Software choices

When it comes to creating models to 3D print, there is no shortage of free or commercially available software at your disposal. Your choice of software tool(s) for use with your students will depend on a variety of factors:

  • The content/theme of your class or program
  • The ability level of your students
  • Your students' interest in learning new tools and techniques
  • Your budget constraints

Below you will find a list of the most popular software applications broken down by platform. Below the table you will find a list of software applications used by the Ultimaker Pioneers and their students.

View list of software by platform: Windows | Mac | Linux | iPad | Android | Web-based

Windows

      

NameDescriptionCodingCompanyCost
3DS Max3ds Max software provides a comprehensive 3D modeling, animation, rendering, and compositing solution for games, film, and motion graphics artists. 3ds Max has tools for crowd generation, particle animation, and perspective matching, as well as support for DirectX 11 shaders.Autodeskfree for education
3DSlashAn easy to get started with 3D modeling application with a unique interface3D Slashfree
Art of IllusionA free, open source 3D modelling and rendering studio. Many of its capabilities rival those found in commercial programs. Highlights include subdivision surface based modelling tools, skeleton based animation, and a graphical language for designing procedural textures and materials.Peter Eastmanfree
AutoCADDesign and shape the world around you with the powerful, connected design tools in AutoCAD software. Create stunning 3D designs, speed documentation, and connect with the cloud to collaborate on designs and access them from your mobile device.Autodeskfree for education
Blenderfree, open-source softwareBlenderfree
BRL CADAn open source cross-platform solid modeling system that includes interactive geometry editing, high-performance ray-tracing for rendering and geometric analysis, a system performance analysis benchmark suite, geometry libraries for application developers, and more than 30 years of active development.BRL-CAD became an open source project in December 2004.free
Cinema4D3D ModelerMaxonfree for education
Cubify InventEasy tool for 3D creation3D Systems$
Cubify SculptMold, modify or mash-up an original design or import and adapt an existing model with ease. Sculpt is intuitive, versatile and the ultimate empowerment tool for 3D design3D Systems$
d3D SculptorDigital sculpting tool that combines 3D modeling, texturing and paintingNaticisfree
Design Spark MechanicalApplication to enable engineers to quickly design and change product concepts in 3D without having to learn complex traditional CAD softwareRS Componentsfree
freeCADParametric 3D modeler made primarily to design real-life objects of any size. Parametric modeling allows you to easily modify your design by going back into your model history and changing its parameters. freeCAD is open-source and highly customizable, scriptable and extensible.Maintained and developed by a community of enthusiastic developers and usersfree
Fusion 360A Cloud-Based3D CAD/CAM Tool for Product Development for Mac & WINAutodeskfree for education
Geomagic DesignCAD application with an emphasis on the design of mechanical systems and assemblies3D Systems$
GrasshopperA graphical algorithm editor integrated with Rhino’s 3-D modeling tools to create parametric designsScott Davidsonfree
IceSLGPU accelerated solid modeler/slicer. Model through a language (Lua), however its main feature is that it directly slices the CSG to produce G-code and never has to produce an intermediate STL. The French Institute for Research in Computer Science and  projectfree
Inventor3D mechanical solid modeling design software to create 3D digital prototypesAutodeskfree for education
MakeHumanOpen source 3D computer graphics software designed for the prototyping of photo realistic human characters. Software was developed by programmers, artists, and academics.MakeHumanfree
Makers EmpireEasy-to-use, creative and educational K-12 learning program to integrate 3D printing into curriculumMakersEmpire$
MayaApplication to create 3D animation, modeling, simulation, and rendering.Autodeskfree for education
MeshLabOpen source, portable, and extensible system for the processing and editing of unstructured 3D triangular meshes.3D-CoForm projectfree
