under LGPLv2+ to allow integrations.

C. What is it?

It is a parametric 3D modeling tool that allows you to modify any design by accessing its history, and setting the appropriate parameters. FreeCAD creates a 2D shape from geometric constraints and then uses it to build the rest of your 3D model.

3D Printing Software Free of Charge

Are you still unsure which one is best for your project? Here’s a summary of the 3D software that we have discussed. You can compare them and decide which one is best for you.

Software

Compatible Files

Running System

Website

Best Used For

Ultimaker Cura

STL, OBJ and XMF, X3D. JPG, PNG. GIF, BMP.

Windows, macOS, Linux

ultimaker.com

Slicing

TinkerCAD

STL, OBJ

WebGL-enabled browsers

www.tinkercad.com

Modeling for beginners

SketchUp

SKP, STL

Online program

www.sketchup.com

Modeling

Slice3r

STL, OBJ

Windows, macOS, Linux

slic3r.org

Slicing

OpenSCAD

STL, PNG AMF, OFF

Windows, OS X Linux, FreeBSD OpenBSD, NetBSD

www.openscad.org

Solid models for mechanical parts

Sculptris

OBJ, STL

Windows, Mac OS X

pixologic.com/sculptris

Virtual sculpting, artistic project

Blender

STL, SVG and DXF, FBX and 3DS, VRML

Windows, macOS, Linux, Steam

www.blender.org

Modeling and sculpting

3D Slash

STL, OBJ

Windows, macOS Linux, Linux, WebGL enabled web browsers, Raspberry pi

www.3dslash.net

Modeling

MatterControl 2.0

STL, AMF, X3G

Windows, macOS, Linux

www.matterhackers.com/topic/mattercontrol

Design, Slice, and Organize

FreeCAD

STL, SVG. DXF. OBJ. DAE. IFC. VRML. STEP

Windows, macOS, Linux

www.freecadweb.org

Modeling for beginners

Conclusion

These ten softwares should have given you lots of ideas to use your imagination!

Each program targets a specific industry or user group. It could be a simple 3D printing software for beginners, or a more advanced one for professionals. It doesn’t matter what type of user you are, there is one that will suit your needs.

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