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This page shares some of the most common and widely available 3D modeling software available.
Not ready to design your own model? No problem! We curated a list of online 3D model repositories where you can freely download and use models.
All 3D modeling software listed on this page are free to use or download unless it is marked with a ($). There are a few programs that will require you to create an account in order to use them or have access to all their features. We identify these in the descriptions.
This software is a simple, online 3D design and printing tool for the masses. Working primarily with geometric shapes and block letters and numbers, it provides an excellent introduction to 3D design for all ages. They have a number of tutorials and a YouTube channel for users to get acquainted with their tools. Registration required.
This software provides easy-to-use, online, browser-based 3D shaping platforms and applications. It's like sculpting with clay! Check out their YouTube channel tutorials on their features. Your creations are easily downloadable in multiple formats, including .stl. Registration Required.
This software is an entry level computer aided design (CAD) program, which is easy for beginners to learn and has enough advanced features for those who have experience in design. The Design Academy offers a number of tutorial videos and courses for specific features. A free version is available to students. Registration required.
This software is a beginner level sculpting program, which helps users develop basic digital sculpting skills. It boasts a user friendly interface and enough depth and features for users to develop their skills. Sculptris has a number of tutorials on their Overview and Features pages to help you get started.
This software is an open source program aimed directly at mechanical engineers and product designers. It can also be used in a wider range of uses, such as architecture and other engineering specialities. FreeCad maintains numerous tutorials, a YouTube channel, a community forum, and a Wiki to meet its users' needs.
This free software allows users to create solid 3D CAD models. It does little in the way of artistic modeling and is best used when planning or creating 3D models of machine parts. It works like a 3D-compiler that reads a script file, which describes the object and then renders the 3D model. This gives the designer full control over the modeling process. See their About page for more info, as well as their community forum and Documentation page for tutorials.
This software can still be considered an entry level CAD program due to its Learn Center, and is used by professionals, students, and hobbyists. Their community forums and blog will guide you as you customize SketchUp with add-ons to meet your specific design needs (see their Extension Warehouse). SketchUp is free to all, while SketchUp Pro ($) offers a free one-year license to educators. There is also a student discount for $55.
This software is a free and open source 3D creation suite that can support all your 3D design needs--modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation.For more on what Blender can do, check out their Support page to view tutorials and visit the user community.
This software is a useful WebGL application for 3D sculpting, similar to Sculptris. It can export your designs into .obj files. What it lacks in support and tutorials it makes up for in features and opportunity. SculptGL is open source and its source code is available on GitHub. This means users can freely update it to fix bugs and make it better.
Autodesk gives free 3-year licenses to students and educators to many of its producdts, including Inventor Professional, AutoCAD, 3ds Max, Maya, and others. Choosing which program you want to use is dependent on your specific design needs. You can get plenty of support from their Knowledge Network, Autodesk University, community forums, and YouTube channel.
This software ($) is a CAD program widely used by engineers and designers. Features include simulation, motion, and design validation tools, advanced wire and pipe routing functionality, reverse engineering capabilities, and more. Tutorials are available on the SolidWorks website, Youtube channel, and Lynda.com. Joyner Library has a number of computers with SolidWorks installed.