The only limitation an industrial designer faces should be his imagination, not his software. If your industrial design tools are holding you back, or if you’re looking to upgrade your existing software platform, we have some options for you. We have rounded up the top 50 industrial design tools, based on user reviews, industrial design forums, and other industry-leading publications.

Our top tools cover a range of uses, from quick ideation and rendering, to visualization, to developing interactive projects and playing with your ideas, to seeing you through from the design phase to manufacturing. We even included a few options to help you present your designs and improve the aesthetics of your designs while sharpening your digital sculpting skills. And, our top picks vary in price from free to costing thousands of dollars, so you can find the industrial design tools within your budget. So, browse through the list, see which you think will fit your needs, and make your industrial design process a little more efficient and a lot more possible. Please note, we have listed our top design tools here, in no particular order.

1. Adobe Illustrator
@Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics app that serves as a handy industrial design software tool for quick ideation and rendering. If you are in need of a better tool for visualization, Adobe Illustrator is an industry-standard tool. Illustrator CC gives users access to new tool features as soon as they are released.

Key Features:

  • New Creative Cloud Libraries capabilities
  • Shaper tool
  • Touch workspace updates
  • Adobe Capture CC integration
  • New Live Shapes: ellipses, polygons, and lines

Cost: FREE trial available

  • Single App: $19.99/month
  • All Adobe Apps: $75.99/month monthly plan, $49.99/month annual plan paid monthly, or $599.88/year prepaid
  • All Apps + Adobe Stock: $79.98/month

2. Adobe Photoshop and 3D
@Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop and 3D

Photoshop is an industry standard in digital imaging and is used by professionals around the globe in fields from video editing to design. New features and upgrades to Photoshop are making it a tool of choice for industrial designers who are looking for a tool with impeccable 3D capabilities. Photoshop CC allows designers to add dimension to their designs using its rich set of 3D image creation, editing, and printing tools.

Key Features:

  • Visualize 3D designs in the real world
  • Easily print to a 3D printer or 3D print service from directly within Photoshop CC
  • Automatic mesh repair and automatic generation of support structures and rafts
  • Includes all the 3D editing tools that previously were available in Photoshop Extended

Cost: FREE trial available

  • Single App: $19.99/month
  • All Adobe Apps: $75.99/month monthly plan, $49.99/month annual plan paid monthly, or $599.88/year prepaid
  • All Apps + Adobe Stock: $79.98/month

3. SOLIDWORKS 2016
@SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS 2016

Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS is a 3D CAD design software tool that is a perfect solution for industrial designers. With SOLIDWORKS 2016, industrial designers can fast-track their designs through manufacturing, thanks to the new user interface, new tools, and new process enhancements that enable users to complete work faster and easier than ever before.

Key Features:

  • Fewer “picks and clicks”
  • Increased modeling flexibility
  • More intuitive interface
  • Easier access to commands
  • Communicate, collaborate, and work concurrently across teams, disciplines, customers ,and vendors with mechatronic design, concurrent design, and streamlined electrical/mechanical design
  • Innovative design simulation for more efficient analysis to solve complex problems and discover potential errors before they occur

Cost: Contact for a quote

4. Alias
@autodesk

Alias

Autodesk is one of the top names in industrial design because of its 3D design and engineering software and services. Alias is Autodesk’s industrial design and Class-A surfacing software for sketching, modeling, surfacing, and visualization tools for industrial, product, and automotive design. Industrial designers celebrate the surface designs that Alias digital prototyping tools help them to create.

Key Features:

  • Alias Concept for automotive conceptual design
  • Alias Surface for automotive design and styling
  • Alias AutoStudio for automotive design and styling
  • Alias Design for consumers
  • Alias SpeedForm for automotive fast concept modeling

Cost: FREE trial available; Contact for a quote

5. ZBrush
@pixologic

ZBrush

ZBrush is the industrial design software tool that features ArrayMesh, NanoMesh, and Modeler with Mesh, which are useful throughout the creative process. Industrial designers are able to create within Brush for more of your workflow, which makes the design process much more efficient.

