Design for 3D Printing Without CAD

No CAD Necessary

Explore 3D printing with zero CAD experience necessary. Creating your own design from scratch is hugely rewarding, but learning a traditional CAD package can be intimidating. Here are 3 ways you can make physical objects with free online resources. Yes, in the literal sense the web applications are still CAD.

Print an Existing Model

Browsing the existing designs is a great way to get excited and learn just what is possible with a 3D printer. Thingiverse and Youmagine are active online communities where people share 3D printing models.
thingiverse_2 youmagine
Designers upload models for you to print or modify. These communities offer social features for commenting on a design as well as liking or collecting. Creating collections in your account is a simple way to keep up with the things you want to print or visit again.

Use Customizer

Thingiverse includes an online customizer. Customizer is a web app to modify specially designed models for personalizing names, sizes, and other features. Example customizer designs are bracelets with lettering embossed, word sculptures, and vases.

Customizable flexible name bracelet


Polygon Vase, Cup, and Bracelet Generator



Create Your Own Design

Project Shapeshifter is a web app from Autodesk Labs to make complex geometries. The designs may be shared with a custom URL or exported for printing. The application features templates for bracelets, vases, bowls and more. The standard and advanced controls modify several parameters of the design and pattern components. The instant visual feedback and simple controls make exploring design parameters easy.


Now What? Print the object.

Online printing services are available from Shapeways and Ponoko. Each day more and more 3D printing services are showing up online. Check locally for a makerspace or hackerspace.

Mobile Makerspace is located in Mobile Alabama. We provide a place where members and the community can share workspace and tools for creation. Classes on 3D printing and design will be offered soon. Be sure to sign up for our events and announcements email list to get early access to class registration.

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