Which 3D modelling software do you prefer for 3D printing *and* CNC?

  • Hero Member

    My Prusa i3 Mk3 3D printer will be arriving about a month from now, so I thought I'd pick the 3D modelling software now and start learning to use it.

    The three I've heard about so far are TinkerCAD, Autodesk 123D, and Fusion360, but I have no experience with any of them. At the very least, I want to 3D print custom enclosures for my electronics projects, so whatever I pick, it needs to be well suited for that. But I'd also like it to be well suited for CNC.

    What program do you like to use, and why?

    Nine years ago I thought SpaceClaim had a pretty cool interface. Maybe there's something even better now?
    SpaceClaim MultiTouch 720p – 02:41
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  • Hero Member

    Partially answering my own question, it appears that a proper program would be able to export both 1. STL files for 3D printing, and 2. IGES files for 3D CNC milling.

  • Hero Member

    And the answer is... Fusion360. It appears that neither TinkerCAD nor 123D Design can export to IGES, whereas Fusion360 can. All of them can export to STL format.

  • Hero Member

    I'm sold on Fusion360 as it is basically professional 3DCAD that can be used for free. Full on parametric with a powerful history tree. As you've no doubt seen it has built-in CAM functionality as well, equally professional and it can output G-CODE for most CNC-controllers. So very much all in one. And you'll be glad you learned real 3DCAD instead of meddling with 123D, Sketchup or anything else.

    Personally I prefer the Vectric programs (Aspire) for making G-CODE for the CNC as they are geared towards woodworking with features like v carving. Fusion360 CAM feels more like it was made for mills and lathes but can do most things as well.

  • For my 3D printing stuff I primarily use OpenSCAD. Unfortunately OpenSCAD does not export in IGES (IGS) format. My other issue is that I run Linux on my main computer and Fusion 360 is only for Windows and Mac. What are people using for creating the G-Code for PCB design. That is something that I would like to try on this CNC machine that I am working on. I am assuming that I would need something to convert the GERBER files to G-Code.

  • I've been tinkering with 3d printing for about a year now and never had any experience before.

    Tried most softwares out there that are free and seem to allways comeback to fusion 360.

    For slicing I like slic3r PE in the free tier, even tho its interface looks dated it has some very nice features and handles material/printing profiles really great.

    But if u want an all in one package it's simplify 3d. Even tho you don't get the same control as slic3r and it doesn't handle material profiles as good.

    It has a clean interface, great gcode preview and a few killer features like custom supports (yes there are other slickers with this aswell) and multi processing that lets you switch profiles anywhere in the print or model.

    Yes it's a big price now days for a piece of software. But if you are going to use it alot it is well worth it's price.

  • Hero Member

    @dbemowsk said in Which 3D modelling software do you prefer for 3D printing *and* CNC?:

    What are people using for creating the G-Code for PCB design.

    Flatcam. It's free. AFAIK, it's what everyone uses to go from Gerber and Excelon to g-code for PCB's. It can also handle double sided PCB's by mirroring the bottom side and establishing drill holes for pinned alignment of the two sides.

  • Admin

    FreeCAD is a leading contender too - opensource (like mySensors and KiCAD), with a very active development community, forums and workbenches for almost any problem domain. It runs on Windows, Linux and macOS and I use it for all my 3D printing needs using a LulzBot 3D printer. The path workbench (for CNC machines) is one of the most dominant areas of development right now and is very mature. The developers are very responsive in the forums and on Gitter along with a lot of community members who constantly help newcomers and seasoned professionals use the product proficiently. It has a built-in python interpreter making it very easy to extend ranging from macros/scripts, community developed add-ons to workbenches for various domains such as stress analysis. FreeCAD is also the basis for the 3D parts/models for KiCAD.

    The nice thing about opensource is that the models can be shared freely and openly and if you want to understand how something works or you even want to improve it, you can engage the developers and/or submit a pull request on GitHub.

  • Catia V5 is really good.

  • I have tried few of them but absolutelly best one for me is Fusion360

  • @bjornhallberg fusion360 free? Looks like it is $26/month sub'd or $40/month otherwise?

  • A bit of googling would have shown me how. Startup or enthusiast licence. Cheers.

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