Key Features:

  • Includes the Modeler brush, a smart polygonal modeling system for simplifying the creation process
  • Bring more complexity and detail to your designs with a low polygon count
  • NanoMesh and ArrayMesh allow for multiple instances of any object to be created and then adjusted in just seconds
  • Render with complete details

Cost:

  • Single User License: $795 digital download
  • Volume License: $795 each, with five seat minimum on all volume license orders
  • Floating License: Contact for a quote
  • Academic and Educational License: Contact for a quote

6. Rhinoceros
@bobmcneel

Rhinoceros

Rhinoceros, with its thousands of modeling and editing tools, yields fast results for industrial designers. Rhino makes it easy for industrial designers to design, model, present, analyze, realize, and more, including translating NURBS curves, surfaces, solids, point clouds, and polygon meshes. Rhino also is available for OS X, giving designers using Macs access to this versatile 3D modeler.

Key Features:

  • Uninhibited free-form 3D modeling tools
  • Accuracy for designing, prototyping, engineering, analyzing, and manufacturing nearly anything
  • Compatible with nearly all other design, drafting, CAM, engineering, analysis, rendering, animation, and illustration software
  • Read and repair meshes and challenging IGES files

Cost:

  • Commercial Bundles, Single User
    • Rhino/Flamingo/Penguin/Bongo Bundle: $1,695
    • Rhino/Flamingo Bundle: $1,295
    • Rhino/Brazil Bundle: $1,495
  • Full, Single User
    • Rhino 5 for Windows: $995
    • Rhino 5 for Mac: $495

7. 123D Design
@Autodesk123D

123D Design

123D Design is a free industrial design software tool for people who want to make things themselves or who are just beginning to get into the field. This powerful, yet simple tool makes it possible to create and edit designs, and it supports many new 3D printers.

Key Features:

  • Non-commercial use of 3D models and circuits
  • Free apps for 3D design and printing
  • Free projects and 3D models
  • Unlimited cloud storage
  • Premium features include commercial use of 3D models and circuits, Instructables Pro account, and unlimited private circuits

Cost:

  • FREE
  • Premium:
    • Monthly Membership: $9.99/month
    • 1-Year Membership: $99.99/year
    • 2-Year Membership: $189.99/2 years

8. AutoCAD
@autodesk

AutoCAD

Autodesk’s AutoCAD is an industrial design tool for Windows or Mac. It promises to help industrial designers “document with confidence,” because it enables them to create designs and speed documentation work with its built-in productivity tools. With AutoCAD, industrial designers have the ability to work across integrated desktop, cloud, and mobile solutions.

Key Features:

  • Clearly see details with Line Fading and smoother curves
  • Automatically create appropriate measurements based on your drawing context with Smart Dimensioning
  • Tools are designed for maximizing productivity
  • Design and visualize nearly any concept with 3D free-form tools

Cost: FREE trial available

  • AutoCAD Software for 2D and 3D CAD
    • Monthly: $210
    • 1-year: $1,680
    • 2-year: $3,360

9. Blender
@tonroosendaal

Blender

An industrial design tool that is better suited to quick ideation and rendering, Blender is free design software for any purpose. Driven by the Blender Foundation, Blender is an open source project that aids industrial designers in visualization.

Key Features:

  • Free and open source software free for any purpose
  • Now includes a new, unbiased rendering engine, Cycles, that offers ultra-realistic rendering
  • Comprehensive array of modeling tools for creating, transforming, and editing models, including keyboard shortcuts for a fast workflow, N-Gon support, edge slide, collapse, dissolve, grid and bridge fill, and Python scripting for custom tools and add-ons

Cost: FREE

10. OpenSCAD
@openscad

OpenSCAD

OpenSCAD is an industrial design software tool for creating solid 3D CAD models. Free and available for Linux/UNIX, Windows, and Mac OS X users, OpenSCAD focuses on the CAD aspects for creating 3D models. Industrial designers have full control over the modeling process because OpenSCAD is not an interactive modeler; rather, is is similar to a 3D-compiler that reads a script file and then renders the 3D model from the file.

Key Features:

  • Provides two main modeling techniques: constructive geometry (CSG) and extrusion of 2D outlines
  • Read design parameters from DXF files
  • Read and create 3D models in the STL and OFF file formats

Cost: FREE

11. Modo
@TheFoundryTeam

Modo

The Foundry consists of developers of innovative CG, visual effects, and 3D design software solutions for the design, visualization, and entertainment industries. Their industrial design software tool, Modo, is a great choice for quick ideation and rendering. Modo is the visualization tool for industrial designers that allows them to “conceive, explore and create anything from sunglasses to submarines.”

