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  • SolidWorks – high-end Windows 3D CAD software.  SolidWorks is installed in some computer labs around campus (Hicks and the Media Center).  In addition, we have a limited number of licenses for students to install on their own computers.  Email to request a copy.
  • Sketchup - Cross platform.  Made by Trimble (formerly by Google).  The basic version is free.  The Pro version is available free for educators and the lab versions are inexpensive (<$20 per seat).  
  • VectorWorks and TurboCAD are mid-range 3D CAD programs that have Mac and Windows versions.  ITS doesn't have licenses, but they are an option for higher-end Mac 3D CAD.  
  • AutoDesk has a set of free programs called 123D that are basic, but can do 3D.  Different versions of some of the programs are available for Mac, PC, iPad, and online.  We also have access to a wide range of AutoDesk software such as AutoCAD, Mudbox, 3ds Max.
  • 3DTin is a free, online 3D modeling program. 
  • Rhino 3D Design.  One copy purchased by the Art department is installed on a PC in the Media Center.  Grasshopper is a visual programming application by the same company.  


  • Sculptris is a free sculpting software that can export an OBJ file for 3D printing.
  • Mudbox from AutoDesk - digital painting and sculpting software
  • Anarkik Cloud9 - for artists, includes haptic feedback device. ~$800


  • netfabb Studio Basic - free cross-platform program to repair problems with STL files.  They also have a cloud service that let's you upload your STL file:  
  • MeshLab - open source cross-platform program "providing a set of tools for editing, cleaning, healing, inspecting, rendering and converting this kind of meshes."  Can convert OBJ files to STL files.
  • Smustard has Sketchup scripts to clean up models for printing
  • SketchUp: There is a plug-in required for creating stl files.  It is also possible to upload files to SketchUp's online 3D Warehouse and check a box to optimize the file for printability.  This will correct problems with the file that could affect 3D printing.  

Problems importing into Sculptris

Sculptris does not like meshes generated with lots of vertices coming together at a point.  If possible, export from the original program with a different type of mesh.  Meshlab can be used to re-mesh.  In one example, selecting Filters → Remeshing ...→ Surface Reconstruction: Poisson created a mesh that could be imported into Sculptris.  The old mesh can be selected and removed using the Filters → Mesh Layers options.

3D Model Repositories