Top 5 Must-Have 3D Printing Tools

3d printing

Today exciting 3D printing technology has entered the mainstream. Amateurs, as well as seasoned design professionals, now enjoy an excellent opportunity to utilize this incredibly versatile process. An influx of user-friendly software products promises to open this marketplace even more widely during the next few months and years.

Whether your interests involve crafting prototype models or creating and developing new product lines, 3D printing technology provides available tools for your next project. We’ve compiled a list of five of the most useful programs for your consideration:

1. SketchUp

Use SketchUp to assist you in devising a printable basic model. Many artists and graphic designers employ this program to refine illustrations. It relies upon a modeling system based around the use of lines and curves. Intuitive to use (and fun, too!), this software program deserves a place on your “must-have” list of 3D modeling tools. Architects and engineers frequently depend upon this software program to help visualize development projects during preliminary phases.

The company offers both a free trial program and a professional version. Since the software remains proprietary, you cannot expect to use the trial software for commercial design purposes- you’ll need to upgrade to the pro program to download and export your creations.

SketchUp assists new customers by providing a library of helpful tutorials. As your proficiency and confidence level grows, you’ll begin using add-on tools and more complicated techniques to craft images for 3D design projects. Obtaining this professional software program enables you to prepare sketches of 3D objects and share them with others.

Sculpteo provides a helpful online tutorial to guide you through this process. Other enterprises sometimes use SketchUp as a group resource. You’ll need to investigate software licensing issues carefully to ensure you retain control over your proprietary designs if you share materials collaboratively.

2. 3D-Tool Free Viewer

Today stereolithography (.stl) files have become standard for 3D printing purposes. This format differs from computer-assisted drafting (CAD) design because it won’t determine the color and texture of a printed object, only the geometric form of the surface geometry. Since you’ll need to check your 3D file to make certain you’ve created a genuinely “printable” object, you’ll probably discover yourself utilizing the 3D-Tool Free Viewer program frequently.

Employ this helpful tool to ensure your .stl program accurately describes the type of object you want to create with your three-dimensional printer. You can utilize this file to double-check the thickness of walls, to record the dimensions of your plans, and even to visualize interior surfaces better. This software holds great utility for anyone seeking to create animations developed from a basic 3D design, too.

3. MeshLab

The MeshLab program enables designers to edit three-dimensional triangular meshes on PC, Mac, or Linux operating systems. Many 3D printing experts use this program to correct and revise unprintable stereolithography files.

Do you want to delete a portion of a 3D printed design? Or merge two prototypes together? The MeshLab program could furnish a helpful tool for this creative process. It also permits the creation of inner shells and the preparation of three-dimensional model for easier slicing to enhance visualization.

4. Rhino3D

Today many of the fashion industry’s top design teams rely on Rhino3D to rapidly create prototype images online in three dimensions. This acclaimed software assists everyone from professional jewelers to architects. The program enables a fast learning curve, so newbies become knowledgeable about its intricacies very quickly.

You’ll want to master the Rhino3D development platform to gain all the tools required to build functional prototypes. Computer programmers with a firm grasp of C++ SDK and RhinoScript obtain the ability to customize the Rhino3D program. This feature gives the software widespread utility in today’s competitive imagery marketplace. It imports and exports files in over 30 different formats, making it an essential tool in many rapid prototyping environments.

5. Simplify3D

Finally, your 3-D printing tool chest would remain incomplete without the addition of Simplify3D, a program capable of slicing three-dimensional images into printable sections for replication. Utilize this powerful program to prepare your .stl files for actual printing. It also functions as 3D printer host software for programs you receive from other sources for replication via your printer.

The Simplify3D platform reportedly accommodates up to 90% of all commercially available 3D printers today. The software will check a stereolithography file, repair obvious problems, furnish a fabrication preview on screen, and then slice the model. Many automated features enhance the program’s ease of use.

Explore These Tools Now

By gaining familiarity with these five popular 3-D printing programs now, you’ll help position yourself to contribute to design innovations in a fun, interesting way. You can allow your creativity to guide you! Pay attention to developments impacting SketchUp, 3D-Tool Free Viewer, MeshLab, Rhino3D, and Simplify3D in order to discover key trends in the field. Knowledge about these useful software tools could empower your resume and ensure clients appreciate your practical design skills!

This is a guest article by Heather Redding, a tech enthusiast and freelance writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is a coffee-addict who enjoys swimming and reading. Street photography is her newly discovered artistic outlet and she likes to capture life’s little moments with her camera. You can reach Heather via Twitter.

This post may contain affiliate links that allow us to earn commissions at no additional cost to you. We are reader-supported so when you buy through the affiliate links, you are also helping or supporting us. 

1 Comment

  1. Thank you or the write up. Being a 3D printing service company, tools, soft-wares and techniques are very important. We employ SLA technology and rapid prototyping is one of our main portion. We need tools to bring out the best 3D prints for our customers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *