Free 3D Design Software
Autodesk 123D Design
Easy-to-use yet powerful modeling tool with library of existing components or the ability to create from scratch. Also available for the iPad. Integrated and prints directly to Shapeways.
Windows, Mac, Online Service
A fantastic beginner program, that leads you to learn complex things through simple quests. Runs right in your browser, and the skills you learn are easily transferable to more advanced programs. Integrated and prints directly to Shapeways!
Another browser based program using WebGL, this is free as long as you share your designs under Creative Commons.
A powerful application with full-fledged professional tools, Blender has a wide community and resources to help you learn.
Windows, Mac, Linux
An open source parametric 3D modeler, great for both the home user, hobbyist and experienced designer. Parametric modeling allows for easy editing of your design.
Windows, Mac, Linux
OpenSCAD is not an interactive 3D design tool. It is something like a programmatic 3D-compiler that reads a script file containing 3D geometry definitions, and in turn generates a solid 3D model as output.
Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD
A free, introductory digital sculpting tool, a great stepping stone for digital sculptors, created by the makers of Zbrush.
Drawing-based tool for architects, designers, builders, makers and engineers who design for the physical world. SketchUp Make is a free version and SketchUp Pro is a paid version with additional functionality.
3D Model To Print
A cloud-based software service, focused on 3D architectural models. 3DMTP automatically and efficiently transforms 3D designs into scalable and 3D printable model files.
Commercial 3D Design Software
3D Studio Max
An extensive suite of 3D design tools, with a unique and intuitive interface.
An advanced design and documentation tool. Ideal for architects and design engineers.
A well known design Suite in the VFX community, it has great tools for 3D modeling for printing as well.
A classic 3D graphic software, which includes powerful rendering, animation and modeling tools.
A massive, complete suite of tools for professional all aspects of 3D design including modeling, rigging, dynamics and animation.
The Industry standard software for 2D content editing and creation applied to 3D design. Offers integration directly with Shapeways.
Very popular curve based modelling software.
A popular, advanced 3D sculpting tool with a powerful voxel-based system.
An advanced modeling tool that is great for mechanical, precise product design.