Key Features:

  • Fast iterations
  • Built-in sculpting and painting
  • Precision modeling that features award-winning MeshFusion Booleans
  • Photorealistic rendering tools
  • Use MODO alongside other applications in the CAD pipeline

Cost: FREE trial available for 30 days

  • Individual License: $1,799

12. Fusion 360
@adskFusion360

Fusion 360

Autodesk’s Fusion 360 is 3D CAD/CAM software for product design. In fact, Fusion 360 is “the first 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE tool of its kind. It connects your entire product development process in a single cloud-based platform that works on both Mac and PC.” With this single industrial design tool, users design, test and fabricate, work anywhere, and collaborate with anyone.

Key Features:

  • Quickly iterate on design ideas with sculpting tools to explore form and modeling tools to create finishing features
  • Test fit and motion, perform simulations, create assemblies, and more
  • Create toolpaths to machine your components or use the 3D printing workflow to create a prototype
  • Join together design teams in a hybrid environment that utilizes the power of the cloud as needed and uses local resources when needed

Cost: FREE trial available

  • Monthly: *Approx. $40
  • Annually: *Approx. $300

13. Tinkercad
@tinkercad

Tinkercad

With Tinkercad, you can “learn to design the products of your life.” This browser-based 3D design and modeling tool is appropriate for all – just imagine and then design in minutes. Tinkered also is a prime 3D printing companion for industrial designers.

Key Features:

  • Users do not need to know CAD to make and print 3D models
  • Easy, browser-based 3D design and modeling tool
  • Imagine something and then design it in a matter of minutes
  • Click-to-3D print

Cost: FREE

14. FreeCAD

FreeCAD

A general purpose parametric 3D CAD modeler, FreeCAD is an open source industrial design software tool specifically geared toward mechanical engineering and product design. FreeCAD also may be used for other engineering disciplines. Because FreeCAD includes tools similar to SolidWorks and Solid Edge, it also is considered a PLM, MCAD, CAx, and CAE.

Key Features:

  • Allows complex 3D operations on complex shape types
  • A full parametric model
  • a Modular architecture allowing plugins/modules to add functionality to the core application
  • Sketcher includes a constraint-solver, for sketching geometry-constrained 2D shapes
  • Robot simulation module for studying robot movements

Cost: FREE

15. Wings 3D

Wings 3D

Wings 3D, an advanced subdivision modeler, is an industrial design software tool that is powerful yet easy to use. Wings 3D has been under development since 2001 and offers a variety of modeling tools. Wings 3D is an open source, free tool for use in personal and commercial projects.

Key Features:

  • Customizable interface
  • Support for lights and materials
  • Built-in AutoUV mapping facility

Cost: FREE

16. BRL-CAD
@BRL_CAD

BRL CAD

BRL-CAD is a powerful cross-platform open source solid modeling system that serves as a top industrial design software tool. BRL-CAD includes interactive geometry editing and has been under more than 20 years of active development.

Key Features:

  • High-performance ray-tracing for rendering and geometric analysis
  • Image and signal-processing tools
  • System performance analysis benchmark suite
  • Libraries for robust geometric representation

Cost: FREE

17. 3DS MAX
@autodesk

3DS MAX

From Autodesk, 3DS MAX is an industrial design software tool that is ideal for quick ideation and rendering. A useful tool for visualization, 3DS MAX specifically is 3D modeling, animation, and rendering software. Autodesk recently released brand new, user-requested features plus enhancements for design, making 3DS MAX an even more useful industrial design software tool.

Key Features:

  • Open Subdiv support
  • Mesh and surface modeling
  • Polygon, spline, and NURBS-based modeling
  • A360 rendering support
  • Integrated rendering options
  • AutoCAD and Revit interoperability

Cost: FREE trial available

  • Monthly: $185
  • 1-year: $1,470
  • 2-year: $2,940

18. Siemens NX for Design
@Siemens

Siemens NX for Design

NX for Design is Siemens’ PLM software. This industrial design software tool is an integrated product design solution that “streamlines and accelerates the product development process for engineers who need to deliver innovative products in a collaborative environment.” NX for Design is a step ahead of CAD-only solutions because it offers an advanced level of integration between development disciplines to create an open, collaborative environment. The NX for Design solution specifically for industrial design and styling is a powerful tool that enables users to optimize form, fit, function, and user experience.