MeshMixer3D sculpting-based CAD (Computer Assisted Design) programAutodeskfree
MonolithVoxel-Based Modeling Engine For Multimaterial 3D PrintingAutodeskfree
MorphiWindows version in development. An application to make 3D modeling, designing, and printing more accessible and affordable to all ages, skill levels and educational backgroundsThe Inventery, Inc.free
MudboxDigital painting and digital sculpting software to create production-ready 3D digital artwork.Autodeskfree for education
NXApplication provides capabilities for 2D concept design, freeform modeling, feature-based modeling, drafting and documentation, and industry-specific design.With the software, students can model products with 3D CAD, use CAE simulation tools to evaluate performance, and learn machine tool programming to gain insight into how products are manufactured.Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Incgrant
OpenJSCADA 2D and 3D modeling tool similar to OpenSCAD, but web based, object-oriented, and using Javascript languageopenjscad.orgfree
OpenSCADSolid 3D CAD Modeller based on code.Marius Kintelfree
Parametric PartsUses CadQuery for building parametric 3D CAD models.Parametric Products Intellectual Holdings LLCfree
Printcraft3D printing multi-player Minecraft serverGlowinthedark Ltdfree
PublishYourDesignSimple online 3D modelerPublishYourDesignfree
ReMakeApplication for converting photos or scans into 3D meshes that can be cleaned up, fixed, and optimized for fabricationAutodeskfree for education
Rhino3D ModelerRobert McNeel & Associates.$
Sculptrisvirtual sculpting software programPixologicfree
Seamless 3DNURBS based general purpose 3D Animator/Modeller.Graham Perrettfree
SketchUp3D modeling computer program for a wide range of drawing applications such as architectural, interior design, civil and mechanical engineering, film, and video game designTrimblefree
Slicer for Fusion 360Slicer for Autodesk® Fusion 360™ is a tool to slice and convert 3D models into 2D patterns that you can cut out of any flat material. Slicer for Fusion 360 also creates 3D instructions you can interact with, to help build a model.Autodeskfree for education
SolidworksSolid modeling computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) computer programDassault Systèmes$
SpaceClaimSolid modeling CAD (computer-aided design) software for mechanical engineersSpaceClaim Corporation$
TopModTopological mesh modellerERGUN AKLEMANfree
Wings 3DOpen source subdivision modelerRichard Jonesfree
ZBrushA digital sculpting tool that combines 3D/2.5D modeling, texturing and painting. It uses a proprietary "pixol" technology (see below) which stores lighting, color, material, and depth information for all objects on the screen.Pixologic$
Burr ToolsThis set of programs  help you solve a certain kind of puzzle. Namely puzzles that are made out "glued" together basic units. free
KnotPlotknotting softwareRob Scharein$
MapleSymbolic and numeric computing environment, and multi-paradigm programming language.MapleSoft$
MathematicaComputing environment for use in engineering, mathematics, finance, physics, chemistry, biology, and a wide range of other fields that takes advantage of algorithmic computation, interactive manipulation, dynamic presentation, and a way of interacting with data.Wolfram$
MatLabApplication integrates computation, visualization, and programming in an easy-to-use environment where problems and solutions are expressed in familiar mathematical notation.Mathworks$
SeifertViewKnot generatorJarke J. van Wijk, Technische Universiteit Eindhovenfree
CAD ExchangerApplication to convert 3D DataCADEX Ltd.$
InVesaliusDesigned to convert DICOM to STLBrazilian Public Software Portalfree
MeshFixTakes as input a polygon mesh and produces a copy of the input where all the occurrences of a specific set of "defects" are corrected. Marco Attenefree
MeshLabOpen source, portable, and extensible system for the processing and editing of unstructured 3D triangular meshes.3D-CoForm projectfree
MeshMixer3D sculpting-based CAD (Computer Assisted Design) programAutodeskfree
NetFabb BasicAn application to clean and repair 3D modelsAutodeskfree
NetFabb ProfessionalAn application to clean and repair 3D modelsAutodesk$
TriMMRepairs, alters or converts triangle meshes stored as OBJ, OFF, PLY or STL files.schokoolero50free

