Our selection of the best 3D design software on the market


Want to start learning 3D design and simulation? Or are you a seasoned professional looking for new software?

So here are some great examples of 3D design software for beginners and professionals that will get your 3D project completed in no time.


What is the easiest 3D software to learn?

3D design, aka GOUJAT, is all the rage right now, but for some it may seem like a difficult thing to learn, especially if you are a complete novice. You might end up giving up before creating your first 3D designs and not giving yourself time to master a particular program.

This is especially true if you are starting a career in engineering that requires 3D design and simulation.

There are various 3D design programs on the market, but not all of them are easy to learn. You don’t have to worry though! While having experience in CAD and 3D design helps, there are some 3D design programs that are widely considered to be relatively easy to learn.

According to sources like 3dnatives, some of the more manageable 3D software include, but are not limited to:

  • CAD Blocks
  • Creo
  • 3D slash
  • TinkerCAD
  • Free CAD
  • Solid works
  • AutoCAD
  • Fusion 360
  • OpenSCAD
  • Rhinoceros

Many of them are also great for engineers wishing to design and test new products.

The 3D software mentioned above will help you design your desired 3D design very quickly. With your designs in hand, you can then use them to print your final part on your FDM or SLA 3D printer at home. Please note, however, that not all of these programs include a slicer or repair tool, which is an essential part of the software kit for 3D printing.

For this reason, you may need to find a third-party alternative to prepare your design for printing.

How to start 3D design?

If you are interested in creating amazing 3D designs on your own and are a complete novice, there are some proven ways to quickly understand the basics. While it does require dedication on your part, such as learning something new, you will soon be increasing your skills by following these steps.

One of the first things you will need to cultivate in yourself is a passion for the field and, by extension, everything that has to do with IT. Without it, you could lose hope at the first sign of trouble.

You will also need to develop an “eye” for 3D design, an understanding of the process and an appreciation of how 3D objects look in space. Being a creative thinker also helps a lot in shaping this perspective.

Our top picks for the best 3D design software on the market
Source: Moody Man / Flickr

Another essential thing to keep in mind is to select a 3D software package and start working on it as soon as you can. Tinker, experiment, and if you get stuck, check out some YouTube tutorials and online guides.

Having a pet project, like a 3D design of your favorite Thunderbirds vehicle, will also help. With a specific goal in mind, you’ll speed up your learning experience.

Remember that the learning process is a marathon, not a race. Don’t rush and start with simple things like basic geometric shapes. You can then gradually increase the complexity of the designs you create until you can start creating your own masterpiece.

Another consideration is that you have to take your time. Learning a new skill takes persistence and patience. You will potentially make mistakes at first, so be sure to embrace them and learn from them. Regularly backing up designs under development is also helpful.

If you plan to 3D print your designs, be sure to also do your best to understand the capabilities (and limitations) of your printer, such as its build area. This will pay dividends in the long run.

Another great tip is to use supports for the overhangs. If, for example, your design has parts with more than 45 degree angles, there is a good chance that you will need to support it so as not to compromise the structural integrity of the physical object.

Our top picks for the best 3D design software on the market
Source: Ansys

For real-world applications, be sure to choose 3D design software that doubles as a simulator to test the feasibility of the design.

Another thing to learn early on is to make sure your 3D files are printable. While they can look great in the digital space, the real world may soon derail your killer 3D design projects. When converting your CAD files to other formats like STL or OBJ, always check that there have been no conversion errors. If there are, correct them before you even consider starting to print them.

Ultimately, 3D designing is a great hobby and can, if you’re good enough, turn out to be a pretty lucrative career choice. Take your time to learn it, enjoy the ride and practice, practice, practice.

It is also an essential part of many modern engineering projects.

What is the best free 3D design software?

While we’ve included some great 3D design software above, there are others that are widely considered to be the best out there. According to sources like format, some of the top performing programs include, but are not limited to:

  • Autodesk Maya
  • Autodesk Mudbox
  • Houdini
  • 4D cinema
  • Modo
  • Autodesk 3Ds Max
  • ZBrush
  • Rhinoceros

Please note that some of these are more for 3D artists than engineers. However, these are all incredibly capable 3D design programs.

If you need a more engineering-focused 3D design / simulation program, there’s one more we need to discuss – Discovery of Ansys.

What is Ansys Discovery?

Discovery, according to Ansys, is “the first simulation-based design tool to combine instantaneous physical simulation, proven high-fidelity simulation from Ansys and interactive geometric modeling in a single user experience”.


By using Discovery early in the product design process, you will see a noticeable gain in engineering productivity, drive innovation, and increase the overall performance of your product. The program allows you to answer important design questions once they arise, without waiting for days or weeks, which is usually the case when using more traditional 3D simulation methods.

For example, Ansys Discovery allows you to:

  • Quickly prepare designs for simulation or modify designs.
  • Investigate and evaluate design variations in real time with its interactive simulation functions.
  • Refine your designs in high fidelity and expose them to various additional conditions.

Such a capacity helps organizations not only to improve their productivity, but also helps to improve the return on investment (ROI) of a project by:

  • Labor costs for design engineers are reduced and there is less need to physically prototype.
  • Testing of any prepared physical prototype is drastically reduced.
  • The impacts of engineering change orders are reduced and experimentation with alternatives or design concepts is much more efficient.

These are the reasons why choosing programs like Discovery will pay off considerably over the life of a new product. For professionals (including engineers) Discovery will prove to be a valuable tool.

What makes Ansys Discovery different from the rest?

We’ve already covered some of the great moments from Discovery of Ansys above, but it has other tangible advantages over similar products. According to Ansys, these include, but are not limited to:

  • Increased engineering productivity – More time to market and lower product development costs.
  • Improved product quality – Better products built with less prototyping and more precise designs on the first try.
  • Innovation stimulated – Created market-leading products that set you apart from the competition in a larger design space.

So if you are looking for new 3D design / simulation software, you can’t really go wrong with Ansys Discovery. Discover its benefits today.


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