Inventables Community Forum

3d CAD software?

I’m looking for a 3d software (preferably free, if paid which one would you recommend purchasing No annual subscription) that will work with my XCP and a 3d printer. I’m new to the 3d world. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thnx

Most people seem to use Fusion360 which used to be free and now I think has a time limit. I use Rhino3d, but that isn’t free at all, but I believe that it has a free trial. You get what you pay for.

Fusion 360 | 3D CAD, CAM, CAE & PCB Cloud-Based Software | Autodesk

I’m Openscaddad over on Thingiverse. I have 60 3D designs which have collectively been downloaded tens of thousands of times.

The common free software packages for doing 3D modeling include TinkerCad, Microsoft 3D Builder, Blender and Openscad. You can also use the free online sculptgl SculptGL - A WebGL sculpting app
Most of these will export .STL files if not also .DXF and other formats.

If you want to do 3D CNC work, that requires other software to take the .STL shape to CNC tool paths. For that I use Vectric V-Carve desktop. The desktop version of V-Carve is limited to 2’ X 2’ and will not create toolpaths for a rotary axis. If you want that, you will need to buy the full V-Carve. V-Carve lets you design flat CNC work like signs and shapes and lets you cut 3D shapes but won’t help you design 3D work. If you want to create 3D designs in Vectric, you need to upgrade to Vectric Aspire.

I dont mind paying for a reasonable program that’s reasonable priced. Is there one program that would stand out for ya’ll? One that is easy to to understand and use. I have been looking into corel, do ya’ll have an opinion on this CAD.

1 Like

I always thought that Corel was a graphics program, not a cad program. Starting out with MacDraft in the stone age, I always liked a program that had toolbars on the sides ala Autocad. I always thought that was more intuitive and that’s what got me into Rhino. I downloaded fusion360 but it seems harder to learn, so I didn’t really try…LOL>

Corel says its 2d and 3d. That’s why I’m asking I dont know enough about 3d yet. But I’m slowly learning. Been using Inkscape for two years and still dont have it figured out. LOL. Thnx for the input.

1 Like

No time limit for F360. Every year you re-up your license. There are feature limitations, but those are not too restrictive for most people.

1 Like

I use Freecad. Just wanted to throw it out there as I did not see any mention of it.

Of the others I did see mentioned they all have their positive parts but for 3D model and milling I find Freecad to meet the needs on both fronts.

p.s. one is a model that needs an additive process (3D printer)
and the other is subtractive (milling cutting etc.)
freecad lets you design with precision and then create a mesh (.stl) to print or set stock and create a path for a bit to remove material.

1 Like

Trial works perfect with X-carve just select the Easel or X Carve post processors, only $15/mo if you keep it after the trial.
𝐂𝐚𝐫𝐯𝐞𝐜𝐨 𝐌𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐫 𝐅𝐑𝐄𝐄 𝟗𝟎-𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐥:

Thnx I’ll look into it.

I didn’t download it it but I did go to their page and look through the features. They have the ability to work with 3D grey scale height maps. I told Easel about a year ago that they needed to add that to make 3D easy and so that 3D designs can be easily shared in the Projects section.

1 Like

The free version of Fusion 360 should have most features anyone not making money off it would need and for those that do make a living off it paying, on average, like $1.50 per day should be a topic of no discussion.

What do you want to design?

1 Like

I’ve used OnShape to design a lot of things - both for the X-carve and for 3D printing. If you use it for the X-carve you will have to convert .dxf files to .svg. For that I use Inkscape (also free), although for some designs this can be a slow process.

There’s no right answer to this, of course, but a spectrum of options. I’m still waiting for my XCP, but I have a lot of experience in 3d printing. What I recommend is that you start out with something simple and then move up when your needs outgrow the software.

I would start with TinkerCAD, then maybe move up to Google Sketch, then Fusion360. For the parts I make and sell, TinkerCAD has been fine 90% of the time. Fusion360 is not easy, especially without introductory training. I’m often googling how to do something in it, even today. These are just my opinions, and may not be right for CNC carving.

1 Like