What Is 3D Printing?

Are you curious about 3D printing? Watch my latest video to learn the basics of how 3D printers work, and at the end of the video I will tell you how you can start experimenting with 3D printing without even owning a 3D printer!

3D Modeling Software

As I mentioned in the video, there are several powerful 3D modeling programs that are available for free or with a free license for hobbyists and makers. Here is a quick summary of some of the most popular free 3D modeling programs:


  • SketchUp Make is free and easy to learn.
  • Great for making models that can be built out of geometric shapes.
  • This option is best if you are brand new to 3D models.

Autodesk Fusion 360

  • A very powerful modeling program that lets you build complex mechanical shapes.
  • Autodesk offers a free license to hobbyists, makers, and startups (see the license terms for details).
  • Great for making mechanical, functional items.

If you want to get started with Fusion 360, watch my “Learn Fusion 360” videos!


  • Create models by digitally sculpting objects in the computer.
  • Sculptris is free to use!
  • Great for creating organic shapes, such as figures or creatures.

Blender 3D

  • A free and open source 3D creation suite, which includes the entire 3D pipline (many more tools than just 3D modeling).
  • Blender has a steep learning curve, but can be very powerful.
  • If you already have experience with any other 3D creation suite (such as Maya or 3ds Max), this is a great free alternative.

Upcoming Videos

In part two of this video series, I will go into more detail about the different types of 3D printers and how they work. If you are curious about the 3D printer I own, watch “3 Tips for the Prusa i3 MK2 3D Printer”.

In the third and final video of this series, I will share some of the cool ways 3D printing is being used right now!