By Jason Vander Griendt

June 30, 2016 at 8:14 am

With the right free software download (and a 3d printer) you could design and produce your own mask for your next costume party

Sometimes, it’s hard not to be amazed at the millions of possibilities that are made possible with 3D printing. Having a 3D printer at home allows you to take part in designing and developing a plethora of products limited only by the extent of your creativity. That could mean printing a LEGO Batman figure for your kid, a mask from your favorite horror movie for Halloween, even a pair of funky shades for your summer getaway. All of these are possible thanks to the thousands of free 3D design and printing software packages available on the Internet. Most of these softwares are simple to use, have enough features to hold people’s interest, and most importantly, can be downloaded for free. However, as the adage goes, if it’s too good to be true, sometimes it is.

Downloading 3D printing software for free (or any free software in general) can be a double-edged sword. Admittedly, free software has its benefits, the most obvious being you don’t have to pay for it. 🙂 It allows you to test the waters with your ideas before you put money on the table and find out you either don’t enjoy it or are no good at it. In this article however, we wanted to highlight some of the more complicated aspects of downloading free 3D printing software.

Security Issues

The first significant risk of downloading 3D printing freeware is the security risk free software can pose to the safety of your computer and the information on it. Free software has long been the chief culprit in propagating malicious code that can harm your computer, corrupt your files and steal your information. These harmful code files can mess with other programs, take control of your PC, or trade off your information and open you up to identity fraud.

Some free applications can have spyware or adware or malevolent infections, worms or Trojan horse viruses implanted inside. So, when you download some freeware onto your PC from the Internet, malware can also sneak onto your machine. An easy fix to this problem is to scan all downloads before opening them. If your anti-virus and malware software is up to date it should be able to deal with any potential threats before they become an issue.


Some freeware can piggyback dubious toolbars onto your computer that can plunder your data, or rapidly jumble your computer if you are not cautious. While some toolbars are valuable, the ones associated with freeware, particularly the malicious variety will hijack your browers and search engines and can be difficult to clean off. If you find yourself facing toolbar issues you are struggling to overcome try googling the problem. There are often others who have been in a similar situation who provide useful walkthrough guides helping you to overcome pesky toolbar issues.

Lack Of Features

One of the biggest issues with free 3D mechanical design software you find online is the lack of features compared to their paid counterparts. While free software might be fine for simple applications, if you are serious about 3d printing you will most likely need something more robust in order not to hamper your design and printing experience. While initially these programs appear to be “free” some software can cost a lot of money to upgrade to full versions, turning out to be more trouble than they’re worth.

Therefore, although it might be tempting to download free 3D printing software, do your research and figure out the implications first. You might be better off getting the reliable services of a paid version that actually delivers on its promises in the first place, or outsourcing your 3d printing to a company like us who can handle each stage of the process efficiently and affordably, saving you money in the long run on software you only need once.


Jason Vander Griendt

Jason Vander Griendt is a Mechanical Engineering Technician with years of experience working at major companies such as SNC Lavalin Inc, Hatch Ltd. Siemens and Gerdau Ameristeel. He is the CEO of JCAD – Inc., a company he started in 2006 after seeing a gap in the market for businesses who could assist clients through the entire product design and manufacturing process.

Jason has been featured in Forbes, has had his businesses analyzed and discussed in multiple start-up books, was a previous winner of the Notable8 Digital Innovator of the year award, and is a regular guest on business panels and podcasts. Email Jason at or follow him on LinkedIn.

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