Key Features:

  • Freeform shape modeling
  • Reverse engineering
  • Flexbile, robust computer-aided industrial design and styling software for accelerating product engineering through fast concept design and modeling

Cost: Contact for a quote

19. Grasshopper

Grasshopper

Providing algorithmic modeling for Rhino, Grasshopper is an industrial design software tool for designers who need to explore new shapes using generative algorithms. Grasshopper is tightly integrated with Rhino’s 3D modeling tools but requires no knowledge of programming or scripting.

Key Features:

  • Graphical algorithm editor
  • Allows designers to build form generators from simple to complex
  • Perfect for quick industrial design ideation

Cost: FREE

20. PTC Creo Parametric
@PTC

PTC Creo Parametric

PTC makes it possible for manufacturers to achieve product and service advantage in the age of the Internet of Things (IoT). A powerful, flexible 3D modeling software, PTC Creo Parametric is an industrial design software tool that is easy to use yet features all of the capabilities industrial designers need to complete their projects.

Key Features:

  • Allows users to reuse designs or collaborate with others whose designs were authored in a different CAD system
  • Richer, more efficient product design experience
  • 3D solid modeling, robust assembly modeling, detailed documentation including 2D and 3D drawings, technical and freestyle surfacing, and so much more

Cost: Contact for a quote

21. Arduino
@arduino

Arduino

Arduino is a useful industrial design software tool for designers who want to develop interactive projects and play with their ideas. This open-source electronics prototyping platform is based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software and has “been the brain of thousands of projects, from everyday objects to complex scientific instruments.” Arduino now is used in IoT applications, wearables, 3D printing, and embedded environments.

Key Features:

  • Easy to use for beginners but flexible enough for advanced users
  • Runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux
  • Build interactive prototypes

Cost: FREE

22. K-3D

K 3D

K-3D is an industrial design software tool for 3D modeling. K-3D combines flexible plugins with a visualization pipeline architecture, making K-3D versatile and powerful, especially as a visualization tool for industrial designers.

Key Features:

  • Intuitive, consistent, and discoverable
  • Features procedural and parametric workflows
  • Advanced undo/redo system
  • Node-based visualization pipeline to create unique combinations

Cost: FREE

23. solidThinking
@solidThinking

solidThinking

solidThinking offers industrial design software tools that make it possible to design faster, smarter, and lighter, plus model freely, make changes effortlessly, and render beautifully. solidThinking’s EVOLVE gives industrial designers the tools they need to develop forms faster, either with Windows or Mac OS X.

Key Features:

  • Capture an initial sketch, explore styling alternatives, and visualize products with realistic renderings generated in real time
  • Organic surface modeling and parametric control with NURBS-based surfaces and solids
  • Break free from the constraints of engineering-oriented CAD tools but enjoy the capability of exporting digital models to others who need them in the product development process

Cost: Contact for a quote

24. Sketchfab
@Sketchfab

Sketchfab

Sketchfab makes 3D easier than ever before. This industrial design software tool is useful for ideation, as it makes it possible to “publish and find the best 3D content.” With a powerful editor and more than 400,000 models, Sketchfab is especially useful for beginners in the industrial design field.

Key Features:

  • Universal 3D viewer
  • Effortless publishing
  • Use for VR/AR, 3D print, or download
  • Unlimited uploads

Cost:

  • FREE
  • PRO: $10/month paid yearly or $15/month paid monthly – Unlimited uploads, up to 200MB/model, up to 20 annotations/model, basic viewer customization, and more
  • Business: $29/month paid yearly or $39/month paid monthly – Unlimited uploads, up to 500MB/model, up to 50 annotations/model, advanced viewer customization, and more

25. Lumiscaphe
@lumiscaphe

Lumiscaphe

Lumiscaphe, an editor and integrator of innovative software solutions in the field of digital aspect mockup and photorealistic, real-time 3D rendering, provides 3D Sensation for engineering and design professionals. This industrial design software tool gives industrial designers the flexibility and power they need to optimize, transform, and display CAD models as digital aspect mockups. Reap the benefits of the addition of animatable and configurable visual aspect for collaboration with others in the design, production, and marketing chains, with Lumiscaphe 3D Sensation.

