The Making Rooms utilises a range of different software packages that are often open source or freely available so that Fab Lab users can download, learn, and use the software without having to pay what can be extremely expensive license costs.
Links to these software packages are provided in the pages below. Please note that the use of these packages is still under license, even if it is free, so please ensure you read and agree to the licenses before using.
There are many more free to use 2D and 3D design software packages available therefore it is down to personal preference as to which package you use but we can recommend the following as at least a starting point.
Inkscape is a 2D vector drawing package that is relatively easy to use and is particularly strong for free-flow design. However, although usable it does have limitations when it comes to detailed engineering drawing.
If downloading Inkscape be sure to download the previous release version 0.48.5, rather than the latest version 0.91 as the latest version struggles outputting 0.01mm lines to pdf which are required for laser cutting. Having said that our technician prefers the newer version 0.91 and uses a line width of 0.03mm in her drawings.
Adobe Illustrator – CS2
Adobe Illustrator is an industry standard 2D vector drawing package more powerful than Inkscape and with good picture editing capabilities. You must sign up for a free Adobe ID to download this software but this will give you access to a wide range of other Adobe products including Photoshop, InDesign and InCopy. Please note these versions are around 7 years old and unsupported by Adobe – that is why they are free!!
Adobe Photoshop – CS2
A powerful photo and picture editing programme.
Vectr is a free graphics software used to create vector graphics easily and intuitively. It’s a simple yet powerful web and desktop cross-platform tool to bring your designs into reality.
This program is a super simple animated gif creator. Built to be accessible to as many people as possible, Brush Ninja is free to use, with no accounts, login, or tracking done.
Pixlr is a free basic online photo editor that lets you edit and transform photos and templates directly in the browser. Pixlr also has an advanced version for detailed image editing and template design called Pixlr E and an AI-powered background remover called remove tag.
Pixlr supports editing most of the common image formats, you can edit JPEG, PNG, WEBP, GIF as well as PSD (photoshop image). You can’t edit video files or animated gifs in Pixlr.
Previously known as Google SketchUp this is an excellent entry level free 3D modelling package with unparalleled video tutorials which can transform even the complete beginner into a competent user in a very short time.
This is used to create 3D models for 3D printing or 3D milling.
This program lets you 3D model in the usual way but also allows for coding input form the user. Particularly good for those of you interested in making printed circuit boards and electronics.
This program connects the entire product development process into a single CAD/CAM/CAE cloud-based platform. It provides all the support you need for advancing your engineering and manufacturing skills.
Students and educators can get free one-year educational access to Autodesk products and services, renewable as long as you remain eligible.
OpenSCAD is software for creating solid 3D CAD models. it might be the application you are looking for when you are planning to create 3D models of machine parts but pretty sure is not what you are looking for when you are more interested in creating computer-animated movies.
OpenSCAD is not an interactive modeler. Instead, it is something like a 3D compiler that reads in a script file that describes the object and renders the 3D model from this script file. This gives you (the designer) full control over the modeling process and enables you to easily change any step in the modeling process or make designs that are defined by configurable parameters.
Step into our virtual lab and unleash your creativity: make your own models and develop your ideas through intuitive digital sculpting. Enjoy the advantages of user-proof processes and our polygon mesh-based sculpting application, ShapeLab.