9 Best 3D Printing Software for Beginners [Useful Guide]

by Mike Brooks | Last Updated: May 6, 2022

Technology is no longer in the realm of science fiction. There are now many different models of 3D printers available on the market, from desktop printers to large-scale industrial printers.

3D Printing Software for Beginners

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However, a 3D printer is only as good as its 3D software. There are many 3D modeling applications available, to help you create real-life objects but not all are designed with beginners in mind.

Beware, some are incredibly complex for those just starting.

If you’re a beginner looking to enter the world of 3D printing, you need to use software that will allow you to create basic designs without too much fuss.

Here’s our pick of the best 3D printing software for beginners.

Top 9 Best 3D Printing Software for Beginners

Here are our top 9:

1. DesignSpark Mechanical

DesignSpark Mechanical is the best free cad software with an intuitive and user-friendly interface. Beginners can understand its simple design to start modeling their 3D prints.

DesignSpark is the best 3D printing software for non-professionals seeking a tool for performing basic tasks. Its functionality allows you to create parts from scratch or templates and import parts from other sources.

The free version also includes tutorials on using the software and its features, making it even more suitable for beginners. It is available for Mac and Windows users.

This tool has many useful extra features for different user levels. You can use simple functions like drawing tools or push/pull if you are a beginner.

If you want to edit your model in detail, you can use advanced tools like fillet edges or chamfer edges.

One downside of DesignSpark Mechanical is that it doesn’t have a built-in 3D printer slicer. You will need to export your model and open it in another program if you want to prepare your print for printing.

2. Tinkercad

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, it’s easy to design with Tinkercad. This product is an ideal tool for beginners looking into 3D printing since it has an intuitive block-building concept that makes it easy to use.

It will also appeal to those who don’t want to spend too much time on the setup process: Tinkercad is cloud-based, which means you can access it from any computer without installing anything.

Tinkercad | Step by Step: Learn how to easily create 3D objects (CAD), design electronic circuits and program with Tinkercad

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Although this software feature is mainly aimed at kids, it can be used by anyone who wants to introduce 3D modeling and printing.

There is no need to download any software. Tinkercad can be used in your browser.

Here’s what you can do with Tinkercad:


BRL-CAD is a powerful open-source CAD software with some 3D printing features. The free software comes with constructive solid geometry (CSG) modeling, mesh optimization, and a ray-tracing engine for rendering.

BRL-CAD was developed by the U.S. military, which gives you an idea of how robust it is. It’s been in development since 1979 and is widely used in the defense and manufacturing industries.

It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, and there’s a huge online community offering support for beginners who need help getting started.

BRL-CAD is an extremely powerful but hard-to-use program. This program’s greatest strength is its broad range of customization options for 3D printing. If you have some experience with CAD programs, this program will be very helpful.

Downside: The best CAD software has a steep learning curve, and you will need to invest significant time to learn it.

4. OpenSCAD

OpenSCAD is an open-source 3D modeling software for programming-based tools that offers CAD for 3D printing. This software allows you to design solid models with precise dimensions and parameters, enabling the creation of machine parts from scratch.

Simplifying 3D Printing with OpenSCAD: Design, build, and test OpenSCAD programs to bring your ideas to life using 3D printers

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It is a freely available open-source 3D modeling software that creates simple geometric designs. OpenSCAD is great for beginners because of its simple interface and easy-to-use programming language.

OpenSCAD can be used online or downloaded on your PC, Mac, or Linux device. The software also supports STL and OFF file formats.

OpenSCAD is also lightweight and runs quite fast. The program allows you to code your designs using the C-like OpenSCAD language. It can be intimidating at first, but it’s ideal if you want control over complex shapes and have programming experience.

A major disadvantage is that If you’re not into coding your designs, OpenSCAD might not be the right application for you. Also, there are no built-in tutorials or resources to help guide beginners through learning the software.

5. FreeCAD

FreeCAD is one of the best free and open-source CAD software. It’s a parametric CAD system that’s great for creating 2D and 3D mechanical designs.

FreeCAD 0.19 Basics Tutorial

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While it offers many useful features, FreeCAD isn’t intended for absolute beginners.

If you’re struggling with the interface or some tools, you may want to go with a simpler solution like TinkerCAD.

While FreeCAD is mostly a solid modeling software, it supports a variety of workbenches, including Part Design, Sketcher, and more. The Part Design workbench is where you’ll create most of your models.

You can use Sketcher to create 2D sketches and import them into 3D models. There’s also a Drawing workbench that lets you create technical drawings of your models in 2D.

The Sketcher toolset is pretty basic, so it may not be ideal for those who want to draw precise designs. On the other hand, FreeCAD is a good software but isn’t the easiest software to use.

You’ll need to familiarize yourself with the FreeCAD interface, which can be confusing at first.

6. 3D Slash

3D Slash is among the best 3D modeling software for amateurs. For personal use, a Premium license costs $24 per year, and a Commercial license costs $240 per year.

It has a simple and intuitive UI which makes it easier to learn. Its browser-based software means you don’t have to download or install anything on your computer.

It has several basic editing tools like adding text and shapes, modifying objects’ height, width, depth, etc. However, it lacks advanced features like animation tools or support for additional file formats like the OBJ and FBX, to mention a few.

With just a few clicks, you can create your designs by combining simple 3D shapes, such as cubes, cones, cylinders, and wedges.

After that, you can easily change your design by adding or removing blocks. The great thing about this tool is how simple it is to use. You don’t need any 3D modeling skills to create a model from scratch.

But the downside is that it doesn’t allow you to export your design in STL format – which is the most popular file format used for 3D printing.

