Here are some tools and resources to help you get started with design for 3D printing! While the emphasis of this list is on the free, open source, and commercial design software further down, we wanted to highlight a few elements from the Adafruit Store for the beginner 3D designer as well.
Available at Adafruit
Blender – Skill badge, iron-on patch: You are learning the open source 3D creation tool, Blender! Adafruit offers a fun and exciting “badges” of achievement for electronics, science and engineering. We believe everyone should be able to be rewarded for learning a useful skill, a badge is just one of the many ways to show and share. This is the “Blender” badge for use with educators, classrooms, workshops, Maker Faires, TechShops, Hackerspaces, Makerspaces and around the world to reward beginners on their skill building journey! (read more)
3D printing – Skill badge, iron-on patch: You can 3D print! Adafruit offers a fun and exciting “badges” of achievement for electronics, science and engineering. We believe everyone should be able to be rewarded for learning a useful skill, a badge is just one of the many ways to show and share. This is the “I learned how to 3D print” badge for use with educators, classrooms, workshops, Maker Faires, TechShops, Hackerspaces, Makerspaces and around the world to reward beginners on their skill building journey! (read more)
The Makerspace Workbench by Adam Kemp: Create a dynamic space for designing and building DIY electronic hardware, programming, and manufacturing projects. With this illustrated guide, you’ll learn the benefits of having a Makerspace—a shared space with a set of shared tools—that attracts fellow makers and gives you more resources to work with. You’ll find clear explanations of the tools, software, materials, and layout you need to get started—everything from basic electronics to rapid prototyping technology and inexpensive 3D printers. (read more)
Making Things Move DIY Mechanisms for Inventors – Dustyn Roberts: Making Things Move reveals practical mechanical design principles to readers who may have no background in engineering and shows how to apply those principles through a wide range of sample projects, from art installations to toys to labor-saving devices. This book is for anyone who has ever wanted to make something that moves but didn’t know where to start. Maybe you’re a sculptor who wants your artwork to spin around on a pedestal, or a musician who wants to make custom musical instruments that come alive. Whatever the case may be, this book will show you how to turn your ideas into reality. (read more)
Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson: In Makers, Wired editor and bestselling author Chris Anderson reveals that a new industrial revolution is under way. Today’s entrepreneurs, using open-source design and 3-D printing, are employing micro-manufacturing techniques to create a tsunami of products in small batches, often customized for specific customers at higher margins. (read more)
MakerBot® Digitizer™: The MakerBot® Digitizer™ Desktop 3D Scanner quickly turns the things in your world into 3D models that you can modify, improve, share, and 3D print. There’s no design, 3D modeling, or CAD expertise required to get started, and the MakerBot Digitizer delivers clean, watertight 3D models in approximately 12 minutes. It’s a fast and easy way for anyone to create 3D models! The simple, yet sophisticated software, MakerBot MakerWare for Digitizer, is optimized to work seamlessly with MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printers, and also allows you to share your scans directly with the Thingiverse community. (read more)
Open Source and Free Resources
Tinkercad: “Mind to design in minutes. With Tinkercad you can quickly turn your idea into a CAD model for a 3D printer.” (read more)
123D Design: “a free, powerful, yet simple 3D creation and editing tool which supports many new 3D printers.” (read more)
3DTin: “3DTin is a pioneer in browser based 3D Modeling. The users have built one of the largest repository of Creative Commons 3D models using 3DTin. The simple user interface of 3DTin has made it very accessible to 3D modeling beginners. This has helped many young students and enthusiasts who want to create 3D models for 3D printing. 3DTin is used in many schools for this purpose.” (read more)
Sketchup: “SketchUp users are architects, designers, builders, makers and engineers. They are the people who shape the physical world. They are important, and they deserve great tools because great tools produce great work. Great tools are ones you look forward to using. They do one thing (or maybe two) really, really well. They let you do what you want without having to figure out how. They help with hard or boring tasks so that you can focus on being creative, or productive, or both. And they are, in their own way, beautiful….” (read more)
Meshmixer: “meshmixer is a free tool for making crazy-ass 3D stuff without too much hassle. Or boring stuff too. You decide.” (read more)
Sculptris: “Sculptris provides an excellent gateway into the exciting world of 3D. It’s features are easy to learn, even for someone with no experience in digital art, yet robust enough for creating base models that can then be refined in other applications, such as ZBrush.” Check out Ryan Kittleson‘s excellent sculpting with Sculptris tutorial above! (read more)
