Welcome to the Focus on Industry Toolbox.  The purpose of the R3DP Toolbox is to offer ideas for the 3D printer user to add to their knowledge of available ‘tools’ as they seek to integrate 3D printing into their operations.

As most people know, there are extensive online download sites that offer a wide variety of printable files created by donors.  If you need a common item like a shower caddy or a pencil holder, chances are a quick search on the internet will yield the results you need.  A quick download and unless the original designer of the file didn’t pay particular attention to what he was doing, you will end up with the desired print.

But what if you needed to create or print something specific – a bushing to replace a worn one, or some other component – or perhaps you are looking to create something different, even proprietary?  How would you get that design? What software is available in that case?

There are a great number of software options for design, ranging from FreeCAD and OnSHAPE to Solidworks and AutoCAD.  Some are open-source and free ware, others require licensing.

Starting with this edition of the Toolbox, we will begin to investigate some options -starting with FreeCAD – for users to weigh and consider so that they can design their own 3D printing models.




Started in 2001, FreeCAD is a parametric 3D modeler originally designed with an eye on mechanical engineering and product design, but also fits in a wider range of uses around engineering, such as architecture or other engineering specialties.  FreeCAD is great to 3D design real-life objects of any size.  Parametric modeling allows you to easily modify your 3D design by going back into your model history and changing its parameters.

FreeCAD is open-source and highly customizable, scriptable and extensible.  Being an open source software, its feature set is oriented towards the CAD community. So be prepared that FreeCAD can be a bit overwhelming at first. But if you dig deeper into the 3D modeling software, you will be rewarded with a decent set of features that can come close to matching such pay-for-use software as Solidworks.

This 3D modeling software offers a modular architecture that allows plugins to be mounted to the core application. It also offers a Sketcher with constraint-solver, allowing you to sketch 2D shapes; a robot simulation to study robot movements, and a Path module dedicated to mechanical machining like milling (CAM), and is able to output, display and adjust G code.

TUTORIAL: FreeCAD Tutorial for 3D Printing
USEFUL FOR: Enthusiasts willing to do a bit of work and explore an extensive feature set.
FORMATS: step, iges, obj, stl, dxf, svg, dae, ifc, off, nastran, vrml and FreeCAD’s native Fcstd file format.
OPERATION SYSTEM: Windows, Mac, and Linux.




Just like the standard INFINITY3D printer, the ‘tall boy’ is an open-source, open filament modular printer with a heavy duty metal frame.   Where the ‘tall boy’ differs is its build capacity, which sits at whopping 23 litres – 215mm x 215mm x 530mm (8.5″ x 8.5″ x 20.75″)!

By comparison, the standard INFINITY3D printer – already big compared to most competitors in the market – comes with an 215mm x 215mm x 215mm (8.5″ x 8.5″ x 8.5″) build plate.

For more details, or to ask us about a leasing plan for this great gift idea, contact us HERE!