Key Features:

  • Unlimited creativity for building digital aspect mockups using CAD models from your PLM
  • Layout, review, and view all of your model’s features
  • Examine and interact with full-scale prototypes in real time
  • Collaborate and share, plus enjoy the ability to hold dynamic and powerful review sessions

Cost: Contact for a quote

26. SketchUp
@SketchUp

SketchUp

SketchUp is an intuitive, powerful, easy-to-learn 3D drawing tool that is a great choice for industrial designers, especially those who want a tool for quick ideation. Create compelling visualizations, generate presentation documents, and iterate quickly with SketchUp.

Key Features:

  • Produce scaled, accurate 2D drawings
  • Appropriate for industrial designers, mechanical engineers, and related fields
  • Increases productivity

Cost: 

  • SketchUp Pro Single User + 1 year maintenance and support: $695
  • Enterprise or network licenses: Contact for a quote

27. IronCAD
@IronCADTeam

IronCAD

IronCAD is a leading provider of innovative design collaboration solutions for true productivity and design freedom. This industrial design software tool makes it possible for industrial designers to design faster, better, and easier because of its performance, flexibility, and collaboration capabilities.

Key Features:

  • Move creative ideas into full production-ready 3D reality
  • Creative Design approach delivers unparalleled design freedom
  • Get total control of design and engineering experiences without restrictions by choosing parametric, explicit, or a combination of modalities on-demand in a single environment
  • Dual Kernal Collaboration Technology

Cost: FREE trial available; Contact for a quote

28. Autodesk Showcase
@autodesk

Autodesk Showcase

Autodesk Showcase is 3D visualization software that brings industrial designs to life. This software tool combines visualization and presentation software for easy-to-use presentation and design exploration tools for designers, engineers, and others. Transform your 3D CAD designs into interactive walk-throughs and presentations in order to evaluate design alternatives in real time with colleagues, customers, and others.

Key Features:

  • Launch Showcase 3D visualization software from AutoCAD-based software to create rendered 3D scenes
  • Launch from Inventor software and create animated digital prototypes
  • Import native Revit files and select a specific Revit view for visualization
  • Publish scenes and use A360 for web and mobile viewing and sharing
  • Simulate the behavior of camera lens effects from within the Showcase viewpoint
  • Faster frame rates for better performance when presenting cross sections and turntable animations

Cost: FREE trial available; Contact for a quote

29. PTC Creo Elements/Direct
@PTC

PTC Creo ElementsDirect

PTC Creo Elements/Direct, a comprehensive system for mechanical engineers and designers who create products using the direct modeling approach to 3D CAD, is an industry-leading direct modeling software. This industrial design software tool helps engineers and designers to quickly and easily create designs or repurpose existing designs.

Key Features:

  • Take a direct modeling approach to 3D CAD
  • Completely repurpose existing designs, even if you don’t know how they were made
  • Shorten time-to-market an meet customer designs for new products while satisfying increasingly complex customer requirements
  • Allows infrequent CAD users to make changes to geometry quickly and easily

Cost: Contact for a quote

30. 3DTin
@3DTin

3DTin

If you need an industrial design tool for 3D modeling in your browser, 3DTin is your solution. Better suited to 3D modeling and industrial design beginners, 3DTin has a simple interface that makes it incredibly accessible. 3DTin was acquired by Lagoa, and it enables users to create kinematic assemblies, renders, and photocell interactive 3D experiences all in the browser.

Key Features:

  • Cloud visualization and distribution platform for engineers and designers
  • Define interactive relationships between parts with Kinematic Assemblies
  • Photoreal rendering in seconds
  • Collaboration capabilities include real-time multi-user scene editing
  • Easily handles complex models, massive geometry, and large textures
  • Supports more than 40 different native CAD formats, including PTC, Rhinoceros, CATIA, and more

Cost:

  • FREE
  • Enterprise: Contact for a quote

31. CATIA V6
@3DSCATIA

CATIA V6

Dassault Systemes’ pioneer brand, CATIA is a leading solution for product and industrial design and innovation. CATIA V6 offers breakthrough productivity design solutions powered by the 3DExperience Platform. With CATIA, industrial designers expand CAD from digital mock-up to functional mock-up with multiple views required for product development – requirement, functional, logical, and physical.

