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Type of software: 3D Modeling

Price: Free

Description: Blender is primarily used for 3D animation, but it can be used for 3D design work as well. It is capable of mesh modeling, and also supports bezier curves and NURBS surfaces. Like the other high-end 3D design tools, it has a steep learning curve, but tutorials are widely available, including this excellent guide to precision modeling. Blender can export to a large number of file formats. For use with VCarve3D, I've found STL exports to be the best option, and even fairly complex 3D objects have worked very well.

Pros: Price, availability of tutorials, power.

Cons: Steep learning curve. Also, because its primary purpose is not 3D design, but animation and modeling, its design features are not as well developed as they might be.

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