OpenSCAD: “OpenSCAD is a software for creating solid 3D CAD models. It is free software and available for Linux/UNIX, Windows and Mac OS X. Unlike most free software for creating 3D models (such as Blender) it does not focus on the artistic aspects of 3D modelling but instead on the CAD aspects. Thus it might be the application you are looking for when you are planning to create 3D models of machine parts but pretty sure is not what you are looking for when you are more interested in creating computer-animated movies.” (read more)
Blender: “Blender is a free and open source 3D animation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation. Advanced users employ Blender’s API for Python scripting to customize the application and write specialized tools; often these are included in Blender’s future releases. Blender is well suited to individuals and small studios who benefit from its unified pipeline and responsive development process.” The video shared here is from a DVD training series focusing on Blender for 3D Printing from the BlenderFoundation! (read more)
Solidworks Education Edition: “SolidWorks Education and Student Editions provide SolidWorks Premium software to educators and students of all levels, and empower learning with access to curriculum and tutorials. SolidWorks offers the best suite of tools for engineering design, simulation, documentation, and sustainable design in one easy-to-learn software package.” (read more)
Rhinoceros: “Rhino 5. The world’s most versatile 3-D modeler now handles bigger projects, faster, with more than 2,000 enhancements.” There is also a public beta of the Rhino for Mac version that is stable and very useable. (read more)
ZBrush: “ZBrush is a digital sculpting and painting program that has revolutionized the 3D industry with its powerful features and intuitive workflows. Built within an elegant interface, ZBrush offers the world’s most advanced tools for today’s digital artists. With an arsenal of features that have been developed with usability in mind, ZBrush creates a user experience that feels incredibly natural while simultaneously inspiring the artist within. With the ability to sculpt up to a billion polygons, ZBrush allows you to create limited only by your imagination.” (read more)
Cubify Design: “Cubify Design is your go-to toolbox for advanced modeling projects. Take advantage of powerful CAD features like complex assemblies and functionality of parts. Share with 2D drawings and easily export to your 3D printer when ready. Cubify Design is the perfect modeling software for printing with the CubeX 3D printer.” (read more)
Autodesk Maya: “Maya® 3D animation software offers a comprehensive creative feature set for 3D computer animation, modeling, simulation, rendering, and compositing on a highly extensible production platform. Maya now has next-generation display technology, accelerated modeling workflows, and new tools for handling complex data.” (read more)
Netfabb Private: “netfabb Private is an advanced software for professional editing
of 3D Printing data. It is licensed for non-commercial use only and
features most of the tools used daily by professionals in additive manufacturing
and 3d printing. With netfabb Private you can ensure that all your models can
be printed with a good result and reduce the risk of failed builds and wasted material.” (read more)
Here are your 2013 shipping deadlines for ordering from Adafruit. Please review our shipping section if you have specific questions on how and where we ship worldwide for this holiday season.
UPS ground (USA orders): Place orders by Friday 11am ET – December 13, 2013 – There is no guarantee that UPS Ground packages will arrive in time for Christmas.
UPS 3-day (USA orders): Place orders by Thursday 11am ET – December 19, 2013 – Arrive on 12/24/2013.
UPS 2-day (USA orders): Place orders by Friday 11am ET – December 20, 2013 – Arrive on 12/24/2013.
UPS overnight (USA orders): Place orders by Monday 11am ET – December 23, 2013 – Arrive on 12/24/2013.
UPS International: Place orders by Monday 11am ET – December 16, 2013. Can take up extra time due to worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2013 or sooner.
Please note: We do not offer Saturday service for UPS.
Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013, Christmas, no UPS pickup or delivery service.
Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, New Year’s Day, no UPS pickup or delivery service.
United States Postal Service, First Class and Priority (USA orders): Place orders by Friday – December 13, 2013 – Arrive by 12/24/2013 or sooner.
USPS First class mail international (International orders): Place orders by Friday – November 22, 2013. Can take up to 30 days ore more with worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2013 or sooner, but not a trackable service cannot be guaranteed to arrive by 12/24/13.
USPS Express mail international(International orders): Place orders by Friday – December 13, 2013. Can take up to 15 days or more with worldwide delays and customs. Should arrive by 12/24/2013 or sooner.
Gift Certificates are always available at any time.
When in doubt contact us!