Good 3d CAD program

I’m relatively new to the 3d printing world and I was wondering what is a good program for beginners to be able to create my own 3d models? I’d prefer using my tablet as it comes with a pen and is more manageable than a computer. Any suggestions?

It depends on the type of models you are wanting to make. Geometric models, especially for things like functional parts, things that need to be dimensionally accurate, etc. use something like Fusion360, or if you want simple, TinkerCAD.

If you’re wanting organic models, such as statues, pictures, etc. Blender, meshmixer, maybe Zbrush. I don’t have experience with these, however, as I mostly make functional prints.

You didn’t state what your tablet was, all of these should be available on windows, and a few on mac/linux.


I have an android tablet, which I assume isn’t going to work. :slightly_frowning_face: looks like I gotta use the laptop, which is Windows.

I guess I am looking for a little bit of both as I am trying to make terrain models for my campaign in Dungeons and Dragons.

For android, Fusion360 Mobile is available for CAD, and you can have a go at MeshLab or TrueSculpt, both should be free in the play store.

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Thank you so much for you help! I love this community! :wink:

A somewhat unknown program which I find nice for starting with is actually 3D Builder on Windows. It is very quick to learn, can be used quite intuitively and comes for free with Windows 10. Still, it is only for simple tasks and beginners - as soon as things get complex, you’ll hit limits with that program.

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i am very happy with Alibre Atom. I come from a pro-Engineer background and find this simplified 3d modeler works well and makes great .stl files for export to Luban.

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Michael from the YouTube channel Teaching Tech explains the different free cad options and decides that Onshape is the best free option, and from what i can tell it looks pretty good.

here’s a link to his playlist where he explains why he chose Onshape and then has a few videos on how to use Onshape:

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I second the idea of starting your 3D experience with Tinkercad. It’s free and easy to master quickly, so you’re likely to get -something- to print a LOT sooner. I suggest you start there, and branch out to more sophisticated CAD options once you “outgrow” it.

Depending on how complex your terrain models will be, you my have a steep climb (pun intended). I’d start simple with geometric shape based prints for a while before you start in with any complex modeling prints.

Personally, I still go back to Tinkercad for most of my simple “parts,” and even some fairly complex ones… but have jumped up to Fusion360 for the more complicated 3d work. Fusion360 is also available free for personal use, though you must re-submit each year. It’s quite a powerful beast and can be intimidating.

That’s my take.


I have had great success with 3D Builder, free from Microsoft. You just work with shapes and change sizes, split, subtract, and the like. It works well for me.

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for Open Source/ Linux fans I recommend freeCad

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