Start modelling: the best CAD software packages for your classroom

3D printing technologies allow enthusiasts to create almost every project they may think about, thus stimulating creativity and imagination: so, it is a perfect activity for young students. However, a modelling CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software is needed to make every idea become real: it helps users design three-dimensional models in digital format, easily readable by printers, through the definition of the main geometric points of the object onto the three axes X, Y and Z.

CAD software are, therefore, essential to realise 3D printings. Given the growing distribution of these printing techniques, it is pretty obvious that on the market one can find a huge number of this type of software: some are easy to use, others require a certain training time. Finding a direction in such a complex panorama may seem a hard task, but have no fear: here you find a list of the best CAD modelling software easily usable by young students.

1. SugarCAD

The first software on the list is an Italian project, just as Felfil is, created after the Maker@Scuola research and designed exactly for teachers and students. SugarCAD stands out for its intuitiveness: it is possible to choose the most appropriate interface according to the user’s experience and start modelling, thanks to the clarity of the design. Moreover, this software is web-based, meaning that the only thing students need is a simple browser.

2. Tinkercad

The software developed by Autodesk is one of the most famous and coloured modelling tools for 3D printing: as SugarCAD, the main selling point of Tinkercad is its simplicity. It is possible to use this software by browser, or by smartphones and tablets through an app; the user will be able to create a new object from scratch, and it is possible as well to edit an existing model, thanks to its integration with Thingiverse (while you are here: check out our collection of school gadget in free download!). Tinkercad is already used in many schools.

3. SketchUp

Developed in 2000, SketchUp is a good compromise between ease of use and advanced functions. The SketchUp for Schools release is thought for students, web-based and connected with a lot of Google services.

4. LeoCAD

At a first glance, LeoCAD may seem to have fewer possibilities compared to other software, but we are sure students will love it: it has an intuitive interface that allows creating virtual models using over 6000 LEGO bricks. If kids could design their own LEGO-style building kits and print them out on their home 3D printer, why wouldn’t they?

5. 3D Slash

This software is designed for schools, but in its free version has some limitations; however, an “education” plan does exist. The main feature of 3D Slash is its Drag&Drop interface, that resembles the Minecraft video game: among the tools given to the user, it is possible to find, just to name a few, hammer, trowel, drill and so on.

Once you have chosen your favourite software, it is very important that your students try to realise their own models. Felfil has different 3D printing projects that involve students: contact us and discover the perfect one for your classroom.

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