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Mac

     

 
NameDescriptionCodingCompanyCost
3DSlashAn easy to get started with 3D modeling application with a unique interface3D Slashfree
Art of IllusionA free, open source 3D modelling and rendering studio. Many of its capabilities rival those found in commercial programs. Highlights include subdivision surface based modelling tools, skeleton based animation, and a graphical language for designing procedural textures and materials.Peter Eastmanfree
AutoCADDesign and shape the world around you with the powerful, connected design tools in AutoCAD software. Create stunning 3D designs, speed documentation, and connect with the cloud to collaborate on designs and access them from your mobile device.Autodeskfree for education
Blenderfree, open-source softwareBlenderfree
BlocksCADEasy, Open-Source Solid CADeinsteinsworkshopfree
BRL CADAn open source cross-platform solid modeling system that includes interactive geometry editing, high-performance ray-tracing for rendering and geometric analysis, a system performance analysis benchmark suite, geometry libraries for application developers, and more than 30 years of active development.BRL-CAD became an open source project in December 2004.free
Burr ToolsThis set of programs  help you solve a certain kind of puzzle. Namely puzzles that are made out "glued" together basic units. free
CAD ExchangerApplication to convert 3D DataCADEX Ltd.$
Cheetah3D3D modeling, rendering and animation software for Apple Mac OS XMW3D-Solutions$
Cinema4D3D ModelerMaxonfree for education
freeCADParametric 3D modeler made primarily to design real-life objects of any size. Parametric modeling allows you to easily modify your design by going back into your model history and changing its parameters. freeCAD is open-source and highly customizable, scriptable and extensible.Maintained and developed by a community of enthusiastic developers and usersfree
Fusion 360A Cloud-Based3D CAD/CAM Tool for Product Development for Mac & WINAutodeskfree for education
GrasshopperA graphical algorithm editor integrated with Rhino’s 3-D modeling tools to create parametric designsScott Davidsonfree
KnotPlotknotting softwareRob Scharein$
ImplicitCADOpen-Source, Programmatic CADimplicitcad.orgfree
MakeHumanOpen source 3D computer graphics software designed for the prototyping of photo realistic human characters. Software was developed by programmers, artists, and academics.MakeHumanfree
Makers EmpireEasy-to-use, creative and educational K-12 learning program to integrate 3D printing into curriculumMakersEmpire$
MapleSymbolic and numeric computing environment, and multi-paradigm programming language.MapleSoft$
MathematicaComputing environment for use in engineering, mathematics, finance, physics, chemistry, biology, and a wide range of other fields that takes advantage of algorithmic computation, interactive manipulation, dynamic presentation, and a way of interacting with data.Wolfram$
MathModMathematical modeling software that visualize and animate implicit and parametric surfacesvirtualmeetfree
MayaApplication to create 3D animation, modeling, simulation, and rendering.Autodeskfree for education
MeshLabOpen source, portable, and extensible system for the processing and editing of unstructured 3D triangular meshes.3D-CoForm projectfree
MeshMixer3D sculpting-based CAD (Computer Assisted Design) programAutodeskfree
MorphiAn application to make 3D modeling, designing, and printing more accessible and affordable to all ages, skill levels and educational backgroundsThe Inventery, Inc.free
MudboxDigital painting and digital sculpting software to create production-ready 3D digital artwork.Autodeskfree for education
NetFabb BasicAn application to clean and repair 3D modelsAutodeskfree
NXApplication provides capabilities for 2D concept design, freeform modeling, feature-based modeling, drafting and documentation, and industry-specific design.With the software, students can model products with 3D CAD, use CAE simulation tools to evaluate performance, and learn machine tool programming to gain insight into how products are manufactured.Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Incgrant
OpenJSCADA 2D and 3D modeling tool similar to OpenSCAD, but web based, object-oriented, and using Javascript languageopenjscad.orgfree
OpenSCADSolid 3D CAD Modeller based on code.Marius Kintelfree
OsirixDesigned to convert DICOM to STLOsiriXfree
Rhino3D ModelerRobert McNeel & Associates.$
Sculptrisvirtual sculpting software programPixologicfree
SketchUp3D modeling computer program for a wide range of drawing applications such as architectural, interior design, civil and mechanical engineering, film, and video game designTrimblefree
Slicer for Fusion 360Slicer for Autodesk® Fusion 360™ is a tool to slice and convert 3D models into 2D patterns that you can cut out of any flat material. Slicer for Fusion 360 also creates 3D instructions you can interact with, to help build a model.Autodeskfree for education
Wings 3DOpen source subdivision modelerRichard Jonesfree
ZBrushA digital sculpting tool that combines 3D/2.5D modeling, texturing and painting. It uses a proprietary "pixol" technology (see below) which stores lighting, color, material, and depth information for all objects on the screen.Pixologic$

