Useful Software Packages

This is the place to put details of software packages that are useful for RepRap (like CAD programs), but that are not part of the RepRap project itself. Give a paragraph or so of explanation on each package and a link to its home page. Please also say what platforms it runs on, what licence it is distributed under, and whether it is free.

Autodesk Inventor (Student Version)

Software for dealing with STL files

Software for sending G-code to the printer

Software for reading printer status

(Other places that discuss CAD software:RepRap OptionsCAD ToolsRepRap forum 3D Design toolsopen source CAD; etc.)

Open Asset Import Library(short name:Assimp) is a portable Open Source library to import various well-known 3D model formats in a uniform manner. The most recent version also knows how to export 3d files and is therefore suitable as general-purpose 3D model converter. See thefeature list. (The asset viewerapplication is Windows only Im afraid.)

AoIis a graphics-oriented 3D modeler thats written entirely in Java. can be used to output STL files. or addSkeinforgeto output GCode.

Although it is a 3D graphics design tool, it is also good for engineering design. It has a very easy and quick-to-learn user interface. AoI runs on Linux, Windows or Mac, and is freely available under the GPL.

AoI, for all its shortcomings, is probably the most used 3D modeling package in the RepRap community, primarily because of its very short learning curve. V2.7 experiences problems with booleans, and 2.6 is currently recommended – particularly with the CSG Evaluator plugin.

There is also a page onReprap-specific plugins for AoI.

Blender was originally intended for the same applications as AoI. It has a very efficient user interface, which includes a number of single-key keyboard commands. This is a very powerful and fast way of working, but can intimidate would-be users. (Dont be scared, blender is fun!) It may be arguably more powerful than AoI, and has a huge user community. Blender is scriptable in Python, runs on Linux, Windows or Mac, and is freely available under the GPL.

BlenderCAD is a pre-alpha attempt to build CAD functionality into Blender.

BRL-CAD is a cross-platform open source solid modeling system that includes interactive geometry editing, high-performance ray-tracing for rendering and geometric analysis, image and signal-processing tools, a system performance analysis benchmark suite, libraries for robust geometric representation, with more than 20 years of active development. BRL-CAD runs on BSD, Irix, Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, and Windows. BRL-CAD became an open source project in 2004, with portions licensed under the LGPL and BSD licenses.

The CadQuery language is a python-based language for building parametric 3D CAD models. The CadQuery software is very different from other 3D modeling software (except OpenSCAD) because it stores models in relatively human-readable script files that it later renders into STL, STEP, andAMF files. FreeCAD can be used as a CadQuery IDE.

EQUINOX-3Dis a free, advanced 3D modeling, CAD/CAM, animation and photorealistic rendering package. It runs great on Linux and a Mac OS version is in the works.

EQUINOX-3D has advanced polygonal, subdivision surface and spline-based 3D modeling, animation and photorealistic rendering.

It is (still) the only 3D package with a deeply integrated, interactive raytracer with global illumination. You can do modeling on a fast, ray-traced window, with the 3D user interface overlaid on the photorealistic image!

EQUINOX-3D is about 80% open source at the moment, working on a fully buildable source release.

It has many 3D printing, laser cutting, CAD CAM features. Its very powerful and user-friendly.

It has been recently updated, with a huge number of new features:EQUINOX-3D list of new featues

FreeCADis intended to be a full 3D mechanical engineering CAD package. It is still under development, but already usable.FreeCADis based onOpenCasCadeQTandPython, runs on Linux, MacOSX and Windows, and is freely available under theGPLandLGPL. It is aimed directly at mechanical engineering and product design but also fits in a wider range of uses around engineering, such as architecture or other engineering specialties and is oriented more toward technical drawings than freehand sketching–for example, you move objects by editing their XYZ coordinates.

However, it has a much friendlier learning curve than say,OpenSCADfor those who are unfamiliar with programming. It can also open some OpenSCAD models (OpenSCAD needs to be installed). Being Free as Freedom, it is more suitable to use than proprietary software asSketchup. There is a dedicated wiki page where the community shares various -FreeCAD resourceson tutorials, tips, cheats, any workarounds and so forth.

