M3D's Recommended 3D Design Software

Among the most popular questions that M3D's support team is receiving on a daily basis are those inquiring about 3D design and M3D's software capabilities. This article summarizes the functions of M3D software and offers additional resources for users looking for extra features.

Our M3D software is used to control the Micro 3D printer and is available as a free download for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. It is used for uploading models (any .STL or .OBJ file), tinkering with them, and printing, but does not have the design capabilities. To start printing, M3D users can either download pre-made models online or create their own objects using third-party 3D design software. Below are some of M3D team's recommended 3D design and STL file manipulation programs.


3D Design Software

Tinkercad (FREE): https://www.tinkercad.com/

  • License: Freeware
  • Experience level: Beginner

OpenSCAD: http://www.openscad.org/

  • License: GNU GPL
  • Experience level: Amateur

FreeCAD: http://freecadweb.org/

  • License: GNU LGPL
  • Experience level: Amateur

SketchUp Make (FREE): http://www.sketchup.com/

  • License: Freemium
  • Experience level: Intermediate

Seamless3D: http://www.seamless3d.com/

  • License: MIT
  • Experience level: Intermediate

SolidWorks: http://www.solidworks.com/

  • License: Commercial
  • Experience level: Expert

Blender: https://www.blender.org/

  • License: GNU GPL
  • Experience level: Expert

Rhino3D: https://www.rhino3d.com/

  • License: Commercial
  • Experience level: Expert

STL File Manipulation Software

Slic3r (FREE): http://slic3r.org

  • License: Freeware
  • Capabilities: Split one STL assembly into multiple STLs, merge STLs together, and create build plates.

Autodesk Meshmixer (FREE): http://www.meshmixer.com/

  • License: Freeware
  • Capabilities: Import and manipulate STL files. You can split parts, add joints, merge parts, and add shapes to parts (like cubes, spheres, unusual features).

3D Slash (FREE): https://www.3dslash.net/index.php

  • License: Freeware
  • Capabilities: Import STL models and hack away at them like Minecraft, or make blocked things from scratch and download as an STL.

These are some software options that we recommend based on either personal experiences or customer feedback. For more options and additional information please take a look at "22 Best 3D Modeling Software Tools (3D Design/3D CAD Software)" by All3DP.

Posted in Helpful, M3D Answers on Dec 20, 2016

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