What is it?
3D printing software is a suite of software tools that can help turn designs into prototypes with 3D printers.
There are numerous options available but 3D printing software incorporates some or many of the below features:
Modelling tools that allow you to create 3D models.
Mechanical CAD tools.
The ability to import, export and edit STL models.
The ability to create 3D models with touch, 3D shapes, text, hand drawings or from images.
Virtual sculpting solutions.
The ability to slice your CAD into layers.
Comprehensive animation, simulation and rendering solutions for games, motion graphics and films.
Scaling and shading options.
Cloud based options allow you to easily send and share files.
Repair tools can identify and fix defects by repairing meshes, holes, intersections or adjusting thickness.
What 3D software is right for me?
3D software can generally be classified into three categories:
CAD tools build models from geometric shapes.
Sculpting tools use the equivalent of digital clay that can be easily manipulated to form models.
Freeform modelling tools allow you to create freeform shapes.
Understanding whether you want to use CAD tools, sculpting tools or freeform modelling tools will help you to narrow down the right software.