Jump to content

Looking for 3D modeling tool (Free or Cheap)

Recommended Posts

I am looking for a simple 3D modeling tool that I can use to brainstorm some craft prototypes in preparation for the Alpha on September 30th. Any recommendations?  I would prefer something free or at least cheap.  I'm not looking for the power of a 3DS Max, Maya, or something like that.  Just something to play with some designs to see what looks good.


Thanks in advance,


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



The reference is blender (https://www.blender.org/), but it may be a bit too much.

Paper sketches are also a good start.


You can also check this thread:


I also remember a thread from someone in the community showing how he/she was creating models for future ships, but I cannot find it back, sorry.





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello PoisonKitchen,

I know the situation you're in just too well. 9 months ago, I stood exactly where you are now. I was looking for a simple programm as well, especially for DU designs.
I'm gonna be straight forward and tell you:
SketchUp is the tool you're looking for. It's free, it's super-easy, maybe the easiest program out there, and yet really powerful. The only downside to it is that you'll need exponentially more time for detailed art than you would with professional programs, as they are automated to a degree. SketchUp does not provide any automation, but that is one less thing to worry about since a lot of these automated functions in professional software also cause a few problems if not used 100% correctly all the time. SketchUp also only has less than 10 tools, where professional software has hundreds for everything imaginable. But that also means less to learn, and you can still do everything with those few tools provided. 

Maybe another, possible downside is that SketchUp does not have a built-in renderer. There are plugins for that though, some a free, some are cheap, and some will cost you 300 bucks. But rendering is a whole different topic.
Have a look at my first few creations. Each of them took be between three to five hours to finish.












SketchUp also has a free upload platform where you and others can 3D view your models with, I believe, umlimited storage space.

Like this:

Hope I could be of help.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice answer, I may give it a try, even if I'm a way to creative to build twice the same stuff, could be a very dangerous tool for me.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, despite being a huge Blender fanboy... For a simple use case like that, I agree with others above who've recommended Sketchup, it's probably striking the best balance between easy and feature rich enough for your purposes.


If you were doing more detailed modeling, texturing, rigging, animation, rendering, etc... I'd recommend Blender. But for quick ship concepts for a novice? Definitely Sketchup.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sketchup is great, I use it for my work where I create large airports for simulators, and it does the job just fine.
You can even get plugins that let you do things in a whole different way.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...