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Linux

       

NameDescriptionCodingCompanyCost
3DSlashAn easy to get started with 3D modeling application with a unique interface3D Slashfree
Art of IllusionA free, open source 3D modelling and rendering studio. Many of its capabilities rival those found in commercial programs. Highlights include subdivision surface based modelling tools, skeleton based animation, and a graphical language for designing procedural textures and materials.Peter Eastmanfree
Blenderfree, open-source softwareBlenderfree
BRL CADAn open source cross-platform solid modeling system that includes interactive geometry editing, high-performance ray-tracing for rendering and geometric analysis, a system performance analysis benchmark suite, geometry libraries for application developers, and more than 30 years of active development.BRL-CAD became an open source project in December 2004.free
CAD ExchangerApplication to convert 3D DataCADEX Ltd.$
IceSLGPU accelerated solid modeler/slicer. Model through a language (Lua), however its main feature is that it directly slices the CSG to produce G-code and never has to produce an intermediate STL. The French Institute for Research in Computer Science and  projectfree
ImplicitCADwebGL enabled browser,,"Open-Source, Programmatic CADimplicitcad.orgfree
KnotPlotknotting softwareRob Scharein$
MapleSymbolic and numeric computing environment, and multi-paradigm programming language.MapleSoft$
MathematicaComputing environment for use in engineering, mathematics, finance, physics, chemistry, biology, and a wide range of other fields that takes advantage of algorithmic computation, interactive manipulation, dynamic presentation, and a way of interacting with data.Wolfram$
MayaApplication to create 3D animation, modeling, simulation, and rendering.Autodeskfree for education
MeshLabOpen source, portable, and extensible system for the processing and editing of unstructured 3D triangular meshes.3D-CoForm projectfree
MeshMixer3D sculpting-based CAD (Computer Assisted Design) programAutodeskfree
MudboxDigital painting and digital sculpting software to create production-ready 3D digital artwork.Autodeskfree for education
NetFabb BasicAn application to clean and repair 3D modelsAutodeskfree
NetFabb ProfessionalAn application to clean and repair 3D modelsAutodesk$
OpenJSCADA 2D and 3D modeling tool similar to OpenSCAD, but web based, object-oriented, and using Javascript languageopenjscad.orgfree
OpenSCADSolid 3D CAD Modeller based on code.Marius Kintelfree
Wings 3DOpen source subdivision modelerRichard Jonesfree

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iPad

     

NameDescriptionCodingCompanyCost
123D SculptCreate 3D sculpturesAutodeskfree
3D CreationistEasily create 3D models3D Creationistfree
AutoCAD 360An easy-to-use drawing and drafting application that allows you to view, create, edit, and share AutoCAD drawings across web and mobile devicesAutodeskfree for education
Cubify Drawfree app created by 3D Systems for the iPhone and iPad that allows users to design a 3D model and export it as an STL.3D Systemsfree
MakerBot PrintShopEntry-level tool for getting started with 3D printing with MakerBot printersMakerBotfree
Makers EmpireEasy-to-use, creative and educational K-12 learning program to integrate 3D printing into curriculumMakersEmpire$
MorphiAn application to make 3D modeling, designing, and printing more accessible and affordable to all ages, skill levels and educational backgroundsThe Inventery, Inc.free
Shapr3D3D modeling application for iPadShapr3D Zrtfree
Umake2D sketching to 3D modelUMake$

