This is a list of resources that I find useful in my 3D printing work.
I’ve often shared various forms of the list via email with my students and meetup attendees, but thought a webpage would be a better way to present it. (★ denotes my personal favorites)
Makerspaces, Hackerspaces, Fablabs – meet face-to-face with people and their 3D printers
Useful FREE programs related to 3D printing:
- ★Fusion 360 – powerful CAD package, free for education and startup businesses
- Sketchup, for general 3D modeling, best at architectural and geometric shapes, easy to learn, powerful with plugins (see list below), free for non-commercial use.
- Sculptris, for modeling sculptures like clay, easy to learn
- Tinkercad – super easy online 3D modeling app
- 123DCatch – creates a 3D model from a set of photos, tricky to use, works better with larger objects
- Blender, for modeling nearly anything, powerful, difficult to learn
- OpenSCAD – 3D modeler for folks with a programming background
- Meshlab, for converting files, editing meshes, and more
- Netfabb Basic, downloadable program for fixing STL files
- Netfabb.com, upload your model to get it fixed and optimized for 3D printing
- Thingiverse, for downloading 3D printable models
List of free Sketchup plugins that I use for modeling and prepping files for 3D printing:
- Sketchucation’s Plugin Store – easy way to install and manage plugins. Very similar to the new official Extension Warehouse, but many more/different plugins available. Install this one first, and use it to install most of the others easily.
- ★Solid Inspector – checks for errors preventing solid groups and components
- ★Sketchup – STL – Import and Export STL’s from Sketchup
- Cleanup – use to delete coplanar lines (and much more!), use on imported STL’s
- Import DXF – Import 2D files from Illustrator (actually it imports any DXF file)
- Bounding box – draws faces on the bounding box of a group or component. Useful for aligning odd shaped objects.
- Weld – Joins connected edges into a curve or “polyline”.
- Round Corner – adds fillets and chamfers
- Joint push pull – push/pull curved edges. Also works for thickening a surface.
- Bezier curve – Bezier and other curves
- Curviloft – connect a series of lines or curves into a surface
- Make Faces – fills in faces, only works if the lines are coplanar
- Profile Builder – Follow me on steroids