HeeksCAD, likeFreeCAD, is based onOpenCasCade, and has similar modeling functionality, with neutral IGES, STEP and STL file format exchange. Its much less dependent on parametric editing than FreeCAD and the GUI is more integrated, not modular. Its development has slowed down, and Windows installers have not been updated since 2011. The software needs to be compiled from source for Linux systems. Distributed under BSD license.

Inkscapeis an Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X. It uses the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. Inkscape is released under GPL Version 2.

There is a plugin for Inkscape which allows generation of gcode from a path. You may need to add nodes and then straighten all line segments before gcoding the path (then perhaps edit output files) to them work, as currently (Mar 2012) Sprinter wont interpret curves correctly, and some of the GCodes seem to make it freeze.Gcodetools

Another Plugin for Inkscape which is based on the Hershey Text Plugin for Inkscape, just with the option to place and customize Single-Line-Text in Layouts via .xml File. It make it easy to generate series of signs for example, with exact layout but different text. More Information can be found onthis Git-Hub Link

Another simple 3D modeler with no STL support.

LibreCAD is an application for computer aided drafting in two dimensions (2D). It is a fork of QCAD. you can create technical drawings such as plans for buildings, interiors, mechanical parts or schemas and diagrams. LibreCAD works on Windows, Mac OS X and many Linux and Unix Systems. The source code is released under the GPL.

OpenSCADis a scripted modeller which produces CSG (Constructive Solid Geometry) and 2D outlines. It is free software and available for Linux/UNIX, MS Windows and Apples Mac OS X. It supports DFX, STL and OFF file formats and is designed for the engineer not the artist. Can be used from the command line to generate bespoke STL objects. e.g. openscad -m make -s gears_helical.stl -D teethNum=15 gears_helical.scad

Quoting the official site The Persistence of Vision Raytracer (POVray) is a high-quality, Free Software tool for creating stunning three-dimensional graphics. The source code is available for those wanting to do their own ports. Shapes are described in scripts which are then rendered. Scripts can also render multiple stills which can be compiled into Ogg Theora videos using tools png2yuv and ffmpeg2theora. Good online documentation is available on the official site.

Built on top of pythonOCC, OpenCascade, numpy and scipy,pyGearserves as an CAE/CAD-preprocessor generator ofinvolute gears.

A python wrapper for theOpenCascadeand Salome (salome-geometryandsalome-mesh) libraries. Supports constructive solid geometry, data exchange, meshing, GUI development (wxPython, PyQt, python-xlib), parametric modeling. FEM solver integration with (Code Aster) is underway. (Not a GUI based CAD program, but aims to be a scripting framework for rapid development of custom CAE solutions.)

QCAD is an application for computer aided drafting in two dimensions (2D). With QCAD you can create technical drawings such as plans for buildings, interiors, mechanical parts or schemas and diagrams. QCAD works on Windows, Mac OS X and many Linux and Unix Systems. The source code of the free QCAD community edition is released under the GPL.

ScorchCad is an Android version of OpenSCAD. For more information go to

Parametric, Open-Source 3D Modeling in your browser. Benjamin Nortier has released Shapesmith under the Apache License on Github. (Erlang, JavaScript).

SolveSpace is a parametric 3d CAD program.

Release 2.0 is now available under the GPL and offers:

draw with extrudes, revolves, and Boolean (union / difference) operations

draw the part as a single section, and export DXF, PDF, SVG; use 3d assembly to verify fit

export 2d vector art for a waterjet machine or laser cutter; or generate STEP or

, for import into third-party CAM software

use the constraint solver to simulate planar or spatial linkages, with pin, ball, or slide joints

replace hand-solved trigonometry and spreadsheets with a live dimensioned drawing

Wings3D is a free and open source 3D modeller (Wikipedia: subdivision modeller). Designs can be exported as STL and STL files can be imported. Wings3d can be extended using available plugins, and you can write your own plugins in Erlang. (TheKiCad3D view uses Wings3D)

Brasilian 3D package. Apparently became orphanware in 2007.

Many of the programs on this page generate files in SVG or DXF or Gerber format.Builders/Replathimports files in those formats and produces standard G-code files and standard SVG files (and a few other formats).

