The three key elements one needs when starting out in 3D printing are first a good-quality 3D printer unit, second some 3D filament, and third the necessary 3D printing software to make the designs for the printer to make from the filament. We already know that there’s no shortage of options when it comes to 3D filament, but many people labor under the illusion that all 3D printing software is complex and inaccessible.
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This is simply not the case. The fact is that there are many providers of 3D printing software, including many options that are ideal for beginners who are still learning the basics of 3D printing.
3D Printing Software for Beginners
This software was designed by a New York startup for people to do 3D design on their tablet computers. It comes with many 3D models already loaded in and offers a fun, simple, and accessible way to tailor these designs to your needs. The even better news is that Morphi is free to download, but there are in-app purchases for certain 3D models not available with the free version.
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Morphi is even a good choice for use in schools if you are a teacher seeking a simple way to teach 3D printing to kids. The school-specific version is called Morphi Edu, and only costs US$4.99 for 20 downloads. It’s a great addition to a school creator space.
Next, there’s cloud-based 3D printing software from the Hungarian startup of the same name, LeoPoly. Similar to Morphi, it offers a built-in library of objects that you can then customize in terms of color, text, and whatnot. Because it’s a cloud-based platform, it allows more advanced users to create and share their designs with others, not unlike more advanced gamers creating maps, items, and characters for others to play in the game world.
This means that beginners have access not just to the standard library, but the user-made library, too.
This software is a big favorite among total beginners and works on a block-building concept. Users are given sets of basic shapes, which they can then build into more intricate shapes and designs for 3D printing. There is a built-in library of content, but also an online library with millions more files of various shapes that users can find, add to their collection, and use.
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TinkerCAD is also great because you don’t have to have your own printer to turn your designs into real objects. TinkerCAD connects to third-party printing services, which will handle the printing stage for you that you can collect or ship as you need.
If you already have some experience with 3D modeling, then you will likely find less value in TinkerCAD. It’s really intended for total beginners. Other software in our list will be more appealing to you, offering more scope to learn and develop your skills.
This software comes from Exocortex and like Leopoly is a cloud-based 3D modeling software, as well as offering animation and rendering all from your web browser. The beauty of cloud-based and web-based solutions, of course, is that you don’t have to install anything on your computer. Clara.io works by using three main components: Faces, Edges, and Vertices. You then use these to create 3D shapes in your web browser.
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Clara.io isn’t for total beginners and takes some more learning to get used to it, but getting familiar with it is very rewarding and will help grow and develop real and useful skills.
Start Simple, but Leave Room to Grow
The above software examples all contain different elements of skill requirements. If you’re an aspiring animator or 3D modeler, then you’ll need to choose the right software that can teach you enough to move on to more advanced software later on.