3D Modelling & CAD Resources

Useful things for making 3D objects with computers.

Other Resources

ie not sure where else to put these :slight_smile:


Design Repositories

Mesh Tools

Represent 3D objects as points (vertices) and lines (edges.)

Great for computer games, movies, etc. Not so good for mechanical designs- once created, the application (probably) doesn’t know that parts of the object were originally a sphere, cube, etc.

  • Doodle3D: online app that allows you to easily take a 2D sketch and create a 3D form.


Deserves it’s own section.
A true Swiss-army knife of 3D, Video, and game design. Also known for artistic CAM (3D CNC milling- BlenderCAM).
And it’s free!

Solid Modellers

Autodesk products. Solid Works. CAD tools that build up your object as a series of operations on mathematical shapes (cubes, spheres, cylinders, etc). The computer ‘knows’ what ‘makes up’ your object and you can go in and tweak the building blocks, regenerating your object.

You can also convert these objects to meshes by ‘sampling’ the mathematical object. You can control the final resolution of the converted object.

Autodesk Fusion360

Very popular, and free for many users.


Recalculating the vertices and edges that make up your object. Often needed to make an object usable with physical fabrication.

  • Stack Overflow discussion
    • One of the suggestions is retopoflow, that is available as source & can also be bought (please support the creator if you use it often!)
  • instant-meshes - separate app. Has been suggested as precursor before importing a mesh into Fusion360; you can use it to create a clean quad (rather than triangle) based mesh.


Moved to it’s Own page.

Voxel Modelling

Like ‘pixels’ (picture cells) in bitmap images, but 3D volumes.

Are great for maximum freedom when creating organic forms. Application (probably) has no idea about the tools used to create the shape (e.g. cube here, cylinder there, etc)- unlike solid modelling.

Programmatic Generation

  • Structure Synth: “Structure Synth is a cross-platform application for generating 3D structures by specifying a design grammar. Even simple systems may generate surprising and complex structures.”
  • Beetle Blocks- Scratch based visual code for creating 3D shapes
  • Intro to PythonOCC - create BREP geometry with Python


Voronoi Cells