A CAD file containing the digital model of an object is the prerequisite for 3D printing anything.  If you’re ambitious and want to produce your very own design and not just purchase someone else’s file from an on-line CAD library, you will need to get to grips with some CAD software.

Without your CAD files, we are not able to print anything, so we’ve spent quite some time researching the wide array of different CAD software currently available and produced a GUIDE on our website in an effort to point people in the right direction relevant to their experience, type of project and budget.

Our guide is self explanatory and set out in terms of level of experience; beginner, intermediate and advanced.

For the novice, we would suggest trying out the basic free versions first.  If they provide you with all the tools that you need, then splendid.  However, if you find that you need the software to do more, then it is time to graduate on to the more advanced versions until you find the one with the tools and flexibility that you require.

In our experience, slavishly teaching yourself CAD via training manuals or online tutorials is pretty uninspiring.  Our advice is that once you have absorbed a quick overview and understand the tools on offer, it’s best to get stuck in to trying to produce an object that you actually care about.  There’s little incentive to overcome the inevitable hurdles, when you’re trying to reproduce the proprietary model in the instructions.  It’s your interest and passion for what you’re trying to create that will motivate you to explore and master the program much more successfully and quickly.

It is rather misleading the way that 3D printers are often credited with creating objects.  3D printers are only the producers of the physical version of a virtual object.  The creation of the virtual object takes place in your imagination via the CAD software.  Get to grips with CAD software and your making horizons are pretty limitless.