Industrial Designers: 6 Best 3D Modeling Software

The manufacturing industry relies on precision-built components to operate. To eliminate lengthy trial and error in the parts design process, technology allows industrial designers to create part models, which can be digitally tested before being installed. Throughout this article, we’ve gathered together the six best 3D modeling software.

Shapr3D – Best CAD for Industrial Designers

Shapr3D is a relative newcomer to the design industry, however, what it lacks in age it more than makes up for in features. Industrial Designers will love how easy it is to create 3D models. You can use your iPad and Apple Pencil similarly to traditional sketching but it also works on Windows and Mac – it works for you wherever you are.

3D Industrial Modeling With Shapr3D
3D Industrial Modeling With Shapr3D

With it’s intuitive UI you won’t be stuck looking through menus, instead you’ll be able to enjoy creating 3D models.


Often considered the original software for design, AutoCAD’s versatility makes it the perfect choice for any project. For example, if a brewery is looking to create a more effective system for traversing fluids, it may need to create 2D sketches that can be used to create 3D models.

3D Modeling Software Drawing done in AutoCad
3D Modeling Software Drawing done in AutoCad

Once they’re happy with a design, they can hand over the custom manifold project to the experts. They will take care of everything from 3D modeling to heat-controlled welding.


ZBrush was designed with digital modeling and animation in mind, which is why it’s perfect for visualizing soft goods. Although functionality can’t be tested with this software, designers can grasp a true 3D view of their end product. After putting together their vision, work can be sent to expert manufacturing companies to bring everything to life.

PTC Creo

Creo is a powerhouse when it comes to 3D CAD creation. Perfect for realizing product viability and manufacturing functionality, PTC Creo is a one-stop shop. After building different parts and compiling them together, Creo has the power to simulate them in real-time using augmented reality. This is a great asset for any business as avoids trial and error after prototype manufacturing.

Autodesk Fusion 360

Autodesk Fusion 360 is cloud-based, meaning it’s not theoretically software. However, it packs an incredible punch when it comes to creating 3D masterpieces. This tool is a favorite among industrial designers because of its handy artificial intelligence (AI) module, which creates CAD designs from a series of project constraints. Further, thanks to saving all parts within the same file, it’s capable of handling extremely complex mechanics.


Rhino is a fantastic all-in-one design tool that has the power to create, edit, render, document, animate, and translate NURBS (non-uniform rational basis spline) curves, polygon meshes, solids and surfaces, point clouds, and subdivision geometry. When it comes to the user interface, Rhino is relatively easy to learn and there are heaps of free learning resources. No matter how large or complex the project, Rhino has your back.

Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D isn’t a CAD tool because it doesn’t have parametric modeling. However, it is ideal for creating 3D renders and can be customized by plugin integration to enhance the CPU (central processing unit) and GPUs (graphics processing unit). Further, the plugins are open source, meaning they’re free and are constantly updated by the people using them.

Industrial design involves putting complex parts together with very little margin for error. Thanks to innovative tech, full 3D models can be put to the test in a digital environment, reducing costs on manufacturing prototypes or facing malfunctions down the line. The design tools above are among the best there are, but there’s plenty more out there to explore.