Best 3D Software

I’m a high school student interested in ID and i was just wondering what the best free 3d CAD software is. I’m a beginner, so i just need something thats quite simple. Thanks.

If you’re looking at getting into Industrial Design, then Rhinoceros ( is your best bet. It’s not free, but there is a 30 day trial for you to get a feel for whether its a good fit. It’s very quick to learn.

There are plenty of even simpler programs, particularly for interior design or architecture, but they can be very limited when it comes to building what you want and not just what the computer allows you to build. Whatever you choose, don’t let the computer dictate the level of your creativity.

paul. If it wernt for the free 30 day licence of Rhino it would not be so popular among industrial designers. You can’t say Rhino is the best at anything. Rhino is only good if you have not tried to prove form in a constraint based modeler.

We teach Rhino and everything too. You really need to let me give you a demonstration using sw or proe. hell even Alais has history that you can prove out form with.

It is free!

Google bought this program for people to model buildings and upload them to Google Earth; but you can use it for whatever you want.

If it wernt for the free 30 day licence of Rhino it would not be so popular among industrial designers.

The reason SW and Pro/E don’t do it is because they are not so easy to self-learn in 30 days and wouldn’t get the users hooked. Because Rhino does not reach the very high level of parametric modelers it is very, very easy to learn.

You can’t say Rhino is the best at anything.

True. I’m glad I didn’t. Rhino is quick to learn and cheap, that’s all.

Rhino is only good if you have not tried to prove form in a constraint based modeler.

It’s good for quick modeling up to the level of prototyping. If you keep your expectations down to 0.5 degree tangency and 0.5mm tolerances (good enough for rendering and prototyping) then Rhino is super-fast. Any tighter and it gets a little bogged down (but will still do it). Then hop into Pro/E or Solidworks to create the final tooling data.

Bottom line: Rhino is quick and simple to model up during the design phase IF there are still a lot of creative changes going on. Rhino surfaces are ‘dumb’ -there is no history so you just scrap a surface and rebuild it, which is often quicker than diving through 200+ items of history in Pro/E and risking it not liking what you’re doing.

Pro/E and Solidworks are excellent at high-end modeling and can be faster than Rhino with some types of work. But you have to have a strategy before you start building and know what you’ll want to change (rather than deciding once you’re there).

In our office we run multiple stations of each, and I see the pitfalls and advantages of each. Ideally, a designer gets to know two of them, and a design office should have an array of software types. Choosing which platform to use then depends on:

  1. what sort of product you want to model up,
  2. what stage of the process you are,
  3. what the end goal of the data is, and
  4. how creative you want to get after its modeled.

Alias personal learning edition is pretty good

Also speaking of free software does anyone remember Pro/Desktop (from PTC) it was free but it was very pre-school…I think it was meant for ‘da kids’ You might be able to find it on-line somewhere?

Alias personal learning edition is pretty good

Personally I used to love Alias. I was an Alias jockey myself ‘back in the day’. It’s excellent for a lot of things, especially rendering, animation and surface control. However, it’s not the best for creating tooling data (try doing those offsets and ribs) and generally offers a little too much control for front-end quick modeling.

Rhino could be considered a very basic version of Alias, but it’s Rhino’s simplicity that makes it so useful for the early design iterations.

is there a 3d software better than Rhino in terms of rendering but easier to use than 3D Max ?

McNeel’s (the same people that developed Rhino) own Flamingo plugin comes to mind.

Flamingo is very quick, but also very basic. We use it for everyday rendering, but hop to Max or Cinema 4D for the hi-def renderings.

Can i do the shapes that i want using Rhino and then export it to 3D Max for hi-def rendering? well, coz i’ve got only these 2 softwares for 3D rendering.

i have never tried Flamingo before. Thanks for the link. will try and see if it is user friendly.

i’m sure you can export a rhino model and then import into 3ds max… quick google found this

Dealing with IGES files is a waste of time.

The easist way is to buy nPower’s Rhino2Max plugin:

Do you want my opinion?
Of course you do.

Rhino and SolidWorks is a great Combination…Rhino for initial Conceptualization and Visualization…like Paul said… and SolidWorks for the real nitty gritty like the Brejcha from DesignEngine said…

good call guys…

Both real easy to learn…both have student prices that are very affordable and both can communicate well and translate back and forth very well.

oh and by the way STAY AWAY from 3Dsketchup…unless you want to become some kind of weird GoogleEarth nerd.

thanks for all your sharing guys! im doing a water sport project now that needs a good 3D modelling tool… hopefully rhino+solidworks will do it…

i agree with rhino for iterations, SolidWorks for tooling. SW forced you to think the design through, which i like to think of it as a bullshit filter. 3d max for animations or PRR (photo realistic renderings).

Let’s clear something up…

There is NO best 3D software. Asking which is best does nothing but create a fanboy pissing match. As you have seen on here already there are varying opinions of what software is best for whatever application at question.

Like most things in life there is a “you get what you pay for” element to every discussion. You have to weigh exactly what you are wanting to do with how much you have to spend.

Solidworks, pro/e, 3DS, Rhino, SolidEdge…blah blah blah all have their pluses and minuses and every single one of them can do what you are wanting to do. Each carrying with it baggage you have to carry in order to achieve your goal.

3ds max of course