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Best 3D Printing Software


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3D printing technology has significantly improved in the past decade. And now it is taking more and more branches of the economy by storm. So far, it has been successfully utilized in a variety of fields, ranging from medical and manufacturing to sociocultural sectors.

However, 3D modeling is not easy to learn. Sometimes it becomes frustrating to work with 3D modeling tools, and if you are a beginner, designing and printing a simple structure could take days or even weeks.

Below you will find easy-to-use 3D printing tools that feature innovative design, extraordinary capabilities, and seamless integration with computer hardware. We have provided all information on proficiency levels and where they can be downloaded.

SolidWorks

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Price: Available on a request basis
Platform: Windows

Plus Point: Easy to model ideas; a lot of learning and helping materials are readily available.

SolidWorks is a computer-aided engineering (CAE) and computer-aided design (CAD) software for Microsoft Windows. It is used by millions of designers and engineers at more than 100,000 companies.

Written on Parasolid-kernel, the software utilizes a parametric feature-based technique to develop models and assemblies. It is pretty easy to get acquainted with and comes with lots of functionality.

While 3D sketches are available for professional users, most people start with a 2D sketch. The sketch contains geometry like points, arcs, lines, conics, and splines. You can add dimensions (to define the location and size of the geometry) and relations (to define attributes like perpendicularity, parallelism, tangency, and concentricity).

The software automatically generates views from the solid model. You can easily add notes, dimensions, and tolerances to the drawing at any time. Your work is saved in the Microsoft Structured Storage file format so that you can open and modify it on other platforms from other vendors.

Fusion 360

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Price: 30-day free trial | $495 per year
Platform: Windows | macOS

Plus Point: Assemble design with a top-down, middle-out, or bottom-up approach and analyze assembly motion.

Fusion 360 is a cloud-based 3D CAD software developed by Autodesk. It handles the entire process of designing, testing, and executing a 3D structure.

The software offers complete control over shape design and provides robust features to build clean and highly detailed modes. It allows you to create prototypes and validate designs before manufacturing quickly.

You can even simulate your products digitally to ensure that they will survive the real-world conditions. The Static Stress and Shape Optimization options let you determine stresses caused by static loads on parts and identity unnecessary regions in your design for light-weighting. This could significantly reduce the cost of prototyping.

All in all, Fusion’s comprehensive set of modeling tools makes it one of the preferred choices of products for designers, mechanical engineers, and machinists.

CATIA

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Price: Available on a request basis
Platform: Windows | Unix

Plus Point: Perfect for designing engines, electrical parts, thermal and hydropower systems.

CATIA is probably the best 3D printing software for professional users. It stands for Computer-Aided three-dimensional Interactive Application.

Developed in 1977 by the French company Dassault Systemes, CATIA provides the unique ability to model complicated products. Over the years, it has developed into much more than a CAD software package: it is now a software suite that incorporates the capabilities of computer-aided design, engineering, and manufacturing tools.

The software has a fully-loaded library with all materials required for designing projects on different scales. Unlike other 3D modeling tools of its kind, which require a powerful PC, CATIA can be run on low-end desktops and laptops.

It efficiently manages all the data during product development. It has been applied to many industries, including automotive, aerospace, defense, life sciences, consumer goods, and industrial equipment.

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