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Creating your 3D Model


The first step in having a real life object -- be it using a 3D printer or a CNC machine -- is to have a virtual 3D Model. You can either create the model from ground up, or you can download a pre-made model from websites like,, or others. Optionally, you can download a model, and edit it to your needs.

You will need software to create or edit these objects.

3D Modeling Software

There are a lot of different programs you can use. This page lists a few possible choices, but feel free to use other programs.

Fusion 360 (Autocad)

Fusion 360 is a so-called parametric 3D Modeling program. It is also more than that. It does Computer Assisted Design (CAD), but also Computer Assisted Machining (CAM, creating instructions for a 3D Printer or CNC machine), Model analysis (compute resistance of materials, find weak points,...) and rendering. It also allow for parametric modelling.

The program can be used for free for hobbyists (but check on their website), and there are a lot of tutorials online on how to use it. The program is in constant evolution, and new features are added every month.

Fusion 360

Post processing

In some cases, you will need to use additional software specifically designed to turn your 3D model into a printable model. Some models will require you create supports (you can't print in the air, all parts of your model are subject to gravity)3DPrintOverhangSupportIllustration.jpg Some printers will need a specific file format (e.g., the Moi SLA printer uses gcode).

Meshmixer (Autodesk)

This program will allow you to analyse a model, optimise it, edit it, create overhang supports,...



Cura is required to work with the SLA Moai printer, as it takes gcode files instead of STL. The principle is called "slicing". The program will cut your 3D model into slices, and will print each slice in order to create a physical object.