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Android

     

NameDescriptionCodingCompanyCost
123D CatchCapture places, people and things in 3D using your WIN Phone or Mobile device, iPhone, iPad, Android device, or any camera.Autodeskfree
123D SculptCreate 3D sculpturesAutodeskfree
3D CreationistEasily create 3D models3D Creationistfree
AutoCAD 360An easy-to-use drawing and drafting application that allows you to view, create, edit, and share AutoCAD drawings across web and mobile devicesAutodeskfree for education
CAD ExchangerApplication to convert 3D DataCADEX Ltd.$
d3D SculptorDigital sculpting tool that combines 3D modeling, texturing and paintingNaticisfree
Makers EmpireEasy-to-use, creative and educational K-12 learning program to integrate 3D printing into curriculumMakersEmpire$
SpaceDrawProfessional 3D modeling for mobile multi-touch devicesScalisoft free
SubDivFormerEasy Modeling ApplicationASCON free

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Web-based    

 
NameDescriptionCodingCompanyCost
3D FilterAn online tool to modify STL files.MyMiniFactoryfree
3DSlashAn easy to get started with 3D modeling application with a unique interface3D Slashfree
3DTinSimple browser-based program to create 3D models using voxels.Lagoafree
Beetle BlocksA graphical blocks-based programming environment for 3D design and fabrication based on Scratch and implemented using Snap! and ThreeJS. Eric Rosenbaum, Duks Koschitz, and Bernat Romagosa, with additional software development by Jens Mönig.free
BlocksCADEasy, Open-Source Solid CADeinsteinsworkshopfree
Fusion 360A Cloud-Based3D CAD/CAM Tool for Product Development for Mac & WINAutodeskfree for education
Image to LithophaneTransform photographs into 3D printable lithophanesNested Cubefree
ImplicitCADOpen-Source, Programmatic CADimplicitcad.orgfree
LeopolyCloud-based modeling software platformLEOPOLY LTDfree
MeshLab.jsJavascript mesh processing toolVisual Computing Lab - ISTI - CNRfree
OnShapeProfessional CAD app that you can build a model from any devicePresent. Onshape Inc.free
OpenJSCADA 2D and 3D modeling tool similar to OpenSCAD, but web based, object-oriented, and using Javascript languageopenjscad.orgfree
Parametric PartsUses CadQuery for building parametric 3D CAD models.Parametric Products Intellectual Holdings LLCfree
Printcraft3D printing multi-player Minecraft serverGlowinthedark Ltdfree
PublishYourDesignSimple online 3D modelerPublishYourDesignfree
SculptGLWeb sculpting application, powered by WebGL and JavaScriptStephane Ginierfree
ScupltFabWeb-based sculpting tool basedSketchFabfree
Shape.jsA browser based environment for writing javascript to create 3D models.Shapewaysfree
ShapeshifterAn easy way to create complex 3D Printable models Autodeskfree
TinkercadOnline 3D design and 3d printing toolAutodeskfree
GCode AnalyzerA visual GCode visualizer, viewer and analyzer.Alex Ustyantsevfree
CharmrMake Pendants and charmsAutodeskfree
Cookie CasterCreate custom cookie cuttersdreamforge, inc.free
MakePrintableOnline repair serviceMakePrintablefree
Terrain2STLCreate STL models of the surface of EarthThatcher Chamberlinfree
Moon2STLPrint the MoonThatcher Chamberlinfree

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Pioneer Software

Software applications used by the Pioneers and their students:

Support