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I'm after some free software that is ideal for designing furniture in 3D, and if possible can be exported as applicable files for templates and measurements i.e. CAD related files such as STL so 3D printed mock ups could be made if needed and maybe something common with other 3D apps such as an OBJ file...and for technical drawings maybe PNG/JPEG/PDF.

I have already tried the following:

-SketchUp
-Blender

I found Blender doesn't have intuitive controls like you get with other 3D applications and in SketchUp it is difficult to create complex shapes such as splines.

Ideally I'm looking for something that has the ease of modelling of 3D Studio Max but with CAD like properties...and free!

I'm looking for an application for the sole intention of designing furniture.

  • What are the applicable file formats you're looking for? – walrus Feb 11 '19 at 11:59
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    @walrus any CAD related files such as STL so 3D printed mockups could be made if needed and maybe something common with other 3D apps such as an OBJ file...and for technical drawings maybe PNG/JPEG/PDF - I'll add this to the main question also. Thanks – Scott Feb 11 '19 at 12:02
  • We don't really do software recommendations on here, but I'll migrate your question to a different StackExchange that should be able to help you out! – Erica Feb 11 '19 at 20:41
  • @erica thanks...makes more sense to be here. I was trying to find a Stack Exchange for making furniture originally :) – Scott Feb 12 '19 at 8:33
  • Also have a look at the graphicdesign forum. For instance, this has a few more options: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/112900/… – Z Z Feb 12 '19 at 9:40
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In relation to my comment above, there are a few alternatives to Sketchup and Blender mentioned on a previous answer on the graphicdesign forum e.g. Fusion 360, SolidWorks, etc.

There are also a few other suggestions like Sketchlist, if you can make do with a trial version...

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  • Yeah fusion 360 is one I'm going to take a look at as SolidWorks is not free...unless you're a student – Scott Feb 13 '19 at 10:48
  • given you the honour of answering the question as you lead me to Fusion 360...posted an additional answer myself for anyone else that wants some quick info on usability/feedback – Scott Feb 20 '19 at 8:32
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Thanks to everyone for their advice.

Fusion 360 is the application of choice for the following reasons:

  • It fulfils the requirement of 'free', given for hobby/non-commercial use.
  • It has sketch based and model based modelling tools
  • It has a sculpting option for organic modelling
  • Built with 3D printing in mind and CAD based designs

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve but lots of resources available
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