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#1 Posted : Wednesday, October 1, 2014 5:36:26 PM(UTC)
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Joined: 12/21/2013(UTC)
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Dear Solidator Users,

I wanted to share my experience on finding modeling tools and learning them.

First of all it is important to understand that there are two kinds of models and modelling tools:

a) Geometric Models - models made up of individual 3d-lines that in the end make up a 3d object
b) Solid models - models made up of primitives like cubes that are modified using extrusions,
boolsh operators or even sketches and parameters

In general solid models are better for 3D printing as the model cannot be corrupt (e.g. missing a line).
Geometric models are easier to create e.g. with Sketchup but are most of the time incomplete (not water tight).

In computer science mostly exclusively geometric models are used. Consequently not all models designed
for use in computer games are printable, as they could have holds, duplicate vertices etc.

The best tooling that is free is 123D Design from Autodesk. It's easy to learn and contains a model repository.

I recommend you to get a copy and learn the CAD thing which will take only a few hours

Have fun and don't be scared it really doesn't take a study of mechnical engineering to use CAD.
Even Business Administrative students learn using CAD today in their technical track.


Edited by user Wednesday, October 1, 2014 5:38:20 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

#2 Posted : Tuesday, October 14, 2014 7:22:27 AM(UTC)
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For rapid (non-precise) modeling of both hard surface and organic forms, I have found 3D Coat http://www.3d-coat.com to be a good solution. Voxel-based, free form, clay-type modeling package. Cheaper and easier to use than ZBrush. Exports to various 3D formats including STL. I've used it for printing in the past and had no issues that related to the software. It also includes very nice features for making splits/joints for printing larger models. I found it easy to learn, but I have previous experience with 3d modeling and cad so I'm not sure how easy it will be for those who are new to 3D modeling. I suspect it wouldn't be too difficult.
Danny Thorpe
#3 Posted : Thursday, January 22, 2015 11:05:35 AM(UTC)
Danny Thorpe
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Another modeling tool to check out is Moment of Inspiration (MoI), moi3d.com. I find it simpler to navigate and has a much more developed set of transforms and manipulations than most consumer-grade 3D packages, at any price. It's not free, but there is a free trial download and the price is quite manageable, even for hobby work.

#4 Posted : Monday, February 2, 2015 4:42:35 AM(UTC)
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Location: Indiana

I have been using netfabb for STL file manipulation. Powerful, and a low cost option seems to do everything I need it to.

I wish I could find an affordable program that could make STEP files out of STLs. Delcam's PowerSHAPE-e seems like a GREAT program, and hads tons of functions (and it's mostly free), but they do charge £50 to do a single STL to STEP file save operation...
#5 Posted : Thursday, April 9, 2015 10:20:52 PM(UTC)
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Location: Portalnd

I would suggest blender (free program) modify files for printing. You can smooth poor stl files with this program.

steps i use:
1. Import stl
2. select edit mode
3. Alt-j (turns triangles to quads)
4. subdivide add more cuts to desired detail
5. Export stl
Jonas Fischer
#6 Posted : Thursday, April 16, 2015 1:51:53 PM(UTC)
Jonas Fischer
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Modelling Tools:

Blender , 1a Freeware
Meshmixer :)


Skanect (Kinect Hardware)
3D Systems iSense für iPad (Aufsteck Scanner für Ipad)
Matter & Form (Objektscanner)

Edited by user Thursday, April 16, 2015 1:59:33 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

#7 Posted : Friday, August 11, 2017 2:16:08 PM(UTC)
Rank: Newbie

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Joined: 8/11/2017(UTC)
Posts: 1

Originally Posted by: tfischer Go to Quoted Post

The best tooling that is free is 123D Design from Autodesk. It's easy to learn and contains a model repository.

123d design has been discontinued.
You can replace it with Tinkercad that is free and online.

Have a good time
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