Key Features:

  • Cover the entire shape design, styling, and surfacing workflow
  • Intuitive and easy-to-use shape design tools to involve everyone in the design process, not just industrial designers
  • Industrial designers work collaboratively with creative designers, design studios, and engineering departments to optimize products for aesthetic and engineering purposes

Cost: Contact for a quote

32. KeyCreator Direct CAD
@KubotekUSA

KeyCreator Direct CAD

KeyCreator Direct CAD is an industrial design software tool for designers, manufacturers, and analysts who are looking for a fast and flexible solution for creating, changing, analyzing, or communicating a mechanical part or design. KeyCreator Direct CAD speeds the 3D design process by eliminating constraints and making it easy to modify nearly any geometry.

Key Features:

  • Easily add fillets, Boolean additional shapes, cut holes, and more
  • Add precision to designs with sophisticated modeling tools
  • Analyze models to optimize quality and cost of final products
  • Import CAD models from other software and make edits direct to the geometry

Cost: FREE trial available; Contact for a quote

33. Solid Edge
@Siemens

Solid Edge

Solid Edge is Siemens’ portfolio of affordable and easy to use software tools for the product development process. This industrial design software tool encompasses 3D design, simulation, manufacturing, design management and more. Solid Edge combines the speed and simplicity associated with direct modeling with the flexibility and control of parametric design through synchronous technology.

Key Features:

  • Accelerate product design, make revisions more quickly, and improve design data reuse
  • Faster 2D drafting, best-in-class sheet metal design, flexible part and assembly modeling, built-in photorealistic rendering, and unmatched mobility
  • Design assemblies and manage part relationships, regardless of how many parts are involved

Cost: FREE trial available

  • Solid Edge Design and Drafting: $100/month – Basic 3D CAD and support package
  • Solid Edge Foundation: $230/month – Complete 3D CAD and support package
  • Solid Edge Classic: $290/month – Advanced 3D CAD and support package
  • Solid Edge Premium: $420/month – Ultimate 3D CAD and support package

34. Inventor
@autodesk

Inventor

Autodesk’s Inventor helps industrial engineers make great products. In fact, Inventory is a 3D CAD software solution offering professional-grade 3D mechanical design, documentation, and product simulation tools. Featuring freeform, direct, and parametric modeling, Inventor gives industrial designers the modeling flexibility they need to work more productively.

Key Features:

  • Use any CAD data and eliminate manual file translation, prepare, and rework
  • Shape generation technology
  • Electromechanical interoperability when you link your Inventor and AutoCAD Electrical data
  • Design automation tools
  • Ability to create native DWG drawings
  • Available in three versions – Inventor, Inventor Professional, and Inventor in a Suite

Cost: FREE trial available; Contact for a quote for Inventor in a Suite

  • Inventor
    • Monthly: $235
    • 1-year: $1,890
    • 2-year: $3,780
  • Inventor Professional
    • Monthly: $385
    • 1-year: $3,065
    • 2-year: $6,130

35. MoI

MoI

Moment of Inspiration (MoI) is 3D modeling for designers. Its intuitive user interface makes MoI a good choice for those who are new to industrial design and who may be struggling with complex CAD tools. MoI Version 3 is available for both Windows and Mac.

Key Features:

  • CAD toolset and advanced Boolean functions enable rapid creation of mechanical or man-made hard surface models
  • Unique polygon mesh export generates clean and crisp N-Gon polygon meshes from CAD NURBS models
  • Powerful, accurate, and easy to use with a pen-tablet friendly user interface

Cost: $295

36. AutoCAD Mechanical
@autodesk

AutoCAD Mechanical

AutoCAD Mechanical is mechanical design software for manufacturing. This industrial design software tool includes AutoCAD functionality plus libraries of standards-based parts and tools for accelerating mechanical CAD. Access the latest updates and releases, 1-on-1 web support, and more with the AutoCAD Mechanical Desktop Subscription.

Key Features:

  • Command preview and contextual menus
  • 700,000 standard parts and features
  • Document 3D CAD models
  • Reusable mechanical drawing detailing tools
  • Layer management and hidden lines
  • Extended draw toolbar for manufacturing

Cost: FREE trial available; Contact for a quote

37. SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD
@SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD

SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD from Dassault Systems enables industrial design teams to quickly transform ideas into great products. This industrial design software tool gives designers the ability to rapidly create parts, assemblies, and 2D drawings.

