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Blender vs. Solidworks: Which Is Better for 3D Printing?

When it comes to 3D printing and CAD programs, you’ll want a workstation with a user-friendly interface and plenty of options to customize your 3D prints. Both software packages have unique strengths and weaknesses, making it difficult to decide which is the best for your 3D printing needs. So, Blender vs. Solidworks: which is better for 3D printing?

Solidworks is better for 3D printing than Blender. Solidworks is more accurate and easier to use, so you’re less likely to make mistakes when modeling. Solidworks is specifically for engineering and manufacturing purposes, so it has the features you need to create perfect prints.

Still, some differences between these CAD programs might make a big difference to you. This article will take a closer look at both Solidworks and Blender to help you decide which one is the better choice for your 3D printing projects.

An Overview of Solidworks for 3D Printing

As I mentioned, Solidworks is the better choice for 3D printing. However, what exactly makes Solidworks better than Blender? 

Solidworks is a CAD program you can use to design 3D models. It’s specifically for people who wish to create very technical models, and it’s one of the most popular programs for people learning to 3D print in the engineering, prototyping, and design industries. 

The package comes with several features that make it particularly well-suited for 3D printing, including:

  • The ability to create solid models of parts and assemblies
  • A wide range of CAD and CAE tools
  • Parametric modeling
  • A user-friendly interface suitable for students and experts

Here’s an excellent demo tutorial on how to use Solidworks in 3D modeling and printing:

Solidworks Pros

  • Precise and accurate
  • Straightforward to use
  • Ideal for modeling mechanical parts
  • Expansive feature set

Solidworks Cons

  • Only available with an annual subscription
  • Requires a powerful computer to avoid crashing
  • It may not be compatible with some operating systems, such as Linux

An Overview of Blender

Blender is an open-source graphic design program that allows you to build 3D renderings, animate and add texture to models.

Artists and animators use Blender to create three-dimensional models and animations, but it’s one of the few open-source CAD programs available for 3D printing enthusiasts. 

While Blender is not as well-suited for 3D printing as Solidworks, it does have some features that make it a good choice for certain types of 3D printing projects.

These features include:

  • A wide range of modeling and animation tools
  • The ability to create organic models
  • Advanced texture-building abilities
  • Sculpting tools for customized shapes and designs

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to use Blender for 3D printing:

Blender Pros

  • It is free to download and use
  • You can use it to create both simple and complex models
  • It has a wide range of features
  • It runs on most operating systems
  • Many plugins available 
  • There are many tutorials and guided videos online

Blender Cons

  • Not as precise as Solidworks
  • The interface can be confusing
  • Models can be difficult to edit
  • Simple procedures such as cutting or reshaping a model can be challenging to perform.
  • Each Blender version is different, so outdated tutorials and guides are common – and useless.

Why Solidworks Is Better for 3D Printing

Now that we’ve looked at some of the main features of Solidworks for 3D printing, let’s take a more detailed look at why it’s better than Blender.

Solidworks Is a Solid Modeling Package

One of the most significant advantages that Solidworks has over Blender is that it’s a solid modeling package. That means Solidworks is explicitly for modeling objects made of solid materials (hence the name). 

That makes Solidworks particularly well-suited for modeling mechanical parts and other objects that need to be precise and accurate – such as intricate 3D prints.

On the other hand, Blender is not a solid modeling package. That means it’s not as precise and accurate as Solidworks in modeling mechanical parts. 

Blender also has fewer pre-made models and parts, so you’ll have to download or create fundamental components, such as gears and other shapes, when designing your model.  

However, that doesn’t mean Blender is entirely useless for 3D printing. As I’ll point out later in this post, Blender has unique strengths that make it a good choice for certain types of 3D printing projects.

Solidworks Is Precise and Accurate

Another advantage of Solidworks is its exact and accurate metrics

That’s because Solidworks uses parametric modeling, which allows you to input specific dimensions for your part. As a result, you can be confident that your printed part will be the exact size and shape you want.

That doesn’t mean Blender isn’t precise. Blender can be just as accurate as Solidworks if you use it correctly. However, it’s worth noting that Blender is not a parametric modeling package. That means you’ll need to be more careful when inputting dimensions for your part.

Solidworks Is Intuitive and Easy To Use

Another reason why Solidworks is the better choice for 3D printing is that it’s a very intuitive and easy-to-use software package. 

Even if you’ve never used Solidworks before, you should be able to figure out how to use the software easily.

In contrast, Blender can be pretty difficult to use, particularly if you’re new to 3D modeling. Blender’s interface is notoriously complex, and the software can be confusing. 

As a result, learning to use Blender effectively can take a long time.

The Verdict: Should You Use Blender or Solidworks? 

When deciding whether to use Solidworks or Blender for your 3D printing project, it’s essential to consider the type of model you’re trying to create. 

If you’re looking to create a precise and accurate model of a mechanical part, then Solidworks is the better choice. However, if you’re looking to create a more artistic or intricate model, then Blender may be a better option.

Wrap Up

As you can see, there are a few key reasons why Solidworks is the better software package for 3D printing. 

If you need to create models of mechanical parts, then Solidworks is a clear winner. Solidworks is much easier to use than Blender, which can be a significant advantage if you’re just starting with 3D printing.

However, if you’re looking to create organic, free-form shapes, then Blender may be the better option. Just keep in mind that Blender has a steep learning curve.