EDUCATION

Popular Web-based Free 3D Modelling Software

3D Modelling Software
Above: Web-based 3D modelling software offer ease of use yet powerful user interface to create models for all levels of users/Image Credit Vectary


As we step into 2021, we see that 3D printing is growing and more people are using 3D modelling software for their printing needs than ever before. With companies developing application-based software, users spoilt-for-choice to use different software for creating different models. This is a tedious job and moreover, the software suites are pretty heavy on the overall system. They can use up a large chunk of the RAM and can, literally, suck up the soul of the computer. Even free 3D CAD software can put a load on the computer.

But there is an option of avoiding downloads of such software as well. We believe with the availability of easy, and at the same time, powerful online web-based 3D modelling software, users are provided with an easy option of using the software without actually downloading the suite.

We list six of the most popular online web-based 3D modelling software for users to try out. The list of software is useful for simple-to-complex-to-professional model making and is used by experienced professionals as well. So, read on to know more about these web-based software solutions for all levels of users.

1. TinkerCAD

3D Modelling Software
Above: TinkerCAD 3D Modelling Software/Image Credit: TinkerCAD

A list of online web-based 3D modelling software cannot ever start without TinkerCAD. TinkerCAD, a software from Autodesk, is the simplest and one of the best free 3D modelling software for 3D printing. It has a great interactive interface that is catchy and hooks up new users to the software. The software has a polished look and feel to it.

Tinkercad also features a lot of basic tutorials to get new users started with 3D modelling. The tutorials are easy to understand and helps in using the software to its most advanced level.

This tool can easily attract all new learners, enthusiasts, students, and even kids for that matter.

Advantages

  • No Download needed
  • Easy to Use
  • Great 3D CAD software for beginners
  • Attractive user interface

Limitations

  • Too basic for experienced/advanced users
  • Creation of complex models is difficult to impossible

2. SELFCAD

Web-based CAD application
Above: Launch screen of the SelfCAD editor/Image Credit: SelfCAD

SelfCAD is a web-based 3D CAD software that allows users to model, sculpt, draw, sketch, animate, slice and print online all under one program. It was developed and launched by Israeli entrepreneur Aaron Breuer in 2016 and it released its most successful version, SelfCAD 2.0 – its most recent upgrade in 2019.

SelfCAD believes that 3D CAD software, in addition to being intuitive and easy to use, should still include advanced tools for modelling, sculpting, and preparation for 3D printing, to ensure that the design process is as real-world and authentic as possible and presents no barriers to creativity.

With this aim in mind, the SelfCAD team has been able to create a world-class blend of a powerful software package with the simplest user interface ever.

(Read more about the software HERE)

Advantages

  • Ability to model, sculpt, draw, sketch, animate, slice and print online all under one program
  • Caters to all skill levels and usages
  • Very easy to learn and easy to use
  • Can work even on systems with very basic configurations

Limitations

  • Full-time 3D Modellers who can afford to pay for upgrades may prefer a downloadable version
  • Experienced users may not want to shift to a new software

3. SculptGL 

3D Modelling Software
Above: UI of SculptGL 3D Modelling Software/Image Credit: SculptGL

SculptGL is a free web-based 3D modelling software program. It allows users to use the software without the hassle of downloads, set-up, create account or log in. The software directly opens up with a sphere to work with and can be sculpted to design a 3D printable model.

It also has a number of features to allow ease of sculpting like applying symmetry, importing models and other relevant sculpting tools. The models can also be automatically shared on portfolio sites like Sketchfab.

While SculptGL removes the hassles concerning downloads, systems compatibility and account creation and gives a simple UI, it also has a number of limitations which is quite expected.

Upon creation of a model in SculptGL, the model has to be imported into a second software to actually make it 3D printable. The model has to be cleaned up and optimised for 3D printing by hollowing it, adding escape holes or repair any broken topology. 

Advantages

  • No hassle of downloads, set-up, create account or login
  • Easy to get started with sculpting
  • Works smoothly

Limitations

  • Too basic for experienced/advanced users
  • Requires support for other 3D modelling software for making models 3D printable

4. 3D Slash

3D CAD Software
Above: Workspace of 3D Slash/Image Credit: 3D Slash

3D Slash is one of the top web-based online 3D modelling software available for new learners. The easy to use software lets users create models using a simple block building technique. It is as simple as adding and deleting elements.