Onshape is the first and only full-cloud 3D CAD system that lets everyone on a design team simultaneously work together using a web browser, phone or tablet. Onshape is a complete parametric CAD system, which means that changing a models underlying dimensions or placement of features or dimensions of features can be made at any time without damaging the integrity of the model. The free version of OnShape provides 100% of the functionality of the professional version, but limits each user to 5 active documents.

Students can download the professional version of Autodesk Inventor 2010, 2011 or 2012 after registration on the Autodesk website (link below). It is a powerful tool for creating 3D CAD models. It can import and export the industrial standard CAD files like STEP or IGES and export STL files.

3D (non-parametric) modeling application is simple to learn and use. You can download a free widows version atAutodesk Labsand is good until June 1, 2011. A Mac native preview has been unveiled and is planned to be available early 2012. More information onFacebook. This software includes solid and surface modeling along with translators and exporters for many profesional cad tools.

AutoQ3D Animation is an affordable and easy 3D CAD with animation capabilities. It is suitable for anyone interested in learning 3D CAD and Animation before using more sophisticated packages. It runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android.

CATIA is a massively insanely expensive software package that is used by aerospace and automobile manufacturers. Licenses can be in the tens of thousands of dollars depending on what features you buy. It is made by Dessault Systmes, the same company that makes SolidWorks and the free 2D Draft Sight CAD software.

Cheetah3D is a powerful 3D modeling, rendering and animation software for Mac OS X. It offers native support for importing and exporting STL files (ASCII and Binary).

CoCreate Modeling Personal Edition is free for non-professional use. It is limited to 60 parts in one design and can only save designs in its own proprietary format, but it can export STL and VRML and import STEP and IGES. It is Windows only and needs an internet connection every three days. Apparently, very easy to use. content abstracted fromHydraraptor

DesignSpark Mechanical is a free 3D design software. A derivative of the Spaceclaim software, it is provided free by RS components.

iTracer is a 3D modeling and rendering application for the iPhone. There are instructions for creating models for 3D printing using iton Instructables here. It costs $2.

Moldex3D is the world leading CAE product for the plastic injection molding industry. With the best-in-class analysis technology, Moldex3D can help you carry out in-depth simulation of the widest range of injection molding processes and to optimize product designs and manufacturability. In addition, its high compatibility and adaptability have provided users with instant connection to mainstream CAD systems, generating a flexible simulation-driven design platform.

3D modeling for designers and artists. NURBS-based CAD modeling tool with excelllent quality mesh export. Costs $295 for the full license, free to try for a month.MoI 3D

This, along with Catia is the other major player in proprietary CAD software. It is crazy expensive just like Catia and used by major manufacturers.

Rhino is an easy 3D CAD with strong modeling capabilities. It is the most used software in entire micro-verticals such as architecture and jewelry.

Free digital sculpting application from the makers of Zbrush

Sketchup is primarily intended for designing architectural models, but it can be used for general 3D design as well.

SketchUp Make 2013 now includes an Extension Warehouse, and you can install the import / export STL extension from there. The link ishere, or search for it in SketchUp MakeYou will need Solid Inspector extension, which highlights any geometry that prevents a group being a solid group, as slicing programs make errors when the model isnt an outer shell.

(deprecated) For details of plugins that will output STL files from Sketchup: see here

SolidWorks is one of the most popular closed-source CAD programs. The parts on the Prusa Mendel were designed using this software. It is owned by Dessault Systems which also makes Catia. An educational version of Solidworks is available for about 200 bucks I believe.

Tinkercad- a simple but effective online modelling tool. Useful for quickly creating prototypes. Specifically designed for 3D printers like RepRap.

Paid-for digital sculpting application

An open source, portable, and extensible system for the processing and editing of unstructured 3D triangular meshes. It also has an as yet unexploited object slicing routine which is extremely quick.

Converts STL files to Gcodes. Is included withReplicatorG. Horribly ugly user interface. It looks like someone used a shotgun loaded with buttons. Works slow, but has many options and is reliable

Converts STL files to Gcodes. 100 times faster than skeinforge, but still great gcode output. relatively new. see:Slic3rand

Repsnapperis a Slicer completely written in C++. With 3D preview.

Cura, Slicer and GCode sender in one. Tries to be a single solution software where different parts can be used without depending on the other.

