16.02.2013 – The popular free software Blender enables you to create professional 3D models for 3D printing.
This software was initially developed for rending, yet due to the integrated .STL import/export function it also wildly popular with 3D printing. Additional advantages of Blender are its versatile integrated tools and numerous tutorials and templates that are on hand. In order to know the software it takes some time in the beginning, nevertheless you will be able to use a quite powerful tool in order to design technical constructions.
The software is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
(c) Picture & Link: Blender
Update: 29.04.2013 – 3D printing toolkit – Blender now supports additional 3D printing functions
The new Blender version 2.67 offers a wider range of tools for 3D printing. You can now make use of the statistic function, which can calculate the volume and area. This can be useful to calculate production cost beforehand (e.g. for a 3D printing service provider).
Moreover new error-checking functions, which can identify common mistakes have been added. Overhangs or walls that are too thin are detected and can simplify following 3D printing.
The new version can be downloaded here.
Update: 18.11.2013 – Blender Version 3.69
Besides error checking and enhancements, the latest Blender version provides a few new functions. In total 270 errors were cut out, a FBX support as well as a rendering function for hair and new editing tools are now available.