The software also has a teacher’s dashboard that helps teachers keep track of a whole class and the projects they work on. 

Advantages

  • Easy to learn and use
  • Simple yet powerful
  • Great tool for teaching modelling to kids in schools
  • Excellent tutorial database
  • Fun and interactive

Limitations

  • Creation of complex models is difficult to impossible
  • Teacher’s dashboard is quite limited
  • Creates low-resolution 3D models

5. Sketchup Free

3D Modelling Software
Above: A furniture model made in SketchUp Free/Image Credit: Sketchup Free

SketchUp Free is one of the products in the series of other SketchUp range. This offering is a free web-based software for users like Engineers, Architects, Designers, etc. to eliminate the hassle of downloading the software suite and also to give them a glimpse of the capabilities of the more premium software solutions like SketchUp Pro.

SketchUp Free is a great tool because the basic functional mode is to create a 3D model from a 2D base. This is easy to understand even to relatively new users and thus easy to learn as well. Users can also learn the basics of software through a huge database of tutorials.

Additionally, the Sketchup library, called 3D Warehouse, enables users to load user-generated and manufacturer-produced models directly into the existing design.

Advantages

  • Easy to learn and use
  • Vast 3D Warehouse repository
  • Up to 10GB of Cloud storage of files
  • Also allows mobile model viewing through the SketchUp Viewer app

Limitations

  • SketchUp Free is not licensed for commercial use
  • It does not save custom materials
  • It doesn’t allow users to edit materials/textures

6. Vectary 

3D Modelling Software
Above: Models showcasing the capabilities of Vectary 3D modeling software/Image Credit: Vectary

Vectary is a web-based 3D modelling software with a wide range of features. Being completely online, the software need not be downloaded and works instantly with internet connectivity. The browser interface also allows users to access their projects from anywhere in the world and thus provides easy access to files through cloud storage.

Vectary is for intermediate to advanced users with very powerful features to create even complex models. Vectary is a great online 3D modelling software for experienced users who want to move on to web-based software and still be able to create complex models.

Advantages

  • It is an online tool
  • Easy to learn and use
  • Easy to sharing projects
  • All projects are saved in the cloud
  • Good for intermediate to advanced users

Limitations

  • All tools are not available for basic-level users
  • Only 10 projects for free members
  • No commercial usage for Basic-level users

7. Autodesk Fusion 360

Free 3D Modelling Software
Above: Fusion360 CAD interface/Image Credit: Fusion 360

Fusion 360 is a revolutionary next-generation software by software giant Autodesk, which combines the CAD/CAM/CAE tools for complete collaborative product innovation and development platform. It integrates the complete design to manufacturing process in one complete package. It simply is the best free 3D CAD software for 3D printing.

Fusion 360 takes a cloud-based which lets you use the software irrespective of the OS and you can access your work from anywhere in the world.

Fusion 360 offers a 1-year free license for qualifying non-commercial users. A hobbyist user must generate less than $1,000 USD in annual revenue, using Fusion 360 for home-based, non-commercial design, manufacturing, and fabrication projects.

Advantages

  • Free 1-year license for qualifying non-commercial users
  • Fairly easy to learn
  • Great for advanced users
  • Can be used to create complex 3D models, assemblies, and simulation
  • Great features like designing, assembly, simulation, CAM, product innovation platform, etc.

Limitations

  • Too complex for new users
  • Operations depend on internet connectivity
  • Long learning curve

These are just six of the widely used web-based 3D modelling software used by users ranging from first-time users to experienced advanced users. All the above mentioned software is mostly used by hobbyists, students, designers, engineers, and professionals to design models for 3D printing. The online solutions give ease of access and a respite from the heavy professional software to its users. Depending on the skill level, the user can work on relevant software for his modelling needs.


About Manufactur3D Magazine: Manufactur3D is an online magazine on 3D printing. which publishes the latest 3D printing news, insights and analysis from all around the world. Visit our 3D Printing Education page to read more such informative articles. To stay up-to-date about the latest happenings in the 3D printing world, like us on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn.