Free 3D software

Autodesk 123D

A simple modeling tool with a library of existing components and the ability to create models from a sketch. Available for iPad. It is integrated with direct printing in Shapeways.

A fantastic beginner program that guides you in learning complex things through simple tasks. It is used through the browser, and the skills acquired can be applied in more advanced programs and also integrated with direct printing in Shapeways.

Another browser-based application and the extension is free as long as you share the models on Creative Commons.

A powerful application with many professional add-ons, great resources, and communities for learning this software.

An open platform for 3D modeling, great for home users, hobbyists, and professional users. Parametric modeling allows for an easy design modification.

OpenSCAD is not an interactive 3D design tool. It is similar to a 3D program compiler that reads a file script with 3D geometric definitions, and in turn, generates a 3D model.

Free, introductory sculpting tool, a great digital sculpting tool, created by ZBrush manufacturer.

Suitable tool for architects and civil engineers who design for the physical world. SketchUp Make is free software, and SketchUp Pro is charged but has additional functionality.

Commercial 3D software

3ds Max
Software with a broad range of 3D design tools with, and with a unique interface.

Advanced design and documentation software. Ideal for architects and design engineers.

Cinema 4D
Famous Design Suite in the VFX community that has excellent tools for 3D modeling and printing.

A classic 3D graphics software that includes powerful rendering, animation, and modeling tools.

Autodesk Maya
Complete software for the professional application of 3D modeling, including modeling, fixation, and animation.

Standard software for creating and editing 2D models applicable to 3D models. It offers direct integration with Shapeways.

A popular curve-based modeling program.

Advanced 3D modeling software.

Modeling software that is great for precision mechanical product designs.