Design for 3D Printing

There are a number of programs that you can use for 3D design.  I've listed a few of them below, with brief descriptions of how they might be used.  These programs are all free use - some may have professional versions with more features, but those versions are not free.

Tinkercad.  This is one of the most popular free 3D online design programs.  Basic design is pretty easy to do and there are lots of video tutorials available on the web (check You can design a range of objects from very simple to very complicated.  The program also allows you to import .stl files from or from scans you created with a 3D scanner.  Your designs can be saves as .stl files, ready for your 3D printer software.  The link is to Tinkercad

CookieCaster.  This is the easiest to use 3D online design program.  You can free-draw outlines (straight lines only) that are turned into 3D cookie cutter files (saved as .stl)  You can also upload pictures to trace or choose a design from the gallery where there are a few hundred cookie cutters drawn by users.  When you download the cookie cutter file make sure you leave the standard thickness box checked - choosing the thin option will produce a cookie cutter with very weak sides. The link is to CookieCaster

SketchUp.  This is a program you will download to your computer.  The free version will allow you to do pretty much anything you want in terms of design.  It's really good for designing structures and you can make anything from very simple houses to very complex buildings, cathedrals, or just about any type of building.  You can also decorate your buildings, add furniture, and create a virtual walk-through tour.  In order to create a .stl file for 3D printing, you'll have to click on the Extension Warehouse link (in the top line menu) to download the Create .stl file extension.  As with Tinkercad, lots of video tutorials available on Youtube.  The link to Sketchup

Model of Thermopolium (food shop) in Pompeii reconstructed using Sketchup