Key Features:

  • 3D solid modeling
  • Large assembly design
  • Sheet metal design
  • Weldments
  • Plastic and cast part design
  • Mold design

Cost: Contact for a quote

38. Form-Z Pro
@formZ3D

formZ pro

Form-Z Pro is an innovative 3D design software tool that enables designers to explore ideas, design creatively, and deliver projects productively. Form-Z Pro is based on advanced 3D solid and surface modeling methods for maintaining accurate representations from design to visualization, layout, animation, and fabrication.

Key Features:

  • Features a variety of modeling personalities and tools
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Advanced modeling tools, STEP and IGES translators, animation, layout, network rendering, and interface customization

Cost:

  • Form-Z Pro – Single User License: $995
  • Form-Z Pro 8.5 RenderZone Bundle: $1,390

39. Autodesk Product Design Suite
@autodesk

Autodesk Product Design Suite

Autodesk Product Design Suite is an industrial design software tool for delivering innovative 3D product designs. A comprehensive solution, Produce Design Suite provides simulation, collaboration, visualization, and digital prototyping tools for the entire design and engineering process.

Key Features:

  • Reuse engineering data for engineering design
  • Easily and quickly model organic shapes for conceptual design
  • Precisely manipulate geometry
  • Reduce physical prototypes to cut costs and make sustainable and economical products

Cost: FREE trial available

40. SketchBook Pro
@SketchBook Pro

SketchBook Pro

An award-winning application, Autodesk SketchBook Pro is available on desktop and mobile tablets. Available in Pro 2016 for businesses and Pro 7 for individuals, SketchBook helps industrial designers with professional-grade perspective tools and an intuitive interface.

Key Features:

  • More easily create designs with drawing and sketching capabilities in SketchBook Pro
  • Annotate and iterate with layers
  • Perfect for quick ideation and beginners in the industrial design field

Cost: FREE trial available; Contact for a quote

41. ICEM SURF
@3DSCATIA

ICEM Surf

ICEM SURF is a surface modeling solution for class A-surface modeling, surface analysis, and design visualization. This industrial design software tool for explicit surface modeling is critical for the product development process necessary for great product design.

Key Features:

  • Appropriate for a range of industries, including automotive, aerospace, and durable consumer goods
  • Covers the entire process chain of modern surface product development, including visualization
  • Suitable even for demanding surfacing requirements, even those in vehicle manufacturing
  • Surface modeling software that complements existing CAD environments

Cost: Contact for a quote

42. SpaceClaim
@spaceclaim

SpaceClaim

A fast and innovative 3D modeling software solution, SpaceClaim  is a simple and flexible design tool. Better suited for those new to industrial design, Space Claim seeks to help users “imagine, design, make, and realize your ideas, faster with SpaceClaim.” For more advanced industrial designers, ANSYS SpaceClaim is available for creating, editing, and repairing 3D models.

Key Features:

  • Full part and assembly modeling
  • Detailed drawings including full 2D/3D GD&T
  • Photorealistic rendering capabilities with Keyshot
  • Open/edit files from neutral and native CAD systems

Cost: FREE trial available; Contact for a quote

43. Onshape
@Onshape

Onshape

A full-cloud 3D CAD system, Onshape is an industrial design software tool that enables everyone on the design team to collaborate using any web browser, phone, or tablet. This means industrial designers may use CAD anywhere, any time, and on any device, plus access the powerful 3D modeling capabilities Onshape has to offer.

Key Features:

  • Create complex parts, assemblies, and detailed drawings within your web browser
  • Easily define parameters and relationships to allow designs to be easily modified
  • Use mates to build realistic assembly motion
  • Collaborate with colleagues, vendors, and partners in real time
  • Control access, work together simultaneously, and branch designs from within Onshape
  • Import existing CAD data and use Onshore to collaborate, or take advantage of Onshape’s built-in version control

Cost:

  • FREE – Best for students and makers, view and markup, and light-duty professionals
  • Professional: $100/user/month – Best for professional CAD users and designers
  • Enterprise: Contact for a quote – Best for large Onshape deployments requiring advanced design control and reporting

44. TurboCAD Deluxe

TurboCAD Deluxe

TurboCAD Deluxe is a powerful, complete 2D/3D CAD software for industrial design. Draw, modify, and annotate, plus share your work with AutoCAD or SketchUP, with TurboCAD Deluxe.