7. SketchUp

SketchUp, which used to be called Google SketchUp and is sometimes referred to as 3D Warehouse, is a software program essentially a 3D modeling tool for the average person.

SketchUp For Dummies

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It’s a great way to get your feet wet in the world of 3D printing, and it allows you to explore the full potential of your printer by tinkering with the CAD file before you send it over to the printer.

The benefits of SketchUp are many. The designers provide a free web version; the pro version costs $299 per year. For beginners, this software is extremely user-friendly and intuitive.

Even if you’re unsure whether you want to invest in learning how to use CAD software, this program is a great place to start because it’s easy to get comfortable with SketchUp—even if you want to use it for fun or as a hobby.

Anyone can learn this program quickly and begin using it effectively within just a few minutes of installation.

You can create files compatible with all types of printers, which gives you lots of options for what you want to produce with your machine.

There’s also an active online community that offers support should you need help with any part of the process; finding answers to your questions is straightforward when you have access to all the resources and assistance you could need.

8. MoI 3D Modeling Software

Moment of Inspiration 3D, also known as MoI 3D, is a 3D modeling software designed for artists, designers, and video game developers.

The software is most notable for its user interface with the ability to create models with very high-quality curved surfaces. The learning curve for MoI is also not as steep as other CAD software.

MoI 3D was created by Michael Gibson, who used to work at Autodesk as a programmer on their AutoCAD program. While working at Autodesk, he created the first version of MoI in his spare time.

MoI 3D is one of the best modeling tools for those who need to do design work with curved lines and surfaces. The software only costs 295, intended for users ranging from beginners to professionals.

One disadvantage is that the interface is minimalist and unintimidating, making it ideal for beginners.

9. SolidWorks

While SolidWorks is one of the more expensive CAD packages, it’s also one of the most powerful. Charges are $1,295 for a one-year license or $3,995 for a perpetual license.

SolidWorks 2022 Step-By-Step Guide: Part, Assembly, Drawings, Sheet Metal, & Surfacing

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SolidWorks is used for designing, analyzing, and simulation tools that can be 3D printed.

It allows users to design parts, assemblies, and 2D drawings with a comprehensive set of tools, which are easy to learn but can handle complex designs without any problems.

If you’re looking for a professional CAD tool for 3D printing, SolidWorks is worth checking out. SolidWorks offers the full range of tools needed for designing complex 3D models.

It’s currently the most popular CAD software globally, making it a good choice if you’re looking to land a job in the design industry or collaborate with other companies and individuals who use it.

The downside: The price is pretty hefty, especially if you’re just getting started with 3D printing and don’t need all its advanced features yet.

What Software Do You Need for 3D Printing?

When starting your 3D printing journey, you will want to get the best beginner software for your needs. There are two main choices for software when it comes to 3D printing.

Slicing Software with Advanced features

Slicing software converts a 3D model into instructions that the printer can read. Then there are the slicer programs that take your model and convert it for your specific printer.

Common slicers are Cura and Slic3r. Using these slicers will allow you to edit layer height, infill percentage, support material, and more.

Free CAD Software(Computer-Aided Design)

CAD is used to create a 3D model. Autodesk offers their Fusion 360 software for CAD users for free, which is great for those just starting in 3D printing.

It’s also a great option for more advanced users because of its ability to create models from scratch and edit existing models.

3D Printing Ideas for Beginners?

If you’ve just gotten into computer-aided manufacturing, you probably have many ideas on what to print. But if you’re having trouble figuring out where to start, we’ve got some awesome 3D printing ideas for beginners.

Here are some of our favorite 3D printing ideas for beginners!

Which App Is Best for 3D Printing?

That depends on what kind of 3D modeling you’re looking to do. If you want to make models for gaming, for instance, then a program that makes specific game models is probably your best bet.

For example, if you’re making a game with characters that move around in a top-down perspective, you want to use an app that can make those kinds of characters.

On the other hand, if you’re making a game with characters that have to be viewed from different perspectives and locations, then an app that allows you to make 3D models will work just fine.


What Is the Easiest 3D Rendering Software to Learn?

The easiest 3D software to learn, in our opinion, is SketchUp. It’s extremely user-friendly and can be picked up by anyone.

SketchUp is definitely for you if you’re starting from scratch and want to avoid the steep learning curve of a program like AutoCAD.

However, if you already have experience with AutoCAD and are looking for something similar, keep reading – you’ll want to consider Fusion 360 or SolidWorks.

Is It Hard to 3D Model?

It depends on how much time you spend learning your program of choice and what you plan on doing with it.

If you want to print out a small object once in a while, 3D modeling is easy! You need to download a program like SketchUp or TinkerCAD and start experimenting.

On the other hand, if you want to become a professional designer or animator, 3D modeling will take time and dedication.

You’ll need to master your chosen software before moving on to more advanced techniques – but don’t worry about that now. You can always learn using complex models as you go.

You might like: Make a 3D Model From a Picture in 5 Easy Steps

What Software Is Used for 3D Design?

Different programs can be used for 3D design — some of them are free, and some cost money. Some programs are compatible with both macOS and Windows operating systems or exclusive to one or the other.

Final Thought

So, there you have it! If you’re a beginner in 3D printing and are looking for the best 3D printing software for beginners, I hope this article has helped you out.

There’s a wide range of different software packages, so hopefully, the top picks will help point you in the right direction.

Michael Brooks is the founder of M3DZone.com. He sees a very bright future for 3D printing that's why his mission is to try and make this easy for everyone. Discover your hidden talent and creativity. You can follow here: Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.