Please recommend simple 3D program

I need a simple, inexpensive or free 3D modeling program (Windows 8) to perform the simplest tasks: lathing, extrusion, sweeps and the like. Don’t need high quality rendering or more complicated modeling. Suggestions?

This entry was posted in advice requested and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Please recommend simple 3D program

  1. Frank Ch. Eigler says:


  2. Magus says:


    Plenty of good videos on how to use it on youtube. Oriented toward woodworking but to get started and learn the basics I recommend watching Jay Bates.

  3. Russell says:

    I like 123D Design. Simpler and easier to use than sketchup.

  4. Paul Koning says:

    I found Sketchup to be utterly frustrating. It is a direct manipulation program, which seems great until you try to manipulate things. Then it turns out to be way too imprecise.
    I ended up with FreeCAD, which is free / open source. It’s a real CAD program, as opposed to a 3d sketching program. It does the basics, and it also does a bunch of other things. One reason I like it is that it can be scripted, which is a nice way to make complex designs and refine them incrementally. It can export a variety of formats, including one you can feed to Povray (for photorealistic 3d images).

  5. Ross says:

    I don’t want to sound denigrating, but the process is “turning” not “lathing”, it’s performed on a lathe. It might be like clip v. magazine in that people know what you mean, but in the same way walking into a gun shop asking for a clip to your Glock might have the workers assume things about you.

    Sorry I can’t help you with program advice, I use Inventor at work and haven’t needed to look for something at home. If you need a quick model done let me know and I can make a part and a detail drawing that you can use to give a machine shop.

    • Paul Koning says:

      You’re correct on machining terminology. Unfortunately, the term “lathing” has been adopted by various 3d programs, probably because of illiteracy. At this point, it’s part of the jargon of the field. If you use that term in a machine shop, you’d be laughed out the door. But if you used the term “turning” to describe the production of bodies of revolution in a 3d program to a 3d program developer, you’d get just as strange a look.

      • Ross says:

        In CAD it’s revolving or sweeping, but sure… I guess from context it’s not clear if Oleg was using it as a modeling term or what.

        Either way, offer stands. If you just want a few things done I can help. If you’re looking for continual use on a daily/weekly basis learning to do it yourself will help a lot.

  6. Mr.Stuf says:

    I’d recommend Autodesk’s (who makes AutoCAD) suite of free modeling tools. 123D Design is similar to Sketchup. If you want to do real parametric work….i.e. input dimensions….I would check out TinkerCAD from them. It uses simple boolean add\remove operations, which are easy to get the hang of if you are new to CAD. You can find all of their free offeringsn at:

Comments are closed.