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3D Printing: Where to start?

Modeling software

Before you can print anything, you need a 3D model. There are many different types of 3D modeling software able to produce the necessary files, and many among them are free. Here are a few:

Tutorials explaining how to use software


When you scan an object with a 3D scanner, you obtain a cloud of dots representing the object’s surface rather than a model ready to be printed. Based on the machine and the print software used, it may be necessary to import this result into modeling software to convert it into a group of polygons. This could be long and tedious work, depending on the complexity of the object. Furthermore, only the outside surface of objects can be scanned.

Some last-generation equipment, however, allow printing these dot clouds after minimal file processing.

3D Printing at the Library

Did you know? Your library offers low-cost 3D printing services!

Loyal to our mission to support teaching and research, we want to make this innovative technology accessible for its high educational and social potential.

Visit the 3D Printing page for more information.

Free licenses for students

Some professional 3D modeling software publishers offer free licenses to students!

View the list compiled by PolyFab in September 2015.


Off-Campus Access to Documents

If you are a member (student, professor, researcher, employee, etc.) of the Polytechnique Montréal community, you can access all of the Library's paid electronic resources from off-campus. You just need to configure your browser's proxy server settings.