Part 1

Product engineers are designing, developing and printing products of 3D printers on the market at a staggering rate today. This is partly due to advances in software tools over the past few years. 3D CAD modeling tools are particularly useful for increasing the speed at which product engineers can generate models for tooling, prototyping, patenting, marketing and manufacturing. Of course, product engineers can only be more productive when they have the right type of software tools for 3D CAD modeling:


  1. Tinkercad

Tinkercad helps product engineers develop the best products for life. A browser-based tool for 3D CAD modeling, suitable for almost any skill level, Tinkercad is suitable for engineering design students and experienced professionals. Many product engineers also turn to Tinkercad when they need a 3D printing solution.

Main functions:

  • 3D design and modeling tool for all
  • Part of the family of 123D free apps
  • Complete designs and models in just minutes
  • Click for 3D printing

Price: FREE

  1. Solidworks

SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software is available in three editions to ensure that product engineers have the functionality needed to speed up the design process and be as productive as possible. All three editions have 3D design capabilities, but SOLIDWORKS Professional and SOLIDWORKS Premium are designed to work with powerful design and modeling features.

Basic functions:

  • SOLIDWORKS Standard – Powerful 3D design for quick creation of parts, assemblies and 2D drawings
  • SOLIDWORKS Professional – file management tools, advanced photorealistic imaging, automated cost estimation, eDrawings Professional collaboration capabilities, automated design and verification of drawings and more
  • SOLIDWORKS Premium – A comprehensive 3D design solution with powerful simulation and design validation in addition to ECAD / MCAD collaboration, reverse engineering and advanced wire and pipe routing functionality

Price: Contact for an offer


  1. AutoCAD

Autodesk offers some of the most popular 3D design, engineering and entertainment software and services available today. Their AutoCAD software is a powerful 3D CAD tool that allows product engineers to design every detail and work with TrustedDWG technology, collaborate between desktop, cloud and mobile, and access the AutoCAD mobile application for work on the go.

Basic functions:

  • Innovative 3D design for creating and communicating almost any design with 3D modeling and visualization tools
  • Customize AutoCAD to increase productivity and enforce CAD standards
  • Sharing and using data from PDF and DGN files, Navisworks, Bing Maps and the AutoCAD mobile application
  • Improvements for importing PDF files, external file references, object selection, text improvements to Mtext, etc.

Price: FREE trial available for 30 days

  • AutoCAD subscription

about $ 185 / month

o $ 1,470 / 1 year

o 2795 dollars / 2 years

o $ 3,970/3 years


  1. FreeCAD

Open-source software, FreeCAD is specifically designed for mechanical engineering and product design. FreeCAD is a parametric 3D CAD model suitable for designing real-life objects of any size and includes tools similar to SOLIDWORKS. FreeCAD is an open-source and multi-platform and reads and writes several open file formats, including STEP, IGES, STL, SVG, DXF, LBJ, IFC, DAE and others.

Basic functions:

  • Parametric modeling for easy modification of designs by going back in the history of the model and changing the parameters
  • Highly customizable, scripting and extensible
  • Suitable for experienced CAD users who identify with tools and workflows that are similar to other commercial CAD and BIM modeling software

Price: FREE

  1. TurboCAD 2016 Deluxe

TurboCAD 2016 Deluxe is a full, powerful 2D/3D CAD software tool with drawing, modifying, sizing and commenting tools. Product engineers appreciate the materials, lighting and photorealistic imaging offered by TurboCAD 2016 Deluxe and the fact that they can easily share their work with AutoCAD and SketchUP or print in 3D.

Basic functions:

  • Easy to learn and use
  • Complete 2D preparation and 3D modeling in one software tool
  • The customizable user interface, time-saving wizards, XREF support and more
  • Mechanical tools adapted for engineers such as 2D / 3D Boolean operations, rotation, extrusion, sweeping and chain polyline
  • Improved mirroring tool for 3D objects
  • Slot tools, improved concept selector, new highlighting of 3D objects and parts of 3D objects and much more

Price: Electronic download – $ 129.99

  1. Creo Parametric Software for 3D Modeling

PTC brings technological solutions and leadership to the Internet of Things, and their 3D CAD tool is ideal for innovative product development. Creo Parametric 3D is a product engineering software that improves quality and speeds up marketing time as it enables users to effectively build 3D virtual product prototypes and automates the product development process.

 Basic functions:

  • The unique combination of parametric and direct modeling with product design applications that are interoperable
  • Seamless integration of technologies for greater productivity and innovation
  • Easily capture design intentions and build models that change as you change the parameters of their features
  • Freely create and interact with 3D CAD geometry to quickly see the results of your engineering solutions
  • Intuitive, flexible editing environment that is suitable for beginners through experts

Price: FREE trial available; Contact for an offer

  1. IronCAD

A leading provider of innovative design collaboration solutions, IronCAD provides performance and design freedom with its software tools. Their software solution for product engineering helps to design faster and easier due to its intuitive solution, which enables engineers to increase productivity and collaborate in the enterprise.

 Basic functions:

  • An intuitive platform that reflects the interaction with the physical world
  • Easy repositioning of components with the patented TriBall visualization tool
  • Complete 3D design program that allows engineers to choose from parametric, direct or a combination of modalities on-demand in a single environment
  • Free study of design ideas and creation of models dynamically on the screen, without the need to plan and map concepts in advance
  • A tool to manage the entire design process from concept to production
  • 3D models require only one file, regardless of complexity

Price: FREE trial available; Contact for an offer


  1. Moment of Inspiration

The Moment of Inspiration is a 3D modeling tool for designers, artists and engineers that features an intuitive user interface that combines a liquid workflow with powerful tools. MoI is less complex than other CAD tools but includes a CAD set of tools and advanced Boolean functions to quickly create mechanical or man-made models on hard surfaces.

 Basic functions:

  • For Windows and Mac
  • Unique polygon mesh exports generate extremely clean and fresh N-Gon polygon meshes from CAD NURBS models
  • New options for extrusion, point extrusion and cone extrusion
  • New command to fill holes in NSided

Price: $ 295

  1. Shapr3D

For product engineers who enjoy the freedom to work on a tablet, Shapr3D is an ideal solution for use in the iPad Pro. The first professional 3D CAD for the iPad Pro, Shapr3D is easy to learn and use, but still powerful enough for product engineers to draw shapes and transform them using only their tablet, and the Apple Pencil, and the application.

Basic functions:

  • Sketch on faces and edges of the bevel in seconds
  • Designed specifically for the iPad Pro
  • Sketch like paper, but get instant 3D results
  • Compatible with all major CAD software, including SOLIDWORKS, AutoCAD, Fusion360, Rhino3D, CATIA and Inventor
  • Precise sketches and models, perfectly measured in mm, cm, m, inches

Price: FREE – Ideal for 3D printing

  • Pro: $ 8.25 / month payment per year – Ideal for professional users


Next up is part two CAD tools