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3D Printing: Design

Software and apps available in the MakerSpace include Autodesk Inventor, SolidWorks, SketchUp Pro, Gravity Sketch and Cura. The resources linked in this guide were not created by NUI Galway and NUI Galway cannot take responsibility for their content. However, we hope that they will be of use to you in learning the essentials of 3D design.

Autodesk Inventor

Autodesk Inventor is a computer-aided design application for 3D mechanical design. It is available on all computers in the MakerSpace and is considered one of the industry standard programs for CAD (computer-aided design).

Autodesk offerers free access to Autodesk Academy for students of NUI Galway. Just set up a free account at and start working your way through the video tutorials. It only takes about  an hour and a half to learn the basics of 3D design. Additionally, the online knowledge network will help you with any issues you may encounter while working with the software. 

Gravity Sketch

If CAD isn't for you, give VR a try. You can check out the Oculus Quest from the MakerSpace and use the installed apps like Gravity Sketch to design your own creations which can then be exported for print. There are a number of useful learning resources available on the Gravity Sketch YouTube channel.

SketchUp Pro

SketchUp Pro is an easy to learn and use basic design program. Visit their website for a series of self-paced tutorials.


SolidWorks is a design program used by over two million engineers and 3D designers worldwide. It is available on the MakerSpace PCs. Take a look at SolidWorks' online learning resources.