A ruby script that converts STL files between ASCII and binary encoding.

IVCON is a command-line C++ program for 3D graphics file conversion which reads and writes a variety of 3D graphics file formats, including STL, converting from one to the other.

A tool for repairing and manipulations of STL files.

netfabb Studio is free, but not open source. It now available for Windows, Mac and Linux. The free version of which can be found here:[1].

netfabb Studio is software tailored for additive fabrication, rapid prototyping and 3D printing. It includes the ability of viewing, editing, repairing and analyzing stl-files or slice-based files in various formats.

Completely free fast 3D object slicer with user friendly UI. Nice GCODE viewer which understands other slicers dialect. Window 7+, Mac OSX

STL to G-code for additive extrusion printing.

Autodesk MeshMixer is a program that imports, manipulates, and converts 3D meshes. One of its more useful features is the Analysis tool, which shows areas of a mesh that could cause problems for 3D printing. It also provides a simple repair tool that fixes some of these problems. Be careful with the Autorepair All feature however, since it sometimes removes large portions of a part. It also has integration with the Autodesk 3D print utility to allow printing directly from the program (assuming a compatible printer).

MeshMixer is free to download and use, and it runs on Windows and OSX.

Simplify3D is an all-in-one software suite for 3D printing.

Identify and repair common mesh problems

Apply different print settings to different models in the same print build

Apply different print settings to different height regions of a single model

User customizable support – click to specify locations to add or remove support structures

Slice files; generate G-Code (RepRap Style Firmware) or .x3g (MakerBot Style Firmware) instructions

Animated previewer to view G-Code layer by layer or line by line

Print via USB or save toolpaths to SD Card

A number of YouTube videos explain the software and features through both company-created tutorials and independent reviews. Simplify3D Software works on Windows, Mac, Linux.

Creation Workshopis slicer and DLP control software for wet (liquid stereolithography) and dry (powder) 3D printing.

nanoDLPis a freeware Raspberry Pi based DLP control software for liquid stereolithography 3D printing.

A full GPLd suite and toolkit of Electronic Design Automation tools. These tools are used for electrical circuit design, schematic capture, simulation, prototyping, and production. Unlimited board size, unlimited number of layers, autorouter available.

Binaries available for Debian/Ubuntu (package manager), SUSE, Mac OS X andWindows.

See also: Atypical work loop with gEDA.

KiCadis an open source (GPL) software for the creation of electronic schematic diagrams and printed circuit board artwork. Users are making complex boards with it, as boards of 4 layers or more, with ARM microcontrollers running at 450MHz.

KiCad runs on Linux, Windows or Mac. It is available on Linux Ubuntu repositories (app store) meaning that it can be installed with one mouse click. (The KiCad 3D view usesWings3D).

An open-source (ODV) program for displaying Gerber files. Useful for checking.

Open source (BSD) app written in freeware Visual Basic 2008 Express for Wintel machines

Open source (GPL) version of Stripboard Designer written by Julian Skidmore in Java

DIYLC is an easy to use, yet powerful open source (GPL) multiplatform (Java) software for creating stripboard and universal board designs.

Proprietary circuit-diagram and PCB design system with a slightly reduced-capabilities freeware version. It includes an autorouter for PCB creation. This is the package that has been used to design the majority of the RepRap electronics. It is also used to design the open-sourceArduino microcontroller, derivatives of which are used in RepRap. It runs on Linux, Windows or Mac.

Meikian Live(abandoned development)is a GNU/Linux live distribution intended to all theRepRapusers and developers. Based onDebian GNU/Linux, it includes most of the free (as infreedom) software, useful links and other related stuff you use on a day to day as areprapper.

You can help: go through theAoI Alternativesthread and add at least a brief mention of packages mentioned there but not yet listed on this page: avoCADo, MLCad, CollabCAD, etc.

ZornStrapmentions more CAD and FEM and CFD software tools.

OpenCircuits: stripboardhas more specific details on designing boards with stripboard.

OpenCircuits: software toolhas a huge list of software tools for electronics: schematic capture tools, circuit simulation tools, custom PCB layout tools, autorouters, etc.

This page was last modified on 16 March 2017, at 04:55.

Content is available underGNU Free Documentation License 1.2.