Key Features:

  • Hundreds of tool to draw, modify, add dimension, and annotate
  • Materials, lighting, and photorealistic rendering create powerful presentations
  • Compatible with AutoCAD, SketchUp, and other industrial design software tools
  • Customizable user interface
  • Mechanical tools tailored to engineers such as 2D/3D Boolean operations, revolve, extrude, sweeps, and chain polyline

Cost: FREE trial available; $129.99

45. DesignCAD 3D Max Plus v25

DesignCAD 3D Max Plus v25

DesignCAD 3D Max Plus v25 is a bundle combining 2D/3D design software with video training and more than 30 million CAD symbols. Industrial designers of nearly any ability level will boost their knowledge and productivity with DesignCAD 3D Max Plus v25, plus enjoy the versatile design capabilities delivered by DesignCAD 3D Max.

Key Features:

  • Designed for novice designers but capable of creating high-quality designs, models, and animations for users of any ability level
  • Import and export 3D models to STL file format for rapid prototyping with 3D printers
  • Precision 2D drafting tools and 3D solid modeling tools
  • Mechanical design tools
  • Realistic rendering

Cost: FREE trial available; $199.99

46. BricsCAD
@bricsys

BricsCAD

BricsCAD offers common CAD features yet adds time-saving tools and 3D direct modeling at an affordable price. This industrial design software tool features a familiar 2D and 3D interface with 2D drafting and 3D modeling while supporting solutions for industry-specific tasks.

Key Features:

  • Powerful and adaptive tools for 3D direct solid modeling using the geometric constraints solver
  • 3D direct modeling operations apply to all ACIS solid geometry, regardless of whether it is created in BricsCAD or imported
  • Direct editing capabilities preserve the 3D model’s design intent, even when working on complex designs
  • Start from 2D profiles, 3D curves, 3D solids, or imported parts and assemblies
  • New Loft command creates 3D solids by specifying cross-section profiles
  • Powerful 3D constraints easily compose assemblies as top-down or bottom-up designs

Cost: Contact for a quote

47. 3D Slash
@3dslash

3D Slash

3D Slash is a great industrial design software tool for beginners. 3D Slash makes 3D modeling fun and easy, especially because it does not require complex vocabulary or training.

Key Features:

  • Intuitive tool that is fun and easy to use
  • Get accurate and customized measurements
  • Import pictures as guides
  • Work on any STL file
  • Works any time, anywhere, on any device

Cost: FREE

48. 3DCrafter

3DCrafter

A real-time 3D modeling and animation tool, 3DCrafter is an industrial design tool that incorporates a drag-and-drop approach to 3D modeling. The simple processes involved with this design tool make it intuitive enough to serve as a tool for beginners in the industrial design field. Construct complex models from simple 3D primitives or use 3DCrafter’s Shape Building Tools.

Key Features:

  • Incorporates an intuitive drag-and-drop approach to 3D modeling
  • Modeling tools are available to deform, sculpt, and paint 3D shapes
  • Create animation and view it in real time or record it

Cost: 

  • FREE – For those who want an introduction to 3D modeling
  • 3DCrafter Plus: $34.95 – For those interested in creating detailed models or low-polygon models
  • 3DCrafter Pro: $69.96 – For those wanting a full-fledged 3D modeling and animation package with the ability to create photo-realistic images

49. MeshLab

MeshLab

MeshLab is an open source, portable, and extensible system for processing and editing unstructured 3D triangular meshes. This industrial design software tool is “aimed to help the processing of the typical not-so-small unstructured models arising in 3D scanning, providing a set of tools for editing, cleaning, healing, inspecting, rendering, and converting this kind of meshes.” MeshLab was developed with the support of the 3D-CoForm Project.

Key Features:

  • Interactive selection and deletion of mesh portions, even for large models
  • Painting interface for selecting, smoothing, and coloring meshes
  • Measuring and slicing tools
  • Appropriate for quick ideation, rendering, and visualization of industrial designs

Cost: FREE

50. Sculptris
@pixologic

Sculptris

Sculptris serves as a wonderful introduction to digital sculpting. A useful tool for industrial designers who are working on the aesthetics of their designs, Sculptris is designed for novices. With easy-to-learn features, this industrial design software tool is perfect for those industrial designers who are looking to improve their digital art skills and enhance their presentations.

Key Features:

  • Locally redefines internal structures of models
  • Edit mesh geometry with simple brush strokes
  • Paint textures onto the surface of the mesh

Cost: FREE

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