Tools for 3D Printing
The following applications are available on computers in Kenan Science Library. Some are also freely available to download to use on your own computer.
3D Design Software
An easy-to-use web-based tool for creating objects that are ready to be 3D printed. If you haven’t done 3D design before, this is a great place to start.
Fusion 360 2
A next-step-up from Tinkercad, Fusion 360 lets you develop more complex models.
A 3D modeling program for applications such as architectural design, interior design, civil and mechanical engineering, film, and video game design. SketchUp models can be exported to an .OBJ file, which can then be converted to an .STL file using MeshLab (see under “3D Editing and Repair Software”).
A free professional 3D computer graphics software product used for creating animated films, visual effects, art, 3D printed models, interactive 3D applications and video games.
Maya is a 3D animation, modeling, simulation, rendering, and compositing program. This is licensed software that is available in the Kenan Science Library.
An professional level tool for building and manipulating 2D and 3D models.
SOLIDWORKS is a engineering grade computer-aided design (CAD) software with built in stress testing and simulation.
A free software application for creating solid 3D CAD objects. It is not an interactive modeler, but rather a 3D-compiler. OpenSCAD reads from a script and renders a 3D model from it.
Agisoft PhotoScan 3
PhotoScan generates digital 3D models from an array of standard 2D photos of an object.
Online 3D Printing Services
There are online 3D printing services available that print in a variety of materials that we don’t offer. The website 3D Printing Price Check let you compare pricing among several vendors.
1 Freely available software at link.
2 These Autodesk products may be available to UNC students, faculty, and staff with a free educational license.
3 Licensed software that is available in the Kenan Science Library.
Our 3D Printing Service
The Kenan Science Library Makerspace offers a 3D printing service to UNC-Chapel Hill affiliates. To have us print a 3D file for you, you must set up a consultation in the Makerspace by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 919-962-7148. When you bring in your file, we will talk about your build options—no need to fill out an online form beforehand.
Read our 3D printing FAQs for more information.
Browse 3D models
- Thingiverse is a repository of 3D files from hundreds of users.
- MorphoSource allows researchers to store and organize, share, and distribute their own 3d data.
- The NIH 3D Print Exchange allows for searching, browsing, downloading, and sharing biomedical 3D print files, modeling tutorials, and educational material.
- NASA 3D Resources has a a growing collection of 3D models, textures, and images from inside NASA.
- Smithsonian x 3D is a project to share 3D models developed from scans of their diverse collections.
3D Editing and Repair Software
An open-source general-purpose system aimed at the processing of the typical not-so-small unstructured 3D models that arise in the 3D scanning pipeline. MeshLab is oriented to the management and processing of unstructured large meshes and provides a set of tools for editing, cleaning, healing, inspecting, rendering and converting these kinds of meshes.
An experimental 3D modeling tool whose goal it is to make it easy to compose new 3D models from existing meshes.
An .STL viewer and repair tool.
Molecular Software Applications
An open-source, user-sponsored, molecular visualization system that can produce high-quality 3D images of small molecules and biological macromolecules, such as proteins.
UCSF Chimera 1
An extensible program for interactive visualization and analysis of molecular structures and related data, including density maps, supramolecular assemblies, sequence alignments, docking results, trajectories, and conformational ensembles. High-quality images and movies can be created.