3D print design has a variety of different uses and advantages that allow it to be used within several sectors of the economy.
Some of these sectors include jewelry, car manufacturing, aerospace engineering, shoes, glasses and eyewear, dentistry and many more.
Once only available through the most high tech industries, smaller businesses are now venturing into 3D print design to help transform their business and take it to the next level.
Are you looking to incorporate 3D print design into your business or simply just want to learn how to use it?
If you are and you are not sure where to start, then continue reading to understand what software you need to use to get your own 3D design up and running.
There are several different programs to use to create your own 3D print design but here are some of the best currently available for you to use.
CAD, computer aided design, is the first go to solution when it comes to creating your own 3D design.
Within CAD, there are various platforms for you to use and choose from. Some have different uses and features that will tailor to different needs but you will quickly be able to find the program that suits you the best.
Out of all of the CAD programs, tinkercad should be the first choice for you if you are at the beginner stage of using 3D print design.
Tinkercad is free and is very easy to pick up and use without having any sort of skill level. The program is extremely intuitive and allows you to create some great 3D designs.
There are a variety of shapes that you are able to choose from and the camera movements are smooth making the software easy to navigate.
A negative to the Tinkercad platform is that it lacks advanced features. As the platform is more tailored towards beginners within 3D design then once you have gained enough skill it is probably wise to move on to more advanced software.
Despite this, to build up your skills and become more comfortable with 3D design then tinkercad is perfect to get you started.
Auto CAD is another example of a great CAD programme but this one however does come at a price. At $1,610 a year, Autocad could rather be seen as a business investment rather than software just used to play around and experiment with.
This CAD program has a primary focus on lines and architectural drawing. The software can be used to render 3D designs but that is not its area of expertise. If this does not tailor towards your needs within 3D design, then it may be beneficial to look elsewhere before purchasing Autocad.
Due to its price tag, Autocad is not suited for beginners so make sure to gain some experience and skills using platforms such as Tinkercad before you invest into Autocad.
At a cheaper price of $60 dollars a month compared to Autocad, the Fusion 360 software is more tailored towards those who are more intermediate and professional within 3D print design.
Fusion 360 is fun and easy to use and is well suited to any of your needs within 3D printing. Free trials are also available for Fusion 360 which can help to give you a good flavour of the software before you look to purchase.
If you are a student, you may also be able to get a year free of Fusion 360 if you are looking to broaden your skills within graphic design whilst still studying.
If 3D sculpting is something you are interested in or it tailors your needs then ZBrush is the perfect platform for you.
As well as the sculpting aspect, ZBrush also offers features such as texturing, modelling and painting.
The platform can take some getting used to especially if you are a beginner within 3D design. However ZBrush does provide some guidance of its own to help you and you can always use YouTube videos to help to get to grips with some of the more advanced features on the platform.
ZBrush is also slightly more affordable compared to other platforms at only $40 dollars a month.
A free platform, blender has the ability to produce some amazing quality models.
Blender has a variety of great features including modeling, sculpting, rigging, animation, video editing and even game creation.
These features however are more tailored towards those at an intermediate level with 3D print design so if you are at a beginner stage then it will take some time to get to grips with these features.
An extremely versatile program, blender is one of the more advanced 3D design programs but it does have a complicated user interface which is important to take into consideration before purchasing the platform.
Repairing your model
When you are designing your own models, you are bound to come across issues and problems and STL errors can easily ruin your own print.
Before sending your designs to other people, it is always wise to run your files through a model fixer. Additionally as an added precaution, you can make sure there are not any separate shells.
To find these shells you can use a free program called meshmixer which is highly recommended for anyone who designs models.
You can find out how many shells there are by importing your model and pressing Separate Shells. You need to run it through a fixer if it finds multiple problems.
It’s also possible to tell if a model is broken if it is missing pieces when you put it in the slicer. In your slicer’s main window, the .STL file might look fine, but you’ll see errors when you prepare it to print.
Fortunately, these errors can be easily fixed using some other free software.
3D print design can seem very complicated and daunting if you are inexperienced within this field.
Despite this, now understanding the best platforms to get you started through the help of their tutorials can help you become an excellent 3D print designer in next to no time!
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