Free CAD Design Software
123D Design is a free CAD designer application created by Autodesk. This software contains a large array of graphics designing tools to help users create 3D models. When you want an intense yet straightforward 3D creation and altering program for your 3D printer, this app is ideal for you.
Simple to Use 3D Modeling Tool
As mentioned, 123D Design is a powerful yet simple 3D designing and editing tool. This multimedia app is created to work seamlessly with most 3D printer models available in the market today. It uses a simple and intuitive graphical user interface that is easy enough to navigate. It places your toolbox on top of the app’s screen and the view tools right beneath it, providing a large design area.
Each icon in the toolbox items are very indicative of their functionality, and they spawn item lists when clicked. This way, you don’t have to wonder about the use of every icon. Unlike some model designing app, 123D Design does not use the drag-and-drop approach when placing something in the design area. Instead, it uses click-and-place, which is more convenient. Users can use the drag-and-drop approach later when they want to refine the position of an item, but that is camera dependent since it works with vertical and perpendicular vectors.
How the app handles its viewpoints is quite intuitive and effective as well. There is a viewpoint cube available that highlights your currently active view. You may click any side or corner of the cube to go into a different view. This viewpoint is especially helpful when you want to move an item to a direction. Besides the fixed camera view, you can also move the camera freely by holding right-click and moving your mouse.
Finally, 123D Design comes with kits button on the right side of the screen where you can find new items listed in categories. These items are ready-made parts for various projects which you can change per requirements and group into one item.
123D Design Comparisons
If you are a model designing professional and have been working with CAD designers, you may see some similarities between 123D Design and Fusion 360. Both applications come with similar complexity and power. You can even safely say that 123D Design is a more simplified Fusion 360. Some features of 123D Design are smaller versions Fusion 360, that if you have been working with the latter, you will only feel a subtle limitation when you started using the former.
Among these limitations include the lack of render, sculpt, and CAM modules, which you can all find in Fusion. Fusion 360 also has this construct feature which lets you create planes, axes, and points in a wide array of ways to make your designing easier.
However, while 123D Design lacks some features that Fusion has, it is still cannot be discounted. For one, 123D Design has a rich online database of user-created items that you can use and snap together to make a new item. Its support for opening, inserting and saving meshes in STL and OBJ formats. The app also makes it easy to combine, subtract, and intersect operations between meshes. What’s more, this app is for free, and you can install it on your computer without restrictions.
CAD Design Tool for Beginners
If you are only starting or experimenting with CAD, 123D Design is a good app choice. Its design, as well as its various user-created items, makes it easier for novice designers to create simple prints. And while it is not powerful enough to let you build a more complex design, it covers most printing enthusiasts needs.