I like to make home projects, for example building a bed or a loft or a soundproof room. I also want to design my own house to build. Currently I do the old paper and pen method, but this is limited. I'm finally considering learning some basic 3D modeling.

What is a good easy 3D modeling software with a low learning curve to use for this type of thing? I am an expert in photoshop so I am very competent with computers, I just don't have the time to spend many hours learning 3D modeling software - it's actually faster to use paper and pen the old way than spend all that time learning the software. So, I'm hoping to use a 3D software that will give me greater benefit and flexibility on home projects and home design while not spending too much time learning the software itself.

In addition in the longer term I want to learn building personal projects like designing inventions for a 3D printer etc.

Free or paid software are open. Whichever is best for my utility. Which software should I start with?

  • 1
    your question belongs at softwarerecs.stackexchange.com
    – jsotola
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 4:11
  • I am looking for answers from diy users on THIS forum. Also, almost no one answers anything at that forum. I posted in the correct location.
    – diy
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 4:12
  • 1
    Unfortunately, "shopping" questions are off-topic here. Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 13:58

3 Answers 3


TinkerCAD is one of the easiest 3D drawing programs to learn.

OnShape is also popular with hobbyists, and is browser based so there's no install and it's cross platform. Any drawings made with the free version are public - anyone can view and copy them. Often you can find someone else's drawing that's close to what you need, take a copy and modify it.

Whatever package you choose, I advise spending half an hour working through the first couple of tutorials - otherwise it can be extremely frustrating trying to guess how you're supposed to do things. For some reason CAD seems harder to learn than most applications.


I've used sketchup for making plans and blender for 3D modeling.

  • Blender is for 3D animations...and has a learning curve as steep as a vertical wall. Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 4:27
  • Sketchup is still the way to go....
    – Jack
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 4:32
  • I use Google “Sketchup”. There are several sketchup software programs. Be careful and use Google Sketchup only. It’s free and my clients can use a free “read only” version. It’s simple and you’ll learn fast.
    – Lee Sam
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 5:26
  • @LeeSam Google sold their stake years ago. SketchUp is now owned by Trimble. Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 12:10
  • Just looked at the Sketchup and watching the 30 min tutorial. It is very easy to use. Let's see how it does on my next project.. Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 22:52

Consider Autodesk Fusion 360 which has a free hobbyist license that has full modelling functionality. It is a CAD program designed for working in 3D as its primary tool set. It can produce scale drawing PDFs, renders, and even produce G Code for CNC machines. It was easier to learn for me than SketchUp, but that might just be a function of how my brain operates.

  • Fusion360 has the advantage that it is a parametric tool. This means that, if designed carefully, it is very easy to make changes to one part of the design, and have the rest of it automagically adjust. The learning curve is probably steeper than Sketchup, but (especially if you will be modelling for 3D printing later), it is a far superior tool.
    – SiHa
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 6:27
  • Shame there's no Linux version :-( Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 13:08
  • There is actually a web version of Fusion 360 that runs on Linux, but it was pretty rubbish last time I used it about a year ago. It may have got a lot better since then though. Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 8:54

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