There are plenty of 3D design tools available to help you put all the wild ideas in your head into a more tangible digital model. So far, though, there has never really been one that's designed specifically for 3D printing projects. That's where the Cubify Invent seeks to set itself apart, having been built from the ground up for use in additive manufacturing.
Made by 3D Systems, the software is a design tool aimed at the growing audience of hobbyists using desktop 3D printers at home. Since it's built with 3D printing in mind, the feature set and workflow should prove more relevant to its target customers than practically any of the multi-purpose modeling programs currently in the market.
According to the product website, Cubify Invent has been equipped to be beginner friendly, helping CAD novices wrap their heads around the activity using an intuitive interface and built-in tutorials. Those familiar with basic CAD software (e.g. Sketchup) should be able to use it without much learning curve, turning their design ideas into printable 3D models right off the bat.
While the program is powerful enough to handle a lot of complex geometric designs, the developer warns that it's not quite up to par with making organic shapes like human faces. That means, it should be good enough for most home-based 3D printing needs, but will probably suck if you want to print up human faces and action figures. Oh yeah, it's Windows only, so Apple fanboys and Linux hardcores will need to stick to what they normally use for rendering 3D models.
The Cubify Invent is available directly from 3D Systems for $49.