There is now a lot of software for 3D printers. The offer ranges from free programs to expensive professional apps. We have selected eight recommended 3D printer programs for different requirements.
Autodesk TinkerCAD: Beginner-friendly online tool
TinkerCAD image: © Autodesk 2021
The free ThinkerCAD is a web application for 3D modeling and design. Thanks to the simple user interface, the tool is also suitable for beginners. Nevertheless, groups of shapes can be used and more complex models can be designed. You can import 2D and 3D models, laser cutting is an option and thanks to the support of STL files, 3D printing can start right away. There is a comprehensive tutorial for learning in German.
To the 3D printer software: TinkerCAD
BlocksCAD: Learn 3D Printing for Free (English)
BlocksCAD image: © BlocksCAD 2021
BlocksCAD is free learning software for the more complex OpenSCAD. You will learn 3D modeling with a beginner-friendly program, webinars and YouTube videos. The code is compatible with OpenSCAD so you can export your creations. The features are limited for this and unfortunately BlocksCAD is only available in English.
To the 3D printer software: BlocksCAD
OpenSCAD: Free software for professionals
Open SCAD Image: © OpenSCAD 2021
There is also free software for 3D modeling and 3D printing for professionals. OpenSCAD enables more complex projects, but based on a script language. BlocksCAD (see above) is ideal for beginners to learn. Complex shapes are less of a case with OpenSCAD. The software is available for Linux, Mac and Windows.
To the 3D printer software: OpenSCAD
FreeCAD: Free software for 3D modeling
FreeCAD image: © FreeCAD 2021
FreeCAD allows 3D modeling for designs of any shape and size. Every processing step can be undone and 2D objects can be used as the basis for 3D objects. The software is suitable for applications in the field of architecture and engineering and has a focus on learning 3D modeling. Still, FreeCAD is more for professional users.
To the 3D printer software: FreeCAD
Blender: Free 3D Suite
Blender Image: © Blender 2021
With Blender you can create, animate, simulate, render, move, and appear in videos in 3D models – in short, do practically anything with three-dimensional objects. This means that the popular blender can also be used as a tool for 3D printing. And those who learn Blender can build on it and switch from 3D printers to animators or game designers.
About the 3D printer software: Blender
Ultimaker Cura: Free 3D printer software
Ultimaker Cura Image: © Ultimaker 2021
Ultimaker Cura is specially designed for 3D printing and is available free of charge. The software is beginner-friendly, but in English. The 3D model can be easily adapted and the program is compatible with numerous file formats such as STL, X3D, OBJ and 3MF. All print jobs can be monitored from one user interface.
To the 3D printer software: Ultimaker Cura
Autodesk Fusion 360: Paid Professional Software
Autodesk Fusion 360 Image: © Autodesk 2021
Autodesk Fusion 360 is used by engineers and designers. Design and manufacture are possible with the same software, it combines CAD, CAM and CAE. Autodesk Fusion 360 can develop very detailed and precise models and efficiently print objects of any shape. The program also allows cooperation with other designers on the same user interface and the models can be tested for functionality by means of a simulation. The catch: the software is only available by subscription.
About the 3D printer software: Autodesk Fusion 360
Autodesk AutoCAD: high-end software for 3D printing
Autodesk AutoCAD is comprehensive software for 3D printing professionals. It allows the creation of detailed 3D models and can convert these models into STL files for printing. Thanks to preinstalled information and plugins, product designs can be created easily. There is a free version for educational institutions, and more than 2,000 euros per year for professional purposes. There are also suitable web and mobile apps.
About the 3D printer software: Autodesk AutoCAD