Computer Aided Design Software can be used to design parts for 3D printing. Remember to export any files into .stl format.
The ICS has Autodesk Inventor Professional 2017 and Solidworks 2016 for CAD use on our computers in the lab.
Autodesk gives students a lot of their software for free including Inventor Professional 2017. All you have to do is visit their website, select the software you want to download, and make a free account.
If you are completely new to CAD and 3D printing, we strongly recommend starting out with Onshape, an in-browser CAD application. Onshape is a simple and straightforward way to get started with designing parts, and their website has lots of useful tutorials to help you take the first few steps. The majority of Onshape’s features are available for free, and you can access your files from any computer simply by logging in to their cloud-based service.
In the end, the software you use to design parts is up to your personal preferences, as most or all of them are able to export .stl files, which we use to operate our 3D printers.
Very few of our machines besides our 3D printers require special software. A notable exception to this is our embroidery machine. The machine has a large built in library of preset patterns, but it is also possible to create custom designs. The software we use for this is available on the computers in our lab.