I do not wish to say what is my project. Lets say I am creating a new kind of bicycle for example, and I am looking for investors and they asked for prototype. I did not create the physical prototype so they asked for some kind of 3d model, like the ones used in industries (I know they use maya or 3d max)

I do not know how to create 3d models and how to apply real world physics to it, for example, how much force does it take to knock the model off the bicycle and how my new bicycle would not let him fall etc, I just invented something and want to show the investor a model of it and how it works in a simple 3d way, highlighting the different parts between my bicycle and those available in the market . just an example.

What is the best software to do a simple presentation of something like the example I showed above, a software that is so simple to use, like makehuman.org for instance, something that would give me many 3d models out of the box, let me manipulate them, so that i can create a decent prototype in a couple of hours + real world physics, at least gravity, or maybe I can write the equations but not a must have.

Ideally, I'd like it to be a freeware. Running on Ubuntu 14.04 64 bit, but I have windows running in virtualbox.

I know you would suggest blender, anything more simple than blender? Created with simple presentations in mind? the animation and the graphic engine don't matter to me, what matters most is to get my prototype done. Even physics engine is not a must.

It doesn't even have to provide 3d models if i can import any 3d model to it, all it has to do is to provide a friendly, easy to use interface, with prototyping in mind, not game development. Because I can find many 3d models on the web.

  • You want 'simpler then Blender', but you want it to handle animation and real world physics. That sounds contradictory. Maybe you should split your problem and a) look for a simple 3D-modeling tool that exports models in an industry-standard format, then b) look for software that applies real world physics to models you can read in from industry-standard files.
    – user416
    Nov 20, 2014 at 12:49
  • @JanDoggen that's okay, any suggestion about software for modelling or animation?
    – Lynob
    Nov 20, 2014 at 20:34
  • I would suggest creating a model in sketchup. Then exporting into DXF and then use blender to do the fine tuning and physics.
    – cybernard
    Nov 21, 2014 at 5:10

3 Answers 3


Suggesting these software's without my personal experience but I hope my answers will help you.:)

  • FreeCAD FreeCAD is a general purpose feature-based, parametric 3D modeler for CAD, MCAD, CAx, CAE and PLM, aimed directly at mechanical engineering and product design but also fits a wider range of uses in engineering, such as architecture or other engineering specialties. It is 100% Open Source and extremely modular, allowing for very advanced extension and customization

The interface is built with Qt. FreeCAD runs exactly the same way on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux platforms.

  • Art of Illusion Art of Illusion is a full featured 3D modelling, rendering, and animation studio. It is written entirely in Java, and can run on almost any operating system

  • K-3D K-3D is the free 3d modeling, animation, and rendering system.

Features K-3D

Visualization Pipeline Architecture
Unlimited Hierarchical Undo
Full RenderMan Integration

Note:All the 3D software's and its features were found after I did bit of research in the sourceforge website :)

  • what about the physics engine?
    – Lynob
    Nov 20, 2014 at 20:35

I would use Blender, no doubt! Free, simple, easy. It's the open source equivalent of Maya, CAD etc. and probably even better than them. [see www.blender.org]

also have a look at google scetch - since you prefer something else

  • 2
    Hmm, can you expand this answer a bit more? Maybe show out the various pros and cons of the two solutions you suggested. As it stands, this answer barely meets the quality requirements of this site.
    – mirabilos
    Nov 20, 2014 at 19:03
  • I'm sure this is a very controversial topic so I won't go into details here. I'll rather point you to references for further reading. Most designers agree though that Blender's model editor is simpler to use (which seems key to you for prototyping) but Blender can't compare to the render speed and quality of the commercial equivalents: blog.digitaltutors.com/… Blender is certainly weaker in render quality than the commercial products but bear in mind that it's for free and you only need it for prototyping.
    – z0mbi3
    Nov 22, 2014 at 16:04
  • You could also export from Blender to Maya or 3DSMax if you would later like to use a commercial product.
    – z0mbi3
    Nov 22, 2014 at 16:06

Typically, the prototype is made in an MCAD package, like Solidworks, Inventor, Proe (Creo), Catia, Siemens NX, Solid Edge, we have many more, but those are many popular. All them have modules for mechanism, assembly and cinematic design and in many cases an pretty decent render engine, from these packages the product goes direct to manufacturing, but require some experience in the industry. If you just want to show something to possible investors use blender, maya, max, but these packages are only for visualization, they hardly can bring you information for the manufacturing processes. Manufacturing is another kind of monster, very different, has very different requirements and is not handled for software like blender or maya. You can have Siemens NX in linux, freecad can be useful too, bricscad; Even a software like MOI (through Wine since version 2 or 3, i am not sure). when you have the model in any of these software you can export it and animate it with stunning quality in blender.


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